98

Air-to-Air guided missiles are little airplanes. If there are only fins at the tail, it's a ballistic rocket, basically a fin stabilized artillery shell accelerated by a rocket motor instead of an explosion in a pipe. On missile like AMRAAM, Sidewinder, or Sparrow, the vanes are wings and the missile is a rocket powered aircraft that can climb, descend and ...


38

The short answer is that the final qualification tests are done against drones like the QF-4, which are converted from retired F-4 fighters. These tests are still extremely expensive, into the millions per aircraft destroyed, so there are many dry runs and non-destructive tests completed beforehand. Sacrificing a target drone isn't done until the project ...


35

Visual detection To take one example, a vehicle-launched ground to air missile system (e.g. the SA-11) that can reach the cruising altitude of airliners travels at several thousand miles per hour and takes perhaps 30 to 40 seconds from launch to reach its target. Pilots don't have an especially good view of the ground immediately below and would have a ...


34

Could SR-71 be shot down today? Theoretically yes. Modern day SAMs like the 40N6 that travel at speeds of Mach 6 can intercept an SR 71 within an operational range of 250 miles upto an altitude of 18 miles. Moreover, the hostile SAM will fire a salvo of missiles(at least 2-3). So the SR 71 will have to jam, drop decoys and out manoeuvre the incoming hostile ...


32

A cruise missile is rocket or jet powered and flies to its target within the atmosphere, using lift to stay up. Most have wings, although a few may use lifting body designs. They maneuver using control surfaces on the wings and tail like an airplane. Mission profiles can include big course changes, to evade air defenses, or to hug terrain to stay hidden. ...


31

The combat advantage of fighters (as opposed to heavier-payload bombers) is their maneuverability, therefore a missile delivery restriction such as g-limit (think Sidewinder heat-seeker in a dogfight) or attitude would unnecessarily restrict their efficacy. As a Vietnam-era fighter and attack pilot I fired both unguided (aim and shoot rockets) and guided (...


23

A large part of the complexity of any missile is in propulsion and guidance. The warhead isn't trivial, but in comparison that's not the hardest part. This means that in testing, you can often replace the warhead with a sensor package. This applies both to missile development and counter-missile development. Missile warheads additionally can be tested on ...


22

First off, very rarely will you shoot at an unidentified aircraft. Most engagements require a visual ID, or a hostile action, prior to engagement. However, you will also program your aircraft with specific ROE logic that will indicate that certain aircraft are friendly, as identified by IFF transponders, Link 16, etc. You can still lock up friendly ...


22

Cruise Missile : Uses thrust for the whole trajectory Uses aerodynamic forces by moving control surfaces to move. May use thrust vectoring Ballistic Missile: Uses thrust to reach very high altitude. After that, no thrust, only potential energy is used and converted to speed. Uses aerodynamic forces (for a limited extent) to move by deflecting control ...


22

The missile's wings are very large for it's mass, and produce a great deal more lift than the wings of the aircraft firing the missile. One thing to note from the OP's linked video is that the F-35 and the chase plane are traveling at the same speed, so the F-35 appears stationary. However, that aircraft is likely traveling in excess of 0.8 Mach. Therefore, ...


21

If you are referring to the Sidewinder missile, the first iteration AIM-9X did not have a requirement to be launched from internal stores, known as captive carry, but in testing it demonstrated that it could lock on after launch. This was deemed interesting enough that Raytheon got a contract for the Block II variant, which among other things adds a datalink ...


20

In the video you posted, the missile appears to continue falling even after the motor ignites -- you can see the missile start to overtake the aircraft even as it continues to drop: By the last frame, it appears to have taken a slight nose-up attitude to maintain altitude:


19

Surface-to-air missile attacks on airliners at cruising altitude are vanishingly rare: there have only been three known attacks in the past half-century (MH-17, IR-655, and probably S7-1812). Any protection system needs to take that into account -- any safety system needs to be justified in terms of cost, weight, and safety -- it needs to save more lives ...


19

Actually most aircraft don't actively know when a missile is being fired at them. I have worked on helicopters and fighters that deploy counter measures. The first is an IR jammer which we call a disco ball. It is made up of mirrors at different angles that resemble a disco ball. It radiates an IR signal at different angles to confuse the missiles. The ...


