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Lesson 1 How planes fly/



Parts of Aeroplane

 Aero systems


make your paper planes

aircraft refuelling in the air

Lesson 2  

Top of the Top Fighters




Lesson 3


 BF 109, Spitfire, FW 190, P-51, A6M Zero, P-38, F4U


Lesson 4  



Lesson 5  



Lesson 6  



Lesson 7  


Lesson 8  


Fighter Jets By Country

USA/ American

Britain/ British


France/ French


Russia/ Russian


Lesson 9 Airshows

Air Defence


Commercial Aeroplanes




Lesson 10



MIM-104 Patriot

155mm Pegasus Howitzer

Lesson 11










Lesson 12  





Lesson 1 How planes fly/ aerodynamics

aircraft refuelling in the air FROM KC 135

A specially instrumented KC-135 tanker from Edwards Air Force Base,Calif., is deployed to Fort Worth to support the refueling missions, which will continue over the next two weeks.

On Wednesday's flight, the F-35 program's chief test pilot Jon Beesley climbed to 20,000 feet and performed a series of maneuvers to verify the F-35’s compatibility with the KC-135's refueling boom and its aerodynamic wake. The sortie also evaluated aircraft systems and handling while connected to the refueling boom. All systems functioned as designed. Beesley reported that the F-35's flight control system provided excellent handling qualities near the tanker, and while connected to the tanker refueling boom.

The Lightning II was aloft for one hour and 34 minutes and completed multiple tanker engagements. “The test team is completely satisfied we can maneuver in the vicinity of the KC-135, and the tanker boom can easily connect with the F-35," said Doug Pearson, Lockheed Martin vice president of the F-35 Integrated Test Force. "We will begin to evaluate the F-35 fuel system during the next refueling test mission by transferring various amounts of fuel from the tanker."

The F-35 carries a prodigious amount of internal fuel – more than 18,000 pounds – giving it exceptionally long range without external tanks, and dramatically reducing its need for tanker support. The internal-fuel configuration enables the Lightning II to remain stealthy by avoiding external tank carriage typically used by legacy fighters to extend range. Drop tanks reflect radar energy and can betray an aircraft’s location. Operating without drop tanks also frees more stations for external weapons carriage when stealth is not required to fulfill mission objectives.

"We've known since our first flight in 2006 that the F-35 is extraordinarily stable and controllable, and we’ve conducted extensive ground testing on the aerial refueling equipment, so it was no surprise that the tests today went smoothly," said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. The tests are designed to evaluate and confirm the operation of the aerial refueling system, procedures and aircraft handling qualities, and are being conducted from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. headquarters in Fort Worth.




Lesson 2 Top of the Top Fighters


Fifth generation jet fighters (2005 to the present)

The fifth generation was ushered in by the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor in late 2005. Currently the cutting edge of fighter design, fifth-generation fighters are characterized by being designed from the start to operate in a network-centric combat environment, and to feature extremely low, all-aspect, multi-spectral signatures employing advanced materials and shaping techniques. They have multifunction AESA radars with high-bandwidth, low-probability of intercept (LPI) data transmission capabilities. IRST sensors are incorporated for air-to-air combat as well as for air-to-ground weapons delivery. These sensors, along with advanced avionics, glass cockpits, helmet-mounted sights, and improved secure, jamming-resistant LPI datalinks are highly integrated to provide multi-platform, multi-sensor data fusion for vastly improved situational awareness while easing the pilot's workload. Avionics suites rely on extensive use of very high-speed integrated circuit (VHSIC) technology, common modules, and high-speed data buses. Overall, the integration of all these elements is claimed to provide fifth-generation fighters with a "first-look, first-shot, first-kill capability".

The AESA radar offers unique capabilities for fighters (and it is also quickly becoming a sine qua non for Generation 4.5 aircraft designs, as well as being retrofitted onto some fourth-generation aircraft). In addition to its inherent high resistance to ECM and LPI features, it enables the fighter to function as a sort of "mini-AWACS," providing high-gain electronic support measures (ESM) and electronic warfare (EW) jamming functions.

Other technologies common to this latest generation of fighters includes integrated electronic warfare system (INEWS) technology, integrated communications, navigation, and identification (CNI) avionics technology, centralized "vehicle health monitoring" systems for ease of maintenance, fiber optics data transmission, and stealth technology.

Maneuver performance remains important and is enhanced by thrust-vectoring, which also helps reduce takeoff and landing distances. Supercruise may or may not be featured; it permits flight at supersonic speeds without the use of the afterburner – a device that significantly increases IR signature when used in full military power.

