Gaining exposure in the Korean War, and coming of age in Vietnam, advances in military aircraft, such as the jet engine, have enabled armed forces to fight faster, farther and with fewer lost pilots.
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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.
The Mikoyan-Guryevich MiG-15 was a surprise when it appeared in combat during the Korean War. Read the details of the MiG-15 and learn how it shook the United States aviation industry out of its somewhat complacent state following World War II.
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.
The F-117A is purely an attack aircraft, and lacks the arms and maneuverability for dogfights. The nature of its mission and the characteristics of the aircraft demand extremely skilled, well-trained pilots. Learn about the Nighthawk Stealth fighter.
The North American F-86 Sabre was the beneficiary of German research on the advantages of the swept wing for high-speed jet aircraft. Read about the development and details of this amazingly fast and superbly maneuverable single-engine fighter.
The tiny but potent Douglas A-4 Skyhawk remained in continuous production for 25 years, longer than any other warplane. Learn how this tough and nimble fighter came to be famous more for its peacetime activities than for its military accomplishments.
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress has taken on many roles since its debut in 1952. The plane that started as a high-level nuclear bomber is now being considered for electronic countermeasures. Learn the long history of and specifications for the B-29.
In the 1970s, the Mikoyan-Guryevich MiG-21 was the Soviet equivalent of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. Learn the specifications of the MiG-21, the preferred tactics that the plane used in combat by the Soviets, and its weaknesses in dogfights.
The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle features a combination of inspired engineering and sophisticated on-board computers. Its large wings and powerful engines give tremendous agility and a remarkable climb rate. Learn about the dominant F-15 Eagle.
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon had many advanced features, including a blended wing and fuselage, fly-by-wire controls, splendid visibility, and superb maneuverability. Read specifications and history of the popular F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is known as the most expensive bomber ever, at $2.2 billion each. It has evolved into a low-level weapon to destroy enemy battle potential by using precision-guided munitions. Read about this versatile, pricey bomber.
The Grumman EA-6B Prowler is a perfect symbol of the Jet Age's remarkable syntheses of engines, airframes, and electronics. Learn the Prowler's specifications, and how new technologies allow the Prowler and similar planes to stay in operation.
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.
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.
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