Lockheed / Lockheed Martin
If the key to the survival of the U-2 was access, which was beyond the capabilities of its generation fighters, another aircraft from "Skunk Works" was to have, in addition to fantastic access, a speed that designers had never dreamed of until then. In addition to increasing speed, the designers in the construction of the new aircraft for the first time ever purposefully focused on reducing the effective RCS. This miracle technique was called the A-12 Blackbird.
In Tuesday morning, the US military deployed two AC-130 aircraft during its attack on Afghanistan. These aircraft have the largest air firepower in the world, so it is no wonder that they received the unofficial nickname of the flying fortress, the nickname that boasted the famous B-17 bombers during World War II.
How the Lockheed U-2 spy plane was shot down in May 1960.
Dogfights have always attracted attention. Since the First World War, their participants have been considered heroes, stories have been written about nothing, and they have become idols of generations. However, the reality of air combat is much more prosaic. Whatever the motivation of the pilots to fight, there was always a winner on one side and a loser on the other in a crippled or burning plane falling to the ground. This series deals with the struggle from their beginning to the modern age, when the sky is steadily ruled by jet engines.
Nearing the end of 1951, conventional fighters introduced into service flew at speeds of about 1 MACH, rather less. They reached supersonic speeds mostly only in dive flight or completely without weapons. Lockheed designer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson visited United States Air Force (USAF) pilots fighting in Korea to find out which aircraft would suit them. He received an unisono response from the fighters: a light aircraft, overcoming the enemy in speed, climbability, access and dexterity.
Tests of the new universal aircraft are currently underway, which should be unique in all respects. This is the largest contract in the history of the Air Force, in which many countries participate. It is assumed that after a long time, it will be an aircraft that will experience thousands of series. It has already received its combat name: F-35 Lightning II.
JSF is a program that includes so many conflicting requirements that have never been faced before by any team of designers. To meet them, it was necessary to carefully choose the basic configuration, so that after minimal modifications to suit all armed forces participating in the program.
The aircraft test program of the technological demonstrators of the JSF program was the battle of two groups associating the largest aircraft manufacturers. The results of the tests and the final decision of the commission depended on who won the contract of the century, probably one of the last piloted attack aircraft.
The JSF program had its winner, but it has not been won by far. The very start of series production was in danger several times and it was not at all certain how many F-35 Lightning II and which variants will be ordered in the end.
The U-2 has been flying since the mid-1950s. Although it will celebrate half a century since its first take-off next year, it is not yet going to "retire". The reason is simple. Although obsolete in the age of satellites, the construction from the last century may seem obsolete, the truth remains that the aircraft is a reliable platform for many reconnaissance systems. It is much more operative and cheaper against satellites.
The famous performance of the A-12 aircraft led USAF representatives to order the most famous variant from the Blackbird family, the strategic reconnaissance aircraft SR-71. These aircraft then provided good services to the USAF for three decades and brought a lot of valuable intelligence to the commanders of air and ground units.
SR-71 aircraft were the pinnacle of technological possibilities of their time. This corresponded to the demands on flying and ground personnel and the overall security of air traffic. There was nothing that could be compared to the aircraft of previous generations.
In 1958 and 1959, reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union took place only sporadically. Eisenhower was constantly worried that overflights could provoke the Soviets to react, and perhaps even start World War III. Beginning in 1959, the Soviets fired U-2s with their SA-2 ground-to-air missiles, and some came dangerously close. The question of the size of the Soviet arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles still remained unanswered.