Questions tagged [fighter]

A fighter is an aircraft designed primarily for aerial combat.

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Why is the maximum speed of current fighter aircraft lower than those from the 1960's and 1970's?

While reading about the characteristics of the newest fighter aircraft, I observed that their maximum speed is lower than of the aircraft in the same roles half a century ago. For example, the iconic ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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Which supersonic airplanes use Pitot Air intakes?

Which supersonic (fighter) airplanes use the simple Pitot Air Intakes / Normal Shock Inlets? Two examples already seen here on Aviation.SE (one and two) are Dassasult Rafale ($Ma \leq 1.8$) Image ...
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97 votes
11 answers
57k views

Why do fighter jets still have guns/cannons?

I noticed that the "new" F-35 still has a GAU-22/A cannon installed in it -- albeit with only 182 rounds (more with ammo pods). Why do fighters still have cannons? The day of dogfighting is long ...
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16 votes
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How was flutter mitigated in jets such as the F-15 and F-16?

As I understand it flutter was a serious problem for early jets, like the XF-104. Flutter can affect any of the extended members of an aircraft during high-speed flight, including the wings and the ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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Why do all new European fighter jets have delta wings?

Why do all new European fighter jets - Typhoon, Gripen, Rafale have delta wings? As I know, they were all designed separately. And they are not new either. Is there any particular advantage that ...
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21 votes
2 answers
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How do fighter jets communicate with an intercepted plane that's lost comms?

RAF Typhoons were scrambled today to intercept an Antonov 26 that lost comms, triggering a sonic boom over London. The flight was escorted to Stansted airport, and the answer at What's the point ...
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43 votes
6 answers
17k views

If all fighter jets become stealthy, how will they fight each other in the future? In dogfights?

I came across this question on dogfight-capable fighter jets still being made. If all aircraft become so stealthy, how will they fight each other? Only in dogfights, I presume. Or am I wrong?
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53 votes
7 answers
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Why do fighter aircraft manufacturers still focus on making their planes more dogfight-worthy?

In today's age, when dogfights are simply a relic from the past, why do manufacturers keep on increasing their aircraft maneuverability, in order to make them better dogfighters. It is more ...
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29 votes
6 answers
6k views

Can a fighter jet land on a modified airliner?

Imagine this scenario: A modified military 747 is flying at a constant speed and altitude. On the top of the fuselage there is a device like a helipad but with three holes to accommodate the fighter ...
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47 votes
2 answers
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What are these wavy lines on fighters' canopy?

As shown in the images below, what are these wavy lines on the canopy of the aircraft? Do these lines have any utility? These are mostly captured in videos of cockpit views of carrier-based aircraft.
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10 votes
4 answers
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Do fighter jets use elevators as ailerons?

I saw jets in game using elevators to roll right and left, but I never saw them doing in real life. I was wondering if fighter jets actually use elevator to roll like they do in game.
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113 votes
13 answers
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Why does it take so long to develop modern military jets?

In the 1960's, it took three years to produce a flying prototype of an aircraft that flew faster than anything before, was built out of a novel construction material, used a new type of fuel, and was ...
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122 votes
9 answers
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How do jet fighters get to war?

Currently Australia is deploying F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to the UAE to fight in Iraq. Obviously the UAE (and Iraq) is a very long way from Australia and well beyond the typical range of one of these ...
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21 votes
3 answers
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Do fighter jets have deicing in their wings?

If there is such thing as deicing for fighters? If so, is bleed air or electric heating preferred? I could not imagine that a $50MLN fighter jet would not be able to get the ice off its wings.
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9 votes
2 answers
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Do fighter jets have a traditional inverted fuel system?

Common solutions for aerobatic piston singles is to have either header tanks (for wing tanks, as I understand it) or flop tubes (for fuselage tanks). Do fuel systems in a fighter jet work on the same ...
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2 votes
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Is the SEPECAT Jaguar's design aerodynamically inferior to more modern jets?

If we compare the SEPECAT Jaguar's design with the latest jet fighters, what aerodynamic shortcomings do we find in its design? (I'm only asking about aerodynamics, not AESA radars, electronics suites ...
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19 votes
2 answers
2k views

When does the use of afterburners save fuel?

