The NY Times has a provocative article, After 60 Years B52s Still Dominate U.S. Fleet http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/06/us/b-52s-us-air-force-bombers.html?_r=1 The article cites as prominent examples the B1 and B2 bombers which fail to be even as good as the B52. We are so proud of technology that we like to believe that there is almost no engineering challenge that we can't meet if only we set our minds and resources to it. Does the B52 story refute that? It is tempting to paint a romantic story invoking the genius of Kelly Johnson and the skunkworks, or Steve Jobs and the iPhone, and how evil government and corporate risk-aversion stifles genius. But a check back on the actual history 1946-1952. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-52_Stratofortress#Origins tells a very different story. We had government procurement, RFPs, and competitive contracts. We had interference and management imposed design changes galore. It sounds like the canonical recipe for engineering project failures; yet the result was and still is famously successful. So it does indeed seem likely that the B52 may live to be 100 years old without being bested by more modern technology. How can we explain that?