A key attribute of fifth-generation fighters is very-low-observables stealth. Great care has been taken in intentionally designing its layout and internal structure to minimize RCS over a broad bandwidth of detection and tracking radar frequencies; furthermore, to maintain its VLO signature during combat operations, primary weapons are carried in internal weapon bays that are only briefly opened to permit weapon launch. Furthermore, stealth technology has advanced to the point where it can be employed without a tradeoff with compromised aerodynamics performance. In contrast to previous stealth efforts, significant attention has also been paid to reducing IR signatures. Detailed information on these signature-reduction techniques are classified and thus unavailable, but in general include special shaping approaches, thermoset and thermoplastic materials, extensive structural use of advanced composites, conformal sensors, heat-resistant coatings, low-observable wire meshes to cover intake and cooling vents, and coating internal and external metal areas with radar-absorbent materials and paint (RAM/RAP).

The expense of developing such sophisticated aircraft is as high as their capabilities. The U.S. Air Force had originally planned to acquire 650 F-22s, but it now appears that only about 200 will be built. As a result, its unit flyaway cost (FAC) is reported to be around $140 million. To spread the development costs – and production base – more broadly, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program enrolls eight other countries as cost- and risk-sharing partners. Altogether, the nine partner nations anticipate procuring over 3000 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters at an anticipated average FAC of $80-85 million. The F-35, however, is designed to be a family of three aircraft, a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) fighter, a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) fighter, and a carrier-capable fighter, each of which has a different unit price. Other countries have initiated fifth-generation fighter development projects, with Russia's Sukhoi PAK-FA anticipated to enter service circa 2012–2015. In October 2007, Russia and India signed an agreement for joint participation in a Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft Program (FGFA), which will give India responsibility for development of a two-seat model of the PAK-FA. China is reported to be pursuing multiple fifth-generation projects under the western code name; J-XX, and both Japan and South Korea have proposed indigenous programs.


In service

In development


Technology demonstrators



Lesson 3  Fighters


 BF 109, Spitfire, FW 190, P-51, A6M Zero, P-38, F4U

Messerschmitt Bf 109

The prototype Messerschmitt 109 first flew in 1935. It was a low wing, all metal monoplane of the type that became the mainstay of all sides in WW II. The Bf 109 was basically the smallest airframe that Willy Messerschmitt could devise attached to the most powerful engine available. This proved to be a very successful formula that could be progressively upgraded.

Supermarine Spitfire

The other "best" fighter of the early period of the European war was the Spitfire. The Spitfire proved, like the Bf 109, to be a very adaptable airplane, and in various versions it served throughout the war. Naturally, most of the famous British aces of WW II flew the Spitfire, including the top scoring British ace of the war Group Captain "Johnny" Johnson (38 victories), and the legless ace and hero of the Battle of Britain, Douglas Bader (he flew with two artificial legs), who scored 9 of his 20 kills from a Spitfire cockpit

Focke-Wulf FW 190

The Focke-Wulf 190 was designed by Kurt Tank, and was a nasty surprise to the RAF in September 1941. Only a little over 200 were completed in 1941, but in 1942 1,850 were built, which amounted to about 40% of German single seat fighter production.

The FW 190 was known as a "pilots airplane," meaning she was a sweet ship to fly, light and easy on the controls (unlike the Bf 109, which was a handful). Its speed, climb, dive, and roll rate were superior to the Spitfire Mk V. There was also excellent armor protection for the pilot. It had a wide track landing gear, which made it much less prone to ground loops than the Bf 109.

North American P-51 Mustang

The other "best" fighter of the later period of the war in Europe was the North American P-51 Mustang. Many top E.T.O. aces flew the Mustang, including Captain Don Gentile (35 victories), Captain John Godfrey (31 victories), Colonel Eagleston (23 victories), Major James Howard the only American ace in both theaters of the war (6 victories in China flying P-40's, and 6 victories in Europe flying P-51's), Chuck Yeager (who later became the first man to break the sound barrier), and Colonel Donald Blakeslee (15 victories) and C.O. of the famous 4th Fighter Group. The 4th FG destroyed over 1,000 German aircraft, more than any other American fighter group in WW II.

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

At the beginning of the Pacific War no Allied fighter was a match for the Zero. The best of the early American Army fighters was probably the Curtiss P-40, and the early models of this fighter were distinctly inferior to the Zero.

Most of the Imperial Navy's top aces flew the Zero. Prominent among them is Saburo Sakai (with 64 victories), the top scoring Japanese ace to survive the war, and Hiroyoshi Nishizawa (actual total of victories unknown, but 104 confirmed), perhaps the greatest of them all. Shoichi Sugita had 120+ victories, Tadashi Nakajima 75+, and Naoishi Kanno 53.

Lockheed P-38 Lightning

Let's take a look at the P-38 Lightning first. The P-38 shot down more Japanese aircraft than any other USAAF fighter in WW II. It was flown by both of the top American aces of the war. Its incredible range became legendary, and its twin engines particularly suited it for long over water flights.

