General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
The General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark was an American supersonic, medium-range interdictor and tactical attack aircraft that filled the roles of strategic nuclear bomber, aerial reconnaissance, electronic-warfare aircraft in its various versions. Developed in the 1960s by General Dynamics, it first entered service in 1967 with the United States Air Force; the Royal Australian Air Force ordered the type and began operating F-111Cs in 1973. The F-111 pioneered several technologies for production aircraft, including variable-sweep wings, afterburning turbofan engines, automated terrain-following radar for low-level, high-speed flight, its design influenced variable-sweep wing aircraft, some of its advanced features have since become commonplace. The F-111 suffered a variety of problems during initial development. Several of its intended roles, such as an aircraft carrier-based naval interceptor with the F-111B, failed to materialize. USAF F-111 variants were retired in the 1990s, with the F-111Fs in 1996 and EF-111s in 1998.
The F-111 was replaced in USAF service by the F-15E Strike Eagle for medium-range precision strike missions, while the supersonic bomber role has been assumed by the B-1B Lancer. The RAAF was the last operator of the F-111, with its aircraft serving until December 2010; the May 1960 U-2 incident, in which an American CIA U-2 spy plane was shot down over the USSR, stunned the United States government. Besides damaging US-Soviet relations, the incident showed that the Soviet Union had developed a surface-to-air missile that could reach aircraft above 60,000 feet; the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command and the RAF Bomber Command's plans to send subsonic, high-altitude B-47 and V bomber formations into the USSR were now much less viable. By 1960, SAC had begun moving to low-level penetration which reduced radar detection distances. At the time, SAMs were ineffective against low-flying aircraft, interceptor aircraft had less of a speed advantage at low altitudes; the Air Force's Tactical Air Command was concerned with the fighter-bomber and deep strike/interdiction roles.
TAC was in the process of receiving its latest design, the Republic F-105 Thunderchief, designed to deliver nuclear weapons fast and far, but required long runways. A simpler variable geometry wing configuration with the pivot points farther out from the aircraft's centerline was reported by NASA in 1958, which made swing-wings viable; this led Air Force leaders to encourage its use. In June 1960, the USAF issued specification SOR 183 for a long-range interdiction/strike aircraft able to penetrate Soviet air defenses at low altitudes and high speeds; the specification called for the aircraft to operate from short, unprepared airstrips. In the 1950s, the United States Navy sought a long-range, high-endurance interceptor aircraft to protect its carrier battle groups against long-range anti-ship missiles launched from Soviet jet bombers and submarines; the Navy needed a fleet air defense fighter with a more powerful radar, longer range missiles than the F-4 Phantom II to intercept both enemy bombers and missiles.
Seeking a FAD fighter, the Navy started with the subsonic, straight-winged aircraft, the Douglas F6D Missileer in the late 1950s. The Missileer was designed to carry six long-range missiles and loiter for five hours, but would be defenseless after firing its missiles; the program was formally canceled in 1961. The Navy had tried variable geometry wings with the XF10F Jaguar, but abandoned it in the early 1950s, it was NASA's simplification. By 1960, increases in aircraft weights required improved high-lift devices, such as variable geometry wings. Variable geometry offered high speeds, maneuverability with heavier payloads, long range, the ability to take off and land in shorter distances; the U. S. Air Force and Navy were both seeking new aircraft when Robert McNamara was appointed Secretary of Defense in January 1961; the aircraft sought by the two armed services shared the need to carry heavy armament and fuel loads, feature high supersonic speed, twin engines and two seats, use variable geometry wings.
On 14 February 1961, McNamara formally directed the services to study the development of a single aircraft that would satisfy both requirements. Early studies indicated that the best option was to base the design on the Air Force requirement, use a modified version for the Navy. In June 1961, Secretary McNamara ordered the go ahead of Tactical Fighter Experimental, despite Air Force and Navy efforts to keep their programs separate; the Air Force and the Navy could agree only on two-seat, twin-engine design features. The Air Force wanted a tandem-seat aircraft for low-level penetration ground-attack, while the Navy wanted a shorter, high altitude interceptor with side-by-side seating to allow the pilot and radar operator to share the radar display; the Air Force wanted the aircraft designed for 7.33 g with Mach 2.5 speed at altitude and Mach 1.2 speed at low level with an approximate length of 70 ft. The Navy had less strenuous requirements of 6 g with Mach 2 speed at altitude and high subsonic speed at low level with a length of 56 ft.
