Stealth Fighters and Bombers

Discussion in 'Military Aviation' started by shom, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. shom

    shom Regular Member

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    This Thread is made for a systematic discussion on stealth fighters and bombers which are developed/underdevelopment/retired/conceptual/cancelled. Every day I will post details of one plane and a discussion will carry on for the whole day. Please dont break the synchronization of the thread that is one plane at a time.
    To make this thread little informative I will give a Brief description on what a stealth technology is and for what it is used:-
    Stealth aircraft use stealth technology to avoid detection by features to interfere with radar, as well as to reduce visibility in the infrared, visual, audio, and radio frequency (RF) spectrum. Development of stealth technology likely began in Germany during World War II.[3] Well-known modern examples of stealth aircraft include the United States' F-117 Nighthawk (1981–2008), the B-2 Spirit, the F-22 Raptor,[4] and the F-35 Lightning II.
    While no aircraft is totally invisible to radar, stealth aircraft make it difficult for conventional radar to detect or track the aircraft effectively, increasing the odds of a successful attack. Stealth is the combination of passive low observable (LO) features and active emitters such as Low Probability of Intercept Radars, radios and laser designators. These are usually combined with active defenses such as chaff, flares, and ECM. It is accomplished by using a complex design philosophy to reduce the ability of an opponent's sensors to detect, track, or attack the stealth aircraft. This philosophy also takes into account the heat, sound, and other emissions of the aircraft as these can also be used to locate it.
    Full-size stealth combat aircraft demonstrators have been flown by the United States (in 1977), Russia (in 2010) and China (in 2011), while the US military has adopted three stealth designs, and is preparing to adopt the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
    Most recent fighter designs will claim to have some sort of stealth, low observable, reduced RCS or radar jamming capability, but there has been no air to air combat experience against stealth aircraft.
    Stealth Technology:- Stealth technology also termed LO technology (low observable technology) is a sub-discipline of military tactics and passive electronic countermeasures, which cover a range of techniques used with personnel, aircraft, ships, submarines, and missiles, to make them less visible (ideally invisible) to radar, infrared, sonar and other detection methods. It corresponds to camouflage for these parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
    Development in the United States occurred in 1958, where earlier attempts in preventing radar tracking of its U-2 spy planes during the Cold War by the Soviet Union had been unsuccessful. Designers turned to develop a particular shape for planes that tended to reduce detection, by redirecting electromagnetic waves from radars. Radar-absorbent material was also tested and made to reduce or block radar signals that reflect off from the surface of planes. Such changes to shape and surface composition form stealth technology as currently used on the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit "Stealth Bomber". The concept of stealth is to operate or hide without giving enemy forces any indications as to the presence of friendly forces. This concept was first explored through camouflage by blending into the background visual clutter. As the potency of detection and interception technologies (radar, IRST, surface-to-air missiles etc.) have increased over time, so too has the extent to which the design and operation of military personnel and vehicles have been affected in response. Some military uniforms are treated with chemicals to reduce their infrared signature. A modern "stealth" vehicle is designed from the outset to have a chosen spectral signature. The degree of stealth embodied in a particular design is chosen according to the predicted threat capabilities.
    Data Courtesy:- Wikipidia
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
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  3. shom

    shom Regular Member

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    I will set aside the planes which are discussed in our forum numerous times.
    1) Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit:- The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit (also known as the Stealth Bomber) is an American strategic bomber, featuring low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses; it is able to deploy both conventional and nuclear weapons. The bomber has a crew of two and can drop up to eighty 500 lb (230 kg)-class JDAM GPS-guided bombs, or sixteen 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs. The B-2 is the only aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.
    Development originally started under the "Advanced Technology Bomber" (ATB) project during the Carter administration, and its performance was one of the reasons for his cancellation of the B-1 Lancer. ATB continued during the Reagan administration, but worries about delays in its introduction led to the reinstatement of the B-1 program as well. Program costs rose throughout development. Designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman with assistance from Boeing, the cost of each aircraft averaged US$737 million (in 1997 dollars).[3] Total procurement costs averaged $929 million per aircraft, which includes spare parts, equipment, retrofitting, and software support.[3] The total program cost including development, engineering and testing, averaged $2.1 billion per aircraft in 1997.[3]
    Because of its considerable capital and operational costs, the project was controversial in the U.S. Congress and among the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The winding-down of the Cold War in the latter portion of the 1980s dramatically reduced the need for the aircraft, which was designed with the intention of penetrating Soviet airspace and attacking high-value targets. During the late 1980s and 1990s, Congress slashed initial plans to purchase 132 bombers to 21. In 2008, a B-2 was destroyed in a crash shortly after takeoff, and the crew ejected safely.[4] A total of 20 B-2s remain in service with the United States Air Force.
    Though originally designed primarily as a nuclear bomber, the B-2 was first used in combat to drop conventional bombs on Serbia during the Kosovo War in 1998, and saw continued use during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.[5] B-2s were also used during the 2011 Libyan civil war.[6]
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    By 1976 these programs progressed to where a long-range strategic stealth bomber appeared viable. President Carter was aware of these developments during 1977, and it appears to have been one of the major reasons the B-1 was canceled.[12] Further studies were ordered in early 1978, by which point the Have Blue platform had flown and proven the concepts. During the 1980 presidential election in 1979, Ronald Reagan repeatedly stated that Carter was weak on defense, and used the B-1 as a prime example. In return, on 22 August 1980, the Carter administration publicly disclosed that the United States Department of Defense (DoD) was working to develop stealth aircraft, including a bomber.[13]


    The B-2's first public display in 1988
    The Advanced Technology Bomber (ATB) began in 1979.[14] Full development of the black project followed, and was funded under the code name "Aurora".[15] After the evaluations of the companies' proposals, the ATB competition was narrowed to the Northrop/Boeing and Lockheed/Rockwell teams with each receiving a study contract for further work.[14] Both teams used flying wing designs.[15] Northrop had prior experience developing the YB-35 and YB-49 flying wing aircraft.[16] The Northrop design was larger while the Lockheed design included a small tail.[15]
    The Northrop/Boeing team's ATB design was selected over the Lockheed/Rockwell design on 20 October 1981.[14][17] The Northrop design received the designation B-2 and the name "Spirit". The bomber's design was changed in the mid-1980s when the mission profile was changed from high-altitude to low-altitude, terrain-following. The redesign delayed the B-2's first flight by two years and added about US$1 billion to the program's cost.[13] An estimated US$23 billion was secretly spent for research and development on the B-2 by 1989.[18] MIT scientists helped assess the mission effectiveness of the aircraft under a five-year classified contract during the 1980
    Overview
    The B-2 Spirit was developed to take over the USAF's vital penetration missions, able to travel deep into enemy territory to deploy their ordnance, which could include nuclear weapons.[56] The B-2 is a flying wing aircraft, meaning it has no fuselage or tail.[56] The blending of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency and large payload gives the B-2 significant advantages over previous bombers. Low observability provides a greater freedom of action at high altitudes, thus increasing both range and field of view for onboard sensors. The U.S. Air Force reports its range as approximately 6,000 nautical miles (6,900 mi; 11,000 km).[5][57]


    Side view of a B-2 Spirit
    Due to the aircraft's complex flight characteristics and design requirements to maintain very-low visibility to multiple means of detection, both the development and construction of the B-2 required pioneering use of computer-aided design and manufacturing technologies.[56][58] Northrop Grumman is the B-2's prime contractor; other contributing subcontractors include Boeing, Raytheon (formerly Hughes Aircraft), G.E. and Vought Aircraft.[5] The B-2 bears a resemblance to earlier Northrop aircraft, the YB-35 and YB-49 were both flying wing bombers that had been cancelled in development in the early 1950s;[59] allegedly for political reasons.[60]
    The B-2 has a crew of two: a pilot in the left seat, and mission commander in the right;[5] the B-2 has provisions for a third crew member if needed.[61] For comparison, the B-1B has a crew of four and the B-52 has a crew of five.[5] The B-2 is highly automated and, unlike most two-seat aircraft, one crew member can sleep, use a toilet or prepare a hot meal while the other monitors the aircraft; extensive sleep cycle and fatigue research was conducted to improve crew performance on long sorties.[62][63]
    [edit]Armaments and equipment


    A 2000 lb BDU-56 bomb is being loaded onto a bomb bay's rotary launcher, 2004
    The B-2, in the envisaged Cold War scenario, was to perform deep-penetrating nuclear strike missions, making use of its stealthy capabilities to avoid detection and interception throughout missions.[64] There are two internal bomb bays in which munitions are stored either on a rotary launcher or two bomb-racks; the carriage of the weapons loadouts internally results in less radar visibility than externally mounting of munitions.[65][66] Nuclear ordnance includes the B61 and B83 nuclear bombs; the AGM-129 ACM cruise missile was also intended for use on the B-2 platform.[66][67]
    It was decided, in light of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, to equip the B-2 for convention precision attacks as well as for the strategic role of nuclear-strike.[64][68] The B-2 features a sophisticated GPS-Aided Targeting System (GATS) that uses the aircraft's APQ-181 synthetic aperture radar to map out targets prior to deployment of GPS-aided bombs (GAMs), later superseded by the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). In the B-2's original configuration, up to 16 GAMs or JDAMs could be deployed;[69] an upgrade program in 2004 raised the maximum carriable capacity to 80 JDAMs.[70]
    The B-2 has various conventional weapons in its arsenal, able to equip Mark 82 and Mark 84 bombs, CBU-87 Combined Effects Munitions, GATOR mines, and the CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon.[71] In July 2009, Northrop Grumman reported the B-2 was compatible with the equipment necessary to deploy the 30,000 lb (14,000 kg) Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), which is intended to attack reinforced bunkers; up to two MOPs could be equipped in the B-2's bomb bays,[72] the B-2 is the only platform compatible with the MOP as of 2012.[52] As of 2011, the AGM-158 JASSM cruise missile is an upcoming standoff munition to be deployed on the B-2 and other platforms.[73]
    [edit]Avionics and systems
    In order to make the B-2 more effective than any previous bomber, it has integrated many advanced and modern avionics systems into its design, these have been modified and improved in light of the switch to conventional warfare missions. The B-2 features the low probability of intercept AN/APQ-181 multi-mode radar, a fully digital navigation system that is integrated with terrain-following radar and Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance, and a Defensive Management System (DMS) to inform the flight crew against possible threats.[70] The onboard DMS is capable of automatically assessing the detection capabilities of identified threats and indicated targets.[74]


    An Air Force maintenance crew services a B-2 at Andersen AFB, Guam, 2004
    For safety and fault-detection purposes, an on-board test system is interlinked with the majority of avionics on the B-2 to continuously monitor the performance and status of thousands of components and consumables; it also provides post-mission servicing instructions for ground crews.[75] In 2008, many of the standalone distributed computers on board the B-2, including the primary flight management computer, were being replaced by a single integrated system.[76]
    In addition to periodic software upgrades and the introduction of new radar-absorbent materials across the fleet, the B-2 has had several major upgrades to its avionics and combat systems. For battlefield communications, both Link-16 and a high frequency satellite link have been installed, compatibility with various new munitions has been undertaken, and the AN/APQ-181 radar's operational frequency was shifted in order to avoid interference with other operator's equipment.[70] The upgraded radar features entirely replaced arrays by those of a newer design, the AN/APQ-181 is now an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.[77]
    [edit]Flight controls


