It’s no secret the U.S. Air Force has some badass military aircraft.
With 39 distinct types of aircraft and many more subvarieties, they’re the world’s leading aerial power.
Each plane has their own distinct mission, along with their pilot, who knows their aircraft inside out.
Here are some of the top planes used by the U.S. Air Force, as laid out by the Air Force Fact Sheets:
A-10 Thunderbolt II
Mission: Specifically designed to carry out close support at low altitude and speed, the A-10 is built to be highly survivable and can takeoff and land in locations near to the front lines, Business Insider reports.
Mission: The B-2 Spirit is a stealth bomber capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear munitions.
Mission: The B-52 is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic heavy bomber that is able to participate in and complete a wide range of mission sets. During conflicts, the B-52 can provide close air support, strategic attacks, surveillance, and counter-air and maritime operations.
Mission: Able to land on rough dirt strips and move oversized loads, the C-130 Hercules is primarily used for airlift missions and transporting equipment and troops. The airframe can also be modified into a range of different aircrafts like the WC-130 Hercules (pictured below).
Mission: The Osprey – a tilt-rotor aircraft – is intended to provide infiltration and exfiltration abilities for special-operations forces. It also conducts resupply missions.
E-3 Sentry (AWACS)
Mission: The E-3 is an airborne warning and control system plane, providing situational intelligence of an area and sending that information back to the Joint Air Operations Center.
Variants: F-15 Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle
Mission: The F-15 is a highly maneuverable fighter intended to capture air supremacy over the battlefield and comes in variants of the F-15 Eagle and the F-15E Strike Eagle.
VC-25 – Air Force One
Mission: Air Force One’s only mission is to provide air transport for the president.
Mission: The WC-130 Hercules is a weather-reconnaissance aircraft. It is flown through storms and hurricanes to collect and measure information about the weather pattern.
WC-135 Constant Phoenix
Mission: In order to support the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963, the Constant Phoenix is used to collect and measure atmospheric data.