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Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft Armament:
Today's generation of high-performance combat aircraft is among the most potent and awe-inspiring of man's technological creations. The millions of people who flock to airshows, build model kits, and buy aviation books and magazines testify to the enduring fascination. It should not be forgotten, however, that all this glamorous hardware exists to flight--most combat aircraft are weapons platforms, and their mission is to carry and deliver ordnance to a specific target. However simplistic it may sound, it is worth stressing that without aircraft armament, the fighting aircraft would not exist. This book provides the reader with a fully illustrated directory of all the airborne weapon systems that are currently in service, or being actively developed, worldwide. It falls into 2 distinct sections. The first 50 pages are devoted to examining the evolution of aircraft armament from the earliest days to the present. This historical survey is split into 3 segments: pre-1920, pre-1950, and post-1950. It takes the reader from the dawn of fighting in the air and the initial problems of fitting weapons onto aircraft, through World War II and the proliferation of guns, turrets, rockets, and bombs, to the conflicts in Korea, Israel, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, a period that has witnessed very rapid development of a wide range of guided missiles, torpedoes, "smart" bombs, mines, and so on. The 2nd and largest part of the book consists of the directory of weapons currently in the military arsenal that can be fitted either to fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters. This again is divided according to weapon type, with separate sections devoted to air-to-air missiles, unguided ordnance; air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes, and guns and installations. The text provides comprehensive specification and data for each entry, while the narrative text describes the weapon's design history, combat use, and in-service status. Illustrated with color and black and white photos. [via]