Next up in our Big Reveal is our Combat Aircraft series, which will see six new titles landing onto shelves in 2022.
COM: B-36 ‘Peacemaker’ Units of the Cold War
Conceived during 1941 in case Germany occupied Britain, when US bombers would then have insufficient range to retaliate, the B-36 was to be primarily a ‘10,000-mile bomber’ with heavy defensive armament, six engines and a performance that would prevent interception by fighters. Although rapid developments in jet engine and high-speed airframe technology quickly made it obsolescent, the B-36 took part in many important nuclear test programmes. It earned many superlatives due to the size and complexity of its structure, which used 27 miles of wiring, had a wingspan longer than the Wright brothers’ first flight, equivalent engine power to 400 cars, the same internal capacity as three five-room houses and 27,000 gallons of internal fuel – enough to propel a car around the world 18 times.
This fully illustrated volume includes first-hand accounts, original photographs and up to 30 profile artworks depicting in detail the complexity of this superlative aircraft.
COM: F2H Banshee Units
The F2H Banshee was an extraordinarily successful early-generation jet that outlasted both contemporary and more modern fighter types on the decks of the US Navy’s aircraft carriers in the 1950s. It served in a variety of roles, undertaking fighter, strike fighter, night-fighter, nuclear strike and photo-reconnaissance missions. The Banshee was a frontline aircraft for more than a decade in an era when jet fighters came and went with relatively short service careers. Filled with first-hand account and rare colour photographs, this is the engrossing story of the F2H Banshee, exploring its variety of roles in service and detailing the technology development that improved the aircraft’s capabilities over time.
COM: F3D/EF-10 Skyknight Units of the Korean and Vietnam Wars
The Douglas F3D Skyknight was an early but effective attempt at combining new technologies together in a lethal package capable of shipboard operation. Whereas most fighters relied on speed and maneuverability, the portly, straight-winged F3D relied on three radars, four 20mm cannon, and darkness. The Skyknight’s first taste of war came in September 1952, when Marine Night Fighter Squadron 513 [VMF(N)-513] deployed to Korea. Skyknight crews ended the Korean War with six nocturnal kills in exchange for one combat loss.
After the war, 35 Skyknights were converted into electronic warfare (EW) aircraft. As US air operations over North Vietnam intensified in early 1965, the need for a tactical EW jet to provide electronic countermeasures (ECM) protection to accompany strike packages north became apparent. For all of its early effectiveness over North Vietnam, the proliferation of radar-guided guns and missiles began to erode the advantage created by EF-10 escort support, which flew its last combat mission in October 1969.
This highly illustrated volume explores the F3D Skynights and their deployment during the Korean and Vietnam wars, using first-hand accounts from aircrew, original photographs and 30 profile artworks to explore their key roles as an escort aircraft and electronic warfare aircraft.
COM: Junkers Ju 188 Units of World War 2
The Junkers Ju 188 was the epitome of mid-war German twin-engined aircraft design, representing the enhancement of an earlier type and incorporating increased performance and technological sophistication. As part of the 1939 ‘Bomber B’ programme, it was intended as a replacement for the Ju 88 and He 111 medium bombers, taking advantage of uprated Jumo and BMW engines and incorporating a radically redesigned cockpit area with all-round visibility for high-speed bombing, torpedo-bomber carrying, FuG 200 radar, and camera-equipped reconnaissance operations. What emerged, from the autumn of 1943, was a sophisticated bomber and reconnaissance aircraft–and intended nightfighter. After operational trials, the Ju 188 equipped three bomber Geschwader and several long-range reconnaissance Staffeln in the East and Italy, conducting operations over Britain and the Western Front as well as Russia and the Mediterranean.
This comprehensive study charts the design, development, and deployment of an advanced aircraft which was ultimately overshadowed by improvements to the aeroplane it was designed to replace.
COM: Macchi C.202/C.205V Units in Combat
Italian fighters, such as the Fiat G.50 and Macchi C.200, had always struggled with their straight-line speed and restricted armament when engaging their Allied counterparts. To solve these problems, Macchi initially designed the C.202 Folgore using German engines, which contributed to create a faster aircraft, with a superior rate of climb and reachable altitude. Folgore’s success in various North African engagements then paved the way for the development of Macchi’s most successful fighter, the C.205V Veltro, which managed to combine increased speed and increased power. Packed with specially commissioned artwork and original photos, and written by Italian military aviation specialist Marco Mattioli, this fascinating book explores how the premier Italian fighter of the war came to life and the historical circumstances that prevented it from becoming one of the most dreaded aircraft in the Mediterranean.
COM: RAF Tornado Units in Combat 1992-2019
After the Gulf War of 1990, No Fly Zones (NFZ) were established over northern and southern Iraq and the Tornado GR 1 force stepped up to operations over the southern NFZ.
The Tornado GR 4 took responsibility for RAF combat air operations in Afghanistan from the Harrier force in 2009, and in 2011 was involved in missions against the Gaddafi regime in Libya. The unique multirole capabilities of the aircraft enabled it to support ground operations with the Raptor reconnaissance pod, Brimstone missiles and Paveway IV laser-guided bombs until withdrawal in 2014. The Tornado GR 4 was also used for operations over Iraq and Syria against the ISIL terrorist organisation. Intensive air operations were flown between 2014 and 2019, when the Tornado GR 4 was finally withdrawn from RAF Service.
This volume, written by former RAF pilot Michael Napier, provides detailed first-hand accounts of the missions undertaken by the Tornado crews during the most recent conflicts over the Middle East and the Balkans.