Military Aircraft

This section covers the workings of military aircraft, including fighter jets and attack helicopters. Learn how these aircraft work and how they are used in military operations.

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Jets are one of the best tools that a military has at its disposal. They’re fast, fierce and effective. From reconnaissance to target engagement, these aircraft are 10 sophisticated assets.

In its first few years, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II set eight new aviation records, among them altitude (98,557 feet), speed (1,390 mph), and time to climb (9,000 feet in 34.5 seconds). Learn details about this popular and powerful aircraft.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was considered the most sophisticated aircraft Lockheed had ever built. The distinctive sight and sound of the P-38 would make it one of the best-known aircraft of the war. Learn more about the unique P-38 Lightning plane.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

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The Russian Yakovlev Yak-9 was faster and more maneuverable than many other planes. The Yak-9 model also featured more metal in the structure, so it was lighter and more maneuverable than earlier iterations. Read more specs for the Yak-9 airplane.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

As the newest fighter in the U.S. Air Force's aerial arsenal, the F/A-22 Raptor incorporates the latest stealth technology along with a mind-boggling array of weapons and computer systems. Learn about this dual-purpose fighter jet and attack aircraft and see what sets it apart from the F-15.

By Gary Wollenhaupt

An Apache helicopter went down near the Iraqi town of Taji yesterday -- it's the third helicopter to go down in Iraq in 10 days.

By Tom Harris

Floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee -- the F-15 is the Muhammad Ali of the skies. The military has been using this fighter jet since the '70s, and it still outmaneuvers the competition. Find out why this plane has a perfect combat record.

By Tom Harris

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The film "Pearl Harbor" is now playing. Look at the aircraft involved in that battle, technological marvels for their time.

By Jeff Tyson

Spy planes play an integral role in international espionage. Take a look at the highly sophisticated technology of a reconnaissance plane.

By Kevin Bonsor

The Osprey is a unique aircraft. How does it work? And what has caused its recent failures? Get an in-depth look at the aircraft's systems and design.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

Early unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) primarily carried out reconnaissance missions in war zones, but the Reaper packs some serious heat. Is there anything more foreboding than a drone with a Hellfire missile?

By Tom Scheve

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The thrilling roar of fighter jets performing a military flyover is now a common experience at many big events. In fact, the military approves most of the 850 or so flyover requests submitted annually. What does it take to arrange a flyover?

By Jacob Silverman

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, but so far NATO has refused. Could a no-fly zone bring Putin's invasion to an end? How would it be enforced?

By Patrick J. Kiger

The search team used a radar-equipped drone to locate a P-38 from the so-called "Lost Squadron" that crash-landed in Greenland in 1942. But the story doesn't end there.

By Patrick J. Kiger

With outstanding speed and maneuverability, the Black Hawk helicopter is used to transport troops and supplies to and from active battlefields. Find out all about the Black Hawk.

By Kevin Bonsor

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The Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle exemplifies the military trend toward high-tech, low-risk equipment. This remotely-operated spy plane offers the most bang for the human-safety buck.

By Robert Valdes & Desiree Bowie

F/A-18s are now the go-to jet for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The reason? They're plenty fast, they can carry a dizzying array of bombs and missiles, they have amazing onboard electronics and they can be reconfigured to accomplish a range of missions. Check out these amazing military machines.

By Robert Valdes

The great legacy of the Messerschmitt Me 262 is that it inspired other air forces to adopt the jet fighter as standard, and moved engineers to utilize its layout for fighters and airliners. Learn more about this top World War II fighter plane.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The name for the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka derived from Sturzkampfflugzeug, the generic German word for dive-bomber. So famous was the Junkers Ju 87 that the term Stuka came to be identified with it in Western eyes. Read the specs and uses for the Stuka.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

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The four-engine Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was almost certainly the best-loved bomber of World War II. Despite the plane's superiority, Congress didn't authorize its purchase in quantity until war was certain. Learn the story and specs of the B-17.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 is one of few fighters ever to be developed from a light-plane design. Willy Messerschmitt's angular little plane was built in greater numbers than any other fighter. Read how the Bf 109 has been so successful and long-lived.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The Douglas SBD Dauntless was a carrier-based dive bomber, a compact scrapper with a gift for sinking Japanese carriers and other large ships. Learn the specifications and how the Dauntless proved to be the supreme dive-bomber of the Pacific War.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The North American B-25 Mitchell was efficient, easy to manufacture and repair, and able to do any job assigned to it. No other twin-engine bomber of World War II saw greater production. Learn the specifications and uses for this handsome bomber.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

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The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk is one of the best-liked airplanes of World War II, tough and virtually trouble-free, though its performance was never quite up to that of its opponents. Read about this most important American fighter plane of 1942-1943.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was the most prolific American plane of World War II. But the B-24 was not as attractive as the B-17 bomber, nor did it win the same popular regard from the public. Read the story and specifications of the B-24 bomber.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.