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Introduction

These pages contain a list of the military aircraft, with short descriptions of each. It tries to give a bit of information about each military aircraft: Its name, its merits, how many were built, and other, similar, questions. If an aircraft type is fairly well known, most of this information can be found in books with relative ease. I tried to include also the unknown, the numerous prototypes that remained one-offs, the aircraft that performed minor roles, the weird prototypes. Completeness is the goal, but of course this is difficult to achieve. Any additions are welcome.

It is not always clear whether or not to include an aircraft in a list. The matter is of course easy enough if a fighter or bomber that was built and flown is concerned. But there are also numerous transport and liaison aircraft that were not designed for the military role, experimental aircraft built for government agencies, aircraft that were designed but never built, artist's drawings, and even aircraft that only 'existed' in the brains of propaganda officials or mistaken intelligence officers. Sometimes it is not very clear in which list an aircraft should be; e.g. Fokker built aircraft in the Netherlands, Germany and the USA. Arbitrary choices are inevitable.

There are now 6559 records, but not all of them describe separate aircraft. Some duplication reflects the use of aircraft by multiple countries; much more duplication is a consequence of the use of numerous designations for a single type.

The information is, in the ideal case, present in records of the following format:

Avro 683 Lancaster

(Britain)

The most used British heavy bomber of WWII. Lancasters flew 156000 missions. The Lancaster was a development of the unsatisfactory twin-engine Manchester. It had a rectangular fuselage, mid-set wing and twin tail fins and rudders. It was able to carry very heavy bombs and bulky 'special' weapons; with modifications to the bomb-bay even 10.000kg bombs were carried. 7378 built.

Type: Lancaster Mk. I
Function: bomber
Year: 1942 Crew: 7 Engines: 4 * 1280hp R.R. Merlin XX
Wing Span: 31.1m Length: 21.1m Height: 6.1m Wing Area: 120m2
Empty Weight: 16750kg Max.Weight:
Speed: 460km/h Ceiling: 7470m Range: 4800km
Armament: 10*mg7.7mm b9980kg

The text is followed by a data record. First the subtype is indicated to which the numbers are applicable; here this is the 'Lancaster Mk.I'. Most manufacturers and air forces are sensible enough to assign different designations to different subtypes, but this is not always the case. The year given is the year of service introduction of the given subtype, not that of first flight, or of service introduction of the general type. The engine power indicated is the maximum power; for jet engines this is the power with afterburner. Speed and Range are also maximum numbers. Especially the range number has a limited practical significance, but it is easier to compare the maximum range than the radius of action, because the latter may be influenced strongly by tactics and operational conditions.

The Armament or Load indicated is also a maximum value. Everywhere 'mg' means machinegun and 'g' cannon; the calibre is indicated if known. An armament load in kilograms or pounds can indicate bombs, depth charges, torpedos, missiles, fuel, additional guns, rockets, or even electronic equipment; the exact nature of the load is not indicated. A description like '2*b250kg' means that there are two attachment points with a maximum capacity of 250kg, and that the maximum load is 500kg. A load of '13150kg, 69seats' means 13150kg or 69 people.

Last but not least, a word about units. In a perfect world we would probably all use the same units; but the world isn't perfect. In general, I tried to use metric units. Conversion factors are as follows:

Length: (S.I.: meter)
1 meter = 2.81 ft = 39.3 in
1 foot = 0.3048 m = 12 in
1 inch = 0.0254 m
1 statute mile = 1608 m = 5280 ft
1 nautical mile = 1852 m = 6076 ft

Mass: (S.I. : kilogram)
1 pound = 0.4536 kg
1 kilogram = 2.205 lb

Force: (S.I. : Newton)
1 pound = 4.448 N = 0.4536 kgf
1 kilogram force = 9.807 N = 2.205 lb
1 Newton = 0.2248 lb = 0.1020 kgf

Power: (S.I. : Watt)
1 horsepower = 0.7457 kW
1 kilowatt = 1.341 hp

The horsepower used in countries with a metric units system is slightly different: Only 0.735499 kW. The difference is in this case not very significant, because the power of engines is almost always given with only two significant digits, and thus usually with an accuracy of less than 1%.