There Was No Way a P-51 Could Replace the A-10
This story originally appeared on Dec. 17, 2014. The U.S. Air Force has a complicated relationship with its low- and slow-flying A-10 Warthog attack jet. And that’s putting it mildly. The flying branch has tried more than once to retire the ungainly A-10 in favor of speedier planes, only... Read more
We Got a Closer Look at the Flying V-280 Valor
On June 18, 2018, Bell’s V-280 Valor prototype took off for its first public demonstration, six months after its first flight. It’s another, early glimpse at the tiltrotor aircraft that could one day replace a significant portion of the U.S. military’s UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, among other aircraft. The... Read more
Spies Helped the USAF Shoot Down a Third of North Vietnam’s MiG-21s
This story originally appeared on Dec. 30, 2014. On Jan. 2, 1967, around 30 U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom fighter jets flying from Ubon in Thailand shot down a full third of North Vietnam’s MiG-21s—for a loss of just one of their own. It was a strategic victory in... Read more
China Apparently Is Developing a Stealth Fighter Drone
The Chinese military appears to be working on a fast, radar-evading robotic fighter plane that could be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The Dark Sword drone, as it’s known, is the latest in a long line of jet-powered unmanned aerial vehicles that the Shenyang Aircraft... Read more
Stealth Lessons of the F-117 Nighthawk
The Lockheed Martin F-117 Nighthawk is a legendary plane. That aircraft was retired in 2008, but would the F-117 still be useful today? The answer is that against most mid-range threats like Iran, absolutely. But against higher-end threats like Russia or China, not so much. Technology has advanced since engineers first... Read more
The U.S. Air Force’s Strange Love for the B-21 Bomber
Did you know the U.S. Air Force is working on a new stealth bomber? Don’t blame yourself if you didn’t, since the project is so secret that most members of Congress aren’t privy to the details. Talk about stealthy! Known as the B-21 Raider after General Doolittle’s Raiders of World War... Read more
Turkish Helicopter Gunships Are Heading to Pakistan
Pakistan has been hunting for new attack helicopters to replace its aging American-made AH-1 Cobras. Now Turkey’s ruling party has confirmed that Islamabad has picked the T129 ATAK in what is the largest Turkish-Pakistani arms deal in history for 30 of the sleek, two-seat gunships. It’s also a loss... Read more
How Russia’s Military Moves Around the World
When it comes to being air-mobile, the Russian military is second only to the U.S. military. According to the 2018 Military Balance Report, Russia fields 177 heavy to medium transport aircraft. This stands in contrast to America’s 658, China’s 84, France’s 46 and the United Kingdom’s 44. Russia’s transport... Read more
In 1980, Friendly Fire Was One of the Biggest Killers of Iranian Fighter Pilots
This story originally appeared on Oct. 4, 2016. September 2016 marked the 36th anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq War, which killed hundreds of thousands of people between 1980 and 1988. Most people don’t know that this brutal conflict also saw a great number of friendly-fire incidents on the... Read more
In the Iran-Iraq War, F-5s and MiG-21s Fought to a Standstill
This story originally appeared on Sept. 19, 2016. There have been countless discussions over which is the better fighter jet— the U.S.-made Northrop F-5E Tiger II or the Soviet MiG-21 Fishbed. That can be a hard argument to settle. The Iran-Iraq war was probably a draw for the two types. More... Read more
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