This is my definition of Military photographs. It also covers any current photos that I may have of personnel in any armed forces
All images can be viewed in a larger size by clicking on them. The files sizes are from 20 to 50K in JPG format using 15% compression.
This image is not mine but it shows what happens when you miss-time a head-on pass when training in an F-18.
US U-2 Spy Plane Taken at Reno National Air races as it did a low fly-by along the grandstands. The U-2 is an outgrowth of the recon bombers from WW II doing strategic photo missions. The U-2 is like a souped up German Junkers 86P on jets.
U-2 spy plane on climb out The U-2 has a great rate of climb. It also has a 6,000+ mile range. The U-2 was operational in the late 1950s and routinely over flew the Soviet Union (against international rules) on spy missions. The Soviets could see it but could not shoot it down with their existing weapons when it first over flew their nation. In 1960 they finally were able to shoot one down with a new SAM and CIA agent Frances Gary Powers was captured, put on trial, and sentenced to a Soviet prison. Later on he was exchanged in Berlin for a Soviet spy we had captured.
The F-117 'Fighter' is really an unarmed bomber. It carries the same bomb load as a world war II medium bomber. Two internal 2,000 lb iron bombs. The main difference is that they are laser guided onto the target instead of free falling iron bombs.
The angular sides of the plane deflects and absorbs radar instead of reflecting radar back to the transmitter making it immune from electronic detection. Same design as the B-2 bomber and pretty much looks like the Northrup YB-49s built in 1947.
Totally unarmed, it relies on night and the radar absorption and reflection surfaces of the airframe to survive. You will never see it attack in daylight or operate above the Arctic circle in summer.
Here is another view of the F-117 as it came into its parking area.
And here is the F-117 as it did a slow fly-by.
A true fighter is the F-16 "Fighting Falcon" seen in a formation photo pass. This is about the only time you will see US planes in a WWII type formation. Normally they operate as loose pairs. This formation is done for shows only and never in combat.
The McDonnell-Douglas F4 Phantom II This F4 is in the Seattle Museum of Flight. The Phantom is still used as "Wild Weasels" by the Military as anti-radar strike aircraft.
This aircraft came online in the early 1960s after being ordered by the Navy to fly off carriers. The US Air Force then also picked them up for land based use.
Twin engines (Navy requirement) and supersonic speed with lots of thrust enabled it to become a formidable fighter.
Designed to fire only air to air rockets to shoot down enemy aircraft initially, it was discovered midway through the Vietnam conflict that you still had a need for cannons on aircraft.
A-12 - aka - SR-71 - Blackbird This is and other "Skunk Works" aircraft were used for strategic recon work. Retired in 2000 due to the cost to operate them but a few were brought back since spy satellites can only stay over an area a very short time and aircraft can fly precise multiple patterns and get more data faster, then retired again in 2006.
This one is a mother ship version the A-12. The drone would be launched, fly a separate mission, then eject the film payload over the Pacific for recovery. This is the only one complete since the only other one crashed and was destroyed.
A-12 with Drone The aircraft used titatinum for strength. Since metal expands with heat it was designed to leak fuel till the skin heated up and sealed the "wet" wings. It then needed immedate refueling by a tanker in order to start on its mission. By the time it got up to the tanker it had around 15 minutes of flying time left before running out of fuel.
Most pilots washed out of training due to inability to maintain the aircraft during refueling. It had a narrow speed range available for it to match speed of the tanker.
A video presentation by Pat Holloran who flew these aircraft from the EAA site.