List of NASA aircraft

This is a list of NASA aircraft. Throughout its history NASA has used several different types of aircraft on a permanent, semi-permanent, or short-term basis. These aircraft are usually surplus, but in a few cases are newly built, military aircraft.

United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program

TOPGUNNavy Fighter Weapons SchoolTop Gun
At that time, the predominant enemy aircraft were the Russian-built transonic MiG-17 "Fresco" and the supersonic MiG-21 "Fishbed". Topgun initially operated the A-4 Skyhawk and borrowed USAF T-38 Talons to simulate the flying characteristics of the MiG-17 and MiG-21, respectively. The school also used Marine-crewed A-6 Intruders and USAF F-106 aircraft when available. Later, the T-38 was replaced by the F-5E and F-5F Tiger II. One British writer claimed that the early school was influenced by a group of a dozen flying instructors from the British Fleet Air Arm who were assigned to Miramar as exchange pilots and served as instructors in VF-121.

Dayton, Ohio

DaytonDayton, OHDayton Ohio
Dayton is the sixth-largest city in the state of Ohio and the county seat of Montgomery County. A small part of the city extends into Greene County. The 2018 U.S. census estimate put the city population at 140,640, while Greater Dayton was estimated to be at 803,416 residents. This makes Dayton the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Ohio and 63rd in the United States. Dayton is within Ohio's Miami Valley region, just north of Greater Cincinnati.

English Electric Lightning

LightningLightningsBAC Lightning
During British Airways trials in April 1985, Concorde was offered as a target to NATO fighters including F-15 Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-14 Tomcats, Mirages, and F-104 Starfighters – but only Lightning XR749, flown by Mike Hale and described by him as "a very hot ship, even for a Lightning", managed to overtake Concorde on a stern conversion intercept. During the 1960s, as strategic awareness increased and a multitude of alternative fighter designs were developed by Warsaw Pact and NATO members, the Lightning's range and firepower shortcomings became increasingly apparent.

LTV A-7 Corsair II

A-7 Corsair IIA-7D Corsair IIA-7
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons began replacing the Air National Guard Corsairs beginning in the late 1980s and the last were retired in 1993 by the units at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio; Des Moines Air National Guard Base, Iowa; Tulsa Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma; and Springfield Air National Guard Base, Ohio. USN A-7 Corsairs began being phased out of the fleet during the mid-1980s with the arrival of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. A-7 squadrons of the United States Navy Reserve transitioned concurrent with (but prior to the completion of) all Regular Navy squadrons.

Convair F-106 Delta Dart

F-106 Delta DartF-106Convair F-106A Delta Dart
Later fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle carried missiles recessed in the fuselage or externally, but stealth aircraft would re-adopt the idea of carrying missiles or bombs internally for reduced radar signature. The first ejection seat fitted to early F-106s was a variation of the seat used by the F-102 and was called the Weber interim seat. It was a catapult seat which used an explosive charge to propel it clear of the aircraft. This seat was not a zero-zero seat and was inadequate for ejections at supersonic speeds as well as ground level ejections and ejections at speeds below 120 kn and 2,000 ft.

McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle

F-15E Strike EagleF-15EF-15I
The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle had been introduced by the USAF as a replacement for its fleet of McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIs. However, unlike the F-4, the F-15 was designed for the air-superiority mission with little consideration for a ground-attack role; the F-15 Special Project Office opposed the idea of F-15s performing the interdiction mission, giving rise to the phrase "Not a pound for air to ground." In service, the F-15 has been a very successful fighter, with over 100 aerial combat victories and zero losses in air-to-air combat as of 2007. Despite a lack of official interest, McDonnell Douglas quietly worked on an F-15-derived interdictor fighter.


AMRAAMAIM-120Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile
But while the USAF had passed on the Phoenix and their own similar AIM-47/YF-12 to optimize dogfight performance, they still needed a multiple-launch fire-and-forget capability for the F-15 and F-16. AMRAAM would need to be fitted on fighters as small as the F-16, and fit in the same spaces that were designed to fit the Sparrow on the F-4 Phantom. The European partners needed AMRAAM to be integrated on aircraft as small as the Sea Harrier. The US Navy needed AMRAAM to be carried on the F/A-18 Hornet and wanted capability for two to be carried on a launcher that normally carried one Sparrow to allow for more air-to-ground weapons.

United States Air Force Academy

U.S. Air Force AcademyAir ForceAir Force Academy
Static air- and spacecraft displays on the Academy grounds include an F-4, F-15, F-16 and F-105 on the Terrazzo; a B-52 by the North Gate; a T-38 and A-10 at the airfield; an F-100 by the preparatory school; a SV-5J lifting body next to the aeronautics laboratory; and a Minuteman III missile in front of the Fieldhouse. The Minuteman III was removed 12 years ago in August 2008 due to rusting and other internal damage. The "Core Values Ramp" (formerly known as the "Bring Me Men Ramp") leads down from the main Terrazzo level toward the parade field.