    Vice President Dick Cheney sits inside a B-2's cockpit with pilot Capt. Luke Jayne during a visit to Whiteman AFB in 2006.
    In order to address the inherent flight instability of a flying wing aircraft, the B-2 uses a complex quadruplex computer-controlled fly-by-wire flight control system, that can automatically manipulate flight surfaces and settings without direct pilot inputs in order to maintain aircraft stability.[78] The flight computer receives information on external conditions such as the aircraft's current air speed and angle of attack via pitot-static sensing plates, as opposed to traditional pitot tubes which would negatively affect the aircraft's stealth capabilities.[79] The flight actuation system incorporates both hydraulic and electrical servoactuated components, and it was designed with a high level of redundancy and fault-diagnostic capabilities.[80]
    Northrop had investigated several means of applying directional control that would least infringe on the aircraft's radar profile, eventually settling on a combination of split brake-rudders and differential thrust.[74] Engine thrust became a key element of the B-2's aerodynamic design process early on; thrust not only affects drag and lift but pitching and rolling motions as well.[81] Four pairs of control surfaces are located along the wing's trailing edge; while most surfaces are used throughout the aircraft's flight envelope, the inner elevons are normally only in use at slow speeds, such as landing.[82] To avoid potential contact damage during takeoff and to provide a nose-down pitching attitude, all of the elevons remain drooped during takeoff until a high enough airspeed has been attained.[82]
    [edit]Stealth
    The B-2's low-observable, or "stealth", characteristics enable the undetected penetration of sophisticated anti-aircraft defenses and to attack even heavily defended targets. This stealth comes from a combination of reduced acoustic, infrared, visual and radar signatures to evade the various detection systems that could be used to detect and be used to direct attacks against an aircraft. The majority of the B-2 is made out of a carbon-graphite composite material that is stronger than steel and lighter than aluminium, perhaps most crucially it also absorbs a significant amount of radar energy.[59] Reportedly, the B-2 Spirit has a radar signature of about 0.1 m2.[83]


    The B-2's engines are buried within its wing to conceal the engines' fans and minimize their exhaust signature
    In contrast to the flat surfaces of the earlier F-117 Nighthawk, the B-2 is composed of many curved and rounded surfaces across its exposed airframe to deflect radar beams, additional reduction in its radar signature was achieved by the use of various radar-absorbent materials (RAM) to absorb and neutralise radar beams. The B-2's clean, low-drag flying wing configuration not only gave it exceptional range, but was also beneficial to reducing its radar profile.[56][84]
    Another design feature is the placement of the engines, which are buried within the wing to conceal the engines' fans and minimize thermal visibility of the exhaust.[66][85] The original design had tanks for a contrail-inhibiting chemical, but this was replaced in production aircraft by a contrail sensor that alerts the crew as to when they should change altitude.[86] To reduce optical visibility during daylight operations, the B-2 is painted in an anti-reflective paint.[66]
    Innovations such as alternate high-frequency material (AHFM) and automated material application methods were also incorporated into the aircraft to enhance its radar-absorbent properties and lower maintenance requirements.[66][87] In early 2004, Northrop Grumman began applying a newly-developed AHFM to operational B-2s.[88] In order to protect the operational integrity of its sophisticated radar absorbent material and coatings, each B-2 is kept inside a climate-controlled hangar large enough to accommodate its 172-foot (52 m) wingspan.[89]
    [edit]Operational history



    A B-2 during aerial refueling which extends its range past 6,000 nautical miles (6,900 mi; 11,000 km) for intercontinental sorties
    The first operational aircraft, christened Spirit of Missouri, was delivered to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, where the fleet is based, on 17 December 1993.[90] The B-2 reached initial operational capability (IOC) on 1 January 1997.[91] Depot maintenance for the B-2 is accomplished by U.S. Air Force contractor support and managed at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base.[5] Originally designed to deliver nuclear weapons, modern usage has shifted towards a flexible role with conventional and nuclear capability.[66]
    The B-2's combat debut was in 1999, during the Kosovo War. It was responsible for destroying 33% of selected Serbian bombing targets in the first eight weeks of U.S. involvement in the War.[5] During this war, B-2s flew non-stop to Kosovo from their home base in Missouri and back.[5] The B-2 was the first aircraft to deploy GPS satellite-guided JDAM "smart bombs" in combat use in Kosovo.[92] The use of JDAMs and precision-guided munitions effectively replaced the controversial tactic of carpet-bombing, which had been harshly criticised due to it causing indiscriminate civilian casualties in prior conflicts, such as the 1991 Gulf War.[93] On 7 May 1999, a B-2 accidentally dropped five JDAMs on a target building that was actually the Chinese Embassy, killing several staff.[94]
    The B-2 saw service in Afghanistan, striking ground targets in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. With aerial refueling support, the B-2 flew one of its longest missions to date from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri to Afghanistan and back.[5]
    The B-2's combat use preceded a U.S. Air Force declaration of "full operational capability" in December 2003.[5] The Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation 2003 Annual Report noted that the B-2's serviceability for Fiscal Year 2003 was still inadequate, mainly due to the maintainability of the B-2's low observable coatings. The evaluation also noted that the Defensive Avionics suite also had shortcomings with "pop-up threats".[5][95]
    During the Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom), B-2s operated from Diego Garcia and an undisclosed "forward operating location". Other sorties in Iraq have launched from Whiteman AFB.[5] This resulted in missions lasting over 30 hours and one mission of over 50 hours. "Forward operating locations" have been previously designated as Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom, where new climate controlled hangars have been constructed. B-2s have conducted 27 sorties from Whiteman AFB and 22 sorties from a forward operating location, releasing more than 1.5 million pounds of munitions,[5] including 583 JDAM "smart bombs" in 2003.[70]
    In response to organisational issues and high-profile mistakes made within the Air Force;[96][97] all of the B-2s, along with the nuclear-capable B-52s, and the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were transferred to the newly-formed Air Force Global Strike Command on 1 February 2010.[98][99]
    In March 2011, B-2s were the first U.S. aircraft into action in Operation Odyssey Dawn, the UN mandated enforcement of the Libyan no-fly zone. Three B-2s dropped 40 bombs on a Libyan airfield in support of the UN no-fly zone.[100] The B-2s flew directly from the U.S. mainland, being refueled by allied tanker aircraft twice on the inbound journey and twice again on the way back across the Atlantic.[101]
    In August 2011, The New Yorker reported that prior to the May 2011 U.S. special forces raid into Abbottabad, Pakistan that resulted in the Death of Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials had considered an airstrike by one or more B-2s as an alternative; an airstrike was rejected due to concerns of damage to surrounding civilian buildings.[102]
    [edit]Operators



    In a 1994 live fire exercise near Point Mugu, California, a B-2 drops 47 500 lb (230 kg)-class Mark 82 bombs, which is more than half of a B-2's total ordnance payload
    B-2s are operated exclusively by the United States Air Force active units. It has 20 B-2s in service.
    United States Air Force
    509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base (currently has 19 B-2s)
    13th Bomb Squadron
    393d Bomb Squadron
    394th Combat Training Squadron
    131st Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base (Missouri Air National Guard)[103]
    110th Bomb Squadron
    412th Test Wing, Edwards Air Force Base (currently has one B-2)
    419th Flight Test Squadron
    53d Wing, Eglin Air Force Base (former)
    72d Test and Evaluation Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base
    57th Wing, Nellis Air Force Base (former)
    325th Weapons Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base
    715th Weapons Squadron (inactivated)
    [edit]Accidents

    Main article: Andersen Air Force Base B-2 accident


    The crashed B-2
    On 23 February 2008, B-2 Spirit of Kansas, 89-0127 crashed on the runway shortly after takeoff from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.[104] B-2 89-0127 had been operated by the 393rd Bomb Squadron, 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and had logged 5,176 flight hours. It was the first crash of a B-2. The two person crew ejected safely from the aircraft and survived the crash. The aircraft was completely destroyed, a hull loss valued at US$1.4 billion.[105][106] After the accident, the Air Force took the B-2 fleet off operational status until clearing the fleet for flight status 53 days later on 15 April 2008.[107] The cause of the crash was later determined to be moisture in the aircraft's Port Transducer Units during air data calibration, which distorted the information being sent to the bomber's air data system. As a result, the flight control computers calculated an inaccurate airspeed, and a negative angle of attack, causing the aircraft to pitch upward 30 degrees during takeoff.[108]
    In February 2010, another serious incident involving a B-2 occurred at Andersen AFB. The aircraft involved was AV-11 Spirit of Washington. The aircraft was severely damaged by fire while on the ground and underwent 18 months of temporary repairs in order to enable it to fly back to the mainland for more comprehensive repairs.[109][110]
    [edit]Aircraft on display



    Mockup of a B-2 Spirit on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force
    No operational B-2s have been retired by the Air Force to be put on display. B-2s have made periodic appearances on ground display at various air shows.
    B-2 test article (s/n AT-1000), the second of two built without engines or instruments for static testing, was placed on display in 2004 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.[111] The test article passed all structural testing requirements before the airframe failed.[112] The Museum's restoration team spent over a year reassembling the fractured airframe. The display airframe is marked to resemble The Spirit of Ohio (S/N 82-1070), the B-2 used to test the design's ability to withstand extreme heat and cold.[111] The exhibit features the Spirit of Ohio nose wheel door, with its Fire and Ice artwork, which was painted and signed by the technicians who performed the temperature testing.[111] The restored test aircraft is on display in the museum's "Cold War Gallery".[113]
    From 1989 to 2004, the South Dakota Air and Space Museum located on the grounds of Ellsworth Air Force Base displayed the 10-short-ton (9-metric-ton) "Honda- Stealth", a 60% scale mock-up of a stealthy bomber which had been built by North American Honda in 1988 for an advertising campaign.[114] Although not a replica of a B-2, the mock-up was close enough to the B-2's design to arouse suspicion that Honda had intercepted classified, top secret information, as the B-2 project was still officially classified in 1988. Honda donated the model to the museum in 1989, on condition that the model be destroyed if it was ever replaced with a different example. In 2005, when the museum received a B-1 Lancer for display (Ellsworth being a B-1 base), the museum destroyed the mock-up.[115][116]
    [edit]Specifications (B-2A Block 30)




    A B-2 in formation flight with eight U.S. Navy McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets
    Data from USAF Fact Sheet,[5] Pace,[117] Spick[57]
    General characteristics
    Crew: 2: pilot and commander (co-pilot)
    Length: 69 ft (21.0 m)
    Wingspan: 172 ft (52.4 m)
    Height: 17 ft (5.18 m)
    Wing area: 5,140 ft² (478 m²)
    Empty weight: 158,000 lb (71,700 kg)
    Loaded weight: 336,500 lb (152,200 kg)
    Max. takeoff weight: 376,000 lb (170,600 kg)
    Powerplant: 4 × General Electric F118-GE-100 non-afterburning turbofans, 17,300 lbf (77 kN) each
    Fuel Capacity: 167,000 pounds (75,750 kg)
    Performance
    Maximum speed: Mach 0.95 (550 knots, 630 mph, 1,010 km/h) at 40,000 ft altitude / Mach 0.95 at sea level[117]
    Cruise speed: Mach 0.85[57] (487 knots, 560 mph, 900 km/h) at 40,000 ft altitude
    Range: 6,000 nmi (11,100 km (6,900 mi))
    Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,200 m)
    Wing loading: 67.3 lb/ft² (329 kg/m²)
    Thrust/weight: 0.205
    Armament
    2 internal bays for 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) of ordnance and payload[57]
    80× 500 lb class bombs (Mk-82) mounted on Bomb Rack Assembly (BRA)
    36× 750 lb CBU class bombs on BRA
    16× 2000 lb class weapons (Mk-84, JDAM-84, JDAM-109) mounted on Rotary Launcher Assembly (RLA)
    16× B61 or B83 nuclear weapons on RLA
    [edit]Individual aircraft



