Modern Military Planes
The Modern Fighter planes are the fastest and the toughest of all the planes. The planes are not cheap, for they can cost as much as 2 billion dollars! The fighter planes are specially designed for high speeds, like the fact that the wings on the F-14 can slide back (for high speeds) and forward (for slow speeds) during flight.
The F-18 Hornet was first used in the 1970's. The most used US Navy plane is the all-around F-18 which can carry bombs, missiles and fuel tanks. The top speed of the F-18 is Mach 1.8, about 1,000 miles per hour.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is the best selling fighter plane in the world. In 1975 the F-16 was the top performing fighter plane, but the F-18 was chosen for use in the navy instead. It is said to be the BMW of planes, because of its agility.
The F-15 Eagle is the most powerful of the USA planes. It was designed in the 1960's and had very good success in the Middle East, with almost 100 kills and no F-15's lost. The F-15 is primarily an air to air fighter with a secondary option for air to ground.
The F-14 Tomcat first went into service in 1972. The F-14 was first upgraded so that it could fire at six targets all at once each over 100 miles away. The most recent upgrade allows it to use laser guided bombs at night.
The F-22 Raptor was built to replace the F-15 Eagle. The F-22 has almost the same engine as the F-15 and is able to go up to Mach 2.5, the same as the F-15. The difference between the F-15 and F-22 is that the wing is moved back on the F-22.
The F-117 Nighthawk is one of the military's newest planes. The most amazing thing about the F-117 is that it cannot be detected by radar. The F-117 carries air to ground bombs.
The B-2 Spirit is another plane that cannot be detected by radar. The B-2 is the most expensive plane owned by the USA. One B-2 costs nearly 2 billion dollars. The B-2 also carries air to ground bombs.
The Harrier AV-8b is the only non helicopter plane to be able to hover. It can stop in mid flight so well that an enemy missile will overshoot. Since 1984 the Harriers have been equipped with night vision.
The B-1 Lancer has large missile capabilities. The B-1 can hold nuclear cruise missiles as well as other large missiles, nuclear bombs and mines. But the B-1 is not used very much anymore.
The A-10 Warthog is a fighter/bomber that is used by NATO. The A-10 is very well armored. The A-10 also can hold a wide assortment of weapons, up to 16,000 pounds of them on the wings!
The SU-37 is the cutting edge non-NATO plane. The SU-37 serves the role of a fighter plane. It can hold air to air missiles, air to ground missiles, anti-tank missiles and small bombs.
The Tu-160 is a non-NATO strategic bomber. The TU-160 operates from very high altitude and can hold 36,000 pounds of bombs. The top speed of the TU-160 is 680 MPH, which is just over Mach 1.
The MiG-29 is one of the most popular non-NATO planes. Here's a picture of one getting blown away by a NATO weapon. Below the MiG is an AGM 130 missile.
Formula 1 Flying Tip:
The fighter planes are recognized by their ability to reach high speeds with heavy loads and still be controllable. They do this by using about 900 M.P.H. of thrust at take off for a plane that weighs only about 50,000 lbs.