31 July 2015

Su-27 Flanker

The aircraft is equipped to operate autonomously in combat over hostile territory, in escort of deep-penetration strike aircraft and in the suppression of enemy airfields. The aircraft provides general air defence in cooperation with ground and airborne control stations. A naval variant with folding wings, the Su-33, exists.

The Su-27 (Nato designation Flanker) is the front-line fighter aircraft designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and manufactured by Irkut Corporation. The export version is the Su-27SK.

Su-27 Flanker development

Su-27 entered production in 1982 and is in service with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, and is built under license in China as the F-11. A variant, the Su-30MK, has been sold to India with licensed local production.
50 aircraft were ordered from Irkut and the first entered service with the Indian Air Force in September 2002. The last was delivered in December 2004.
The first of up to 140 aircraft indigenously built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was delivered in November 2004. China ordered 76 two-seat Su-30MKK and 24 Su-30MK2 naval fighters. Deliveries were completed in August 2004. Indonesia ordered two Su-27SK and two Su-30MK aircraft which were delivered in September 2003.
In May 2006, the Su-27 was selected by the Mexican Navy. Ten aircraft are required, eight single-seat and two Su-27UB two-seat trainers.
In August 2007, Indonesia ordered a further three Su-27SKM and three Su-30MK2 aircraft.
The latest version is the Su-27SM, an upgrade for the Russian Air Force which has strengthened fuselage for extra weapons payload, improved N001 radar, glass cockpit with three-colour multi-function displays and improved avionics. The first was delivered in December 2003.

Su-27 Design

The Su-27 is a highly integrated twin-finned aircraft. The airframe is constructed of titanium and high-strength aluminium alloys. The engine nacelles are fitted with trouser fairings to provide a continuous streamlined profile between the nacelles and the tail beams. The fins and horizontal tail consoles are attached to tail beams.
The central beam section between the engine nacelles consists of the equipment compartment, fuel tank and the brake parachute container. The fuselage head is of semi-monocoque construction and includes the cockpit, radar compartments and the avionics bay.


The aircraft is equipped with a 30mm GSh-301 gun with 150 rounds of ammunition and a range of missiles, rockets and bombs mounted externally on ten hardpoints.
The aircraft's infrared search and track system, laser rangefinder, radar and helmet-mounted target designator provide detection, tracking and attack capability.
The range of air-to-air missiles carried by the Su-27 aircraft includes: R-27R1 (Nato designation AA-10A Alamo-A), all-aspect medium-range missile with semi-active radar homing and R-27T1 (AA-10B Alamo-B) with infrared homing and a range from 500m to 60km; and R-73E (AA-11 Archer) all-aspect, close-combat air-to-air missile with infrared homing and a range from 300m to 20km.
Ordnance for air-to-ground missions include: 100kg, 250kg and 500kg freefall and retarded aerial bombs; 500kg incendiary devices; 25kg and 500kg RBK cluster bombs; and C-8, C-13 and C-25 unguided aerial missiles.


The Su-27 is equipped with a new electronic countermeasures suite for individual aircraft, and for mutual and group protection in the forward and rear hemispheres.
The countermeasures system includes a pilot illumination radar warning receiver, chaff and infrared decoy dispensers, and an active multi-mode jammer located in the wingtip pods.


The Su-27 is equipped with a Phazotron N001 Zhuk coherent pulse Doppler radar with track-while-scan and look-down / shoot-down capability.
The range of the radar against 3m² targets is over 100km in the forward hemisphere and 40km in the rear hemisphere. The radar has the capacity to search, detect and track up to ten targets with automatic threat assessment and proritisation.
The aircraft has an OEPS-27 electro-optic system, which includes an infrared search-and-track (IRST) sensor collimated with a laser rangefinder. The range of the electro-optical system is 40-100km, depending on the aspect angle presented by the target.


The radio communications suite provides: voice and data; VHF/UHF radio communications between aircraft and ground control stations within sight range; voice radio communication with ground control stations and between aircraft up to a range of 1,500km; an encrypted data link for combat information exchange between aircraft; and command guidance from ground control stations using automatic interception mode.


The Su-27 is equipped with an electro-optical fire-control system, supplied by the Urals Optical and Mechanical Plant (YOM3), and a Geofizika FLIR (forward-looking infrared) pod. Leninetz of St Petersburg supplies the radar systems and TsNIRTI the electronic countermeasures suite.

The Su-27SK is powered by two AL-31F turbofan engines, designed by the Lyulka Engine Design Bureau (NPO Saturn). Each engine has two air intakes: a primary wedge intake and a louvred auxiliary air intake.
The twin-shaft, turbo-fan engine has after-turbine flow mixing, a common afterburner, an all-mode variable area jet exhaust nozzle, an independent start and a main electronic control, and a reserve hydromechanical engine mode control system. The high-temperature sections of the engines are made of titanium alloy.
An Su-27 fitted with AL-41F1 engines being developed by NPO Saturn took its first flight in March 2004. The uprated engine provides a thrust of 145kN (33,000lb).

MiG-35 Fulcrum-F

MiG-35 is compatible with Russian and foreign-origin weapons applications and an integrated variety of defensive systems to increase combat survivability. The fighter plane is being marketed globally under the designation MiG-35 (single seat) and MiG-35D (dual seat). MiG Corporation made their first official international MiG-35 presentation during Aero India 2007. MiG-35 Fulcrum-F is an export version of the MiG-29M OVT (Fulcrum F).

