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
F-22s Act as Flying Scouts Over Syria
Three years ago, four F-22 Raptors taking part in the second-wave of the U.S.-led coalition’s opening air strikes on Islamic State in Syria dropped their bombs. It was the first time the stealthy fifth-generation fighters had ever engaged in combat. The coalition’s war planners also used the F-22s to... Read more
F-22s Will Soon Be Able to Kill Enemy Fighters From 50-Percent Farther
Developmental testers at Edwards Air Force Base in California have completed testing on the F-22 Raptor’s Increment 3.2B upgrade. The new configuration will significantly boost the stealthy fifth-generation air superiority fighter’s already fearsome air-to-air capabilities. As part of the final hurdle, F-22 Raptors assigned to the 411th Flight Test... Read more
When Russian Bombers Probed, U.S. Air Defenses Took No Chances
For two days in a row starting on April 17, 2017, Russian air force Tu-95 Bear bombers flew near Alaska’s air space. On April 17, the U.S. Air Force scrambled two F-22 Raptor stealth jets, one E-3 Sentry Airborne Early Warning aircraft and a KC-135 tanker to intercept two... 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
Too Much Secrecy Could Kill the U.S. Air Force’s Next Bomber
The U.S. Air Force faces three major modernization programs — replacing fighter and attack airplanes with the F-35, phasing out the KC-135 tanker for the KC-46A, and developing a stealth bomber replacement for the B-52 and B-1 with the B-21. Unfortunately, Congress has not appropriated enough funds to purchase... Read more
How to Detect a Stealth Fighter
State-run Chinese media is claiming that the People’s Liberation Army has been able to track the U.S. Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighters over the East China Sea. While the Chinese report might be easily dismissed as propaganda — it is not beyond the realm of possibility.... Read more
Australian Wing Commander: Sell Us New F-22s
Retired Royal Australian Air Force wing commander Chris Mills doesn’t like the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that Canberra is buying from the United States. Noting the new plane’s sluggishness and poor results in simulated air combat against the latest Russian fighters, Mills has called for Australia to lobby... Read more
F-23 — The Super Fighter America Never Built
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is the best air superiority fighter ever built, but could America have done better? When the YF-22 prototype won the contract for the Advanced Tactical Fighter in April 1991, it was a lesser plane compared to the Northrop YF-23 in many ways. Though the... 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