Questions tagged [fighter]

A fighter is an aircraft designed primarily for aerial combat.

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116
votes
9answers
32k views

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 ...
110
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13answers
35k views

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 ...
109
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4answers
32k views

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 ...
88
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11answers
51k 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 ...
60
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10answers
18k 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 ...
59
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6answers
90k views

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?
56
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5answers
29k 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?
52
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7answers
14k views

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 ...
51
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5answers
25k views

Why are fighter pilots seated and not reclined?

I have always wondered about this one. Pulling high G-forces is, I assume, the most physical challenge the pilot of a high performance fighter aircraft needs to be able to sustain without blacking ...
47
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2answers
26k views

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.
42
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3answers
24k views

Why do many fighter jets have double vertical stabilizers?

Many fighter jets have double vertical stabilizers, e.g. F-14, F-15, F/A-18, F-22: On the contrary, most general aviation planes and commercial airliners do not. While there are certainly exceptions ...
41
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6answers
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?
40
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5answers
13k views

Is it possible for an SU-25 to fly high enough to shoot down a Boeing 777?

A common theory from pro-Russian netizens surrounding the MH-17 tragedy is that it was a Ukrainian SU-25 ground attack fighter plane which shot down the civilian airliner. However, MH-17 was flying at ...
39
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1answer
5k views

What is the guy in green showing to the F/A-18E pilot before catapult launch?

In the following frames, you can see a guy in green showing a panel-like device with numbers on it to the pilot of the Super-Hornet that is about to launch from the carrier USS John C. Stennis. What ...
37
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3answers
24k views

Do jet fighters have air conditioning systems?

In most jet fighters, the cockpit is a glass dome and the pilots are exposed directly to the sun. In addition, they are wearing flight suits and full face helmets (most of the time). I can only ...
34
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4answers
17k views

Do fighter jet pilots ever use autopilot?

I know that military jets have autopilot, but do the pilots actually prefer to use it? I ask this question because, unlike civilian airplanes, military jets are more likely to come in a situation ...
34
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4answers
12k views

Why do military jets sometimes have elevators in a depressed position when parked?

Why do they have elevators in such a position as if the joystick is pushed forward, even though there's nobody inside the cockpit?
33
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9answers
11k views

Is it correct that a jet fighter can be used as a non-lethal (sonic) weapon?

Imagine you have a crowd of people, who want to go to a certain territory (e. g. close to the border). An airplane flies over them such that when it reaches supersonic speed, there is a loud bang. ...
33
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2answers
6k views

Why is there a white line on Russian fighter jets' instrument panel?

In several Russian fighter jets (e.g., MiG-29, Su-27) there is a white line on the stick that matches with another one on the instrument panel. Is there any reason for this? Cockpit of a mig29 ...
33
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2answers
5k views

What are these boxes built into the tails of some fighters?

In looking at European-designed fighters of the 4th and 4.5th generation, I keep seeing a common design feature; a box-like structure built into the tail, often in the top half or third. Some examples:...
32
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11answers
10k views

How could “aggressor” pilots fly foreign aircraft without speaking the language?

Context I watched a couple documentaries recently and found one where they were mentioning the training of American forces against Mi-24 that were captured and brought back to the US to test fly them....
31
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2answers
11k 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 ...
30
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3answers
14k views

Is the F-16 cockpit pressurized?

Is the F-16's cockpit pressurized? If so, why does the pilot receive oxygen from the mask (please state the correct terminology for this)? Is it due to redundancy in case cabin pressurization fails?
30
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5answers
5k 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 ...
30
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3answers
5k 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, ...
29
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5answers
6k views

How do aircraft refueling in-air deal with wake turbulence?

Many fighter planes have the capability to refuel in air. When a plane moves in air, turbulence is generated at its back. To refuel, the fighter plane must come near to the parent plane (which has ...
29
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6answers
6k 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 ...
29
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1answer
10k views

What is this “No Hand Hold” thing in the P-51 Mustang cockpit?

