The Lockheed C-141 Starlifter, which first flew in December 1961, well in advance of the new management techniques. A high-wing transport powered by four turbofan engines, the C-141 was, in terms of technology, a logical advance from the first generation of jet transports rather than a sudden shattering of previous limits on size or performance. The Starlifter could carry 154 troops a distance of 4,000 miles or accommodate 7,000 cubic feet of cargo. Rollers in the floor of the cargo compartment raised or lowered to facilitate the loading of either flat-bottom pallets or wheeled vehicles through an opening at the rear of the cargo bay. Because the Military Air Transport Service had an immediate need for an intercontinental jet aircraft with a spacious cargo compartment easily accessible from the rear, the C-141 entered service in the spring of 1965, as soon as crews and aircraft became available, even before operational testing was completed.
The Navy had originally hoped to replace the F/A-18 with a navalized version of the USAF’s advanced tactical fighter (ATF), but as events turned out, the winning entry, the Lockheed YF-22, proved to be too costly to supply the numbers of aircraft that would be needed after the year 2000. Because of the risks associated with ATF, the Navy simultaneously investigated the feasibility of procuring an improved derivative of the F/A-18 under a plan known as Hornet 2000, which eventually led, in early 1992, to a contract for the development of the F/A-18E (single-seat) and F (two-seat) Super Hornet.
In 1948, the Canadian government decided to re-equip the RCAF with the F-86 Sabre and Canadair was contracted to produce them in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. An initial batch of 10 aircraft was ordered for tool verification. The Korean War changed this to a production batch of 100 aircraft. Canadair slowly built up its production facility to make all components with related equipment obtained from other Canadian suppliers. Canadair gave the Sabre the project number CL-13.
The ‘Fighters’ II
The Fw 190 D (nicknamed the Dora; or Long-Nose Dora, “Langnasen-Dora”) was intended to improve on the high-altitude performance of the A-series enough to make it useful against the American heavy bombers of the era. In the event, the D series was rarely used against the heavy-bomber raids, as the circumstances of the war in late 1944 meant that fighter-versus-fighter combat and ground attack missions took priority. A total of 1,805 D-9s were produced. Production started in August 1944.
It must have seemed like Germany of 1918 all over again for those unlucky enough to have experienced it. Rice was pressed into unappealing little cakes and flavored with animal fat. Flour was made from nuts and turned into something resembling bread while ersatz, vaguely resembling coffee, was once again brewed from roasted oats.
The ‘Fighters’ I
The first Griffon-powered Spitfires suffered from poor high altitude performance due to having only a single stage supercharged engine. By 1943, Rolls-Royce engineers had developed a new Griffon engine, the 61 series, with a two-stage supercharger. In the end it was a slightly modified engine, the 65 series, which was used in the Mk XIV. The resulting aircraft provided a substantial performance increase over the Mk IX. Although initially based on the Mk VIII airframe, common improvements made in aircraft produced later included the cut-back fuselage and tear-drop canopies, and the E-Type wing with improved armament.
From its beginning, the Second World War appeared to be an unquestionable Axis success. Fortunately, Hitler’s military decisions combined with the geography of the Soviet Union, the Pacific Ocean, and the English Channel to give the Allies a few desperately needed advantages. For the most part, these opportunities were seized and used with considerable fighting skill until overwhelming American war production took effect. The pivotal year was 1942, with the Japanese blunted in the Pacific and Hitler’s Reich halted in Russia. Operation Torch brought Allied landings into North Africa that would threaten Europe’s belly and eventually shatter the Axis. Despite the Allied debacle at Kasserine Pass, May 1943 saw the remnants of the Afrikakorps with their backs to the sea and surrendering at Cap Bon, Tunisia. This came just five weeks after the German Sixth Army, surrounded and starving, capitulated at Stalingrad.
Israeli Intelligence – Enemy Aircraft
The probably most unlucky MiG-21F-13 ever built – but also the best known of all – was this example, originally belonging to the No. 11 Sqn IrAF, but flown on 12 August 1966 by Capt. Monir Rdfa from Iraq via Jordan to Israel. The MiG-21F-13 was not the most potent version at the time any more, but the Israelis still tested it extensively, learning everything there was about its performances and capabilities.
First flown in 1955 and extensively exported, the delta-wing Soviet MiG-21 was superior to anything in Israel’s inventory in 1967. High thrust-to-weight gave it good acceleration and rate of climb. The MiG-21 could not turn as tightly as the MiG-17, which some pilots preferred even though the MiG-17 was subsonic and the MiG-21 supersonic. Skillful Israeli pilots could beat the MiG-21 even while flying greatly inferior aircraft such as the Ouragan or Super Mystere. During the Arab-Israeli wars, Egypt operated hundreds of MiG-21F-13, MiG-21FL, MiG- 21M, MiG-21MF, MiG-21PF, and MiG-21PFM interceptors as well as training and reconnaissance versions. Egypt bought 100 Chinese built MiG-21F-13 fighters (the F-7) in the 1980s. The MiG-21F-13 had a 1,350-mph maximum speed and a 50,000-foot ceiling. Range was 808 miles on internal fuel. Armament consisted of one 20-mm cannon and two Vympel K-13 air-to-air missiles (a Soviet copy of the American AIM-9 Sidewinder). The MiG-21 weighed 10,979 pounds empty and 19,014 pounds loaded.
MARTIN/GENERAL DYNAMICS RB-57F
Military Air Transport Service (and its successor organization Military Airlift Command) was frequently used by the USAF for clandestine, special operations missions prior to the establishment of Air Force Special Operations Command in the 1980s. The RB-57F, with its very high-altitude ceiling was frequently used as a strategic reconnaissance aircraft when necessary. Four of the aircraft were operated as reconnaissance aircraft, two with the 56th SRS at Yokota, and two with the 59th SRS at Kirtland AFB. The aircraft at Kirtland AFB were deployed to Europe where they were operated by the 7407th Support Squadron at Rhein-Main AB, West Germany.
On 14 December 1965, one of the RB-57Fs (63-13287) operating from Rhein-Main AB was lost during a mission over the Black Sea. What actually happened is still uncertain. There were reports that the aircraft had been shot down by a Soviet S-75 Dvina Surface-to-air missile, but at the time, the official statement by the USAF was that the aircraft crew had probably perished from an oxygen system failure, since it took over an hour for the aircraft to spiral down from altitude and fall into the Black Sea. Although seven or eight days were spent searching for the wreckage, only small bits and pieces of it were ever found. However, there were also reports that the two crew members were captured alive by the Soviets, with their ultimate fate being uncertain.