Laur C.T.M., Llanso S.L. Encyclopedia of Modern U.S. Military Weapons
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Berkley Hardcover, 1995. - 496 pages.For the first half of the twentieth century, most major weapons systems had relatively short life spans; the Spad XIIIs, which Captain Edward Rickenbacker flew over the Western Front, had a service life of only a few years. During World War II, it was unusual for an aircraft or a tank to have a service life of more than five or six years. Ships were by their size and expense somewhat longer lived, but almost inevitably their mission was downgraded over time. For supporting systems, like field telephones, artillery, radio sets, bomb sights, rockets, radar and electronic countermeasures, the life span was even shorter, sometimes measured in months, not years, as technology overtook it.Today, however, the life span of weapon systems is often measured in decades; who would have imagined when the B-52 first flew in April 1952 that the Stratofortress would be scheduled for service well into the next century? Who would have thought that the great battleships Iowa, New Jersey, and Missouri would be hauled from their mothballs to be put into combat again? Times and technology have changed, and as costs have risen and the defense budget reduced, more effort is placed in extending the useful lives of the weapons already in existence.
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