An afterburner uses a lot more fuel for a little more thrust (rule of thumb: 50% more thrust for 5 times the fuel flow with full dry power). Is a flight maneuver possible where using the afterburner ...
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10 votes
2 answers
11k views

Advantages of square over circular engine nozzle?

The F-22 has square nozzles, while the Russian Sukhoi PAK FA has circular nozzles. There are both 5th generation planes, but with different nozzles, why?
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10 votes
1 answer
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Do fighter jets have forward-looking radar warnings for missiles, and when was this first implemented?

Let's imagine a swarm of fighter jets intercepting another swarm. Both groups are moving head-on towards each other. Once they get in range, they will probably lock on and fire missiles. Do fighter ...
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28 votes
9 answers
120k views

Why do some fighter jets have two pilots while others have only one?

Why do some fighter jets have two pilots, while some have only one? For example the newer fighter jets such as Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter typhoon etc. are mostly with single-seat, but two-seat ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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What are the criteria for classifying which generation a fighter aircraft belongs to?

Current jet fighters have been classified as 4th generation, 4++ generation, and so on, with 5th generation being the latest, i.e F- 22. What is the criteria for such segregation? B-2 is a stealth ...
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61 votes
6 answers
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How do fighter pilots manage food, drink & toilet?

There doesn't seem to be any place to bring food or drink. And what about WC? And for single seat combat planes?
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25 votes
6 answers
58k views

What is an afterburner and how long can a jet fly on afterburner?

I heard this word so many time in military documentary about jets, especially fighter jets, but I don't fully understand what it is or how it works. In a documentary from the Discovery Channel, all ...
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26 votes
2 answers
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Why does NASA have F/A-18s?

I always remember playing FSX as a kid and using the NASA F/A-18, and never thought much about it. And then I saw the picture of the Space Shuttle on top of the 747 being escorted by these planes. ...
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17 votes
3 answers
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Which hand do fighter pilots use for the control stick?

Here is a question that has been bothering me for a while. Do right-handed fighter pilots use their right hand to hold the control stick? And do left-handed fighter pilots use their left hand? Or is ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Why do the F-22 and F-35 look similar to each other and different from previous designs?

Is there a reason the F-22 and F-35 look very similar other than style, they look very different to F-16s so is there a conscious effort to make them look cool?
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10 votes
4 answers
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Are strategic bombers still useful, or are fighters taking over this role?

During the mid 20th century and cold war, armies were having clear distinction between those aircraft designed as strategic bombers and those designed to be fighters for aerial combat. My ...
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7 votes
2 answers
7k views

What is the average speed used by modern jet fighters when in dogfight?

I am asking this question pertaining to a game I'm designing. It is well known that many modern jet fighter aircraft can fly at supersonic velocities however I read that this top speed is hardly ever ...
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30 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why does Martin-Baker use a Gloster Meteor as a testbed for ejection seats?

Martin-Baker uses a Gloster Meteor for testing ejection seats, according to their website. While it's a stylish plane, and a true delight that there are still airworthy fuselages of this plane left, ...
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19 votes
5 answers
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Why don't most fighters have thrust reversers?

With the exception of the Panavia Tornado, fighters do not have thrust reversers. Why is this? Why does the Panavia Tornado have them?
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18 votes
1 answer
10k views

What is this hole on the left wing of the Eurofighter Typhoon?

I came across the picture below and saw the hole near the centerline on the left which appears to have some carbon next to it. What is its purpose and where does the carbon come from?
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17 votes
5 answers
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Can a UAV defend itself?

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was shot down by Turkish aircraft, which made me wonder, whether the Turkish pilots faced any defending moves from the UAV, or once they found it, taking down was a ...
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16 votes
3 answers
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Why do VTOL aircraft (F-35 or Harrier) have only one engine?

Why do VTOL aircraft (F-35 or Harrier) have only one engine? Is it because it is simpler and less expensive? Or what are the reasons?
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14 votes
6 answers
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Why is the front section of the Su-30 not aligned with the longitudinal axis of the body?

