172d Air Support Squadron
The 172d Air Support Squadron is a unit of the Michigan Air National Guard 110th Airlift Wing located at Kellogg Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek, Michigan. The 172d was last equipped with the C-21A Learjet before the aircraft were transferred in 2013; the squadron was first organized during World War II as the 375th Fighter Squadron. It saw combat in the European Theater of Operations as an element of VII Fighter Command before returning to the United States, where it was inactivated. In May 1946, the squadron was allotted to the National Guard as the 172d Fighter Squadron. During the Korean War, the squadron was called into federal service and acted in an air defense role until being returned to the Michigan Air National Guard in 1952, it had various flying missions, including fighter and airlift until 2013, when it was converted to a support unit. Media related to 361st Fighter Group at Wikimedia Commons The squadron was first activated at Richmond Army Air Base as the 375th Fighter Squadron and equipped with Republic P-47 Thunderbolts.
The squadron trained under I Fighter Command in the mid-Atlantic states. It flew air defense missions as part of the Philadelphia Fighter Wing; the squadron deployed to the European Theater of Operations, where it became part of VIII Fighter Command in England during November 1943. The unit served as an escort organization, covering the penetration and withdrawal of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber formations that Eighth Air Force sent against targets on the European continent; the squadron engaged in counter-air patrols, fighter sweeps, strafing and dive bombing missions. It attacked such targets as airfields, marshalling yards, V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket launch sites, industrial areas, ordnance depots, oil refineries and highways. During its operations, the unit participated in the assault against the Luftwaffe and the German aircraft industry during Big Week, from 20 to 25 February 1944, the attack on transportation facilities prior to Operation Overlord, the Normandy invasion.
Following the invasion it supported ground forces thereafter, including providing cover during Operation Cobra, the Saint-Lô breakout in July. The squadron supported the airborne attack on the Netherlands in September, 1944, deployed to Chievres Airdrome, Belgium between February and April, 1945, flying tactical ground support missions during the airborne assault across the Rhine; the unit returned to RAF Little Walden and flew its last combat mission on 20 April 1945. The squadron returned to the United States and was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, part of the New York Port of Embarkation, in October. In May 1946, the squadron was allotted to the National Guard as the 172d Fighter Squadron, it was organized and equipped with North American P-51D Mustangs at Kellogg Field, Battle Creek, Michigan in 1947. This was the same year the United States Air Force became an independent branch of the armed forces and the 172d received its federal recognition as an Air National Guard squadron. In February 1951 the squadron was called to active duty for the Korean War and assigned to Air Defense Command.
Upon activation it was redesignated the 172d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron and moved to Selfridge Air Force Base, where it was assigned to the 128th Fighter-Interceptor Wing to the 56th Fighter-Interceptor Group. However, ADC experienced difficulty under the existing wing base organizational structure in deploying its fighter squadrons to best advantage; as a result, in February 1952 the squadron was reassigned to the 4708th Defense Wing, a regional organization. The squadron was released from active service and returned to the Michigan Air National Guard on 1 November 1952 and its mission, personnel and F-51 Mustangs were transferred to the 431st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, which activated the same day at Selfridge. Media related to 110th Attack Wing at Wikimedia Commons The 172d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron flew the F-51 Mustang until 1954; the 172d transitioned into the North American F-86 Sabre and became the 172d Fighter-Bomber Squadron. The Unit flew this aircraft only until 1955 before transitioned into the more sophisticated two seat Northrop F-89 Scorpion and returned to the interceptor.
