Sunday, May 07, 2006

Airshow Beauties...And Movies

My base hosted an airshow this weekend. Naturally, I was there to photograph some of the beautiful machines on-scene.

Above is a picture of the F-35, the Joint Strike Fighter. Here's another look:

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is built by Lockheed Martin and is part of the effort to replace the bulk of the US fighter fleet with stealth aircraft. The JSF will replace the F-16 and A-10 fighter and attack aircraft in the Air Force, early model F/A-18s in the Navy, and aging AV-8B Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing fighters in the Marine Corps. Specially configured but highly similar variants of the JSF will be built for each of those services.

Movie Apperance: None that I know of...yet.

Here's an F-22 Raptor:

Ralph Peter's favorite jet. The stealthy F-22, in development since the mid-1980s, was recently declared battle ready. By that, the Air Force means it is able to swiftly defeat any aerial or surface-based air threat in the world today or projected to exist for a long time to come. The F-22 will allow US forces to gain entry into any combat theater of operations by destroying enemy air defenses—airborne or ground-based—and holding at risk targets well behind enemy lines.

The big "WARNING" sign just means that airshow attendants were not allowed to touch the plane. Pictures were OK, though.

Movie Appearance: Hulk. My favorite part of this otherwise crappy interpretation of one of my favorite comic-book characters is the battle between Hulk and an F-22 over the San Francisco Bay.

Book Appearance: Tom Clancy's Debt of Honor. A flight of F-22's goes up against a flight of Japanese F-15J's. The F-22's win. One of Clancy's best novels before he jumped the shark after The Bear and the Dragon.

Here's an F-16 Viper:

In the beginning, critics complained that the F-16 was too small and too slow and didn’t have the two engines necessary for flight safety. Pilots would never like it, they said. The Air Force would never buy it, they said. Long-range air-to-air missiles would render its agility moot, they said. The era of dogfighters was definitely over.

“They” were wrong.

Movie Appearance: Iron Eagle. One of the worst movies of all time. There are certain movie laws that I've discovered. One is: "If Louis Gossett Jr. appears in a movie, and that movie is not An Officer and a Gentleman, then that movie is a bad movie." Also known as: "You know the movie is in trouble when you see Louis Gossett Jr. on the opening credits." A similar law applies to Ben Affleck. Somehow, Iron Eagle spawned several atrocious sequels, further proof that Hollywood is run either by idiots, or the Devil.
Another Movie Appearance: X2: X-Men United. What is it with the Air Force being called to fight comic-book characters? X2 is actually a pretty good movie.

Here's an F-15E Strike Eagle:

A heavily modified, two-seat, dual-role variant of the original F-15, with weapons systems totally integrated for all-weather deep interdiction missions as well as air-to-air combat. F-15E has a strengthened airframe for increased gross weight at takeoff and maneuver at nine Gs throughout the flight envelope.

Movie Appearance: Air Force One. Technically, the ones that appear in the movie are F-15Cs, but close enough. I haven't seen F-15E's in any feature film.

Here's a Luftwaffe Tornado:

Designed and built as a collaborative project in the UK, Germany and Italy, the Tornado is in service with all three air forces and the German Navy. Tornado is also in service in Saudi Arabia and Oman. It is a twin-seat, twin-engined, variable geometry aircraft and is supersonic at all altitudes. The design authority for the Tornado is Panavia, the tri-national consortium which comprises British Aerospace, DASA of Germany and the Italian firm Alenia.

FX-Based Comment: When my brother saw this group of fighers, sporting the Iron Cross on the side of each aircraft, he asked me, "Aren't those the bad guys?" I was speechless for a while. I told him that those were German Air Force jets. "Are the Germans on our side now?", he asked. This despite the fact that me and other military members of my family have partied (hard) in Germany and he has seen (some) of the pictures. And the fact that one of our relatives is married to a German woman that he met while he was stationed in Germany. For the record, my brother is not retarded; he is actually smarter than me in many respects (not a huge accomplishment, but hey), maybe he's seen "Saving Private Ryan" too many times. What kind of history lessons are kids getting these days?

Movie Appearance: I remember watching a horrible (although probably not as awful as Iron Eagle) British movie that had some Tornados, but I don't remember the title.

Here a B-1 Lancer a.k.a Bone:

A long-range, air refuelable multirole bomber capable of flying missions over intercontinental range, then penetrating enemy defenses with the largest payload of guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory. Of blended wing/body configuration, the B-1’s variable-geometry design and turbofan engines combine to provide greater range and high speed at low level, with enhanced survivability.

Movie Appearance: Real Genius. Mad props if you have seen (and like) this movie. As a child of the 80's, I grew up watching this movie, along with Red Dawn and Weird Science. Best Val Kilmer movie ever, which is really not saying much, but it's a fun movie. Real Genius intruduced me to bombers shooting lasers from the sky, and sleazy professors that take advantage of their smart students. Red Dawn introduced me to a world of AK-47's, RPG's and Hind helicopters, and American guerrillas on horseback. Weird Science introduced me to Kelly LeBrock in the shower and all the thoughts associated with that image.

And finally, here's a B-52 a.k.a BUFF:

A long-range, heavy multirole bomber that can carry nuclear or conventional ordnance or cruise missiles, with worldwide precision navigation capability. The B-52’s still-expanding weapons capability reflects its continued ability to perform a wide range of missions, including show of force, maritime operations, long-range precision strikes, close air support (CAS), offensive counterair, air interdiction, and defense suppression.

Movie Appearance: Dr. Strangelove. "Nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies". Mandatory viewing.

Aicraft descriptions provided by the Air Force Magazine and the Federation of American Scientists in the case of the Tornado.

Representives of Luftwaffe just visited Copenhagen Denmark. An interesting experience.
You´ve got a very good site.
Click here to download F-22 Total Air War (TAW) FULL by DiD
Boo! Where's my glorious Super Hornets?

J/K... I know this was rightfully an USAF event. The Raptor looks sweet!

I still have problems with our overall defense procurement policy, far too much unacceptable waste goes on, perhaps partly because of too many government rules and regs that encourage a slow, tedious process that could use some momentum and a foot in the ass now and then.

Your comments were hilarious too, I hope to see more posts like this in the future, they're great to forward to friends throughout the military.
Sons of Dean,

Thanks for the kind words. The Luftwaffe actually has a spuadron based here in the US at Holloman AFB, and I think the jets in the picture came from there.


I did not see your indeed glorious Super Hornets. Trust me, I would have taken a picture if they were there. And it would have given me chance to mention Independence Day and Godzilla, a pair of horrendous movies in which Hornets appear (although I am not sure they are even Super Hornets). I almost forgot to mention Clear and Present Danger in which a Hornet drops the "paper bomb". Of course, my favorite jet of all time (along with the F-15E) is the recently retired F-14 Tomcat. In fact, I think the Tomcat is the best- looking aircraft ever flown by the US military.
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