Officially called the Fighting Falcon by the USAF (a name loathed by pilots and ground crews), the F-16 is popularly referred to as the "Viper". First introduced into service with the USAF in 1978, the F-16 is a successful all-weather multi-role jet fighter of which more than 4,500 have been built and exported to 25 countries worldwide. It remains in service more than 30 years later. The Viper incorporates a number of innovative design features that include a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, pilot's side-mounted control stick for ease of control when manoeuvring, a seat reclined 30 degrees to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot, and the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire flight control system that makes the Viper a highly agile aircraft. At the 'business end' the F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan cannon and eleven weapon-mounting stations.
The eight-engine Boeing B-52 Stratofortress jet was the USA’s first long-range, swept-wing heavy bomber. It began life as an intercontinental, high-altitude Cold War nuclear bomber. With each new variant the B-52 increased in range, power and capability, seeing active service in the Vietnam War, both Gulf Wars of 1991 and 2003, and over Afghanistan in 2001. Author Steve Davies recalls its combat history, gets up close to look under the skin of the B-52, and talks to the flight crews and maintainers of this legendary aircraft.
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From the late 1960s until the end of the Cold War, the United States Air Force acquired and flew Russian-made MiG jets, culminating in a secret squadron dedicated to exposing American fighter pilots to enemy technology and tactics.
Red Eagles tells the story of this squadron from the first tests of MiGs following the Vietnam War when the USAF had been woefully under-prepared in aerial combat. These initial flights would develop into the "black" or classified program known internally as Constant Peg.
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Throughout its 34-year Cold War career with the USAF and CIA, the top secret Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane was the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft. Dedicated to strategic reconnaissance, the Blackbird was so fast that no other aircraft could catch it. The co-authors are world authorities on the Blackbird and give rare insights into the secret world of the SR-71, its genesis, construction and anatomy (including its use of stealth technology), and its operation and maintenance in peace and war.