The Navy wanted the aircraft with a nose large enough for a 48 in diameter radar dish. McNamara developed a basic set of requirements for TFX based on the Air Force's requirements and, on 1 September 1961, ordered the Air Force to develop it. A request for proposals for the TFX was provided to industry in October 1961. In December, proposals were received from Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed, McDonnell, North American and Republic; the evaluation group found all the proposals lackin
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps referred to as the United States Marines or U. S. Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy as well as the Army and Air Force; the U. S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U. S. Department of Defense and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States; the Marine Corps has been a component of the U. S. Department of the Navy since 30 June 1834, working with naval forces; the USMC operates installations on land and aboard sea-going amphibious warfare ships around the world. Additionally, several of the Marines' tactical aviation squadrons Marine Fighter Attack squadrons, are embedded in Navy carrier air wings and operate from the aircraft carriers; the history of the Marine Corps began when two battalions of Continental Marines were formed on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as a service branch of infantry troops capable of fighting both at sea and on shore.
In the Pacific theater of World War II the Corps took the lead in a massive campaign of amphibious warfare, advancing from island to island. As of 2017, the USMC has around some 38,500 personnel in reserve, it is the smallest U. S. military service within the DoD. As outlined in 10 U. S. C. § 5063 and as introduced under the National Security Act of 1947, three primary areas of responsibility for the Marine Corps are: Seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and other land operations to support naval campaigns. This last clause derives from similar language in the Congressional acts "For the Better Organization of the Marine Corps" of 1834, "Establishing and Organizing a Marine Corps" of 1798. In 1951, the House of Representatives' Armed Services Committee called the clause "one of the most important statutory – and traditional – functions of the Marine Corps", it noted that the Corps has more than not performed actions of a non-naval nature, including its famous actions in Tripoli, the War of 1812, numerous counter-insurgency and occupational duties, World War I, the Korean War.
While these actions are not described as support of naval campaigns nor as amphibious warfare, their common thread is that they are of an expeditionary nature, using the mobility of the Navy to provide timely intervention in foreign affairs on behalf of American interests. The Marine Band, dubbed the "President's Own" by Thomas Jefferson, provides music for state functions at the White House. Marines from Ceremonial Companies A & B, quartered in Marine Barracks, Washington, D. C. guard presidential retreats, including Camp David, the Marines of the Executive Flight Detachment of HMX-1 provide helicopter transport to the President and Vice President, with the radio call signs "Marine One" and "Marine Two", respectively. The Executive Flight Detachment provides helicopter transport to Cabinet members and other VIPs. By authority of the 1946 Foreign Service Act, the Marine Security Guards of the Marine Embassy Security Command provide security for American embassies and consulates at more than 140 posts worldwide.
The relationship between the Department of State and the U. S. Marine Corps is nearly as old as the corps itself. For over 200 years, Marines have served at the request of various Secretaries of State. After World War II, an alert, disciplined force was needed to protect American embassies and legations throughout the world. In 1947, a proposal was made that the Department of Defense furnish Marine Corps personnel for Foreign Service guard duty under the provisions of the Foreign Service Act of 1946. A formal Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Department of State and the Secretary of the Navy on 15 December 1948, 83 Marines were deployed to overseas missions. During the first year of the MSG program, 36 detachments were deployed worldwide; the Marine Corps was founded to serve as an infantry unit aboard naval vessels and was responsible for the security of the ship and its crew by conducting offensive and defensive combat during boarding actions and defending the ship's officers from mutiny.
Continental Marines manned raiding parties, both at ashore. America's first amphibious assault landing occurred early in the Revolutionary War on 3 March 1776 as the Marines gained control of Fort Montague and Fort Nassau, a British ammunition depot and naval port in New Providence, the Bahamas; the role of the Marine Corps has expanded since then. The Advanced Base Doctrine of the early 20th century codified their combat duties ashore, outlining the use of Marines in the seizure of bases and other duties on land to support naval campaigns. Throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, Marine detachments served aboard Navy cruisers and aircraft carriers. Marine detachments served in their traditional duties as a ship's landing force, manning the ship's weapons and providing shipboard security. Marine detachments were augmented by members of the ship's company for landing parties, such as in the First Sumatran Expedition of 1832, continuing in the Caribbean and Mexican campaigns of the early 20th centuries.
