Spanning a history that goes back to 1935, Eglin Air Force Base serves as a reminder of America’s strength and courage over the years. Located right outside Eglin is the Air Force Armament Museum. This museum is home to such treasures as World War II era prop planes, to the fastest plane to ever take flight. The museum offers free admission and houses some remarkable pieces of history. These are just a few of the exhibits the museum has to offer.
Air Force Armament Planes
Sitting outside the museum is an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. The jet is regarded as the fastest airplane and boasts a cruising altitude of 85,000 feet. With its twin jet engines it can travel up to Mach 3.4, or 2,500 mph. But despite this, the Blackbird is completely stealth, and is virtually quiet from inside the cockpit.
A-10 Thunderbolt II
The A-10 Thunderbolt served as a tank killer. A low-flying aircraft, the A-10 boasted a 30mm Gatling gun set in its nose, capable of firing 4,200 rounds per minute. This primary weapon worked superbly against tanks and other ground targets.
The AC-130 is a large gunship that offers aerial support for ground troops. Originally built as a transport plane, the AC-130 was equipped with heavy guns and armaments. Weapons are mounted mainly on the port side of the aircraft, allowing it to fly in a wide circle over the target and provide support.
This literal flying fortress housed up to 9 crew members in serving varying jobs from navigator to gunners. Built in 1935, the B-17 Flying Fortress served as the main bomber for the United States throughout World War II.
In 1941, the B-25 Mitchell was introduced. A small twin-engine bomber, the B-25 served the Allies during World War II and beyond. Due to its versatility, the B-25 was used in a number of different ways, not only serving as a bomber, but also a photo reconnaissance aircraft, and even a fighter at times.
The B-52 Stratofortress is a massive bomber originally built in 1955. It boasts a wingspan of 185 feet and a length of 159 feet. It was built for long-range and can fly to heights of up to 50,000 feet.
F-100 Super Sabre
Also on display is the F-100 Super Sabre, a sleek fighter jet serving from 1954 to 1979 that set records. It's capable of reaching supersonic speeds.
For fans of more modern jets, the USAF museum has the F-15 Eagle. Its twin engines enable the F-15 to travel at speeds of up to mach 2.5. Though it lacks stealth capabilities, it is easily one of the Air Force’s top fighter jets.
F-16 Fighting Falcon
A smaller jet is the F-16 Fighting Falcon. This agile fighter jet has been in service since 1978, and is still at the top of its game. Its lightweight build allows for its advanced maneuverability.
Also at the museum is a P-51 Mustang; a fighter plane from World War II. Powered by a single-engine propeller, this plane served well as an escort to American bombers. The P-51 remained a key fighter up until the beginning of the Korean War.
The Air Force Armament Museum houses over 29 different aircraft exhibits as well as many other pieces of weaponry and tools used by the America’s aerial forces over the years. With so many things to see, the museum provides both an educational and an entertaining experience for all. Whether a history enthusiast or just someone who loves planes, visitors to Eglin should definitely stop and see this wonderful museum.