President Donald Trump boasted of big savings when he canceled an upcoming joint military exercise with South Korea. It turns out, however, that the cost of the exercise would have equaled a fraction of the cost for just a single F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet.
The Freedom Guardian joint exercise with South Korea would have cost the U.S. about $14 million, according to a Pentagon assessment. The activity was supposed to commence next month but was "indefinitely suspended" in the wake of the historic Singapore summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Prior to that meeting, Kim threatened to withdraw from the talks, citing an ongoing U.S. training exercise with South Korean troops.
The reclusive leader from the North consistently calls the military drills between the U.S. and South Korea a "provocation" and a test run for a future invasion.
The Freedom Guardian exercise and its $14 million price tag are a tiny fraction of the Pentagon's $700 billion budget –and it costs less than one Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet.
Earlier this year, Trump said the F/A-18 is "his favorite plane" and also described it as "a work of art" before noting that the U.S. plans to buy 24 more of these fighters. One F/A-18 Super Hornet costs about $69 million, according to the Navy's 2018 budget estimate.