North American Aircraft
US and Canadian Aviation Companies and Military Aircraft
Although the Wright Brothers produced the world’s first military aeroplane, ‘Airplane No. 1’, for the US government in 1908 much of the early further development of the military airplane was by European manufacturers, especially with the onset of World War One. In the US military aircraft production was led by new companies such as the Glenn L. Martin Company from 1912 and the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company from 1916.
The Army Air Service was established in 1918, becoming the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) from 1926 to 1941 and thereafter the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Finally, in 1947 the air force became a separate military branch as the United States Air Force (USAF).
In the later 1930s and early 1940s US aviation policies and development led to the US military aircraft of World War Two. The USAAC prioritised strategic bombing and this resulted in the key bombers such as the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator, as well as the lighter Douglas A-20 Havoc and North American B-25 Mitchell bombers. During the same period fighter aircraft such as the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, North America P-51 Mustang and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt were developed.
The rapid expansion of air power continued under the USAAF as the war progressed. Boeing developed the B-29 Superfortress and Douglas the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, the military transport version of the DC-3 airliner. Post-war, the jet age saw the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress as the primary long range nuclear strategic bomber and jet fighters such as the Lockheed P-80 and the North American F-86 Sabre (and its variant the Canadair Sabre). The Cold War saw the development of the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, the Rockwell B-1 Lancer, and Lockheed’s C-130 Hercules and F-117 Nighthawk.
US and Canadian aircraft companies and their aircraft are fully covered in our category listings, either in total or through the sub-categories on the left of this page. Click the book image for more details including the examples we have in stock.
© Transport Store Ltd. 2023