MiG-35 is a new export variant that combines the modern systems of the MiG-29M2 with an AESA radar. The fighter plane has the thrust vectoring of the MiG-29OVT as an additional option. Improved avionics and weapon systems, notably the new AESA radar and the uniquely designed optical locator system (OLS), make the aircraft less dependent on ground-controlled interception (GCI) systems and enables the MiG-35 to conduct independent multirole missions.

MiG-35 AESA Radar

MiG-35 will be the first Russian aircraft to be fitted with active electronically scanned array radar. The Zhuk-MA's antenna consists of 160 modules, each with four receive-and-transmit modules. It is believed to offer a 160km (85nm) air target detection radius and 300km for surface ships.
Like radar, OLS allows the MiG-35 to detect targets and aim weapon systems. But, unlike radar, OLS has no emissions, meaning it cannot be detected.
OLS works like a human eye by getting the picture and later analysing it. NII PP, the federal space agency science and research institute's engineers have chosen more short-wave bands for the matrix, which has increased sensitivity of the complex several times and has increased detection range.
The OLS on the MiG-35 is considered to help pilots to spot even the USAF's stealth planes. OLS includes a complex of powerful optics with IR vision that makes it impossible for any plane to hide.
OLS solves the problem of blurred vision. At speed, each piece of dust can cause harm to the glass of the OLS. The new OLS uses leuco-sapphire, the next-hardest material after artificial diamonds, making the lifetime for such glass much longer. According to NII PP engineers, leuco-sapphire is clear for all the OLS emissions and doesn't corrupt the signal, an important factor for the optical systems.

MiG-35 Engines

The MiG-35 is powered by two RD-33MKBs that can be fitted with KliVT swivel-nozzles and a thrust vectoring control (TVC) system. The MiG-35's combination of TVC and advanced missile-warning sensors gives it the edge during combat.
RD-33 engines generate 7% more power compared to the baseline model due to the modern materials that go into the manufacturing of the cooled blades. The engines provide a higher-than-average thrust of 9,000kgf. RD-33 engines are smokeless and include systems that reduce infrared and optical visibility. The engines may be fitted with vectored-thrust nozzles, which would result in an improvement in combat efficiency.
Russia's developmental work on thrust vectoring started in 1980s. The Sukhoi and Saturn / Lyulka engine design bureaus led the way, and their efforts resulted in the Su-30 MKI aircraft. The MiG and Klimov engine bureaus began their work in the field of thrust vector engines a little later and aimed at all-aspect thrust vectoring, as opposed to Sukhoi / Saturn's two dimensional (horizontal / vertical) vectoring.
Klimov achieved all-aspect vectoring with the aid of three hydraulic actuators that deflect the nozzles, and are mounted at 120A° intervals around the engine nacelle. This enabled MiG-35 to fly at very low speeds without angle-of-attack limitations, and ensured that it will also remain controllable in zero-speed and 'negative-speed' (tail-forward) areas for sustained periods.


The MiG-35 is a highly manoeuvrable air superiority fighter, which was shown for the first time in August 2005 during the MAKS Air Show outside Moscow. The fighter is powered by RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring control engines. The RD-33 OVT engines provide superior manoeuvrability and enhance the fighter's performance in close air-to-air engagements.
The MiG-35 presents super-manoeuvrability, a capability to fly at supercritical angles of attack at increased level of sustained and available g-loads and high turn-angle rate, which requires a greater thrust-to-weight ratio and improved wing aerodynamic efficiency.

MiG-35 Weapons

The aircraft's suite of guided weapons includes Kh-31A anti-ship missiles with active radar seekers, the Kh-31P anti-radar missiles, Kh-29TE missiles and KAB-500Kr TV-guided bombs. Added, when equipped with an external optical / laser targeting pod, the fighter can use the Kh-29L air-to-surface missiles and KAB-500L laser-guided bombs. These weapons will allow the aircraft to engage aerial and land targets.
Italy-based Elettronica signed an agreement with Mikoyan in 2007 to support in incorporating ELT/568(V)2 self-protection jammer in the MiG-35. The jammer renders self defence from radar controlled anti-aircraft artillery.

An addition of a strap-on tank behind the cockpit has allowed MiG-35 to have a higher internal fuel capacity of 950l. The capacity of the external fuel tank suspended under the fuselage has increased up to 2,000l. Ferry range with three external fuel tanks has also been increased, rising to 3,100km, and with one in-flight refuelling the range will be 5,400km. The fuel management system has also been digitised, and includes a new digital fuel metering system.


The MiG-35 can climb at the rate of 330m/s. Its maximum speed is 2,400km/h. The normal and ferry range of the aircraft are 2,000km and 3,100km respectively. The service ceiling is 17,500m. The aircraft weighs around 11,000kg and its maximum take-off weight is 29,700kg.


The MiG-29SMT is the up-to-date modification of MiG-29 multirole frontline fighter. The aircraft exhibits a long flight range due to extra capacity of integral fuel tanks and installation of in-flight refueling system (similar to that of the MiG-29SD). The aircraft and engine service life and time limits and design service life have been feasibly increased; the labor requirements and maintenance costs have been reduced.