In 1956, the squadron became part of the newly created 110th Fighter Group. The Unit flew the F-89 Scorpion until 1958; that year the 172d Squadron traded its F-89s for a new mission and a new aircraft, the Martin RB-57A Canberra. With the assumption of the reconnaissance mission the squadron became the 172d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron; the 172d flew RB-57A’s until 1971. In 1971, the unit’s mission changed again to forward air control, with the transition to the Cessna O-2 Skymaster, which it flew until 1980 when it transitioned to the Cessna OA-37 Dragonfly; the 172d was the last Air Air National Guard unit to fly the Dragonfly. The dedicated forward air control mission lasted until the 172d transitioned to the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, or Warthog, in 1991 and was returned to its first name as a National Guard unit, the 172d Fighter Squadron; the squadron served in several United Nations contingencies throughout the world. From Bosnia, to Kosovo, to Alaska and most Iraq and Afghanistan, in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
In 2009, the squadron was realigned from a fighter squadron to become the 172d Airlift Squadron flying the Learjet C-21. On 12 July 2013, the last C-21 departed, the unit became a support unit as the 172d Air Support Squadron as Battle Creek was named as the location of a control center for drone aircraft. Constituted as the 375th Fighter Squadron, single Engine on 28 January 1943Activated on 10
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, one of the seven American uniformed services. Formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U. S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, it is the youngest branch of the U. S. Armed Forces, the fourth in order of precedence; the USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, command and control; the U. S. Air Force is a military service branch organized within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense; the Air Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, is appointed by the President with Senate confirmation.
The highest-ranking military officer in the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, who exercises supervision over Air Force units and serves as one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force components are assigned, as directed by the Secretary of Defense, to the combatant commands, neither the Secretary of the Air Force nor the Chief of Staff of the Air Force have operational command authority over them. Along with conducting independent air and space operations, the U. S. Air Force provides air support for land and naval forces and aids in the recovery of troops in the field; as of 2017, the service operates more than 5,369 military aircraft, 406 ICBMs and 170 military satellites. It has a $161 billion budget and is the second largest service branch, with 318,415 active duty airmen, 140,169 civilian personnel, 69,200 reserve airmen, 105,700 Air National Guard airmen. According to the National Security Act of 1947, which created the USAF: In general, the United States Air Force shall include aviation forces both combat and service not otherwise assigned.
It shall be organized and equipped for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive air operations. The Air Force shall be responsible for the preparation of the air forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war except as otherwise assigned and, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plans, for the expansion of the peacetime components of the Air Force to meet the needs of war. §8062 of Title 10 US Code defines the purpose of the USAF as: to preserve the peace and security, provide for the defense, of the United States, the Territories and possessions, any areas occupied by the United States. The stated mission of the USAF today is to "fly and win...in air and cyberspace". "The United States Air Force will be a trusted and reliable joint partner with our sister services known for integrity in all of our activities, including supporting the joint mission first and foremost. We will provide compelling air and cyber capabilities for use by the combatant commanders. We will excel as stewards of all Air Force resources in service to the American people, while providing precise and reliable Global Vigilance and Power for the nation".
The five core missions of the Air Force have not changed since the Air Force became independent in 1947, but they have evolved, are now articulated as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, command and control. The purpose of all of these core missions is to provide, what the Air Force states as, global vigilance, global reach, global power. Air superiority is "that degree of dominance in the air battle of one force over another which permits the conduct of operations by the former and its related land, sea and special operations forces at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by the opposing force". Offensive Counterair is defined as "offensive operations to destroy, disrupt, or neutralize enemy aircraft, launch platforms, their supporting structures and systems both before and after launch, but as close to their source as possible". OCA is the preferred method of countering air and missile threats since it attempts to defeat the enemy closer to its source and enjoys the initiative.
OCA comprises attack operations, sweep and suppression/destruction of enemy air defense. Defensive Counter air is defined as "all the defensive measures designed to detect, identify and destroy or negate enemy forces attempting to penetrate or attack through friendly airspace". A major goal of DCA operations, in concert with OCA operations, is to provide an area from which forces can operate, secure from air and missile threats; the DCA mission comprises both passive defense measures. Active defense is "the employment of limited offensive action and counterattacks to deny a contested area or position to the enemy", it includes both ballistic missile defense and air-breathing threat defense, encompasses point defense, area defense, high-value airborne asset defense. Passive defense is "measures taken to reduce the probability of and to minimize the effects of damage caused by hostile action without the intention of taking the initiative", it includes warning.
Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker
The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is a military aerial refueling aircraft. Both the KC-135 and the Boeing 707 airliner were developed from the Boeing 367-80 prototype, it is the predominant variant of the C-135 Stratolifter family of transport aircraft. The KC-135 was the US Air Force's first jet-powered refueling tanker and replaced the KC-97 Stratofreighter; the KC-135 was tasked with refueling strategic bombers, but was used extensively in the Vietnam War and conflicts such as Operation Desert Storm to extend the range and endurance of US tactical fighters and bombers. The KC-135 entered service with the United States Air Force in 1957; the KC-135 is supplemented by the larger KC-10. Studies have concluded that many of the aircraft could be flown until 2040, although maintenance costs have increased; the KC-135 is to be replaced by the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus. Like its sibling, the commercial Boeing 707 jet airliner, the KC-135 was derived from the Boeing 367-80 jet transport "proof of concept" demonstrator, called the "Dash-80".
The KC-135 is similar in appearance to the 707, but has a narrower fuselage and is shorter than the 707. The KC-135 predates the 707, is structurally quite different from the civilian airliner. Boeing gave the future KC-135 tanker the initial designation Model 717. In 1954 USAF's Strategic Air Command held a competition for a jet-powered aerial refueling tanker. Lockheed's tanker version of the proposed Lockheed L-193 airliner with rear fuselage-mounted engines was declared the winner in 1955. Since Boeing's proposal was flying, the KC-135 could be delivered two years earlier and Air Force Secretary Harold E. Talbott ordered 250 KC-135 tankers until the Lockheed's design could be manufactured. In the end, orders for the Lockheed tanker were dropped rather than supporting two tanker designs. Lockheed never produced its jet airliner, while Boeing would dominate the market with a family of airliners based on the 707. In 1954, the Air Force placed an initial order for 29 KC-135As, the first of an eventual 820 of all variants of the basic C-135 family.
The first aircraft flew in August 1956 and the initial production Stratotanker was delivered to Castle Air Force Base, California, in June 1957. The last KC-135 was delivered to the Air Force in 1965. Developed in the early 1950s, the basic airframe is characterized by 35-degree aft swept wings and tail, four underwing-mounted engine pods, a horizontal stabilizer mounted on the fuselage near the bottom of the vertical stabilizer with positive dihedral on the two horizontal planes and a hi-frequency radio antenna which protrudes forward from the top of the vertical fin or stabilizer; these basic features make it resemble the commercial Boeing 707 and 720 aircraft, although it is a different aircraft. Reconnaissance and command post variants of the aircraft, including the RC-135 Rivet Joint and EC-135 Looking Glass aircraft were operated by SAC from 1963 through 1992, when they were reassigned to the Air Combat Command; the USAF EC-135 Looking Glass was subsequently replaced in its role by the U.
S. Navy E-6 Mercury aircraft, a new build airframe based on the Boeing 707-320B. All KC-135s were equipped with Pratt & Whitney J-57-P-59W turbojet engines, which produced 10,000 lbf of thrust dry, 13,000 lbf of thrust wet. Wet thrust is achieved through the use of water injection on takeoff, as opposed to "wet thrust" when used to describe an afterburning engine. 670 US gallons of water are injected into the engines over the course of three minutes. The water is injected into the diffuser case in front of the combustion case; the water cools the air in the engine to increase its density. This allows the use of more fuel for proper combustion and creates more thrust for short periods of time, similar in concept to "War Emergency Power" in a piston-engined aircraft. In the 1980s the first modification program retrofitted 157 Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard tankers with the Pratt & Whitney TF-33-PW-102 turbofan engines from 707 airliners retired in the late 1970s and early 1980s; the modified tanker, designated the KC-135E, was 14% more fuel-efficient than the KC-135A and could offload 20% more fuel on long-duration flights.
Only the KC-135E aircraft were equipped with thrust-reversers for aborted takeoffs and shorter landing roll-outs. The KC-135E fleet has since either been retrofitted as the R-model configuration or placed into long-term storage, as Congress has prevented the Air Force from formally retiring them; the final KC-135E, tail number 56-3630, was delivered by the 101st Air Refueling Wing of the Maine Air National Guard to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base in September 2009. The second modification program retrofitted 500 aircraft with new CFM International CFM56 high-bypass turbofan engines produced by General Electric and Snecma; the CFM56 engine produces 22,500 lbf of thrust, nearly a 100% increase compared to the original J-57 engine. The modified tanker, designated KC-135R or KC-135T (modified KC-
Brigadier general or Brigade general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general; when appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000 troops. In some countries a brigadier general is informally designated as a one-star general. In some countries, this rank is given the name of brigadier, equivalent to brigadier general in the armies of nations that use the rank, although the rank is not regarded as a general officer; the rank can be traced back to the militaries of Europe where a brigadier general, or a brigadier, would command a brigade in the field. The rank name général de brigade, was first used in the French revolutionary armies. In the first quarter of the 20th century and Commonwealth armies used the rank of brigadier general as a temporary appointment, or as an honorary appointment on retirement; some armies, such as Taiwan and Japan, use major general as the equivalent of brigadier general.
