This reminds me of a story my father told me. As a Director for McDonell/Douglas he was in negotiations with the USAF on the C-17 transport aircraft.
7 years after initial design ok the Air Force wanted newer computer systems installed. My Father said sure but it will cost you. He also said that the computer they wanted had not even been invented when first designed.
The ole “Can’t provide the part number or how it works because the operation/troubleshooting manual is missing” excuse. The first go-to for every idiot engineer. Someone should tell them it probably fell behind the bookshelf.
I can see how this would happen. A lot of the design was classified and security types are always pushing for information to be purged, especially if it’s hard copy. NAVSEA went through this, the security weenies were pushing for a lot of 40 & 50 year old documents to go. It was a battle for the tech guys to say no, even the documents were NOT available electronically and the information was still valid & pertinent, even if not frequently referenced.
Another issue is changes to computers & code over the years. I’ve got data from one ship project that I can no longer access because the current version of Microsoft Whatever can’t open a file saved 20 years ago.
I’m not going to research this, but I seem to recall that the plans for the giant rocket engines that powered the Saturn V rocket have been “lost”.
Coca-Cola by way of contrast, has been able to protect and keep secret the recipe for Coke. Priorities…
It was just cocaine, sugar, and water. Pretty tough to forget the original.