The Top 6 Oldest Weapons Still in Use in the US Armed Forces

Some weapons have decades operating but they are so good that they can't be easily replaced.

The US has the best weapons in the world today, and it is, by far, the leading global arms exporter. In fact, effective and cutting edge weapons provide a mental, strategic, tactical, and material advantage over enemies… But, the most powerful and effective weapons are the ones that bring results on the battlefield.

That’s why some weapons are still used even if they already have decades in service. So, find out the top oldest US military weapons still in use today by the US Armed forces.

UH-1 Huey

uh 1
Photo by Cpl. Sabrina Candiaflores 
Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1

The Bell UH-1 Iroquois, also called “Huey,” is a powerful and very reliable utility helicopter in service since 1955. UH-1 Huey began its services as an aerial ambulance, and it has demonstrated its efficiency in the most hostile and challenging conditions, particularly in the Vietnam war for around ten years. 

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Uh-1 carried out several tasks during the War, including medical evacuations, troop extractions and insertions, firefly operations, and recoveries for helicopter crew members. Nowadays, many Huey models are still in use, and some of them are also operational for civilian roles like research operations, firefighting, and much more.

M61 Vulcan

m61
Photo by Pasquale Sena 
U.S. Navy 

The M61 Vulcan is a 20mm automated rotary cannon created by General Electric in 1946. This six-barreled, mechanically fired cannon has an outstanding fire rate of 6000 rpm, more than enough to overwhelm and destroy most of its targets. AS a result, the M61 Vulcan, along with its advanced versions, has been a critical weapon for the USAF and US Navy for five decades. 

And it has proven its effectiveness in war many times. For example, during the Vietnam War, the USAF used the M61 Vulcan to shoot down 39 MIGs, showing it is a world-class weapon with unstoppable cannon rounds. 

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M14 Rifle

m14
Photo by Airman 1st Class William Johnson 
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs 

The M14 rifle is the official rifle of the US, which fires 7.62*51mm NATO ammunition. It was the standard-issue rifle of the US from the year 1959 to 1970, and today, the Marine Corps and military use it for advanced and basic individual training.  

The rifle had an outstanding range of 500 yards, and it is reliable enough to keep it as a training weapon as well as a ceremonial rifle… and it is expected to stay for many years.

KC- 135 Stratotanker

kc 135
Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot 
185th Air Refueling Wing, Iowa Air National Guard

The KC-135 Stratotanker is one of the best aerial refiling Boeing aircraft. This successor of Dash 80 has been serving the USAF since 1957, and it is still an efficient aircraft. 

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This terrific plane provides aerial refueling backing to allied aircraft, Marine Corps, US Navy, and USAF. And the KC-135 has battle-proven capabilities as it has participated in several conflicts around the world such as Operation Desert Storm and the Vietnam War, with outstanding results. 

M60 Machine Gun

m60
Courtesy Photo
U.S. Navy 

The M60, also called “The Pig,” is a lightweight weapon that employs a varied range of ammunition, making it a very versatile machine gun in a real war scenario.

This machine gun has been successfully serving all the country’s military branches since 1957. Although the M60 continued in U.S. service beyond the threshold of the 21st century, it is remembered for its high-profile combat role in Vietnam during the 1960s and 1970s. Today it continues to serve overseas because it is no longer in the U.S. Army’s inventory.

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Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

b 52 stratofortress
Photo by Senior Airman Jacob Thompson 
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress has been a key tactical bomber for over 70 years. This subsonic jet with eight engines was the first long-range heavy bomber of America. The B-52 can launch and drop 70,000 pounds of weapons, including cluster bombs, gravity bombs, and guided missiles. 

This aircraft started its journey as a global, high-altitude nuclear bomber for the USAF, but it has been modified for extended range and low-level flights with standard bombing features. In addition, it easily transports high-tech equipment to destroy the enemy from hundred miles away anywhere in the world.   

Some Legendary Old Weapons Are Here to Stay

The advancement in technologies provides a substantial range of strategic abilities for the Army, Navy, and USAF. However, some of the oldest weapons are also the most effective, and they can serve the US for several years.

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