IAI Kfir

KfirF-21F-21/C-2 Kfir
In the end, the J79 was selected, not least because it was the same engine used on the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, which the Israelis began to acquire from the United States in 1969, along with a license to produce the J79 themselves. The J79 was clearly superior to the original French Atar 09, providing a dry thrust of 49 kN (11,000 lbf) and an afterburning thrust of 83.4 kN (18,750 lbf).

555th Fighter Squadron

555th Tactical Fighter Squadron555th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron555th TFS
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II (1964–1974). McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle (1974–1994). F-16C/D block 40 Fighting Falcon (1994 – present). 555th Fighter Squadron Fact Sheet. 555th Fighter Squadron Fact Sheet. 555th Fighter Squadron Fact Sheet. 555th Fighter Squadron Fact Sheet.

Holloman Air Force Base

Holloman AFBAlamogordo Army Air FieldAlamogordo Army Airfield
Aircraft flown by the 4758th DSES were the B-57 Canberra and F-100 Super Sabre. On 31 October 1970 the squadron was merged with the 4677th DSES at Tyndall AFB Florida. On 1 August 1970, per Air Force Systems Command Special Order G-94, the AFMDC was inactivated and Tactical Air Command assumed host responsibilities for Holloman Air Force Base. Associate units and programs transferred to other locations within Air Force Systems Command. The Test & Evaluation activities that remained were the Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility (CIGTF), the High Speed Test Track, the Radar Target Scatter Facility (RATSCAT), and the Target Drone Facility.


fighter bomberfighter bomberstactical fighter
Notable among these is the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, first designed as a high-performance day fighter and then adapted to the nuclear strike role for European use. Another such aircraft was the Indian HAL HF-24 Marut. It was used during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, and only three aircraft were lost to ground fire. One aerial kill recorded by Marut flown by Squadron Leader K.K. Bakshi of 220 Squadron shot down a PAF F-86 Sabre on 7 Dec 71 (Flag Officer Hamid Khwaja of 15 Squadron PAF). Other U.S. examples include the North American F-100 Super Sabre and (perhaps most famously) the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, each of which were widely used during the Vietnam War. Dive bomber.

3rd Wing

3d Wing3d Tactical Fighter Wing3rd Tactical Fighter Wing
F-15 Reporter (1949). RF-80 (1949–1950). C-47 Skytrain (1951). B-57 Canberra (1956–1963). B-50 Superfortress (1960–1961). B-50 Superfortress (1960–1962). C-130 Hercules (1961–1962, 1992–present). F-102 Delta Dagger (1961–1962). F-100 Super Sabre (1964–1970). Northrop F-5 (1965–1967, 1977–1988). A-1 Skyraider (1965–1966). U-10 (1965–1966). C/AC/HC-47 (1965–1966). A-37 Dragonfly (1967–1970). F-4 Phantom II (1971–1974, 1974–1991). T-33 Shooting Star (1974–1987). McDonnell Douglas C-9 (1974–1975). CH-3 (1974–1975). T-38 Talon (1976–1980). C-130H (2010–present). UH-1N Iroquois (1989–1991). F-15 Eagle (1991–2010). C-12 Huron (1992–2006). E-3 Sentry (1993–present).

Vietnam People's Air Force

Vietnamese People's Air ForceNorth Vietnamese Air ForceVietnamese Air Force
In 1965, the NVAF were supplied with supersonic MiG-21s by the USSR which were used for high speed GCI controlled hit and run intercepts against American air strike groups. The MiG-21 tactics became so effective, that by late 1966, an operation was mounted to especially deal with the MiG-21 threat. Led by Colonel Robin Olds on 2 January 1967, Operation Bolo lured MiG-21s into the air, thinking they were intercepting a F-105 strike group, but instead found a sky full of missile armed F-4 Phantom IIs set for aerial combat. The result was a loss of almost half the inventory of MiG-21 interceptors, at a cost of no US losses. The VPAF (NVAF) stood down for additional training after this setback.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23

The General Dynamics F-111 and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II were the main Western influences on the MiG-23. The Soviets, however, wanted a much lighter, single-engined fighter to maximize agility. Both the F-111 and the MiG-23 were designed as fighters, but the heavy weight and inherent stability of the F-111 turned it into a long-range interdictor and kept it out of the fighter role. The MiG-23's designers kept the MiG-23 light and agile enough to dogfight with enemy fighters. The MiG-23's armament evolved as the type's avionics were upgraded and new variants were deployed.

General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon operators

List of F-16 Fighting Falcon operatorsoperators pageProject Falcon
One of the former members of the Warsaw Pact that was looking to replace an aging fleet of Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 (withdrawn in service in 1999 due to their small numbers and uneconomical operation) and the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 fighters (withdrawn from service in 2003), Poland conducted a competition between the Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2, the JAS 39 Gripen, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 (the last offer was withdrawn), and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Despite a strong challenge by the BAe/SAAB team, Poland purchased 48 F-16C/D-52+ aircraft.

