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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Panavia Tornado IDS

The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine fighters, which was jointly developed by the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. There are three primary versions of the Tornado, the fighter-bomber Tornado IDS (Interdictor/Strike), the interceptor Tornado ADV (Air Defence Variant), and the suppression of enemy air defences Tornado ECR (Electronic Combat/Reconnasiance).
Developed and built by Panavia, a trination consortium consisting of British Aerospace, MBB of Germany, and Alenia Aeronautica of Italy, the Tornado first flew on August 14, 1974, and saw action with the RAF in Desert Storm.

Including all variants, 992 aircraft were built for the three partner nations and Saudi Arabia. Though still in service, plans are currently underway to replace the aircraft.
The Tornado was originally designed as a low-level supersonic ground attack bomber, capable of taking off and landing in short distances. This requires good high-speed and low-speed flying characteristics.
When the wings are swept back, the Tornado increases its high-speed low-level capability by reducing drag. When sweeping, the wings partially slide into the fuselage, reducing the exposed wing area. This gives the aircraft a low gust response in turbulent low-level winds. This not only makes flight much more comfortable for the aircrew but importantly it makes the aircraft a more stable platform from which to aim and deliver unguided weapons at low-level.
With the wings swept fully forwards the Tornado GR4 generates greater lift because of the increased exposed wing area and the utility of full-span flaps and slats. This gives greater lift at lower speeds, reducing the minimum landing speed required and therefore shorter landing distances.

There are three primary subvariants, the Interdictor/Strike (IDS), the Air Defence Variant (ADV), and the Electronic Combat/Reconnasiance (ECR), with 80% commonality between the airframes.
The Tornado IDS is operated by Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. It is one of the world's most sophisticated and capable interdiction and attack aircraft, with a large payload, long range and high survivability.
The Tornado was cleared to carry almost all the air-launched weapons in the NATO inventory, including cluster bombs, anti-runway munitions, and nuclear weapons. The aircraft also has a limited air-to-air capability with Sidewinder AAMs.
The Tornado was designed for ultra-low level penetration strikes on Warsaw Pact targets in Europe using both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons, e.g WE.177. However, the end of the Cold War precluded it from ever seeing that use. A major feature of the Tornado GR.1 was its terrain-following radar, which allowed all-weather hands-off low-level flight, but current doctrine eschews extreme low-level flight and relies on inertial navigation with GPS updates rather than TFS.

Its actual combat debut came in 1991 in the Gulf War. Nearly 60 GR1s were deployed by the United Kingdom to bases in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The main initial task of the GR.1s was to use the JP233 runway denial weapon on Iraqi airfields. Flying a supersonic speeds at 50 to 100 feet above the ground proved costly for the Royal Air Force, as six aircraft were lost to Iraqi defences.
On September 25, 1985, UK and Saudi Arabia signed the Al Yamamah I contract including, amongst other things, the sale of 48 IDS and 24 ADV model Tornados. The first flight of a RSAF Tornado IDS was on March 26, 1986, and the first Saudi ADV was delivered on February 9, 1989.

Specifications (Tornado IDS GR.4)

General characteristics:

Length: 16.72 m (54 ft 10 in)
Wingspan: 13.91 m at 25° wing sweep, 8.60 m at 67° wing sweep (45.6 ft / 28.2 ft)
Height: 5.95 m (19.5 ft)
Wing area: 26.6 m² (286 ft²)
Empty weight: 13,890kg (31,620lb)
Max takeoff weight: 28,000 kg (61,700 lb)


2× Turbo-Union RB199-34R Mk 103 afterburning turbofans, 43.8 kN dry, 76.8 kN afterburning (9,850 lbf / 17,270 lbf) each

Maximum speed: Mach 2.27, 2,338 km/h (1,452 mph)
Range: 1,390 km typical combat, 3,890 km ferry with four external drop tanks (870 mi / 2,420 mi)
Service ceiling: 15,240 m (50,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 76.7 m/s (15,100 ft/min)

1x 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon with 180 rounds
ECM pods, two AIM-9 Sidewinder or ASRAAM self-defence missiles.