United States Army Air Corps
For the current active service branch, see United States Air Force The United States Army Air Corps was the aerial warfare service of the United States of America between 1926 and 1941. After World War I, as early aviation became an important part of modern warfare, a philosophical rift developed between more traditional ground-based army personnel and those who felt that aircraft were being underutilized and that air operations were being stifled for political reasons unrelated to their effectiveness; the USAAC was renamed from the earlier United States Army Air Service on 2 July 1926, was part of the larger United States Army. The Air Corps became the United States Army Air Forces on 20 June 1941, giving it greater autonomy from the Army's middle-level command structure. During World War II, although not an administrative echelon, the Air Corps remained as one of the combat arms of the Army until 1947, when it was abolished by legislation establishing the Department of the Air Force; the Air Corps was renamed by the United States Congress as a compromise between the advocates of a separate air arm and those of the traditionalist Army high command who viewed the aviation arm as an auxiliary branch to support the ground forces.
Although its members worked to promote the concept of air power and an autonomous air force in the years between the world wars, its primary purpose by Army policy remained support of ground forces rather than independent operations. On 1 March 1935, still struggling with the issue of a separate air arm, the Army activated the General Headquarters Air Force for centralized control of aviation combat units within the continental United States, separate from but coordinate with the Air Corps; the separation of the Air Corps from control of its combat units caused problems of unity of command that became more acute as the Air Corps enlarged in preparation for World War II. This was resolved by the creation of the Army Air Forces, making both organizations subordinate to the new higher echelon. On June 20, 1941, the Army Air Corps' existence as the primary air arm of the U. S. Army changed to that of being the training and logistics elements of the then-new United States Army Air Forces, which embraced the formerly-named General Headquarters Air Force under the new Air Force Combat Command organization for front-line combat operations.
The Air Corps ceased to have an administrative structure after 9 March 1942, but as "the permanent statutory organization of the air arm, the principal component of the Army Air Forces," the overwhelming majority of personnel assigned to the AAF were members of the Air Corps. The U. S. Army Air Service had a turbulent history. Created during World War I by executive order of 28th President Woodrow Wilson after American entrance in April 1917 as the increasing use of airplanes and the military uses of aviation were apparent as the war continued to its climax, the U. S. Army Air Service gained permanent legislative authority in 1920 as a combatant arm of the line of the United States Army. There followed a six-year struggle between adherents of airpower and the supporters of the traditional military services about the value of an independent Air Force, intensified by struggles for funds caused by skimpy budgets, as much an impetus for independence as any other factor; the Lassiter Board, a group of General Staff officers, recommended in 1923 that the Air Service be augmented by an offensive force of bombardment and pursuit units under the command of Army general headquarters in time of war, many of its recommendations became Army regulations.
The War Department desired to implement the Lassiter Board's recommendations, but the administration of President Calvin Coolidge chose instead to economize by radically cutting military budgets the Army's. The Lampert Committee of the House of Representatives in December 1925 proposed a unified air force independent of the Army and Navy, plus a department of defense to coordinate the three armed services; however another board, headed by Dwight Morrow, was appointed in September 1925 by Coolidge ostensibly to study the "best means of developing and applying aircraft in national defense" but in actuality to minimize the political impact of the pending court-martial of Billy Mitchell. It declared that no threat of air attack was to exist to the United States, rejected the idea of a department of defense and a separate department of air, recommended minor reforms that included renaming the Air Service to allow it "more prestige."In early 1926 the Military Affairs Committee of the Congress rejected all bills set forth before it on both sides of the issue.
They fashioned a compromise in which the findings of the Morrow Board were enacted as law, while providing the air arm a "five-year plan" for expansion and development. Maj. Gen. Mason Patrick, the Chief of Air Service, had proposed that it be made a semi-independent service within the War Department along the lines of the Marine Corps within the Navy Department, but this was rejected; the legislation changed the name of the Air Service to the Air Corps, "thereby strengthening the conception of military aviation as an offensive, striking arm rather than an auxiliary service." The Air Corps Act became law on 2 July 1926. In accordance with the Morrow Board's recommendations, the act created an additional Assistant Secretary of War to "help foster military aeronautics", established an air section in each division of the General Staff for a period of three years. Two additional brigadier generals would serve as assistant chiefs of the A
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.
