From stealth missions to transport cargo operations, military aircraft, small and large, are used for a number of reasons. Since the 1780s when the first practical airplane took flight, the military has transformed the design of aircraft in order to accomplish their goals. Unlike commercial or private planes of any type, military aircraft distinguish themselves in terms of design and durability. When it comes to fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, the military has air vehicles for a myriad of purposes, all of which will be outlined in this blog.
Military Transport Planes
Military transport aircraft are primarily utilized to transport other aircraft, equipment, and even personnel from one location to another. Cargo is typically loaded onto pallets prior to being placed inside the plane, making it easier to unload at a later time. In other instances, cargo affixed to parachutes may be dropped from the aircraft, so that the plane does not have to land. Aerial tankers, or refueler aircraft, are considered transport planes that refuel other planes while in the air. Other transport planes include gliders that carry personnel and equipment to locations that are difficult to land in.
Military Fighter Planes
Fighter planes are used for destroying enemy aircraft while still in the air. They utilize defensive and offensive counter air operations to complete their missions; however, there are some fighters that can also accommodate ground attacks. These airplanes are equipped with a variety of military weapons, such as machine guns, rockets, bombs, cannons, and guided missiles, depending on the mission at hand. Today’s fighter planes can spot the enemy from long distances, allowing them to attack before the enemy detects them. These planes offer excellent maneuverability and speed, allowing them to complete their jobs with ease.
Military Maritime Patrol Planes
These fixed-wing planes are made for long haul missions taking place over water. Some of these missions may include search and rescue, anti-ship, and anti-submarine missions. This aircraft type does not have a civil counterpart, and it is made primarily for the military and these types of operations.
Heavy, large, and less maneuvarable than fighter planes, military bombers can carry a wide range of military weapons like missiles, bombs, and torpedoes. These aircraft are mainly used for ground attacks, but they are less agile than their counterparts; thus, they are unable to face the enemy head on. There are also many types of bombers, including light, medium, heavy, torpedo, and dive bombers.
Military Attack Planes
These planes are used to transport conventional or nuclear weapons behind enemy lines to strike ground targets and provide support for ground troops. Typically called attack bombers or strike aircraft, some excellent examples of such aircraft include the North American B-25G Mitchell and the de Havilland Mosquito Tsetse.
Military Reconnaissance and Surveillance Planes
These aircraft types are utilized for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes in order to gather intelligence. As such, they are equipped with cameras and special sensors. Today, however, they have been replaced by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), like drones, and even satellites. Before such devices, these types of planes were used for maritime patrol, battlefield surveillance, artillery spotting, and airspace surveillance.
Military Multirole Airplanes
Military multirole aircraft have both fighting and bombing capabilities, but their specific duty depends on their mission’s requirements. Other tasks they can carry out include forward air control, aerial reconnaissance, and electronic warfare. Some variations are called swing role planes since they can switch roles quickly within the same mission. Some of their missions include air interdiction, close air support (CAS), and suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD).
Military Airborne Early Warning Airplanes
An airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is a radar system that detects ships, ground vehicles, and aircraft, and it takes control of the battlefield by directing aircraft and fighter strikes. They can also carry out surveillance over air or ground targets as well as perform functions similar to those handled by air traffic controllers. More than that, they use radar to detect enemy aircraft. Lastly, military airborne early warning airplanes are utilized for both offensive and defensive operations.
Military Experimental Airplanes
If the military wishes to test advanced structural, avionic, aerodynamic, or propulsion concepts, then military experimental aircraft are used. While they are highly technical and equipped with advanced instrumentation, they have not yet been fully proven in flight.
Military Electronic Warfare Airplanes
These aircraft are used in all aspects of electronic warfare (EW), such as degrading the effectiveness of the radar and radio systems used by the enemy. They are usually constructed from existing planes that are modified to meet the needs of a particular mission.
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