Special Report

America's Oldest Weapons Still in Use by the Military

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

36. M224 LWCMS
> Year put into service: 1978
> Type: Mortar
> Designer/original manufacturer: US Military

The M224 Lightweight Company Mortar System replaced the M2 and M19 mortars that were used in World War II. The M224 can fire a 60mm mortar at an effective range of up to about 3,500 meters, nearly double that of its predecessor. It is lighter, too, weighing in at 37.5 pounds. It can also fire all types of the older ammunition at a sustained 20 rounds per minute, operated by a three-person crew.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

35. M202 FLASH
> Year put into service: 1978
> Type: Multishot incendiary rocket launcher
> Designer/original manufacturer: Northrop

The M202 Flame Assault Shoulder weapon replaced the backpack-style conventional M2 flamethrower used in previous wars on enemy soldiers in machine gun nests and tunnels and other entrenchments from up to 40 meters away. The modern flamethrower is a pre-loaded four-barrel shoulder-launched RPG-style weapon that can lob 66mm rockets, one at a time or all four at once. It is packed with a chemical mix similar to napalm, turning the interior of an enemy fortification into a 1,200-degree furnace.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

34. M240
> Year put into service: 1977
> Type: General-purpose machine gun
> Designer/original manufacturer: Fabrique Nationale

Based on the Fabrique Nationale MAG, an earlier general purpose machine gun of Belgian design, the M240 is a staple of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, able to fire standard 7.62x51mm NATO rounds at extended ranges. The modern variant is lighter, and the weapon’s versatility ensures it would likely remain a service weapon for the foreseeable future.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

33. Emory S. Land Class Submarine
> Year put into service: 1977
> Type: Submarine tender
> Designer/original manufacturer: Lockheed

The Emory S. Land was the first of the latest class of submarine tenders, subs that offer supplies and support to Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarines and other vessels, including surface ships. These subs are floating workshops that can conduct maintenance operations at sea or in port, and they carry extra fuel, ordnance, other supplies, and can accommodate relief crews.

Source: viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

32. Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier
> Year put into service: 1975
> Type: Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
> Designer/original manufacturer: Newport New Shipbuilding

The 10 Nimitz class aircraft carriers of the U.S. Navy have been the largest warships ever built until the Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carrier, the first of which was deployed by the U.S. Navy on Oct. 4, 2022. When fully loaded, the 317-meter (1,040-foot) long warship typically accommodates about 4,700 personnel, including 1,500 aircrew members, and it can carry up to 60 aircraft with a maximum speed of more than 30 knots.

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