The Drive brings us estimates of the per round price for several types of missiles in the US inventory, “ship launched” here and “air launched” here. The “air launched” list includes a couple of missiles that can also be surface launched, LRASM and Hellfire. I have pulled out info on those systems that could someday up-arm Coast Guard cutters.
These numbers might look quite scary at first glimpse, but if you consider the cost of an operating day, for a ship like the $650M National Security Cutter, (I don’t really know, but a very rough estimate would be on the order of –don’t quote me– $250,000/operational day, see foot of the post for how I got this) it does not look that much out of line. (Reportedly the 57mm Mk110 gun cost $7.2M and the rounds $1200 each. The fire control systems, maintenance, training, and support personnel are additional cost.) By comparison, the Hellfire looks like an absolute bargain. We could probably mount a set of up to eight on an FRC for less than the cost of a 25mm Mk38 mod3.
Keep in mind, that if the Navy sees a need to arm Coast Guard cutters, the Navy pays for the systems. (I do believe the Navy does not really understand or appreciate our counter terrorism needs, maybe the Coast Guard does not either.)
Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) – $1,795,000 (average for the entire projected Fiscal Year 2021 purchase, which includes ESSM Block I and Block II versions).
Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) – $905,330 – This unit price is an average across the full projected Fiscal Year 2021 order, which includes multiple RAM variants, including the Block II and IIA.
Tactical Tomahawk (TACTOM) Block V – $1,537,645 (base land-attack variant). Conversion kits to transform Block V missiles in Block Va Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) anti-ship missiles approximately $889,681.
Naval Strike Missile (NSM) – $2,194,000 (Navy only requested funds to purchase 15 of these missiles in the 2021 Fiscal Year budget).
Griffin – None included in current budgets, but 2019 Fiscal Year unit cost $127,333.
Hellfire (AGM-114): A number of different costs were reported. This is apparently due to the large number of different versions of the missile. The average price for the Navy was reported as $45,409, for the Air Force $70,000, and for the Army $213,143.
LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile): AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) for the Air Force – $3.960 million, for the Navy – $3.518 million
How I got a very approximate cost for an operational day for a National Security Cutter.
Annual Coast Guard budget approximately $12M, divide by 40,000 (approximate number of uniformed active duty Coasties, about $300,000 each), multiply by 150 (approximate number of crew members ($45M/year), divide by 180 operating day/year=$250,000/day. (Back in the 1980s I figured a 378 cost forty or fifty thousand per op day. Forget what it was exactly but the higher cost of today’s NSC sounds about right.)