ï»¿The United States Navy, which is widely thought of as ships and sailors has the most elite fighting force of not only water-based technology, but also aircraft.
While deploying an Aircraft Carrier Strike Group to foreign waters sounds like the Navy is going out to fight pirate ships, their main goal is to support ground troops in various locations using highly developed aircraft.
The most famous aircraft is arguably the F-14 Tomcat. You see this jet in TopGun as Tom Cruise flies high and wide to combat the evasive Russian MIGs. No longer employed by the US Military, the F-14 Tomcat is still a powerful and respected aircraft that can climb vertically to altitudes that no other fighter jet can climb. Though bulky and not very attractive, this is the foreground for naval fighter jets.
With demands for greater technology and smaller jets, the United States Navy indoctrined the F/A-18 Hornet which now has a variant called the F/A-18 Super Hornet that can carry two personnel, a pilot and his navigator or flight officer, instead of just a pilot in the Hornet.
The F/A-18 Hornet is also known as the Legacy or to naval saliors as the Rhino, due to its bulk compared to the sleeker and newer F/A-18 Super Hornet. Marine squadrons solely fly the Legacy on aircraft carriers and are pilots of other aircraft on Amphibious Assault Ships such as the OSPREY meaning bird of prey and the AV-6B Harrier, which is known for its V/STOL(Vertical Short Take-off and Landing) meaning is can land much like a helicopter and can also slightly hover much like a helicopter.
The OSPREY is a giant propeller driven plane that has rotatable engines so it can take off and land like a helicopter and fly like a plane, once airborne. The exhaust from this plane is so intense, that in testing, it burnt holes in the TARMAC.
The most important aircraft to the United States Navy and the safety of its fighter pilots, is the EA-6B Prowler. Which is being phased out with a new model of the F/A-18 and being labeled as the F/A-18E Growler.
ï»¿The prowler is an Electronic Attack aircraft that james enemy radar and homes in with RADAR seeking missisles called HARM's. If not for this aircraft, the Naval Fighters would not be allowed to get to their destination for support due to the Anti-Aircraft fire and would gravely endanger their lives.
A logistics support plane known as a COD(Carrier on-board Deliver) to sailors is the Hulky Propeller Plane C-2 Greyhound. This plane carries anything from food and mail to new sailors and Distinguished Visitors onto the Aircraft Carrier. It is essential that this means of transportation exists to keep the Carrier in fighting condition at all times.
Closely related to the C-2, is a modified Propeller Plane with a large rotating dish on the top and it is labeled the E2-C Hawkeye or the E2 for short. This aircraft is used to extend ships radar ranges and other aircraft communication ranges by enhancing the signal from the carrier or other source.
The P-3 Orion is called the Sub Hunter as it is used to detect submarines from the sky using simple tools such as binoculars or the human eye. This is actually the most effective means of submarine detection.
Naval Helicopters vary greatly but the main helicopters are the SH-60's and the MH-60's which are used for personnel transports, Man Overboard Recoveries, Search And Rescue, Anti-Piracy and also used for protection of the Naval Vessels if neccessary.
As always, the military is expanding its technology and the Navy is funding a project on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter which will replace the F/A-18 and be used onboard Aircraft Carriers.
There are many aircraft deployed by the United States military and I am sure there will be many more to come. These are the popular and essential aircraft that protect the United States Navy and her homeland for the freedom's the United States has fought to ensure for many years.