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56

This is a B-1B Lancer. It is a 4 engine (afterburning engines mind you, very rare for a bomber) variable sweep wing bomber, designed during the Cold War to use its terrain-following radar to stay low and fast, weaving between the mountains of Russia to stay below radar to deliver nuclear warheads. It carries more bombs than the B-52 as well. Essentially, ...


48

Wikipedia: The B-1 [variant] was also fitted with "Jericho trumpets", essentially propeller-driven sirens with a diameter of 0.7 m (2.3 ft) mounted on the wing's leading edge directly forward of the landing gear, or on the front edge of the fixed main gear fairing. This was used to weaken enemy morale and enhance the intimidation of dive-bombing. After ...


48

There are really two reasons. First, fighter tactics have evolved over time, and second, the role of the B-52 has evolved over time. Fighter tactics Fighters used to depend (heavily) upon getting fairly close to an enemy, and shooting it down with a machine gun. Over the years, guns have become less and less dominant, and instead fighters tend to use ...


46

There's a profile cam in the turret track ring that operates a mechanism that interrupts the guns when the barrels are pointed at parts of the aircraft. Waist gunners were the only ones who had to worry about hitting their own plane. The bigger problem was gunners hitting adjacent aircraft. The "box" formation design attempted to provide as much of an ...


38

Three reasons: The B-52 stayed useful by taking on "easier" roles as it aged. It actually started life as a high-performance penetrator, relying on speed and altitude to stay safe. Think Early Cold War, shortly after WWII. When ground-launched missiles improved, the B-52 was forced into flying low-altitude penetration underneath radars (a role for which it ...


37

Northrup Grumman B2 Spirit stealth bomber.


31

The simple answer is that it is optimized for being low observable/stealthy, and long range, rather than for maximum payload. When you design an aircraft, you make a variety of trade offs depending upon which features are most important for that design. The design of the B-2, which reaches back into the 1980's1, put a premium on the ability to avoid being ...


30

I was in the United States Air Force (USAF) working B-52's when the tail gunner position was retired. The reason was that it was deemed ineffective. As the answers here point out, fighter aircraft evolved such that medium and long range air-to-air missiles were the primary weapons. This kept fighters out far enough that the tail gun cannot hit. But another ...


29

Mostly, no. The number one factor protecting the aircraft from the effects of the explosion is distance. The aircraft is traveling at a sufficient speed to be very, very far away from the bomb before it detonates. All effects of the explosion can be multiplied by the fraction: 1 / r, where r is the distance between the bomb and the bomber at donation (...


28

It's worth digging into the details. The B-52H, which is the model in service today, was not built in the 1950s but the early 1960s (which, I admit, is not a significant difference). The key, however, lies in the upgrade programs that have happened constantly since the design first hit front lines. It's had airframe life extensions, avionics upgrades, and ...


27

The B-52 is nothing more than a massive bomb-truck, so it doesn't need a whole lot of improvements. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's not pretty, fast, stealthy, or smart. It's a vehicle to get a whole lot of bombs from point A to point Boom. Did you know the USA military still uses the M2 Browning machine gun from WWII? B-52s are great when you want ...


27

When you shut down a radial the unscavenged oil in the case (oil coating the surfaces that didn't get pumped back to the reservoir tank) runs down and seeps past the rings of the cylinders directly below and to each side at the bottom. In theory, it can create an hydraulic lock if there is enough oil collected in a cylinder, that happens to be on its ...


25

The psychology behind it helped the pilot ... panicking enemies doesn't make for very good shots, they're more likely to miss you. They're also more likely to just drop flat on the ground rather than dive into cover or try to shoot back at you. And that was pretty much the idea. Get the enemies to become disoriented, panicky, so they're less efficient ...


24

(wikimedia.org) Most of the Tu-160 in service are named, much like the B-2 bombers are. The one in the image is S/N: 7-02 "Василий Решетников / Vasily Reshetnikov" named after a WW2 pilot. You can find the names of the other ones on the Russian Wikipedia.


24

This setup was actually pretty common for four-engine aircraft of the day. Look at the cockpits of airliners from DC-4 to Lockheed Constellation, and you'll always see a dedicated flight engineer station -- not to the level of managing throttles (which would require a voice command from the PIC to change power setting, impractical for the reaction times ...


22

Another reason for the siren is that during the first years of WWII most army's ground transportation was horse drawn. You freak the horses and the unit does not move. The French, Polish, and Russian armies used primarily horse drawn transport. The British and American armies used trucks. A truck can't freak out like a horse.


