10 planes that changed the war in the air. Opinion of "Military Review"

In the comments to the article We Are The Mighty: 10 Fighters Changing the Air War one of the readers said that if we had a rating, then it would be completely different. I completely agree.

And since colleague Ryabov showed simply the wonders of diplomacy, commenting on this star-striped celebration in the air, then well, let’s approach the issue not so diplomatically.

“However, some features of this rating leave questions, including uncomfortable. Its authors can be suspected of prejudice against a particular technique and, as a consequence, a lack of objectivity ” (K. Ryabov).


Well, as Lavrov took lessons from Cyril. In fact, the rating is very so-so, because it was made by an American who, perhaps, except for the Su-27, does not know the planes of other countries. But that is not the point. The main thing is that we ourselves are quite capable of compiling our rating of such machines, which really made a huge contribution to the development of military aviation.

More fair, in my opinion.

In a recent article, I already asked this question: how to properly evaluate aircraft? What are the criteria or parameters?

Here I consider it appropriate to talk not about certain innovations, because then the entire rating will surely consist of sophisticated American “wunder” who are crammed with everything, but there’s no sense in it.

We will talk about epoch-making constructions that really influenced the further development of military aviation. And - not least - on specific examples. And then go really appreciate that there innovation stuffed into F-117 and F-35 ...

Please do not pay attention to the serial numbers in the ranking, we will just go along the time line, starting from our first hero.

1. Wright "Flyer-1". USA, 1903


This device was released in one copy and was not a combat aircraft. He generally was a stretch with a stretch. But: the aircraft with a man took off in the air with engine thrust, flew forward and landed in place with a height equal to the height of the take-off place. That is, did not fall, but still flew by. Thus beginning the era of aviation heavier than air.



2. Sikorsky "Ilya Muromets." Russia, 1914


The first real bomber. The first is really a heavy bomber, and if we compare the tasks that were performed by Ilya Muromets during the First World War and, say, the B-29 in the Second, then this is also the first strategic bomber.


A plane capable of moving 500 kg of bombs to a distance of 500 km at the speed of an average fighter - in those days it was really a miracle. Regardless of the headwind, like zeppelin-bombers, having the ability to fight off several enemy fighters alone, the Ilya Muromets was really an apparatus from the future.


The genius of Igor Sikorsky is the genius of a man who felt the air with his fingertips ... "Ilya Muromets" is a prototype of Pe-8, "Lancaster" and B-29. And globally - and the Tu-95.

3. Fokker E. Eindecker. Germany, 1915


Who was the first to push the machine gun into the fighter’s cockpit, we don’t know. There was a war, and the thoughts of many worked in the same direction. Initially, the pilots fought with each other using personal weapons, that is, pistols. There were a huge number of very exotic ways of dealing with the enemy, but the machine gun definitely became the main one.

10 planes that changed the war in the air. Opinion of "Military Review"

So the second on the list will be exactly the work of Anton Fokker, and not a simple fighter, namely the Fokker E, because for the first time a mechanical synchronizer was installed on it for firing through the plane of the screw. The epoch-making device, which we already spoke about in one of the articles.


In addition, although some Fokker was accused of copying a Moran-Solnez aircraft, unlike the French, Fokker had an all-metal welded frame made of pipes.

Well, the metal corners that the French used to protect the propeller blades from bullets are still a military collective farm, not a synchronizer.

4. SPAD S.XII. France, 1917


The French line came up. Here we will focus not just on the SPAD S.XII fighter, but on its modification of the SPAD S.XII Ca.1. “Sa” means Canon, that is, cannon.


The idea of ​​installing a gun on an airplane belongs to the French ace Georges Gimener (53 victory), and the French engineers were able to translate this into metal.

The main weapon of the aircraft was the Puto gun of the 37 mm caliber, located in the camber of the Ispano-Suiza engine block and firing through the propeller shaft. The gun was loaded manually, the target was guided along the tracks of the Vickers machine gun coaxial with it.


Despite the fact that the world's first serial cannon fighter did not live up to its expectations, it takes its rightful place in the list. Yes, a single-charge gun with manual reloading was, to put it mildly, inconvenient for air combat, but from that moment on, the cannon in the collapse of the engine cylinders became a classic until the end of World War II.

