First taking flight in 1955,
The XF-84H was quite possibly the loudest aircraft ever built (rivaled only by the Russian Tupolev Tu-95 “Bear” bomber), earning the nickname “Thunderscreech” as well as the “Mighty Ear Banger”. On the ground “run ups”, the prototypes could reportedly be heard 25 miles (40 km) away.
Unlike standard propellers that turn at subsonic speeds, the outer 24–30 inches (61–76 cm) of the blades on the XF-84H’s propeller traveled faster than the speed of sound even at idle thrust, producing a continuous visible sonic boom that radiated laterally from the propellers for hundreds of yards. The shock wave was actually powerful enough to knock a man down; an unfortunate crew chief who was inside a nearby C-47 was severely incapacitated during a 30-minute ground run. Coupled with the already considerable noise from the subsonic aspect of the propeller and the dual turbines, the aircraft was notorious for inducing severe nausea and headaches among ground crews.
In one report, a Republic engineer suffered a seizure after close range exposure to the shock waves emanating from a powered-up XF-84H.
Nevertheless, the aircraft was abandoned due to teething aerodynamic deficiencies which led to prototype FS-059 being put on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio, while prototype FS-060 presumably being scrapped.
The star of this edition is an old friend of many air forces around the globe, it’s so versatile that it has gone into space and came back that it has more than 40 variants including an armed version, an eletronic support platform, a tanker and a civilian freighter variant. Yes, i’m talking about the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
Developed during the 1950s, the Hercules was designed as a combat transport plane from scratch, that allowed the airframe to be built for the proper job which was completely different from transports that were converted from civilian aircraft.
The C-130 soon became famous for it’s versatility, the ability to land on unprepared runways allowed it to operate from hard to reach places, this feature is especially useful during disaster reliefs when airport infrastructure suffers extensive damage. This combine with troop transport and medvac makes it the ideal platform to perform operations during war and peacetime periods.
Other variants and roles
AC-130 - Gunship variant, the badass ground attack aircraft armed with a 25 mm GAU-12/U Equalizer, a 40 mm Bofors cannon and a 105 mm M102 howitzer, this configuration is for the AC-130U Spooky II and the AC-130H Spectre.
EC-130 - An airborne command post that was retired and it’s role was taken over by E-8 JSTARS and E-3 AWACS aircraft. The latest variant EC-130J is a psychological operations aircraft operated by the US Air National Guard, it’s role is to basically transmit broadcasts in the AM, FM, HF, TV and military transmission bands.
MC-130 - SPECOPS (Special Operations) aircraft, these aircrafts perform infiltration, exfil and support of special operation units such as helicopters and ground forces. During the Iranian hostage crisis, a Combat Talon (MC-130H) was modified to land on an Iranian soccer stadium near the US Embassy using rocket jets placed along the airframe, this aircraft was designated YMC-130H although full modification was done the plane crashed during testing resulting on a total loss, the entire Credible Sport operation was cancelled.
I only wrote about the variants that has photos in the post, i wish i could bring them all but IT HAS TOO MANY FREAKIN VARIANTS the post would be extremely long although all of the C-130 versions has interesting roles and shows how versatile this airframe has been since it’s development in the 50′s.
A last info to be brought is that the Hercules alongside the English Electric Canberra, B-52 Stratofortress, Tu-95 Bear and the KC-135 Stratotanker, has reach the 50 year mark of continuous operation with it’s original user, the United States Air Force. It also has the mark of 60 years of continuous production making it the longest continuously produced military aircraft, the lastest version is the C-130J Super Hercules.
I’d like to give my thanks to @rigs83-stuff for the awesome C-130J pic, it’s the first one, at the top of the post.
If you have any suggestions, contributions or just wanna talk, don’t be shy, i’m here everyday.