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces, informally known as the Air Force,or United States Army Air Force, was the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army during and after World War II, successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force of today, one of the five uniformed military services. The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which in 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply, the Army Air Forces; each of these forces had a commanding general. The AAF administered all parts of military aviation distributed among the Air Corps, General Headquarters Air Force, the ground forces' corps area commanders, thus became the first air organization of the U. S. Army to control its own installations and support personnel; the peak size of the AAF during the Second World War was over 2.4 million men and women in service and nearly 80,000 aircraft by 1944, 783 domestic bases in December 1943.
By "V-E Day", the Army Air Forces had 1.25 million men stationed overseas and operated from more than 1,600 airfields worldwide. The Army Air Forces was created in June 1941 to provide the air arm a greater autonomy in which to expand more efficiently, to provide a structure for the additional command echelons required by a vastly increased force, to end an divisive administrative battle within the Army over control of aviation doctrine and organization, ongoing since the creation of an aviation section within the U. S. Army Signal Corps in 1914; the AAF succeeded both the Air Corps, the statutory military aviation branch since 1926, the GHQ Air Force, activated in 1935 to quiet the demands of airmen for an independent Air Force similar to the Royal Air Force, established in the United Kingdom / Great Britain. Although other nations had separate air forces independent of their army or navy, the AAF remained a part of the Army until a defense reorganization in the post-war period resulted in the passage by the United States Congress of the National Security Act of 1947 with the creation of an independent United States Air Force in September 1947.
In its expansion and conduct of the war, the AAF became more than just an arm of the greater organization. By the end of World War II, the Army Air Forces had become an independent service. By regulation and executive order, it was a subordinate agency of the United States Department of War tasked only with organizing and equipping combat units, limited in responsibility to the continental United States. In reality, Headquarters AAF controlled the conduct of all aspects of the air war in every part of the world, determining air policy and issuing orders without transmitting them through the Army Chief of Staff; this "contrast between theory and fact is...fundamental to an understanding of the AAF." The roots of the Army Air Forces arose in the formulation of theories of strategic bombing at the Air Corps Tactical School that gave new impetus to arguments for an independent air force, beginning with those espoused by Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell that led to his court-martial. Despite a perception of resistance and obstruction by the bureaucracy in the War Department General Staff, much of, attributable to lack of funds, the Air Corps made great strides in the 1930s, both organizationally and in doctrine.
A strategy stressing precision bombing of industrial targets by armed, long-range bombers emerged, formulated by the men who would become its leaders. A major step toward a separate air force came in March 1935, when command of all combat air units within the Continental United States was centralized under a single organization called the "General Headquarters Air Force". Since 1920, control of aviation units had resided with commanders of the corps areas, following the model established by commanding General John J. Pershing during World War I. In 1924, the General Staff planned for a wartime activation of an Army general headquarters, similar to the American Expeditionary Forces model of World War I, with a GHQ Air Force as a subordinate component. Both were created in 1933 when a small conflict with Cuba seemed possible following a coup d'état, but were not activated. Activation of GHQ Air Force represented a compromise between strategic airpower advocates and ground force commanders who demanded that the Air Corps mission remain tied to that of the land forces.
Airpower advocates achieved a centralized control of air units under an air commander, while the WDGS divided authority within the air arm and assured a continuing policy of support of ground operations as its primary role. GHQ Air Force organized combat groups administratively into a strike force of three wings deployed to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts but was small in comparison to European air forces. Lines of authority were difficult, at best, since GHQ Air Force controlled only operations of its combat units while the Air Corps was still responsible for doctrine, acquisition of aircraft, training. Corps area commanders continued to exercise control over airfields and administration of personnel, in the overseas departments, operational control of units as well. Between March 1935 and September 1938, the commanders of GHQ Air Force and the Air Corps, Major Generals Frank M. Andrews and Oscar Westover clash
A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft, operated by a legal or insurrectionary armed service of any type. Military aircraft can be either combat or non-combat: Combat aircraft are designed to destroy enemy equipment using their own aircraft ordnance. Combat aircraft are developed and procured only by military forces. Non-combat aircraft are not designed for combat as their primary function, but may carry weapons for self-defense; these operate in support roles, may be developed by either military forces or civilian organizations. In 1783, when the first practical aircraft were established, they were adopted for military duties; the first military balloon unit was the French Aerostatic Corps, who in 1794 flew an observation balloon during the Battle of Fleurus, the first major battle to feature aerial observation. Balloons continued to be used throughout the 19th Century, including in the Napoleonic Wars and the Franco-Prussian war, for observation and propaganda distribution.
