Since the earliest days of airplane development, military divisions from all over the world have recognized the advantage of air superiority. Even before fixed wing aircraft were used for defensive and offensive missions, hot air balloons were employed for reconnaissance work. As late as World War II, balloons were used in the skies of Great Britain as a defensive measure against German aircraft.
Many modern armies use military airplanes not only for destroying enemy targets, but also for peace-keeping missions, search and rescue missions, enemy surveillance, weather surveillance, forward air control, training, and much more. Even after an aircraft is retired from active military service, it may be used as part of a reserve force. Afterwards, the aircraft may be adapted for civilian use as a passenger plane, cargo plane, or even for firefighting. Depending on the aircraft and its intended civilian purpose, little or no modification may be necessary to convert the plane from its original military configuration.
The world of aviation is exciting, and that’s largely due to its continual development. In fact, the history of military airplanes is long and fascinating. From the bi-planes and tri-planes of World War I to today’s modern jets and the spacecraft vehicles of tomorrow, there is much to learn and appreciate.
Because military forces generally have more money to invest in aircraft development as compared to civilian companies, the fastest and most well equipped aircraft are military airplanes. However, none of the advancements made would have been possible without the sacrifices of those who dreamed and built such aircraft, and by those who tested and flew them in service. Many pilots have paid the ultimate price so that the rest of us could reap the benefits of such magnificent aircraft.
As aviation technology continues its march toward the future, one can only wonder what types of military aircraft will fill the skies and the space between planets. What will they look like, and how fast will they fly? And what capability will they have that we can’t yet even imagine?
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