Category Archives: Aircraft

Military Aircraft – Future Military Airplanes

US Air Force Airlift – Global US Military Aircraft

US Air Force Airlift

What does it take to be who we are in the world? To be able to strike deals massively lopsided in our favor? To make demands, threats, and/or promises of peace? Who knows, we could be your best friend, or your worst enemy. What does it take for the US be in this position?

The answer: logistical capability spawned through the thorough application of immense capital both financial and human. A large US Army on the contintinental US can’t really do much across the globe unless it can get there. Of course, we can always use our US Navy sea-based assets to land US Marines on the shorelines. However, any major theater conflict or a landlocked battlefield will need more than just boats. That’s why the US Air Force possesses the largest and most complicated logistical airlift capability in the world.

The biggest: Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy

The C-5 Galaxy is one of the largest aircraft in the world. At over 247 ft long, it’s bigger than either of the newest and largest civilian aircraft to ever hit the market, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or the Airbus A380. Designed to carry oversized loads at intercontinental distances, this mighty aircraft is classified as a strategic airlifter, capable of moving massive assets around the globe. It’s cargo capacity is an astounding 270 tons, but with all of this comes heavy maintenance and costs. In fact, this aircraft is reported to require 16 hours of maintenance to evey 1 hour of flight time. Ouch. This aircraft is typically used in special circumstances, where the C-17 Globemaster mentioned below bares the brunt of the strategic airlift demands of the US Military.

Medium-Sized: Boeing C-17 Globemaster III

This beastly aircraft takes the middle ground between size and speed, and can perform roles of either strategic or tactical airlift missions. With up to 190 operational C-17s in the US Airforce inventory, this aircraft is one of the most heavily relied-upon workhorses in the military. It’s payload of 170,000 tons enables it to carry massive amounts of cargo, but due to the large size/weight of most of the US military’s mechanized forces, it can only carry 1 M1A1 Abrams tank (70 tons). These aspects of airlifting (weight/maintenance/costs) are major influencing factors on the Army’s current investments in building a lighter and more mobile fighting force, epitomized by vehicles such as the Stryker. Either way, this aircraft strikes the balance needed between the obscenely massive C-5 Galaxy and the smaller C-130 Hercules featured below.

Tactical Airlift Champ: Lockheed C-130 Hercules

The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules has almost too many variants and uses to list. Being awarded for the single longest production-run airframe of any other in the world, the C-130 is nearly impossible to avoid participation in either a tactical transport, aerial refueling, or even strike mission role in any conflict over the last 50 years. Likewise, the C-130 is the most widely exported plane, with over 50 nations having purchases some variant since the original C-130 maiden flight in 1954. Popular and widely variants of the transport version C-130 hercules would be the HC-130 variants intended for troop insertions and aerial refueling of helicopters, and also the AC-130 Spectre gunship, intended for close-combat air support and assaults. The newest and most up-to-date production model is the C-130 J Super Hercules.

HC 130AC 130

V22 Osprey – Hybrid Helicopter Aircraft of the Future

V22 Osprey

Manufacturer: Boeing [NYSE: BA]

Obviously, getting troops to the battlefield as quickly as possible is a paramount concern for military planners. Choppers can carry many troops, but really can’t fly very far or fast. Planes can get troops there quickly, but where can you launch transport planes without a runway? Aircraft carriers are too small, nevermind the deck of an amphibious assault ship. Clearly, a solution is needed for high speed troop transport in a scenario of limited runway space. Necessity is the mother of all inventions, and respectively the Americans invented the V22 Osprey to fill this vital role. Employed by the United States Marine Corp, the V22 Osprey is the only tiltrotor aircraft in production by any nation’s armed forces. Combining the essential elements of the vertical take-off of a helicopter with the speed and mid-air refueling of a convential airplane, the V22 Osprey can get lots of troops to anywhere, and fast. The top speed of the Osprey stands at around 316 mph, where the closest helicopter comparison, the CH-47 Chinook transport, only reaches 196 mph. In support of a high speed amphibious invasion, this aircraft is intended to work alongside the Marine Corp’s new LCAC’s and EFVs, which will enable the US Marines to rush up to any shoreline with overwhelming force.

