monster machines
This Absurd Flying Whale Ushered in a New Age of Stealth Technology

Not every program DARPA undertakes can be another Big Dog—the agency has had its fair share of fizzled experiments over the years—but even those failures can yield exciting new insights. Just look at the Northrop Tacit Blue, a plane so unwieldy it incorporated more redundancy than the Space Shuttle but also demonstrated the potency of curved stealth design. Read More >>

monster machines
The Grandfather of the Space Shuttle Looked Like a UFO

In the late 1950s, at the dawn of the Space Age, the idea that a wingless vehicle could somehow generate lift just from its body shape was seen as beyond preposterous. But less than a decade later, this early forerunner of the Space Shuttle proved the design far more science than fiction. Read More >>

monster machines
​Lockheed's Bird of Prey: A Prototype Jet Worthy of the Klingon Empire

One of the most intriguing products of the Phantom Works that really was a denizen of Area 51 on George Muellner's watch was the Bird of Prey. Visually, this aircraft possessed the strange, but sleek design characteristics that are appreciated by those in the world of extraterrestrial buffs. It was even named after an alien spaceship. According to James Wallace, writing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of October 18, 2002, it is named for a class of Klingon starships first seen in the 1984 motion picture Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Read More >>

history
The Insane 1940s Flight Sim That Taught WWII Airmen to Refuel in Midair

Performing a midair fuel transfer between aircraft is among the most technically challenging maneuvers in aviation, especially when flying a prop-driven, WWII-era C-97 Stratotanker. That's why neophyte pilots spent hours at the controls of this life-size simulator before they ever set foot in the real thing. Read More >>

military
The Only Thing Keeping the F-35 Lightning Relevant is the F-22 Raptor

Even if they are primarily just cheap knockoffs, China's rapidly growing fleet of next-gen aircraft are poised to challenge American air superiority in the coming years. To prevent that, argues Chief of U.S. Air Force Air Command, Command Gen. Michael Hostage, we'll need plenty of fifth-generation fighters—no matter the cost. Read More >>

monster machines
The US Air Force Prototype Fighter That Was Never Quite Good Enough

Despite the US military's robust budget, not every design makes it onto the battlefield. In fact, only a select number of the very best designs ever actually fly. So what the hell was the USAF thinking choosing the defect-ridden F-22 Raptor over this gorgeous jet? Read More >>

military
Area 51's Secrets Revealed in Declassified Papers

Documents recently declassified by the United States National Security Archive reveal that the secret Nevada test site was indeed playing host to alien craft... Unfortunately for conspiracy theorists, however, they weren't from another planet, but the Soviet Union. Read More >>

drones
Nobody Wants to Fly Military Drones Because It's a Dead End Job

We've been hearing for years now unmanned aerial vehicles (a.k.a. drones) are the war machines of tomorrow, the weapons of a new age, the way of the future. There's only one problem: no one wants to fly the damn things. Read More >>

monster machines
How the USAF Keeps Tabs on Space Junk

In the 1980s, the US Air Force only knew about roughly 5,000 pieces of space debris orbiting our planet. By 2010 that number had tripled to 15,639 objects and our current space trash tracking system can't even detect some of the smaller bits zipping around up there. That's why the USAF is developing a new iteration of the venerable 'Space Fence' that's both more precise and more cost effective than its predecessor. Read More >>

monster machines
The HC-130J Combat King II: Combat Search and Rescue, Supersized

When an American aircraft goes down, be it over a remote training ground or behind enemy lines, the Air Force's crack teams of para rescue forces jump into action. The new HC-130J Combat King II is the plane that delivers them when the two-seater Apaches can't, even into active combat zones. Read More >>

image cache
The Tranquil, Tron-Like Beauty of a Plane Refueling in Mid-Air

You're looking at a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft being refueled by the 151st Air Refueling Wing over southern Idaho last week. But those are just details. What you're really looking at is a shock of beautiful, caught at a moment of technological awesomeness. [Flickr] Read More >>

watch this
F-16s Are Even More Awesome from the Inside

Goose only wishes he had moves like these. This stunning dash cam footage from an F-16 attached to the USAF 51st Wing captured some intense aerial action at the recent Red Flag-Alaska exercises—including mid-air refuellings, targeted bomb strikes, low-altitude flybys, and even a cameo appearance by a B-2 stealth bomber.[The Aviationist] Read More >>

giz explains
How NASA's Nuclear Rockets Will Take Us Way Beyond Mars

The first people to step on to the surface of Mars won't arrive aboard the chemical-fueled rockets that delivered Apollo 11 to the Moon — they simply don't provide enough thrust to get to the Red Planet before exposing their crews to months of dangerous space radiation. Instead, NASA is turning to long-ignored nuclear-thermal rocket technology to deliver the first Martian explorers into history. Read More >>

retromodo
This Is the Supersonic Flying Saucer the US Air Force Tried to Build

The government might still be keeping aliens from us, but they're no longer keeping this schematics of a supersonic flying saucer the Air Force was considering trying to build back in the 1950s. Meet Project 1794. Read More >>

image cache
If You Join the Air Force You Might Become a Superhero

Nope, that's not Captain America, but it's as close as you could ever get to feeling like a real superhero. His name is Robert Zackery, and he's a jumpmaster assigned to the USAF's 4th Air Support Operations Group. Read More >>

airplanes
Russia's Unmanned Strategic Nuclear Bomber Is a Really Terrible Idea

Top aerospace and defense company Tupolev is developing a new stealth plane that will replace Russia's mighty but aging nuclear strategic bomber fleet. Called the PAK-DA bomber, it will enter service in the mid-2020s, just in time to face the USAF's new stealth strategic nuclear bombers. But that's inoffensive compared to what's coming next. Read More >>

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