Modern Air Power


Hawg Driver
A-10s earn their keep again in Iraq
Ted Carlson

The A-10 Warthog was headed for obsolescence when the first Gulf War proved the Hawg’s unbelievable worth, and today combat commanders can’t imagine going to war without it. Ted Carlson takes us inside A-10 operations the second time around in Iraq and, in the pilot’s own words, explain both the aircraft’s mission and their experiences. Carlson, a world reknown photographer, accompanies his words with timeless photography.

Stealth Fighters Over Baghdad
Going “Downtown” with 8th Squadron Nighthawks.
Warren Thompson

In recent years, the F-117 Nighthawk has proven it can sneak in and blind the enemy before they know it’s even in the area. When 8th Squadron Stealth arrived in-theater, they were immediately tasked with a mission to catch Hussein napping and just about stopped the war before it began. Author Warren Thompson relays some never-before-told stories about the Stealth in action that took clearance clear to the Pentagon to allow us to print them.

Snake Driver at War
The SuperCobra in Iraq
Ted Carlson

Many of the current crop of USMC SuperCobra pilots weren’t even born, when their mount was creating a new form of warfare in Vietnam. Today, as Ted Carlson tells us with words and photos, the newest incarnation of the formidable “Snake,” the SuperCobra is carrying on the tradition of getting down and dirty with the enemy, this time in Iraq.

Sting of the Hornet
F/A-18 Drivers take it to the enemy in Iraq
Ted Carlson

As the Hornet, and now Super Hornet, become THE Navy airplane, it’s exploits over both Iraq and Afghanistan are becoming legend. However, each airplane has at least one, and usually two, crewmen and Carlson tells their story as much as he does the airplane’s. He follows a number of Hornet pilots from their homes into combat and gives us a view into the minds of professional warriors.

A Full Night’s Work
The AC-130U Gunship in Action
Braxton Eisel

Not all modern aerial combatants are fast and sleek, and especially not the AC-130U Spooky II gunship. A transport decked out with every kind of major gun that would fit, it serves a very specific roll in today’s combat arena, and Lt. Col. Eisel gets us inside the cockpit for what its pilots say is “controlled insanity.”

Buffs over Afghanistan
Close air support: a first for the B-52
Warren Thompson

The B-52 Buff is generally thought of as laying down curtains of steel and fire aimed at obliterating huge portions of the landscape. As Warren Thompson conveys the current crew’s (none of whom are as old as their airplanes) experiences, that image is still true but now it has been fine-tuned to have the ancient old bird putting its weapons down in close proximity to friendlies in support of their missions. It has become a form of flying artillery that, in Afghanistan, provided close support to ground troops.

UAVs in Action
No pilot. No risk. No limits.
Steve Pace

The model airplane as a weapon of war? It seems hardly possible, but now that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are becoming the battlefield commanders’ real-time eyes in the sky, it is a fact that tiny flying machines are earning their keep in the usually big-and-expensive game known as “war.” The advances and types of machines are moving forward at a blinding pace and the author, Steve Pace, does his best to help us understand who is building what and how each is being utilized.

Nightmares in the Mountains
Marine Corps Harriers over Afghanistan
Warren Thompson

The terrain in Afghanistan is at least as lethal as the enemy, which is why the low-level night-time missions flown by the AV-8B Harriers of VMA-513 were that much more harrowing. Using night vision equipment, the “Flying Nightmares” pressed home their attacks to relieve pressure on ground troops in extremely difficult conditions.

Potential Adversaries
A look at the future threats to the United States.
Jon Lake

As the political and technological face of the world continues to change, the threats change right along with it. Jon Lake gives us a detailed overview of the capabilities of those countries who might pose a threat in the future along with an accurate inventory of their air forces.

Pumping Iron in the Danger Zone
Low, slow and loaded, an army’s necessities arrive by air.
Steve Pace

Cargo planes are fat targets as they lumber into Baghdad’s main airport, and incidents abound of shoulder-fired missiles hitting them. Author Steve Pace explains the difficulties in keeping an army supplied by air and how they are adjusting to the constant threat.