Air Force Armament Museum facts for kids
GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon on display at the Air Force Armament Museum.
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|Location||Eglin Air Force Base, Florida|
The Air Force Armament Museum, adjacent to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the only facility in the U.S. dedicated to the display of Air Force armament. Founded in 1975, it was originally located in a converted gymnasium on the northeastern edge of the Eglin main base, adjacent to Valparaiso, Florida.
Visitors can view a variety of historical Air Force planes, from a World War II B-17 bomber to an F-4 Phantom II jet. A wide variety of bombs, missiles, and rockets are exhibited, including the newest air-to-air missile, the AMRAAM, and the GBU-28 bunker-buster developed for use during Operation Desert Storm. Other missiles include the Paveway series, Falcons, the Tomahawk, Mace, Hound Dog, radar-controlled, laser-controlled and several guided by a TV camera in the nose. Also on display is the GBU-43 MOAB, Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or by its nickname, "Mother of All Bombs", the world's largest conventional explosive weapon. A predecessor, the T-12 Cloudmaker 38,600 lb. earthquake bomb, is displayed outside, while a Fat Man casing is indoors.
A gun vault displays a variety of weapons ranging from a 1903 Springfield rifle to the GAU-8, which is capable of shooting 6,000 rounds per minute. Featured are the Sikes Antique Pistol Collection, with over 180 handguns, including flintlocks, duelling pistols, Western six-shooters, Civil War pistols, and a wide variety of early military weaponry.
Discussion of the founding of a facility dedicated to the history of the development of armaments began at Eglin Air Force Base in 1972 with manpower considerations being circulated in early fall, with a plan approved in 1974. A former World War II-era gymnasium turned Enlisted Club near the old main gate to Valparaiso was adapted in 1975–1976 for the initial collection. Exhibits included the CGM-13 Mace missile, the F-84F, the F-101B, the B-17 Flying Fortress, and the B-25 Mitchell that had been displayed in Valparaiso-Niceville since 1960. Also popular was a Ryan Model 47 Firebee painted as a shark. A SPAD S.XIII, one of six survivors of the type, marked as '1' as flown by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker of the 94th Aero Squadron, on loan from Dolph Overton's Wings and Wheels Museum, Santee, South Carolina, was displayed from 1976 until the original building was closed. The museum occupied these wooden quarters until the structure was condemned in 1981, and the museum was closed in October.
The AFAM Foundation, incorporated in 1976 as an IRS 501(c)(3) philanthropic non-profit organization, began searching for a new site while raising funds for a new building. By mid-1985, $1.2 million in private and corporate donations had been raised, and construction of a new 28,000-square-foot (2,600 m2) museum was underway. In November of the same year, the new museum was deeded to the United States Air Force and opened to the public. The museum recorded more than one million visits by June 1995. The foundation is currently trying to raise $1.5 million for a new educational annex.
The Air Force Armament Museum Foundation
The Air Force Armament Museum Foundation is a volunteer body that runs the fund generating programs of the Armament Museum and decides how funds donated to the museum are spent.
The Friends of the Museum is a membership program in which members' dues help fund the museum. Members receive discounts in the gift shop and notice of special events.
The Foundation sponsors the education program Engineers for America, which involves a school classroom tour of the museum with basic engineering experiments led by teachers and volunteers. The goal of the program is to stimulate in young people a desire to pursue a career in engineering.
- Lockheed F-80C-10-LO, 49-0432, marked as F-80C-10-LO, 49-713A, of the 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, flown by Lt. Russell J. Brown when he downed a MiG-15 in the first all-jet air battle, 8 November 1950. This airframe served with the 66th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group, before transfer to the Uruguayan Air Force in August 1958 as 218, with Grupo de Aviacion No.2, Brigada I, at Montevideo-Carrasco Airport. Returned to the USAF in 1970.
- North American/Cavalier F-51D Mustang, U.S. Army 68-15796, remanufactured P-51D-5-NA Mustang used as chase plane for AH-56 Cheyenne attack helicopter project; last operated at Fort Rucker, Alabama. To Eglin AFB for the museum circa 1976, in Army brown and white scheme. Marked as F-51D-11-KT, with its original serial 44-13571 before rebuild, as aircraft of the 354th Fighter Squadron, Steeple Morden, Great Britain. Integral Cavalier wingtip tanks have been removed. In July 2019, this airframe was “wrapped” to represent an aircraft of the 332d Fighter Group, the “Red Tails” of the Tuskegee Airmen, who deployed to Eglin Field for gunnery training.
