Imagine Drones Carrying Drones Carrying Missiles
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — DARPA, the Pentagon’s fringe-science organization — has begun work on a small drone that extend the range of an AIM-120 air-to-air missile. The “Flying Missile Rail” could help U.S. Air Force and Navy fighters match and even exceed the ever-increasing range of... Read more
America’s Worst World War II Fighter Was the Star of the Soviet Air Force
The P-39 Airacobra may be the least loved American fighter plane of World War II, deemed inadequate by military planners at the outset of hostilities and written off as nearly useless by many historians. Certainly, the P-39 could not match the high-altitude performance of classic American warbirds such as... Read more
U.S. Air Force Cadets Just Invented a Stealth Fighter
This story originally appeared on March 1, 2016. In 2003, the U.S. Air Force started a series of design studies to explore the concept of developing an aerial target aircraft with stealth capabilities. But a funny thing happened on the way to building this target. It turns out that... Read more
The U.S. Marines Want to Add Extra Firepower to Tiltrotors
The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, has been exploring the use of forward-firing rockets, missiles, fixed guns, a chin-mounted gun, and also looked at the use of a 30-millimeter gun along with gravity drop rockets and guided bombs deployed from the back of the V-22. In recent years, the... Read more
Coffee, Tea or Mach 3—Would You Like to Fly in a MiG-25 Business Jet?
This story originally appeared on April 3, 2014. The Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat was many things. An interceptor, reconnaissance aircraft and a fast, high-altitude, record-setting bogeyman that scared the pants off Western air forces in the 1970s. But a MiG-25 business jet? Coffee, tea or vodka served by an Aeroflot... Read more
The King Stallion Is the Heaviest U.S. Military Helicopter
The U.S. Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky division a contract to start producing the U.S. Marine Corps’ new CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters. The company will produce two of the massive rotary-wing aircraft under a so-called “Lot 1” Low Rate Initial Production fixed price contract worth... Read more
In 1986, the Iraqis Wrecked Their Own Attempt to Get an Iranian F-14
Part two of a two-part story. Read part one here. In September 1986, the Iran-Iraq War – a bloody war of attrition that involved millions of combatants and left deep scars on both sides of the front line – was about to reach its sixth anniversary. The war began... Read more
Sí, la CIA voló aviones espía U-2 desde portaaviones
El 1 de mayo de 1960, la Unión Soviética derribó un avión espía U-2 de la CIA y capturó al piloto, Francis Gary Powers. El incidente supuso una crisis internacional para la agencia de inteligencia estadounidense. La cumbre que estaba previsto que mantuvieran el presidente Dwight Eisenhower y el... Read more
There May Be No Way to Shoot Down North Korea’s Ballistic Missiles
Just days after North Korea tested an intermediate range ballistic missile that overflew Japan, the U.S. Navy intercepted a medium range ballistic missile target on Aug. 30 using a Raytheon Standard SM-6 missile. The weapon, which was launched from USS John Paul Jones, intercepted the target in its final seconds... Read more
In 1986, an Iranian F-14 Pilot Defected to Iraq
Part one of a two-part story. Read part two here. On late afternoon of Sept. 2, 1986, a Grumman F-14A Tomcat operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force was reportedly shot down deep over Iraq — in an area and at the time that seemed unlikely. The... Read more
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