    The "Spirit of Indiana" sits on the ramp at Andersen AFB in Guam on 23 June 2006


    Spirit of New York


    B-2 in flight over the Mississippi River (St. Louis, Missouri) with the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium in the background
    Air Vehicle No. Block No.[118] USAF s/n Formal name Status
    AV-1 Test/30 82-1066 Spirit of America 14 July 2000 – Active[119]
    AV-2 Test/30 82-1067 Spirit of Arizona 4 December 1997 – Active
    AV-3 Test/30 82-1068 Spirit of New York 10 October 1997 – Active, Flight Test
    AV-4 Test/30 82-1069 Spirit of Indiana 22 May 1999 – Active
    AV-5 Test/20 82-1070 Spirit of Ohio 18 July 1997 – Active
    AV-6 Test/30 82-1071 Spirit of Mississippi 23 May 1997 – Active
    AV-7 10 88-0328 Spirit of Texas 21 August 1994 – Active
    AV-8 10 88-0329 Spirit of Missouri 31 March 1994 – Active
    AV-9 10 88-0330 Spirit of California 17 August 1994 – Active
    AV-10 10 88-0331 Spirit of South Carolina 30 December 1994 – Active
    AV-11 10 88-0332 Spirit of Washington 29 October 1994 – Severely damaged by fire[109]
    AV-12 10 89-0127 Spirit of Kansas 17 February 1995 – 23 February 2008, Crashed[104]
    AV-13 10 89-0128 Spirit of Nebraska 28 June 1995 – Active
    AV-14 10 89-0129 Spirit of Georgia 14 November 1995 – Active
    AV-15 10 90-0040 Spirit of Alaska 24 January 1996 – Active
    AV-16 10 90-0041 Spirit of Hawaii 10 January 1996 – Active
    AV-17 20 92-0700 Spirit of Florida 3 July 1996 – Active
    AV-18 20 93-1085 Spirit of Oklahoma 15 May 1996 – Active
    AV-19 20 93-1086 Spirit of Kitty Hawk 30 August 1996 – Active
    AV-20 30 93-1087 Spirit of Pennsylvania 5 August 1997 – Active
    AV-21 30 93-1088 Spirit of Louisiana 10 November 1997 – Active
    AV-22 through AV-165 Cancelled
    [img=http://s20.postimage.org/xuxp1pq25/images.jpg]
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    A crashed B2 which costs 1.2 billion dollars
     
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  4. shom

    shom Regular Member

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    An Article from Air Force Magazine dated April 1996:-
    With the First B-2 Squadron

    By John A. Tirpak
    Senior Editor
    Operational progress for the new bat-winged bomber is running ahead of schedule at Whiteman AFB, Mo.
    Three or four times a day, the sleek, sinister-looking B-2s roar out of their hangars, glide along a taxiway to the airstrip, push forward, and then seemingly levitate into the Missouri sky. They hook up with tankers, practice aerial refueling, cross a few states, carry out a practice bomb run, do some low-level hill dodging, and return.

    It's almost routine, but no one expected it to be that way--not at this point.

    The hundreds of Air Force people who fly, maintain, and support the B-2s at Whiteman AFB, Mo., are "writing the book" on the new bomber, and it is now clear that they have raced a few chapters ahead of schedule. They are quickly filling in the gaps of knowledge about the true capabilities of this aircraft, a huge wing with windows and wheels, crammed with dozens of new technologies.

    "We're taking some pretty big steps right now," reported Brig. Gen. (Maj. Gen. selectee) Ronald C. Marcotte, commander of the 509th Bomb Wing and the man who has shepherded the B-2 program at Whiteman since before the first stealth bomber arrived in December 1993. The "steps" mark the location of the B-2 on a continuum of crawl, walk, run--a strategy the people of the 509th scrupulously follow.

    When General Marcotte was organizing the unit for the B-2's arrival, he asked those experienced with bringing new airplanes on-line what he could expect.

    The experts, noting that the B-2 is still considered to be in development, cautioned him not to try to do too much too fast, the General said. Though the B-2 had been wrung out in flight test, its novel technologies might still provide some unpleasant surprises in initial service. Extreme caution was called for.

    National Treasure

    "You don't have to think very hard to realize this is a lot of national treasure we're talking about," General Marcotte said. The unit flyaway cost of each bomber is a breath-catching $600 million, and in addition "there are all the people and the facilities put into it."

    Air Force officials knew that critics of the B-2 would be watching keenly for any error that would suggest the new bomber was unreliable, a technological failure, or unsafe. The months before the B-2 arrived were spent trying to figure out how to bring it to operational status "in a fashion that you don't make mistakes that could, basically, end it all," General Marcotte said.

    The General was told that the B-2s would likely fly "maybe once or twice a quarter" in the initial phase of deployment, given USAF's experience with other large, complex flying machines and considering the many unproven technologies rolled up in the new bomber. He likened the first operational sortie, carried out less than a week after the first B-2 arrived at Whiteman, to "a shuttle launch . . . with cameras rolling and hundreds of personnel" attending to every detail.

    Now, the launch of an airplane takes place "with one supervisor out there," and the sorties amass at up to thirty a week. Two years ago, such a rate would have been wishful thinking, but the B-2 is "exceeding any expectations," said General Marcotte. He added, "I expected more 'unknown unknowns,' " and he was prepared for "one step forward, one step back, . . . but we haven't had that."

    The B-2 went to its first Red Flag exercise last summer, "a year ahead of schedule," General Marcotte noted. It made an appearance at the Paris Air Show last June and at the Singapore Air Show in February by way of Guam. A second, more challenging Red Flag role was planned for early this year. In early summer, the 509th will receive a new, improved model of the B-2--the first Block 20 airplane.

    General Marcotte said that the Air Force is "on track" in its plans for the B-2 squadron to become an operational unit of US Strategic Command in March 1997. In that month, it will take its place alongside the B-52 in the bomber leg of the strategic nuclear triad, the General said.

    "We're doing very well," he asserted. "We're pushing forward in a safe and productive fashion."

    General Marcotte said he has hammered on the message of caution to his people because most of them have "succeeded their entire career by . . . being aggressive." Now, the same individuals must blend this attribute with caution.

    To be part of the initial cadre assigned to the B-2, pilots went through a rigorous selection process. An individual's record had to be spotless, without the slightest safety infraction. Each candidate needed the recommendation of his wing commander, other endorsements, and thousands of hours of flight time. Many of the first pilots have combat experience, and all have demonstrated an ability to learn and progress quickly. Maturity was an important factor, and they had to pass muster in personal interviews not only with General Marcotte but also with Gen. John Michael Loh, former commander of Air Combat Command.

    Mature Pilot Force

    "We have a very mature pilot force," said Col. Gregory H. Power, 509th Operations Group commander. "My youngest pilot is a midlevel captain," he noted. The pilots' experience comes mostly from flying in bomber units, but there are veterans of various fighter aircraft as well. B-2 pilot training, once administered by flight-test and contractor pilots, now is carried out by USAF instructor pilots at Whiteman.

    "The training program is about six months [long], which is typical of bombers," reported Col. James F. Whitney, Jr., chief of the 509th Formal Training Unit.

    Besides flying the airplane and establishing the rules by which it flies--covering everything from takeoff weather minimums to weapons release procedures--pilots are also heavily involved in developing tactics for the airplane, exploring what it can do operationally in order to derive the maximum effect from its unprecedented range, payload, and stealth.

    "It's a free-for-all," said Capt. John S. Paganoni, a B-2 pilot. "With all this combined expertise from all over, there's no predisposed thought and no inertia" requiring that things be done in a traditional way. "We have a lot of guys here who were in the war" in the Persian Gulf in 1991, and their combat experience is proving highly valuable in developing "the best way to employ the airplane," he said.

    Captain Paganoni added that the B-2 pilots are considered the experts on their still-new airplane and are invited to think tanks and conferences where tactics and strategy for the entire Air Force are developed. "We have a direct impact," he said.

    There is a mix of ranks in the B-2 pilot cadre, and it is intentional, the result of a lesson learned in the B-1 program. The pilots bringing that system into service all had about the same experience level and about the same number of years of service. It was a situation that led to staffing bottlenecks and difficulty turning officers loose for professional military education.

    Every B-2 pilot can count on flying about one sortie per week. Each flight is preceded by a day of mission planning and a full dress rehearsal in the Weapon System Trainer. This full-motion simulator is "ninety-five to ninety-eight percent like the real aircraft," said Col. Jonathan George, commander of the 393d Bomb Squadron. "It really is outstanding fidelity."

    Colonel George asserted that the simulator gives a "very accurate" feel for the way the B-2 handles. Another instructor, Maj. Steven M. Tippets, said its state-of-the-art graphics system accurately depicts the countryside surrounding Whiteman for "almost 200 miles in every direction, just about down to every tree."

    Because the 509th has a small number of operational aircraft, the wing "relies more heavily on simulators than other flying units," said Colonel Whitney. However, he does not believe that the 509th will use more and more simulator time as a substitute for real flying time.

    Lots of Stress

    "To make a good pilot," said Colonel Whitney, "you have to handle inordinate amounts of stress. A pilot knows he's not going to get hurt in a simulator."

    Mission planning entails plotting radar threats the B-2 would face on a given run and determining how best to avoid or defeat them with the B-2's stealth capabilities. It's a process that can take "one day, plus" to complete, said B-2 pilot Capt. Scott Hughes.

    B-2 crews fly to bomb ranges in Utah, Wisconsin, and Kansas in order to perform practice runs within the US; they go to other sites when required to do so by the particular exercise or the specific mission to be rehearsed. About one in every five sorties entails the release of a live bomb, inert bomb, or smoke bomb. During the flight, a weapon release can be fully simulated, with nothing actually being dropped.

    All flights involve practice in aerial refueling. The B-2 has a considerable bow wave that can make tanker rendezvous "kind of tricky," Major Tippets said.

    Low-level flying is usually part of a four-hour training sortie. Though the B-2 is designed to be stealthy at medium and high altitudes, and may not need to make ground-hugging flights, the pilots practice the skill because under some circumstances it might be required.

    "There are some advantages to going low," Captain Hughes said, "and, if you don't train to do it, you lose the ability to do it."

    General Marcotte noted that the B-2's flight profiles will be "totally target-dependent" and crews "have to be able to do it all."

    To get the most out of what is an exhaustive preflight inspection, two training sorties are flown back-to-back to save time. When one crew lands, the engines are kept turning while a second crew climbs aboard.

    The operational concept forming up for the B-2 generally goes like this: The Air Force would send the B-2 as a single ship against a "high-value target set" well within an enemy's air defense net. The bomber would be equipped and flown in a way that would permit it to hit multiple aimpoints in a single pass with great accuracy.

    Soon the B-2 will have capability for employing a near-precision weapon guided by signals from the Global Positioning System satellite constellation, the GPS-Aided Targeting System/GPS-Aided Munition (GATS/GAM). Later, it will have the Joint Direct Attack Munition. Both weapons will be able to hit a target through bad weather, relying on cues from GPS satellites and aimpoints designated by the mission commander on the photographic-quality synthetic aperture radar. Unlike precision weapons of the Gulf War, it will not be necessary for the mission commander to manually hold an aimpoint for the bomb.

    Triple Threat

    One B-2 pilot, Maj. Gregory A. Biscone, asserted that the B-2 enjoys "all the advantages of an F-15E in terms of precision, with all the advantages of the B-52 in load, coupled with the advantages of the F-117 in stealth."

    The B-2 can land at "twice as many fields" as the B-1 can, General Marcotte said, meaning the aircraft can be deployed just about anywhere, worldwide. Deployment kits are being developed now, and within a year the Air Force should have enough to permit three to eight aircraft to fly a mission to an expeditionary airfield.