The MiG-29 evolution program initiated in the late 80-s led to the creation of the aircraft distinguished from the basic version not only by noticeable improvement of the fighter main parameters as a weapons platform-carrier (longer operational range), but also by principally new features.
The most vital feature of this fighter is the capability to effectively operate against air and ground or sea surface targets with the use of high-precision air-to-surface missiles, thus making it a multirole combat aircraft incorporating in one air vehicle the qualities of air superiority fighter and tactical strike aircraft.
The weapon control system of the MiG-29SMT aircraft is built around the ZHUK-ME advanced multimode radar developed by the PHASOTRON-NIIR Moscow-based company. The integrated system incorporates a digital top-level computer system based on the principles of open architecture with use of multiplex data buses, meeting the MIL-STD-1553B requirements, and new information-control system employing full-color large-format liquid-crystal displays, measuring 152 x 203 mm (6 x 8 inch). The displays are developed by the Ramenskoye instruments design bureau (city of Ramenskoye, Moscow region).
The HOTAS concept is fully realized in the MiG-29SMT cockpit; the pilot controls the aircraft, performs targeting and launches weapons without removal of hands from the control stick and throttle control lever.
The MiG-29SMT aircraft six underwing and one ventral store stations can carry up to 5000 kg of external load, including the R-73E agile air-to-air missiles with a combined gas-aerodynamic control system and IR seeker with a wide off-boresight angles range, the RVV-AE medium-range air-to-air missiles with an active radar seeker and the R-27R1/ER1 medium-range air-to-air missiles with a semi-active radar seeker.
In operation against ground and sea surface targets, the MiG-29SMT is able to effectively use contemporary high-precision weapons: the Kh-29T(TE) air-to-surface missiles with a TV seeker, the Kh-31A antiship missiles, the Kh-31P antiradar missiles, the KAB-500KR guided bombs with a TV seeker and powerful warhead.
The upgraded model of batch production MIG-29SMT fighter has an additional two tanks of propellant can cover, without refueling, up to 3,500 kilometers and carry up to 5 tonnes of combat payload. The hatch design compares favorably with that of the predecessor models. The upgraded MIG can be committed to action as a fighter, interceptor, attack, reconnaissance or command post plane. It can, as a command post plane, be acting in contact with A-50 long-range radio detection and control jets. Any kind of Russian- or foreign-made air-to-air and air-to-surface launchers may be mounted aboard this plane.
A new up-to-date cockpit data display and control field, open-architecture airborne equipment complex based on highly effective computing facilities and multiplex communication channels (new navigation, ECM, communication, guidance and data recording systems) can be integrated. The aircraft can be provided with the "Zhuk-M" multimode radar boosting a longer range of air target detection and +/-90° viewing angle in azimuth. The radar is able to track a greater number of targets and engage them simultaneously; scanning in the air-to-surface modes (including those of high resolution) based on indication of moving and sea-surface targets have been incorporated. The weapons mix is widened.
At the buyer's request, radar-absorbent coatings can be applied, Western and national equipment can be installed and number of store stations can be increased. The process of in-service aircraft upgrading up to the MiG-29SMT level has been developed. Works on the aircraft further upgrading are under way.
MiG Corp. has also developed a modular system of MiG-29 upgrading to the MiG 29SMT level. This system is flexible, allowing potential clients to chose the set of aircraft upgrades what they really need. Set of upgrades includes three modules. First module is upgrading the aircraft weapons control system transforming MiG-29 into multirole fighter. A new "Zhuk-ME" radar with a terrain mapping mode is installed. Upgrade of the weapons control system allow to increase considerably the range of "air-to-air" and "air-to-ground" guided and unguided weapons.
While keeping unbeatable air combat characteristics, MiG-29 obtains strike functions, comparable with modern foreign competitors. Second module is increasing internal and drop fuel tanks capacity, upgrading fuel system and installing in-flight refueling equipment, adopted, according to customer's demand, for usage with Russian or foreign tanker aircraft. Third module is upgrading of on-board equipment and installation digital fly-by-wire control system. Pilot's cockpit is equipped with color LCD MFDs, modern flight navigation and communication equipment including satellite navigation of Russian or foreign origin, fully compliant with NATO and ICAO standards.
In case of MiG-29 complete upgrading to MiG-29SMT level the customer receives a generation "4+" level aircraft, close in characteristics and by set of equipment to the newest MiG-29M. It is equal, even superior in some positions, to foreign competitors, able to keep, prior to proper exploitation and maintenance, its combat effectiveness for the next 20 years. And MiG Corp. can make all upgrades on the territory of customer and on its manufacturing facilities.
The MiG-29SMT aircraft features:
  • · Longer range and flight endurance;
  • · High combat effectiveness;
  • · Superb agility;
  • · High reliability and flight safety;
  • · Easy operation and reduced DOC, up-to-date logistic support;
  • · Advanced architecture of cockpit avionics and information control system, HOTAS;
  • · Integrated fire-control system consisting of upgraded radar fire-control system built around the ZHUK-ME advanced radar boasting longer operating ranges, multichannel firing and up-to-date air-to-surface modes, and of IR search and track system and helmet-mounted sight;
  • · Up-to-date navigation, radio communication, electronic countermeasures, monitoring and recording systems as well as optronic and reconnaissance pods;
  • · Modified weapon system including the RVV-AE, R-27ER1, R-27ET1, R-27R1, R-27T1, R-73E air-to-air missiles, the Kh-31A, Kh-31P, Kh-29T (TE), Kh-29L air-to-surface missiles, the KAB-500KR (OD), KAB-500L guided bombs, rockets, free-fall bombs and the GSh-301 built-in gun.
  • - the MiG-29 aircraft basic version can be upgraded to the MiG-29SMT level;
  • - the upgraded aircraft can be equipped with avionics and armed with weapons of non-Russian origin.

29 July 2015

Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

Designed and initially produced by McDonnell Douglas, the Super Hornet first flew in 1995. Full-rate production began in September 1997, after the merger of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing the previous month. The Super Hornet entered service with the United States Navy in 1999, replacing the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, which was retired in 2006; the Super Hornet serves alongside the original Hornet. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which has operated the F/A-18A as its main fighter since 1984, ordered the F/A-18F in 2007 to replace its aging F-111 fleet. RAAF Super Hornets entered service in December 2010.