Some of these armies use the rank of colonel general to make four general-officer ranks. Mexico uses the ranks of General de brigada; this gallery displays Air Force brigadier general insignia if they are different from the Army brigadier general insignia. Note that in many Commonwealth countries, the equivalent air force rank is Air Commodore; the rank of brigadier general is used in the Argentine Air Force. Unlike other armed forces of the World, the rank of brigadier general is the highest rank in the Air Force; this is due to the use of the rank of brigadier and its derivatives to designate all general officers in the Air Force: brigadier. The rank of brigadier general is reserved for the Chief General Staff of the Air Force, as well as the Chief of the Joint General Staff if he should be an Air Force officer; the Argentine Army does not use the rank of brigadier-general, instead using brigade general which in turn is the lowest general officer before Divisional General and Lieutenant General.
In the Australian Imperial Force during World War I, the rank of brigadier general was always temporary and held only while the officer was posted to a particular task the command of a brigade. When posted elsewhere, the rank would be relinquished and the former rank resumed; this policy prevented an accumulation of high-ranking general officers brought about by the high turnover of brigade commanders. Brigadier general was used as an honorary rank on retirement; the rank insignia was like that of the current major general, but without the star/pip - example. As in the United Kingdom, the rank was replaced by brigadier. Hence, prior to 1922, a "brigadier general" was a "general officer". Prior to 2001, the Bangladesh Army rank was known as brigadier, in conformity with the rank structure of the Commonwealth Nations. In 2001 the Bangladesh Army introduced the rank of brigadier general, however "the grade stayed equivalent to brigadier", although classified as a "one-star rank", a brigadier general is not considered to be a general officer – the lowest ranking general officer is Major General.
Brigadier general is equivalent to commodore of the Bangladesh Navy and air commodore of the Bangladesh Air Force. It is still more popularly called brigadier; the Belgian Army uses the rank of général de brigadegeneraal. However, in this small military there are no permanent promotions to this rank, it is only awarded as a temporary promotion to a full colonel who assumes a post requiring the rank, notably in an international context. General de brigada is the lowest rank amongst general officers of the Brazilian Army – i.e. like in most British Commonwealth counties, the lowest general officer rank is a two-star rank, a General de Brigada wears a two-star insignia. Hence, it is equivalent to the major general rank of many counties. In the Brazilian Air Force, all of the senior ranks include "Brigadeiro" – the two-star rank is Brigadeiro, the three-star rank is Major-Brigadeiro and the four-star rank is Tenente-Brigadeiro-do-Ar; the rank of brigadier general is known in Burma as bo hmu gyoke and is the deputy commander of one of Burma's Regional Military Commands, commander of the light infantry division or Military Operation Commands.
In civil service, a brigadier general holds the office of deputy minister or director general of certain ministries. In the Canadian Forces, the rank of brigadier-general is a rank for members who wear army or air force uniform, equal to a commodore for those in navy uniform. A brigadier-general is the lowest rank of general officer. A brigadier-general is senior to a colonel or naval captain, junior to a major-general or rear admiral; the rank title brigadier-general is still used notwithstanding that brigades in the army are now commanded by colonels. Until the late
Aerial refueling referred to as air refueling, in-flight refueling, air-to-air refueling, tanking, is the process of transferring aviation fuel from one military aircraft to another during flight. The two main refueling systems are probe-and-drogue, simpler to adapt to existing aircraft, the flying boom, which offers faster fuel transfer, but requires a dedicated boom operator station; the procedure allows the receiving aircraft to remain airborne longer, extending its range or loiter time on station. A series of air refuelings can give range limited only by crew fatigue and engineering factors such as engine oil consumption; because the receiver aircraft can be topped up with extra fuel in the air, air refueling can allow a takeoff with a greater payload which could be weapons, cargo, or personnel: the maximum takeoff weight is maintained by carrying less fuel and topping up once airborne. Alternatively, a shorter take-off roll can be achieved because take-off can be at a lighter weight before refueling once airborne.