During the First World War, German Zeppelin airships carried out multiple air raids on British cities, as well as being used for observation. In the 1920s, the US Navy acquired several non-rigid airships, the first one to see service being the K-1 in 1931. Use by the USA as well as other countries continued into the Second World War, the US Navy retiring its last balloons in 1962. Soon after the first flight of the Wright Flyer, several militaries became interested in powered aircraft. In 1909 the US Army purchased the Wright Military Flyer, a two-seat observation aircraft, for the Aeronautical Division, U. S. Signal Corps, it served until 1911, by which time powered aircraft had become an important feature in several armies around the world. Combat aircraft, or "Warplanes", are divided broadly into multi-role, bombers and electronic warfare support. Variations exist between them, including fighter-bombers, such as the MiG-23 ground-attack aircraft and the Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik. Included among combat aircraft are long-range maritime patrol aircraft, such as the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod and the S-3 Viking that are equipped to attack with anti-ship missiles and anti-submarine weapons.
The primary role of fighters is destroying enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat, as part of both offensive and defensive counter air operations. Many fighters possess a degree of ground attack capability, allowing them to perform surface attack and close air support missions. In addition to their counter air duties they are tasked to perform escort mission for bombers or other aircraft. Fighters are capable of carrying a variety of weapons, including machine guns, rockets, guided missiles, bombs. Many modern fighters can attack enemy fighters from a great distance, before the enemy sees or detects them. Examples of fighters include the F-22 Raptor, F-15 Eagle, Su-27. Bombers are larger and less maneuverable than fighter aircraft, they are capable of carrying large payloads of torpedoes or cruise missiles. Bombers are used 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 World War II bomber would be a B-17 Flying Fortress. Bombers include light bombers, medium bombers, heavy bombers, dive bombers, torpedo bombers. Attack aircraft can be used to provide support for friendly ground troops; some are able to carry conventional or nuclear weapons far behind enemy lines to strike priority ground targets. Attack helicopters provide close air support for ground troops. An example historical ground-attack aircraft is the Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik. Several types of transport airplanes have been armed with sideways firing weapons as gunships for ground attack; these include the AC-130 aircraft. An electronic warfare aircraft is a military aircraft equipped for electronic warfare - i.e. degrading the effectiveness of enemy radar and radio systems. They are modified versions of other pre-existing aircraft.
A recent example would be the Boeing EA-18G Growler, a modified version of the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet. A maritime patrol aircraft fixed-wing military aircraft designed to operate for long durations over water in maritime patrol roles—in particular anti-submarine, anti-ship and search and rescue; some patrol aircraft were designed for this purpose, like the Kawasaki P-1. Many others are modified designs of pre-existing aircraft, such as the Boeing P-8 Poseidon, based on the Boeing 737-800 airliner. Many combat aircraft today have a multirole ability. Only applying to fixed-wing aircraft, this term signifies that the plane in question can be a fighter or a bomber, depending on what the mission calls for. An example of a multirole design is the F-15E Strike Eagle, F/A-18 Hornet, F-35 Lightning II. A World War II example would be the P-38 Lightning. Non-combat roles of military aircraft include search and rescue, observation/surveillance, Airborne Early Warning and Control, transport and aerial refueling.
Many civil aircraft, both fixed wing and rotary wing, have been produced in separate models for military use, such as the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner, which became the military C-47 Skytrain, British "Dakota" transport planes, decades the USAF's AC-47 aerial gunships. The fabric-covered two-seat Piper J3 Cub had a military
Douglas A-26 Invader
The Douglas A-26 Invader is an American twin-engined light bomber and ground attack aircraft. Built by Douglas Aircraft Company during World War II, the Invader saw service during several major Cold War conflicts. A limited number of modified United States Air Force aircraft served in Southeast Asia until 1969, it was a fast aircraft capable of carrying a large bomb load. A range of guns could be fitted to produce a formidable ground-attack aircraft. A re-designation of the type from A-26 to B-26 led to confusion with the Martin B-26 Marauder, which first flew in November 1940, some 20 months before the Douglas design's maiden flight. Although both types were powered by the used Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp eighteen-cylinder, double-row radial engine, they were different and separate designs — the Martin bomber originated in 1939, with more than twice as many Marauders produced in comparison to the Douglas design; the A-26 was Douglas Aircraft's successor to the A-20 Havoc known as Douglas Boston, one of the most successful and operated types flown by Allied air forces in World War II.
