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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111 votes
4 answers
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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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38 votes
3 answers
38k 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? ...
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42 votes
9 answers
60k 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 ...
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25 votes
4 answers
83k 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 ...
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24 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
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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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26 votes
3 answers
16k 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 ...
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87 votes
5 answers
37k 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 ...
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19 votes
2 answers
14k views

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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  • 1,699
11 votes
5 answers
8k 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?
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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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19 votes
2 answers
22k views

What kinds of materials are used for fighter jets' glass windshields?

What kinds of materials are used for fighter jets' windshield glass, and are they different from what they use for commercial jets?
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40 votes
6 answers
31k 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 ...
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36 votes
4 answers
19k 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 ...
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21 votes
3 answers
21k 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 ...
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  • 311
16 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
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245 votes
4 answers
150k 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?
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27 votes
3 answers
24k 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 ...
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9 votes
2 answers
4k 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]?'...
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15 votes
3 answers
7k 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 ...
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113 votes
13 answers
39k 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 ...
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122 votes
9 answers
37k 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 ...
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  • 1,220
22 votes
3 answers
11k 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 ...
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22 votes
1 answer
8k 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?
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14 votes
4 answers
66k 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 ...
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  • 143
23 votes
4 answers
21k 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 ...
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18 votes
7 answers
49k 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 ...
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18 votes
4 answers
13k 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?...
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17 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why does the Harrier jet have four landing gears?

I was looking at pictures of Harrier jets and I noticed something. They have four landing gears. That seems pretty unusual for a fighter jet - most have only 3 in a triangle formation. What is the ...
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13 votes
4 answers
20k 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 ...
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67 votes
8 answers
31k 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, ...
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  • 1,622
25 votes
4 answers
14k views

Why did WWII prop aircraft have colored prop tips?

Why do propeller aircraft from World War II and similar planes sometimes have the tips of the props colored? I see it on single engine planes like the P-51 as well as bigger, multi-engine planes such ...
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  • 2,269
22 votes
5 answers
11k 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 ...
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37 votes
4 answers
18k views

How much is airspeed reduced on an A10-Warthog when firing its cannon?

I just read on reddit that you could use the recoil of the gun as the propelling force for the A-10 if pointed backwards. There is also a question here on Aviation.SE, saying that the gun has the same ...
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  • 8,732
22 votes
2 answers
7k 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
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  • 3,486
12 votes
2 answers
1k 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: ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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 ...
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  • 17.1k
9 votes
4 answers
4k views

Are military jets always scrambled when communication to a commercial aircraft is lost?

I've heard that in case a commercial flight does not respond to Air Traffic Control, military jets would always be scrambled to check the state of the flight. The benefits of scrambling jets are ...
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  • 210
9 votes
2 answers
13k views

Why do some air forces not allow color-blind pilots?

Some air forces, e.g., the Indian Air Force (IAF), do not allow color-blind pilots. Is this local only to the IAF or a global procedure? Also, are there any regulations regarding commercial pilots not ...
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3 votes
2 answers
1k 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?
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  • 3,486
11 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is the "glass nose" Tu-134 design for easier conversion to military use?

Early versions of the Tu-134 had a glass ('glazed') nose that is unusual for a passenger airliner. It was removed from the later versions. Source: wikimedia.org How probable is the hypothesis that ...
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2 votes
2 answers
1k views

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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109 votes
7 answers
40k views

Can a fighter jet be stolen?

What (if any) sort of pilot authentication systems do fighter jets have? Could anyone with the required skills simply take the aircraft or is a key or authorization code required?
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  • 1,123
66 votes
9 answers
36k 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 ...
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61 votes
6 answers
101k 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?
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  • 611
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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  • 1,862
40 votes
2 answers
16k 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 ...
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  • 3,615
59 votes
5 answers
8k views

How do friendly stealth planes locate each other?

Stealth planes can't be seen (very well) on radar. So one stealth plane should be unable to locate another stealth plane on its radar and vice versa. So how would one stealth plane locate another, ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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 ...
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  • 8,214
83 votes
4 answers
55k views

Why are Russian cockpit panels painted in turquoise?

Almost all cockpit panels of Russian aircraft types are painted in turquoise, whereas elsewhere the cockpit panels usually exhibit a dark grey color. As this "rule" seems to be quite prevalent, I am ...
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