It may sound implausible, but the US Army, which has been allocated $ 716 billion this year, is still using some types of weapons that are decades old. The thing is that a worthy replacement has not yet been created for them. The three leaders in terms of the number of years of service include the M2 heavy machine gun, the KS-135 strategic tanker and the B-52N strategic bomber.
M2 Heavy Machine Gun
Without a doubt, the palm here belongs to the heavy machine gun M2, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018 (!). It was developed by the legendary gunsmith John Moses Browning at the request of General John "Blackjack" Pershing for American troops on the fronts of the First World War.
It is an air-cooled machine gun that fires .50 caliber cartridges at a speed of 450 to 550 rounds per minute at a range of 1150 meters. Machine gun weight 38, 5 kg. M2 penetrates an armor plate 2.5 cm thick at a distance of 215 meters.
Today, the ageless M2 continues to serve in all branches of the US Armed Forces and the Coast Guard - it still does not have a worthy replacement. A lighter version is currently being developed.
Flying tanker KS-135 "Stratotanker"
During the Cold War, the US Air Force acquired 732 Boeing 707 commercial airliners, which were later converted into flying tankers. They participated in the supply of strategic aviation patrolling the borders of the USSR, in the Vietnam War and in Operation Desert Storm. Currently, 414 KS-135 are still in service, their age is approaching 60 years. And there is no substitute for them either, and their lifespan is constantly being extended.
B-52N strategic bomber
The first flight of the B-52 took place back in 1952. Then he was assigned the role of the main means of delivery of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons. The first serial strategic bomber entered service in 1961, and the last in 1963. A total of 102 vehicles were built, of which 76 continue to serve to this day.
At present, the B-52 is a universal long-range platform equipped with high-precision weapons to destroy ground targets and air defense systems. The US Air Force plans to create cheaper and more reliable engines, thanks to which the B-52N will be able to serve for another 70 years.