I got my head checked | By a jumbo jet
July 6, 2015 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Are there any easy to read and easy to navigate online resources for leaning about different types of active military aircraft? I live near an air force base so I see a lot of interesting airplanes and helicopters, but since they are for military use, have not been able to find much information. I have no interest in aircraft that is no longer in active usage. I interested in all types, including transport and experimental, in addition to fighter jets and bombers. My interest is primarily with US but am interested in other countries as well.

I found this website which is has been the best resource so far. This Military Factory site is also OK, but it a bit heavy on this historical information and light on content about active aircraft.
posted by seesom to Technology (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Jane's organization is the go-to for military equipment -- I believe they have a "all aircraft in service" annual publication but a quick googling I couldn't find anyplace to buy it.
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:38 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's this Wikipedia entry. Not sure how up-to-date it is, but it certainly looks pretty exhaustive.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:55 PM on July 6, 2015

Best answer: Regular AFB would not have experimental unless you live near Area 51. :D (hahaha)

But really, take a few pictures if you can and often we can help you pick out at least the general model.

There are Jane's recognition guides and such. Computer Sim manuals, esp. the old ones, are often good sources to pick up on such and many are available on PDF nowadays. The old MicroProse manuals are quite useful (as they are often used for copy protection questions back then!)

There's always Wikipedia.

The blog Alpha Foxtrot on Jalopnik.com covers military stuff and has good updates on all sorts of military related subjects.
posted by kschang at 1:07 PM on July 6, 2015

You can also call the Public Affairs office at the base, which should be happy to help. It's not an online resource, but if they have days when the fields are open to visitors, you can go see the planes close-ish.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:23 PM on July 6, 2015

You've already found what I consider to be the best resource available to you: the Federation of American Scientists "DOD-101".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:07 PM on July 6, 2015

There is gobs of information like this on wikipedia. Go to the wikipedia page for the base, and pick the active units stationed there, and those pages will tell you what they fly. Unless you are by a particularly interesting base, the majority of the traffic is going to be two or three types.
posted by kiltedtaco at 2:10 PM on July 6, 2015

The USAF website includes a bunch of fact sheets that should cover the aircraft you're seeing.
posted by Zonker at 6:56 AM on July 7, 2015

Some of the defense journals are interesting reading for some of this. You'll get non-aviation stuff, too, but it sort of rounds out the picture since current doctrine is all about joint-use missions and roles.

YouTube is also surprisingly good for finding stuff you can point at later. You can search for "military airshows." Videos will have captions and titles about particular aircraft, which you can then identify and go hunt down more information on.

Jane's is the gold standard in this kind of thing, but other publications include Defense One.

Also BaseOps is another military-flying focused website that contains a lot of the more esoteric stuff, but you can also gain some real insights and details about military flying by the guys who actually do it. Just be prepared to keep a separate browser window open to look up all the acronyms and jargon.
posted by Thistledown at 4:19 AM on July 8, 2015

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