5. Messerschmitt Bf.109Е. Germany, 1938


Speaking of 109, I note that he ended up here because this is actually the first successful fighter with a liquid-cooled engine. The pioneer of the era of such engines was released in crazy quantities and fought the entire Second World War from the first to the last day. In the modifications, of course.


But, most importantly, Bf.109 has become a role model all over the world. It was looking at the results of the application of 109 in Spain, the engineers of all countries worked, who were to become participants in that war.

And have gained. Spitfires, Mustangs, Yaki - all in general were done with an eye on the creation of Messerschmitt.

The liquid-cooled motor itself was a very, very controversial decision, but it served for a very long time in the air forces of many countries of the world.

6. Messerschmitt ME-262. Germany, 1941


With "Swallow" everything is clear, we also disassembled it. The first sensible jet fighter, which not only tried to fight, so he did it.


Yes, 262 is a representative of a slightly different branch, but he fought along with piston aircraft, and it cannot be said that he was so superior to them. Shot down "swallows" and the Americans and ours. Not that easily, but shot down.

7. Ilyushin IL-2. USSR, 1942


You can argue for a long time about which aircraft was the first attack aircraft. But the fact that the IL-2 is the first attack aircraft, which was conceived as a plane for attack, is unlikely to be challenged by anyone.


The armored box, which was included in the power set of the glider, is also an innovation. But mainly, in addition to the fact that the IL-2 was not converted into an attack aircraft from an obsolete fighter (a common practice), but was originally designed.

Much can be said about his role in that war, but the fact that he is still the most massive in stories humanity by plane, says a lot. An ideal aircraft for precision frontal strikes.

8. Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress". USA, 1937


A plane that has become a symbol of destruction. Record holder for the number of bombs dropped. And I’m sure that not a single plane destroyed as much as the Flying Fortress did.


Yes, the reputation could have been more abrupt, since there is not much honor in crushing the rubble of cities with civilians.

But the fact: it was the “Fortresses” that the discovery of a new war in the air belongs to. The total destruction of everything and everything on earth. Later, the US Air Force will implement this principle in Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq and many other places, but it was the Fortresses that laid the foundation for everything.

9. Heinkel He.219 "Uhu." Germany, 1942


Night fighter, besides released not the largest series. However, this is actually a bridge between eras.


This plane was forgotten immediately after the war, but the principles that were implemented in it became a classic of the genre.

Radar, “friend or foe” defendant, ejected crew seats, pressurized cockpit, remotely controlled machine gun installations, powerful cannon weapons.

Yes, the Eagle Owl could not play a significant role in the war. But here is precisely the case when a lot of the new applied in the design, forever received a residence permit in modern aircraft.

10. Fairey Swordfish UK, 1934


Someone will say now: Lord, this is a miracle, what has forgotten here? And it will be absolutely wrong!


This flying chumokhod is really one of the most productive strike aircraft! And with the advent of torpedo bombers, life on the sea ceased to be simple and beautiful. The ships began to sink!

The Swordfish played a huge role in the sinking of Bismarck. If it weren’t for the torpedo dropped from the plane, the British would have cried for the "worse" for a long time and bloody tears.

The Swordfish set up the forerunner of Pearl Harbor, the Taranto massacre, sending two battleships (Littorio and Conti di Cavour) to the bottom at the cost of two aircraft and damaging the battleship, two cruisers and two destroyers.

"Swordfish" holds the record of sinking three torpedoes of four ships. In the harbor of Sidi-Barani (territory of Egypt, occupied by Italians in 1940), two submarines and a transport with ammunition were destroyed by three torpedoes. Vehicles exploded and sent a destroyer docked to it to replenish ammunition.

Here is such a rating among the aircraft of the first half of the last century. And I’m sure it’s pretty fair, because there’s nothing to bring together the F-117 of the end of the 20 century and the “Fokker” from the beginning. Different eras, different classes of aircraft.

But this is a matter of taste, and we argue about tastes, there is such a thing.

However, here are 10 aircraft of the first half of the last century that really changed the essence of the war in the air. Maybe someone will disagree, I repeat, all these comparisons are a thankless task.

However, for the second half of the 20 century, it is simply necessary to make a review, since the era of jet aircraft has arrived. Other rules, other principles.

So to be continued.
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