What are these 12 aircraft at the co-ordinates 35.677323, -117.676903?

I recognize the F-111 and C-130, but not the others.

enter image description here Source: google maps

  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking about the Naval Air Weapons Station - China Lake? $\endgroup$ Nov 2, 2016 at 16:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is no C-130 in the photo - I'm looking at the upper right as the suspect. A 130: (1) its fuselage does not taper in the back. (2) its fuselage is proportionally wider (3) its wing is high-mounted, it hides that part of the fuselage as seen from the top.(4) its engine nacelles are more streamlined, being a turbine. Those in the photo look like radial piston to me. $\endgroup$
    – radarbob
    Nov 4, 2016 at 22:53

4 Answers 4


This answer is a Community Wiki. Community edits are welcome.

The aircraft in the photo appear to be the following, or varients therof:

  1. Douglas R4D-8 (Super DC-3)

R4D-8 at China Lake

source, photographer: Brian Lockett

  1. North American T-39 Sabreliner

  2. Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter or KC-97 tanker varient

  3. McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II

F-4 at China Lake

source, photographer: Brian Lockett

  1. Vought F-8 Crusader

  2. North American T-39 Sabreliner

  3. North American RA-5C Vigilante tail number 156640


source, photographer: Brian Lockett

  1. Boeing B-29 Superfortress


source, photographer: Brian Lockett

  1. General Dynamics F-111B tail number 152715


source, photographer: Brian Lockett

  1. Grumann A-6 Intruder

  2. Douglas R4D-8 (Super DC-3)

  3. Grumann A-6 Intruder

No C-130 appears in the photo included in the question, though one may appear elsewhere near the coordinates linked.


  • 1 and 11 are not C-47 Skytrain. They are longer and have a square tail which is typically for the Super DC3 / R4D-8
  • 3 is longer from the wing root to the nose than the same measurement on 8, supporting that 3 is not a B-29. Moreover, in the photo of 7, aircraft 3 appears in the background which clearly shows engine nacelles like those of the B-50 or C-97 series. The same photo shows a fuselage rising higher above the wing than a B-50, which is consistent with a C-97 variant.
  • 5 measures nearer the 54 ft in length of an F-8, versus the 46 ft in length of an F-7, supporting that it is an F-8
  • $\begingroup$ 3 looks more like the B-50 and 8 looks like the B-29 $\endgroup$ Nov 2, 2016 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ 7 looks like a model of an early VFX/VFAX prototype; what would become the F-14. While swing-wing for speed and space, and dual-tail for maneuverability and stability, were both the vogue at the time, Grumman had designs for single-tail and fixed-wing variants of the VFX fighter carried forward from the doomed F-111B project. $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Nov 2, 2016 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ 10 and 12 are definitely A-6's by the way. You can make out the fixed probe on the left side of the cockpit, and the fuselage and strake lines are a dead giveaway. $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Nov 2, 2016 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ @KeithS on bing maps it looks like it has one vertical stabilizer and I found a photo of the remains of an F 111B at China Lake. It seems to me that this is an 111B. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Nov 2, 2016 at 18:08
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Good job on finding the ground photos $\endgroup$
    – slebetman
    Nov 3, 2016 at 2:25

1,11- Douglas C-47 Skytrain

2,6- North American Sabreliner

3,8 - B-29 Superfortress

4- McDonnel Douglas F-4 Phantom II

5- Vought A-7 Corsair II

7- North American Vigilante

9- General Dynamics F111 Aardvark

10,12- Grumman A-6 Intruder

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ 1 and 11 are not C-47 Skytrain. They are longer and have a square tail which is typically for the Super DC3 or R4D-8 $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Nov 2, 2016 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ 9 is an F-14 Tomcat. Note the single piece canopy vs. the Aardvark's split canopy, as well as the dual vertical stabilizers (the Aardvark only has one). $\endgroup$
    – SnakeDoc
    Nov 2, 2016 at 19:28
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @SnakeDoc I only see one vertical stabilizer on 9. The intakes on 9 also do not match the F-14. I think this answer is correct on this being an F-111. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Nov 2, 2016 at 19:40
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ 3 is not a B-29, but a B-50. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Nov 2, 2016 at 20:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @SnakeDoc The aircraft is definitely an F-111. The Tomcat has very pronounced intakes where the wings meet the fuselage. The F-111 does not. If it were an F-14, you would see two "shoulders" for the intakes just behind the canopy. The F-111's intakes are underneath the wings, not in front like the Tomcat. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Nov 2, 2016 at 21:55
  1. Douglas DC-3/C-47
  2. North American T-39 SaberLiner
  3. Boeing KC-97
  4. McDonnell Douglas F-4
  5. Vought F8U/RF8U Crusader
  6. North American T-39 SaberLiner
  7. North American A-5/RA-5 Vigilante
  8. Either a Boeing B-29 or a B-50 Superfortress
  9. General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
  10. Either a Grumman A-6 or a KA-6 Intruder.
  11. Douglas DC-3/C-47
  12. Either a Grumman A-6 or a KA-6 Intruder.

Confirm 7 is a North American A3J - A-5 - RA5 Vigilante. Looks a lot like a hot, 1960s fighter, a F-14, MiG-25, or F-15. I've read that Soviet espionage delivered enough A3J information that TsAGI based the MiG-25 shape on it. That's slightly odd, the A3J was a supersonic bomber with a deterrence role, like TSR-2. But Navy requirements included max weight catapult launches from an ANCHORED aircraft carrier. Deterrence means ready to go, 24/7. This was when the USAF had nuclear-armed bombers airborne, 24/7.


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