War is a business.
Let’s think of it seriously – not like teenagers playing PC war games. Since ancient times, the main drive of war has always been economy. At firs, wars were simply fighting for territories, but things became more complex when more sophisticated weapons began to participate in the war theater. They did not replace the reason, but tactics and technique have undergone dramatic changes since then.
A favorite discussion…
Many gamers like to discuss whether the Tiger tank or the Soviet T-34 was better. Actually, the discussion is quite irrelevant when you do not have in mind the real situation. First of all, the Nazis increased the number of Tigers in the second part of the war when German light tanks proved to be inferior to the T-34. But more important is to see the concepts of the two machines and how they were applied.
The T-34 is almost two times lighter than the Tiger, much simpler for production and easier to maintain. The Tiger was a sophisticated machine with a really powerful gun, but was heavy and had greater fuel consumption and was produced when Germany was beginning to run out of resources. On the one hand, the Soviets had an overwhelming superiority in number – they managed to produce a lot of the rugged T-34, though it had less firepower than the Tiger tank. On the other hand, they managed to produce enough powerful self-propelled antitank artillery, capable of successfully beating the German panzers in combination with the many T-34 tanks. So, the rugged design won – easier in maintenance, cheaper for production. A better economic strategy.
War is an endeavor of the whole economy of a country
The example of the Second World War exactly shows this. Nowadays weapons have become even more complex, but this principle is just the same. Although modern tanks, planes and defense system cost millions of dollars, the more economically efficient strategy will win. Just think – we have great antitank and surface-to-air missiles, but there will be no point in using them if every missile is more expensive than the tank or airplane it has to destroy. Such a missile costs thousands of dollars, but a modern tank for example, costs several millions of dollars. Many US Abrams tanks, each one costing about $9 million, got destroyed with the help of much cheaper antitank weapons and Iraqi videos give us many examples of this.
The production of weapons itself
The price of the weapon is not determined simply by the cost of the material and the labor used to produce it. The price is determined by the world weapon market. And, as you may have noticed from the news, most weapons are ordered, not mass-produced. So if you have a weapon factory, you have to sell your production at such a price so that you can pay your employees salaries, no matter whether you have much fewer orders than last month, for example.
In conclusion, it is visible that talking about military affairs without mentioning economy really does not make sense.