A wide variety of air-to-ground weapons can be carried including Wasp ASM, Kormoran anti-ship missiles, BAe Sea Eagle anti-ship missiles, AGM-65 Maverick ASM, BAe ALARM anti-radiation missile, LAU-51A and LR-25 rocket pods, napalm bombs, retarded bombs, BL755 cluster bombs, and Paveway series laser-guided bombs, MW-1 munitions dispenser, JP233 munitions dispenser, Storm Shadow, Brimstone, Taurus missile, can be equipped to carry B61 nuclear bombs, RAPTOR Reconnaissance pod and TIALD laser designator


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

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Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencer'

The Sukhoi Su-24 (NATO reporting name Fencer) emerged from an early 1960s specification for a new attack bomber to replace the Ilyushin Il-28 and Yakovlev Yak-28. The specification called for an all-weather aircraft capable of supersonic speed at low level, with a very high standard of navigational and bombing accuracy and a excellent short-field performance.
A solution was variable geometry, also being applied to the roughly contemporary Sukhoi Su-17 and Mikoyan-Gurevich 23-11. The second Sukhoi prototype was fitted with a variable wing, redesignated T-6-2IG. This first flew in 1970, and proved to be successful enough to merit production, initially under a cover designation of Su-15M .

The Su-24 evolved through several early variations, each earning separate NATO reporting names.
The Su-24M finally entered service in 1983. Two specialized versions, the Su-24MR ('Fencer-E') reconnaissance variant and the Su-24MP ('Fencer-F') ELINT gatherer, were developed from the Su-24M.

The Soviets used some Su-24s in Afghanistan in 1984, and the 'Fencer' saw combat service again in the Chechen conflicts of the 1990s. Its bombing accuracy in the latter conflict has been criticized, because while the Su-24 apparently performed within its original design parameters, there were large numbers of civilian casualties and collateral damage.
An export version of the Su-24M, the Su-24MK, has been sold to several foreign customers. Ten were sold to Algeria, 15 to Libya, and 12 to Syria. A total of 32-33 Su-24MKs were sold to the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force and to Iraq, but sources differ on the specific numbers. Russian sources claim that nine were sold to Iran and 24 to Iraq, all of which are now operated by Iran. Iran claims it purchased 14 and gained 16-18 ex-Iraqi aircraft that fled Iraq to escape destruction in the 1991 Gulf War.
About 1,200 Su-24s were produced. Substantial numbers of Ex-Soviet Su-24s remain in service with Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Roughly 577 are currently operational with Russian forces, split 447 with the Russian Air Force and 130 with the Russian Navy.
Although a formidable warplane in its day (albeit not quite as much so as initially believed by the West), the 'Fencer' is likely to be replaced by the Su-27IB/Su-32FN/Su-34 or other more advanced aircraft as Russian finances permit.

The Su-24 is aerodynamically similar to the contemporary MiG-23 'Flogger,' although it is substantially larger. It has a shoulder-mounted variable geometry wing outboard of a relatively small fixed wing glove, swept at 69°. The wing has four sweep settings: 16° for take-off and landing, 35° and 45° for cruise at different altitudes, and 69° for minimum aspect ratio and wing area in low-level dashes. The variable geometry wing provides excellent STOL performance, allowing a landing speed of 230 km/h (143 mph), even lower than the Su-17 despite substantially greater take-off weight. Its high wing loading provides a stable low-level ride and minimal gust response, but reportedly makes the aircraft somewhat difficult to fly. The Su-24 can be unforgiving under some circumstances.

