Military Aviation
Thesis: Military aircraft has become more sophisticated in variety,
effectiveness in war situations, and special maneuvering techniques in recent
years. Military aircraft has become more sophisticated in variety, effectiveness
in war situations, and special maneuvering techniques in recent years. With the
advance of stealth technology, many new and very effective aircraft have been
developed. The F-117A was used during Operation Dessert Storm and every plane
came back without a scratch. The very expensive B-2 stealth bomber has never
been used in actual war, but during testing it was a success. The Advanced

Tactical Fighter program was started to make an aircraft that could supercruise,
the ability to cruise at supersonic speeds, and didn\'t cost very much. The YF-22
and YF-23 were the first planes to accomplish this. With all the planes we know
of, there are also top secret programs probably going on right now. A new
fighter that has never been heard of before has been spotted. As John Welch, the
assistant secretary of Air Force said, "Stealth gives us back that
fundamental element of war called surprise" (Goodall 9). After it was found
that aircraft could be very useful in war, it was used for large scale
reconnaissance. Then people started to add bombs to aircraft and then airplanes
started to become an essence of war. After World War 2, new bombers were
developed with fast speed, and could travel far distances. They could also carry
nuclear bombs and missiles. The use of the bomber aircraft then led to the
fighter, which was equipped with guns and missiles. Helicopters were also found
to be good strike aircraft. They were armed with cannons, machine guns, rockets,
torpedoes, and a variety of missiles. Vertical takeoff made the helicopter an
advantage. The first flight of the F-117A was in June of 1981 in Groom Lake test
facility. The total cost for the development of the F-117A was just under two
billion dollars, but it only cost $43 million to make each plane. It became
operational in October of 1983 and was the first operational stealth aircraft
ever built. The F-117A is a night attack plane powered by two, nonafterburning

General Electric engines. F-117As were designed for first-strike capabilities
and to be able to fly into any countries airspace undetected. The primary task
of the F-117A is to break through enemy airspace, destroy high value targets,
and return back unharmed. They were considered to first be used in several
different tasks, but weren\'t used until Operation Dessert Storm where they did
an excellent job. As Donald Rice, Secretary of the Air Force, said,
"Everyone now agrees the F-117 was a real bargain" (9). During

Operation Dessert Storm the F-117As were found out to be very successful. The
war began on January 16, 1991 when the F-117A fighters entered the Iraqi
airspace on their way to downtown Baghdad. There were 43 of them over the skies
of Iraq and not one was lost even though they went against one of the most
modern air-defense systems in the world. Operation Dessert Storm was the largest
aerial bombing attack in war history. It was also the first time a stealth
aircraft was used as a main weapon. On the first day of Dessert Storm the

Lockheed F-117As dropped sixty-two 2,000 pound bombs on Baghdad destroying the
most critical targets of the Iraqi military, including the headquarters of the

Iraqi air force. "We\'ve seen that not only does stealth work, but that it
puts fewer assets at risk and saves lives" (9), as Donald Rice said. The
pilots of those F-117As flew through the hardest anti-aircraft missiles any
pilot has ever flown through. When you think of stealth, most people probably
think of B-2 stealth bomber, but most people don\'t realize that it hasn\'t even
been used in a real war situation yet. In November of 1987 the Pentagon ordered
the first four B-2s to be built for $2 billion. Each B-2 cost $437.4 million to
build. After the military liked the bomber, they originally ordered 133 of them,
then they cut back to 75 because of the deficit-reduction bill. Then, in 1992,
the House of Representatives voted to buy only twenty, and later only 15 saying
that 10 would be enough. With four General Electric engines with 19,000 pounds
of thrust each, the B-2s were made to carry a lot of weight. The Advanced

Technology Bomber, as it was called, was made so it couldn\'t be spotted by enemy
radar. After testing it was found out that it is almost impossible to track it
constantly using radar. The B-2s were designed to be an all-flying