Aerial refueling has been considered as a means to reduce fuel consumption on long-distance flights greater than 3,000 nautical miles. Potential fuel savings in the range of 35-40% have been estimated for long haul flights; the aircraft providing the fuel is specially designed for the task, although refueling pods can be fitted to existing aircraft designs if the "probe-and-drogue" system is to be used. The cost of the refueling equipment on both tanker and receiver aircraft and the specialized aircraft handling of the aircraft to be refueled has resulted in the activity only being used in military operations. There is no known regular civilian in-flight refueling activity. Employed shortly before World War II on a limited scale to extend the range of British civilian transatlantic flying boats, after World War II on a large scale to extend the range of strategic bombers, aerial refueling since the Vietnam War has been extensively used in large-scale military operations. For instance, in the Gulf War and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the Iraq War, all coalition air sorties were air-refueled except for a few short-range ground attack sorties in the Kuwait area.
Some of the earliest experiments in aerial refueling took place in the 1920s. The first mid-air refueling, based on the development of Alexander P. de Seversky, between two planes occurred on June 27, 1923, between two Airco DH-4B biplanes of the United States Army Air Service. An endurance record was set by three DH-4Bs on August 27–28, 1923, in which the receiver airplane remained aloft for more than 37 hours using nine mid-air refuelings to transfer 687 US gallons of aviation gasoline and 38 US gallons of engine oil; the same crews demonstrated the utility of the technique on October 25, 1923, when a DH-4 flew from Sumas, Washington, on the Canada–United States border, to Tijuana, landing in San Diego, using mid-air refuelings at Eugene and Sacramento, California. Similar trial demonstrations of mid-air refueling technique took place at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in England and by the Armée de l'Air in France in the same year, but these early experiments were not yet regarded as a practical proposition, were dismissed as stunts.
As the 1920s progressed, greater numbers of aviation enthusiasts vied to set new aerial long-distance records, using inflight air refueling. One such enthusiast, who would revolutionize aerial refueling was Sir Alan Cobham, member of the Royal Flying Corps in World War I, a pioneer of long-distance aviation. During the 1920s, he made long-distance flights to places as far afield as Africa and Australia and he began experimenting with the possibilities of in-flight refueling to extend the range of flight. Cobham was one of the founding directors of Airspeed Limited, an aircraft manufacturing company which went on to produce a specially adapted Airspeed Courier that Cobham used for his early experiments with in-flight refueling; this craft was modified by Airspeed to Cobham's specification, for a non-stop flight from London to India, using in-flight refueling to extend the plane's flight duration. Meanwhile, in 1929, a group of U. S. Army Air Corps fliers, led by Major Carl Spaatz, set an endurance record of over 150 hours with the Question Mark over Los Angeles.
Between June 11 and July 4, 1930, the brothers John, Kenneth and Walter Hunter set a new record of 553 hours 40 minutes over Chicago using two Stinson SM-1 Detroiters as refueler and receiver. Aerial refueling remained a dangerous process until 1935 when brothers Fred and Al Key demonstrated a spill-free refueling nozzle, designed by A. D. Hunter, they exceeded the Hunters' record by nearly 100 hours in a Curtiss Robin monoplane, staying aloft for more than 27 days. The US was concerned about transatlantic flights for faster postal service between Europe and America. In 1931 W. Irving Glover, the second assistant postmaster, wrote an extensive article for Popular Mechanics concerning the challenges and the need for such a regular service. In his article he mentioned the use of Aerial refueling after take off as a possible solution. At Le Bourget Airport near Paris, the Aéro-Club de France and the 34th Aviation Regiment of the French Air Force were able to demonstrate passing fuel between machines at the annual aviation fete at Vincennes in 1928.