    In a major regional conflict, the B-2s may well fly and fight directly from Whiteman, requiring missions lasting more than twenty-four hours. The airplane's part in last year's Red Flag exercise was "planned and run all from Whiteman," said Colonel Power.

    The pilots are unconcerned about sustaining such a seemingly exhausting flying schedule. Unlike the B-52, which can carry additional crew, the B-2 can carry only two pilots. The B-2 bomber is highly automated, and the pilots believe it is safe for one of the crew members to take a nap while the other flies the airplane.

    "For the initial round [of combat], adrenaline alone will keep you going," Major Biscone said, and for continuing missions, "we may do go/no-go pills" relied on by some combat crews during the Gulf War.

    However, he added, "crew ratio is the only thing that will sustain long sortie durations." So far, USAF has no plan to put a third crew member on the B-2, although there is room and an escape hatch exists for a third ejection seat. General Marcotte said that "for training purposes only, it would be nice to have a third seat in the B-2," but he would not put this near the top of a wish list for improvements to the airplane.

    The General said he is pleased that, with videoconferencing, he has the ability to get the System Program Office, the test center, the contractor, and the operations room all talking to each other at a moment's notice, such as for an in-flight emergency.

    Captain Paganoni noted that the B-2 does offer two amenities helpful in reducing crew fatigue on a long mission--the means to prepare a hot meal and a flush toilet.

    Staying Sharp

    To supplement their B-2 time, the pilots also fly the T-38 Talon, which helps build their flight experience and keep their airmanship edge, said Maj. William R. "Buzz" Barrett. "The B-2 and the T-38 fly very differently," he said, with the B-2 being "much easier to fly."

    While the B-2 is highly automated and will cruise with minimal effort, the T-38 "does 300 knots in the pattern. There's a lot of cross-check, . . . a lot of airmanship decisions. The B-2 requires more systems knowledge, but the T-38 keeps your pilot skills sharp," he said.

    In a time of budget stringency, only B-2, U-2, and F-117 units have access to T-38s as companion trainers.

    After a B-2 mission, an extensive debrief takes place. In the room are the flight crew, contractor representatives, maintenance specialists, and people from the B-2 Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB, Calif. Gripes are detailed, and lessons learned are submitted on Air Force Form 847. These, in turn, build the B-2 Dash One manual, which describes better-flying tips as well as a host of "do nots" that could lead to damage or destruction of the aircraft.

    The initial cadre of maintenance personnel on the B-2 was handpicked, but shortly after the B-2 came to Whiteman it became a specialty available for any enlisted person with good enough marks. There are one- and two-stripe airmen working on the airplane. They get four to eight weeks of specialized training for it, and the aircraft has proven docile in their hands.

    "You can do ninety percent of the maintenance on the B-2 without removing any panels," according to 2d Lt. Jeffrey M. Burnside, of the 393d Bomb Squadron. "There was a great deal of thought put into maintenance when they were designing this aircraft."

    As to its reliability, Lieutenant Burnside said the B-2 is a champ. "You don't have people sitting around with nothing to do," he said, "but they aren't here all night fixing things, either."

    Propulsion Specialist SrA. Michael P. Sullivan observed that the B-2's F118 turbofans are similar to others he has worked on, though "a little harder to get to" because they are buried in the fuselage to hide their fan blades from radar. He has "no big gripes" with the engines.

    Flight controls are critical to the highly unstable B-2, which operates by a quad-redundant, fly-by-wire system, but they "work great," said SrA. Robert G. Rayburn, who specializes in them. "I haven't seen any problem areas."

    Each B-2 has its own "dock," a term the crews prefer over "hangar" because the airplane is positioned carefully to hook up with umbilicals in the floor. Each dock is immaculate, with none of the hydraulic fluid or fuel puddles or stains one would find under any other large airplane.

    "Used to be, if an airplane didn't leak, it meant there wasn't any fuel in it," Lieutenant Burnside said, but the B-2 is a departure from most large aircraft.

    "The tolerances are very tight" between panels on the aircraft, Airman Sullivan said. "They have to be; leaks can damage the LO," or low-observable--stealth--characteristics of the surface.

    Tolerances are so tight that the B-2, even with a wingspan comparable to that of the B-52 (the wings of which can flex up to eighteen feet in flight), remains highly rigid. Its wings flex less than three feet, and as a result nothing drips.

    "We don't have hydraulic problems or electrical problems, only one fuel [incident], and no leaks," Colonel Power noted. He also said that, to date, no B-2 crew has had to shut down an engine in flight.

    "You just don't lose sorties on this airplane," said Major Biscone, a veteran of many aborts with his previous ship, the B-52. "If you're scheduled to go, you go."

    The Blackout

    Only one really serious in-flight emergency has occurred; on that occasion, all the displays in one B-2's glass cockpit went blank. The airplane landed without further incident.

    The specialized work pertaining to the B-2's stealth characteristics is conducted in a windowless, keypad-entry hangar across from the flight line. There, experts maintain the advanced materials and gear that reduce the B-2's radar cross section--special tape that shields panel joints, heat-absorbent tiles in the exhaust area, and structures made of epoxy resins and other exotic materials.

    "Tape is tape," observed Capt. Casey W. Hughson, who supervises LO maintenance in the 509th Maintenance Squadron. "Fly it around long enough at high speed and it will start to peel back." The tape must be carefully reapplied using special adhesives, and it must rest on the airplane just so, lest it disturb the surface contours. A barely noticeable disruption of the surface contour can increase the airplane's radar cross section considerably.

    "What these guys do isn't a science; it's an art," Captain Hughson said. "For example, getting the paint on exactly one mil thick--that's an art."

    The LO shop is also the first line of repair for the B-2. There have been no catastrophic problems, but there have been some challenges. A birdstrike several months ago hit a bull's-eye on a B-2 control surface. Though the Whiteman team initially thought the part would have to go back to the factory, it was diagnosed and repaired at the base.

    The B-2 is not problem-free, however. The LO shop spends most of its time maintaining the aft deck, part of the exhaust covered with heat-absorbent tiles similar to those on the space shuttle. The aft deck also experiences lots of dynamic stress in flight. Cracks occur regularly.

    "The aft deck is a known challenge," General Marcotte said, "but we are repairing it mostly ourselves."

    Northrop Grumman has developed new procedures that "speed up the process" to repair cracks, General Marcotte noted. "What used to be months now is down to a week or two weeks."

    Weapons loaders have a rare advantage in the B-2 program. They are able to practice on a weapons loading trainer that is a close replica of the B-2's bomb bay and cockpit. They practice the extremely precise process--down to millimeter accuracy--of loading Mk. 84 bombs and nuclear "shapes" but can also simulate malfunctions and emergencies that might be hazardous if practiced with a real aircraft.

    "It was purpose-built" for weapons loading and "allows us to train loaders without sacrificing an airplane from the flying lineup," Colonel Power said. With only eight aircraft available, "that's a tremendous help."

    Different Kind of Stealth

    The B-2's stealthiness is what sets it apart from the other bombers in Air Combat Command, and it is one of the big unknowns still being explored in the program. Though the Air Force has operated a stealthy airplane under combat conditions--the F-117 in Operation Desert Storm--General Marcotte said that the B-2 "is stealthy in a different way from the F-117" because of the techniques and materials used.

    Early this year, the first of a planned series of tests was run to see how well the B-2's stealthiness holds up in the field. The test is called the Periodic RCS (Radar Cross Section) Surveillance Mission (PRSM), and it determines whether field maintenance can keep the B-2 at the specified, factory-installed levels of radar observability.

    The test findings are classified, but "we were pleasantly surprised . . . and very happy with the results," said Colonel Power. Technical orders have been upgraded--"we need to do some fine-tuning." However, said the Colonel, "we are applying the lessons learned, and next time we'll see even better results."

    The B-2 is being phased into service gradually. The 509th has been operating with the initial batch of airplanes--Block 10 models--but has already returned one to the factory, where it will be reconfigured into a Block 30 version. As Whiteman gets Block 20s from the assembly line, its Block 10s will be traded back for refitting. When fully equipped with Block 20s, the 509th will start trading them back for Block 30s, which will have the full complement of capability planned for the B-2, in both weaponry and stealth.

    During this rolling conversion period--expected to last another four years or so--the 509th will have a stable complement of eight to nine B-2s at any given time, so today's operating pace is likely to remain "fairly stable" until the last eleven Block 30 airplanes start arriving, Colonel Power said.

    The 509th is now undergoing nuclear surety inspections, involving tests of security, procedures, and facilities. Colonel Power said the unit expects to receive certification for nuclear weapons by January 1, 1997. Initial operational capability will focus on the nuclear mission, but it is clear that the Air Force would prefer to measure the B-2 against full requirement and full capability, which will come only with the arrival of the Block 30 airplane.

    "Initial LO signature tests have confirmed the stealthiness of the B-2 and provided confidence that the final configuration will meet the user's needs," an Air Staff spokeswoman said. "Initial tests on the radar, navigation, and weapon-delivery systems are complete, and we are working to deliver full functionality and capability in our Block 30 configuration."

    Flight testing of the B-2 airframe and of the weapons in the Block 10 and Block 20 is complete, the Air Staff reported. Block 30 testing is already under way and should be finished next summer.

    The Whiteman facilities built to support the B-2 were designed and constructed bearing in mind that the B-2 has a very long life expectancy. "These buildings will last a hundred years," Colonel Power said. Each of the twenty currently planned B-2s will have its own dock at Whiteman, but "the acreage is here" to accommodate more if they are built, he added.

    General Marcotte was wrapping up his stewardship of the B-2 early this year and counted it as the plum job of his career. Looking ahead to emerging technologies that may compete with the B-2, he said he cannot foresee "the bomber losing its place in the near future."

    The B-2 brings "a tremendous advantage" to war planners because it "ensures the capability to slow down an enemy," buying time for follow-on forces, he continued. So far, incremental improvements in engine and weapons technology for smaller aircraft haven't come close to matching the B-2's ability to "get a warning order and twenty hours later be dropping bombs" precisely on target.
    Courtesy:- http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/1996/April 1996/0496bomber.aspx
     
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  5. shom

    shom Regular Member

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    Squaron That Fly B2 Bombers are:-
    110th Bomb squadron:- The 110th Bomb Squadron (110 BS) is a unit of the Missouri Air National Guard 131st Bomb Wing located at Whiteman Air Force Base, Knob Noster, Missouri. The 110th is equipped with the B-2 Spirit.
    The 110 BS is the oldest unit in the Missouri Air National Guard, having over 90 years of service to the state and nation. It is a descendant organization of the World War I 110th Aero Squadron, established on 14 August 1917. It was reformed on 23 June 1923, as the 110th Observation Squadron, and is one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II.
    Assignments:-
    Unknown, 1917-1918
    Missouri NG (divisional aviation, 35th Division), 23 June 1923
    VII Army Corps, c. December 1940
    II Air Support Command, 1 September 1941
    71st Observation (later Reconnaissance; Tactical Reconnaissance; Reconnaissance) Group, 1 October 1941
    Seventh Air Force, 20 October 1945
    Far East Air Forces (later Pacific Air Command, US Army), c. 3 December 1945-20 February 1946
    131st Fighter Group, 23 September 1946
    131st Composite Wing, 31 October 1950
    131st Fighter-Bomber Wing, 1 July 1951
    131st Bomb Wing (Light), 1 December 1952
    131st Fighter-Bomber Wing, 1 January 1953
    131st Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 January 1960
    7131st Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 October 1961
    131st Tactical Fighter Wing, 31 August 1962
    131st Operations Group, 15 March 1992 – Present
    2) 393 Bomb Squadrons:-
    The 393d Bomb Squadron (393 BS) is part of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.
    The 393d Bombardment Squadron is the only United States Air Force squadron to carry out a nuclear attack on an enemy in combat. During World War II, its aircraft attacked Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 and Nagasaki, Japan 9 August 1945 with atomic bombs.
    Assignments
    504th Bombardment Group, 11 Mar 1944
    Second Air Force, 25 Nov 1944
    509th Composite (later, 509th Bombardment) Group, 17 Dec 1944
    Attached to 509th Bombardment Wing, 17 Nov 1947-14 Sept 1948 and 1 Feb 1951-15 Jun 1952
    509th Bombardment Wing, 16 Jun 1952-30 Sept 1990
    Probably attached to Twentieth Air Force, 18 Jun-c. 18 Sept 1953
    509th Operations Group, 27 Aug 1993–Present
    Attached to: United States Air Forces Central when deployed to combat zones as part of the Global War on Terrorism after 11 September 2001.
     