The P-38 story started in January 1937, when the Army Air Corps issued a specification for a new pursuit plane for the "interception and attack of hostile aircraft at high altitude". The government anticipated an order for a maximum of 50 planes, so suitability for mass production was not a consideration. Lockheed was one of the companies that entered the competition to design and build the new fighter.

Chance Vought F4U Corsair

The Chance Vought F4U Corsair is my other "best" Pacific theater fighter. This big, fast, Navy and Marine fighter was designed in 1938 around the new Pratt and Whitney R-2800-2 Double Wasp engine, which promised to be the most powerful in the world at that time. It was a twin row 18 cylinder radial engine that produced some 1,850 HP in its initial version.

The most distinctive feature of the Corsair is its "cranked" or inverted gull wing. This feature was designed to raise nose of the airplane higher off the ground without unduly lengthening the undercarriage. The reason was to allow the use of the largest possible diameter propeller in order to make most efficient use of the engine's high power. It also allowed the wing's hinge point to be a little closer to the ground, and the tips consequently a little lower when folded, giving a little more hanger deck roof clearance on board aircraft carriers. The propeller selected was a three-bladed Hamilton-Standard Hydromatic constant speed model.

century series

macdonnel f-101 voodoo

replublic f-105 thunderchief

convair f-106delta dart

lockheed f-104 Star fighter

north american f 100 Super sabre

convair f-102 delta dagger


Lesson 4   FighterS INDEX BY YEAR

1930 - 1940 BF-109 Messerschmitt, Hawker Hurricane, A6M Zero, Fokker G.I, JU-87 Stuka, Fokker D.XXI
1940 - 1950 Supermarine Spitfire, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustang, Mosquito, F-4U Corsair, P-38J Lightning, F-86 Sabre, P-40 WarHawk, FW-190 Focke Wulf, Messerschmitt ME-262, F-6F Hellcat, P-80 Shooting Star, B-25 Mitchell, F-8F Bearcat, Mig-15 Fagot, A1 Skyraider, Macchi M.C.205 Veltro, Gloster Meteor F Mk.8, B-17 Flying Fortress, de Havilland Vampire, MiG-3, B-29 Superfortress, F4F Wildcat, B-24 Liberator, Me-163 Komet
1950 - 1960 MiG-21 Fishbed, F-104 Starfighter, F-8 Crusader, B-52G Stratofortress, CF-105 Avro Arrow, F-106 Delta Dart, F-84F Thunderstreak, MiG-17 Fresco, F-105 ThunderChief, F-100 Super Sabre, J-32 Lansen, F-101 VooDoo, B-58 Hustler, MiG-19 Farmer, J-29 Tunnan, Super Mystere B2, Hawker Hunter, F-102 Delta Dagger
1960 - 1970 Buccaneer, F-4 Phantom II, SR-71 Blackbird, A-7D Corsair II, Hawker Harrier, Mirage F1, A-6 Intruder, U-2 Dragon Lady, J-35 Draken, Avro Vulcan, A-4 Skyhawk, SU-17/22 Fitter, English Electric / BAC Lightning, A-5 Vigilante, Mirage III, XB-70 Valkyrie
1970 - 1980 F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-5E Tiger II, MiG-27 Flogger, Jaguar GR1, SU-24 Fencer, MiG-25 Foxbat, A-10 Thunderbolt, F-16 Falcon, Alpha Jet, SU-25 Frogfoot, Super Etandard, JA37 Viggen, F-21 Kfir, BAe Hawk
1980 - 1990 EF111 Raven, F-18 Hornet, Panavia Tornado, Mirage 2000, Mirage 4000, MiG-29 Fulcrum, SU-27 Flanker, MiG-31 Foxhound, F-117 NightHawk, B-1B Lancer, F-20 Tigershark, AMX, Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack
1990 - 2000 SU-35 Super Flanker, Yak-141 Freestyle, JAS-39 Gripen, Rafale, B-2 Spirit, YF23, Ching-Kuo Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), FA-18E Super Hornet
2000 - F/A-22 Raptor, LCA, EuroFighter 2000 Typhoon, SU-47 (S-37 Berkut), SU-37 Terminator, MiG/MAPO 1.42 MFI, Aurora, X-35 Joint Strike Fighter (F-35 Lightning II), Chengdu J-10




First generation subsonic jet fighters (mid-1940s to mid-1950s)

The first generation of jet fighters comprises the initial, subsonic jet fighter designs introduced late in World War II and in the early post-war period. They differed little from their piston-engined counterparts in appearance, and many employed unswept wings. Initially, guns remained the principal armament. The main impetus for the development of turbojet-powered was to obtain a decisive advantage in maximum speed. Top speeds for fighters rose steadily throughout WWII as more powerful piston engines were developed, and had begun approaching the transonic flight regime where the efficiency of piston-driven propellers drops off considerably.

