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MILITARY AIRCRAFT A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft that is operated by a legal or insurrectionary armed service of any type Military aircraft can be either combat or non-combat: Combat aircraft are aircraft designed to destroy enemy equipment using their own armament. Combat aircraft are normally developed and procured only by military forces. Non-combat aircraft are aircraft not designed for combat as their primary function, but may carry weapons for self-defense.

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These mainly operate in support roles, and may be developed by either military forces or civilian organizations. To control and maneuver the aircraft, smaller wings are located at the tail of the plane. The tail usually has a fixed horizontal piece, called the horizontal stabilizer, and a fixed vertical piece, called the vertical stabilizer. The stabilizers’ job is to provide stability for the aircraft, to keep it flying straight. The vertical stabilizer keeps the nose of the plane from swinging from side to side, which is called yaw.

The horizontal stabilizer prevents an up-and-down motion of the nose, which is called pitch. (On the Wright brother’s first aircraft, the horizontal stabilizer was placed in front of the wings. Such a configuration is called a canard after the French word for “duck”). The first aircraft flight was made by the Wright Brothers I 1903, it lasted only 12 seconds and covered 120 feet (37 meters) but it proven that a man could build and fly a heavier-than-air machine. In 1909, the first military aircraft in history was delivered to the Signal Corpse.

This aircraft, like the original Wright Brothers’ flying machine, was a pusher-type design (its engine was behind the pilot and in front of the propellers) with a 30 horsepower engine, skids for landing, and room enough for a two man crew. By the end of the 1914, pusher-type aircraft had been condemned in favor of the tractor type design, in which the engine was mounted in the front of the pilot and behind the propeller. After that may changes were made in an effort to gain a bit more speed. Combat aircraft (warplanes) divide broadly into fighters and bombers.

There are several variations between the fighter and the bomber, including fighter-bombers, such as the MiG-23, ground-attack aircraft, such as the Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik. Also included among combat aircraft are long-range maritime patrol aircraft, such as the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod and the S-3 Viking that are often equipped to attack with anti-ship missiles and anti-submarine weapons. The main role of fighters is destroying enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat, offensive or defensive. Many are fast and highly maneuverable. Escorting bombers or other aircraft is also a common task.

They are capable of carrying a variety of weapons, including machine guns, cannons, rockets and guided missiles. Many modern fighters can attack enemy fighters from a great distance, before the enemy even sees them. Examples of air superiority fighters include the F-22 Raptor and the MiG-29. WWII fighters include the Spitfire, the P-51 Mustang and Bf 109. An example of an interceptor (a fighter designed to take-off and quickly intercept and shoot down enemy planes) would be the MiG-25. An example of a heavy fighter is the Messerschmitt Bf 110.

The term “fighter” is also sometimes applied to aircraft that have virtually no air-air capability – for example the A-10 ground-attack aircraft is operated by USAF “Fighter” squadrons. Bombers are normally larger, heavier, and less maneuverable than fighter aircraft. They are capable of carrying large payloads of bombs. Bombers are used almost exclusively for ground attacks and not fast or agile enough to take on enemy fighters head-to-head. A few have a single engine and require one pilot to operate and others have two or more engines and require crews of two or more.

A limited number of bombers, such as the B-2 Spirit, have stealth capabilities that keep them from being detected by enemy radar. An example of a conventional modern bomber would be the B-52 Stratofortress. An example of a WWII bomber would be a B-17 Flying Fortress. Bombers include light bombers, medium bombers, heavy bombers, dive bombers, and torpedo bombers. The U. S. Navy and Marines have traditionally referred to their light and medium bombers as “attack aircraft”. Air force missions require short-, medium-, and long range transports.

The C-130 Hercules can haul up to 36,500 pounds (16,500 kg) of cargo, be readily converted into an ambulance, or be modified for special duty such as high altitude mapping, weather reconnaissance, search and rescue, flight refueling, ferrying fuel to advance bases, and ski operations in arctic regions. Military transport (logistics) aircraft are primarily used to transport troops and war supplies. Cargo can be attached to pallets, which are easily loaded, secured for flight, and quickly unloaded for delivery. Cargo also may be discharged from flying aircraft on parachutes, eliminating he need for landing. Including aerial tankers; these planes can refuel other aircraft while in flight. An example of a transport aircraft is the C-17 Globemaster III. A WWII example would be the C-47. An example of a tanker craft would be the KC-135 Stratotanker. Helicopters and gliders can transport troops and supplies to areas where other aircraft would be unable to land. Calling a military aircraft a “cargo plane” is incorrect, because military transport planes also carry paratroopers and other soldiers. Helicopters deserve special mention as military aircraft.

They are unexcelled for rescue work and for delivery of people and material to otherwise inaccessible areas. Some helicopters are armed and serve as attack aircraft, providing gun and rocket fire against ground targets. Other helicopters deliver assault troops to advanced combat areas and supply them with ammunition and other needs. Special-purpose research aircraft are occasionally designed, assembled, and tested in order to experiment with advanced aerodynamic, structural, avionic, or propulsion concepts that must be validated before they can be applied to other aircraft designs.

Research aircraft are usually well instrumented, with performance data telemetered on radio-frequency data links to ground stations located at the test ranges where they are flown. Several countries are developing vertical takeoff and landing. Experimental techniques include the use of wings that can tilt 90 degrees from the horizontal to vertical or any position in between, engines that tilt while attached to fixed wings, helicopter blades that can be folded and stowed while the aircraft is in forward conventional flight, buried jet engines whose exhaust can be directed downward of from the rear, and combination of all of these.

As of now the high cost of developing new military aircraft has resulted in cooperative efforts among the various European NATO countries. Teams of designers from several countries have worked together to develop and build aircraft to be used by the armed services of all NATO partners.