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American Secret Projects
Fighters & Interceptors 1945 - 1978

by Tony Buttler

Midland Publications


S u m m a r y

Publisher's details and Title American Secret Projects, Fighters & Interceptors 1945 - 1978 by Tony Buttler, Midland Publishing, 2007
ISBN: 978-1857801309
Media: Soft Cover; 144 pages plus covers
Price: USD$44.95 available from specialist bookshops
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Filled with line drawings, B&W and color photos; stagerrin plethora of aircraft
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by "Bondo" Phil Brandt




“Luftwaffe ‘46" modelers are well acquainted with the Third Reich’s rush to field new, sometimes astonishing, jet airframe designs in the desperate, waning days of World War II. In fact one of these revolutionary designs, the Ta-183, became the progenitor of the Soviet union’s Mig dynasty. The notable aeronautical advances pioneered by German engineers were acknowledged throughout the world, but perhaps most of all in America where a whirlwind of jet design and development took off and accelerated for the ensuing three decades. Having already published books on British and Soviet secret aeronautical projects, Tony Buttler now has taken on post-WWII American military aeronautical development, arguably the world’s largest such program. He painstakingly documents this fascinating era in two hundred and forty fact-filled pages.

Eleven chapters copiously filled with line drawings, B&W and color photos (many of manufacturer’s desk models, since the production of said design never became reality) take the reader from the earliest Air Force and Navy jets, through the well-known Century Series, long range interceptors (this reviewer’s favorite section), vertical takeoff airframes, boat fighters, the 1960s, and lightweight fighters.

The plethora of proposed aircraft designs over the book’s time line is simply staggering, and one might wonder if the many designs that didn’t make it into production were really “losers.” With the leapfrogging of technical developments, a design that looked good in, say, 1950, could be obsolescent just months later. Engine development was just as critical, and lack of performance would often doom an otherwise good airframe design. Adding to the turmoil, and in some ways more important than other factors, were the constantly shifting requirements of the various branches of the military, which themselves weren’t sure from year to year for what type of Cold War conflict we really needed to be preparing. For example, the go-fast-and-high design factions had it made until Soviet missile development made that environment too hostile as in the shootdown of Gary Powers’ U-2. Further, combat experience in Korea and Vietnam showed that flying fast was one thing; fighting at that speed another.

For readers like me, whose senses become dulled with the onslaught of so many designs, Tony includes a comprehensive twelve-page listing of every design of that period, arranged by manufacturer.

The world will never see such an aeronautical developmental frenzy again; billion dollar costs unimaginable to designers of the Fifties and Sixties, as well as twenty-year developmental cycles and relatively small production runs have forever closed that chapter. Fortunately, authors such as Tony Buttler enable us to, as in photos of family ancestors, see what was and how far we’ve come.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to DLS Publishing for the review sample

Review Copyright 2008 by "Bondo" Phil Brandt
This Page Created on 22 April, 2008
Last updated 22 April, 2008

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