The first jets were developed during World War II and saw combat in its final year. Messerschmitt developed the first operational jet fighter, the Me 262. It was considerably faster than contemporary piston-driven aircraft, and in the hands of a competent pilot, was quite difficult for Allied pilots to defeat. The design was never deployed in numbers sufficient to stop the Allied air campaign, and a combination of fuel shortages, pilot losses, and technical difficulties with the engines kept the number of sorties low. Nevertheless, the Me 262 indicated the obsolescence of piston-driven aircraft. Spurred by reports of the German jets, Britain's Gloster Meteor entered production soon after and the two entered service around the same time in 1944. Meteors were commonly used to intercept the V-1 "buzz bomb", as they were faster than available piston-engined fighters. By the end of the war almost all work on piston-powered fighters had ended. A few designs combining piston and jet engines for propulsion – such as the Ryan FR Fireball – saw brief use, but by the end of the 1940s virtually all new combat aircraft were jet-powered.

Despite their advantages, the early jet fighters were far from perfect, particularly in the opening years of the generation. Their operational lifespans could be measured primarily in hours; the engines themselves were fragile and bulky, and power could be adjusted only slowly. Many squadrons of piston-engined fighters were retained until the early-to-mid 1950s, even in the air forces of the major powers (though the types retained were the best of the WWII designs). Innovations including ejector seats and all-moving tailplanes were introduced in this period.

The Americans were one of the first to begin using jet fighters post-war. The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star (soon re-designated F-80) was less elegant than the swept-wing Me 262, but had a cruise speed (660 km/h [410 mph]) as high as the combat maximum of many piston-engined fighters. The British designed several new jets, including the iconic de Havilland Vampire which was sold to the air forces of many nations.

Ironically, the British transferred the technology of the Rolls-Royce Nene jet engine technology to the Soviets, who soon put it to use in their advanced Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 fighters which were the first to introduce swept wings in combat, an innovation first proposed by German research which allowed flying much closer to the speed of sound than straight-winged designs such as the F-80. Their top speed of 1,075 km/h (668 mph) proved quite a shock to the American F-80 pilots who encountered them over Korea, along with their armanent of two 23 mm cannons and a single 37 mm cannon compared to machine guns. Nevertheless, in the first jet-versus-jet dogfight in history, which occurred during the Korean War on 8 November 1950, an F-80 (as the P-80 had been redesignated) intercepted two North Korean MiG-15s near the Yalu River and shot them down.

A de Havilland Sea Vampire Mk.10 taking off from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ocean on 3 December 1945, the occasion of the first take-off and landing of a jet airplane from an aircraft carrier

The Americans responded by rushing their own swept-wing F-86 squadrons to battle against the MiGs which had similar trans-sonic performance. The two aircraft had different strengths, but were similar enough that the superior technology such as a radar ranging gunsight and skills and of the veteran United States Air Force pilots allowed them to prevail.

The world's navies also transitioned to jets during this period, despite the need for catapult-launching of the new aircraft. Grumman's F9F Panther was adopted by the U.S. Navy as their primary jet fighter in the Korean War period, and it was one of the first jet fighters to employ an afterburner. The de Havilland Vampire was the Royal Navy's first jet fighter. Radar was used on specialized night fighters such as the F3D Skyknight which also downed MiGs over Korea, and later fitted to the F2H Banshee and swept wing F7U Cutlass and F3H Demon as all-weather / night fighers. Early versions of Infra-red (IR) air-to-air missiles (AAMs) such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder and radar guided missiles such as the AIM-7 Sparrow which would be developed into the 21st century were first introduced on swept wing subsonic Demon and Cutlass naval fighters.


Notable first generation jet fighter aircraft

MD450 Ouragan in the markings of India's No. 47 "Black Archers" Squadron
Captured Heinkel He 162 undergoing post-war trials in the U.S.
A MiG-15 in Polish markings
F-86 Sabres of the Pakistan Air Force
F9F Panther and AJ-2 Savage conducting in-flight refueling trials in 1953



Second generation jet fighters (mid-1950s to early 1960s)

North American F-100 Super Sabre day fighter
The Mirage IIIO and DO (top) were licence-built variants of the Mirage IIIE and D produced by Government Aircraft Factories (GAF) for the Royal Australian Air Force
Republic F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber
Early-model Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21F-13 'Fishbed-B' day fighter of the Vietnam People's Air Force captured by the Americans
Saab 32 Lansen fighter-bomber
Hawker Hunter fighter-bomber

The development of second-generation fighters was shaped by significant technological breakthroughs, lessons learned from the aerial battles of the Korean War, and a growing focus on conducting operations in a nuclear warfare environment. Technological advances in aerodynamics, propulsion and aerospace building materials (primarily aluminium alloys) permitted designers to experiment with a variety of aeronautical innovations, such as swept wings, delta wings, and area-ruled fuselages. Widespread use of afterburning turbojet engines made these the first production aircraft to break the sound barrier, and the ability to sustain supersonic speeds in level flight became a common capability amongst fighters of this generation.

