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192

Speed was life in air combat until the jet age. The pilots who became Air Force generals in the Fifties had learned their trade in the Thirties when speed was the most-desired quality in a fighter. Naturally, the ability to be faster than any adversary was very important to them. When the requirements for new fighter aircraft were written in the Fifties, ...


111

To answer the list in order: Do they fly hop to hop? An F-18 can go 3,000km unloaded (ordnance adds a lot of drag) and that's plenty from Australia. You can get to the Middle East in 4 hops, no air-to-air refuelling required. Although if you do an in-flight top-up you can add more than the regular range because you don't need to burn any fuel getting back ...


106

Table of contents Future focii Short answer - Important: stealth, sensors (radar & IR), data fusion, networking, long-range weapons. Unimportant: dogfighting with guns. Future counter-detection and counter-measures - Important: RF and IR stealth, lasers, hard-kill defenses How will stealth fighters fight each other? - including THE MOST ...


101

The idea that missiles will be all a fighter aircraft needs was prevalent in the late Fifties. The McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II carried initially only missiles, but at the start of the Vietnam war this turned out to be inadequate. The long-range missiles back then were rather unreliable, and in a real conflict things turn out always different than ...


96

That same thinking, "dogfighting is dead", got the USAF and USN in serious trouble in Vietnam. The U.S. Armed Forces were convinced that the next major war would be against the Soviet Union directly, in theaters including Europe, Alaska and Canada, and as a result, fighter designs succeeding the very successful Sabre and Super Sabre day fighters used in ...


92

First of all, it took at least five years even back then, but your observation is absolutely correct. You would need to go back one more decade to find a frontline fighter that was designed within two years. The reasons are: Urgency: Back then, the Cold War arms race forced both sides to continuously improve. Together with the advances in weapons and ...


88

There are quite a few reasons for this- technically speaking, the primary one is that the system complexity has increased tremendously. More systems mean more interfaces, more redundancies, meaning more chances of failure and more troubleshooting. The modern combat aircraft is expected to perform a wide variety of missions, which would've been performed by ...


84

They are fixed, and many attempts were made over the years to have an aiming capability - and all failed. That should tell you something. The earliest aereal combats used indeed handguns which were pointed at the adversary by the pilot. But it soon became obvious that only the rapid fire of a machine-gun will give the pilot a realistic chance of hitting a ...


78

I am former fighter pilot: We often fly "hop to hop" but depending on the total distance, the need for urgency, and the distance over water we also fly with tankers and air refuel. Of course the tankers sometimes don't have the fuel for themselves and for us. In those cases, we'll just leave one tanker and rendezvous with another tanker enroute. Everything ...


78

F-16 engineer here. This is from a great article about fire-control radar in fighter jets: For guns kills, if the aircraft has a radar lock on a target, it can accurately gauge range to the target, and provide the pilot with the appropriate corrections for lead and gravity drop, to get an accurate gun kill. Without the radar, the pilot simply has to rely ...


71

A couple of things come to mind that enable this: you don't become a fighter pilot if you are not intelligent and highly motivated you are not learning a new skill, just doing what you are already trained to do in an environment that just looks different (this would somewhat exclude Russian helicopters) the list of things to learn is really not that long, ...


70

You're seeing the Sidewinder on the folded up wingtip of the F-18 that is in the foreground out of frame except for its wing tip and missile sticking up at the bottom. The airplane is between the camera and the adjacent F-18 who's canopy is visible. The long lens being used foreshortens and compresses everything distance wise so it looks like the missile ...


69

Life Strapped to the Rocket Food and Drink Fighter pilots do not have any problem taking food and drinks on flights. The biggest concern is to prevent foreign object damage (FOD) from items like crumbs, bottles, bags, etc. Otherwise, there are plenty of places to carry food to eat: your helmet bag, G-Suit pockets and flight suit pockets. I typically ...


64

I guess it's for the same reason that soldiers carry hand-guns. They designed the F-4 without a cannon and added them back in 1965. If you do go up to intercept a plane, if you do ever get close to it, what then? The minimum range of a sidewinder is 2.5 km. This paragraph says, Starting with block 50 (as far as the F-16 is concerned anyway), provisions ...


55

There is an excellent answer at http://scottlocklin.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/can-the-su-25-intercept-and-shoot-down-a-777/ The SU-25 is a ground attack fighter unsuited to intercepting and/or shooting down 777s. If the Ukrainian air force wanted to do so, they have better aircraft available. The SU-25 max speed is slower than a cruising 777. The SU-25 has ...


