From Popular Mechanics
The U.S. military will have a bunch of military equipment on display in and over Washington D.C. as part of a celebration of America’s Independence Day. All of the armed services, including the Coast Guard, will be represented at an event at the Lincoln Memorial dubbed the “Salute to America”.
The event will be the first time in decades, if not ever, military hardware was part of the capital’s Independence Day celebration. Heavy weapons inside the District of Columbia are rare: the first time tanks rolled through Washington D.C. was under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, when the U.S. Army was sent to evict a protest of World War I veterans known as the “Bonus Army” in 1932. The last time, according to Stars and Stripes, was the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961.
This time, the Army has sent a small contingent of tanks and other vehicles. The service shipped five vehicles: two M1A2 Abrams tanks, two M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, a M88A2 Hercules armored recovery vehicle, and a Humvee. The vehicles were shipped north by rail from Fort Stewart, Georgia, where they are part of the 3rd Infantry Division. After some concern that the weight of the armored vehicles could damage the tunnels that run underneath the Lincoln Memorial photographs now show them being set up on display in front of the Memorial.
Washington will also get a fly-over of military aircraft. The aerial procession will include a variety of warplanes-plus the President’s own plane.
The U.S Air Force’s contingent is led by Air Force One, the President’s long range transport. The service will also send two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighters and one B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.
The U.S. Navy is sending the Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team, two U.S. Navy F-35C Joint Strike Fighters from California, two Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, and at least one H-60 helicopter.
Finally the U.S. Army is sending four AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, while the U.S. Coast Guard is sending a H-65 helicopters. The U.S. Marine Corps will be represented by Marine Helicopter Squadron One, the unit that flies the helicopters that transport the President and his staff.
How much will all this cost? Air Force One costs $140,000 an hour to fly, while as of 2013 it costs $169,000 an hour to fly the B-2, a number that has almost certainly gone up. The F-22 Raptor costs $68,000 an hour. The six-plane Blue Angels team costs at least $10,000 each to fly, while Super Hornets cost about $18,000 an hour to fly. Two F-35s, which cost $44,000 an hour, are flying in from California. Just those two planes alone, including round trip and event flight time of 7 hours, would cost $616,000.
The “Salute to America” will take place on July 4th, at the Lincoln Memorial, between 6:30 and 7:30 pm.
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