Sunday, December 17

Specialized Military Aircrafts: Uses, Roles And General Characteristics

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These aircrafts were specially built for special usages and purposes.

1.) VC-25 – Air Force One

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The VC-25 is probably the world’s most popular aircraft. It is famous for its role as Air Force One, the call-sign of any US Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. This aircraft has 3 decks and was introduced in 1990 and cost US$325 million.

This specialized aircraft developed by Boeing is operated by 26 crews with 3 pilots and can carry 76 passengers. It can attain a maximum speed of 1.015 km/h.

2.) E-8 Joint STARS – Battle Management and Command and Control Aircraft

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The sophisticated E-8 Joint STARS, or Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, is a modern US Air Force battle management and command and control aircraft. It was especially built and designed to track ground vehicles and some aircraft, collects imagery, and relays tactical pictures to ground and air theater commanders.

This specialized military aircraft has 4 flight crew and 15 Air Force and 3 Army specialists. This 46.6 meter-long aircraft developed from Boeing 707 is worth US$244.4 million and can attain a cruise speed of 945 km/h.

3.) E-4B Advanced Airborne Command Post

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The Boeing E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post is a US Air Force aircraft created to serve as a survival mobile command post for the National Command Authority including the US President, Defense Secretary and successors. It was developed from Boeing 747 and its project name is ‘Nightwatch’.

This specialized military aircraft is designed to survive an EMP with systems intact, and has state-of-the-art direct fire countermeasures. It is capable of operating with a crew of 48 to 112 people, the largest crew of any aircraft in US Air Force history.

With in-flight refueling it is capable of remaining airborne for a considerable period (limited only by consumption of the engines’ lubricants). In a test flight for endurance, the aircraft remained airborne and fully operational for 35.4 hours.  A single unit of E-4B is worth US$223 in 1998, 4 units were built by Boeing. Its maximum speed is 969 km/h.

4.) C-17 Globemaster III – Military Transport Aircraft

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The C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft developed for the US Air Force by McDonnell Douglas. It is designed for rapid strategic lift of troops and cargo to main operating bases or forward operating bases all over the world. It is capable of deploying rapidly a combat unit to potential battle area. It also has the capability to perform tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop missions.

This $200 million aircraft is operated by 3 crews: 2 pilots and a loadmaster. It is capable of accommodating 102 troops or an M1 Abrams tank and has a cruising speed of 830 km/h.

5.) KC-45 Aerial Refueling Tanker Aircraft

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I am pretty sure that you have already seen in the movies an aircraft being refueled while airborne. The KC-45 was a proposed aerial refueling tanker aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman/EADS. This project was abandoned in March 2010.

6.) E-6 Mercury Airborne Command Post and Communications Center

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The E-6 Mercury is an American military aircraft developed by Boeing. It was specially built to operate as an airborne command post and communications center, relaying instructions from the National Command Post This military aircraft developed from Boeing 707-320 is worth $141 million and was first introduced in 1987. This 45.8 meter-long vessel has a maximum speed of 960 km/h.

7.) KC-767 Military Aerial Refueling and Strategic Transport Aircraft

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The KC-767 is a military aerial refueling and strategic transport aircraft developed by Boeing from the Boeing 767-200. This aircraft’s role is an air-to-air tanker and was first flown in May 2005. Primary users of the specialized military aircraft are Japanese Air Self-Defense Force and Italian Air Force. A unit of KC-767 is worth US$130-150 million.

This aircraft is operated by 3 crews: 2 pilots and a boom operator. With a length of 47.6 meter and a maximum take-off weight of 186,880 kg, it can attain a maximum speed of 915 km/h

8.) AC-130 Heavily-armed Ground-attack Aircraft

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AC-130H Spectre

The AC-130 gunship is a heavily-armed ground-attack aircraft developed by Lockheed. This specialized military aircraft is a variant of C-130 Hercules transport plane. The US Air Force, the sole owner of this gunship, uses AC-130H Spectre and AC-130U Spooky variants.

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AC-130U Spooky

The AC-130H, which is powered by four Rolls-Royce T56-A-15 turboprops, is worth US$132.4 million and the AC-130U is worth US$190 million. These aircrafts has an armament ranging from 25 mm Gatling-type cannons to 105 mm howitzers. With a length of 29.8 meters, it is operated by 13 crews and can attain a maximum speed of 480 km/h.

9.) MC-130 Special Operations Military Transport Aircraft

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MC-130 Combat Talon II

The MC-130 is a family of vessel developed by Lockheed based on the C-130 Hercules for the US Air Force Special Operations Command or AFSOC. Their primary mission is the infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces and the air refueling of special operations helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft.

Members of the family include the MC-130E Combat Talon I, MC-130H Combat Talon II, MC-130W Combat Spear, and MC-130P Combat Shadow. Prices of these aircrafts range from US$60-70 million.

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MC-130E Combat Talon I

This aircraft is operated by 7 crews and has the capacity of accommodating 77 troops, 52 paratroopers or 57 litter patients. This 30.4 meter-long specialized military aircraft can attain a maximum speed of 482 km/h.

10.) EC-130 Psychological and Information Operations

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The EC-130 Commando Solo, which is developed by Lockheed based on C-130 Hercules, is capable of flying day or night and is air refuelable. This specialized military aircraft was used extensively during the Gulf War.

This aircrafts primary used is to conduct psychological operations (PSYOP) and civil affairs broadcast missions in the Gulf War. This 29.7 meter long aircraft is worth US$90 million and can attain a cruiser speed of 540 km/h.

11.) KC-10 Extender Air-to-Air Tanker Aircraft

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The KC-10 Extender of the US Air Force is an air-to-air tanker aircraft. This specialized military aircraft developed by McDonnell Douglas is derived from DC-10-30. It was introduces in 1981 and a unit is worth US$88.4 million. It is operated by 4 crews – pilot, copilot, flight engineer and boom operator.

This 54.4 meter long military aircraft with a loading capacity 269,000 kg has maximum speed of 996 km/h.

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