The Resilience of the B-52
In most military environments, the process of modernization only targets a few areas at any given time; meaning that while a small portion of the military is integrating and fielding new equipment, the majority of the force is focused on maintaining readiness through training and sustainment.
Owing to the significant costs associated with procurement of new equipment—especially major weapons systems—it is often more efficient to sustain existing equipment rather than procure new equipment.
In the United States for example, the venerable B-52 bomber has been in constant service since the 1950s and will likely continue to see service for another 30 or 40 years.
Raising the possibility that these bombers could be in active service for over 100 years, an enduring force in the military sphere.
A B-52 Stratofortress Receives Fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker Over Afghanistan
Although the airplane has undergone numerous upgrades over the decades and is now capable of carrying some of the most advanced weaponry in the arsenal, the basic design and airframe have remained largely unchanged.
The longevity of the B-52 has enabled the deliberate procurement of augmenting weapons systems, such as the B-1 and B-2, as well as the future B-21.
Ultimately, a military that follows a staggered procurement process can achieve a relative modicum of stability even in the face of training, operations, and sustainment requirements. A near wholesale force mo
Written by Jules Hirschkorn
Edited by Alexander Fleiss, Jeremy Knopp & Ramsay Bader