101

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 ...


95

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 ...


61

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 ...


52

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 ...


31

Better to ask a combat pilot I would think. However, a few points: The internal gun for the F-35A, including a full load of ammunition, is less than 500 pounds - this represents about 2.5% of the F-35's total weapons payload capacity. That doesn't really sound too bad. They can save 80 lbs if they choose not to load it. The external gun, which is what the ...


30

A long time ago I used to build fighter aircraft (yes, with my hands). Anyway, the designers whispered behind their hands that the guns on this particular aircraft were there to make the pilots feel happy. The gunfire vibration tended to destroy the delicate instruments, so they were strongly discouraged from ever firing them. In those days the designers (I ...


23

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 when it went into combat. Larger fighter-bombers like the FB-111 did in fact carry the AIM-9 Sidewinder AAM for defensive use. And the Sukhoi SU-34 advanced ...


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, ...


20

You are right in saying that's all that's needed, with the addition of a strategic or tactical need. The need for a "special evasion" technique is only needed for aircraft dropping megaton range weapons in an air burst. Kiloton range weapons could be dropped from altitude with no special evasion required except a lot of speed. Sub-sonic aircraft would ...


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:


18

Simon's answer discusses technical requirements to deploy nuclear weapons on an aircraft. However, there are less-technical requirements as well. Specifically, for reasons that should be fairly obvious, countries are very concerned that the aircraft carrying their nuclear weapons will not release an armed weapon when they aren't supposed to. At least for the ...


14

the aircraft I worked on in the army were deadlined whenever 1% of total aircraft weight was removed, requiring either the part to be reinstalled or a total reweigh prior to next flight. That's for internal equipment, which will affect the empty CG data. All aircraft lose weight during a trip. Aircraft designed to lose a lot of weight all of a sudden ( C-5 ...


14

First, let's agree that when we say CG we're talking about the longitudinal CG, not the lateral or vertical CG. Every aircraft has a basic operating weight, typically abbreviated b.o.w. or just BOW. The BOW is the empty weight of the aircraft + the required crew + undrainable fluids. For this BOW there is a known CG. The BOW and it's CG are the base values ...


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 ...


11

As missile guidance and tracking systems evolve, so do countermeasures and maneuvers to cause a missile to miss. Planes don't carry that many missiles to begin with, and as mentioned before, missiles also have a minimal range. For all of these reasons, guns are still the only way to hit a plane with modern countermeasures. After all your missiles went for ...


11

While missile and radar systems designs get better they still cannot make a complete positive identification between friend or foe. So you need to get close enough to visually ID the target. Now you are in a dogfight situation with distance getting too close for missiles and too far for a gun. So you need both. You also still need to train pilots in ...


9

What neither of the other answers have touched on is the real reason why some aircraft can be used to deploy nuclear weapons and other can't. And that is the special equipment needed on board these aircraft to carry, arm and and launch the weapons. Which is a big reason not just why some aircraft can and others can't deploy nuclear weapons but pretty much ...


7

The biggest threat to bombers are ground-to-air missiles, and onboard air-to-air missiles will offer no protection against them. Did you ever wonder why big bombers now launch winged, self-guiding bombs instead of free-fall bombs? They are called standoff weapons for exactly the possibility to be launched outside of the range of interceptors. If they should ...


7

Putting air-to-air missiles on a bomber would take a large investment, and would be less effective than putting them on fighters. First, the sensors and systems would have to be installed on the bomber. Although space might be less of an issue on a larger aircraft, it will still add weight. Adding search radar or something similar to locate targets would be ...


6

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 vectoring of their rocket motor exhaust gases. The control system is typically driven by input from inertial measurement units (accelerometers, rate sensors ...


5

It really depends on the aircraft. Your F-15C as an air superiority fighter would primarily carry missiles; it can carry four AMRAAMs or Sparrows underbelly (the Sparrow's been all but phased out of the arsenal, but was a common loadout in the F-15's heyday) and four Sidewinders on the sides of the wing hardpoints, with either an additional pair of AMRAAMs ...


5

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 almost did, at least in the US. Soviet AA-missile development was years behind the US, and by the time they were even ready to consider it the threat ...


4

Air-to-air missile won't do much to save your ass once the enemy has fired their missile on you. You can force them to turn around so their missile won't get mid-course update, but you still have to evade it. And they will fire first, because they can use long-range missile that you can't afford due to weight. So the bombers focus on countermeasures that ...


4

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 in emergencies, like, pilot is unconscious or something? This is more complicated. The USAF F-4's did not have controls for the RIO's (now called WSO's), but ...


4

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 rear assembly of each dart also houses the electronics that guide the missile, including a rearwards facing sensor. The sub-munitions steer by briefly ...


4

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 aircraft, the gun is slaved to the targeting system so it can be set to fire automatically when the target crosses the firing line. In WW2, aiming was more primitive ...


3

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 trigger mechanism in the end phase - directly before payload delivery since you want to hit your target and not your own installations. Modern explosives are ...


3

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 they're the same thing. Airplanes don't need big honking wings to cruise, they need them to fly at low speed for takeoff and landing. A missile, however, will ...


2

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 missiles, air-to-air missiles, free-fall or retarded bombs and pods with 70 mm unguided rockets. Hence no way it could be said it cannot be armed. This aircraft ...


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