The Super Hornet is largely a new aircraft. It is about 20% larger, 7,000 lb (3,200 kg) heavier empty weight, and 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) heavier maximum weight than the original Hornet. The Super Hornet carries 33% more internal fuel, increasing mission range by 41% and endurance by 50% over the "Legacy" Hornet. The empty weight of the Super Hornet is about 11,000 lb (5,000 kg) less than that of the F-14 Tomcat which it replaced, while approaching, but not matching, the F-14's payload and range.
The Super Hornet, unlike the previous Hornet, is designed so it can be equipped with an aerial refueling system (ARS) or "buddy store" for the refueling of other aircraft, filling the tactical airborne tanker role the Navy had lost with the retirement of the KA-6D and Lockheed S-3B Viking tankers. The ARS includes an external 330 US gal (1,200 L) tank with hose reel on the centerline, along with four external 480 US gal (1,800 L) tanks and internal tanks, for a total of 29,000 lb (13,000 kg) of fuel on the aircraft. On typical missions a fifth of the air wing is dedicated to the tanker role, which consumes aircraft fatigue life expectancy faster than other missions.

Airframe Changes

The forward fuselage is unchanged, but the remainder of the aircraft shares little with earlier F/A-18C/D models. The fuselage was stretched by 34 in (86 cm) to make room for fuel and future avionics upgrades and increased the wing area by 25%. However, the Super Hornet has 42% fewer structural parts than the original Hornet design. The General Electric F414 engine, developed from the Hornet's F404, has 35% additional thrust over most of the aircraft's flight envelope. The Super Hornet can return to an aircraft carrier with a larger load of unspent fuel and munitions than the original Hornet. The term for this ability is known as "bringback". Bringback for the Super Hornet is in excess of 9,000 lb (4,100 kg).

Other differences include Intake ramps for the engines and two extra wing hard points for payload (for a total of 11), retaining previous hardpoints on the bottom centerline, wingtips, and two conformal fuselage positions. Among the most significant aerodynamic changes are the enlarged leading edge extensions (LEX) which provide improved vortex lifting characteristics in high angle of attack maneuvers, and reduce the static stability margin to enhance pitching characteristics. This results in pitch rates in excess of 40 degrees per second, and high resistance to departure from controlled flight.

Radar Signature Reduction Measures

Survivability is an important feature of the Super Hornet design. The U.S. Navy took a "balanced approach" to survivability in its design. This means that it does not rely on very low-observable technology, i.e. stealth. Instead, its design incorporates a combination of signature reduction, advanced electronic-warfare capabilities, reduced ballistic vulnerability, the use of standoff weapons, and innovative tactics that collectively enhance the safety of the fighter and crew in an affordable manner.

The F/A-18E/F's radar cross-section was reduced greatly from some aspects, mainly the front and rear. The design of the engine inlets reduces the aircraft's frontal radar cross-section. The alignment of the leading edges of the engine inlets is designed to scatter radiation to the sides. Fixed fanlike reflecting structures in the inlet tunnel divert radar energy away from the rotating fan blades.

The Super Hornet also makes considerable use of panel joint serration and edge alignment. Considerable attention has been paid to the removal or filling of unnecessary surface join gaps and resonant cavities. Where the F/A-18A-D used grilles to cover various accessory exhaust and inlet ducts, the F/A-18E/F uses perforated panels that appear opaque to radar waves at the frequencies used. Careful attention has been paid to the alignment of many panel boundaries and edges, to direct reflected waves away from the aircraft in uniformly narrow angles.

It is claimed that the Super Hornet employs the most extensive radar cross section reduction measures of any contemporary fighter, other than the F-22 and F-35. While the F/A-18E/F is not a stealth fighter like the F-22, it will have a frontal radar cross-section an order of magnitude smaller than prior generation fighters. Additional changes for reducing RCS can be installed on an as-needed basis.


Initially, the Super Hornet's avionics and software had a 90% commonality with that of the F/A-18C/D fleet at the time. Differences include an up-front Touchscreen control display; a large multipurpose color liquid-crystal display; and a fuel display. The Super Hornet has a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire system, as well as a digital flight-control system that detects and corrects for battle damage. Initial production models used the APG-73 radar, later replaced by the AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array(AESA). The AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking InfraRed), is the main electro-optical sensor and laser designator pod for the Super Hornet. The communications equipment consist of an AN/ARC-210 VHF/UHF radio and a MIDS low volume terminal for HAVE QUICK, SINCGARS and Link 16 connectivity.

The defensive countermeasures of Block I aircraft includes the AN/ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receiver, the AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser, the AN/ALE-50 towed decoy and the AN/ALQ-165 Airborne Self-Protect Jammer (ASPJ). Block II aircraft replace the ALQ-165 with the AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Countermeasures (IDECM) system, consisting of internally mounted threat receivers and optional self-protection jammers. Interior and exterior lighting on the Block II was changed to allow the use of night vision devices. The older ALE-50 decoys are being replaced by ALE-55 towed decoys, which can transmit jamming signals based on data received from the IDECM. The improved AN/ALQ-214 jammer was added on Block II aircraft.

