Big military powers are in a constant need to improve their weapons otherwise they might lag behind. This means that there must be tons of unused bombs, missiles, etc.. which they didn't use up but have already become outdated. They can't keep stockpiling them, I suppose. Although, They can sell some of them but I highly doubt they can sell the majority of that.

How long do they store them? How much does it cost? (Like compared to its original price)

How much does it cost to get rid of them?


1 Answer 1


According to a 2010 report from NATO, demilitarizing munitions cost about £1,000 per ton. In current USD that is about $1,300.

Building on that research, the Small Arms Survey notes that the entire process includes many other steps (such as transporting the munitions and environmenal impact containment) that make the cost significantly higher.

According to the U.S. Army Defense Ammunition Center (also presented in the Small Arms Survey report) they spend about $146 million to decommission munitions.

  • 1
    Which raises the question: at what point does it become cheaper to use munitions than to depose of them?
    – Sjoerd
    Apr 27, 2017 at 23:43
  • @Sjoerd - The NATO report mentions this. In many cases that is the preferred method of disposing of them, but there are some limitations. For example, the environmental impact is much larger because many components will leech out into the environment. Also, apparently it's hard to find an area to use many kinds of munitions safely. Apr 28, 2017 at 20:29
  • My colleagues have been on missile test programmes where one purpose of the action was to get rid of old rockets.
    – RedSonja
    Apr 15, 2019 at 11:51

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