Recent DOD emphasis upon cost effectiveness for military systems indicates a need for comparative evaluation of structural hardware from the standpoint of cost and structural efficiency.An approach to optimum design is presented which employs a merit function of cost and weight for structural/material components and subsystems. Two steps are involved. 1. Analysis of function and mission of the vehicle so as to establish a tradeoff figure of dollars versus weight. 2. Determination of both weights and costs of various structural/material configurations for any given design function.The cost/weight merit function approach is shown to be a practical tool for optimization of structural configurations of all fabricated hardware.