Well, that is a point.
In point of fact with respect to many of our weapons systems. you can a steal a line from "Oklahoma" (you know, the musical?) and say they have "gone about as fer as they can go".
Case in point, the Ar-15 weapons family.
Not my personal favorite, I prefer the FN system, but temppraily at least, the underlying technology for any gun system based on the use of controlled burn nitrocellulose has hit its nadir.
I might be inclined, as the Chinese have, to adopt a more 'perfect' assualt rifle caliber, such as theirs, in the .270 caliber range.
But they had to upgrade (itself an arguable impossibility) from the AK family, AND nationial pride was an issue, so they hae come up with a Walmart funded update based around old technologies and a caliber .270 projectile.
Why have we stayed with the Stoner sytem and the 5.56mm whe there are better calibers and better sytems?? Well, whatever you anwer migh be, the AR Stoner syetem is not likely to be changed anytime soon.
Frankly the Beretta M-9 system for personal military use is a bust.
It stinks, and should be replaced, but i don;t see any signs of that happening.
I see a bit of a scramble on the part of our personnel overseas to acquire SIGS and 1911's---but i do not think the military is going to help them out any time soon.
In the area of Mobile and towed Guns.
The 155mm gun and howitzter seems to be where we and out allies have gravitated.
The 175mm proved a dinosaur and to be extremely inaccurate--so the military took a sidewise and retrograde step into the "Kaytusha" era in developing a "Super Kaytusha" in the MLRS system-a system that is not bad he subject of much criticism, but the move to employ GPS guidance in some MLRS packages )n the same chassis i might add) was a bit of a no brainer.
In WWII and Korea the 'standard' (well sort of) gravity bomb, perhaps I should say 'the bomb of preference' was the 500lb general purpose bomb.
Of course ther were many othe types, but from Shagrila to Okinawa it was undoubtedly the commonly used.
Now the preferred bomb of choice WAS the 2000lb GP, but a step down in weight is on its way simply because one particular 500lb Bomb system has proved more useful, less expensive, more accurate, cheaper and able to pierce more hardened targets. (ballistic coefficiency rules!!!)
How about the JDAMS itself---gosh--add a 20K guidance package and some fins onto any dumb bomb and you have:----ta dah-what should have been called the CPFGME (cheapest possible f-----guided missle ever)
How about that being a lesson in working around what you have and how NOT to waste the taxpayers (this is assuming Mavericks are more expensive).
I suppose I should mention that, despite its retirment in 1962, the M-14 weapons system, based on the Garand, continues in US service and promises to do so, especially in the hands of 'designated marksmen' and snipers for a very long time.
Personaly, untill the appearance of the Sukhoi Supremacy, I doubt if I could have been convinced to phase out the F-16, F-15 and F-18 but as the Suhkois are superior enough to be dangerous to local air supremacy, I suppose the military felt moved to do something.
I terms of the long range Bomber, although clearly out classed by the B-2, I don't think you will see the B-1 or B-52 disappearring from the inventory anytime soon.
Do you realize Hugh, the in terms or air to air refueling assets it is not a matter of building 'the perfect tanker' but of finding replacements for those in service for what will be nearly 60 years before they fall apart?
Fortunately, many retired Airliner airframes will become available with far fewer 'rotations" (far far far fewer) than any KC10 or KC 135.
And here I was swearing I would never even ride in another DC 10 after one augured in a Ohare so many years ago.
Now SPEAK about longevity-----how many tears has the Orion remained in service--and when do you see it being replaced?
NEVER i think.
What you make is a populist and popular argument.
My best friend in 1977 vehemently opposed the development of the B-1. the Carter administration agreed.
Well--since the BUFF is still in service, I guess he had a point.
But-the B-1 was built, and had to be built, but a substantially increased cost.
After all, how many new 'skins' can a Buff take, and when we run into a far distant air defence systems or targets initially only in B-52 range what would happen without the B-1s and B-2's.
Impossible? Try Afghanistan 2001.
And, perhaps, the Iraq War is not really a lesson those who deny or oppose US basing overseas or seek the retiring of the aged in concept large aircraft carrier?
The JSF (bitterly derided by many 'experts") will provide us an opportunity to maintain air assets on much smaller hulls--but perhaps this is another example of seeking to be TOO perfect.
Food for thought.
"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"