This authoritative volume is divided into two main sections covering fighters and bombers. Each traces the development of the aircraft from their first appearance, details their role in major conflicts, and analyses how technological improvements have affected their performance. Special feature topics include nightfighters, bombers of the Spanish Civil War, inflight refuelling, the Gulf Wars and fighter pilot equipment in the 21st century.
The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior, though something of a cult favourite, remains a largely unremarked classic of Naval Aviation. Built for nuclear weapon delivery, the A-3 made its name in Vietnam as a conventional bomber, tanker and Electronic Warfare platform. It was the largest aircraft ever regularly operated from the decks of aircraft carriers, earning it the fleet-wide nickname 'Whale'. It excelled in every mission area assigned to it and operated in the US Navy for more than four decades, from 1956 through to 1991. Fully illustrated to depict the incredible array of paint schemes and awesome size, this volume focuses on the type's Vietnam service, which saw the aircraft briefly used as a bomber over both North and South Vietnam from March 1965, before the Skywarrior proved far more valuable as a multi-role tanker (KA-3B) and tanker/tactical jammer (EKA-3B). The title includes details on all of these operations as well as more clandestine reconnaissance missions, and provides information about the men that flew them.
This eagerly awaited companion volume to the enormously popular volume on fighters looks at the might-have-been strategic German bombers. Filled with transatlantic jets and projects that were on the drawing board or in prototype form at the war's end. Full color action illustrations in contemporary markings and performance data tables show vividly what might have been achieved had the war continued beyond 1945.
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The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was almost certainly the most versatile Second World War Bomber. Apart from its bombing role in all theaters of operation, the B-24 hauled fuel to France during the push towards Germany, carried troops, fought U-boats in the Atlantic and, probably most important of all, made a vital contribution towards winning the war in the Pacific. Its most famous single exploit is possibly the raid on the Ploesti oil fields in August 1943.
The B-24 ended World War Two as the most produced Allied heavy bomber in history, and the most produced American military aircraft at over 18,000 units, thanks in large measure to Henry Ford and the harnessing of American industry. It still holds the distinction as the most produced American military aircraft. The B-24 was used by several Allied air forces and navies, and by every branch of the American armed forces during the war, attaining a distinguished war record with its operations in the Western European, Pacific, Mediterranean and China-Burma-India theaters.
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