The following arms are real-world weaponry built and/or used by countries around the world.
AIM-7 SPARROW: A medium-range (about 20 to 25 miles) radar-guided air-to-air missile, the Sparrow can be carried by most American and many other Western-built fighters. It is moderately effective but is beginning to show its age. One problem is that the firing plane must keep its nose pointed at the missile's target. Even though the Sparrow is fast, Mach 4, those seconds are too long to fly straight in air combat. The Sparrow is being replaced by the more modern AMRAAM.
AIM-9 SIDEWINDER: Almost legendary for its reliability and simplicity, the Sidewinder has appeared in dozens of versions and has been carried by scores of different aircraft. It has also been extensively copied. The missile's guidance package, or seeker, homes in on a heat source, usually a jet exhaust, but later versions can even detect the hot skin of a fast-moving aircraft. It has a relatively short range, about ten miles, less for earlier versions.
AIM-54 PHOENIX: The longest-range air-to-air missile ever built, the Phoenix is carried by the U.S. Navy's F-14 Tomcat. Combined with the Tomcat's weapons system, the Phoenix can attack targets over 100 miles away. It is a big missile, and not very maneuverable, but it flies over five times the speed of sound.
AIM-120 AMRAAM: The replacement for the Sparrow, the long-overdue advanced medium-range air-to-air missile will allow a plane to maneuver freely after launch, since the missile has its own active radar-seeker in the nose. The missile can also recieve updates on its target's position from the launching plane. The French Mica, also in development, is similar. The AMRAAM's range is slightly better than the Sparrow's, about 30 miles.
AK-74/AKR: A replacement for the famous AK-47, the newer AK-74 is the standard Russian Army weapon and has been widely exported. It uses a smaller 5.45mm round and a 30-round magazine. The AK-74 weighs eight pounds without a magazine. The AKR is a smaller, carbine version of the AK-74 with a folding stock and a short barrel.
AKM: A modernized, refind version of the AK-47 assault rifle, it uses the same 7.62mm round and has the same performance. It weighs nine and a half pounds and has a 30-round magazine.
ANL/ANS: The successor to the famous French Exocet, the ANS (surface launched) and ANL (air-launched) is longer-range (100+ miles), stealthy and supersonic. These present a difficult target for even the most sophisticated air defence weapons.
ARM: Anti-radiation missile. This class of air-launched missiles homes in on the signal given off by an emitting radar. They can be set to attack a particular type of radar set. Once they reach the signals source, they explode and destroy the radar. The American HARM and French ARMAT are both ARMs.
ASMP: A French nuclear-armed missile, it is launched from a plane in flight and flies at three times the speed of sound. It carries a 150 kiloton warhead.
AT-4: A Swedish-designed, shoulder-fired antitank rocket purchased for the U.S. Army, it weighs just over 13 pounds, and the rocket has a range of 300 meters.
DURANDAL: A French-made weapon, the Durandal is a rocket-boosted, armor-piercing bomb dropped from a low-flying aircraft. The Durandal is designed to 'crater' runways so that they cannot be used by airplanes.
FA MAS: One of the most compact assault rifles ever designed, the FA MAS is the French Army's standard infantry weapon. It uses a "bullpup" configuration with the trigger group in front of a 25-round magazine. Its unique appearance has earned it the nickname Le Clarion (the Bugle).
G3A3: The standard German infantry weapon, it fires a large 7.62mm round and weighs almost ten pounds. It has a 20-shot magazine. It has been widely exported.
G11: The planned standard weapon for the German Army this futuristic-looking rifle is expected to enter service early this century. It fires a 4.7mm caseless round from a 50-round magazine and weighs just over eight pounds. It has an extremely high rate of fire and will be very accurate.
JAVELIN: A replacement for the near-worthless Dragon, the Javelin antitank missile has a range of 2,000 meters and can either attack the thin top armor of a main battle tank or the side armor of a lightly armored vehicle. Unlike its predecessor, it does not use a wire, but carries its own 'fire and forget' homing system. It takes a team of three men to carry the launcher and reload missiles. Javelin entered U.S. Army service in the mid-1990s.
KORMORAN 2: A German-built antiship missile, the Kormoran has a relatively short range (just over 30 miles) but flies at sea-skimming altitude. This makes it a difficult target for many antiaircraft weapons. It carries a 480-pound warhead.
