Throughout aviation history, there are many examples of civilian aircraft being adapted for military use. On the other hand, there are many situations where a military aircraft design has seen civilian success too. Here are a number of airframes that have been used by military branches and civilian operators, many times performing the same duties and functions.
Especially during the early years of World War II, civilian designs and already-built aircraft were pressed into military service. As time went on, more specialized designs were produced for military use, due to performance needs (speed, range and ruggedness are just three reasons for specialization). Although this not at all definitive collection focuses on turbojet and helicopter airframes, this first of two collections will center on pure jet-powered aircraft. Watch for our other collection of sheep in wolf’s clothing in a few weeks, when we’ll present propeller-driven designs.
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.