A Timeline of Air Warfare

1878

Military aviation in Britain begins with first Royal Engineers Balloon unit

1898

Pre-war Zeppelin over German City
Pre-war Zeppelin
over German City

Ferdinand Zeppelin constructs his first airship

1903

First powered Flight achieved by Wright Brothers

1907

First British powered Army airship becomes operational

1912

May. Royal Flying Corps founded

1914

First World War begins. First Zeppelin raids
October First aircraft shot down by a machine gun

1915

First Gotha heavy bombers see service on Western and Eastern fronts, first synchronised machine gun system designed by A Fokker comes into service
25th July. L.C Hawker wins the first VC awarded for Air combat

1917

May. First Sopwith Camel fighters come into service on western front
June. Manfred Von Richthofen made commander of the Flying Circus

1918

April.  British Royal Air force founded after merging RFC and Royal Naval Ari Service (RNAS)
21st April Manfred von Richthofen killed in action
December. RAF is now world’s largest air force with 22,000 aircraft and nearly 300,000 personnel.

1935

Robert Watson-Watt writes paper “The Detection of aircraft by radio methods” Radar invented. First Messerschmitt Bf 109 prototype flight
6th November First prototype Hawker Hurricane Flight
7th December First DC-3 Transport flight

1936

5th March first prototype Spitfire fighter flies

1937

July Messerschmitt Bf 109 sets new world speed record 379.39 mph

1939

September Radar stations along England’s South Coast operational

1940

12th August Battle of Britain begins
30-31st August climax of Battle of Britain

1941

Royal Navy begins using ASV-3 radar system to hunt German U boats
7th December Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbour

1942

June, Battle of Midway
18th July Messerschmitt 262 prototype jet fighter makes its first flight top speed of 540mph
21st September B-29 Stratofortress bomber makes it first flight

1944

June. Germany begins use of the V-1 Rockets; Gloster meteor Jet fighter enters British service
8th September First V-2 Rocket lands in Britain
12th November Tirpiz battleship is sunk by 12,000lb Tallboy bomb

1945

13th February Bombing of Dresden begins
6th August USAF drop atomic bomb on Hiroshima
9th August USAF drop atomic bomb on Nagasaki

1950

Korean War begins. Sees the last use of propeller driven fighters and beginning of Jet fighter age. MiG-15 enters service

1954

1st April last operational flight of a Spitfire Fighter

1955

MiG-19 enters service

1956

Mig-21 enters service
4th July First U-2 Spy plane flight over Moscow

1960

1st May U-2 plane shot down over USSR, pilot Gary Powers captured

1961

MiG-23 enters service

1962

Operation Ranch hand begins as USAF begin dropping incendiaries and defoliants, including Agent Orange, on Vietnamese jungle

1964

August US aircraft bomb North Vietnam

1965

Operation Rolling Thunder begins as US B-52 bombers begin heavy bombing of North Vietnam. It was the last for 3 years and result in 1 million tons of bombs being dropped

1967

MiG-25 Foxbat enters service
5th June, Arab-Israeli 6 day war begins with a pre-emptive air strike by Israeli Air Force

1970

Mil Mi-24 Hind gunship enters service

1976

28th July Lockheed SR-71 sets new world speed record at 2,193mph
February, A-10 Warthog enters service

1982

Falklands War, includes longest bombing raid in history, 10,000 miles carried out by RAF Vulcan bomber

1984-1988

Tanker War

1991

Gulf War

Air War Index - Air War Links - Air War Books

How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, T (30 March 2007), War in the Air Timeline, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/timeline_war_in_air.html

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