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A-12 Blackbird (1) - High and fast

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.

AC-130 Gunship or American flying battleship

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.


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.

F-104 Starfighter - The phenomenon of speed

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.

F-104 Starfighter against MiG-21

Thanks to the efforts of the SMI, the F-104 Starfighter has a reputation for failure. Some nicknames are worth it: "flying coffin", "husband's killer", "widow maker" and so on. He is believed to have hopelessly lost air combat with the MiG-21. However, the attitude towards the F-104 was not always negative everywhere. In Pakistan, for example, he was given the rather reasonable nickname "hooligan". Canadian pilots sometimes called it "flying phallus," which, as you can see, is much better than "flying scrap," as the MiG-21 was called at the time.

Lightnings in the sky 08 - F-35 Lightning II - The birth of a new generation

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.

Lockheed U-2 - Legendary spy

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.

Lockheed Ventura in the Commonwealth Air Force

TheΒ Lockheed VenturaΒ is a twin-engineΒ medium bomberΒ andΒ patrol bomberΒ of World War II. The Ventura first entered combat in Europe as a bomber with the RAF in late 1942. DesignatedΒ PV-1Β by theΒ United States NavyΒ (US Navy), it entered combat in 1943 in the Pacific. The bomber was also used by theΒ United States Army Air ForcesΒ (USAAF), which designated it theΒ Lockheed B-34Β (Lexington) andΒ B-37Β as a trainer.Β British CommonwealthΒ forces also used it in several guises, including antishipping and antisubmarine search and attack.

SR-71 Blackbird (2) - Out of range of air defense

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 Blackbird (3) - High requirements

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.

The Downing Of The U-2

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.



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