M16: The standard U.S. Army infantry weapon, it is much lighter and smaller than its predecessor, the M14 rifle. The M16 weights eight and a half pounds.
MICA: A new French air-to-air missile in the same class as the American AMRAAM, the Mica is launched from the Mirage 2000 and the Rafale. It can be fitted with either a radar or heat-seeking head, and has a range of 30 miles.
MILAN: A wire-guided Franco-German antitank missile in the same class as the American Dragon but much more effective, it has a range of 2,000 meters and is used by many countries.
MP5: Built in many different versions, the MP5 is a submachine gun firing a 9mm round from a 15- or 30-shot magazine. It weighs about five pounds and is carried by armored vehicle crews and other troops whose duties prevent them from carrying rifles.
PHALANX: An automated close-in defence weapon against antiship missiles, it combines a 20mm Gatling cannon and a high-frequency radar. Firing a stream of depleted uranium projectiles, it is very accurate.
PROXIMITY FUSE: A small device used primarily against aircraft, it detonates a shell or missile warhead when it passes near the plane. Proximity fuses use radar, laser, or infrared seekers to measure the distance to a target.
R.550 MAGIC 2: A heat-seeking missile designed and exported by the French, it is in the same class as later models of the American Sidewinder. It has a range of about ten miles.
RPG, RPG-16: Rocket propelled grenade. These Russian one-man antitank weapons use a shaped charge to penetrate a tank's side or rear armor, at short ranges, usually 50 to 500 meters. The latest model is the RPG-16, which carries one rocket in a disposable tube.
SPY-1: The SPY radar is the heart of the Aegis air defence system and the Ticonderoga-class cruisers. Based on four huge nonrotating radar antennas, a sophisticated computer electronically steers the beams. It can detect aircraft and surface targets. The radar has a range of about 200 miles.
TOMAHAWK: A ship- and sub-launched long-range cruise missile, different variants can be launched against ships and land targets. There is also a nuclear version, presently removed from service. The Tomahawk carries a large high-explosive warhead for submunitions. It is very accurate, with new versions adding improved guidance features and stealth.
AMX-10P: A boxy tracked vehicle with a steeply sloped front plate, this French APC can carry eight infantrymen and a crew of three. The vehicle's power-operated turret mounts a 20mm autocannon and a 7.62mm machine gun, but like other armored personnel carriers, the AMX-10P is only lightly armored.
AMX-10RC: A six-wheeled French armored car, the AMX-10RC carries a 105mm gun equipped with a sophisticated fire control computer and ranging system. Although only lightly armored, it packs a powerful punch and is a useful scout vehicle.
BRDM: A small, lightly armored, four-wheeled Russian reconnaisance car, it can carry a heavy machine gun or antitank missiles. It has been widely exported.
BTR-80: A Russian-designed, eight-wheeled troop carrier, it has light armor and only a heavy machine gun for arnament. It can carry 14 troops.
FUCHS: A German armored personnel carrier, it has six wheels, light armor, and can carry 14 troops. It is often used for specialized purposes, such as carrying surveillance radar, supplies, or as a command vehicle.
HUMVEE: Actually HMMWV, but pronounced 'humm-vee', this light utility truck replaced the U.S. Army's jeep, which was proving too small to carry many loads. The jeep's gasoline engine was also a drawback, and the HMMVW uses a diesel.
LECLERC: An advanced Frech battle tank, the LeClerc replaced aging AMX-30s in the mid-1990s. It uses composite layered armor and is fitted with a 120mm gun and an auto loader. It is in the same class as the U.S. M1A2 Abrams and the German Leopard 2.
LEOPARD 1: The first German tank built after World War II, it appeared in the 1960s. Combining a low silhouette with high speed and a 105mm gun, the Leopard was more than a match for its expected adversary, the T-55, and even its successor, the T-62. It was replaced in front line service in the late 1970s by the Leopard 2.
LEOPARD 2: Larger and heavier than the Leopard 1, the Leopard 2 is the equivalent of the M1A2 Abrams but appeared several years earlier. It carries a 120mm gun, a sophisticated fire control system, and is fitted with advanced armor, which greatly increases its protection against tank-killing missiles.
LUCHS: An eight-wheeled armored car, the Luchs carries a 20mm gun in a small turret. It is lightly armored but is very useful for scouting.
