10 Best Military Aircraft Civilians Can Buy In 2021
B-29 Superfortress – $5.5 Million
Here is one of the best military aircraft civilians can buy in 2021. The B-29 Superfortress was a beast of a plane, even by today’s standards. It was developed in the early 1940s by Boeing and its advanced features put the new bomber in a league of its own. Some interesting features include remote-controlled guns and pressurized crew areas that could be accessed by crew members in flight, removing the need for masks. It was the world’s heaviest production plane.
The B-29 played a crucial role as a bomber in World War II. It’s no surprise that these military aircraft for sale would be highly sought after given their rich history. Until July of 2016, there was only one Superfortress that was still capable of flying by the name of “Fifi”. That was until “Doc” hit the skies for the first time since 1956 on July 17th, 2016. Both planes are owned by private owners, but there has been great support by the avionic industry to help to restore them to flyable status.
Quick Fact: After WWII, the B-29 performed a variety of jobs including weather reconnaissance and in-flight refueling.
Bell UH-1 Huey – $25 million
The next of our best military aircraft is the UH-1 Huey. It is one of the most widely used military helicopters in the world. 40 different countries operate the UH-1 today. However, that doesn’t make owning one any less exciting. They first came onto the scene during the Vietnam war, and the helicopter assisted in a wide variety of missions. Some variants of the Huey acted as MedEvac, some transported supplies and personnel, and some engaged in air assault.
The UH-1 Huey grew to be an iconic symbol of the Vietnam war through movies and television and for about $500,000, this military aircraft for sale can be yours. That’s a steal compared to the Huey’s latest versions, which run about $25 million per aircraft. Don’t want the hassle of owning the real thing?
Quick Fact: Cruising speed of the Bell UH-1 Huey around 125 miles per hour and the crew consists of between 1 and 4 people, depending on the variant.
F-4 Phantom II – $3.95 million
Currently selling for $3.95 million to the public, the F-4 Phantom II is one of the rare jets on this list. It entered service with the U.S. Air Force back in 1960 and is still used in limited, spot roles by the USAF although it is technically retired. It’s listed as a two-seat, twin-engine, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber.
Quick Fact: The F-4 Phantom II has a top speed over Mach 2.2 and the ability to carry over 18,000 pounds of munitions.
If you want to see more F-4 Phantom II images, we have you covered!
Migoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 – $5 million
Our fourth best military aircraft civilians can buy is the Mikoyan MiG 29. The Soviet Union developed this aircraft to combat the American F-16 in the 1970s. The MiG 29 is a large fighter, measuring 57 feet in length with a 37-foot wingspan. It is powered by twin turbofan engines and can reach Mach 2.25 at high altitudes. The MiG proved to be capable of a multitude of roles. Its intended purpose was air to air combat. However, it also was used in air to surface and precision targeting. Once the Soviet Union dissolved, it left the former members with a surplus of the aircraft.
If you think you might like to own a Soviet Era jet fighter, you can purchase your own military aircraft for sale in the shape of a MiG 29 for around $5 million. Let’s be real. You’re probably not going to buy this aircraft for yourself.
Quick Fact: The US purchased a small fleet from Moldova to get a better idea of the MiG capabilities (and to keep them out of the hands of Iran).
Hawker Sidldeley Harrier GR.3 – $500,000
The Hawker Siddeley Harrier was developed by Hawker Siddeley for the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the 1960s. The vertical/short take-off and landing (V/STOL) concept was repeatedly attempted during this time period. The Harrier was the first to be successful. The RAF ordered both the GR.1 and GR.3 variants and a slightly modified version known as AV-8A was exported to the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in the 1970s.
The GR.3 was a single-engine, single-seat jet measuring 46 feet in length with a 25 foot wingspan. It was powered by a Rolls Royce Pegasus 103 turbofan. Four vertical flight puffer jets utilized engine bleed air, mounted in the nose, tail, and wingtips. Due to its V/STOL capability, the Harrier didn’t require long runways and ground facilities like that of other fixed-wing aircraft.
Quick Fact: The aircraft proved important and effective in the Falklands War. It was retired from RAF in 2011 and some of these military aircraft for sale can be found on the open market.