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  6. shom

    shom Regular Member

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    2) Lockheed F-117:-
    The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk is a single-seat, twin-engine stealth ground-attack aircraft formerly operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). Its first flight was in 1981, and it achieved initial operating capability status in October 1983.[1] The F-117 was "acknowledged" and revealed to the world in November 1988.[4]
    A product of Lockheed Skunk Works and a development of the Have Blue technology demonstrator, it became the first operational aircraft initially designed around stealth technology. The F-117A was widely publicized during the Persian Gulf War of 1991. It was commonly called the "Stealth Fighter" although it was a ground-attack aircraft.
    The Air Force retired the F-117 on 22 April 2008,[2] primarily because of the fielding of the F-22 Raptor[5] and the impending introduction of the F-35 Lightning II.[6] Sixty-four F-117s were built, 59 of which were production versions with five demonstrators/prototypes.
    Design:-
    The F-117 is shaped to deflect radar signals and is about the size of an F-15 Eagle. The single-seat Nighthawk is powered by two non-afterburning General Electric F404 turbofan engines, and has quadruple-redundant fly-by-wire flight controls. It is air refuelable. To lower development costs, the avionics, fly-by-wire systems, and other parts are derived from the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet and McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle. The parts were originally described as spares on budgets for these aircraft, to keep the F-117 project secret.
    The F-117 Nighthawk has a radar signature of about 0.025 m2 (0.269 sq ft).[32] Among the penalties for stealth are lower engine power thrust, due to losses in the inlet and outlet, a very low wing aspect ratio, and a high sweep angle (50°) needed to deflect incoming radar waves to the sides.[33] With these design considerations and no afterburner, the F-117 is limited to subsonic speeds.
    The F-117A is equipped with sophisticated navigation and attack systems integrated into a digital avionics suite. It carries no radar, which lowers emissions and cross-section. It navigates primarily by GPS and high-accuracy inertial navigation. Missions are coordinated by an automated planning system that can automatically perform all aspects of an attack mission, including weapons release. Targets are acquired by a thermal imaging infrared system, slaved to a laser that finds the range and designates targets for laser-guided bombs. The F-117A's split internal bay can carry 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) of ordnance. Typical weapons are a pair of GBU-10, GBU-12, or GBU-27 laser-guided bombs, two BLU-109 penetration bombs, or two Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), a GPS/INS guided stand-off bomb.
    The F-117A's faceted shape (made from 2-dimensional flat surfaces) resulted from the limitations of the 1970s-era computer technology used to calculate its radar cross-section. Later supercomputers made it possible for subsequent planes like the B-2 bomber to use curved surfaces while staying stealthy, through the use of far more computational resources to do the additional calculations needed.[34]

    Operational history
    During the program's early years, from 1984 to mid-1992, the F-117A fleet was based at Tonopah Test Range Airport, Nevada where it served under the 4450th Tactical Group. Because the F-117 was classified during this time, the 4450th Tactical Group was "officially" located at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada and equipped with A-7 Corsair II aircraft. The 4450th was absorbed by the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing in 1989. In 1992, the entire fleet was transferred to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, where it was placed under the command of the 49th Fighter Wing. This move also eliminated the Key Air and American Trans Air contract flights to Tonopah, which flew 22,000 passenger trips on 300 flights from Nellis to Tonopah per month.
    F-117 pilots called themselves "Bandits". Each of the 558 Air Force pilots who have flown the F-117 have a Bandit number, such as "Bandit 52", that indicates the sequential order of their first flight in the F-117.[35]
    The F-117 has been used several times in war. Its first mission was during the United States invasion of Panama in 1989.[36] During that invasion two F-117A Nighthawks dropped two bombs on Rio Hato airfield.
    During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the F-117A flew approximately 1,300 sorties and scored direct hits on 1,600 high-value targets in Iraq[1] over 6,905 flight hours.[37] Initial claims of its effectiveness were later found to be overstated. For instance it was claimed that the F-117 made up 2.5% of Coalition tactical aircraft in Iraq and they attacked more than 40% of the strategic targets;[38] this ignored the fact that only 229 Coalition aircraft could drop and designate laser-guided bombs of which 36 F-117 represented 15.7%, and only the USAF had the I-2000 bombs intended for hardened targets, so the F-117 represented 32% of all coalition aircraft that could deliver such bombs.[39] Initial reports of them hitting 80% of their targets were later scaled back to "41-60%".[40] On the first night they failed to hit 40% of the air-defense targets they were assigned, including the Air Defense Operations Center in Baghdad, and 8 such targets remained functional out of 10 that could be assessed.[41] In their Desert Storm white paper the USAF claimed that "the F-117 was the only airplane that the planners dared risk over downtown Baghdad" and that this area was particularly well defended.[42] In fact most of the air defenses were on the outskirts of the city and many other aircraft hit targets in the downtown area, with minimal casualties when they attacked at night like the F-117.[42] This meant they avoided the optically aimed AAA and infra-red SAMs which were the biggest threat to Coalition aircraft.[43]
    Following its move to Holloman AFB in 1992, the F-117A and the men and women of the 49th Fighter Wing were deployed to Southwest Asia on multiple occasions. On their first deployment, with the aid of aerial refuelling, pilots flew non-stop from Holloman to Kuwait, a flight of approximately 18.5 hours – a record for single-seat fighters that stands today.[1]
    The F-117 was subsequently used in Operation Desert Thunder (Part of Operation Southern Watch) from 1997 to 1998, Operation Allied Force in 1999, Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
    Retirement:-
    Though it was a great Aircraft it was retired.Though advanced for its time, the F-117's stealthy faceted airframe required a large amount of maintenance and was eventually superseded by streamlined shapes produced with computer-aided design. The Air Force had once planned to retire the F-117 in 2011, but Program Budget Decision 720 (PBD 720), dated 28 December 2005, proposed retiring it by October 2008 to free up an estimated $1.07 billion[56] to buy more F-22 Raptors.[35] PBD 720 called for 10 F-117s to be retired in FY 2007 and the remaining 42 in FY 2008, stating that other Air Force planes and missiles could stealthily deliver precision payloads, including the B-2 Spirit, F-22 and JASSM.[57]
    In late 2006, the Air Force closed the F-117 formal training unit (FTU),[58] and announced the retirement of the F-117.[5] The first six aircraft to be retired made their last flight on 12 March 2007 after a ceremony at Holloman AFB to commemorate the aircraft's career. Brigadier General David Goldfein, commander of the 49th Fighter Wing, said at the ceremony, "With the launch of these great aircraft today, the circle comes to a close – their service to our nation's defense fulfilled, their mission accomplished and a job well done. We send them today to their final resting place – a home they are intimately familiar with – their first, and only, home outside of Holloman."[59]


    A pair of specially painted F-117 Nighthawks fly off from their last refueling by the Ohio Air National Guard's 121st Air Refueling Wing.
    Unlike most other Air Force aircraft which are retired to Davis-Monthan AFB for scrapping, or dispersal to museums, most of the F-117s were retired to their original hangars at the Tonopah Test Range Airport.[44] At Tonopah, their wings were removed and the aircraft are stored in their original climate-controlled hangars.[59] The decommissioning occurred in eight phases, with the operational aircraft retired to Tonopah in seven waves beginning on 13 March 2007, and ending with the last wave's arrival on 22 April 2008.[2][44] Four aircraft were kept flying beyond April by the 410th Flight Test Squadron at Palmdale for flight test. By the beginning of August, two were remaining. The last F-117 (AF ser. no. 86-0831) left Palmdale to fly to Tonopah on 11 August 2008. [44][60] With the last aircraft retired, the 410th was inactivated in a ceremony on 1 August 2008.[61]
    Five aircraft were placed in museums including the first 4 YF-117As and some remains of the F-117 shot down over Serbia. Through 2009, one F-117 has been scrapped. F-117 AF ser. no. 79-0784 was scrapped at the Palmdale test facility on 26 April 2008. It was the last F-117 at Palmdale and was scrapped to test an effective method for destroying F-117 airframes.[44]
    Although officially retired, the F-117 fleet remains intact, and photos show the aircraft carefully mothballed.[44] F-117s have been spotted flying in the Nellis Bombing Range as recently as 2010.[62]
    [​IMG]
    image hosting
    Data courtesy: Wikipidia
    F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighters Landed image - Aircraft Lovers Group - Mod DB
     
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  7. shom

    shom Regular Member

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  8. shom

    shom Regular Member

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    Squadrons Flying F-117:-
    1) 9th Fighter Squadron:-The 9th Fighter Squadron (9 FS) was part of the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. It operated the F-117 Nighthawk aircraft conducting air superiority missions. The 9th was inactivated on 16 May 2008 following the reactivation of the 7th Fighter Squadron for the arrival of the F-22A Raptor.
    History

    The 9th Pursuit Squadron was activated on 16 January 1941 as part of the 49th Pursuit Group.[2] After receiving some aircraft and training it moved Australia where it was equipped with Curtiss P-40 Warhawks.[2] The 9th flew combat missions in the Southwest Pacific from, 18 March 1942 – 5 August 1945, Korea from, 27 June 1950–December 1952, and Southeast Asia from, c. 13 May – 2 October 1972. Additionally, portions of squadron deployed to Southwest Asia to fly combat air patrol for coalition operations from, 20 June – 5 December 1991.[3]
    As one of three fighter squadrons of the 49th fighter group, the 9th Fighter Squadron's story began on 16 January 1941 when the 49th Pursuit Group was activated at Selfridge Field, Michigan. The 9th FS and its sister squadrons (7th FS and 8th FS) compiled distinguished history that included extensive participation in World War II with a record of 668 aerial victories.
    Notable Aces of the 9th FS are Dick Bong (40), Tommy McGuire (38), Gerald Johnson (22), James Watkins (12), Andrew Reynolds (9.33), Grover Fanning (9), John O'Neil (8), Wallace Jordan (6), John Landers (6), Ralph Wandrey (6), Ernest Ambort (5), Warren Curten (5), Jack Donaldson (5), Cheatam Gupton (5), and Robert Vaught (5)[4]
    The 9th FS conducted training for German Air Force pilots in F-4E/Fs from July 1992 until converting to F-117s in December 1994, in which they participated in Operation Allied Force sorties over Serbia in 1999.[3]


    2) 415th Tactical Fighter Squadron:- The 415th Tactical Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with 49th Fighter Wing stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. It was inactivated on 30 July 1993 and redesignated the 9th Fighter Squadron.
    Operational history