Fighter designs also took advantage of new electronics technologies that made effective radars small enough to be carried aboard smaller aircraft. Onboard radars permitted detection of enemy aircraft beyond visual range, thereby improving the handoff of targets by longer-ranged ground-based warning and tracking radars. Similarly, advances in guided missile development allowed air-to-air missiles to begin supplementing the gun as the primary offensive weapon for the first time in fighter history. During this period, passive-homing infrared-guided (IR) missiles became commonplace, but early IR missile sensors had poor sensitivity and a very narrow field of view (typically no more than 30°), which limited their effective use to only close-range, tail-chase engagements. Radar-guided (RF) missiles were introduced as well, but early examples proved unreliable. These semi-active radar homing (SARH) missiles could track and intercept an enemy aircraft "painted" by one's own aircraft's onboard radar. Medium- and long-range RF air-to-air missiles promised to open up a new dimension of "beyond-visual-range" (BVR) combat, and much effort was placed in further development of this technology.

The prospect of a potential third world war featuring large mechanized armies and nuclear weapon strikes led to a degree of specialization along two design approaches: interceptors (like the English Electric Lightning and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21F) and fighter-bombers (such as the Republic F-105 Thunderchief and the Sukhoi Su-7). Dogfighting, per se, was de-emphasized in both cases. The interceptor was an outgrowth of the vision that guided missiles would completely replace guns and combat would take place at beyond visual ranges. As a result, interceptors were designed with a large missile payload and a powerful radar, sacrificing agility in favor of high speed, altitude ceiling and rate of climb. With a primary air defense role, emphasis was placed on the ability to intercept strategic bombers flying at high altitudes. Specialized point-defense interceptors often had limited range and little, if any, ground-attack capabilities. Fighter-bombers could swing between air superiority and ground-attack roles, and were often designed for a high-speed, low-altitude dash to deliver their ordnance. Television- and IR-guided air-to-surface missiles were introduced to augment traditional gravity bombs, and some were also equipped to deliver a nuclear bomb.







Third generation jet fighters (early 1960s to circa 1970)

McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II making a practice bombing run
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 'Foxbat' interceptor

The third generation witnessed continued maturation of second-generation innovations, but it is most marked by renewed emphases on maneuverability and traditional ground-attack capabilities. Over the course of the 1960s, increasing combat experience with guided missiles demonstrated that combat could and would devolve into close-in dogfights. Analog avionics began to be introduced, replacing older "steam-gauge" cockpit instrumentation. Popular enhancements to improve the aerodynamic performance of third-generation fighters included flight control surfaces such as canards, powered slats, and blown flaps. A number of technologies would be tried for Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing, but thrust vectoring would be successful on the Harrier jump jet.

Growth in air combat capability focused on the introduction of improved air-to-air missiles, radar systems, and other avionics. While guns remained standard equipment, air-to-air missiles became the primary weapons for air superiority fighters, which employed more sophisticated radars and medium-range RF AAMs to achieve greater "stand-off" ranges, however, kill probabilities proved unexpectedly low for RF missiles due to poor reliability and improved electronic countermeasures (ECM) for spoofing radar seekers. Infrared-homing AAMs saw their fields of view expand to 45°, which strengthened their tactical usability. Nevertheless, the low dogfight loss-exchange ratios experienced by American fighters in the skies over Vietnam led the U.S. Navy to establish its famous "TOPGUN" fighter weapons school, which provided a graduate-level curriculum to train fleet fighter pilots in advanced Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) and Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT) tactics and techniques.

This era also saw a significant expansion in ground-attack capabilities, principally in guided missiles, and witnessed the introduction of the first truly effective avionics for enhanced ground attack, including terrain-avoidance systems. Air-to-surface missiles (ASM) equipped with electro-optical (E-O) contrast seekers – such as the initial model of the widely used AGM-65 Maverick – became standard weapons, and laser-guided bombs (LGBs) became widespread an effort to improve precision-attack capabilities. Guidance for such precision-guided munitions (PGM) was provided by externally mounted targeting pods, which were introduced in the mid-1960s.

It also led to the development of new automatic-fire weapons, primarily chain-guns that use an electric engine to drive the mechanism of a cannon; this allowed a single multi-barrel weapon (such as the 20 mm Vulcan) to be carried and provided greater rates of fire and accuracy. Powerplant reliability increased and jet engines became "smokeless" to make it harder to visually sight aircraft at long distances.

