AT-AT Empire Strikes Back

If you follow political conversations regarding American military spending, you've likely heard politicians complaining about how much the military costs. A single fighter jet costs millions of dollars to produce. To make enough to be useful, you're looking at billions. We may have just discovered why the Emperor took unilateral control of the galaxy. His plans for military spending were absolutely off the charts. Apparently, even a single AT-AT would cost the galactic equivalent of $226 million to build. Who knew the Battle of Hoth was so expensive?

AT-ATs are the massive, four-legged Imperial walkers that we see attacking the rebels on Hoth during Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and were also seen during Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi. They are massive battle tanks and, according to the team at Best Casino in the UK, their price tag is equally massive. They've produced an infographic which breaks down the cost of all the AT-ATs major components.

In each case, the infographic uses the current, real-world cost, of the closest equivalent to what we see on the AT-AT. In the case of the walker's front-mounted lasers, with an estimated power of 1 megawatt, they use the Lockheed Martin ATHENA. The prototype would cost $25 million, and the AT-AT has two. There are also a pair of secondary lasers on the side of the walker's head, for these, they use the LaWS laser, which is capable of engaging small and high-speed aircraft, something we see the walker do while blasting snow speeders on Hoth. $22 million is the cost for the pair of those.

Of course, the armor and construction are the major cost. Here Best Casino compares the AT-AT to an M1 Abrams tank, believing the two have a similar power to weight ratio. Based on size calculations, they estimate that a standard AT-AT is equal to the size of 16 Abrams tanks. At over 1,000 tons, and almost 20 megawatts of power, the total construction cost comes out to $146 million. They also use the Abrams' gas turbine engine and rotating turret to approximate the tech needed to construct the AT-ATs leg joints. Tack on an additional $8.5 million. No word what the anti-tow cable upgrades cost.

Finally, you need people to man the AT-AT. The walking tank requires a pilot, gunner, and a commander to properly operate it. Using current salaries for those military positions, you need to add an additional $192,000. Of course, this cost isn't only paid once, keeping the AT-AT in service would require this cost to be paid every year.

What do you think? Does this breakdown make sense or are there calculations off in any way? Make your cocktail napkin calculations below.

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