    During World War II, the 415th Night Fighter Squadron first flew combat patrols in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in 1943, then in 1944 and 1945 moved to France and later into Germany in the European Theater as a part of Twelfth Air Force. Returning to the United States after the war, it was assigned to Shaw Field, South Carolina.
    In June 1947, the 415th NFS was reassigned to Alaskan Air Command, being stationed at Adak in the Aleutian Islands. It flew training patrols until being inactivated on 1 September 1947, with its personnel and aircraft being assigned to the 449th Fighter Squadron (All Weather) upon inactivation.
    During the final phases of the War in Southeast Asia, the 415th was redesignated the 415th Special Operations Training Squadron, and operated AC-130A Spectre gunships out of Hurlburt Field, Florida, as a component of the 1st Special Operations Wing, June 1970 - June 1975.
    During the final years of the Cold War, the squadron was reactivated on 5 October 1989 as part of the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Tonopah Test Range Airport, Nevada. The existence of the F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter had just been made public, and its development unit, the 4450th Tactical Group was being inactivated, with the 37th TFW becoming the operational wing for the F-117. The 415th Tactical Fighter Squadron was activated and replaced the development 4450th Tactical Squadron (I-Unit).
    On 19 December 1989, just over two months after being reactivated, the F-117 was deployed into combat for the first time. This was in Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panama intended to dislodge and arrest General Manuel Noriega. At the beginning of the invasion, six F-117As flew to Panama from Tonopah. Their mission was to drop 2000-pound bombs near the Panama Defense Forces (PDF) barracks at Rio Hato. The purpose of these bomb drops was to stun and disorient the PDF troops living there so that the barracks could be stormed and the troops captured with minimal resistance and casualties. The pilots were instructed to drop their bombs no closer than 50 meters from two separate PDF barracks buildings. On the night of 19 December, two lead F-117As each dropped a conventional 2000-pound bomb at the Rio Hato barracks.
    Less than a year later, in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990, the 415th TFS was deployed to King Khalid International Airport, Saudi Arabia on 19 August 1990. On 17 January 1991, the Coalition began an air offensive to eject Iraqi troops from Kuwait. In the early morning hours, the F-117As of the 37th TFW initiated the air war against Iraq. Mission planners had assigned critical strategic Iraqi command and control installations to the F-117A, counting on the aircraft's ability to hit precisely at well-defended targets without being seen. Other vital targets included key communications centers, research and development facilities for nuclear and chemical weapons, plus hardened aircraft shelters on Iraqi airfields. On the first night of the war, an F-117A dropped a 2000-pound laser-guided GBU-27 Paveway III bomb right through the roof of the general communications building in downtown Baghdad. In another attack on the communications building next to the Tigris River, another GBU-27 Paveway III was dropped through an air shaft in the center of the roof atop the building and blew out all four walls. During the first three weeks of the air offensive, F-117As obliterated many hardened targets with unprecedented precision. The 37th TFW flew 1271 combat sorties and maintained an 85.5 percent mission-capable rate. The 43 F-117As of the 37th TFW dropped more than 2,000 tons of precision ordnance and attacked some 40 percent of the high-value targets that were struck by the Coalition forces. Not one F-117A was hit, shot down, or lost to mechanical failure. There is no evidence that the F-117A was ever detected or tracked by Iraqi radar installations, either ground or airborne. The F-117's concealment, deception, and evasiveness proved that it could survive in the most hostile of environments, and its laser-guided bombs struck with extreme accuracy.
    Most of the F-117As deployed to Saudi Arabia returned home to Tonopah in early April 1991. In July it was decided to move the F-117s from their development base at Tonopah, and they were reassigned to the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB, New Mexico.
    From 8 June – 7 July 1993 the 415th deployed to Gilze-Rijen Air Base in the Netherlands as part of Coronet Havoc.
    On 30 June the 415th Fighter Squadron was inactivated, with its F-117s being reassigned to the 49th's 9th Fighter Squadron.

    3) 416th Fighter Squadron:- The 416th Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The squadron was inactivated on 1 July 1993.
    History

    [edit]World War II
    Established in February 1943 as the 416th Night Fighter Squadron, assigned to the 481st Night Fighter Operational Training Group, Orlando Air Base, Florida for training. The 417th was the first USAAF dedicated night fighter squadron formed. Trained in the Douglas P-70, a modified A-20 Havoc bomber using a U.S. version of the British Mk IV radar. At the time the P-70 was the only American night fighter available.
    Reassigned to Ninth Air Force in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), May 1943 and equipped with RAF Bristol Beaufighters through a "reverse Lend-Lease" program until an American aircraft could be produced. Upon arrival in England the squadron received additional training with Royal Air Force night fighter units at several bases in early 1943 achieving the first victory on 24 July. Through the summer, they conducted daytime convoy escort and strike missions, but thereafter flew primarily at night.
    Was reassigned to Twelfth Air Force, being deployed to Algeria in August 1943. Carried out defensive night patrols over Allied held territory during the North African campaign, also conducted night interdiction raids on German positions in Algeria and Tunisia. After German collapse in North Africa, continued defensive patrols and offensive night attacks on Axis positions on Sardinia, Corsica, and in Southern France.
    Moved into Austria and Germany after the end of combat, becoming part of the United States Air Forces in Europe army of occupation, inactivated in 1946.
    [edit]Cold War
    Reactivated in 1953 at George AFB, California as an F-86 Sabre Fighter-Bomber Squadron. Spent about a year under Tactical Air Command training, deploying to France in 1954 as part of the NATO buildup of the United States Air Forces in Europe during the early years of the Cold War. Operated from several bases in France during the 1950s, inactivated in 1958 as part of a USAFE reorganization.
    Became part of PACAF in 1958, operated F-100 Super Sabres from Misawa AB, Japan as an air defense squadron. Inactivated in 1964. Reactivated as a Tactical Fighter squadron in South Vietnam, 1967, flying F-100s from Phu Cat Air Base engaging in combat operations, primarily over South Vietnam supporting United States and friendly ground forces. Inactivated in 1969 as part of the drawdown of USAF forces in Southeast Asia.
    Reactivated in 1979 at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. Performed LIFT training for new F-15 Eagle pilots with T-38s during late 1970s-early 1980s.
    [edit]F-117 development
    Reassigned as an F-117A Nighthawk Squadron at Tonopah Test Range Airport, 1989, assuming aircraft from provisional 4450th Tactical Group 4451st Tactical Squadron (P-Unit). Operated from Tonopah until 1993, performing transition from the development phase to operational readiness of the F-117. Deployed the Stealth Fighter to Southwest Asia at King Khalid International Airport, Saudi Arabia during operation Desert Storm. Upon reassignment of F-117As to Holloman AFB in 1993, squadron transferred F-117s to permanent 49th Fighter Wing 9th FS and was inactivated.

    4) 417th Weapons Squadron:-The 417th Weapons Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the USAF Weapons School based at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. It was inactivated on 14 September 2006.
    The squadron was originally activated as the 417th Night Fighter Squadron in 1943. During World War II, the squadron saw action in the European theater, flying both the British Beaufighter and the P-61 Black Widow night fighters. In 1966 the unit transitioned to the F-4 Phantom II and was engaged in combat during the Vietnam War, being part of two combat deployments. In 1989 as the 417th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, responsible for the replacement training of new F-117A Stealth Fighter pilots.
    History

    [edit]World War II
    Established in February 1943 as the 417th Night Fighter Squadron, assigned to the 481st Night Fighter Operational Training Group, Orlando Air Base, Florida for training. The 417th was the first USAAF dedicated night fighter squadron formed. Trained in the Douglas P-70, a modified A-20 Havoc bomber using a U.S. version of the British Mk IV radar. At the time the P-70 was the only American night fighter available.
    Reassigned to Ninth Air Force in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), May 1943 and equipped with RAF Bristol Beaufighters through a "reverse Lend-Lease" program until an American aircraft could be produced. Upon arrival in England the squadron received additional training with Royal Air Force night fighter units at several bases in early 1943 achieving the first victory on 24 July. Through the summer, they conducted daytime convoy escort and strike missions, but thereafter flew primarily at night.
    Was reassigned to Twelfth Air Force, being deployed to Algeria in August 1943. Carried out defensive night patrols over Allied held territory during the North African campaign, also conducted night interdiction raids on German positions in Algeria and Tunisia. After German collapse in North Africa, continued defensive patrols and offensive night attacks on Axis positions on Sardinia, Corsica, and in Southern France.
    Moved to Belgium, operating from bases in the Low Countries, and moving into northern Germany in early 1944. Was re-equipped with United States P-61 Black Widows during the last months of the war, flying night interdictory missions within Germany until V-E Day.
    Remained in Germany after the war as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe. Performed occupation duty for over a year, returning to the United States and inactivating in November 1946.
    [edit]Cold War
    It was reactivated at Clovis AFB, New Mexico in 1953 at a Tactical Fighter Squadron, initially receiving F-51 Mustangs. Upgraded to new F-86 Sabres, and was deployed to NATO, being stationed at the new Hahn Air Base, West Germany in August 1953. The aircraft was deployed to Hahn during Operation Fox Able 20. This marked the first mass flight of an entire tactical wing from the U.S. to continental Europe.
    At Hahn AB, the unit's mission was the delivery of tactical nuclear weapons against Warsaw Pact forces in the event of an invasion of Western Europe. Its secondary missions were tactical air defense and support for NATO ground forces. Due to the vulnerability of West Germany to Soviet attack, USAF planners did not want their tactical nuclear weapons in locations that could be quickly overrun by Warsaw Pact forces. When construction was completed at Toul-Rosières Air Base France, the squadron was moved there in July 1956. Disagreements arose concerning atomic storage and custody issues within NATO, resulting in a decision to remove United States Air Force atomic-capable units from French soil. The squadron was moved back to Hahn Air Base in December 1959. It remained in West Germany as a Tactical Fighter Squadron, equipped with the F-100 Super Sabre, until 1966, upgrading to the F-4C Phantom II in 1967.
    It was returned to the United States, being reassigned to Tactical Air Command as part of a drawdown of forces in West Germany in the summer of 1968. Equipped with the RF-4C Phantom II unarmed reconnaissance version of the Phantom, deploying to NATO several times during Reforger Exercises in West Germany.[clarification needed] Reassigned to Holloman AFB, New Mexico in 1970 and re-equipped with F-4E Phantom IIs.[clarification needed]
    On 4 May 1972, after North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam, the squadron deployed to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. Engaged in combat operations in Southeast Asia from May–September 1972, to help blunt a strong North Vietnamese offensive.[clarification needed] It flew combat sorties in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during Operation Linebacker, the bombardment campaign in North Vietnam. During five months of combat, the squadron did not lose any aircraft or personnel. The unit officially closed out its Southwest Asia duty 6 October 1972 and returned to Holloman AFB. It remained at Holloman until 30 April 1977 then inactivated when its host wing converted to the F-15 Eagle with new squadrons.
    Reactivated on 1 October 1978 as part of the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Zweibrücken AB, West Germany.[clarification needed] The squadron was activated with a single F-4D aircraft. USAFE planned on equipping the squadron with F-4Es, however, inadequate munitions storage at Zweibrücken compelled the command to reverse its decision and consequently reassigned the 417th TFS without personnel or equipment to the 86th TFW at Ramstein AB on 1 November 1978, being placed in not operational status. Never made operational at Ramstein, the squadron designation was inactivated on 15 September 1987.
    Activated at Tonopah Test Range Airport, Nevada, in October 1989.[clarification needed] Was reassigned F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighters from the 4450th Tactical Group 4453rd Test and Evaluation Squadron (Z-Unit). Also operated T-38s for pilot transition training (LIFT) to the F-117. Upon reassignment of F-117As to Holloman AFB in 1993, squadron transferred F-117s to 49th Fighter Wing 7th FS and inactivated.
    [edit]Modern era
    The Air Force Chief of Staff directed the creation of the F-117 Division, USAF Weapons School in May 2002 at at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. The initial cadre class began in January 2003, and the validation class began their training in July 2003. On 13 August 2003, the F-117 Division was re-designated as the 417th Weapons Squadron. The 417 WS was a Geographically Separated Unit (GSU) of the 57th Wing.
    The squadron provided advanced training to F-117A instructor pilots. The course included 26 syllabus sorties, seven simulator missions, four mission planning exercises and more than 400 hours of academics. Inactivated along with F-117 in September 2006.

