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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29
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5answers
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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?
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6answers
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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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Why are most weapons in AC-130 on the left-hand side?

Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transporter. The plane is manufactured by Lockheed and converted by Boeing. Why are most of the guns in ...
29
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1answer
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Can the dome gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress shoot the plane's tail off?

I was at the California Capital Airshow on Mather AFB over the weekend, and came across a beautifully maintained B-17 Flying Fortress. The crew were kind enough to allow people to go inside and take a ...
29
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2answers
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What features enable the Su-25 Frogfoot to operate with such a wide variety of fuels?

It is widely attested* that the Su-25 Frogfoot's engines (the Turmansky R-95Sh and later the R-195) were designed to function using a wide variety of fuels, including diesel, gasoline, petrol, ...
28
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3answers
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Why would a fighter use the afterburner and air brakes at the same time?

I was looking for air brake pictures on different fighters, and then I saw a Tornado using afterburner and air brake at the same time! Air brake duty is to reduce speed, isn't it? So why would a ...
28
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5answers
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F-111 emergency landing with no wheel; what is done to reduce risks when loosing a wheel?

There's an interesting incident described here about an F-111 that lost a wheel during take off. Couple of questions: What are the relative risks of an ejection vs a ...
28
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2answers
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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 ...
27
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3answers
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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 ...
27
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7answers
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Could a SR-71 be shot down today?

I've read that the SR-71 had no missile defenses because it could simply outrun any adversary. Is this still true? Or is it unlikely that the SR-71 could operate unimpeded in the face of modern ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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Did the F-8 have a stall speed of 1.6x its landing speed?

Wikipedia says that the F-8 was to have a landing speed of no more than 100 mph (160 km/h) This web page says that the F-8 did have Stalling speed 157 mph. The two don't explicitly discuss ...
26
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1answer
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Why do some AFBs have planes parked at 45 degrees to others?

I'm assuming this is just a matter of available space but it seems you could get 4 across all aligned but maybe there is another reason. The image is from McGuire AFB but I've seen this on other AFBs.
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2answers
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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 ...
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How do drones overcome latency?

The US Military's use of drones has become commonplace, and widely known at this point. Although these vehicles are operated from nearby bases during these attacks, it seems like the latency (time of ...
26
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1answer
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What is the purpose of the extremely high cabin altitudes in military aircraft?

The Lockheed SR-71 and the (old) Lockheed U-2 were engineered to maintain cabin altitudes in excess of 25000 feet AMSL at an altitude of more than 70000 feet AMSL. However, in both airplanes, pilots ...
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Why did the RAAF procure the F/A-18 despite being purpose-built for carriers?

Why did the Royal Australian Air Force (and others) procure the F/A-18 despite being purpose-built for carriers?
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6answers
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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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4answers
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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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5answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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How hard is it to fly with night vision goggles?

I was talking to a Sheriff's Department helicopter pilot and he was saying they fly around at night with night vision goggles. I know the military does too. What are some of the considerations that ...
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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 ...
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Why are accident rates higher on smaller aircraft?

This question was raised as part of this discussion. Why are accident rates higher on smaller aircraft? It seems the safety record of military, private and small commuter planes is much less safe ...
24
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2answers
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How do aircraft differentiate between missile locks?

I have explored many similar questions such as: How does a Missile Lock Work? How is a missile lock detected? In reading there respective answers, I have learnt about the multitude of detection ...
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4answers
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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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7answers
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Why do the missiles on an F-16 point slightly down?

I've been wondering this for quite a while: Why do the missiles on the F-16 point down a little bit? I went and did a little searching and found out that the F-16 isn't the only plane that has this ...
24
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1answer
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How does the head-up display on a spitfire work?

It turns out that the Spitfire from World War 2 had a head up display. Does anybody know how it worked exactly? All I could find was this picture, but no explanation: Source The source does not ...
24
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1answer
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What is this aircraft with a crew member in an exposed nose compartment?

Possibly from around 1935, possibly involving one of the two airplane-supplying-powers in the Spanish Civil war. (Seen in a documentary about the 20th century inter-war era...it's only onscreen for a ...
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4answers
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What happens if you do emergency landing on a US base in middle of the ocean?

A theoretical situation. I fly from Honolulu International to the Bejing but my private jet gets fuel starvation and then I land on the Wake Island airstrip. What happens next? Would the military ...
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1answer
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What is this old US Army Air Corps plane?

This photo was taken by my Grandfather in 1918 at Rich Field in Wako, TX. I don't think that it is a Taube because of the front structure, engine type, 4 wheels, fuselage shape, etc.
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3answers
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Why do modern fighter jets use 20mm guns?

Why do modern fighter jets use 20mm guns? Is the armor of a modern jet that thick? Does, for example, .50 ammunition lack velocity to be effective? I'm just curious on why is that 20mm is so widely ...
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5answers
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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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4answers
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Why does the US use two types of aerial refueling?

There are two main types of aerial refueling, the boom and the drogue. The US uses both, while most other countries use just the drogue. How are they different and why does the US use both?
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1answer
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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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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 ...
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3answers
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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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2answers
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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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3answers
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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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5answers
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Which aircraft have fought against its own type in active combat?

The criteria for this question are The aircraft has to be the same type (but not necessarily the same mark) The two opposing sides are actively hostile; but not restricted to nation states (so civil ...
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4answers
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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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4answers
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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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4answers
6k views

What is this smoke coming from an F/A-18 shortly before takeoff?

Watching a video of F/A-18 fighter-jets taking off, I noticed some sort of gas blowing out behind the canopy shortly before the start of the takeoff roll. Here's a screenshot: In some videos the ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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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)? ...
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3answers
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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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2answers
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Why would this A-10 Thunderbolt be flown over rural New Hampshire?

My mother took this photo on December 29th, 2004 on a hill near Groton, New Hampshire. It appears to be an A-10 Thunderbolt, but it's difficult to tell whether or not it's armed. According to her it ...
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How did the gyro gunsights of WW2 get the range and lead of a target?

I just read this article on the gyro gunsight, but I don't understand how it computed range/position to the target and then calculated how much lead is needed. Surely it must have had radar to get ...
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2answers
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How much impact can be taken when flying in formation?

This recently published 360-degree video shows four F/A-18 Hornets performing impressive maneuvers what appears to be only a few inches apart. Considering the risk of impact I find it hard to ...
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6answers
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Why do heavy bombers not carry air-to-air missiles?

Imagine a heavy bomber – such as the B52, Tu160 or B1 – is heading toward a hot zone carrying a large number of AMRAAM or longer ranged missiles. Why doesn't it also carry air-to-air ...
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Should I report my cured mild PTSD in the FAA medical certification application?

I am a combat veteran who was diagnosed with moderate Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after getting out last year. I decided to seek treatment and, upon reevaluation, am now at a very mild ...

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