A Workhorse is a type of vehicle, weapon or other type of equipment, that is so reliable or cost-effective that it's kept in service for decades, outlasting other more flashy and advanced types. While the Workhorse might receive some modifications and upgrades during its lifetime, it is never as advanced as its newer cousins.
- Warhammer 40K Universe is filled with long-service vehicles and tech. Some maintenance is required, but most gear used by the Imperium of Man dates back decades if not thousands of years. These can range anywhere from regular bolter firearms to power fists, imperial star ships and Dreadnought chassis, which in turn house some of the oldest living members of the Space Marine chapters.
- Star Wars
- The Imperial-class Star Destroyer was introduced two decades before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and served for decades after. A more advanced variant, the Imperial II-class, even saw service in the Second Galactic Civil War, forty years after its introduction during the First Galactic Civil War.
- Star Trek:
- The Miranda-class frigate is another one, entering service at least as early as Khan Noonien Singh's reappearance and serving at least as late as the Dominion War.
- The Excelsior-class starship was introduced during the 2280s. Its design was so versatile that it was still in service during the 2370s, nearly a century later. Many Excelsior-class ships filled the Federation ranks during the Dominion War.
- The Klingon Bird of Prey was introduced during the same decade as the Excelsior-class and it too served during the Dominion War of the 2370s.
- The K't'inga-class Klingon Battlecruiser had roughly the same operational length as the Bird of Prey, even being used alongside newer ships in the Dominion War, over 100 years since they entered service.
- The Soyuz rocket and capsule design were first introduced in 1966 and both are still in active service. The Soyuz rocket design has flown more than 1700 times, making it the most used space launcher in history. The Soyuz rocket itself is a direct descendant of the rocket that launched Sputnik, the world's first satellite.
- The AK-47, the most popular assault rifle of all time, has been around since 1949 and is still in use with several dozen countries. Around 75 million AK-47s have been built.
- As the name implies, the Colt M1911 was introduced in 1911. While it's been phased out as the US Military's standard issue pistol, it's still in use with the FBI, the US Marine Corps and about two dozen other militaries.
- The B-52 Stratofortress was introduced as one of the first bombers made by the United State following World War II, entering service in 1952. Not only is it in service today, it's expected to stay in service (with upgrades) into the 2040s.
- The M2 Browning .50 cal machine gun has been designed in the 1920s and is still being used as the M2 HBAR (Heavy Barrel) in the U.S. Armed Forces, almost 100 (!) years after it was first introduced, and there are still no plans for a replacement.