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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230
votes
4answers
145k 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?
115
votes
9answers
30k 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 ...
106
votes
13answers
33k 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 ...
105
votes
4answers
31k 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 ...
103
votes
7answers
36k 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?
84
votes
11answers
49k 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 ...
84
votes
5answers
30k 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 ...
83
votes
5answers
42k views

If a pilot ejects, what is the autopilot programmed to do?

If a pilot uses his ejector seat during flight, what is the autopilot programmed to do? As a developer myself, I would want to build in a way for the plane to try and save itself if possible (to save ...
71
votes
4answers
30k 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 ...
64
votes
9answers
34k 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 ...
63
votes
8answers
25k 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, ...
60
votes
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 ...
58
votes
5answers
7k 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, ...
57
votes
6answers
85k 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?
57
votes
2answers
11k views

What are these engineers doing sitting on a large format drawing of B-47s aircraft?

This answer about solid-jet-assisted takeoff links to the page B-47 Jet-Assisted Take Off (JATO). An image there took me to a collection of historical aviation images, apparently from a LIFE Magazine ...
56
votes
8answers
12k 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 ...
48
votes
1answer
6k views

What is the purpose of the extra wheel on the XB-70 main gear?

This photo of the XB-70 Valkyrie's main gear shows a small wheel between the two main wheels: Courtsey of AirPigz.com This smaller wheel doesn't touch the ground, though I can see where it might as ...
43
votes
6answers
12k views

Why do military pilots report “gear down” during their traffic calls?

I've noticed that military pilots will often say something along the lines of: <airport> traffic, Basher 5-2 left base, full stop, gear down. Why the additional "gear down" call? Shouldn't it ...
41
votes
6answers
16k 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?
41
votes
8answers
15k views

Why don't modern heavy bombers have gun turrets?

I know that for a period of time the B-52 had a tailgunner, but nowadays many heavy bombers lack any turret defense.Why?
40
votes
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 ...
40
votes
6answers
25k 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 ...
40
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is the Eurofighter's nose gear door shorter than the bay?

The Eurofighter Typhoon has an interesting "feature" in that the nose gear door is shorter than the nose gear bay itself by a good few inches, as shown here: Can anyone shed any light on the reason ...
39
votes
4answers
24k views

Are there any helicopters with ejection seats?

Are there any helicopters with ejection seats? If so, how is the clearance problem with the rotating blades solved?
39
votes
8answers
42k 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 ...
39
votes
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 ...
38
votes
4answers
11k views

Do military pilots have a phrase like “aviate, navigate, communicate”?

The phrase "aviate, navigate, communicate" is commonplace among pilots, as a reminder to concentrate on flying the aircraft first, with navigation a secondary focus, and fitting in communication when ...
37
votes
5answers
20k views

On the F15-E, can the WSO take over if the pilot is incapacitated?

The F15-E Strike Eagle features a two-man cockpit. The pilot in the front seat and the WSO (Weapons System Officer) in the back seat. If the jet is cruising straight and level is mechanically sound ...
35
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
34
votes
8answers
10k views

Why do airplanes bank sharply to the right after air-to-air refueling?

Whenever I see videos on YouTube they bank really sharply to the right after disconnecting from the tanker. Why wouldn't they do a more shallow 30-degree bank? See this video for reference:
34
votes
4answers
16k 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
votes
4answers
11k 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?
34
votes
3answers
15k 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 ...
34
votes
1answer
5k views

What is this aircraft that appeared at Oshkosh 2017?

This photo is an image from a youtube video of Oshkosh 2017.
33
votes
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
votes
1answer
4k views

Is the “Red two standing by” dialog in Star Wars: A New Hope sensible for real fighter pilots?

This SFF.SE question: " Why did Red Squadron give their call signs in random order? " raises a good point: for some reason, the "Standing by" responses Red Squadron pilots give before attacking the ...
32
votes
7answers
11k views

Can a military pilot make his airplane invisible for the ATCs?

I'm writing a story about the pilot of the Austrian Air Force, who uses his Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for unintended purposes. I've read stories in the internets that civil pilots allegedly can ...
32
votes
4answers
10k views

How were bullets fired through the propeller in the Focke Wulf 190?

In WWII there was a plane called the Focke-Wulf Fw 190. It was designed by an engineer called Kurt Tank. How is it possible that the Fw 190 fires through the propeller from 4 different places as you ...
32
votes
3answers
31k 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? ...
32
votes
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 ...
31
votes
4answers
7k views

How are anti-aircraft missiles tested?

How are anti-aircraft missiles and counter-measures tested? When they design an anti-aircraft missile, how do they test it so that it actually locks on to a target and destroys it? Do they simply fly ...
31
votes
2answers
10k 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 ...
31
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the smiley face sensor at the stern of the F-4 Phantom?

The F-4 Phantom has an interesting collection of sensors at the extreme rear of the empennage. What are these sensors for? My daughter calls them them smiley sensors but I suspect that is not the ...
31
votes
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:...
30
votes
3answers
13k 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
votes
2answers
5k views

What makes a smokeless jet engine?

I was recently reading about the MiG-29 and its many upgrades, one of which (MiG-29M) was to smokeless engines. What makes a smokeless jet engine? Is it just the fuel, or something about the way the ...
29
votes
8answers
18k 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/...
29
votes
4answers
10k views

Can a helicopter mask itself from radar?

I have read somewhere that if a helicopter is traveling under 100 km/h and below 5 meters AGL then most radars will ignore it. From what I understand of this process, the radars can pick up things ...
29
votes
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?
29
votes
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 ...