AircraftRecognition.co.uk
A free online aircraft recognition guide for everyone!

How to recognise military aircraft?

Our guide - Military aircraft recognition

So military aircraft identification is a little harder than commercial AR in some aspects. The hardest is identifying the fast jet aircraft especially when they are flying, fast!

Air forces around the world have many different types of aircraft in their fleet ranging from fast jet aircraft, to training aircraft and from transportation to helicopters. There's a wide range of aircraft we need to try and identify!

Where do we start?

Here's a quick guide below...

1. It's always a good idea to start by locating the engine intakes. Where are they, how many are there and what shape are they? Some aircraft have 2 intakes but only 1 engine don't forget!
2. How many engines does it have? This can be answered with a view of the rear of the aircraft if possible? How many exhausts does it have?
3. Stealth? Most 5th generation aircraft these days have stealth capability. The F-22 is a good example of this. It's triangular structure is designed to deflect radar signals in opposite directions, given the aircraft its stealth capability. For more info on stealth technology, click here
4. Most European fighters have a fore plane canard configuration. These are designed to make the aircraft more manoeuvrable. Click here to watch a youtube video which explains canards a little more.
5. Tail assembly - How many? 1? 2 - twin fin?
6. Wing type? Delta wing, straight wing, high wing?
7. Canopy. This can be one of the easiest methods of identifying certain aircraft. Study the shape of the aircraft and remember it for that specific aircraft. I.e Harrier- "bubble" canopy
8. Landing gear - Study the position of landing gear on each aircraft as well as the length and type.

F-16

F-18