Military and Government T-Tailed Aircraft Scrapbook

C-5A

The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy has one of the largest T-tails in the world.

A readily recognizable spotting trait for aircraft all over the world is the tail configuration. In particular, the T-tail design brings advantages along with a few disadvantages. 

T-tails are helpful in short runway operations; this Bombardier CC-142 is a derivative of the civilian Dash 8 – both have good STOL capabilities.

Advantages for a t-tailed design include accessibility to tail-mounted loading ramps, having jet exhaust far away from the control surfaces, and aerodynamically, the T-tail doesn’t have to contend with the turbulence and drag from the fuselage. Disadvantages include additional structural weight needed for the design, and the possible aerodynamic condition known as a deep stall – and thus uncontrollable flight characteristics in certain situations.

The U.S. Navy operates this Gulfstream C-20G, otherwise known as a militarized G-IV.

Here are a many international designs for aircraft in military and government service from around the world. Of course, there are many more not listed here… but enjoy the photos! How many have you seen in person?

The C-21A is a Lear 35 transport version.

The Raytheon T-1A is a multi engine trainer for the U.S. military, it is a modified Beech 400A (originally the Mitsubishi 300 Diamond).

Beech RC-12D Huron is a signals intelligence platform for the U.S. Army.

Now all retired, the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing C-9 was used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps as staff transports and freighters; the U.S. Air Force used the C-9 in medevac and VIP transport roles.

The McDonnell Douglas/Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a dedicated troopship, cargo and medevac aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force and other military forces worldwide. 

This Beech B-200C Super Kingair is used by the U.S. Forestry Service for staff transport.

This Gulfstream C-37A is an executive transport operated by the U.S. Air Force, similar to a civilian Gulfstream V.

The McDonnell Douglas F-101B Voodoo was a supersonic interceptor utilized by the U.S. and Canada in the 1950s through 1980s. Other versions operated as photo reconnaissance platforms.

Ilyushin IL-80 operated by the Indian Air Force is a dedicated aerial refueling tanker… the similar IL-76 is a cargo and troop transport.

The Canadair CT-114 Tutor was a training aircraft utilized by the Canadian Forces, now used exclusively by their flight demonstration team, the Snowbirds.

Austrian Air Force Saab 105O is a trainer and light attack jet developed for the Swedish Air Force.

The Let-610 was a twin engined passenger plane which didn’t catch on in the 1990s; however an upgraded version is planned for production during the mid-2020s.

The Lockheed C-141 Starlifter was built to replace piston engined long range freighters for the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s and 1970s. Later in life, almost all were rebuilt during the 1980s with an added fuselage plug, stretching the fuselage length and adding cargo space. A handful, such as this NC-141A, were never modified.

This Pilatus PC-12/45 is used for personnel transport and can be modified for surveillance duties.

One of the fastest T-tails ever, this Mach 2-plus Lockheed F-104ASA-M Starfighter was last used by the Italian Air Force as an interceptor through the year 2004.

The Vickers VC-10 was developed as a civilian passenger jet in the 1960s. The Royal Air Force operated four separate versions of the VC-10 in the aerial tanker and transport roles.

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Ken Kula

Assignment and Content Editor, writer and photographer A New Englander all of my life, I've lived in New Hampshire since 1981. My passion for all things aviation began at a very early age, and I coupled this with my interest of photography during college in the late 1970s. I spent 32 years in the air traffic control industry, and concurrently, enjoyed my aviation photography and writing adventures, which continue today. I've been quite fortunate to have been mentored by some generous and gifted individuals. I enjoy contributing to this great site, and working with some very knowledgeable and equally passionate aviation followers.

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