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Changes of Military

Ever since 1914, warfare has changed to adapt to new methods of reconnaissance, dogfighting and bombing in to form of military planes or fighters planes and, therefore, the classic Wright flyer design would have to change in many ways. Firstly, at the beginning of the war, most of the planes looked like the B.E.2 Biplane which was primarily used for reconnaissance however this model of plane was not the most efficient for fighting so the war planes had to undergo many changes. One of the first was message streamers, these were ways of communicating the enemies movements during flight as radios had not been invented yet. The pilots would put the information or 'message' inside the bag and drop it down from the airplane. Airplanes were soon equipped with projectiles as well, such as darts, to harm the enemies and the planes had to make adjustments to compensate of the extra weight.


Another example of this was in 1915 when the fighter planes had forward-firing machine guns on the aircraft as the warring countries wanted to shoot down their opponents more efficiently than when using projectiles, however the most beneficial invention of these methods was the one of interrupter mechanism, which allowed bullets to be fired through the plane's rotating propellor blade. Meanwhile, in 1916 and 17, other aviators thought of larger aircrafts for larger and increased numbers of bombs as well as more precise targeting fitted onto the planes systems for the bombs to be dropped. This targeting would be extremely valuable as the firing points were often in enemy grounds. During WW2, fighter planes usually made out of wood and cloth were replaced with all metal biplanes and the advanced to remote-controlled guns on the sides, pressurised cabins and much more powerful engines, better equipped for a warfare environment. 

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Image of Nieuport Fighter in Aisine, France 1917

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Interesting fact(s):

- Airplanes, although mostly launched on land, were also launched from the decks of aircraft carriers at sea

- During WW2, a Japanese tactic was used by the Soviets where they would intentionally 'crash' one of their planes directly into an enemy ship to sink it 

- Over 12,000 bombers were shot down. Thats a lot of shooting!

Continuity of Military

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1. Image of plane from WW1, Niueport 16 2. Image of plane from WW2, Messerschmitt Bf 109E

3. Image of Plane from end of WW2, Supermarine Spitfire



Between the initial military aircrafts and the current models, there is much continuity between designs. For example, the designs of planes with piston engines, which were majority of the planes in WW1 and WW2, started to decrease and become less popular around 1945 as jet-powered fighters became more popular with the military community and these jet powered fighters have continued till today.


Around the 1950s - 60s, after the Korean war, military planes also began experimenting with swept wings (wings that angle backward or forwards, but not straight outwards) and delta wings (straight triangles angled backwards), and during this time period, many planes advanced to what planes currently do now, which is breaking the sound barrier and achieve supersonic speeds.  Planes also continue to have flight control surfaces, that were developed just after WW2, that adjust the altitude of the plane.

During the 1950s - 60s, infrared homing (IR) was also developed as a large part of military. This was used to track opponents on heat rather than sight, although, the IR missiles had extremely poor sensitivity and these were soon upgraded to RF (radar-guided) missiles, which did seem unreliable at the start but then became much more useful when the medium- and long-range missiles were introduced.       . 

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