M1A2 ABRAMS: The American main battle tank, the latest version of which carry a 120mm gun and layered armor. A very fast, well-armored vehicle with a sophisticad fire control system, the Abrams is a match for any other tank now in production.
M2 BRADLEY: Designed to carry infantry, the Bradley is classed as an 'infantry fighting vehicle', because it also mounts a 25mm gun and a TOW antitank missile launcher.
M113: One of the first armored personnel carriers, the M113 has been produced in huge numbers, and has seen service all over the world. Nothing more than a lightly armored box on a tracked chassis, it can carry 11 troops.
M577: A variant of the M113 personnel carrier, it is fitted out with radios and map tables for use as a command vehicle.
MARDER: A German infantry fighting vehicle, it currently mounts a 20mm cannon and an antitank missile launcher in a small turret. The German Army upgraded its existing Marders with a new 25mm cannon during the 1990s.
T-55: A 1950s-vintage tank, this Russian-designed vehicle mounts a 100mm gun. Badly outclassed by almost any Western design, its only virtue is a low silhouette.
T-72: A 1970s-ear tank, the T-72 mounts a 125mm gun fitted with a laser range finder and an automatic loader. It is outclassed by the M1 Abrams, the German Leopard 2, and the French LeClerc. Like the T-55, it has been widely exported.
T-80: The present-day Russain main battle tank, the T-80 mounts a 125mmm gun coupled to an advanced fire control system. It is fitted with both layered and reactive armor. In addition to a shell, the gun can also fire a laser-guided antitank missile with a range of several kilometres. In general ability, the T-80 is at worst half a notch below the M1A2.
ZSU-23-4 SHILKA: A track-mounted antiaircraft vehicle, it carries a turret with four radar-guided 23mm autocannon. Although it appeared in the 1960s, it is still an effective weapon.
AH-64 APACHE: A sophisticated, first-line gunship, the Apache carries laser-guided Hellfire missiles, unguided rockets and a 30mm cannon, along with an array of sensors so that it can fight at night as well as day. It is heavily armored.
AN-26: Called Curl by NATO, this light twin-engine turboprop is similar in size and role to the F-27 Fokker transports seen at many American airports. It cruises at 270 mph and can carry a load of six tons or 40 passengers.
B-1B LANCER: Originally designed as a strategic nuclear bomber, the Lancer operates at low altitudes and high speed. The plane is now being adapted to a convential role and can carry dozens of high-explosive bombs. It may also carry a large number of laser-guided or optically guided bombs.
B-52 STRATOFORTRESS: Originally designed as a high-altitude, subsonic bomber, the B-52's long lifetime has seen it in many roles. It is equally capable of dropping both nuclear and conventional bombs.
E-2C HAWKEYE: The Hawkeye is a twin-turboprop airplane launched from aircraft carriers. It is unarmed, but it carries the APS-145 radar in a huge saucer on its back. Carrying a crew of radar operators and fighter controllers, the E-2C can spot air and surface contacts up to 250 miles away.
E-3 SENTRY: An ultrasophisticated AWACS, the E-3 is built into a converted Boeing 707 airframe. Like the E-2C Hawkeye, the E-3 mounts a huge radar in a saucer on top. Its radar can spot sea surface and air targets 360 miles away, and vectors fighters to intercept them.
EA-6B PROWLER: An adaptation of the Intruder attack jet, the Prowler has a crew of four and is usually unarmed. Instead of carrying ordnance, it uses a suit of powerful jammers to scramble enemy radars and radio circuits.
F-14 TOMCAT: A huge, carrier-launched fighter, the F-14 is designed exclusively to engage enemy aircraft at long range with Phoenix and Sparrow radar-guided missiles. It is also fairly maneuverable and carries Sidewinders and a 20mm cannon for close-in work. The Tomcat has two engines and a crew of two.
F-15 EAGLE: First appearing in the 1970s, the Eagle is an outstanding air-to-air fighter, equipped with the powerful APG-70 radar and up to eight air-to-air missiles, as well as a 20mm rotary cannon. It has a long range, is very maneuverable, but is a little on the large side.
F-15E STRIKE EAGLE: This two-seat version of the F-15 can still carry air-to-air missiles, but it is intended for long-range, low-altitude attack missions, hitting enemy targets well back from the front lines.
