How much did the B-29 Superfortress cost to develop?Since its design started in the 1930's, what was its intended use?
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress long range heavy bomber was the most expensive military project of World War II--even more so than the Manhattan Project that created the Atom Bomb. Nearly 4,000 of the massive bombers were constructed for use only in the Pacific theatre, and it was the most sophisticated airplane ever made at the time. The prototype was submitted in 1939, although other similar models were being considered as much as five years earlier.
Entering service in 1944, the B-29 had the capacity of a 20,000 pound bomb load while its 10-man crew was armed with 12 machine guns--which could be used by remote control--and capable of speeds up to 365 miles per hour. The cost? $3 billion!
At least according to one site (the first link in the above answer, as it turns out), the cost of developing the airplane was $3 billion. Assuming that is in dollars of the time, it would be roughly equivalent to $45 billion today.
The final development of the B-29 started in 1939 when the war in Europe was already under way. At that point, development was driven by the fear that England might fall and there might be a need to bomb Europe from much farther away than was eventually necessary. By 1940, the availability of the B-17 and the fact that England did not fall led designers to concentrate on developing an airplane for use in the Pacific.