Wondering What Happened To All Fuel Tanks Jettisoned By U.S. Fighter Jets Over Southeast Asia During Vietnam War?

All images Hilli Rathner (?) via Des Barker

Here are some extraordinary photographs showing how fuel tanks are being used today.

External tanks are extremely important for military aircraft as they provide fuel to integrate internal tanks and extend fighters and bombers endurance.

Indeed, even if they can be refueled by aerial tankers, tactical jet planes heavily rely on the JP-8 fuel loaded on the external fuel tanks. However, the auxiliary fuel tanks represent an additional weight, additional drag, and they will reduce the aircraft maneuverability.

In real combat, external fuel tanks are jettisoned when empty or as soon as the aircraft needs to get rid of them to accelerate and maneuver against an enemy fighter plane or to evade a surface to air missile.

Several thousand drop tanks were jettisoned over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

And here you can see what happened to some of those that were recovered.

Fuel tank 2

About David Cenciotti 4451 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

4 Comments

  1. They had the Story wrong these don’t look to be dropped…
    I’ve had a similar Question when it comes to Torpedoes specially in WW1 & WW2, Most Torpedoes Miss, how far do they run, they don’t self destruct, Would they explode when they hit bottom &/or do we have 10’s of thousands Old Live Torpedoes all over our Ocean floors???

  2. make a pretty nice boat,,glad we could help,sorta.kinda,,and besides aluminum doesn’t rot out like wood.and they are lighter which means you can carry more stuff with a smaller engine.

  3. The discarded aviation fuel tanks makes for pretty good river boats.

Comments are closed.