George A. Haloulakos, CFA, is a university instructor, author and entrepreneur [DBA Spartan Research and Consulting]. His published works utilize aviation as a teaching tool for Finance, Game Theory, History and Strategy.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Boeing B-29 Super-fortress as its maiden flight occurred September 21, 1942. In a continuing series, this article is yet another financial reappraisal of historic or iconic aircraft. As the single most expensive weapons system undertaken by the United States of America during World War II, it warrants our attention in both financial and strategic terms. The goal of this article is to share new insights from a Finance perspective. Among the insights to be presented: (1) Profitability Analysis, (2) Added-Value from Delivery/Distribution Systems and (3) Return on Investment (ROI).
This research article is organized as follows: First, we present observations based upon research and analysis of open source references. Second is an explanation on our analytical approach that is a fusion of Finance, Strategy and Aviation. Third is a financial analysis that includes lessons learned.
Finally our closing thoughts address the legacy of the B-29.
- Victory – the ultimate metric by which a military asset is measured – is synonymous with the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. In its commemorative May 2015 edition featuring spotter cards of World War II aircraft as inserts, Air & Space magazine described the B-29 as “The bomber that ended the war; the only one ever to drop atomic bombs in combat.”
- As a technology driver, the B-29 generated spin-off benefits outside of combat that we continue to benefit from this present day! Its game-changing role in the aviation/aerospace industry makes the Superfortress a truly historic capital asset that goes well beyond nostalgia.
- The B-29 was solidly profitable. Its financial gains demonstrate an efficient, well-run capital project that provided a most satisfactory use of public funds fulfilling both military and civilian purposes.
Finance, Strategy and Aviation: Evaluating Historic Capital Projects