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    shom Regular Member

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    3) Chengdu J-20:- (under Development)
    The Chengdu J-20 (Jian-20; simplified Chinese: 歼-二十; traditional Chinese: 殲-二十; pinyin: Jiān èr shí) is a fifth-generation, stealth, twin-engine fighter aircraft prototype being developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group for the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).[4] The J-20 made its first flight on 11 January 2011.[5][6] General He Weirong, Deputy Commander of the People's Liberation Army Air Force said in November 2009 that he expected the J-20 to be operational in 2017–2019.[7][8][2]
    Within PLAAF, the J-20 is designated as "Project 718".[9] The general designer of the aircraft is reportedly Mr. Yang Wei, who had been the general designer of CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder.
    Origin
    In 2002, Jane's Defence Weekly reported that Shenyang Aircraft Corporation had been selected to head research and development of the new fighter,[10] a claim repeated in New Scientist the same week.[11] However, a 2006 article in Military Technology referred to three designs; two by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and one by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation.[12]
    According to the report from Jane's, development of the subsystems, including the engine and weapon suite for the next generation fighter, has been under way for some time. A photograph of a wind tunnel model published with the article showed a twin-engine aircraft with twin vertical tail fins. The article text mentioned that the aircraft would carry its weapons internally like the F-22 Raptor. New Scientist called attention to the angular, faceted features of the design, comparing them to the F-117 Nighthawk. Jane's also linked the programme with China's development of an engine with thrust vectoring capability.
    The later report in Military Technology featured a picture of a completely different design, speculatively dubbed J-14 and said to be a Shenyang project, with the designations J-12 and J-13 being applied to (possibly competing) designs by Shenyang and Chengdu respectively.
    Since 2009, Chinese internet comments have repeatedly pointed to a merging of the two efforts, to be named J-14. Chengdu is rumored to be responsible for the airframe, while Shenyang focuses on the engines and other components. It was then revealed that Chengdu proposal won PLAAF's endorsement in a 2008 competition against a Shenyang proposal, with the latter reportedly being even larger than J-20.[13] In November 2009 He Weirong (何为荣), deputy commander of the Chinese air force, confirmed that "intense" research and development work on the fifth generation stealth fighter was ongoing. He expected the aircraft to be unveiled soon and gave possible in-service dates of 2017 to 2019.[7][8]
    Technology transfer allegations
    While no specific analysts have claimed the J-20 used stealth coatings from the 1999 F-117 downed over Serbia, analysts have noted that if Chinese designers used stealth coatings based on the F-117, the result would be decades behind current American state-of-the-art.[29] However, Chinese test pilot Xu Yongling said that the J-20 was a masterpiece of home-grown innovation, and also noted the F-117 technology was already outdated even at the time it was shot down, and could not be applied to a next-generation stealth jet.[30] Janes editor James Hardy agrees that it was unlikely China would have learned much from the wreckage.[31]
    Information used by subcontractors of Lockheed Martin for the F-35 project have been significantly compromised during development of the J-20.[32] As a result, there are accusations that the J-20 design may have been based on cyber-espionage of the Lockheed Martin FB-22 and F-35 projects.[2][33]
    A United States federal prosecutor has suggested that China may have used technology supplied by Noshir Gowadia from the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit program for their stealth aircraft.[34]
    Douglas Barrie has noted that the canard-delta configuration with canted vertical fins appears to resemble the MiG 1.42.[35] Yet, Barrie notes that key differences include greater forward fuselage shaping as the basis for low observable characteristics, along with the different engine intake configuration.[36] Despite the similar basic configurations between the aircraft noted by Russian sources, MiG spokeswoman Yelena Fyodorova has denied that any of the MiG Project 1.44 materials had been provided to China.[37][38] The basic configuration of the J-20 also resembles a wind tunnel model of the Chengdu J-9, showing Chengdu has been working on the design for over 40 years.
    Stealth
    Analysts noted that J-20 uses similar stealth shaping design as the F-22 and F-35, providing good stealth capability at the front. However, these analysts also claimed the aircraft's side and axi-symmetric nozzles may expose the aircraft to radar detection. [67][68][2][69] However, one of the prototypes uses WS-10G engines with stealthy jagged-edge nozzles and tiles.
    Richard Aboulafia raised general doubts about the use of canards on a low-observable design, saying "there’s no better way of guaranteeing a radar reflection and compromise of stealth".[35][70] However, canards and low-observability are not mutually exclusive design features. Northrop's proposal for the Naval Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF), termed NATF-23, incorporated canard on a stealthy airframe.[71][72] Lockheed Martin employed canards on a stealth airframe in the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program, ending development only due to unexpected operational issues surrounding the flight control of Eurofighter and Saab Gripen.[73][74] McDonnell Douglas and NASA's X-36 featured the use of canards and was shown to be extremely stealthy.[75] The Eurofighter managed to reduce its Radar Cross Section (RCS) by controlling the deflection of its canards through the flight control software.[76][77]
    The diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI) improves stealth performance by eliminating unwanted radar reflections between the traditional diverter and the aircraft's skin. As of January 2013, analysts have also noted that the J-20 DSI reduces the need for application of radar absorbent materials.[78] Additionally, the "bump" surface reduces the engine fan's exposure to radar, significantly reducing the strongest radar reflection from a combat jet.[79] While the diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI) intakes are easier to maintain than more complex stealth-compatible intakes, such as on the F-22, their fixed form limits the aircraft to around Mach 2.0.[80]
    Specifications

    Because the aircraft is in development, these specifications are preliminary and are taken as estimates from the available images.
    Data from Loren B. Thompson of the Lexington Institute[99] and James Dunnigan.[100]
    General characteristics
    Crew: one (pilot)
    Length: 20.3 m (66 ft 7 in)
    Wingspan: 12.88 m (42 ft 3 in)
    Height: 4.45 m (14 ft 7 in)
    Wing area: 73 m2 (790 sq ft)
    Empty weight: 17,000 kg (37,479 lb)
    Max takeoff weight: 36,287 kg (80,000 lb) upper estimate[2]
    Powerplant: 2 × WS-10G (prototype); WS-15 in production J-20 afterburning turbofans dry, 180 kN (40,000 lbf) with afterburner
    Range: 5,500 km (3,418 mi; 2,970 nmi)
    Combat range: 2,150 km (1,336 mi; 1,161 nmi)
    Service ceiling: 20,000 m (65,617 ft)
    Armament
    None on prototype
    Production aircraft will be equipped with PL-21 LRAAM, PL-12D MRAAM, PL-10 SRAAM, LS-6 Precision Glide Bomb, 30mm cannon, up to four rocket launchers, two IR decoy launchers, air-to-surface missiles and smart bombs.
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  10. shom

    shom Regular Member

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    Shenyang J-31:- The Shenyang J-31 (F60),[1][4] rumored to be nicknamed "Gyrfalcon" (鹘鹰), or Falcon Eagle,[5] is a twin-engine, mid-size fifth-generation jet fighter currently under development by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. The fighter has been referred to as F-60, J-31 and J-21 (Snowy Owl) in media reports.
    Development

    A photo of a model labeled F-60 was posted on the Internet in September 2011.[7] In June 2012, photos and camera video clips about a heavily overwrapped possible F-60 prototype being road-transferred on a highway started to emerge on internet, though some suspect it of mere being a L-15 trainer aircraft.[8] Pictures of a possibly fully assembled aircraft parking on an airfield emerged on September 15–16, 2012.[9][10] The F-60 is reported to be the export version, where the J-31 would be the domestic Chinese version of the same fighter.[11]
    [edit]Strategic implications
    The appearance of the J-31 may cause China's neighbors to consider again the purchase of the F-35.[12][13][14][15]
    A quarter sized model of the J-31 was shown at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition 2012, hinting at a desire to offer the aircraft for export, as an alternative for those countries that cannot purchase the F-35.[16][17] AVIC confirmed at the exhibition that the aircraft was intended for export.[18][19]
    [edit]Flight testing
    The prototype conducted a high-speed taxiing and briefly became airborne. On 31 October 2012, prototype No. 31001 conducted the model's maiden flight.[3][20][21][2][22] It was accompanied by two J-11 fighters in a ten-minute test flight with its landing gear lowered.
    With the maiden test flight of the prototype No.31001 on October 31, 2012, China became the second nation after the 1991 Advanced Tactical Fighter fly off, to have two stealth fighter designs in field-testing at the same time.[23][24]
    [edit]Design

    The J-31 is a mid-weight, twin-engine with certain stealth characters such as forward swept intake cowls with diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI) bumps and a two-piece canopy.
    The J-31 appears to be a smaller and more agile aircraft than the Chengdu J-20 that resembles a twin engine F-35C. This may be because it might be used as a fifth generation carrier based fighter.[25][26][27] Another feature that the J-31 shares with the F-35C (and most other carrier based fighter jets) is the twin forward wheels.[28] Bill Sweetman has cited several improvements to the F-35C design files the Chinese may have acquired in the J-31.[29] Like the F-35, the J-31 has two internal weapons bays that can each carry two medium range missiles, along with two heavy hardpoints and one light hardpoint on each wing, but while it seems to have added an additional very light hardpoint to each wing over the capacity of the F-35, it seems to lack the capacity of the F-35 to mount a centerline gunnery or jamming pod.[30]
    The J-31's chief designer, Sun Cong, has said that he hoped that the aircraft would follow his J-15 onto China's aircraft carriers.[31][32]
    It is unknown if the J-31 is meant to be a competitor to the J-20 stealth fighter or a complement to it. It is also unknown if it will be a land-based fighter for the People's Liberation Army Air Force, or a carrier-based fighter for the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force on the Liaoning Aircraft Carrier[5] and future Chinese carriers.
    Vladimir Barkovsky of Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (formerly known as the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau) has stated that, despite some design flaws, the J-31 "looks like a good machine." Although it contains features already in use on the U.S. fifth generation fighter designs, it is "not a copy but a well done indigenous design." Barkovsky has confirmed that the engines on the prototype aircraft are RD-93s.[9][33] However, China already has an engine similar to the RD-93, the Guizhou WS-13 currently installed on the JF-17 which has the same thrust and size of the Russian RD-93. China is working on an improved variant named WS-13G with 100KN of thrust for use on the J-31. Lin Zuoming, chairman of China's AVIC, has said that he hopes to put domestic engines on the fighter.[34]
    As the Chinese build up confidence in newer, more reliable and powerful domestic engines, they may be able to power the J-31 sooner than the larger J-20 and in greater numbers.[35]
    [edit]Specifications (estimated)

    Because the aircraft is in development, these specifications are speculated based from the available images.
    Data from Chris Pocock[36] and Aviation Week.[37]
    General characteristics
    Crew: one (pilot)
    Length: 16.9 m (55 ft 5 in)
    Wingspan: 11.5 m (37 ft 9 in)
    Height: 4.8 m (15 ft 9 in)
    Wing area: 40 m2 (430 sq ft)
    Gross weight: 17,500 kg (38,581 lb)
    Powerplant: 2 × Klimov RD-93 afterburning Turbofans (Presumably domestic engines such as the Guizhou WS-13 would be used for production aircraft.)
    Maximum speed: Mach 1.8
    Combat range: 1,250 km (777 mi; 675 nmi) internal fuel (2000 km one refuel)
    Ferry range: 4,000 km (2,485 mi; 2,160 nmi)
    Armament
    None on prototype, apparently will have 12 hardpoints. (Four are internal for "low observable" missions.)
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    shom Regular Member

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    TFX (Turkey):-
    TFX is a next generation[1] Air superiority fighter jet to be developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) with technological assistance from Saab AB.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


    On 15 December 2010, Turkey's Defence Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) decided to design, develop, and manufacture an indigenous air-to-air combat fighter.[8] Funding equivalent to US$20 million was allocated for a 2-year conceptual design phase that will be performed by TAI.[9]
    TAI and TusaÅŸ Engine Industries (TEI) will lead the design, entry and development processes of the fighter jet. TEI will focus more on the production of the airplane's engines to be completed by 2015, while TAI will develop other components. The studies will reveal how much the fighter jet would cost, which mechanical and electronic systems would be employed and included, and a wider perspective of the opportunities and challenges in military aviation.[10]
    [edit]TAI and Ternion Corporation

    On 2 February 2012, TAI contracted with Ternion Corporation for the purchase of the FLAMES Development Suite also used by SAAB in the design and development of its Gripen.[11] On 29 March 2012, TAI conducted a one week FLAMES Training Event in order to familiarize staff with the FLAMES system for which they are using for their collaborative fighter aircraft design efforts with Saab.[12]
    [edit]Partnership with Saab AB

    During a State visit of the President of Turkey to Sweden on the 13th of March 2013, TÜRK Havacılık ve Uzay Sanayii A.Ş (Turkish Aerospace Industries, TAI) signed an Agreement with Sweeden's SAAB AG which stipulates as follows:[13][14][15][16]
    SAAB AB will provide technological design assistance for Turkey's TF-X program;
    TAI has the option to Purchase SAAB AB's Fighter Jet design unit.

