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Types of Military Planes and Their History

In the realm of aviation, the military has been a major driving force of advancement and evolution as aircraft rapidly change to meet the ever changing demands of war. Even in the United States, the history of its military can be traced by looking through the various aircraft that have been used over time. Regardless of one’s opinion about war, it is simply a fact that war causes major changes in aviation technology. This can be seen in how various capabilities for aerial surveillance, coordination, and performance have all come as a result of changes made by engineers during war.

While early military aircraft consisted of balloons and airships, we have now reached the heights of fighter jets and UAVs, both being a far cry from their roots. For United States military history, there are four aircraft models that can be used in terms of recognizing the stages of military aircraft advancement and having a general understanding of them can allow you to better trace aviation technology growth over time. These aircraft include the B-29 Superfortress, F-80 Shooting Star, F-14A Tomcat, and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The B-29 Superfortress was one of the most notable aircraft during World War II, and many Americans would be familiar with the Enola Gay which was the infamous B-29 Superfortress the United States used to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan. Despite its dark history, those who are interested can still see the actual aircraft in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum located in Washington D.C. The B-29 Superfortress was produced by aircraft manufacturer Boeing, and it first debuted in 1943 as a successor to the B-17 Flying Fortress. Primarily used in the Pacific theater for bombing, the B-29 Superfortress touted gour engines and a massive bomb bay, that of which was significant for the time.

The F-80 Shooting Star is another aircraft that arose during World War II, though it served a much different role as a jet fighter. Exclusive assigned to the United States Air Force, the F-80 undertook its first flight in 1944. Despite when it was designed, the F-80 actually saw most deployment during the Korean War. Some of the most notable capabilities of the F-80 was its speed that could reach over 500 miles per hour, and an endurance range of around a thousand miles before refueling was required. Lockheed Martin is the company that first developed the fighter jet, and it was the first turbojet used in combat with its machine guns, bombs, and rockets.

During the Cold War era, the F-14A Tomcat came about, that of which was a famous fighter jet developed by Grumman. As a pride of the Navy flight defenses, the F-14A Tomcat was created to compete with USSR oatrik capabilities as it was nimble, fast, and had the ability to engage enemies from 90 miles away. The first flight of the F-14A Tomcat was in 1970, and it was in use until 2006, though the Iranian Air Force still relies on it to this day.

As a much more recent fighter jet, the F-16 Fighting Falcon was developed by Lockheed Martin, first being introduced to combat in 1974. With its extreme power and maneuverability, the F-16 Fighting Falcon has seen ample use in both dogfighting and in air shows. Despite being an aircraft that is now almost 50 years old, modern versions of the Fighting Falcon still see deployment to this day, most recently being used in the Middle East.

With a general understanding of these aircraft, one can better see how aviation has quickly advanced through various military models, moving from large bombers to intensly maneuverable fighter jets that are still in use today. At Fastener Orbit, we can help you secure all the various civil and defense aircraft parts that you require for your operations, providing competitive pricing and rapid lead times on all that we offer. Take the time to explore our inventory as you see fit, and our team is always ready to supply you with customized quotes for your comparisons on items of interest. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our offerings, give us a call or email at your earliest convenience, and a team member would be more than happy to assist you however they can!


February 19, 2023
December 2, 2022

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