The UK's Royal Aircraft Establishment was running mid-air refueling trials, wi
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before and after World War II. Many variants of the Spitfire were built, using several wing configurations, it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft, it was the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; the Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works, which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928. Mitchell pushed the Spitfire's distinctive elliptical wing with cutting-edge sunken rivets to have the thinnest possible cross-section, helping give the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the Spitfire's development through its multitude of variants.
During the Battle of Britain, from July to October 1940, the public perceived the Spitfire to be the main RAF fighter, though the more numerous Hurricane shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe. However, Spitfire units had a lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes because of the Spitfire's higher performance. During the battle, Spitfires were tasked with engaging Luftwaffe fighters—mainly Messerschmitt Bf 109E-series aircraft, which were a close match for them. After the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire superseded the Hurricane to become the backbone of RAF Fighter Command, saw action in the European, Mediterranean and South-East Asian theatres. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire served in several roles, including interceptor, photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber, trainer, it continued to serve in these roles until the 1950s; the Seafire was a carrier-based adaptation of the Spitfire that served in the Fleet Air Arm from 1942 through to the mid-1950s.
Although the original airframe was designed to be powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine producing 1,030 hp, it was strong enough and adaptable enough to use powerful Merlins and, in marks, Rolls-Royce Griffon engines producing up to 2,340 hp. As a result, the Spitfire's performance and capabilities improved over the course of its service life. In 1931, the Air Ministry released specification F7/30, calling for a modern fighter capable of a flying speed of 250 mph. R. J. Mitchell designed the Supermarine Type 224 to fill this role; the 224 was an open-cockpit monoplane with bulky gull-wings and a large, spatted undercarriage powered by the 600-horsepower, evaporatively cooled Rolls-Royce Goshawk engine. It made its first flight in February 1934. Of the seven designs tendered to F7/30, the Gloster Gladiator biplane was accepted for service; the Type 224 was a big disappointment to Mitchell and his design team, who embarked on a series of "cleaned-up" designs, using their experience with the Schneider Trophy seaplanes as a starting point.
This led to the Type 300, with retractable undercarriage and a wingspan reduced by 6 ft. This design was submitted to the Air Ministry in July 1934, but was not accepted, it went through a series of changes, including the incorporation of a faired, enclosed cockpit, oxygen-breathing apparatus and thinner wings, the newly developed, more powerful Rolls-Royce PV-XII V-12 engine named the "Merlin". In November 1934, with the backing of Supermarine's owner Vickers-Armstrong, started detailed design work on this refined version of the Type 300. On 1 December 1934, the Air Ministry issued contract AM 361140/34, providing £10,000 for the construction of Mitchell's improved Type 300, design. On 3 January 1935, they formalised the contract with a new specification, F10/35, written around the aircraft. In April 1935, the armament was changed from two.303 in Vickers machine guns in each wing to four.303 in Brownings, following a recommendation by Squadron Leader Ralph Sorley of the Operational Requirements section at the Air Ministry.
On 5 March 1936, the prototype took off on its first flight from Eastleigh Aerodrome. At the controls was Captain Joseph "Mutt" Summers, chief test pilot for Vickers, quoted as saying "Don't touch anything" on landing; this eight-minute flight came four months after the maiden flight of the contemporary Hurricane. K5054 was fitted with a new propeller, Summers flew the aircraft on 10 March 1936. After the fourth flight, a new engine was fitted, Summers left the test flying to his assistants, Jeffrey Quill and George Pickering, they soon discovered that the Spitfire was a good aircraft, but not perfect. The rudder was oversensitive, the top speed was just 330 mph, little faster than Sydney Camm's new Merlin-powered Hurricane. A new and better-shaped wooden propeller allowed the Spitfire to reach 348 mph in level flight in mid-May, when Summers flew K5054 to RAF Martlesham Heath and handed the aircraft over to Squadron Leader Anderson of the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment. Here, Flight Lieutenant Humphrey Edwardes-Jones took over the prototype for the RAF.
He had been given orders to fly the aircraft and to make his report to the Air Ministry on landing. Edwardes-Jones' report was positive.
