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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

X-planes (special edition)



The X-planes are a series of experimental United States aircraft (and some rockets) used for testing of new technologies and usually kept highly secret during development.

The first of these, the Bell X-1, originally XS-1 (The "S" stood for supersonic), became well-known as the first plane to break the sound barrier, which it did in 1947.

It was built by Bell Aircraft Company.Its fuselage was modeled on a 50-caliber bullet because that was the one shape that aerodynamics experts knew did not tumble at supersonic speeds. On October 14, 1947, the X-1, piloted by Captain Charles (Chuck) Yeager reached a speed of 700 miles per hour (1,127 kilometers per hour) while at 45,000 feet (13,716 meters), breaking the sound barrier, Mach 1. Mach number is defined as a ratio of the speed of an object or flow relative to the speed of sound in the medium through which it is travelling.The Mach number is named after Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach.

Later X-planes yielded important research results, but only the North American X-15 rocket plane of the early 1960s achieved comparable fame. Most X-planes are not expected to ever go into full-scale production, and usually only a few are produced.

X-planes

X-1 / XS-1 / X-1A / X-1B /X-1E
Supersonic Flight Research
1946 - 1958

X-planes

Supersonic swept wing
1955 - 1956

X-planes

Sustained flight at Mach 2+, low aspect ratio wings
1953 - 1956

X-planes

Semi-tailless aircraft

X-planes

Variable sweep wings
1952 - 1955

X-planes

Hypersonic flight at high altitude
1959 - 1968

X-planes

X-24A / X-24B
Lifting body flight research
1969 - 1975

X-planes

Forward Swept Wing
1984 - 1992

X-planes

Enhanced Fighter Maneuverability Demonstrator
1992 - 1995

X-planes

Tailless Aircraft Research
1996 -present

X-planes

Experimental Crew Return Vehicle
1996 - present

X-planes

X-43A/Hyper-X X-43A
Unpiloted Hypersonic Research Vehicle
1996 - present

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Avro Vulcan

The Avro Vulcan was a British delta-wing subsonic bomber, operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984. The Vulcan was part of the RAF's V bomber force, which fulfilled the role of nuclear deterrence against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Avro began scale prototype testing in 1948 with the single-seater Type 707, and despite the crash of the first prototype on 30 September 1949 work continued.
In September 1956, the RAF received its first Vulcan B.1, XA897, which immediately went on a fly-the-flag mission to New Zealand. On 1 October, while approaching London Airport to complete the tour, XA897 crashed short of the runway in bad weather conditions.
The B.2 variant was first tested in 1957 and entered service in 1960. It had a larger wing and better performance than the B.1 and had a distinctive kink in its delta wing to reduce turbulence. In all, 134 Vulcans were produced, the last being delivered to the RAF in January 1965. The last miliatry-operational Vulcan squadron was disbanded in March 1984.
Although the primary weapon for the Vulcan was nuclear, Vulcans could carry up to 21 x 1000 lb (454 kg) bombs in a secondary role. The only combat missions involving the Vulcan took place in the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina, when a number of Vulcans flew the 3,380 nautical miles (6300 km) from Ascension Island to Stanley to bomb the occupied airfield there with conventional bombs in Operation Black Buck. By this date the number of Victors available for air-to-air refueling was extremely limited, so some Vulcan aircraft were adapted in just 50 days to fulfil that role during the conflict. Five Vulcans were chosen for the operation: their bomb bays were modified, the fuel systems replaced and the electronics updated. The first bombing mission was on April 30–May 1 and there were five further bombing missions. At the time these missions held the record for the world's longest distance raids. Specifications (Vulcan B.2)

General characteristics
5; Pilot, Co-Pilot, Navigator Plotter, Navigator Radar and Air Electronics Officer
Length: 99 ft 11 in (30.45 m)
Wingspan: 111 ft 0 in (33.83 m)
Height: 27 ft 2 in (8.28 m)
Wing area: 3965 ft² (368.4 m²)
Empty weight: lb (kg)
Loaded weight: 199,585 lb (90,530 kg)
Useful load: 21,000 lb (9,550 kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 204,000 lb (92,500 kg)


4× Rolls Royce Olympus 201/301 turbojets, 17,000 lbf/20,000 lbf (76 kN/355.9 kN) each

Maximum speed:
645 mph (1,040 km/h)
Cruise speed: 625 mph (1,005 km/h)
Range: 2,300 mi (3,700 km)
Service ceiling:
62,300 ft (19,000 m)
Wing loading: 50 lb/ft² (246 kg/m²)

1x Blue Steel cruise missile semi-recessed in the fuselage or 1x Yellow Sun Mk.2 nuclear bomb or 21x 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs. Aircraft participating in the Falklands war also carried 2x AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles under the wings.

