Gold-Plated Weapons

The stunning costs of loading weapons systems with the latest in sophisticated technology, and the long production delays that result from this endless "improvement," might be tolerable if U.S. military forces in the end were equipped with the very finest weapons, or at least ones that could do the job. But all too often the gold-plated armaments bring embarrassingly small improvements in fighting capability. Sometimes, in fact, older, simpler and vastly cheaper weapons work as well or better. Military reformers cite numerous examples. Here are four:

B-52 vs. B-1B. Much of the debate...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!