    The Turkish Air Force intends to procure 250+ TFX in 2020 and integrate them in a network-centric Air Force structure consisting of F-35, F-16 Block 50+, Airborne Stand-Off Jammers and the Boeing 737-AESA Peace Eagle AW&CS
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  12. shom

    shom Regular Member

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  13. shom

    shom Regular Member

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    KAI KF-X
    KF-X

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    A model of the KAI KF-X-201 design
    Role Multirole fighter
    Manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries
    Indonesian Aerospace
    Introduction Designated to be approximately 2020
    Status In development
    The Korea Aerospace Industries KF-X is a South Korean program to develop an advanced multirole fighter for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), spearheaded by South Korea with Indonesia as the primary partner.[1] It is South Korea's second fighter development program following the FA-50.
    The project was first announced by South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung at the graduation ceremony of the Air Force Academy in March 2001. South Korea and Indonesia had agreed to cooperate in the production of KF-X warplanes in Seoul on July 15, 2010.[2] The initial operational requirements for the KF-X program as stated by the ADD (Agency for Defence Development) were to develop a single-seat, twin-engine jet with stealth capabilities beyond either the Dassault Rafale or Eurofighter Typhoon, but still less than the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. The overall focus of the program is producing a 4.5th generation fighter with higher capabilities than a KF-16 class fighter by 2020.[3][4][5]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Design and development
    2 Specifications
    3 References
    4 External links
    [edit]Design and development

    According to the Weapon Systems Concept Development and Application Research Center of Konkuk University, the KF-X is intended to be superior than the KF-16, which would replace South Korea's aging F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II aircraft, with production numbers estimated to be over 250 aircraft. Compared to KF-16, the KF-X will have a 50% greater combat radius, 34% longer airframe lifespan, better avionics including a domestically produced AESA radar, and better electronic warfare, IRST, and datalink capabilities. Operational requirements also specify approx 50,000 pounds of thrust provided by one or preferably two engines, high-speed interception and supercruise capabilities, basic stealth technology, and multirole capabilities. There are currently two competing designs for the KFX, the KFX-201 which has a tri-plane layout with canards and a more conventional, Single Engine F-35 style KFX-101 design.
    South Korea will fund 60% of the aircraft's development, and expects foreign partners to provide the remaining 40% of the development funding.[6] South Korea possesses 63% of the necessary technology to produce the KF-X, and is therefore seeking cooperation from Indonesian Aerospace, Turkish Aerospace Industries, Saab, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin to develop the KF-X. About 120 KF-Xs would be built initially and more than 130 aircraft would be produced additionally after the first-phase models reach operational capability.[7] The cost of each KF-X aircraft is estimated to be roughly $50 million +.[8][9]
    In October 2009 a retired general in the South Korean Air Force was arrested for leaking classified documents to Swedish aviation and defence corporation Saab. The general was to have been given a bribe of several hundred thousand dollars for copies of a number of secret documents that he had photographed in the South Korean Defence University. Saab officials denied any involvement.[10][11][12]
    On 15 July 2010, the Indonesia government agreed to fund 20% of KF-X project cost in return of around 50 planes built for Indonesian Air Force after project completion.[13] In September 2010, Indonesia sent a team of legal and aviation experts to South Korea to discuss copyright issues of the aircraft.[14]
    On 7 September 2010, Maj. Gen. Choi Cha-kyu, director general of the aircraft program bureau at the Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said that Turkey was interested in joining the program.[7][15]
    On 15 December 2010, a senior Turkish procurement official said that "What we need is a true and equal partnership for the development of a fighter. The problem is that South Korea is not likely to agree to an equal partnership".[16]
    In December 2010 the program shifted from a F-16 class fighter to a stealth aircraft in order to respond to North Korean pressure.[17]
    On 20 April 2011, South Korea's Defense Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) confirmed the signing of a definitive agreement between South Korea and Indonesia to jointly develop the Korean KFX next-generation fighter aircraft.[18]
    On 2 August 2011, a joint research center was opened in Daejeon.[19][20]
    In a public meeting the Korean Institute for Defense Analysis revealed the development would cost more than 10 trillion won. Over the lifetime of the program the KF-X would cost more than twice as much as an imported aircraft. The intitute openly questions whether the U.S. will be willing to help. Similary in 2007, the Korean Development Institute reported that the KF-X was not viable. Lee Daeyearl, KF-X program director at the Agency for Defense Development, said the fighter would cost 6 trillion won in development, 8 trillion in production, and 9 trillion for operation over 30 years.[21]
    The Agency for Defense Development has prepared two series of designs, one for an aircraft with aft horizontal stabilizers, and with a canard stabilizer. The aft-tail series has run through the iterations ClOl, CI02 and, C103, all with two engines and a single seat. The CI02 design was further broken down into three variants: CI02E with one engine, CI02I with internal weapons and CI02T with two seats. Similarly, the canard series had the iterations C201, C202 (also with variants E, I and T) and the current C203 follow the same pattern. The agency proposes that either CI03 or C203, whichever was chosen, would then advance through three design standards. Block 1 would be "reduced observable," which would be equivalent to the B-lB, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon. Block 1 would rely on fuselage and inlet shaping, edge alignment, radar-absorbing material, and semiconformal weapons carriage for reducing signature. Block 2 would carry internal weapons, have conformal antennas, and sensors would be "integrated". There would be minimal gaps and additional radarabsorbing coating on the canopy, and the structure of the aircraft. It would be as stealthy as the F-117. Block 3 would advance the aircraft to the level of the B-2, F-22 and F-35, but no details are given. All of this is a step beyond the previous concept. The aircraft is expected to be between the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle in size. The CI03 design with two engines of 18,000 lb. thrust each. According to a 2009 external review of the program, the empty mass of the KF-X should be 10.4 metric tons.[21]
    A decision on the selection of either design lines was expected to be made in 2013.[22] However Indonesian Defense Ministry spokesman Pos Hutabarat announced a year and a half suspension of the project in 2013.[23]
    General characteristics
    Crew: 1
    Length: 13 m ()
    Wingspan: 14 m (estimate) ()
    Height: 4.5 m
    Planta motriz:2 tubofan ()
    Powerplant: ×
    Performance
    Maximum speed: Mach 1.8
    Avionics
    Datalink capabilities
    AESA radar
    IRST
    Courtesy:- Wikipidia
     
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    shom Regular Member

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    shom Regular Member

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    [​IMG]
    upload foto

    The KAI KF-X is a South Korean aircraft project for a fifth generation fighter with stealth capabilities; much resembling the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. It was unveiled at the Air Force Academy in March 2001, by the South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung.
    DescriptionEdit
    Not many details are known about the KF-X except that it will be a twin engine, stealthy, multirole fighter and that it will carry its weapons internally. It is expected to replace the aging F-4 Phantom II and the Northtrop F-5.
    Two variants are currently developed:

    KF-X-101: Similar to the F-35 Lightning II, but with two engines
    KF-X-202: Similar to the Eurofighter Typhoon but with two vertical stabilizers
    It is more likely that the KF-X-101 will be built because it has many similarities to the American F-35 Lightning II and it gets help by the American company Boeing.
    The first flight and testing is planned to take place in 2016-2017. It should be operational in the 2020-2050 timeframe. ADD began also deciding which engine should be used on the aircraft:

    General Electric F414
    EUROJET Turbo Gmbh EJ2X0
    SNECMA M88 from the Dassault Rafale
    ArmamentEdit
    M61 Vulcan
    AIM-9X Sidewinder or own development
    AIM-120 AMRAAM or own development
    Small Diameter Bomb or own development
    AGM-169 JCM or own development
    SSM-760K Haeseong anti-ship missile
    Boramae Air Launched Cruise Missile or Taurus cruise missile
    Supersonic Air Launched Cruise Missile
    Courtesy:-aircraft.wikia.com
     
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    rahulrds1 Regular Member

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  17. shom

    shom Regular Member

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  18. shom

    shom Regular Member

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    HESA Shafaq
    [​IMG]

    Reports have indicated that Shafaq will be a sub-sonic aircraft but this might be improved, and it will have a skin of radar-absorbing material according to Iranian officials.[2]
    This two-seat Advanced training and Attack aircraft appears to be based[3] on the Russian-Iranian "Project Integral" and are fitted with Russian ejection seats. Reportedly there are plans to produce three versions—one two-seat trainer/light strike version and two one-seat fighter-bomber versions.[1]
    The Shafaq is designed by the Aviation University Complex (AUC), part of the Malek-Ashtar University of Technology (MUT). At the start of the program Iran received help from Russia[3] and the aircraft was known as Integral. Russia later backed away from this project due to several reasons[citation needed] and Iran carried on the project by itself and the aircraft became known as Shafaq. The Shafaq is a sub-sonic aircraft,[3] made of radar-absorbing material. It has a large leading edge root extension (LERX) and a root aft of the wing which gives it an unusual circular sub-section.[1]
    A 1/7 scale model of the Shafaq has already completed testing in the AUC's wind tunnel and pictures have already been revealed which show that a full-scale model has already been built.[3] The Shafaq will be built in different configurations including a two-seater trainer, a two-seater Light Attack and a one-seater Light Attack variants. Roll-out of the first prototype was scheduled for 2008.[2] The Shafaq's advanced cockpit features color MFDs and a Russian-made K-36D ejection seat.
    [edit]Specifications

    Data from [3]
    General characteristics
    Crew: one or two (Pilot and Radar Intercept Officer)
    Length: 10.84 m ()
    Wingspan: 10.45 m ()
    Height: 4.26 m ()
    Empty weight: 4361 kg ()
    Max. takeoff weight: 6900 kg ()
    Powerplant: 1 × Klimov RD-33 turbofan, 11,230 lbf (50.0 kN)(5,098 kgf)
    Performance
    Service ceiling: 16,780 m (55,040 ft)
    Rate of climb: 110 m/s (21,650 ft/min)
    Armament
    Sattar, Shahbaz, Fatter missiles
     
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    shom Regular Member

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    shom Regular Member

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    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013

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