Block II aircraft were fitted with the AN/APG-79 AESA radar, capable of executing simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks, and providing higher quality high-resolution ground mapping at long standoff ranges. The AESA radar can also detect smaller targets, such as inbound missiles and can track air targets beyond the range of the aircraft's air-to-air missiles. VFA-213, the first Super Hornet squadron to fly AESA-equipped Super Hornets, became "safe for flight" (independently fly and maintain the F/A-18F) on 27 October 2006. The first Super Hornet upgraded with the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) was delivered to VFA-213 on 18 May 2007. The JHMCS provides multi-purpose situational awareness, which includes high-off-boresight missile cuing. The Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) is a high-resolution, digital tactical aerial reconnaissance system that features advanced day/night and all-weather capability. The Multifunctional Information Distribution System low volume communication terminal is being upgraded with the MIDS-JTRS system, which will allow a tenfold increase in bandwidth as well as compatibility with the Joint Tactical Radio System standards.

General Characteristics
  • Crew: F/A-18E: 1, F/A-18F: 2
  • Length: 60 ft 1¼ in (18.31 m)
  • Wingspan: 44 ft 8½ in (13.62 m)
  • Height: 16 ft (4.88 m)
  • Wing area: 500 ft² (46.5 m²)
  • Empty weight: 32,081 lb (14,552 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 47,000 lb (21,320 kg) (in fighter configuration))
  • Max. takeoff weight: 66,000 lb (29,937 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 13,000 lbf (62.3 kN) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 22,000 lbf (97.9 kN) each
  • Internal fuel capacity: F/A-18E: 14,400 lb (6,780 kg), F/A-18F: 13,550 lb (6,354 kg)
  • External fuel capacity: 5 × 480 gal tanks, totaling 16,380 lb (7,381 kg)
  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.8 (1,190 mph, 1,915 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m)
  • Range: 1,275 nmi (2,346 km) clean plus two AIM-9s
  • Combat radius: 390 nmi (449 mi, 722 km) for interdiction mission
  • Ferry range: 1,800 nmi (2,070 mi, 3,330 km)
  • Service ceiling: 50,000+ ft (15,000+ m)
  • Rate of climb: 44,882 ft/min (228 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 94.0 lb/ft² (459 kg/m²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.93
  • Design load factor: 7.6 g
  • Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A2 Vulcan nose-mounted Gatling-style cannon, 578 rounds
  • Hardpoints: 11 total: 2× wingtips, 6× under-wing, and 3× under-fuselage with a capacity of 17,750 lb (8,050 kg) external fuel and ordnance
  • Missiles:
    • Air-to-air missiles:
      • 4× AIM-9 Sidewinder or 4× AIM-120 AMRAAM, and
      • 2× AIM-7 Sparrow or 2× AIM-120 AMRAAM
    • Air-to-surface missiles:
      • AGM-65 Maverick
      • AGM-84H/K Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Range (SLAM-ER)
      • AGM-88 HARM Anti-radiation missile (ARM)
      • AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
      • AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM)
    • Anti-ship missile:
      • AGM-84 Harpoon
      • Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), in the future
  • Bombs:
    • JDAM precision-guided munition (PGMs)
    • Paveway series of laser-guided bombs
    • Mk 80 series of unguided iron bombs
    • CBU-78 Gator
    • CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition
    • CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon
    • Mk 20 Rockeye II
  • Others:
    • SUU-42A/A Flares/Infrared decoys dispenser pod and chaff pod or
    • Electronic countermeasures (ECM) pod or
    • AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR Targeting pods or
    • up to 3× 330 U.S. gallon (1,200 L) Sargent Fletcher drop tanks for ferry flight or extended range/loitering time or
    • 1× 330 U.S. gal (1,200 L) tank and 4× 480 U.S. gal (1,800 L) tanks for aerial refueling system (ARS).
  • Hughes APG-73 or Raytheon APG-79 Radar
  • Northrop Grumman/ITT AN/ALE-165 self-protection jammer pod or BAE Systems AN/ALE-214 integrated defensive electronic countermeasures system
  • Raytheon AN/ALE-50 or BAE Systems AN/ALE-55 towed decoy
  • Northrop Grumman AN/ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receiver
  • MIDS LVT or MIDS JTRS datalink transceiver

28 July 2015

Tu-160 Blackjack, Rusian Strategic Bomber

Manufactured by the Tupolev aircraft research and engineering complex joint stock company of Moscow and the Kazan-Gorbunov Aircraft Production Association in Tatarstan from 1980 to 1992.
The maiden flight of the bomber was completed in December 1981 and it entered service in April 1987. Production has since restarted and a Tu-160 was delivered to the Russian Air Force in May 2000. About 35 aircraft were built of which only 16 are in service in Russia.

Tu-160 Strategic Bomber

The Tu-160 was designated as White Swan due to its manoeuvrability and anti-flash white finish. The purpose of the aircraft is the delivery of nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theatres of operation. The aircraft has all-weather, day-and-night capability and can operate at all geographical latitudes. The performance of the Russian Tu-160 is often compared with the US B-1B.

Tu-160 Bomber Upgrades

Kazan Aircraft Production Organisation (KAPO) was awarded a contract to upgrade the Russian Air Force's 15 Tu-160 bombers. The Tupolev upgrade package includes new targeting systems, upgraded cruise missiles and an electronic warfare suite. The first upgraded aircraft was delivered in July 2006.
In September 2008, two Tu-160 bombers made the first transatlantic flight for the type, from Murmansk to Venezuela, on a training mission.
In June 2010, two Russian Tu-160 bombers completed a record-breaking 23hr patrol covering 18,000km of flight range. The bombers flew by the borders of Russia over the Arctic and Pacific Oceans and finally landed at Engels base in the Volga region.
Tupolev completed bench tests of modernised avionics complex for the Tu-160 bomber in March 2013.
The Russian Defence Ministry awarded a RUB3.4bn ($105m) contract to Tupolev and KAPO for the modernisation of three Tu-160 bombers, in July 2013.
A Tu-160 aircraft with upgraded airborne radar and navigation equipment made first flight on 16 November 2014. It entered service with the Russian Air Force in December 2014.

