Why Can't We Protect Commercial Planes From Attacks?

Last week's downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over the disputed territory of Eastern Ukraine has set off worldwide outcries against the conflict, and calls to better defend commercial airlines from missile attack. But is it even possible to defend civilian jets against military-grade weapons? » 7/24/14 12:08pm Yesterday 12:08pm

Northrop Once Built Planes That Were Just Giant Wings

After World War II, the future of commercial air travel was supposed to be fantastic. There were promises that planes like Northrop Grumman's flying wing would become the norm for civilian flying. These promises were often made to Baby Boomers — young, impressionable kids of the 1950s and 60s — like in this cutaway… » 7/21/14 6:31pm Monday 6:31pm

The Fighter Jet We Could Have Built Instead of the F-35

The mid-1990s found the U.S. military in need of a low-cost, supersonic stealth fighter jet that all three armed services branches could field. Easy, right? The subsequent—and highly contentious—design competition between Boeing and Lockheed saw the winner take home a $200 billion defense contract, which in turn… » 7/18/14 12:40pm 7/18/14 12:40pm

B-2 Spirit: America's Best Airplane Since the SR-71

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the B-2 Spirit's inaugural flight. Through its quarter-century of service, the original Stealth Bomber has earned its place among the most elite warbirds in the USAF fleet and remains a vital weapon of the US arsenal to this day. It's a plane that could start—or stop—WWIII… » 7/17/14 11:40am 7/17/14 11:40am

Economy Airplane Seats of the Future Will Be More Like First Class

BAE Systems has taken a break from submarines and warships to lavish attention on the humble cattle-class flyer. Its IntelliCabin, a system that integrates passenger controls into a touchscreen tablet interface for fliers and staff, should make standard class a bit more like first. A bit. » 6/30/14 8:00am 6/30/14 8:00am

There's No Threat This Foxhound Can't Intercept--Not Even the SR-71

During the Cold War, the US leaned heavily on the insane multi-mach speeds its SR-71 spy plane could achieve. This speed allowed it to outrun virtually every plane, anti-aircraft battery, and guided missile that the Soviets could throw at it. That is, until Moscow rolled out one of the fastest and most far-seeing… » 6/26/14 11:42am 6/26/14 11:42am

Take a Wingtip Ride Aboard Russia's Baddest Supersonic Jet

When foreign military aircraft stray too close to a nation's borders, they're often swiftly met by the local air force's fleet of interceptor aircraft—fast-moving dogfighters built to meet, greet, and then blow invading planes out of the sky. While the US relies on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-22 Raptor to defend… » 6/23/14 5:40pm 6/23/14 5:40pm

Spies in the Skies: How Aerial Surveillance Tipped the Balance of WWII

When General Werner von Fritsch, the then commander-in-chief of the German Army, predicted in 1938 that "the military organization which has the best reconnaissance unit will win the next war," few doubted that, in aerial reconnaissance and photography, the Luftwaffe reigned supreme. This, however, proved to be far… » 6/18/14 3:00pm 6/18/14 3:00pm