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49 votes

Why don't modern heavy bombers have gun turrets?

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 ...
Jerry Coffin's user avatar
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49 votes
Accepted

Can the dome gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress shoot the plane's tail off?

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 ...
John K's user avatar
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43 votes
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What plane is shown here in the movie Rampage?

Northrup Grumman B2 Spirit stealth bomber.
Pilothead's user avatar
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35 votes

When a bomber releases a huge payload of bombs, why don't they collide with each other in mid air?

Because there's a lot of engineering effort to make sure the bombs are cleanly and safely released from the aircraft (safely, that is, for the aircrew, not for the recipients). Aside from the safety ...
Gerry's user avatar
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34 votes

Why don't modern heavy bombers have gun turrets?

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 ...
Thomas Carlisle's user avatar
32 votes

Why does the B-2 have a smaller payload than other bombers of comparable size?

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 ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
30 votes

Why is the B-29 bomb bay grossly oversized?

In addition to ROIMaison's excellent, referenced answer, here's a simple, practical, common sense reason: While there is a lot of empty space around the bombs themselves, the plane can only carry a ...
FreeMan's user avatar
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27 votes
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Why does the B-29 not have pilot-accessible thrust?

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 ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
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27 votes

Did people really hand-start big bombers in WWII?

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 ...
John K's user avatar
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24 votes
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Why do heavy bombers not carry air-to-air missiles?

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 ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
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24 votes

What is the meaning of nose-art on the Tu-160 bomber?

(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 ...
AEhere supports Monica's user avatar
23 votes

Why is the B-29 bomb bay grossly oversized?

This cut-away image shows that there are also bombs in between the two filled columns of your image. Image source - 39th bomb group veterans If only 2 bombs can be stacked in the middle (due to the ...
ROIMaison's user avatar
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21 votes

What would happen if a plane lost half of its weight instantly?

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 \;\...
Christo's user avatar
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20 votes

What would happen if a plane lost half of its weight instantly?

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 ...
Aaron's user avatar
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20 votes

Why is the B-29 bomb bay grossly oversized?

One aspect, that's maybe implied in other answers but not explicitly stated: flexibility. If your bomb bay is large, it can accommodate many different configurations easily, i.e., you reach the limit ...
Dohn Joe's user avatar
  • 1,318
18 votes

Why don't bombers have close-in weapon systems (CIWS)?

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 ...
Danila Smirnov's user avatar
17 votes

Do fighters or bombers ever ditch their weapons?

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. ...
Aaron's user avatar
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17 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of nose-art on the Tu-160 bomber?

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 ...
IMil's user avatar
  • 286
15 votes

Did the Stuka Ju-87 really have a radio altimeter? If so, when?

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 ...
Eric Urban's user avatar
  • 1,596
10 votes

Why don't modern heavy bombers have gun turrets?

Because the defending nations stopped sending fighter planes at them to shoot them down at close range (where those guns were effective) and instead launched Ground to Air or Air to Air missiles at ...
ratchet freak's user avatar
10 votes

Isn't a "land based navy bomber" just an air force bomber?

The terms "Navy" and "Air Force" refer to distinctly different branches of military service. (The United States also has the Marine Corps, Army, Coast Guard, and Space Force) Most ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
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9 votes

Why do air forces still use bombers?

Short Answer: Because not every war or military mission needs an ICBM On the practical level, some air forces still use bombers because large payloads of standoff weapons like air launched cruise ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
9 votes

Why does the B-2 have a smaller payload than other bombers of comparable size?

The B-1 and B-52 were introduced at a time when most bombs were not guided. Thus, the mission for these older bombers required larger payloads to deliver large quantities of "dumb" bombs to blanket ...
Devil07's user avatar
  • 8,544
9 votes

What is the meaning of nose-art on the Tu-160 bomber?

Both messages are Russian names: Vasily Reshetnikov (flew 307 missions in WWII mainly as a pilot for a long-range bomber, Hero of the Soviet Union) in this picture and Alexander Novikov (Chief marshal ...
h22's user avatar
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9 votes

Why don't modern heavy bombers have gun turrets?

Gun turrets are for defending against aircraft that are within gun range. However, modern fighters will usually lock on and fire missiles long before the fighter is within the range of a gun turret.
Devil07's user avatar
  • 8,544
9 votes

Did people really hand-start big bombers in WWII?

The procedure you seem to refer to isn't hand starting. It's done on radial engines, with ignition off and valves locked open, to clear oil that may have settled in the lower cylinders (by seeping ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 17.1k
8 votes

How do dummy bombs simulate real bombs in training when they're so much smaller?

The actual mass alone is nearly irrelevant to its a trajectory - what mostly matters is the mass/drag ratio - so if you scale the drag correctly, it feels quite the same - at least from the ...
tsg's user avatar
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8 votes

When a bomber releases a huge payload of bombs, why don't they collide with each other in mid air?

If you’ve ever parachuted from an aircraft you’ll know that although you might expect to float gently away into the air, you do in fact drop like a brick. Bombs are typically released in a controlled ...
Frog's user avatar
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