Tu-160 Variants

The Tu-160 has eight variants: Tu-160S, Tu-160V, Tu-160 NK-74, Tu-160M, Tu-160P, Tu-160PP, Tu-160R and Tu-160SK.
Tu-160V is an upgraded version which uses liquid hydrogen as fuel while Tu-160 NK-74 is an advance version powered by NK-74 engines.
Tu-160M can accommodate two additional long-range, hypersonic Kh-90 missiles. Tu-160P, also known as Tu-161, is a long range escort or interceptor aircraft.
Tu-160SK is an upgraded commercial version principally used to launch satellites within the Burlak system.

Bomber Design

The bomber's airframe has a distinctive appearance, with the wing and fuselage gradually integrated into a single-piece configuration. The airframe structure is based on a titanium beam, all-welded torsion box. Throughout the entire airframe, all the main airframe members are secured to the titanium beam.
The variable geometry outer tapered wings sweep back from 20° to 65° in order to provide high-performance flight characteristics at supersonic and subsonic speeds. The tail surfaces, horizontal and vertical, are one piece and all-moving.
The Tu-160 uses fly-by-wire controls. The aircraft is equipped with three-strut landing gear, a tail wheel and a brake parachute. It can attack strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons in continental theatres of operation. For take-off, the aircraft requires a concrete runway of 3,050m.

Tu-160 Cockpit

The crew of the Tu-160 comprises a pilot, co-pilot, a navigator and an operator. The four crew are equipped with zero / zero ejection seats, which provide the crew with the option of ejecting safely throughout the entire range of altitudes and air speeds, including when the aircraft is parked.
In the cockpit and cabins, all the data is presented on conventional electro-mechanical indicators and monitors, and not head-up displays or cathode ray tube displays.
The Tu-160 has a control stick for flight control as used in a fighter aircraft – rather than control wheels or yokes, which are usually used in large transporter or bomber aircraft.


The Tu-160 can carry nuclear and conventional weapons including long-range nuclear missiles. The missiles are accommodated on multi-station launchers in each of the two weapons bays.
The Tu-160 is capable of carrying the strategic cruise missile Kh-55MS, which is known in the West by the Nato designation and codename AS-15 Kent. Up to 12 Kh-55MS missiles can be carried, six in each bay. The Kh-55MS is propelled by a turbofan engine. The maximum range is 3,000km, and it is armed with a 200kt nuclear warhead.
The weapons bays are also fitted with launchers for the Kh-15P, which has the Nato designation and codename AS-16 Kickback. The Kh-15P Kickback has solid rocket fuel propulsion, which gives a range up to 200km. The Kickback can be fitted with a conventional 250kg warhead or a nuclear warhead. The aircraft is also capable of carrying a range of aerial bombs with a total weight up to 40t.

Tu-160 Avionics

The aircraft is highly computerised, and the avionics systems include an integrated aiming, navigation and flight control system, with a navigation and attack radar, an electronic countermeasures system, and automatic controls.

Turbofan Engines

The aircraft propulsion system consists of four Samara NK-321 turbofan engines, each of which provide a maximum thrust of 25,000kg. The engines are installed in two pods under the shoulders of the wing. The air intake incorporates an adjustable vertical wedge.
The bomber has an in-flight refuelling system. In the inoperative position, the refuelling probe is retracted into the nose of the fuselage in front of the pilot's cabin. The aircraft fuel capacity is 160,000kg.


The Tu-160 can climb at a rate of 70m per second. The maximum and cruise speeds of the bomber are 2,220km per hour and 960km per hour, respectively. The range of the aircraft is 12,300km. Its combat radius is 7,300km.
The service ceiling is 16,000m. The Tu-160 has a flight endurance of 15 hours. The aircraft weighs around 110,000kg and its maximum take-off weight is 275,000kg.

27 July 2015

F-16 Fighting Falcon

The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, the first of the US Air Force multi-role fighter aircraft, is the world's most prolific fighter with more than 2,000 in service with the USAF and 2,000 operational with 25 other countries.
The F-16 and the F-15 Eagle were the world's first aircraft able to withstand higher g-forces than the pilots. The Fighting Falcon entered service in 1979. The last of 2,231 F-16 fighters for the US Air Force was delivered in March 2005. The first two-seat F-16D version was accepted by the US Government in January 2009.
F-16A/B Block 25OCU TNI AU, Halim PK AFB
Foreign orders have included Bahrain (ten delivered), Greece (60 block 52 all delivered), Israel (50), Egypt (24 block 40), New Zealand (28), United Arab Emirates (80 block 60, first delivered 2005), Singapore (20), South Korea (20 block 52 all delivered), Oman (12), Chile (ten block 50) and Poland (48 block 52).