F-22 LIGHTNING II: The newest generation of U.S. Air Force fighter, the Lightning is meant to replace the Eagle. It is incredibly maneuverable, and stealthy, armed with advanced missiles like the AMRAAM and a rotary cannon. It will enter service in a few years' time.
F-117A: The famous, oddly angled "Black Jet" is used by the U.S. Air Force to destroy vital, heavily defended targets. Alternately it can attack the defenses themselves, clearing the way for more conventional aircraft to attack safely. A combination of flat surfaces and special materials makes the plane virtually invisible to radar. Its official name is Nighthawk, but it is called the Black Jet by its crews.
F/A-18 HORNET: A twin-engine, single-seated jet designed to replace the A-7 Corsair II, the F-18 is a multirole aircraft designed to be equally adept as either an attack aircraft or an air-superiority fighter. It is very manueverable and is designed to be launched from carriers.
GAZELLE: This French-made light helicopter has been widely exported. It can carry two men and a light load of antitank missiles or an autocannon. It is usually used for scouting.
MIG-29 FULCRUM: An advanced Russian air-superiority fighter, the Fulcrum is in the same class as the American F/A-18 Hornet and the French Mirage 2000. It carries both radar-guided and heat-seeking missiles and carries a 30mm cannon. It is fitted with the Slot Back radar.
MIRAGE 2000: A French delta-winged air superiority fighter, it is designed to carry air-to-air missiles, but it can also carry air-to-surface and antiship missiles.
MIRAGE F1: An older French fighter, the swept-wing F1 can carry the Super 530 air-to-air missile and a light load of bombs or missiles.
PAH-2: A heavily armored Franco-German attack helicopter, it carries a mix of advanced antitank missiles and 30mm cannon. It has a crew of two and is in the same class as the American Apache and the Russian Havoc.
PUMA: A French-designed troop-carrying helicopter, it can carry 16 infantrymen and has been widely exported.
RAFALE: An advanced air superiority fighter, its only match is the American F-22 Lightning. A computer-controlled flight system and fully movable canards will make the Rafale extremely maneuverable. Designed to be 'low observable' it will be difficult to spot by IR or radar, although not a full stealth design.
SEAHAWK: The Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk is carried by many U.S. Navy ships. It can be used to hunt subs or serve as a scout with its wide variety of sensors.
UH-60 BLACKHAWK: The standard U.S. Army troop-carrying helicopter, the Blackhawk can carry 11 troops and has many features designed to improve its survivability on the battlefield.
V-22 OSPREY: A proposed replacement for the U.S. Navy CH-46 Sea Knight, the V-22 uses 'tilt-rotor' technology. Starting out as helicopter rotors, the plane's huge propellers are rotated forward after takeoff for normal forward flight. It is an excellent performer, but there are questions about its cost, and bureaucratic resistance to its development.
AEGIS CRUISER: Technically called Ticonderoga-class cruisers, these ships are more commonly referred to by the name of their Aegis air defence system. This powerful combination of missiles, radars and computers makes the "Ticos" the most powerful surface warship in the world.
ARLEIGH BURKE-CLASS DESTROYER: These general-purpose ships carry a smaller version of the Aegis system and a moderate number of missiles. They also have good sonars and carry surface-to-surface missiles. Their only flaw is that they do not carry a helicopter. They have a pad on the fantail, but no hangar.
IWO JIMA-CLASS ASSAULT CARRIER: Although these ships look like aircraft carriers, they do not carry jet aircraft. Instead they carry large helicopters and up to a battalion of marines.
LEAHY-CLASS CRUISER: These large ships were purpose-built to escort an aircraft carrier and protect it from air attack. They also carry some antisubmarine and antisurface weapons, but their 'main battery' is a pair of twin-railed surface-to-air missile launchers, one forward and one aft.
LOS ANGELES-CLASS SUBMARINE: The principal U.S. attack sub class, the Los Angeles boats carry a powerful sonar suite and four torpedo tubes. Almost twenty years after entering service, they are still among the most effective subs in existance.
NIMITZ-CLASS CARRIER: These nuclear-powered aircraft carriers displace almost 100,000 tons and are over 1,000 feet long. They can carry 80 to 90 aircraft and crews of more than 6,000.
SPRUANCE-CLASS DESTROYER: A general-purpose warship that began entering service in the mid-1970s, it is a very effective antisubmarine vessel and can also attack surface targets. The same hull is used for the Aegis cruisers.