Dedicated ground-attack aircraft (like the Grumman A-6 Intruder, SEPECAT Jaguar and LTV A-7 Corsair II) offered longer range, more sophisticated night attack systems or lower cost than supersonic fighters. With variable-geometry wings, the supersonic F-111 introduced the Pratt & Whitney TF30, the first turbofan equipped with afterburner. The ambitious project sought to create a versatile common fighter for many roles and services. It would serve well as an all-weather bomber, but lacked the performance to defeat other fighters. The McDonnell F-4 Phantom was designed around radar and missles as all-weather interceptor, but emerged as a versatile strike bomber nimble enough to prevail in air combat, adopted by the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Despite numerous shortcomings that would be not be fully addressed until newer fighters, the Phantom claimed 280 aerial kills, more than any other U.S. fighter over Vietnam.[6]. With range and payload capabilities that rivaled that of WWII bombers such as B-24 Liberator, the Phantom would became a highly successful multirole aircraft.


Notable third generation jet fighter aircraft




Fourth generation jet fighters (circa 1970 to mid-1990s)

Fourth-generation fighters continued the trend towards multirole configurations, and equipped with increasingly sophisticated avionics and weapon systems. Fighter designs were significantly influenced by the Energy-Maneuverability (E-M) theory developed by Colonel John Boyd and mathematician Thomas Christie, based upon Boyd's combat experience in the Korean War and as a fighter tactics instructor during the 1960s. E-M theory emphasized the value of aircraft specific energy maintenance as an advantage in fighter combat. Boyd perceived maneuverability as the primary means of getting "inside" an adversary's decision-making cycle, a process Boyd called the "OODA loop" (for "Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action"). This approach emphasized aircraft designs that were capable of performing "fast transients" – quick changes in speed, altitude, and direction – as opposed to relying chiefly on high speed alone.

E-M characteristics were first applied to the F-15 Eagle, but Boyd and his supporters believed these performance parameters called for a small, lightweight aircraft with a larger, higher-lift wing. The small size would minimize drag and increase the thrust-to-weight ratio, while the larger wing would minimize wing loading; while the reduced wing loading tends to lower top speed and can cut range, it increases payload capacity and the range reduction can be compensated for by increased fuel in the larger wing. The efforts of Boyd's "Fighter Mafia" would result in General Dynamics' (now Lockheed Martin's) F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The F-16's maneuverability was further enhanced by its being intentionally designed to be slightly aerodynamically unstable. This technique, called "relaxed static stability" (RSS), was made possible by introduction of the "fly-by-wire" (FBW) flight control system (FLCS), which in turn was enabled by advances in computers and system integration techniques. Analog avionics, required to enable FBW operations, became a fundamental requirement and began to be replaced by digital flight control systems in the latter half of the 1980s. Likewise, Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC) to electronically manage powerplant performance were introduced with the Pratt & Whitney F100 turbofan. The F-16's sole reliance on electronics and wires to relay flight commands, instead of the usual cables and mechanical linkage controls, earned it the sobriquet of "the electric jet". Electronic FLCS and FADEC quickly became essential components of all subsequent fighter designs.

Other innovative technologies introduced in fourth-generation fighters include pulse-Doppler fire-control radars (providing a "look-down/shoot-down" capability), head-up displays (HUD), "hands on throttle-and-stick" (HOTAS) controls, and multi-function displays (MFD), all of which have become essential equipment. Composite materials in the form of bonded aluminum honeycomb structural elements and graphite epoxy laminate skins began to be incorporated into flight control surfaces and airframe skins to reduce weight. Infrared search-and-track (IRST) sensors became widespread for air-to-ground weapons delivery, and appeared for air-to-air combat as well. "All-aspect" IR AAM became standard air superiority weapons, which permitted engagement of enemy aircraft from any angle (although the field of view remained relatively limited). The first long-range active-radar-homing RF AAM entered service with the AIM-54 Phoenix, which solely equipped the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, one of the few variable-sweep-wing fighter designs to enter production.

Another significant revolution came in the form of a stronger reliance on ease of maintenance, which led to standardisation of parts, reductions in the numbers of access panels and lubrication points, and overall parts reduction in more complicated equipment like the engines. Some early jet fighters required 50 man-hours of work by a ground crew for every hour the aircraft was in the air; later models substantially reduced this to allow faster turn-around times and more sorties in a day. Some modern military aircraft only require 10 man-hours of work per hour of flight time, and others are even more efficient.

Aerodynamic innovations included variable-camber wings and exploitation of the vortex lift effect to achieve higher angles of attack through the addition of leading-edge extension devices such as strakes.

