Is there an attitude limit for firing a missile from a fighter jet? Can the pilots fire them when they're pulling Gs, or inverted?


The combat advantage of fighters (as opposed to heavier-payload bombers) is their maneuverability, therefore a missile delivery restriction such as g-limit (think Sidewinder heat-seeker in a dogfight) or attitude would unnecessarily restrict their efficacy.

As a Vietnam-era fighter and attack pilot I fired both unguided (aim and shoot rockets) and guided (target lock-on and shoot) missiles, and neither had associated attitude limits. Missiles that fall clear of the weapon station before rocket-motor ignition (such as the TV-guided Walleye or the optically-pilot-guided Bullpup) are obviously restricted from negative g to ensure safe separation from the airplane, i.e., negative g release from an under-wing weapon station would all but guarantee impact with the airplane.

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    $\begingroup$ Yeah -- stores separation is hard, just ask Pete Purvis about it... $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject Feb 19 '17 at 0:52
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    $\begingroup$ I'd say that free-fall-to-ignition missiles are restricted from sub-1g, not just negative g (as trying to launch something like that in a 0g condition would be a repeat of Pete Purvis' bad experience...) $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject Feb 19 '17 at 0:53
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    $\begingroup$ If inverted, just pull enough and you are in positive gs again. $\endgroup$ – Peter Kämpf Feb 19 '17 at 8:50

Yes. Specific weapons can be employed within specific limits and load factors of the flight envelope, some of which includes inverted flight for air to air missiles, as this F-22 test pilot demonstrates during the Raptor's flight test.

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    $\begingroup$ I didn't thought this is possible, now I see: it is, learned something :) $\endgroup$ – Peter Feb 22 '17 at 14:19

Yes, Modern air to air missiles can be fired while manoeuvring but it can reduce kill probability. So missiles can be fired when aircraft is inverted but within certain g-limits. Firing a missile while manoeuvring also depends on altitude of aircraft, type of missile and effectiveness of seeker.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! This is good information, do you have any sources or references for it? $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Feb 19 '17 at 16:35

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