Advanced equipment being fitted on the current build of the F-16 includes Honeywell colour flat-panel liquid crystal multifunction displays, digital terrain system, modular mission computer, colour video camera to record the pilot's view of the head-up display (HUD), a colour triple-deck video recorder and an enhanced programmable display generator.
Under the USAF project Sure Strike, the F-16 is equipped with an improved data modem (IDM), which automatically provides target data to the HUD using data transmitted by a ground observer.
The seat-back angle of the aircraft has been increased from 13° to 30° to provide increased comfort for the pilot.
"USAF F-16 aircraft are scheduled to receive the Boeing joint helmet-mounted cueing system (JHMCS)."
A follow-on programme, project Gold Strike, integrates an upgraded IDM for the transmission of images to and from a range of sources, including ground units and unmanned aircraft. The system can transmit images from the LANTIRN targeting pod and display video imagery to the cockpit.
USAF F-16 aircraft receive the Boeing joint helmet-mounted cueing system (JHMCS), currently in full-rate production. Deliveries of production systems began in 2004, the system was first deployed operationally during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Missiles and Weapons
The aircraft has nine hardpoints for weapons payloads: one at each wing tip, three under each wing and one centreline under the fuselage. The ordnance is launched from Raytheon LAU-88 launchers, MAU-12 and Orgen bomb ejector racks. The port wing is fitted with a 20mm General Electric M61A1 multi-barrel cannon and the gunsight is interfaced to the cockpit HUD.
Air-to-air missiles which have been carried on the F-16 include the Lockheed Martin / Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder, Raytheon AMRAAM, Raytheon Sparrow, MBDA (formerly Matra BAe Dynamics) Skyflash and ASRAAM, and the MBDA R550 Magic 2. In April 2004, the F-16 first fired the new-generation AIM-9X Sidewinder, which is in full-rate production for the USAF.
Air-to-surface missiles carried on the F-16 include Maverick, HARM and Shrike missiles, manufactured by Raytheon, and anti-ship missiles include Boeing Harpoon and Kongsberg Penguin. Flight tests with the Lockheed Martin joint air-to-surface stand-off missile (JASSM) have been conducted from the F-16.
The first guided launch of the new joint direct attack munition (JDAM) was successfully carried out from an F-16. The F-16 was the first USAF aircraft to be fitted with the joint stand-off weapon (JSOW) in April 2000.
The F-16 can be fitted with Lockheed Martin wind-corrected munitions dispenser (WCMD), which provides precision guidance for CBU-87, -89, and 97 cluster munitions. The system corrects for launch transients, ballistic errors, and winds aloft.
The F-16 will be the first aircraft to use the USAF's new weapon rack, the Edo Corporation BRU-57. The BRU-57 is a vertical ejection rack which doubles the aircraft's capacity for precision-guided weapons like JDAM and WCMD.
All-weather stand-off weapons such as the AGM-84E stand-off land-attack missile (SLAM) and the AGM-142 Popeye II are planned to be included in future upgrades to the aircraft. Other advanced weapons include MICA, IRIS-T, Python IV, Active Skyflash air-to-air missile, ALARM antiradiation missile, Apache multimission stand-off weapon, autonomous free-flight dispenser system and AS30L laser-guided missile.

The F-16 carries the Lockheed Martin LANTIRN infrared navigation and targeting system. This is used in conjunction with a BAE Systems holographic display. Block 50/52 aircraft are equipped with the HARM Targeting System, AN/ASQ-213 from Raytheon.
US Air National Guard F-16 aircraft are fitted with Northrop Grumman Litening II / Litening ER targeting pods.
"Air-to-surface missiles carried on the F-16 Fighting Falcon include Maverick, HARM and Shrike missiles."
In August 2001, Lockheed Martin was selected to provide the Sniper XR as the new advanced targeting pod for USAF F-16 and F-15E aircraft.
Sniper XR (extended range) incorporates a high-resolution mid-wave FLIR, dual-mode laser, CCD TV, laser spot tracker and laser marker combined with advanced image processing algorithms. Deliveries began in March 2003.
F-16 fighters for Oman will be equipped with BAE Systems advanced airborne reconnaissance system. Those for Poland and Morocco will be equipped with the Goodrich DB-110 reconnaissance pod.

Block 50 F-16 aircraft for the USA are equipped with the Lockheed Martin superheterodyne AN/ALR-56M radar warning receiver. The F-16 is also compatible with a range of jammers and electronic countermeasures equipment, including Northrop Grumman AN/ALQ-131, Raytheon AN/ALQ-184, Elisra SPS 3000 and Elta EL/L-8240, and the Northrop Grumman ALQ-165 self-protection suite.
Lockheed Martin ALE-40 and ALE-47 chaff and infrared flare dispenser systems are installed in an internal flush mount. ALE-40 is pilot-controlled but the ALE-47 installed in block 50 can be operated in fully, semi-automatic or manual mode.
F-16s for the Greek Air Force are being fitted with the Raytheon advanced self-protection integrated suite (ASPIS) II which includes Northrop Grumman ALR-93(V) threat warning system, Raytheon ALQ-187 jammer and BAE Systems ALE-47 chaff / flare dispenser.
F-16s for Chile and Pakistan are fitted with the ITT AN/ALQ-211 (V) 4 electronic warfare suite.

The Northrop Grumman AN/APG-68 radar provides 25 separate air-to-air and air-to-ground modes, including long-range, all-aspect detection and tracking, simultaneous multiple-target tracking, and high-resolution ground mapping. The planar antenna array is installed in the nose of the aircraft.
An upgraded version of the radar, AN/APG-68(V)9, has begun flight testing. The upgrade features: 30% increase in detection range, five times increase in processing speed, ten times increase in memory, as well as significant improvements in all modes, jam resistance and false alarm rate.