Unlike interceptors of the previous eras, most fourth-generation air-superiority fighters were designed to be agile dogfighters, (although though the Mikoyan MiG-31 and Panavia Tornado ADV are notable exceptions). The continually rising cost of fighters, however, continued to emphasize the value of multirole fighters. The need for both types of fighters led to the concept of the "high/low mix" which envisioned a high-capability – and high-cost – core of dedicated air-superiority fighters (like the F-15 and Sukhoi Su-27) supplemented by a much larger contingent of lower-cost multirole fighters (such as the F-16 and Mikoyan MiG-29).

Most fourth-generation fighter-bombers, such as the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet and Dassault Mirage 2000, are true multirole warplanes, designed as such from the start. This was facilitated by multimode avionics which could switch seamlessly between air and ground modes. The earlier approaches of adding on strike capabilities or designing separate models specialized for different roles generally became passé (with the Panavia Tornado being an exception in this regard). Dedicated attack roles were generally assigned either to interdiction strike aircraft such as the Sukhoi Su-24 and Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle or to armored "tank-plinking" close air support (CAS) specialists like the Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II and Sukhoi Su-25.

Perhaps the most novel technology to be introduced for combat aircraft was "stealth", which involves the use of special "low-observable" (L-O) materials and design techniques to reduce the susceptibility of an aircraft to detection by the enemy's sensor systems, particularly radars. The first stealth aircraft to be introduced were the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk attack aircraft (introduced in 1983) and the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber (which first flew in 1989). Although no stealthy fighters per se appeared amongst the fourth generation, some radar-absorbent coatings and other L-O treatments developed for these programs are reported to have been subsequently applied to fourth-generation fighters.


Notable fourth generation jet fighter aircraft


Lesson 9  


edward air force base airshow journal 2003

Air Defence


Commercial Aeroplanes





The name "Patriot" is a backronym of Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept on Target.

A more fanciful acronym was Protection Against Threats, Real, Imagined, Or Theorized

(Also, Pointing At Targets, Real, Imagined, Or Theorized.) The symbol for Patriot is a drawing of a Revolutionary War-era Minuteman.


155mm Pegasus Howitzer

The Singapore Light Weight Howitzer (SLWH) Pegasus is a helicopter-transportable, towed artillery unit. Developed jointly by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and ST Kinetics, it was commissioned on 28 October 2005[1].

The 155mm/39-cal Singapore Light Weight Howitzer (SLWH) Pegasus was commissioned by Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean on Oct 28, 2005 [fact sheet | video]. Its combination of 155mm firepower, powered mobility, and single-helicopter portability makes it an unusual offering on the global stage. Weighing 5.4 tons, the Pegasus offers better range and firepower than the aging 60 Giat 105mm LG1 towed light howitzers it will replace. During operations, the Pegasus will provide long-range, maneuverable fire support to the Army’s heliborne forces.

Singaporean defense industry is known for its hand-in-glove work with the Singaporean government, smart diversification of its industrial base, and innovative combinations of new and tested technologies to produce very fine equipment that precisely meets Singapore’s needs. The Pegasus is another example of these trends, and its performance characteristics are indeed well suited to its mission.

In addition to being air-transportable by the Air Force’s CH-47D “Chinook” helicopters, the SLWH Pegasus includes an APU (Auxillary Power Unit, really an independent engine) which provides the gun with a short-range self-propelled capability over terrain at up to 12 km/h. This mobility will be used as a supplement that gives the guns some “shoot and move” capabilities, enabling multiple-volley survival against enemies with fire-finder tracking radars linked with modern artillery and/or rockets. It is not intended for long-range transport, which requires towing by a truck – or more likely, Singapore’s BAE Hagglunds Bv-206 or indigenous ATTC Bronco variant all-terrain light armored vehicles. As such, the SLWH Pegasus is more of a useful hybrid than a true self-propelled howitzer.

The Pegasus’ gun can achieve a burst rate firing of 3 rounds in 24 seconds, with an automatic loading system that can help sustain that rate for longer periods. The system also includes an advanced mechanical sight and overall frame that can withstand firing shocks of up to 90G, thanks to the use of lightweight titanium and aluminum (similar to the 4.1 ton, 155mm/39-cal US/British M777A1 howitzer) and innovative recoil management. The SAF’s artillery systems will all be standardized at 155mm after the Pegasus is fully phased into the SAF’s artillery units, improving logistical efficiency and overall striking power.

This project leveraged Singapore’s recent development of a range of domestically produced 155mm munitions. It also marks another milestone in the close partnership among the Armed Forces, its Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA) procurement agency, and ST Kinetics. They had previously collaborated on artillery projects such as the tracked 28.3 ton 155mm/39-cal Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer 1 (SSPH1 Primus | Fact sheet), the 155mm/52-cal towed Field Howitzer 2000 (FH2000), and the 155mm Field Howitzer 88 (FH88).





