104 votes
Accepted

If all fighter jets become stealthy, how will they fight each other in the future? In dogfights?

Table of contents Future focii Short answer - Important: stealth, sensors (radar & IR), data fusion, networking, long-range weapons. Unimportant: dogfighting with guns. Future counter-...
Hephaestus Aetnaean's user avatar
97 votes
Accepted

Why does it take so long to develop modern military jets?

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 ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
90 votes

Why does it take so long to develop modern military jets?

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 ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
86 votes

Are the guns on a fighter jet fixed or can they be aimed?

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 ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
79 votes

How is radar used to help aiming a gun on fighter jets?

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, ...
Noddle's user avatar
  • 1,025
73 votes
Accepted

How could "aggressor" pilots fly foreign aircraft without speaking the language?

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 ...
Jpe61's user avatar
  • 28.7k
70 votes

Why is this missile positioned in this odd position? How can it be launched correctly?

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 ...
John K's user avatar
  • 131k
57 votes
Accepted

What is the purpose of the "Mirror-Thing" over the Mig-29 Cockpit?

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 ...
mins's user avatar
  • 72.9k
53 votes

Why are fighter pilots seated and not reclined?

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 ...
abelenky's user avatar
  • 30.7k
53 votes
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Why do military jets sometimes have elevators in a depressed position when parked?

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 ...
John K's user avatar
  • 131k
53 votes
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Why don't combat aircraft have rear-facing *laser* weapons?

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 ...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar
53 votes

Is the F-16 cockpit pressurized?

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 ...
Arnav's user avatar
  • 576
53 votes
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How do you win a simulated dogfight/Air-to-Air engagement?

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 ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
53 votes
Accepted

Can anyone identify what appears to be a crashed WWII German plane?

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 ...
John K's user avatar
  • 131k
51 votes
Accepted

What is this "No Hand Hold" thing in the P-51 Mustang cockpit?

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 ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
49 votes
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Are the guns on a fighter jet fixed or can they be aimed?

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 ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
49 votes

What is the rationale for single engine military aircraft?

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 ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 73.7k
46 votes
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Why are special aircraft used for the carriers in the United States Navy?

It's technical, not political The F-35 was an attempt to do exactly what you propose, lowering costs by planned sharing of 80% of parts across variants, but it turns out that the USN's F-35C costs ...
StephenS's user avatar
  • 27.7k
46 votes

Why would an F-35 take off with air brakes behind the cockpit extended?

That is not the air brake, but the cover for the vertical air intake on the F-35B model, which is operated by the RAF.
WPNSGuy's user avatar
  • 8,644
45 votes

How could "aggressor" pilots fly foreign aircraft without speaking the language?

You don't need to speak(1) fluent(2) Russian(3): In fact you don't need to speak at all, just understand. You don't need to be fluent, just understand enough to not crash the plane. It's not about ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
43 votes

Why does it take so long to develop modern military jets?

UPDATE: I want to clarify/emphasize a few things in my answer. #1: Ultimately, the core driver of development time is growing complexity. More advanced threats means more advanced systems, which ...
Hephaestus Aetnaean's user avatar
42 votes

Why are fighter pilots seated and not reclined?

The F-16 in fact has a relatively large recline (compared to other fighters). From the main F-16 Wikipedia The F-16's ACES II zero/zero ejection seat is reclined at an unusual tilt-back angle of 30°...
Bageletas's user avatar
  • 1,932
42 votes
Accepted

What does this hand gesture of fighter jet pilots mean?

It is the signal to perform a fuel check. (Actually: "How much fuel have you?") The hand mimics drinking from a bottle, and when given by a formation flight lead it is intended to prompt ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
40 votes

What is the purpose of classifying fighters?

People like to classify things, to divide them into categories. Categorizing allows people to get an initial broad understanding of a complicated subject more quickly. It is therefore very useful ...
rclocher3's user avatar
  • 1,409
39 votes

What is the significance of radar cross section (RCS) for air defense?

Its all about detection distance. Take a car and a beer can. You're 10 miles away, on an open plain. From there, you can't see either. Get closer...5 miles. Still can't see either. At 3 miles, you can ...
WPNSGuy's user avatar
  • 8,644
39 votes

Why do missiles typically have cylindrical fuselage and not a fuselage that generates more lift?

Rockets with solid fuel must be round, or they would weigh more. Remember that the rear part is filled with fuel which gradually burns away, so the whole fuel container has to withstand the pressure ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
38 votes
Accepted

How long does it take to train a commercial pilot to fly a fighter jet?

fly it or fight it? There is a major difference. A few days studying the systems and maybe a few hours in a simulator and/or a two seater with an instructor and he could probably fly the aircraft and ...
jwenting's user avatar
  • 15.9k
37 votes
Accepted

What is the guy in green showing to the F/A-18E pilot before catapult launch?

That's a weight check. The sign has the weight of the aircraft in pounds. The catapult crew guy first shows the presumed weight to the PIC who must give a thumbs up, agreeing, "Yes, that is the weight ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
  • 13.3k

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