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twin turbofan engine, straight wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic for the United States Air Force. It is referred to by the nicknames "Warthog" or "Hog", although the A-10's official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, a World War II fighter-bomber effective at attacking ground targets; the A-10 was designed for close air support of friendly ground troops, attacking armored vehicles and tanks, providing quick-action support against enemy ground forces. It entered service in 1976 and is the only production-built aircraft that has served in the USAF, designed for CAS, its secondary mission is to provide forward air controller – airborne support, by directing other aircraft in attacks on ground targets. Aircraft used in this role are designated OA-10; the A-10 was intended to improve on the performance of its lesser firepower. The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon, its airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying.
Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines, its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities. The A-10 served in the Gulf War, the American led intervention against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, where the A-10 distinguished itself; the A-10 participated in other conflicts such as in Grenada, the Balkans, Afghanistan and against Islamic State in the Middle East. The A-10A single-seat variant was the only version produced, though one pre-production airframe was modified into the YA-10B twin-seat prototype to test an all-weather night capable version. In 2005, a program was started to upgrade remaining A-10A aircraft to the A-10C configuration, with modern avionics for use with precision weaponry; the U. S. Air Force had stated the F-35 would replace the A-10 as it entered service, but this remains contentious within the USAF and in political circles. With a variety of upgrades and wing replacements, the A-10's service life can be extended to 2040.
Post-World War II development of conventionally armed attack aircraft in the United States had stagnated. Design efforts for tactical aircraft focused on the delivery of nuclear weapons using high-speed designs like the F-101 Voodoo and F-105 Thunderchief. Designs concentrating on conventional weapons had been ignored, leaving their entry into the Vietnam War led by the Korean War-era Douglas A-1 Skyraider. While a capable aircraft for its era, with a large payload and long loiter times, the propeller-driven design was relatively slow and vulnerable to ground fire; the U. S. Air Force and Marine Corps lost 266 A-1s in action in Vietnam from small arms fire; the A-1 Skyraider had poor firepower. The lack of modern conventional attack capability prompted calls for a specialized attack aircraft. On 7 June 1961, Secretary of Defense McNamara ordered the USAF to develop two tactical aircraft, one for the long-range strike and interdictor role, the other focusing on the fighter-bomber mission; the former became the Tactical Fighter Experimental, or TFX, which emerged as the F-111, while the second was filled by a version of the U.
S. Navy's F-4 Phantom II. While the Phantom went on to be one of the most successful fighter designs of the 1960s, proved to be a capable fighter-bomber, its lack of loiter time was a major problem, to a lesser extent, its poor low-speed performance, it was expensive to buy and operate, with a flyaway cost of $2 million in FY1965, operational costs over $900 per hour. After a broad review of its tactical force structure, the U. S. Air Force decided to adopt a low-cost aircraft to supplement the F-4 and F-111, it first focused on the Northrop F-5. A 1965 cost-effectiveness study shifted the focus from the F-5 to the less expensive LTV A-7D, a contract was awarded. However, this aircraft doubled in cost with demands for new avionics. During this period, the United States Army had been introducing the UH-1 Iroquois into service. First used in its intended role as a transport, it was soon modified in the field to carry more machine guns in what became known as the helicopter gunship role; this proved effective against the armed enemy, new gun and rocket pods were added.
Soon the AH-1 Cobra was introduced. This was an attack helicopter armed with long-range BGM-71 TOW missiles able to destroy tanks from outside the range of defensive fire; the helicopter was effective, prompted the U. S. military to change its defensive strategy in Europe by blunting any Warsaw Pact advance with anti-tank helicopters instead of the tactical nuclear weapons, the basis for NATO's battle plans since the 1950s. The Cobra was a made helicopter based on the UH-1 Iroquois, in the late 1960s the U. S. Army was designing the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne, a much more capable attack aircraft with greater speed; these developments worried the USAF, which saw the anti-tank helicopter overtaking its nuclear-armed tactical aircraft as the primary anti-armor force in Europe. A 1966 Air Force study of existing close air support capabilities revealed gaps in the escort and fire suppression roles, which the Cheyenne could fill; the study concluded that the service should acquire a simple, dedicated CAS aircraft at least as capable as the A-1, that it should develop doctrine and procedures for