Guardians of the Sky: 20 Essential Facts About the USAF

1Boeing E4-B Doomsday planes

Boeing E4-B Doomsday planes

The United States Airforce maintains a fleet of Boeing E4-B "Doomsday" planes. They are capable of being airborne for a week, cost nearly $160,000 per hour for the Air Force to operate, and have a 5 mile long trailing wire antenna to communicate with nuclear submarines.

2US Air Force

US Air Force

Every Christmas since 1952 the US Air Force has airdropped gifts over the islands of Micronesia, making it the oldest ongoing Department of Defense mission and the longest running humanitarian airlift in the world.

3F-35 fighter helmet

F-35 fighter helmet

A single helmet for the Air Force's new F-35 fighter costs over $400,000.

4Tybee Island mid-air collision

Tybee Island mid-air collision

In 1958, United States Air Force lost a 7,600-pound (3,400 kg) Mark 15 nuclear bomb in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia, United States. It has never been recovered.

5Project A119

Project A119

In 1958, the US Air Force made plans to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon and wanted it to visible by the naked eye on earth. They hoped it would boost American morale to counter the USSR's advances in the space race.

6F-22A Raptor

F-22A Raptor

The United States Air Force F-22A Raptor stealth fighter jet has a radar cross-section smaller than a bumblebee, making it nearly undetectable. Its radar changes frequencies over 1,000 times per second to deter detection by enemy forces.



In 1985 the USAF shot down a satellite with a missile launched from an F-15.

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8USAF Pipe Band

USAF Pipe Band

The United States Air Force has a Pipe Band that was formed in 1950 from bagpipe players of Irish and Scottish ancestry exclusively. The Band played at President Kennedy's funeral.

9F-22 vs Eurofighter

F-22 vs Eurofighter

The F-22 and Eurofighter Typhoon have been pitted against each other in mock dogfights in the past. The Typhoons proved to be surprisingly effective against the American aircraft and that encounter the USAF “decided they didn't want to play anymore.”

10A-10 Warthog

A-10 Warthog

A-10 Warthog is designed such that it can fly with just one engine, one tail, one elevator, and half of one wing missing.

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