Lesson 11 additional FIGHTERS


The E-2A Hawkeye was designed with one primary mission in mind: patrolling the approaches to the fleet to detect impending attack by hostile aircraft, missiles or sea forces. In addition to this AEW function, the E-2A provided strike and traffic control, area surveillance, search and rescue guidance, navigational assistance and communications relay services.
Capable of all-weather carrier operations, the Hawkeye has great flexibility in assignments owing to its sophisticated electronics equipment. Its Airborne Tactical Data System (ATDS), consisting of an auto-detection radar, airborne computers, and a memory and data link system, is tied to the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS), located at fleet headquarters, which gives an overall picture of the tactical situation.
One interesting feature of the E-2 is its 24-foot revolving radar dish. The dish rotates at six rpm and can be retracted two feet to facilitate stowage aboard a carrier. The lift produced by the radar dish when the plane is in flight is sufficient to offset its own weight.
The first Hawkeyes went to sea aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) with VAW-11 in 1966. Since that time, they have become a regular part of the fleet's defensive and offensive forces.
The five-man crew consists of two pilots and three equipment operators. They can monitor a large number of aircraft at any given time, directing strike aircraft to assigned targets, in fair weather or foul, while maintaining a watch for hostile forces within the long range of their radar. Working as a team, the Hawkeyes surround the fleet with an early warning ring capable of directing air defenses against any enemy.
The E-2 Hawkeye has been improved since the first E-2A flew in 1961. Follow-on models include the E-2B and E-2C with advanced radar, improved computer systems, and expanded surveillance and command control capability.
The current model operating in the Fleet, the E-2C, is equipped with radar capable of detecting targets anywhere within a three-million-cubic-mile surveillance envelope while simultaneously monitoring maritime traffic. Each E-2C also can maintain all-weather patrols, track, automatically and simultaneously, more than 600 targets, and control more than 40 airborne intercepts.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s the E-2C Hawkeye has supported numerous naval engagements, including the 1985 intercept of the aircraft containing the hijackers of the liner Achille Lauro; the strikes against Libya in 1986; and the Persian Gulf War.
Through carefully planned upgrades, the sensors, communications and avionics systems have kept pace with increasing tactical requirements. The latest update, Group II, coupled with a new mission computer presently under development, will take the Hawkeye well into the next century.
 The E-2C Hawkeye is the U.S. Navy's all-weather, carrier-based tactical airborne warning and control system platform. It provides all-weather airborne early warning and command and control functions for the carrier battle group. Additional missions include surface surveillance coordination, strike and interceptor control, search and rescue guidance and communications relay.

An integral component of the carrier air wing, the E-2C carries three primary sensors: radar, IFF, and a passive detection system. These sensors are integrated through a general purpose computer that enables the E-2C to provide early warning, threat analyses, and control of counter action against air and surface targets. The E-2C incorporates the latest solid state electronics.

Carrier-based E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft directed F-14 Tomcat fighters that provided combat air patrol during the two-carrier battle group joint strike against terrorist-related Libyan targets in 1986, and during the crisis period preceeding and following the strike. E-2Cs and AEGIS cruisers, working together, provided total air mass superiority over the American fleet. During this time, American aircraft made 153 intercepts of Libyan air force attempts to overfly the U.S. fleet, intercept the U.S. fighter combat air patrol, or gather intelligence information. Not once did a Libyan aircraft get into firing position before it was locked into the sights of a U.S. aircraft or AEGIS platform missile.

There currently is one squadron of four Hawkeyes in each carrier air wing (CVW).

E-2 aircraft also have worked extremely effectively with U.S. law enforcement agencies in drug interdiction operations. The E-2C replaces the E-2B, an earlier version. E-2C aircraft entered U.S. Navy service with Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123 (VAW-123) at NAS Norfolk, Va., in November 1973. Procurement of E-2Cs by the Navy is planned at six per year for FY 1988-98.

The E-2C+ upgrade includes radar improvements, software upgrades, and more powerful engines. Further plans include upgrading the whole E-2 fleet to Block I and II status, which mean a new radar (APS-139 and APS-145, respectively) and overall improved processing capability.

On 26 April 1999 Northrop Grumman was awarded a $1,305,400,000 multiyear advanced acquisition contract for the procurement of 21 airborne early warning E-2C aircraft in the Hawkeye 2000 configuration for the US Navy, and long lead material for one aircraft for the government of France under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in St. Augustine, Fla. (80%), and Bethpage, N.Y. (20%), and is expected to be completed by July 2006.

Taiwan received four E-2T [for Taiwan] Hawkeyes as of September 1995 as part of a $749.5 million deal with US firm Northrop Grumman. In conjunction with F-16 and Mirage 2000 fighters, the E-2Ts will enhance Taiwan's air defence capability, increasing attack warning times from five minutes to 25 minutes.





Hopeless diamond

have blue

F-117 nighthawk

Norththrop YF-23













anti aircraft in action


FH 2000 52 Calibre 155mm Field Howitzer