The Su-24 seats two, a pilot and a weapon systems officer, in side-by-side cockpit (similar to the F-111). The avionics were the most sophisticated in Soviet use, with the USSR's first integrated, and computerized nav/attack system. The early Su-24s carried separate attack and terrain-avoidance radars, along with a Doppler navigation set.
The Su-24's fixed armament is a single fast-firing GSh-6-23 cannon with 500 rounds of ammunition, mounted in the fuselage underside. Unlike the MiG-27's external cannon gondola, the 'Fencer' installation of this weapon covers the gun with an eyelid shutter when not in use. There are eight external hardpoints (two under the inner wing glove, two swiveling pylons under the outer wing, and four on the fuselage) for a maximum warload of 8,000 kg (17,600 lb), including various nuclear weapons. Two or four R-60 (NATO AA-8 'Aphid') infrared missiles are usually carried for self-defense.

The Su-24 has often been compared to the American F-111, but despite being close to the F-111 in size, it never matched the USAF aircraft's range or load-carrying ability. Its true capabilities are closer to those of the smaller Panavia Tornado, although its less-efficient engines make the 'Fencer's' range somewhat shorter.

An upgraded 'Fencer' began development in the mid-1970s and entered service around 1983, has a 0.76 m (30 in) longer fuselage section forward of the cockpit, adding a retractable inflight refueling probe, and a reshaped, shorter radome for the new 'Orion-A' attack radar. It can be identified by the single nose probe in place of the three-part probe of earlier aircraft. The new radar was coupled with a Relyef terrain-following radar coupled with SAU-6M1 automatic flight control system, allowing automatic ("hands-off") low-level flight. A new PNS-24M inertial navigation system and digital computer were also added. A Kaira 24 laser designator/TV system (similar to the American Pave Tack) was fitted in a bulge in the port side of the lower fuselage for compatibility with guided weapons, including laser-guided bombs and TV-guided bombs, and Kh-14 (AS-12 'Kegler') and Kh-59 (AS-13 'Kingbolt') missiles, as well as unguided bombs and rockets. The new systems led to a reduction in internal fuel amounting to 85 litres (22.4 US gallons).

Specifications (Su-24M)

General characteristics:

Length: 22.67 m (80 ft 6 in)
Wingspan: 17.63 m extended, 10.36 m maximum sweep (57 ft 10 in / 34 ft 0 in)
Height: 6.19 m (20 ft 3 in)
Wing area: 55.2 m² (594 ft²)
Empty weight: 22,300 kg (49,160 lb)
Loaded weight: 35,910 kg (79,170 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 39,700 kg (87,500 lb)


Saturn/Lyulka AL-21F-3A turbojets, 75 kN dry, 110 kN afterburning (16,900 lbf / 24,700 lbf) each

Maximum speed: Mach 1.1, 1,340 km/h at sea level; 1,550 km/h at high altitude (830 mph / 960 mph)
Range: 560 km in a lo-lo-lo attack mission with 3,000 kg ordnance and external tanks; 2,500 km ferry (350 mi / 1,550 mi)
Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,100 ft)
Rate of climb: 150 m/s (29,500 ft/min)
Wing loading: 651 kg/m² (133 lb/ft²)
Thrust/weight: 0.62

1x GSh-6-23 cannon
4 Kh-23 (AS-7 'Kerry') radio-command missiles
4 Kh-25ML (AS-10 'Karen') laser-guided missiles;
2 Kh-28 (AS-9 'Kyle'), Kh-58 (AS-11 'Kilter'), or Kh-31P (AS-17 'Krypton') anti-radiation missiles;
3 Kh-29L/T (AS-14 'Kedge') laser/TV-guided missiles;
2 Kh-59 (AS-13 'Kingbolt') TV-command guided missiles, or KAB-500KR TV-guided and KAB-500L laser-guided bombs.
Standard rocket launchers with 55 mm S-5 rockets, 80 mm S-8 rockets, or 120 mm S-13 rockets
Other weapon options include general-purpose bombs, external gun pods, and tactical nuclear bombs.
Two R-60 (AA-8 'Aphid') air-to-air missiles are normally carried for self-defense; upgrade aircraft can carry R-73 (AA-11 'Archer') as well.


