Let’s face it, some weapons have a combat record so impressive that they practically sell themselves. Others, however, aren’t so lucky — but they still manage to find their way into the hands of various militaries.
We’d love to be a fly on the wall during the sales pitches for the following weapon systems. It’d take the most skilled used-car salesman to get someone to sign on the dotted line for these duds.
Now, this isn’t an exhaustive list. If you’ve got some weapons you’re looking to pawn off on us, feel free to give your pitch in the comments.
The long range of the Koksan would be the centerpiece of any sales pitch.
(USMC photo by Albert F. Hunt)
Koksan self-propelled howitzer- one of the most useless weapons ever
If a used car salesman finds you admiring this North Korean self-propelled howitzer on the lot, then they know they’ve found themselves a potential
sucker customer. He’ll be quick to sell you on howitzer’s 37-mile range. Pay no attention to the slow rate of fire, the relative lack of mobility, or the comically long barrel — no, no. Think about that range.
“Why, you can hammer a Paladin LONG before it can get an Excalibur round in play. This baby can reach out and touch a target from beyond the horizon!”
Did he fail to mention the F-16s and A-10s that’ll quickly bomb it out of existence? Whoops.
In some ways, the Vought F7U Cutlass looks good, but you get the sense that driving a Ford Pinto would be a better (and safer) weapon.
Vought F7U Cutlass
This sleek plane sported a design that was well ahead of its time — and that’s about all it had going.
“This bird is the sleekest jet — doesn’t she look futuristic?“
Unfortunately, the future was grim for many who took to the skies (or attempted to) in this plane. It had an extremely ugly flight record — over 25 percent of all Cutlasses built were lost in accidents.
The agility and endurance of the Zero would be top selling points.
(Imperial Japanese Navy)
Mitsubishi A6M Zero
Next, we move down the lot to Japan’s classic fighter, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Yes, it dominated at the start of World War II, but we all know how the story ended — not so happily for the pilots. It was nimble and it had long “legs,” but it got that agility and endurance in an aeronautical, Faustian bargain.
Our eager salesman might say, “this is a nimble plane that won’t leave you with a huge gas bill!”
That’s because you won’t live to see that bill. Just one hit turned this plane into a fireball plunging to the ground. A useful weapon if you don’t mind dying.
The only way someone would buy a Brewster F2A is if they didn’t check the PlaneFax report…
Brewster F2A Buffalo
This plane has the distinction of going head-to-head with the Wildcat for a Navy contract — and winning.
“This plane? She’s a winner. You know the Navy only wants quality — and they picked Brewster. Shouldn’t you?”
Just make sure you don’t open your history books to the Battle of Midway. Its performance there would have you changing your mind.
Lots of firepower and stately accommodations for the admiral and staff… but a kludge under the hood.
Kirov-class nuclear-powered battle cruiser
These ships feature massive firepower and have all the accommodations that an admiral would love. But in many other ways, they are a kludge. Combined nuclear and steam propulsion? If you think doing proper maintenance on a Ferrari is tough, take a look at this hot mess.
“But it’s got luxurious staterooms and plenty of firepower — who could pass that up?”
Pay no mind to the fact that you can man two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers with number of crew it’d take to operate a single Kirov.
When they switched from these 6.1-inch guns to eight-inch guns, these cruisers became some of the most blatant floating arms-control-treaty violations in history.
(Imperial Japanese Navy)
Mogami-class heavy cruiser
This vessel’s combination of heavy firepower and high speed is hard to beat. Ten eight-inch guns, a dozen torpedo tubes packing the Type 93 Long Land, and a top speed of 35 knots — who wouldn’t love that combo? Well, the vessels had a shaky combat history after helping sink USS Houston (CA 30) and HMAS Perth in the Sunda Strait. But that’s the least of your worries as a potential buyer.
Let’s just say that these vessels make Russia’s Iskander missile look like an honest mistake in terms of violating treaty compliance. According to the London Naval Treaty, cruisers were to displace no more than 10,000 tons — Mogami and her sisters came in at 13,440 tons. They didn’t survive long enough for treaty compliance to be a worry — all four of vessels of this class were lost in war.
“This ship has it all: Speed, firepower…”
How about something that doesn’t violate arms-control treaties?