Seventy-Eight Years of Jet Fighters
On Aug. 27, 1939, a stubby-winged airplane made of unpainted steel alloy took off over Germany and soared into history. Instead of a pointy propeller hub in the nose, the Heinkel 178 had an open-mouthed turbojet intake, making it the first operational jet-powered aircraft. The He 178 could only... Read more
Four F-22s and four F-15s ‘Killed’ 41 Enemy Fighters During Mock Combat
In January 2017, around 250 airmen and nine F-15 Eagles from the U.S. Air Force’s 104th Fighter Wing — part of the Massachusetts Air National Guard based at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport — deployed to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida for the Weapons Systems Evaluation Program. As part of... Read more
F-15s’ New Role — Flying Arsenals for F-22s
The U.S. Air Force’s fleet of more than 200 veteran F-15C/D Eagle air superiority fighters could gain a new, vitally important role in its old age. Twenty-six years after McDonnel Douglas — now part of Boeing — delivered the last single-seat F-15C to the Air Force, the flying branch... Read more
The U.S. Air Force Is Worried
Gen. Herbert Carlisle, commander of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command, is worried. For decades, 400 “fourth-generation” Air Force F-15s and nearly 2,000 F-16s dominated the skies over foreign battlefields. But today China and Russia have fighters of their own that outclass the F-15s and F-16s. Worse, the... Read more
Cold War Satellite Aces
During the 1980s, both the United States and the Soviet Union had programs to fit multi-stage, satellite-killing rockets to high-performance jet fighters. Only the Americans managed to test their system before the Cold War ended, but the Soviets came close. To quote the U.S. Air Force: The ASAT missile... Read more