The first versions of this long-range heavy bomber flew in 1954. A total of 744 were built, the last of those in 1962. The Air Force maintains 58 B-52s in the active force and 18 in the Reserve. A single B-52 can carry 70,000 pounds of mixed munitions, including bombs, missiles and mines. The eight-engine jets have a range of 8,800 miles.
Master Sgt. Greg Steele/U.S. Air Force
C-130 Hercules transport —
A C-130J Super Hercules from the 37th Airlift Squadron flies over Normandy, France, June 3, 2015. First delivered to the Air Force in 1956, the C-130 remains one of the service's most important airlift platforms. More than 140 are still in active units, with more than 180 in the National Guard and a hundred more in the Reserve. The C-130 is powered by four turboprop engines.
U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Nicole Sikorski
AC-130 gunships —
The AC-130H Spectre and the AC-130U Spooky gunships are designed for close air support, air interdiction and force protection. Armaments on the Spectre include 40mm and 105mm cannons. The Spooky adds a 25mm Gatling gun.
U.S. Air Force
F-22 Raptor —
The twin-engine F-22 stealth fighter, flown by a single pilot and armed with a 20mm cannon, heat-seeking missiles, radar-guided missiles and radar-guided bombs, can perform both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. The service has 183 of the Raptors, which went operational in 2005.
Justin Connaher/U.S. Air Force
The single-engine F-35A is the Air Force's eventual replacement for the F-16 and the A-10. The supersonic jets, which will be able to conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks, are just beginning to enter the Air Force fleet. Here, an F-35 Lightning II from the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, flys at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 15, 2017.
US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Elijah Chevalier
B-2 Spirit bomber —
The four-engine B-2 heavy bomber has stealth properties that make it hard to detect on radar. Flown by a crew of two, it has an unrefueled range of 6,000 miles and can deliver both conventional and nuclear bombs. Twenty B-2s are in the active inventory. They joined the fleet in 1997.
Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald/USAF
B-1B Lancer bomber —
The four-engine jet can fly at 900 mph and carry the largest payload of bombs and missiles in the Air Force inventory. The Air Force has 62 B-1Bs in the fleet.
Airman 1st Class James L. Miller/USAF
F-15 Eagle —
The F-15 Eagle, the Air Force's main air superiority fighter, became operational in 1975. With a crew of one or two, depending on the model, the twin-engine jets are armed with a 20mm cannon along with Sidewinder or AMRAAM missiles. The Air Force lists 249 F-15 Eagles in its inventory.
Airman 1st Class Chad Warren/USAF
F-15E Strike Eagle —
The Strike Eagle is a version of the air superiority fighter adapted to perform ground-strike missions. With a crew of two, the twin-jet can carry and deploy most weapons in the Air Force inventory and operate in any weather. The F-15E was first delivered in 1988. The Air Force lists 219 in its fleet.
U.S. Air Force/FILE
A-10 Thunderbolt —
The A-10 Thunderbolt jets, nicknamed "Warthogs," are specially designed for close air support of ground forces. Key to their armaments is a 30mm Gatling gun. The pilot is protected from ground fire by titanium armor, and the plane's fuel cells are self-sealing in case of puncture.
U.S. Air Force/FIle
The RC-135U Combat Sent, based at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, provides strategic electronic reconnaissance information to the president, secretary of defense, Department of Defense leaders and theater commanders.
U.S. Air Force
An F-15 Eagle takes off from the Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, flight line as two E-3 Sentries are seen in the background.
Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Schultz/USAF
OV-10 Bronco —
A 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron OV-10 Bronco aircraft fires white phosphorus rockets to mark a target for an air strike during tactical air control training.