Fears of a potent Syrian air defense system drove the U.S. Air Force to send its silver bullet force of F-22 Raptor stealth fighters into battle for the first time ever. The Pentagon confirmed on Sept. 23 that the $150 million jets had struck an ISIS command and control facility in Raqqah, Syria with a satellite-guided bomb. That was right after an initial wave of U.S. Navy Tomahawk cruise missiles hit their targets around Aleppo and Raqqah.
But the Raptors’ first mission wasn’t cheap. Together, the missiles and airstrikes cost at least $79 million to pull off, according to a Daily Beast tally.
That’s more expensive than India’s mission to Mars, which was successfully completed Wednesday at a cost of just $74 million.
The U.S. government told the Bashar al-Assad regime about the incoming attacks shortly before they happened. But the Pentagon did not trust the Syrian military to leave American warplanes alone as they struck ISIS and another Al Qaida-affiliated terrorist group called Khorasan. That’s why the Air Force needed assets like the blisteringly fast, high-flying Raptor which could operate inside heavily defended airspace with relative impunity.