Vulcan to the Sky

(Adapted from http://www.wikipedia.org/)

C-5 Galaxy

The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is one of the largest military aircraft in the world. It can carry outsize and oversize cargo intercontinental ranges and can take off or land in relatively short distances. The C-5, with its tremendous payload capability, provides the Air Mobility Command (AMC) intertheater airlift in support of United States national defense. The forward section of the C-5 Galaxy lifts open to allow loading of bulky items.
The C-5 is similar in appearance to its smaller sister transport, the C-141 Starlifter, although the C-5 is much larger. Both aircraft have the distinctive high T-tail, 25-degree wing sweep, and four turbofan engines mounted on pylons beneath the wings. The Galaxy carries nearly all of the Army's combat equipment, including such bulky items as its 74-ton mobile scissors bridge, from the United States to any theater of combat on the globe.
The C-5 has four TF39 turbofan engines, rated at 43,000 lbf (191 kN) thrust each. They weigh 7,900 pounds (3,580 kg) each and have an air intake diameter of more than 8.5 feet (2.6 m). Each engine pod is nearly 27 feet (8.2 m) long. The first C-5A Galaxy was "rolled out" on 2 March 1968. Upon completion of testing the first C-5A was transferred to the Transitional Training Unit at Altus Air Force Base, OK, in December 1969.
In the mid-1970s, wing cracks were found throughout the fleet. Consequently, all C-5A aircraft were restricted to a maximum of 50,000 pounds (22,700 kg) of cargo each. To increase their lifting capability and service life, 77 C-5As underwent a re-winging program from 1981 to 1987. (In the redesigned wing, a new aluminum alloy was used that didn't exist ten years prior.) The final re-winged C-5A was delivered in July 1986. The first C-5B incorporating significant improvements such as strengthened wings and updated avionics was delivered to Altus Air Force Base in January 1986. C-5 production concluded with delivery of the last "B" model aircraft in April 1989.
In March 1989, the last of 50 C-5B aircraft was added to the 76 C-5As in the Air Force's airlift force structure. The C-5B includes all C-5A improvements as well as more than 100 additional system modifications to improve reliability and maintainability. All 50 C-5Bs are scheduled to remain in the active-duty force, shared by comparably sized and collocated Air Force Reserve Associate units. Based on a recent study showing 80% of the C-5 airframe service life remaining, AMC began an aggressive program to modernize the C-5. The C-5 Avionics Modernization Program began in 1998 and includes upgrading avionics to Global Air Traffic Management compliance, improving navigation and safety equipment, and installing a new autopilot system. Another part of the plan is a comprehensive re-engining and reliability improvement program, which includes new General Electric CF6-80 engines, pylons and auxiliary power units, with upgrades to aircraft skin and frame, landing gear, cockpit and the pressurization system. This C-5M modernization program will restore aircraft reliability and maintainability, maintain structural and system integrity, reduce cost of ownership and increase operational capability well into the 21st century.
Specifications (C-5M)

General characteristics
7 (pilot, copilot, two flight engineers, three loadmasters)
Length: 247 ft 1 in (75.3 m)
Wingspan: 222 ft 9 in (67.89 m)
Height: 65 ft 1 in (19.84 m)
Wing area: 6,200 ft² (576 m²)
Empty weight: 337,937 lb (153,285 kg)
Loaded weight: 769,000 lb (348,810 kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 840,000 lb (381,000 kg)

4× General Electric CF6-50, 63,500 lb (282.5 kN) each

Maximum speed:
570 mph (917 km/h)
Range: 3,749 mi (6,033 km)
Service ceiling: 34,000 ft (10.4 km)
Rate of climb: 1,800 ft/min (549 m/min)
Takeoff roll: 8,400 ft (2,560 m)
Landing roll: 3,600 ft (1,100 m)


Video: C-5 Galaxy

(Adapted from http://www.wikipedia.org/)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hawker-Siddeley Harrier