Designed by Ed Heinemann, Robert Donovan, Ted R. Smith, the innovative NACA 65-215 laminar flow airfoil wing of the A-26 was the work of project aerodynamicist A. M. O. Smith; the Douglas XA-26 prototype first flew on 10 July 1942 at Mines Field, El Segundo, with test pilot Benny Howard at the controls. Flight tests revealed excellent performance and handling, but engine cooling problems led to cowling changes and elimination of the propeller spinners on production aircraft. Repeated collapses during testing led to reinforcement of the nose landing gear; the A-26 was built in two different configurations. The A-26B had a gun nose, which could be equipped with a combination of armament including.50 caliber machine guns, 20mm or 37mm auto cannon, or a 75mm pack howitzer. The gun nose version housed six.50 caliber machine guns termed the "all-purpose nose" commonly known as the "six-gun nose" or "eight-gun nose". The A-26C's "glass" nose termed the "Bombardier nose", contained a Norden bombsight for medium altitude precision bombing.
The A-26C nose section included two fixed M-2 guns replaced by underwing gun packs or internal guns in the wings. After about 1,570 production aircraft, three guns were installed in each wing, coinciding with the introduction of the "eight-gun nose" for A-26Bs, giving some configurations as many as 14.50 in machine guns in fixed forward mounts. An A-26C nose section could be replaced with an A-26B nose section, or vice versa, in a few man-hours, thus physically changing the designation and operational role; the "flat-topped" canopy was changed in late 1944 after about 820 production aircraft, to a clamshell style with improved visibility. Alongside the pilot in an A-26B, a crew member served as navigator and gun loader for the pilot-operated nose guns. In an A-26C, that crew member served as navigator and bombardier, relocated to the nose section for the bombing phase of an operation. A small number of A-26Cs were fitted with dual flight controls, some parts of which could be disabled in flight to allow limited access to the nose section.
Access was through the lower section of the right-hand instrument panel, open to allow access to the nose for the bombardier, who would sit next to the pilot. This was similar to British designs like the Lancaster, Blenheim/Beaufort, etc. A tractor-style "jump seat" was located behind the "navigator's seat." In most missions, a third crew member in the rear gunner's compartment operated the remotely controlled dorsal and ventral gun turrets, with access to and from the cockpit possible via the bomb bay only when, empty. The gunner operated both dorsal and ventral turrets via a novel and complex dual-ended periscope sight, a vertical column running through the center of the rear compartment, with traversing and elevating/depressing periscope sights on each end; the gunner sat on a seat facing rearward, looked into a binocular periscope sight mounted on the column, controlling the guns with a pair of handles on either side of the column. When aiming above the centerline of the aircraft, the mirror in the center of the column would flip, showing the gunner what the upper periscope was seeing.
When he pressed the handles downward, as the bead passed the centerline the mirror would automatically flip, transferring the sight "seamlessly" to the lower periscope. The guns would aim wherever the periscope was aimed, automatically transferring between upper and lower turrets as required, computing for parallax and other factors. While novel and theoretically effective, a great deal of time and trouble was spent trying to get the system to work which delayed production, it was difficult to keep maintained in the field once production started; the Douglas company began delivering the production model A-26B to the United States Army Air Forces on 10 September 1943, with the new bomber first seeing action with the Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific theater on 23 June 1944, when Japanese-held islands near Manokwari were attacked. The pilots in the 3rd Bomb Group's 13th Squadron, "The Grim Reapers", who received the first four A-26s for evaluation, found the view from the cockpit to be restricted by the engines and thus inadequate for low-level attack.
General George Kenney, commander of the Far East Air Forces stated that, "We do not want the A-26 under any circumstances as a replacement for anything."Until changes could be made, the 3d Bomb G