Folland Gnat – $200,000
The Folland Gnat was a small yet capable fighter jet that was developed by the British in the 1950s. Also known as the “Pocket Fighter”. This little plane had some very impressive performance features that solidified its place in several nation’s air forces around the world. The Gnat could climb at 10,000 feet-per-minute and roll at more than 360 degrees per second.
It was a highly agile, maneuverable and fast aircraft for any military at the time. The British decided to employ it as an advanced training aircraft soon after ordering the first six test aircraft. However, the Gnat went on to fulfill fighter roles in Finland, India, and Yugoslavia. The Gnats have been retired from military service for some time now. However, this military aircraft for sale can now be purchased as a warbird for those who can afford the nearly $200,000 price tag.
Quick Fact: In Finland, the Gnat set a record for the country as being the first to exceed the speed of sound.
North American P-51 Mustang – $1 million
The P-51 Mustang is a North American classic, originally built for the British during World War II as a medium-altitude fighter. However, the Mustang performed much more than those duties. The addition of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine (and later the Packard V-1650-7), allowing it to reach higher altitudes with greater power. The Mustang was key in reconnaissance missions.
Also, it escorted many bombers throughout several wars thanks to its long-range capability. The P-51 has recently become a highly sought after warbird with complete, historically accurate restoration becoming an industry of its own. These restored Mustangs can fetch upwards of $1 million on the aviation market. This military aircraft for sale is sure to deliver a good time for those lucky enough to get in the pilot’s seat.
Quick Fact: The P-51 has a max speed of around 430 miles per hour.
Want to learn more about this specific aircraft? We know a site that has 50 incredible facts about the P-51 Mustang!
Grumman OV-1 Mohawk – $1 million
The Grumman OV-1 was developed in the 1950s as a replacement for the Cessna L-19 Bird Dog. The US Army needed an all-weather observation/attack plane that was faster, more powerful and outfitted with better armor than the Bird Dog. Grumman Aircraft Corporation won the project with their OV-1 Mohawk concept. It proved to be in a league of its own.
The Mohawk was the first turboprop plane to be active in the US Army. It proved highly useful in a variety of military roles. Its aluminum-alloy floor and bulletproof windows protected it from small ground arms. Its large finned tail and mounted engines allowed for superior maneuverability. At least one OV-1 variant had an internal camera and advanced side-looking radar (SLAR) which scanned the ground below and provided tracking that no other aircraft could match at the time. Anyway, it remains one of the most exciting military aircraft for sale that civilians can get their hands on.
Quick Fact: The OV-1 was finally retired from the US Army in 1996.
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk – $1.775 million
Also known as Tomahawk, Kittyhawk, Model 81 and Gypsy Rose Lee (depending on where you were and which P-40 model was in question), the P-40 was an active participant in World War II. The P-40 experienced a long list of upgrades during its active lifetime as performance issues and shortcomings became apparent. Despite these changes, the P-40 isn’t commonly regarded as a “top fighter” of its time but there is no denying its cool looks. This is one of the reasons it has become a desirable warbird for enthusiasts around the world.
Courtesy Aircraft Sales currently has a beautifully restored P-40K Warhawk for sale for $1.775 million. That’s a pretty penny, but this particular model is quite rare. The P-40 went down in aviation history books as being an aircraft that handled well for very skilled pilots. However, it left them wishing they had something a little better. Basically, it looked better than it performed making it perfect for wealthy enthusiasts looking for a pretty aircraft to add to their collection.
Quick Fact: The P-40 was one of the top three most plentiful US fighters of WWII.
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter – $28,000
The last on our “Best Military Aircraft Civilians Can Buy ” list is the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. The Starfighter was developed with help from renowned aeronautical engineer, Kelly Johnson. Johnson was also involved in the development of the U-2 spy plane and the SR-71 Blackbird. This military aircraft for sale proved particularly deadly to operate and was plagued with controversy during its operational lifetime. Nonetheless, according to the FAA, there are ten privately owned F-104 Starfighters in the US. Three of which are ex-Canadian military aircraft belonging to the civilian demonstration team, Starfighters Inc. of Clearwater, Florida. In 2011, there was a restored, albeit engineless, F-104 for sale in the UK for £25,000.
Quick Fact: The F-104 Starfighter is 54 feet 9 inches (16.7 m) long. If you get one, make sure you have space for it.
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