Navigation and Communications
The F-16 was the first operational US aircraft to receive a global positioning system (GPS). The aircraft has an inertial navigation system, either a Northrop Grumman (Litton) LN-39, LN-93 ring laser gyroscope or Honeywell H-423.
"The F-16 Fighting Falcon carries the Lockheed Martin LANTIRN infrared navigation and targeting system."
Other navigation equipment includes a BAE Systems Terprom digital terrain navigation system, Gould AN/APN-232 radar altimeter, Rockwell Collins AN/ARN-118 tactical air navigation system (TACAN) and Rockwell Collins AN/ARN-108 instrument landing system.
The communications systems include the Raytheon UHF AN/ARC-164 receiver / transmitter and Rockwell Collins VHF AM/FM AN/ARC-186 together with AN/APX101 identification friend or foe (IFF) and encryption / secure communications systems. The AN/APX-101 is being upgraded with BAE Systems AN/APX-113.

The aircraft is powered by a single engine: the General Electric F110-GE-129 or Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-229. The fuel supply is equipped with an inert gas anti-fire system. An inflight refuelling probe is installed in the top of the fuselage.
Lockheed Martin has completed developmental flight testing on new conformal fuel tanks (CFT) for the F-16, which will significantly add to the aircraft's mission radius. First flight of the F-16 equipped with the new tanks was in March 2003. Greece is the launch customer for the CFT.

F-16 Fighting Falcon international orders and deliveries
"The F-16 Fighting Falcon is the world's most prolific fighter."
Israel, with the world's largest F-16 fleet outside the USAF, has ordered 110 F-16I aircraft, of which the first was delivered in December 2003. These aircraft have Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engines, Elbit avionics, Elisra electronic warfare systems and Rafael weapons and sensors, including Litening II laser target designator pods. Italy has leased 34 aircraft until the first tranche of Eurofighter deliveries are completed. Hungary will acquire 24 ex-USAF fighters.
In December 2005, Greece ordered a further 30 block 52+ fighters (20 F-16C single seat and 10 F-16D two-seat) to be delivered from 2009. Under the Peace Xenia IV purchase programme, the total number of fighters ordered by Greece's HAF(Hellenic Air Force) rose to 170. The first Peace Xenia IV F-16 block 52 advanced aircraft was delivered on 19 March 2009. The remaining were delivered by 2010.
In June 2005, Pakistan requested the foreign military sale (FMS) of 36 F-16C/D block 50/52 aircraft. In June 2006, the Pentagon notified congress of its intention to agree the sale and Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for 12 F-16C and six F-16D block 52 aircraft in December 2006. The aircraft are armed with AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles and the Sniper targeting pod. The planned order of the second 18 aircraft was cancelled.
In September 2006, Turkey requested the sale of an additional 30 advanced block 50 F-16 aircraft. The order was signed in May 2007. The aircraft were delivered in 2011 and 2012. The total cost of these additional aircraft is estimated at more than $2.9bn excluding Turkey's $1.1bn upgrade programme for its existing F-16 fleet.
In December 2007, Morocco requested the sale of 24 F-16C/D block 50/52 aircraft. The deal includes the aircraft, mission equipment and a support package provided by Lockheed Martin and other US and international contractors. The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) placed a $233.6m order in June 2008.
The F-16IN Super Viper, which is a development of block 60, has been designed for the Indian Air force. It is a fourth-generation fighter that meets the medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) requirements. It includes Northrop Grumman APG-80 AESA radar and General Electric F110-132A engine with 32,000lb thrust.
Various F-16 upgrade and modernisation programmes are underway in Turkey, Pakistan and Jordan, and within the US Air Force. Future upgrades include air refuelling probes, auxiliary power unitu, auto ground collision avoidance systems and automatic manoeuvring attack.

F-16 common configuration implementation programme (CCIP)
650 USAF block 40/50 F-16s are being upgraded under the common configuration implementation programme (CCIP). The first phase of the programme (first aircraft completed in January 2002) provides core computer and colour cockpit modifications.
The second, which began in September 2002, involves fitting the advanced AN/APX-113 interrogator / transponder and Lockheed Martin Sniper XR advanced FLIR targeting pod.
The third, which started in July 2003, adds Link 16 datalink, the Boeing joint helmet-mounted cueing system and an electronic horizontal situation indicator. Operational testing of the M3 upgraded fighters was completed in September 2004. Deliveries were completed in 2010.
"Israel has the largest F-16 fleet outside the USAF."
A216 block 40/50 F-16 aircraft of the Turkish Air Force are to be upgraded with elements of the CCIP, under an agreement reached in April 2005. Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to supply the modernisation kits in December 2006. The upgrade is scheduled for completion in 2016.
The export version of the Sniper XR pod, the PANTERA, has been ordered by the Royal Norwegian Air Force. The first was delivered in November 2003.
Block 50/52 is the eighth major modification block of the F-16 that incorporates colour cockpit displays, new electronic warfare suite, advanced weapons and sensors and more powerful engines.

F-16E/F Block 60 upgrade
The block 60 F-16E/F, which is being developed for the United Arab Emirates, features extra payload and range, in part due to the new F110-132 engine being developed by General Electric, which produces 145kN of thrust.
New avionics for the block 60 includes a higher-speed mission computer, a new display processor, three large colour LCD displays, advanced data transfer unit with a fibre-optic data transfer network. Precision targeting is achieved by the Northrop Grumman integrated navigation FLIR and targeting FLIR system using mid-wave infrared arrays and Northrop Grumman's APG-80 agile beam active electronically scanned (AESA) radar.
Northrop Grumman is providing the integrated electronic warfare suite. First flight of the block 60 aircraft took place in December 2003. Deliveries of 80 block 60 aircraft to the UAE began in May 2005 and concluded in 2009.
What is a Block?
F-16 models are denoted by increasing block numbers to indicate upgrades. Each block of planes has a variety of software, hardware, systems, weapons compatibility and structural enhancements and can be tailored for specific customers.