Questions tagged [military]

For questions relating to military aviation or possible effects of a country's military on other forms of aviation.

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109
votes
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 ...
32
votes
3answers
32k views

Are fighter jets designed to be so inherently unstable that a human can't fly one unassisted?

I'm told that in order to be more maneuverable fighter jets are designed in a way that makes them impossible for a human to control without the help of a flight computer. Is this actually true? ...
40
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8answers
47k views

Is it possible to recover from a flat spin?

In Top Gun, Maverick's F-14 enters a flat spin after flying through another F-14's jetwash, forcing him to eject and causing the death of Goose. Is this scenario possible or was it only created for ...
24
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4answers
4k views

Do similar angles on a plane make it more stealthy?

I learned in my intro to engineering class at my college that 5th gen fighters (which are stealth aircraft) are designed with similar angles to evade radar. Why is this true? Also, does the angle ...
21
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4answers
71k views

Can civilians buy military aircraft?

Say one wanted to buy a retired F-14, or F-5, or a BAE Hawk. Could I do it? Obviously this would mean stripping out radars, weapons, rwr, and any other sensitive equipment, but after this, would it ...
84
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5answers
31k views

Why does the F-111 sometimes squirt a giant fire plume behind it? (NOT afterburners!)

As seen in multiple pictures: First, this one, it appears the aircraft is spraying copious amounts of fuel into the exhaust! Surely this provides no thrust, not in the way an afterburner (which the ...
88
votes
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 ...
21
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3answers
13k views

How much jurisdiction does the FAA have over military aircraft?

The FAA controls just about everything about civilian aircraft in US airspace in terms of regulation, certification, flight rules, etc. Do they have any authority over military aircraft beyond ...
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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6answers
27k views

What's the point in escorting a threatened flight with two fighter jets?

Two days ago I read in the news: Two U.S. fighter jets escorted a Canada-to-Panama flight back to Toronto after a passenger allegedly threatened the plane Friday morning. The nature of the ...
35
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4answers
16k views

What process do I follow to land a civilian aircraft on a military base?

Let's say I have business on a US military base (e.g. JBLM), and I'd like to fly a privately owned aircraft there. What is the process I follow before the flight to get approval to land, and once I'm ...
11
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5answers
7k views

Can a convergent nozzle be used for a supersonic jet engine?

Can a supersonic fighter incorporate a convergent nozzle or does it always have to be a convergent-divergent nozzle?
16
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1answer
2k views

Airbags in aircraft - is that just a military thing?

The Bell OH-58D (a military helicopter used by the USA) has an airbag to make life better in the event of a crash. I had never heard of such a thing in an aircraft before and I wondered if this ...
236
votes
4answers
146k views

What is the dark spot visible below the cockpit on A-10s?

On most A-10s I have seen, the area under the cockpit is darker than the rest of the plane. Is there a reason for this?
27
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3answers
18k views

Does the cannon of the A-10 deliver more thrust than the engines do?

The A-10 Warthog is built around a 30 mm cannon that fires depleted uranium rounds, 65 of them per second. I heard from someone who worked on the flight controls a long time ago, that when the cannon ...
21
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3answers
17k views

Why do (almost) all military transports have high wings and civilian transports low wings?

I've observed that almost all military transports have high wings (with a pronounced anhedral) and almost all civilian airliners have low wings (with a pronounced dihedral) — why is this? The ...
15
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2answers
17k views

What kind of materials is being used for Fighter jets glass shields?

What kind of materials is being used for Fighter jets glass shields and is that different from what they use for commercial jets?
14
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3answers
5k views

Did the XF-84H Thunderscreech really cause “900 sonic booms per minute”?

The Republic XF-84H, known as the "Thunderscreech" was an experimental version of the F-84F Thunderstreak. It was intended to be a supersonic turboprop fighter. Even at idle, the prop tips rotated at ...
116
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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 ...
22
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1answer
7k views

How does IFF work?

How does Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) work? Are radar images of friendly planes recorded, or do friendly planes have transponders on them?
14
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4answers
54k views

Is joining the air force a good way to become an airline pilot?

I've always loved the air force. However, my main goal is to become an airline pilot. Would joining the air force affect becoming a commercial airline pilot? I am asking because if I join the air ...
21
votes
4answers
17k views

Are fighter jet cabins pressurized?

I heard once that fighter jet cabins are NOT pressurized, but the pilot's suit is, which prevents problems with decompression if the cabin gets shot. But a military fighter pilot much later told me ...
17
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7answers
41k views

Why does an aircraft as big as the Airbus A400M use turboprops?

Why is it that a plane as big as the C-17 (the A400M is slightly smaller though) use turboprops instead of turbofans? Both aircraft seem to have the same purpose and are both capable of landing at ...
18
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4answers
12k views

What's the point of intercepting an aircraft?

I know that it's possible for military aircraft to "intercept" a civilian or foreign aircraft (and I'm well aware of the US interception procedures), but why would they be doing it in the first place?...
13
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4answers
16k views

Can civilians fly military aircraft?