17

I have worked on and designed DIRCM systems. Most of the technical specifications on these systems is classified. Also, the U.S. is not the only country with DIRCM systems. In particular, Israel is equipping their airliners with the C-MUSIC system. How does this system work? Basically, a laser at the wavelengths of the Infrared Missile seeker is directed ...


17

El Al (and other Israeli) aircraft are equipped with infra-red countermeasures since fire at Arkira B757 in Mombasa in 2002. Infra-red counter-measures are relatively simple (it has a small radar to detect missiles and if one is detected, dispenses burning decoys), so it can be mounted on almost any aircraft. The system however poses additional fire risk (...


15

Yes, they can. Air-to-Air or Air-to-Ground missiles are often equipped with little fins that allow certain maneuverability or also with thrust vectoring. (Image Source: WikiPedia - Author: USAF) (Image Source: WikiPedia - Author: Titimaster)


14

This recent article on CNN is very informative and covers most of what you're discussing. In brief, commercial aircraft don't have any reasonable means to detect an incoming missile, which is likely to be travelling at supersonic speeds. Even if they could detect it, commercial aircraft are already flying near their limits with respect to altitude, max-...


13

Cruise missiles have rocket or jet engines that are powered during the entire flight. It allows the missile to cruise low through the atmosphere, sometimes just above ground level. Lift and guidance of the missile are achieved by aerodynamic forces. Ballistic missiles on the other hand are not powered during most of their flight. During the launch they ...


13

Your assumption is correct - it is indeed about infrared (wavelength between 750 nm and 10,000 nm) and ultraviolet (wavelength between 100 nm and 400 nm) radiation. The sensor detected two specific wavelengths, one from each range. Every body has an electromagnetic radiation which is consistent with its temperature. This radiation has an intensity ...


13

The Russians brought some new ideas to the missile warfare when they mated the Vympel R-73 with Mig-29. The most important of these was the high offset sensor lock mode, which allowed the pilot to 'lock on' to the targer regardless of where the nose was pointed at. According to Peter “Stoini” Steiniger a JG 73 Pilot, who flew Mig-29s in East Germany, The ...


13

Yes. Specific weapons can be employed within specific limits and load factors of the flight envelope, some of which includes inverted flight for air to air missiles, as this F-22 test pilot demonstrates during the Raptor's flight test.


13

Depending on the range and mission of your missile, body lift alone may be enough to keep it aloft. @dotancohen pointed out that a typical missile's wings are large for its mass, but look at the ASRAAM - it has only small tail fins which are there purely for attitude control, rather like an AIM-9X (which already has much smaller wings than the 9M) but with ...


12

No, rocket missiles are recoil-less weapons. When firing a gun, the charge burns inside the chamber and the generated gasses do not escape before the shell leaves the barrel, so the reaction force is transferred to the body of the gun. When firing a rocket missile however there is open space behind he missile and the reaction force only accelerates the ...


12

It's possible for a pilot to see a missile's trail provided that the missile is fired from an angle where that trail could be seen out the window, however it's pretty unlikely. Commercial aircraft are not typically fitted with any missile warning or defense systems, so a pilot would have to be looking in the right place at the right time in order to spot it. ...


12

Before continuing, much of the how's and why's of IRCM are going to be either speculation, or classified. Nations will not freely discuss their actual methods of defeating opposing nation's IR capabilities. Therefore, actual answers will be difficult to give. However, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia regarding a specific missile warning system that may ...


12

"Stealth" does not mean invisible. In fact, there are photographs of F-117s, so clearly, they are visible. Stealth means less observable than a comparable non-stealth design. A stealth aircraft still has a radar signature, it still generates heat, it still generates noise, and it is still visible … just less so than a non-stealth aircraft. In this ...


11

How does this system work? Guardian is basically a Directional Infrared Counter Measures (DIRCM). By using an infrared laser (and an optical parametric oscillator to generate a second IR Band wavelength) the Guardian jams the IR seekers of incoming Infrared missiles through their sensor apertures. Does this successfully work in countering all types of ...


11

Intercept geometry is the bubble of space in which the SA-2 missile can be effective against a specific aircraft. Crucial here is the detection range of the radar system guiding the missile, given here as 40 nm. Depending on the speed of the target, the missile has only a limited time to ascend to the altitude of the target and to close in. The combination ...


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