The Hawker-Siddeley Harrier and the AV-8A are the first generation of the Harrier series, a revolutionary close-support and reconnaissance fighter aircraft with unique V/STOL capabilities. The family is part of a large family of experimental versions and service aircraft, including the much modernized Harrier II.
The Harrier family was started with the Hawker P.1127. Design began in 1957 by Sir Sidney Camm, Ralph Hooper of Hawker Aviation and Stanley Hooker of the Bristol Engine Company. Rather than using rotors or a direct jet thrust the P.1127 had an innovative vectored thrust turbofan engine and the first vertical take-off was on October 21, 1960. Six prototypes were built in total, one of which was lost at an air display.
An order for 60 aircraft was received from the RAF in 1966, and the first pre-production Harriers were flying by mid-1967.
The Harrier GR Mk.1 was the first production model taken from the Kestrel, it first flew on December 28, 1967, and entered service with the RAF on April 1, 1969. The ski-jump technique for STOL use by Harriers launched from Royal Navy aircraft carriers was tested at the Royal Navy's airfield at Yeovilton, Somerset. Their flight decks were designed with an upward curve to the bow following the successful conclusion of those tests. The air combat technique of vectoring in forward flight, or viffing, was evolved in the Harrier to outmaneuver a hostile aircraft or other inbound weapon. The Harrier GR.3 featured improved sensors, countermeasures and a further uprated Pegasus Mk 103 and was to be the ultimate development of the 1st generation Harrier. This model saw extended service in the Falklands War.
The Harrier has two control elements that a fixed wing aircraft does not normally have. These are the thrust vector and reaction control. The thrust vector is the angle of the four engine nozzles and can be set between zero degrees (horizontal, pointing straight back) and 98 degrees (pointing slightly forwards). The 90 degree position is generally used for VTOL manouvring. Thrust vector is adjusted by a control similar to and beside the thrust lever. The reaction control is achieved by manipulating the control stick and is similar in action to the cyclic control of a helicopter. While irrelevant during forward flight mode, these controls are critical during VTOL and STOL, and are used together during these manouvres. Wind direction and the orientation of the aircraft to this is also critically-important during VTOL manouvres (in this sense operation is limited compared with a helicopter, which can take off and land in side winds). The Harrier's landing gear configuration also complicates normal landing; it is necessary to ensure that the wing-mounted stabiliser struts contact the runway simultaneously; bounce or skew to one side can result if this is not achieved. The Sea Harrier, which is based on the GR3, was important in the British victory in the Falklands War. Twenty Sea Harriers were operated from the carriers HMS Hermes and Invincible mainly for fleet air defence. Although they destroyed 23 Argentine aircraft in air combat (in part due to using the American-supplied latest variant of the Sidewinder missile and the Argentine aircraft operating at extreme range) they couldn't establish complete air superiority and prevent Argentine attacks during day or night nor stop the daily flights of C-130 Hercules transports to the islands.
The Harrier GR.3, operated by the RAF, also saw combat during the Falklands War. They operated from Hermes and provided close support to the ground forces and attacked Argentine positions but were unable to destroy the Port Stanley runway.
The Sea Harrier, modified to FRS2, saw combat during the Bosnia conflict, with one aircraft being shot down by Serbian defences in 1994. During the Kosovo War, combat patrols were flown, but no weapons were fired. The Sea Harrier patrolled over Iraq during the 12 years of enforcing no-fly zones. The AV-8B is an extensively redesigned aircraft with a new composite wing, new cockpit and avionics (e.g., FLIR and new bombing system), and more powerful engine. The new wing enables higher take-off weights and more ordnance. The payload was nearly double and the range much increased over the older design, one of the chief complaints with the older type. It was focused primarily on close-air support, and all the added capabilities came at the cost of about 50 mph (80 km/h) slower speed. The AV-8B was put into service in January 1985 at a cost of US$21.6 million each. The design was further developed into later types with high-speed, that placed less focus on payload and range.
In the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Harrier II versions saw extensive usage by both the USMC and RAF. USMC Harriers were based on two USMC amphibious assault ships, USS Bataan (LHD-5) and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6). Each carried 24 Harriers, about four times their normal complement of fixed-wing aircraft, and tried out the long dormant secondary purpose of the LHDs and LHAs, that of a small aircraft carrier, or sea control ship. RAF Harriers were shore-based in Kuwait. The current AV-8B Remanufacture Program converts older AV-8B day attack aircraft to the most recent production radar/night attack configuration. This radar-equipped version of the AV-8B, called the AV-8B II+, became operational in the summer of 1994. The AV-8B II+ uses the same AN/APG-65 radar system as the F/A-18 Hornet and is able to carry AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, giving the aircraft a considerable increase in anti-aircraft capabilities. However, these missiles are most likely to be deployed as a means of self-defense or airbase defense instead of air superiority, because despite its agility, the Harrier is subsonic and therefore slower than most fighters.

Operators :
India, Italy, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom (Royal Air Force, Royal Navy), United States (Marine Corps). Specifications (Harrier GR.1)
General characteristics

Length: 45 ft 7 in (13.90 m)
Wingspan: 25 ft 3 in (7.70 m)
Height: 11 ft 4 in (3.45 m)
Empty weight: 12,190 lb (5,530 kg)
Loaded weight: 17,260 lb (7,830 kg)
Maximum gross takeoff weight: 25,350 lb (11,500 kg)

1× Rolls-Royce Pegasus 101 turbofan with four swivelling nozzles and four 'puffer jets' in the nose, the wing tips, and one (steerable) on the tail.

Maximum speed: 735 mph (1,185 km/h)
Service ceiling: 49,200 ft (15,000 m)
Thrust/weight: 1.10:1

2x 30 mm Aden cannon pods under the fuselage
A variety of bombs, reconnaissance pods, AS-37 Martel or AIM-9D guided missiles on five hardpoints.

AV-8B Harrier

Video: Harrier

(Adapted from http://www.wikipedia.org/)