Please take a look at the picture of the Su-30 below. You will notice that the front section of the Su-30, from the nose to the canopy, is not in alignment with the longitudinal axis of the body. The ...
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30 votes
6 answers
7k views

Can someone/something other than the pilot trigger the ejection seat?

Let's say there was a two-person jet (take the F-15 for example) that was involved in some sort of accident in the air that incapacitated the pilot (unconscious but still alive) and left the aircraft ...
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26 votes
7 answers
21k views

Can fighter aircraft glide?

In case of engine failure, do the fighter jets have such a stable airframe so that they can glide their way through to the nearest landing strip (As it happened in the case of Gimli glider)?
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16 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why isn't the F-15E called F/A-15?

In my understanding, "F" stands for "fighter" (air-to-air) and "A" for "attack" (air-to-ground). E.g., the F/A-18 Hornet can attack air and ground targets, which is why it's called F/A-18. the A-10 ...
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14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why don't single-engine jets suffer severe gyroscopic effects?

I was reading up on World War I fighter aircraft, and saw that rotary piston engines, which powered many of those planes, produced extreme gyroscopic effects due to the large, heavy chunk of metal ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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Do military pilots have flight & rest hours regulation?

I have read that civil pilots have stringent regulations regarding flight hours and hours of rest between flights. What about military pilots? Does it change between wartime and peacetime? Between ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Unarmed F-16 -- why would it happen? [closed]

As is documented here among other places, a couple of the interceptors sent after United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 were scrambled so hastily they did not have time for the ordies to visit and ...
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5 votes
2 answers
5k views

If the EPU (Emergency Power Unit) on a modern fighter jet fails, will the aircraft drop out of the sky?

If the EPU (Emergency Power Unit) and batteries plus engines fail on a modern fighter aircraft, basically they will fall out of the sky, there is no dead stick landing - is this correct?
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5 votes
1 answer
573 views

When did fighter jet designers stop prioritizing Whitcomb's Area Rule?

According to this source, designers of military fighter jets seemed to have stopped centering their design on Whitcomb's Area Rule for quite a while. Yet even the twin series fighters struggle to ...
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3 votes
4 answers
2k views

What drives the shape of an engine's intake on a fighter jet?

Rectangular intakes have more corners which might increase subsonic pressure losses and would weigh larger than a pitot (Semi-circular) type intake. Are the designer drivers solely based on supersonic ...
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2 votes
3 answers
4k views

Can a civilian purchase a new (Not Retired) fighter jet? [duplicate]

Let's take a jet like the F22 for example. Strip all the classified systems/weaponry out of it (civilian wouldn't need that), and just leave the basic aircraft itself. Could a civilian technically ...
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  • 1,411
1 vote
3 answers
438 views

Are fly-by-wire fighters protected in AoA?

When thinking about fly-by-wire, I always think about civilian aircraft (Dassault Falcon 7X, Airbus A350...) for which protections are implemented to ensure the aircraft stays in its designed flight ...
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1 vote
2 answers
260 views

How would a fighter be changed from having static stability to having relaxed stability?

A good portion of aircraft, especially those designed before the 1970's, possessed static stability. However, modern fighters (and some airliners) have been build with relaxed static stability. This ...
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58 votes
5 answers
39k views

How is a missile lock detected?

How can a fighter aircraft involved in a face-off detect a missile lock from a trailing aircraft so that it can make evasive maneuvers?
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  • 1,367
63 votes
11 answers
22k views

Are the guns on a fighter jet fixed or can they be aimed?

Are the (built-in) guns on fighter jets fixed, or can they be elevated up and down or panned right and left for aiming? In other words are fighter jet guns aimed by pointing the whole aircraft at the ...
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31 votes
2 answers
14k views

What is the purpose of the "Mirror-Thing" over the Mig-29 Cockpit?

I noticed that some Mig-29 Fighter Jets have a little mirror-like-thing over the cockpit. I can't imagine a possible usage from it (If it's really a mirror). Here's a picture from Wikipedia: As ...
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23 votes
10 answers
10k views

Would it be feasible to build a jet fighter plane based on a wooden construction?

I read about the de Havilland Mosquito recently and that it was a quite successful British bomber in WW2 due its lightweight wooden construction. As far as I understand it, usual planes at that time ...
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