Does Anybody remember Combat Flight Simulator WW2 Europe Series ? In the P-51, there is a "something" with "No hand hold" text on top of it What is that ? Image source
27
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9answers
91k 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 ...
26
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7answers
18k 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)?
26
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5answers
7k views

Why don't combat aircraft have rear-facing *laser* weapons?

This question is similar, but only talks about guns. I don't mean a laser that is going to destroy the plane, but why aren't rear-mounted, rear-firing lasers that can blind a pilot a thing? Most of ...
26
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2answers
7k views

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. ...
26
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2answers
10k views

What happens to jettisoned fuel tanks?

When an F-15 (or your favorite fighter aircraft) punches it's external tanks... ...to engage in combat, (or when they are empty), what happens to them? Through my best reasoning skills and Newton's ...
25
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5answers
9k views

What is the rationale for single engine military aircraft?

In aeronautics, redundancy is of primary concern. Having at least two engines is common for civilian aircraft. I expect the military to have at least the same level of redundancy. Moreover military ...
25
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6answers
44k 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 ...
25
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5answers
7k views

Was the intended purpose of the F-117 Nighthawk originally a stealth-fighter?

Based on this question, I learned that the F and A-Letters in the naming of (military) aircraft reflects what their intended purpose is. A: Attack (Air-to-ground) F: Fighter (Air-to-air) their names ...
25
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2answers
4k views

What is the rescue arrow decal on a military jet pointing to?

I've noticed that a lot of military jets often have an arrow decal with the wording "RESCUE" pointing to a rectangle of some sort. I tried looking around for information about it but I could not find ...
23
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10answers
9k 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 ...
21
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4answers
9k views

Why are special aircraft used for the carriers in the United States Navy?

Why are aircraft such as the legacy F-14 and now the F/A-18 used by the US Navy carriers? It seems to me that developing a new aircraft from the ground up is very expensive. Is it not possible to ...
21
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2answers
4k views

Why are only some aircraft in this formation creating contrails?

The Republic Day celebrations at New Delhi, India had a series of flypasts by the Indian Air Force. What struck me the most was that in a formation with a C-17 in middle and two Su-30MKI flanking it, ...
21
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7answers
17k views

How does a fighter jet perform good and quick maneuvers with such small wings?

Fighter jets like the F-16, F-15, etc. have wings smaller than the length of the fuselage and can perform great maneuvers very quickly while an airliner with a long wingspan takes a lot of time to ...
21
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2answers
9k views

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 ...
20
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4answers
9k views

Do you ever get to practice ejecting out of a plane as a fighter pilot?

The military throws away a lot of equipment simply because it doesn't hold up to current standards. So I was wondering the following. As a fighter pilot, would you ever get a practice run ejecting ...
20
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3answers
4k views

Would a stationary WWII fighter fall on its nose with full throttle and brakes on?

Would a stationary WWII fighter fall on its nose with full throttle and brakes on? It's a general question, but I am interested in the Republic P-47.
20
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2answers
20k views

Can you identify this fighter aircraft?

If someone can identify this aircraft, please tell me which aircraft this is?
20
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3answers
8k views

How do combat jets know when to launch flares to counter IR missiles?

From my related question, it seems fighter jets do not usually track missiles by radar. Instead, they have a system that warns of radar lock. So what about infrared missiles (heat-seeking missiles)? ...
19
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4answers
5k views

Can fighter jets be reloaded with ammunition mid-flight?

I know that we can re-fuel fighter jets mid-flight, but do we have also a mechanism to reload them with ammunition during mid-flight so they don't need to go back to base to reload?
19
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4answers
5k views

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?
18
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6answers
6k views

Is an afterburner louder than the same jet engine without it?

I would speculate that an afterburner increases the noise because it is nearer to the exhaust. But it certainly causes so many changes in the exhaust flow that it could be less loud as well. It may ...
18
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3answers
6k views

How did night fighter aircraft manage to shoot down their foes in World War II?

I know that those plane had radar to acquire an approximate location of the enemy, but how did they spot them after that? You need to be accurate when you try to shoot down an enemy plane, and ...

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