The fastest air force jet

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The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird holds the official Air Speed Record for a manned airbreathing jet aircraft with a speed of 3,530 km/h (2,193 mph). It was capable of taking off and landing unassisted on conventional runways. The record was set on 28 July 1976 by Eldon W. Joersz and George T. Morgan Jr. near Beale Air Force Base, California , USA . [47] SR-71 pilot Brian Shul reported in The Untouchables that he flew in excess of Mach 3.5 on 15 April 1986, over Libya, in order to avoid a missile. [48]

The official speed record for a seaplane moved by piston engine - still valid today - is 709.209 km/h, from the seaplane ("idrocorsa") Macchi-Castoldi M.C.72 , attained on 23 October 1934, by Francesco Agello . [49] It was equipped with the Fiat AS.6 engine (version 1934) developing a power of 3100 hp at 3300 rpm, with coaxial counter-rotating propellers. The original Macchi-Castoldi MC72 MM.181 seaplane that holds the record is kept in the Air Force Museum at Vigna di Valle in Italy.

Flying between any two airports allow a large number of combinations , so setting a speed record ("speed over a recognised course") is fairly easy with an ordinary aircraft ; it does require some paperwork. [72] [73] [74]

A study found F-16 has a 92:13 kill/loss ratio, with MiG 29 having a 16:28 kill/loss ratio. Largest share are Israeli Air Force with 52 claimed kills (2 unconfirmed), the Pakistani Air Force with 24 kills claimed. Turkish Air Force is third. As discussed above, this can have different reasons and doesn’t necessarily mean the F-16 is so much better.

The newer MiG-29 versions with the helmet mounted sight coupled with the AA-11 Archer missile gives the MiG-29 a great kill zone. Swiss Air Force F/A-18 pilots were very impressed by the German MiG-29 when they had a joint exercise with German Luftwaffe MiGs before they were sold to Poland. The ability to target enemy aircraft has proved to be a success, so that helmet mounted sights have become requirements on any new fighter program.

Another nice thing about the MiG-29 is that tourists can fly it. No joke. There is a MiG-29 UB two seater available for fighter jet rides in Russia. More information here .

The Economist titled “The last manned fighter” in an article about the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the most expensive defense project in history. The wildly over budget Joint Strike Fighter project will cost around USD 382 billion after several cuts. That’s near the 2011 GDP of South Africa (USD 408 billion) and above Thailands GDP (USD 345 billion).

The aim of the Joint Strike Fighter program was to achieve huge efficiency gains by replacing most of the ageing fleet of USAF, Navy and Marines military aircraft:

With unit cost of USD 154m for the F-35A, USD 237.7m for the F-35B and USD 236.8m for the F-35C it is really questionable if the efiiciency gains are still high with this figures. The Pentagon publicly criticized Lockheed Martin’s performance on the F-35 program.  MiGFlug’s American branch FlyFighterJet.com recently published an interesting blog post about the extremely expensive Lockheed Martin  F-22 Raptor being defeated  by German Eurofighters in a dogfight during a joint military exercise. The F-22 is the larger, twin-engine 5th generation fighter with similarities, the F-35 drew elements from it. The unit cost for the F-22 Raptor is around USD 400m.

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