State of the art fighter plane in 1945:
Inflation Adjusted Cost-$652,000
State of the art fighter jet in 2013:
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
Adjusted for inflation, the F-35 costs 363 times more than the P-51 when adjusted for inflation.
State of the art bomber in 1945:
B-17 Flying Fortress
Inflation Adjusted Cost-$3.04 million
State of the art bomber in 2013:
Cost-$1.05 billion (inflation adjusted from $737 million 1997 price)
Adjusted for inflation, the B-2 costs 345 times more than the B-17 when adjusted for inflation.
Yes, modern jet fighter/bombers are far superior to the P-51 and B-17 of yore, but I am comparing these aircraft in context to their own time. Each was/is the top of the line weapon with the latest technology America could muster then and now.
But, should are current versions cost 26+ times more the rate of inflation than their World War II counterparts?