Northrop Corporation

NorthropNorthrop AircraftNorthrop Aircraft Corporation
Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter and Tiger II. Northrop F-15 Reporter. Northrop YF-17. Northrop F-20 Tigershark. Northrop YF-23. Northrop F-89 Scorpion. Northrop XFT. Northrop Gamma. Northrop HL-10. Northrop M2-F2. Northrop M2-F3. Northrop N-1M. Northrop N-3PB. Northrop N-9M. Northrop N-102 Fang. Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet. Northrop P-61 Black Widow. Northrop XP-79. Northrop T-38 Talon. Northrop Tacit Blue. Northrop X-4 Bantam. Northrop X-21. Northrop N-4 (USAAF pursuit). Northrop N-5 (USAAF pursuit). Northrop N-6 (Navy fighter design). Northrop N-15 (2-engine cargo plane). Northrop N-34 (nuclear-powered flying wing bomber design). Northrop N-55 (patrol aircraft).

Mikoyan MiG-29

MiG-29MiG 29MiG-29 Fulcrum
Developed by the Mikoyan design bureau as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s, the MiG-29, along with the larger Sukhoi Su-27, was developed to counter new U.S. fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. The MiG-29 entered service with the Soviet Air Forces in 1982. While originally oriented towards combat against any enemy aircraft, many MiG-29s have been furnished as multirole fighters capable of performing a number of different operations, and are commonly outfitted to use a range of air-to-surface armaments and precision munitions.

57th Wing

57th Fighter Weapons Wing57th Fighter Wing57th Fighter Group
F-4 Phantom II (1969–1985, 1993–1995). F-100 Super Sabre (1969). F-105 Thunderchief (1969–1975). F-111 Aardvark (1969–1995). T-39 Sabreliner (1969–1972). T-38 Talon (1972–1990). F-5 Freedom Fighter (1975–1989). F-15 Eagle (1976 – 2014). A-10 Thunderbolt II (1977 – present). F-16 Falcon (1980 – present). UH-1 Iroquois (1981–1985). B-1 Lancer (1993–1999). B-52 Stratofortress (1993–1999). HH-60 Pave Hawk (1993 – present). MQ-1 Predator (1995–2007). KC-135R Stratotanker (2006-). MQ-9 Reaper (2007-). F-22 Raptor (2010-). F-35 (2013-). Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN: 0-89201-092-4.

Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force

Iranian Air ForceAir ForceIRIAF
In 2006, after Iranian media published a series of reports suggesting that Venezuela was interested in selling its 21 F-16 Fighting Falcons to Iran, a Hugo Chavez adviser confirmed to the Associated Press that "Venezuela's military is considering selling its fleet of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to another country, possibly Iran, in response to a U.S. ban on arms sales to President Hugo Chávez's government". In response, Sean McCormack, a U.S. State Department spokesperson, warned Venezuela that "without the written consent of the United States, Venezuela can't transfer these defense articles, and in this case F-16s, to a third country".

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

A-10 Thunderbolt IIA-10A-10 Thunderbolt
Navy's F-4 Phantom II. While the Phantom went on to be one of the most successful fighter designs of the 1960s, and proved to be a capable fighter-bomber, its lack of loiter time was a major problem, and to a lesser extent, its poor low-speed performance. It was also expensive to buy and operate, with a flyaway cost of $2 million in FY1965 ($ million today), and operational costs over $900 per hour ($ per hour today). After a broad review of its tactical force structure, the U.S. Air Force decided to adopt a low-cost aircraft to supplement the F-4 and F-111. It first focused on the Northrop F-5, which had air-to-air capability.

Air-to-air missile

air-to-airair-to-air missilesAAM
AIM-7 Sparrow – medium-range semi-active radar. AIM-9 Sidewinder – short-range IR. AIM-26 Falcon. AIM-47 Falcon. AIM-54 Phoenix – long-range, semi-active and active radar; retired in 2004. AIM-92 Stinger. AIM-120 AMRAAM – medium-range, active radar; replaces AIM-7 Sparrow. Small Advanced Capabilities Missile (SACM) - Under development. Air-to-air rocket. Missile. Missile guidance. Guided missile. List of missiles. Missile designation.

North American F-86 Sabre

F-86 SabreF-86North American F-86F Sabre
The most notable use of the F-86 Sabres was in the Blue Diamonds aerobatic display team, which operated eight Sabres until the arrival of the newer, supersonic Northrop F-5. The F-86s were subsequently phased out of service in the 1970s as the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter and Vought F-8 Crusaders became the primary fighters and interceptors of the PhAF. Antonio Bautista was a Blue Diamonds pilot and a decorated officer. He was killed on 11 January 1974 during a combat sortie against rebels in the south of the country. During the Korean War, the Soviets were searching for an intact U.S. F-86 Sabre for evaluation/study purposes.

Trainer aircraft

trainertrainingtraining aircraft
Early jet aerobatic teams tended to use combat types such as the Hawker Hunter, English Electric Lightning, and North American F-100 Super Sabre. As air forces' combat fleets were scaled-down, it made sense for most national display teams to change to lighter training types. A few modifications may be needed to enable coloured smoke to be emitted during displays, but essentially these airframes can still perform their pilot training function. In smaller air forces basic trainers, in addition to being used for training, are used to provide air support in the counter-insurgency and airborne forward air control role. Most advanced trainers are capable of carrying and delivering war loads.