21

In steady flight, the lift $L$ generated by the wings equals the loaded weight so that there is no vertical acceleration. Thus, the lift just before the bomb is dropped is $$ L = m_1g = 245\,250 \;\textrm{N} $$ where $m_1=25\,000$ kg is the loaded mass and $g=9.81$ m/s$^2$ is the acceleration due to gravity. In the time interval just after the $10\,000$ ...


20

Well, actually, they do. Or at least it has been proposed on several occasions. The ill-fated A-12 stealth attack aircraft was going to carry 2 x AIM-120 AMRAAMs as part of its defensive package when it went into combat. Larger fighter-bombers like the FB-111 did in fact carry the AIM-9 Sidewinder AAM for defensive use. And the Sukhoi SU-34 advanced ...


20

The A7E Corsair had an empty weight of around 19,000 pounds. Its fuel load was 10,500 pounds, and with six armed 2,000 pound MK84 general purpose bombs hung under the wing it had a total weight of around 42,000 pounds. This was maximum takeoff weight, and coming off the cat shot the aircraft response felt lazy and sloppy as you did your clearing turn. By ...


19

You are right in saying that's all that's needed, with the addition of a strategic or tactical need. The need for a "special evasion" technique is only needed for aircraft dropping megaton range weapons in an air burst. Kiloton range weapons could be dropped from altitude with no special evasion required except a lot of speed. Sub-sonic aircraft would ...


18

Simon's answer discusses technical requirements to deploy nuclear weapons on an aircraft. However, there are less-technical requirements as well. Specifically, for reasons that should be fairly obvious, countries are very concerned that the aircraft carrying their nuclear weapons will not release an armed weapon when they aren't supposed to. At least for the ...


18

The main reason is the same reason why CIWS are not used on ground vehicles - anything smaller than a ship just doesn't have enough space/weight allowance to fit one, let alone two. The lightest CIWS I found, an outdated version of Soviet AK-630 system, weighs in at 1 ton (later versions are much heavier), has a turret ring 1m across, is 1 meter high above ...


17

Most Tu-160's are named after notable Soviet military pilots. English Wikipedia doesn't have a complete list; here's a link to the Russian version. Out of 16 currently active Tu-160's, 9 are named after military or test pilots and 4 after aircraft designers (including famous helicopter designer Igor Sikorsky). The rest, for some reason, bear the names of a ...


16

Introduction I have experience flying the A7-E Corsair off the USS Nimitz in the mid-1980's. There were typical scenarios that would require us to either jettison fuel, ordinance, or other stores. Below you will find a description of some of these scenarios. Take off I was in a brief with my Skipper for a night hop, and he asked me perhaps the best ...


14

The reason that small aircraft are used in the bombing role is flexibility and cost. If you load up a B-52, it can only be in one place at one time, travel at subsonic speeds, and be expensive to operate, risking more crew and equipment. Using smaller attack jets allows reaching targets across a wider geographical area faster. And while past conflicts saw ...


14

It's not just the big bombers flying long missions; you'd be surprised how many of the sorties flying over Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya etc originate from airbases in Northern Europe with refueling stops over the Mediterranean (because closer airbases aren't available or are congested with aircraft from other forces or that have shorter ranges). The ...


14

It looks like the actual date is 1942. The 'Nachtschlachtgruppen' aircraft were given Ju 87 D aircraft with numerous upgrades including the FuG 101 radio altimeter. This would make sense because to use the regular contact altimeter the pilot must have knowledge of the height of terrain above sea level and then add to that when preparing his aircraft for ...


13

The B-52 is essentially nothing more than a cargo truck today. It's still useful in that role, although it's obsolete by most reasonable standards. It does help that the B-52 has its engines in nacelles, which simplified engine upgrades. To its cargo truck role, the engine performance matters more than anything. And as an old and simple plane, there's ...


13

Once you launch an ICBM, you're pretty much committed. Even if there is a self-destruct on the missile (I don't know, nor am I making that claim. Additionally, I think debris from such an act would be a big concern.). A bomber also allows you to send something part of the way, and rattle your sabers in the face of the other party without again having ...


13

There are very few mission profiles in modern (post-WWII) combat that call for "carpet-bombing" of the type that the WWII-era medium and heavy bombers were used for. The primary target of a strategic bombing campaign is typically a city or other highly-populated area. During WWII it was considered a necessary evil, as high-value military-industrial targets ...


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