Military Factory

Top Ten Fighters #10 Sopwith Camel

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 11/7/2015

The Sopwith Camel biplane fighter became a God-send for the Allied war effort in World War 1, proving one of the best.

Synopsis: The highly maneuverable Sopwith Camel was an aerial star of World War 1. The dual machine-gun-armed killing machine made short work of plenty of opposition fighters, bombers and dirigibles and became known for its inherent ability to "weed out" less-than-capable pilots due to its unforgiving flight characteristics - notably a forward-set center of gravity coupled with the engine's noticeable natural torque pull. The biplane had a natural propensity to favor the right side, helping experienced Camel pilots make quick-banking and rolling maneuvers against unsuspecting enemies - thusly giving these Camel-jocks a substantial edge in the dogfights occurring over the West Front.

Pros: Responsive turns assisted by the naturally-produced engine torque; forward center of gravity for lesser agility resistance; wood construction generally meant the airframe became a sponge for punishment-by-bullets; light alloy skinning near engine was added for frontal protection of important internal components; dual machine gun armament firing through the spinning propeller blade.

Notoriety: Credited with an unprecedented 1,300 to 3,000 aircraft kills (sources vary) during The Great War (1914-1918).

Total Production: 5,490

Operators: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

NEXT: Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 "Fresco"

Honorable Mention #10: McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
Since its inception in 1976, four major world air forces have found success with the Mach 2.5+ capable McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) product. To date, it maintains an air combat record of 100 kills for NO losses to itself - a truly spectacular feat. Production has reached nearly 1,200 examples as of 2012 and modernization programs have helped to extend the service life of this Cold War warrior.