54

You can't spoof a bullet with countermeasures. The plain fact is that bullets cannot be diverted or fooled, unlike missiles, for which there are flares, chaff and different electronic countermeasures and early warning systems. It' s also much easier to destroy a plane with bullets now than it was a few decades back (during WW1 and 2 for instance). Unless ...


54

It generally means that the hydraulic actuator (power control unit) driving the surface has an "idle" facility that allows fluid to move internally between the two sides of the actuator piston, or just circulate in the pressure/return lines, and when unpressurized it acts more or less like a hydraulic damper even though the input spool valve is at its "null" ...


54

Such weapons are not used by countries that abide by the Geneva Convention: It is prohibited to employ laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision, that is to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices. For the U.S.A., page 45 ...


52

Yes, the cockpit of the F-16 is pressurized. However, there are two types of cabin pressurization: Isobaric Pressurisation: The system maintains a constant cabin pressure (usually between 2000 and 8000 ft) as the atmospheric pressure decreases. This is used in commercial aircraft. Hypobaric Pressurisation: In such a system the pressurisation commences at a ...


52

Bear in mind that most of my maneuvering was done from a defensive position due to the aircraft I flew, and that my experience spanned a period 15-30 years ago. But, I have some perspective that may help answer the question. First, as a comment mentioned, some are decided at the bar later. (with hands shooting down watches…) We also had a saying: “First ...


52

It's a P-47 Thunderbolt, the original "razorback" version (not the later ones with the bubble canopy and cut-down rear fuselage). The instant giveaway is the V shaped windshield, which had the armour glass as a separate panel behind it (removed in the pic). The bubble canopy versions have the armour glass as the windshield itself, like most other ...


51

It is an explosive cord which helps to crack the canopy (pdf!) before the ejection seat has to do this all by itself. When ejection is commanded, the harness is tightened and the canopy is shattered, and only then the real ejection starts. Earlier designs would blow the full canopy off, but this takes longer than shattering it, especially when the canopy is ...


51

Fighter pilots are far more reclined than you might think. But seat angles are limited by the need for good visibility. Pilots frequently need to look to down-and-sideways, down-and-forward, and towards their back-quarters. These are angles that your F-1 Driver couldn't possibly see. Also, High-G maneuvers are quite rare. Most modern military planning ...


50

Additional details to Marco's selected answer. On the two-seater version, the instructor seat (aft) is not high enough, contrary to other training aircraft, to see the runway. A forward view mirror replaces the rear view mirror and allows the instructor to see ahead. The runway is projected on a second mirror inside the cockpit, creating a full periscope ...


50

Because while speed is one of the important characteristics, it is not the only important characteristic (or today, not the most important one) of a combat aircraft. One important thing to note is that the conditions where top speed is reached is pretty restrictive conditions - high altitude, clean configuration, and afterburners - which are rarely if ever ...


50

It is part of the gyroscopic gun sight: Source: WarRelics Forum It is not a "hand hold" because you don't want to damage the sight by grabbing the scope to situate yourself in the cockpit (getting in/out) or otherwise pulling on it. Since it is aligned to your guns, you would want to avoid misaligning it.


49

Because single engine fighters are substantially cheaper to purchase and operate. Exact figures are hard to obtain, but as an example, an F-15 squadron will spend about 25,000 USD per flight hour whereas an F-16 Squadron spends about 15,000 USD per flight hour. Effectively, you can purchase and operate twice the fighter force with single engine fighters ...


48

To add some data to Matthew's answer: Anti aircraft missiles come in basically 4 types (some others have been tried but aren't in common use). Active radar homing Passive radar homing Infrared homing Laser guided Active radar homing has a radar in the missile sending out signals. Those signals can be detected and classified by the target aircraft. Passive ...


48

The guns of modern fighter jets are fixed to the airframe—they can't be moved in any direction; the pilot has to maneuver the aircraft to bring the guns to bear. The image shows the mounting of General Electric M61A1 Vulcan cannon in an F-16. Photo copyright (c) Meindert de Vreeze. Source: designer.home.xs4all Gun installation in F-16. The pilot aims the ...


46

Ex US Navy pilot here. I flew the S-3 Viking, which refueled via the probe/drogue method, as opposed to the USAF flying boom method. I can confirm that the receiving plane is below the wake turbulence of the tanker, maybe by 8–10 feet. Although, even if you should ride up into the wake, the sensation is perhaps not as violent as you might think....


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