- Republic P-47N-25-RE, 44-89320, displayed at Muniz Air National Guard Base, Puerto Rico, then restored at San Juan, P.R., with first flight on 20 September 1972, Major Gabriel I. Penagarico/Thunderbolt Inc, Santurce, PR, 1970–1978, civil registered as N345GP, flown as 489320, coded 5A-2. Damaged, tipped on nose, propeller damaged, Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina, 10 June 1977. Still there in March 1979. Impounded by US Government due to breach of sale conditions. To the USAF Armament Museum, marked as P-47N-5-RE, 44-88129, "Expected Goose", 126, of the 463rd Fighter Squadron, 507th Fighter Group, Ie Shima in 1945. Unofficial emblem of the 463rd FS, a duck wearing a flight helmet with two P-47 underwing tanks, on fuselage under cockpit.
- Republic F-105D-1-RE, 58-1155, marked as F-105D-6-RE, 59-1771, "JV" tailcode, "Foley's Folly" on port fuselage, "Ohio Express" on starboard fuselage, as flown by Capt. Peter Foley, 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Korat RTAFB, third pilot to survive 200 missions over North Vietnam.
- Republic-Ford JB-2 Loon, on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.
- Ryan-Teledyne BQM-34A Firebee.
- Ryan-Teledyne BQM-34F Firebee, 70-1410, "BQ-15288", target drone from Tyndall AFB, Florida.
- Bell UH-1M-BF Iroquois, 66-15186, built as UH-1C-BF, modified for night attack; served with various U.S. Army units in Southeast Asia; acquired by the museum, December 1999, marked as Eglin aircraft with "ET" tailcode.
- Boeing B-17G-97-DL Flying Fortress, 44-83863, then U.S. Navy PB-1W, BuNo 77231, then civilian firebomber N5233V, marked after April 2011 repaint as B-17F-90-BO, 42-30180, of the 96th Bomb Wing which evolved into the 96th Air Base Wing, Eglin's resident unit. Previously marked as 44-83863, unnamed; 44-6106, "Gremlin's Hideout"; and as 44-83863, "Wicked Wanda". It arrived at Eglin 19 June 1975 from Aero Union, Chico, California, who operated it as firebomber 71/D1. Ironically, of the approximately 43 surviving intact B-17s worldwide, nine were assigned to Eglin with drone groups, but this is not one of them.
- Boeing RB-47H-1-BW Stratojet, 53-4296, retired to storage 29 December 1967, last USAF B-47 in active service, a reconnaissance variant with the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing; returned to duty from MASDC, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, 16 July 1968, bailed to North American Aviation, Inglewood, California for tests of F-111 radar system by the Air Force Avionics Laboratory. Upon completion of this program, flown to Eglin AFB circa 1976. Has had both the F-111 radome and stubby RB-47H nose replaced with standard bomber nose, making it a bastardized configuration. Displayed in typical Strategic Air Command markings.
- Boeing B-52G-95-BW Stratofortress, 58-0185, "El Lobo II", first assigned to the 4135th Strategic Wing, Strategic Air Command, Eglin AFB, September 1959; last assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, during which time it flew missions in Desert Storm. The bomber arrived at Eglin on 16 July 1991 and was moved to the museum a month later.
- Boeing CIM-10 Bomarc, 59-2016, one of the museum's original artifacts from its founding in 1975 and donated by the 4751st Air Defense Missile Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Eglin Auxiliary Field 9, Eglin AFB. Due to concerns about its thoriated magnesium airframe, the missile was removed from display by December 2006, stored in a secure compound behind the museum. By December 2010, the airframe had been partially dismantled but was still stored on premises. In late 2011 the airframe was remediated with all suspect parts removed "and carried away in a lead box", stated a museum staffer, leaving little more than the center fuselage with stub wings. Unable to salvage the remains in any viable way for display, the museum was slated to have the hulk hauled way as scrap in January 2012.
- Cessna O-2A Skymaster, 68-6864, c/n 337M-0153, sold into civilian use after end of war in Southeast Asia, reacquired by National Museum of the United States Air Force, displayed in Vietnam War-era flat black with red markings scheme.