Check out this cool video of the V22 Osprey in action!
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If Looks Could Kill – The Sukhoi SU-47 Berkut

su47 berkut The SU-47 is an amazing looking aircraft, especially while in flight. Nicknamed the Golden Eagle, the SU-47 has a reduced radar signature, thrust vectoring, advanced fly-by-wire technology, and most notably a very unique forward swept wing design. The Sukhoi SU-47 is extremely maneuverable at subsonic speeds and has a maximum speed of mach 1.6. The SU-47 can carry a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions.

Many sources try to compare the SU-47 to the F-22 Raptor. In reality, the F-22 Raptor is in a class of its own. Check out a video of the highly maneuverable Sukhoi SU-47 Berkut below.

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F/A-22 Raptor – Best Fighter Jet

We frequently cover the F22 Raptor at Future Firepower.  The F22 fighter jet has been voted the best fighter jet in the world in the Future Firepower polls with over 2500 votes.  Thank you for participating in our polls. For some of our most recent articles on the F22 Raptor visit the links below.

F-22 – Overview of the best Fighter
F-22 Raptor Stealth Capabilities and Video
Maneuverability of the F22 Fighter Jet – thrust vectoring video
All Future Jets and Attack Aircraft

Eurofighter Typhoon Fighter-Bomber


Eurofighter TyphoonApparently the nations of Europe aren’t planning on going to war with each other anytime soon. If they did, they would be fighting against each other with the exact same aircraft, I guess it comes down to the pilot’s skill at that point. The Eurofighter Typhoon, or Europe’s answer to the 5th Generation fighter aircraft concept, is finally emerging on the world stage as a prominent export fighter aircraft. While people consistently try to compare this jet with the F-22 Raptor, it really doesn’t compete in many areas. The Eurofighter Typhoon’s primary attributes are its maneuvering and speed capabilites, while it falls short in the deep penetration role. There is only 1 pilot in the world who has flown both the F-22 Raptor and the Eurofighter Typhoon, and he basically confirms the previously held notions about the comparisons concerning maneuverability and stealth attributes.

“The Eurofighter is certainly, as far as smoothness of controls and the ability to pull (and sustain high G forces), very impressive,” he said. “That is what it was designed to do, especially the version I flew, with the avionics, the color moving map displays, etc. — all absolutely top notch. The maneuverability of the airplane in close-in combat was also very impressive.”

“The F/A-22 Raptor has stealth and supercruise…It has the ability to penetrate virtually undetected because of (those) capabilities. It is designed to be a penetrating airplane. It can maneuver with the best of them if it has to, but what you want to be able to do is get into contested airspace no matter where it is.”

Eurofighter Typhoon FlightAnd that about sums it up. The Eurofighter is an extremely impressive performer. But surely the Europeans already knew about the stealth capabilites of the American F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning. So what gives? Likely, the Eurofighter is the answer to the Russian Su-37 Terminator, and all of Europe has banded together to counter this plane, if it ever reaches sufficient production levels that is. Likewise, the European consortium of defense contractors probably couldn’t reach agreement and funding solutions as smoothly as the sole company responsible for both the F-22 and F-35, Lockheed Martin. By and far, the Eurofighter is an awesome plane, and thank god that it wasn’t built by a nation like China or Russia to use for saber rattling or something else…

Check out this cool Eurofighter Typhoon video.

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UAV Cockpit or Video Game?

Cockpit for UAVs

Although the image on the left might look like a tricked out video game setup, it actually represents Raytheon’s new approach to the UAV cockpit for the “chairforce”. Thats right, these cockpits will be constructed by the hundreds and filled with eager video game nerds turned Air Force Commandos. From within these cockpits, recruits will guide advanced aircraft with a variety of munitions into unfriendly territory to monitor and track enemy activity.

It would seem that one would be under much less pressure during a mission than if there were an actual pilot on site pulling G’s and making split second decisions. These Universal Control Systems as they are known will be used in just about every conflict keeping our most valuable assets, the troops, out of harms way. Think you could fly one of these bad boys?

F-22 Raptor’s Impressive Maneuverability

F 22A RaptorThe maneuverability of the F-22 Raptor truly is amazing. The video below shoes the advanced capabilities of the F-22 beyond its radar and stealth technologies. The F-22 is much more stable in low speed maneuvers than all of its predecessors. As you can see in the video below, the F-22 can achieve vertical flight quickly after take off and pull some unbelievable maneuvers. F-15 pilots cant touch the Raptor in mock dogfights during flight tests. The F-22 Raptor is widely known as the most advanced and best military aircraft ever built. With a maximum speed of over Mach 2, advanced avionics, and stealth technology, the F-22 raptor truly is in a class of its own. Watch the video below to see the advanced stability and maneuverability of the F22 Raptor.

