No 2. F-22 Raptor: $350 million
First conceived during the Cold War as an airframe to vie with Soviet aircraft that was never built, the F-22 is touted by manufacturer Lockheed Martin as the best overall combat plane in the world — not to mention the most expensive. It can shoot down enemy cruise missiles, fly long distances at supersonic speeds and avoid nearly all types of radar detection. But the Senate debate over whether to build seven more — at a taxpayer cost of $1.67 billion — eventually came down to the plane’s job-creating abilities. The axed project would have employed 25,000 Americans.
No 1. B-2 Spirit: $2.4 billion
The B-2 bomber was so costly that Congress cut its initial 1987 purchase order from 132 to 21. (A 2008 crash leaves the current number at 20.) The B-2 is hard to detect via infrared, acoustic, electromagnetic, visual or radar signals. This stealth capability makes it able to attack enemy targets with less fear of retaliation. In use since 1993, the B-2 has been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.