- Convair C-131B Samaritan, 53-7821, c/n 273, off the property in early 2009 for restoration. Although it was originally expected that the C-131 would return, higher authorities at Eglin have decided that the aircraft did fit the museum profile, and it has been turned over to the Navy EOD school and moved to an Eglin range for training purposes as of 2010.
- Douglas TC-47B-25-DK Skytrain, c/n 32818, 44-76486, BuNo 39103, last operated by Army Aviation Detachment at Fort Monmouth, NAS Lakehurst, NJ and served as an electronic test aircraft, assigned to Army Communications – Electronics Command. Redesignated NC-47D, March 1965. To Eglin AFB, September 1976 in Army brown and white scheme, displayed as AC-47 Spooky gunship, 43-49010, "43-010". The original 43-49010 also survives as a display at Vietnam War Veterans Memorial Museum, Surasri Army Camp, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
- Fairchild-Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II, 75-0288, c/n 37, to AMARC as AC0135, 9 October 1992, then to display at USAF Armament Museum, Eglin AFB, Florida, departing AMARC, 11 April 2000. Displayed for a time marked as 77-205 with "NO" tailcode, but now wearing correct identity.
- General Dynamics AGM-109 Tomahawk mock-up of undeveloped Medium Range Air-to-Surface Missile (MRASM), unsuccessful contender in competition with AGM-86.
- General Dynamics F-16A Block 15A Fighting Falcon, 80-0573, "ET" tailcode, last flown by the 3246th Test Wing, Armament Development & Test Center, Eglin AFB, Florida in September 1989.
- General Dynamics F-111E-CF, 68-0058, last assigned to the 40th Flight Test Squadron, Eglin AFB, Florida.
- Lockheed AC-130A Spectre, 53-3129, c/n 3001, "First Lady", first production Hercules, modified into gunship, retired from 711th Special Operations Squadron, 919th Special Operations Group, Duke Field, Florida, to museum, November 1995.
- Lockheed F-104D-15-LO Starfighter, 57-1331A, last assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, California, where it was used to fly chase on the X-15 project. In the 1960s, this aircraft was used by Eglin Base Flight to fly chase on QF-104A drones of the 3205th Drone Squadron.
- Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila (Eagle) mock-up, small battlefield drone for target acquisition, project canceled.
- Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird, 61-7959, "Big Tail" modification, last flown in October 1976. In 1990, the Air Force Armament Museum Foundation financed the disassembly, transportation by truck, and re-assembly of this unique Blackbird.
- Lockheed T-33A-5-LO Shooting Star, 53-5947, last assigned to the 95th Fighter-Interceptor Training Squadron, 325th Fighter Weapons Wing, Tyndall AFB, Florida, and still carrying those markings including "Mr. Bones" 95th FITS badge on nose.
- Martin EB-57B-MA Canberra, 52-1516, last assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard, Burlington, Vermont, marked as aircraft of the 8th Bomb Squadron, 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, Phan Rang Air Base, South Vietnam. The aircraft carries the name of Capt. Forrest Adolph Dalton, 33, a resident of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, who was killed 4 April 1957 in the crash of an RB-57A-MA Canberra, 52-1434, 15 miles (24 km) N of Vancleave, Mississippi due to engine failure.
- Martin CGM-13 Mace, 59-4860, manufactured 14 March 1961, flown by the 4751st Drone Missile Squadron, Air Defense Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida. Donated to infant museum in 1973 as its first airframe display.
- McDonnell F-4C-23-MC Phantom II, 64-0817, last assigned to the 3246th Test Wing, Armament Development & Test Center, Eglin AFB, Florida, last flown 5 May 1986. Marked as F-4C-23-MC, 64-0813, of the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing.
- McDonnell RF-4C-32-MC Phantom II, 67-0452, last assigned to the 3246th Test Wing, Armament Development & Test Center, Eglin AFB, in the markings it carried during testing of the Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System (ATARS) system, but with a 46th Test Wing badge, successor to the 3246th TW.
- McDonnell Douglas F-15A-12-MC Eagle, 74-0124, "EG" tailcode, last assigned to the 4485th Test Squadron, Tactical Air Command, Eglin AFB, marked as "Gulf Spirit", squadron commander's aircraft of the 33rd Fighter Wing, based at Eglin AFB.
