What Features Help You Identify Military Aircraft From Photos?


Quick Answer

Some of the features that aid in the identification of military aircraft from photos include the shape of the tail fin, the size of the wing's leading edge, the position of the cockpit and the style of engine. Military planes also feature a unique serial number that conveys specific details about the aircraft's manufacture.

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Full Answer

The shape and style of its body is one of the primary methods for identifying the make and model of a military plane from a photograph. The wings are among the most unique aspects of the aircraft body across types. Interceptor aircraft typically have shorter wings than cargo types. The angle of the wings on the leading and trailing edges may also provide information about the plane. Close air support aircraft frequently feature a straight trailing edge with a wide-sloping leading edge. Some aircraft, such as bombers, also have variable wings, which means they contract and expand.

Another important identifying factor is the number and style of engine. Some planes have multiple propeller engines on the wing or nose, while others have a single jet engine in the rear. The cockpit also helps identify a plane, as smaller cockpits typically indicate a single or double passenger aircraft. While every military aircraft features a serial number, each branch of the military uses a different system of identification.

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