Click to continue reading "F-22 Raptor’s Impressive Maneuverability"

Fire Scout – UAV Helicopter

Manufacturer: Northrop Grumman [NYSE: NOC]
Fire Scout DisplayResearch and development dollars are obviously not an object for Northrop Grumman.  From behind closed doors emerges a UAV helicopter attack ship; no doubt the product of an intense development program.  The Fire Scout UAV is capable of autonomous take-off, landing, and flight; but of course it can be controlled remotely as well.  Likewise, I have no doubt that there has also been some engineering man hours put into enabling it for preprogrammed strike missions.  Of course they’ve already equipped some with the Metal Storm weapon, the highest round-per-second gun ever built, mounted on the weapons pylons.  Technically, the Fire Scout can be equipped with a multitude of different equipment, from the most deadly weapons to even peaceful observational equipment.
Fire Scout LandThis bad boy has already been procured by the US Army, whose interest in turn spurred a purchase by the US Navy.  Apparently, it’s also impressive that the Fire Scout  landed on a moving ship, autonomously, during its testing phase, which demonstrated it’s computerized navigation system compensating for the movement of the landing pad.  Deployment plans schedule the Fire Scout to be used at the brigade level, and I’m sure that they are looking forward to having such a weapon added to their already omnipotently superior arsenal.  On a final note, the Fire Scout is also designed to operate as one of the many cogs in the network-centric weapons development program known as Future Combat Systems.
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Apache Airstrike in Iraq – Nightvision Warfare

Apache AttackThis video might possibly be one of the coolest ones I’ve seen yet. Of course there will always be more videos, but let me take a second to analyze just how bad ass this particular video is. The first thing to note is the obvious fact that the attack takes place at nightime, and was filmed by a nightvision camera. One advantage of the US military, we rule the night. Second, the enemy is being targeted by a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) on the ground, whose laser couldn’t be seen unless filmed by a specially filtered night vision camera, which means that this video was planned ahead of time by the military as a show of force–which is peculiarly and particularly bad ass. Everyone in this video is wearing night vision goggles, even the Apache helicopter pilot, which is also very bad ass. In fact, night vision goggles only provide around a 45 degree field of vision, so the Apache pilots must continuously shift their vision back and forth to stay oriented, which requires extensive training (unstoppably bad ass). Once again, this video, like so many others, clearly displays capabilities unique to only the US military, such as independent targeting via lasers and complete nightime operability.

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MQ9 Reaper – Predator UAV – Iraqi Drone of Death

The MQ9 Reaper
Manufacturer: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
–An altitude, endurance, and long-range upgrade to the original Predator UAV

First MQ 9 Reaper at Creech AFB 2007Imagine coming home from a hard day’s work, relaxing on the couch, and busting out your XBOX 360. Instead of playing a video game, you decide it would be nice to unwind while thinking to yourself…”ten seconds to impact”, then witnessing the full-color obliteration of an opportunistic target in Iraq. While this situation is not entirely accurate, it is very close to what US Air Force pilots of tomorrow will be doing on a daily basis as they command the new squadron of MQ9 Reapers set to arrive in Iraq. Controlled–piloted–from a base in Nevada, remote-control airplanes with laser-guided bombs and hellfire missiles attached to them will be raining death from above on anything that might look out of place. In fact, it seems like all the hoopla about the Democratically supported troop “pull out” seems more or less like this–human army out, robot army in. About 60 MQ9s have been ordered by the air force, and they will be flying out of the largest US Air Force base in Iraq, Balad Air Base just outside of Baghdad. Likewise, Balad has begun construction of a 400,000 sq. ft. expansion of the runway to accommodate the staging of the new Reapers. Ultimately, the MQ9 Reaper represents the culmination of about 20 years of R&D, mostly carried out by engineering students working at our nations best research universities. From MIT to Georgia Tech, probably millions of man-hours from our brightest aeronautical, electrical, and mechanical engineering students seeking their doctorates have been, and likely unknowingly, contributing to the final product that represents the forefront of a futuristic military comprised of hunter-killer robots and aircraft. As long as they are used to dominate the world, then I guess that no time has been wasted, not even by reading this article. Have a nice day, and never forget that our people are the most valuable asset we have in America.

See this broadcast by the Air Force on their UAV programs.
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Also check out another MQ9 Reaper post by Joe.