104 votes
Accepted

How do conventional missiles fly?

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 ...
John K's user avatar
  • 130k
45 votes

Why do modern fighter jets use 20mm guns?

20mm is the smallest caliber that is practical to load with a bursting charge. Some fighter jets use 23mm, 27mm, or 30mm guns. The reason 20mm has become one of the most common aircraft gun calibers ...
Therac'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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25 votes
Accepted

How do missiles steer (mainly air to surface)?

Take a look at the following image. What do you see? The Fins, Wings, and Canards, as seen in the diagram, work in a similar fashion to rudders/elevators/ailerons to develop drag to yaw/pitch/roll ...
Super's user avatar
  • 1,283
24 votes
Accepted

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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22 votes

How do conventional missiles fly?

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 ...
dotancohen's user avatar
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20 votes

How do conventional missiles fly?

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 ...
Johnny's user avatar
  • 681
16 votes

Why do modern fighter jets use 20mm guns?

If you want to know why you put a caliber usually between 20 and 30mm on a fighter plane (if you do any at all) you have to consider a few things. Modern fighter planes can achieve speeds of more ...
Adwaenyth's user avatar
  • 463
13 votes

How do conventional missiles fly?

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 ...
aerobot's user avatar
  • 855
9 votes

Can a person legally mount a fake gun on an amateur-built aircraft?

Empirically, yes it's legal. I've seen several reproduction WW1 aircraft myself at airshows with fake guns, missiles or bombs attached. And I was once at an EAA chapter meeting where a member ...
Pondlife'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
  • 1,692
6 votes

Why do heavy bombers not carry air-to-air missiles?

Imagine a heavy bomber – such as the B52, Tu160 or B1 – is heading toward a hot zone carrying a large number of AMRAAM or longer ranged missiles. Why doesn't it also carry air-to-air missiles? They ...
Maury Markowitz's user avatar
6 votes

How do missiles steer (mainly air to surface)?

Not sure how much detail you’re looking for, but most current missiles control their pitch, yaw and attitude via control surfaces that are actuated by electromechanical actuators. Some also use thrust ...
K Greenwood's user avatar
6 votes

As at 2020, why don't fighter jets have ≥ 200 rounds for their cannons?

They don't need more rounds. Modern fighters contain a targeting system that can calculate where the bullets will go, allowing the pilot to fire only when he's sure to hit the target. In some ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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6 votes
Accepted

What if the bomb bay is hit?

Modern explosives are remarkably unwilling to go off without the correct primer. Some of them will not explode even when set on fire (and just burn in that case). https://aviation.stackexchange.com/a/...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar
5 votes

As at 2020, why don't fighter jets have ≥ 200 rounds for their cannons?

More rounds means more weight and more space needed to store them. Guns in jet fighter are not there primary weapon system anymore but are there as backup to save you when leaving the war zone after ...
MaximEck's user avatar
  • 1,847
4 votes

Why do fighter jets still have guns/cannons?

The short and sweet answer: Guided missiles have yet to demonstrate a Probability of Kill (Pk) or effective operating envelopes for all combat situations which can be entered into and a gun can fill ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
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4 votes
Accepted

Can a F-4 Phantom II pilot control weapons?

Can the pilot in the front seat control the weaponry as well, or do they only fly the aircraft? Yes, the pilot in the front could control all weapons. And can the weapons officer in the back fly ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
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4 votes

How do missiles steer (mainly air to surface)?

A unique variation on the control surfaces is the Starstreak missile: Each dart consists of a rotating fore-body with two canard fins attached to a non-rotating rear assembly which has four fins. The ...
zovits's user avatar
  • 145
4 votes

As at 2020, why don't fighter jets have ≥ 200 rounds for their cannons?

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet can carry 412 rounds. The F-15E can carry 500. So some do carry more than 200 rounds. Also, planes like the F-35 are oriented to BVR combat, where the gun is useless because ...
JustACoder's user avatar
3 votes

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

Then there is always the trusty Intervalometer which controls the rate or interval at which bombs are dropped. The intervalometer generates electrical impulses that actuate the bomb release units. It ...
R Leonard's user avatar
3 votes

How do missiles steer (mainly air to surface)?

Not really an answer, but I think it's relevant: You look at an airplane, you see big honking wings and tails. You look at a missile and you see stubby little things. What you don't realize is that ...
Loren Pechtel's user avatar
3 votes

Does the payload of an ICBM or regular airplane bomber explode if the ICBM or bomber is shot down?

Usually it won't set off the payload. The payload is designed in a way to prevent it from going off prematurely - say it needs to be armed before it can go boom. Usually you would only arm the ...
Adwaenyth's user avatar
  • 463
3 votes

Can a F-4 Phantom II pilot control weapons?

The backseater in the Navy/Marine Phantoms had no way to fly the aircraft. The Air Force Phantoms could be flown from the rear seat. No insult to the Navy, but the guy in the back on USAF Phantoms ...
user55582's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Can the Kawasaki T-4 carry weapons?

The Kawasaki T-4 actually has three hardpoints that can carry weapons : one underfuselage and two wingpoints (also confirmed here). The possible armament includes gun pods, long-range anti-ship ...
h22's user avatar
  • 12.1k
2 votes

Why do modern fighter jets use 20mm guns?

One should remember also "ballistic drop" because that greatly complicates shooting a moving target at distance. And fighter jets are already moving fast. Narrowing the "3D-ness" of where the round ...
Roy's user avatar
  • 29
2 votes

What makes a bomber able to deliver nuclear bombs?

I can provide information from the operational side of things, although I cannot say much about the engineering side of hanging a nuclear weapon on the belly of an aircraft. The A7E was a US naval ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 4,308
2 votes

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

Bombs aren't just laid together in a bomb bay and dropped out of the bottom of the bomber. They are connected to a launcher, like the Conventional Rotary Launcher in the B-52 (google that for nice ...
eric.green's user avatar
1 vote

How do missiles steer (mainly air to surface)?

Missiles steer either by commands from internal computers, (for Air-to-Surface missiles with GPS or Inertial navigation systems), by commands from a ground radar station over a datalink (SAMs such as ...
Charles Bretana's user avatar

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