- McDonnell JF-101B-55-MC Voodoo, 56-0250, last assigned to the 4440th Aircraft Delivery Group, Langley AFB, Virginia.
- Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21F Fishbed C/E, '014', displayed in typical Russian Air Force markings. This is most likely a former Indonesian Air Force Fishbed, operated with a "YF-110B" designation by the 4477th Tactical Evaluation Squadron, the "Red Eagles", out of Groom Lake, Nevada under project CONSTANT PEG, closed down in March 1988, although the 4477th was not inactivated until July 1990, according to one official Air Force history. "There is strong evidence to suggest that 'Red 85,' the Fishbed C/E at Eglin is the former 4477th TES VIP hangar MiG-21F-13 (USAF serial number 14) from Tonopah. This aircraft was repainted on arrival at Eglin, but [the author of a book on USAF MiG operations] was told it was repainted identically. This aircraft simply 'arrived at the museum overnight,' and the curator was told not to ask any questions."
- North American GAM-77/AGM-28 Hound Dog air-launched stand-off missile, marked as Hound Dog A, 59-2794, the first A model missile delivered to Strategic Air Command, and assigned to the 301st Bomb Squadron, 4135th Strategic Wing, at Eglin AFB, Florida.
- North American TB-25J-25-NC Mitchell, 44-30854, the last B-25 in the USAF inventory, marked as B-25B, 40-2344, Gen. Jimmy Doolittle's aircraft on the Tokyo Raid. Aircraft was upgraded/overhauled by the Hayes Company, Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1950s, and was never on the civilian registry as it was donated straight from Air Force stock and retained its Norden bombsight right through display in at Doolittle Memorial Park in Niceville, Florida in the 1960s and 1970s in bare-metal scheme. Assigned at March AFB, California as of March 1960, the Mitchell was flown to Eglin from Turner Air Force Base, Georgia, on 21 May 1960, the last flight by a USAF B-25, and presented by Brig. Gen. A. J. Russell, Commander of SAC's 822nd Air Division at Turner AFB, to the Air Proving Ground Center Commander, Brig. Gen. Robert H. Warren, who in turn presented the bomber to Valparaiso, Florida Mayor Randall Roberts on behalf of the Niceville-Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. Four of the original Tokyo Raiders were present for the ceremony, Col. Davy Jones, Col. Jack Simms, Lt. Col. Joseph Manske, and retired Master Sgt. Ed Horton. Donated back to the Armament Museum circa 1974 and marked as Doolittle raider.  One source refers to it as being designated a VB-25J at the time of its retirement.
- North American F-86F-26-NH Sabre, 52-5513, marked as F-86F-1-NA, 51-2910, "Beauteous Butch II" flown by Korean War ace Capt. Joseph C. McConnell. Donated by Gen. Choc Young Bock of the Republic of Korea Air Force.
- North American F-100C-25-NA Super Sabre, 54-1986, last assigned to the Armament Development & Test Center, Eglin AFB, marked as F-100C-20-NA, 54-1954
- Northrop F-89D-65-NO Scorpion, 53-2610, last assigned to the 119th Fighter Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard, Hector Field, North Dakota.
- Republic F-84F-35-GK Thunderjet, 51-9495, marked for the 401st Fighter-Bomber Wing, England AFB, Louisiana. Last operated by the 170th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 183rd Tactical Fighter Group, Illinois Air National Guard, Springfield, Illinois, and flown to Eglin in early 1972 in Vietnam-era camouflage with 25–30 of the squadron airframes to serve as live fire range targets when that unit became the first Air National Guard group to reequip with F-4 Phantom IIs. Signs of corrosion were discovered in wings of the 55 F-84Fs remaining in the ANG inventory following a fatal crash on 16 November 1971, in which a Thunderstreak shed a wing over a gunnery range when the "milkbottle" joint failed. As the 183d, the only F-84F-equipped ANG unit, "was programmed for F-4C aircraft, and over 90 percent of the grounded F-84Fs showed signs of stress corrosion ... no repairs were made." This airframe had been moved to the range, but was retrieved by helicopter for the infant museum.
- Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low IV, 73-1652, assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron, Eglin AFB, June 1976 – July 1980, used in body recovery of victims of the Jonestown Massacre. Operations with the 16th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Florida, until retirement 5 September 2008, the only aircraft displayed to be flown directly into the museum grounds.
Air Force Armament Museum Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.