National Museum of the USAF: Part 2: The Cold War Military Airplanes (Winter 2013)

… and again we go at it! The previous post cover the planes of WWII (National Museum of USAF: Part 1 WWII Military Airplanes). The National Museum of the USAF – this time – The Planes of the Cold War! What a topic – The Cold War Period had sooooo many wonderful aircraft. It looks like the Soviet Union and the United States were in some race to develop better planes! 🙂 It was proven in the past that the arms race make the technological progress more rapid. The Cold War period was not different!

Let me show some amazing planes from the displays of the USAF National Museum. The first aircraft is truly awesome – not only because of its size but because of its adaptability to the changing military requirements over the time! Boeing B-52D Stratofortress or as called by the aviation and USAF crazy fanatics the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fucker). This platform was designed to be an accurate and ultimate long range, strategic bomber and for a long time was a primary way of delivering the US nuclear arsenal.  Boeing began the development process for B-52 in 1946 with introduction of

Boeing B-52D Stratofortress from the front
Boeing B-52D Stratofortress from the front

first bomber to the USAF units in 1955. B-52 is still currently flying and during more than a half-century in service, it received numerous upgrades.  More than 700 different variations of this versatile bomber were produced.

Boeing B-52D Stratofortress main wheels
Boeing B-52D Stratofortress main wheels

Lets look at some ordinance that B-52 was designed to carry as its payload. The cargoes were the ultimate and true doomsday devices.

The Mark 41 Thermonuclear bomb
The Mark 41 Thermonuclear bomb

It is important to understand that during B-52 tenure as the delivery platform, its payload continually evolved and became more and more lethal. That is true for the nuclear ordinance as for the conventional types of payload. Pictured below is the improved version of the “Fat Man” device which was dropped on Nagasaki. Mark VI Aerial Bomb was the first mass-produced nuclear weapon and it was retired in 1962 and replaced by generation II devices.

Mark VI Aerial Bomb
Mark VI Aerial Bomb

The Mark-17 Thermonuclear Bomb was another example of the weapon which was designed to ensure mutual destruction between the superpowers.

The Mark-17 Thermonuclear
The Mark-17 Thermonuclear Bomb

The next aircraft is Cessna O-2A Skymaster. It was used as a forward air controller and observation plane during the Vietnam war.

Cessna O-2A Skymaster
Cessna O-2A Skymaster

The Cold War gallery would not be complete without aircraft designed by the former Soviet Union. Therefore, here we have beautiful Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29A – or as called in the NATO – Fulcrum. The design on MiG-29 began in early 1970 and first

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29A
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29A

aircrafts were delivered to the Soviet Air Force in the beginning of the 1980s.

Below there are some additional photos of numerous other aircraft on display in the National Museum of the USAF. Enjoy!

 

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