I saw a few videos of the Sukhoi Su-35 doing some amazing aerobatics and I was wondering if a civilian could ever fly one - either for aerobatics or just fly it as their personal jet. Obviously ...
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 ...
19
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3answers
8k views

How are modern jets modified to takeoff/land on a dirt runway?

I've been reading a lot about the Soviet and Russian military aircraft, and it seems a lot of them are built to work on dirt runways, or modified to do so. How is this accomplished? Is it a simple ...
22
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5answers
9k views

Is there a minimum altitude for ejection seats?

Is there generally a minimum altitude for ejecting in order for the sequence to function reliably (all the way to opening the chute, and slowing down to a survivable descent rate)? I've seen ejector ...
21
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2answers
6k views

What is this 'ball' in front of the cockpit of some fighters, e.g., an Su-57?

What is the lump/ball thing visible below and to the left of the canopy in this image of a PAK FA (which became the Sukhoi Su-57), and what is it for? It's also seen on other fighters. Image source
12
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2answers
576 views

What are the ejection injury and fatality rates?

Most of us have probably heard about how ejecting from a military aircraft is dangerous in and of itself, and that ejection is not a get out of jail free card. The most common dangers seem to be: ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
9
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2answers
3k views

Which aircraft endure the highest Max Q's (aerodynamic pressure)?

What are the highest aerodynamic pressures encountered in any aircraft? And does this limit the maximum speed of any aircraft at certain altitudes? Broadly, 'how fast can you go [at a given altitude]?'...
3
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2answers
818 views

Why does the Ka-50 (Hokum) have two main rotors, one on top of another?

Why does the Kamov Ka-50 have two main rotors, and is this a better design than a conventional one rotor?
66
votes
8answers
27k views

Why are military drones shaped so strangely?

Military drones, such as the Predator drone or the Global Hawk, tend to have a weird shape with a whale-like head, and engines concentrated at the back. The wings tend to be of very high aspect ratio, ...
64
votes
9answers
35k views

Why does the US President fly in an obsolete 747-200?

The Boeing VC-25A ("Air Force One") is a heavily modified 747-200. The two current airframes (SAM 28000 and 29000) were put into duty in 1990 and are slated to be replaced in 2017, although I suspect ...
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 ...
33
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2answers
13k views

Why does afterburner exhaust have “pulses”?

Instead of being consistently-dense, the afterburner exhaust looks "pulsed" in these pictures below. Is this a trick of the camera, a natural result of interaction with the air, or is there some ...
29
votes
8answers
20k views

Why/How is the B-52 still in service?

The B-52 was introduced in 1955, and is still used by the US Airforce, and is expected to remain in use till the 2040s. On the other hand, the A-4 Skyhawk was introduced in 1956 and retired in 1998/...
11
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3answers
6k views

What is the force exerted by the catapult on aircraft carriers?

On aircraft carriers there is a catapult that slingshots aircraft so that they can gain lift on the short carrier deck. I have a few related questions - the first is what is the force exerted / ...
11
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1answer
1k views

What is the meaning of “Docile pitch behavior” in the context of Pugachev's Cobra?

In another answer on SE Aviation it is mentioned that the ability to perform Pugachev's Cobra in a non-thrust-vectored aircraft needs "docile pitch behavior of the airframe up to approx. 110° angle ...
57
votes
9answers
14k views

Why was the P-51 Mustang not adopted by the U.S. Navy?

I've heard from many WWII aviation hobbyists and WWII vets that the P-51 was essentially the pinnacle of U.S. piston-engine fighter design; it was fast, maneuverable, long-range, well-armed, allowed ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Why does the MiG-15 have a cruciform tail?

The horizontal stabilizers of the MiG-15 are halfway up the tail. This is called a cruciform tail. Why did they put them there? Why not a T-tail or the normal tail where the stabilizers are on the ...
29
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5answers
9k views

Why was the production of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird halted?

Why was production of Lockheed's SR-71 Blackbird halted, given that it was an advanced supersonic jet that was ahead of its time?
28
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does the speed tape on the Lockheed U-2 go the opposite way?

I found this clip online that shows the speed tape on the Lockheed U-2 going what I perceive is the opposite direction to the 'normal' convention. On most aircraft, the higher values are above and so ...
16
votes
2answers
16k views

Do F-22's use cartridge start to start engines?

What method does the F-22 use to start its engines? In the video below, you can see a flap open and flame and steam shoot out as the engine starts to spin up. Is this an example of cartridge start? ...
16
votes
3answers
11k views

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 ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

How does the Guardian counter-MANPADS system work?

I came across this picture of a FedEx McDonnell Douglas DC-10 equipped with an anti-missile defense system. (wikimedia.org) According to the picture description: FedEx became the first U.S. ...
16
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5answers
4k views

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 ...
14
votes
4answers
9k views

How can civil ATC maintain safety with military aircraft around?

I've been asking myself for a while how ATC can maintain air traffic safety with regard to military aircraft - or if they just don't. As I understand it, all bigger planes (let's for now focus on ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

Are there laws about how close military aircraft can fly to passenger jets, and are they enforced?

Yesterday I was on a passenger plane flying at 35000 feet from Denver to JFK on a fairly clear day. Just west of Sioux City, we made a relatively sharp, but short, right turn for whatever reason (may ...