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

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Eurofighter Typhoon

Eurofighter is EADS Military Air Systems' most important programme. Integrated systems, an optimal human-machine interface and state-of-the-art production technologies, make Eurofighter the most state-of-the-art high-performance combat aircraft currently around.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine multi-role canard-delta strike fighter aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers, Eurofighter GmbH, formed in 1983.The maiden flight of the Eurofighter prototype took place on March 27, 1994 (then just known as the Eurofighter EF 2000). Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm chief test pilot Peter Weger took the prototype on a test flight around Bavaria.
When the final production contract was signed in 1997, the revised procurement totals were as follows: UK 232, Germany 180, Italy 121, and Spain 87. Production was again allotted according to procurement: British Aerospace (37%), DASA (29%), Aeritalia (19.5%), and CASA (14%).
The project has been named and renamed a number of times since its inception, having been known as EFA (European Fighter Aircraft), Eurofighter, EF2000 (Eurofighter 2000), and most recently Typhoon.

Its combination of agility, performance, stealth features and advanced avionics make it one of the most capable fighter aircraft currently in service. Compared to its rivals, Typhoon's cockpit and man/machine interface are claimed to be significantly advanced and intuitive, resulting in a lower pilot workload, building on the early glass cockpits pioneered by aircraft like the F/A-18 and Mirage 2000, looking similar, but working in a much more intuitive and effective way, with given operations requiring fewer pilot inputs. The conventional HOTAS-concept was enhanced with a direct voice input system to allow the pilot to perform mode selection and data entry procedures.
The Typhoon's combat performance, particularly compared to the new F-22A Raptor and the upcoming F-35 fighter under development in the United States and the Dassault Rafale developed in France, has been the subject of much speculation. While making a reliable assessment is impossible with available information, there is a study by the UK's DERA comparing the Typhoon to other contemporary fighters. In it, the Typhoon was second only to the F-22A in combat performance.
In March 2005, United States Air Force Chief of Staff General John P. Jumper, then the only person to have flown both the Typhoon and the Raptor, talked to Air Force Print News about these two aircraft. He said that "the Eurofighter is both agile and sophisticated, but is still difficult to compare to the F/A-22 Raptor. They are different kinds of airplanes to start with; it's like asking us to compare a NASCAR car with a Formula 1 car. They are both exciting in different ways, but they are designed for different levels of performance".

In June 2005, Scotland on Sunday reported that, when 'attacked' by two USAF F-15E Strike Eagle strike fighter aircraft, a Eurofighter on a 'Case White' conversion training sortie was able to out-manoeuvre the attacking aircraft and "shoot them down".
The Typhoon is capable of sustained supersonic cruise without using afterburners. The F-22A is the only other current fighter with supercruise capabilities.

Specifications (Typhoon)

Length: 15.96 m (52 ft 5 in)
Wingspan: 10.95 m (35 ft 11 in)
Height: 5.28 m (17 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 50 m² (540 ft²)
Empty weight: 11 000 kg (24,250 lb)
Loaded weight: 15 550 kg (34,280 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 23 500 kg (51,809 lb)


2× Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofans, 60 kN dry, 90 kN with afterburner (13,500 lbf / 20,250 lbf) each


Maximum speed: Mach 2.0+, 2390 km/h (1,480 mph) at high altitude; Mach 1.2, 1470 km/h (915 mph) at sea level; supercruise Mach 1.3+ at altitude with typical air-to-air armament
Range: 1390 km (864 mi)
Service ceiling: 18 000 m (60,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 255 m/s (50,000 ft/min)
Wing loading: 311 kg/m² (63.7 lb/ft²)
Thrust/weight: 1.18


gun: 1x 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon
air-to-air missiles: AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM, AIM-120 AMRAAM, IRIS-T, MBDA Meteor
air-to-ground missiles: AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-88 HARM, AGM Armiger, ALARMs, Storm Shadow (AKA "Scalp EG"), Brimstone, Taurus, Penguin
bombs: Paveway 2, Paveway 3, Enhanced Paveway, JDAM
Laser designator, e.g. LITENING pod


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