Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
The Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft, operated by the United States Air Force. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. American aerospace engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the design's innovative concepts. During aerial reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch were detected, the standard evasive action was to accelerate and outfly the missile; the shape of the SR-71 was based on the A-12, one of the first aircraft to be designed with a reduced radar cross-section. The SR-71 served with the U. S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 aircraft were built; the SR-71 has been given several nicknames, including "Blackbird" and "Habu". Since 1976, it has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft, a record held by the related Lockheed YF-12.
Lockheed's previous reconnaissance aircraft was the slow U-2, designed for the Central Intelligence Agency. In late 1957, the CIA approached the defense contractor Lockheed to build an undetectable spy plane; the project, named Archangel, was led by Kelly Johnson, head of Lockheed's Skunk Works unit in Burbank, California. The work on project Archangel began in the second quarter of 1958, with aim of flying higher and faster than the U-2. Of 11 successive designs drafted in a span of 10 months, "A-10" was the frontrunner. Despite this, its shape made it vulnerable to radar detection. After a meeting with the CIA in March 1959, the design was modified to have a 90% reduction in radar cross-section; the CIA approved a US$96 million contract for Skunk Works to build a dozen spy planes, named "A-12" on 11 February 1960. The 1960 downing of Francis Gary Powers's U-2 underscored its vulnerability and the need for faster reconnaissance aircraft such as the A-12; the A-12 first flew at Groom Lake, Nevada, on 25 April 1962.
Thirteen were built. The aircraft was meant to be powered by the Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, but development ran over schedule, it was equipped instead with the less powerful Pratt & Whitney J75 initially; the J58s were retrofitted as they became available, became the standard powerplant for all subsequent aircraft in the series, as well as the SR-71. The A-12 flew missions over Vietnam and North Korea before its retirement in 1968; the program's cancellation was announced on 28 December 1966, due both to budget concerns and because of the forthcoming SR-71, a derivative of the A-12. The SR-71 designation is a continuation of the pre-1962 bomber series. However, a bomber variant of the Blackbird was given the B-71 designator, retained when the type was changed to SR-71. During the stages of its testing, the B-70 was proposed for a reconnaissance/strike role, with an "RS-70" designation; when the A-12 performance potential was found to be much greater, the Air Force ordered a variant of the A-12 in December 1962.
Named R-12 by Lockheed, the Air Force version was longer and heavier than the A-12, with a longer fuselage to hold more fuel, two seats in the cockpit, reshaped chines. Reconnaissance equipment included signals intelligence sensors, a side-looking airborne radar, a photo camera; the CIA's A-12 was a better photo-reconnaissance platform than the Air Force's R-12, since the A-12 flew somewhat higher and faster, with only one pilot, it had room to carry a superior camera and more instruments. During the 1964 campaign, Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater criticized President Lyndon B. Johnson and his administration for falling behind the Soviet Union in developing new weapons. Johnson decided to counter this criticism by revealing the existence of the YF-12A Air Force interceptor, which served as cover for the still-secret A-12 and the Air Force reconnaissance model since July 1964. Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay preferred the SR designation and wanted the RS-71 to be named SR-71.
Before the July speech, LeMay lobbied to modify Johnson's speech to read SR-71 instead of RS-71. The media transcript given to the press at the time still had the earlier RS-71 designation in places, creating the story that the president had misread the aircraft's designation. Johnson only referred to the A-11 to conceal the A-12, while revealing that there was a high speed, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft. In 1968, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara cancelled the F-12 interceptor program. Production of the SR-71 totaled 32 aircraft with 29 SR-71As, two SR-71Bs, the single SR-71C; the SR-71 was designed for flight at over Mach 3 with a flight crew of two in tandem cockpits, with the pilot in the forward cockpit and the reconnaissance systems officer operating the surveillance systems and equipment from the rear cockpit, directing navigation on the mission flight path. The SR-71 was designed to minimize an early attempt at stealth design. Finished aircraft were painted a dark blue black, to increase the emission of internal heat and to act as camouflage against the night sky.
The dark color led to the aircraft's nickname "Blackbird". While the SR-71 carried radar countermeasures to evade interception efforts, its greatest protection was its combination of hig
CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder
The PAC JF-17 Thunder, or CAC FC-1 Xiaolong, is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation of China. The JF-17 can be used for ground attack and aircraft interception, its designation "JF-17" by Pakistan is short for "Joint Fighter-17", while the designation and name "FC-1 Xiaolong" by China means "Fighter China-1 Fierce Dragon". The JF-17 can deploy diverse ordnance, including air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, a 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel autocannon. Powered by a Guizhou WS-13 or Klimov RD-93 afterburning turbofan, it has a top speed of Mach 1.8. The JF-17 is to become the backbone of the Pakistan Air Force, complementing the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon at half the cost; the PAF inducted its first JF-17 squadron in February 2010. In 2015 Pakistan produced 16 JF-17s; as of 2016, Pakistan is believed to have the capacity to produce 25 JF-17 per year. 58 % of the airframe is 42 % Chinese/Russian-origin.
As of December 2016 Pakistan Aeronautical Complex has manufactured 70 jets in the country for use by the Pakistan Air Force of the Block 1 type, 33 jets of the Block 2 type. The Pakistan Air Force plans, by 2017, to induct a twin-seater version known as the JF-17B for both enhanced operational capability and training. Preparations for a more advanced and technologically sophisticated block III version of the aircraft are underway and the AESA radar, KJ-7A, has been developed, which can track 15 targets and engage 4 targets simultaneously. Since its induction in 2011, the JF-17 Thunder has accumulated 19,000 hours of operational flight; the JF-17 has seen active military service as it is used by the Pakistan Air Force to bomb militant positions in the War in North-West Pakistan, using both unguided munitions and guided missiles for precision strike capability. The JF-17 was developed to meet the Pakistan Air Force requirement for an affordable, multi-role combat aircraft as a replacement for its large fleet of Dassault Mirage III/5 fighters, Nanchang A-5 bombers, Chengdu F-7 interceptors, with a cost of US$500 million, divided between China and Pakistan.
The aircraft was intended to have export potential as a cost-effective and competitive alternative to more expensive Western fighters. The development of this aircraft was headed by Yang Wei, considered China's "ace designer". Yang designed the Chengdu J-20. By 1989, because of economic sanctions by the US, Pakistan had abandoned Project Sabre II, a design study involving US aircraft manufacturer Grumman and China, had decided to redesign and upgrade the Chengdu F-7. In the same year and Grumman started a new design study to develop the Super 7, another redesigned Chengdu F-7. Grumman left the project when sanctions were placed on China following the political fallout from the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. After Grumman left the Chengdu Super 7 project, the Fighter China project was launched in 1991. In 1995, Pakistan and China signed a memorandum of understanding for joint design and development of a new fighter, over the next few years worked out the project details. In June 1995, Mikoyan had joined the project to provide "design support", this involved the secondment of several engineers by CAC.
In October 1995, Pakistan was to select a Western company by the end of the year to provide and integrate the FC-1's avionics, expected to go into production by 1999. The avionics were said to include radar, Inertial navigation system, Head-up display, Multi-function displays. Competing bids came from Thomson-CSF with a variant of the Radar Doppler Multitarget, SAGEM with a similar avionics package to those used in the ROSE upgrade project, Marconi Electronic Systems with its Blue Hawk radar. FIAR's Grifo S7 radar was expected to be selected due to the company's ties with the PAF. In February 1998, Pakistan and China signed a letter of intent covering airframe development. Russia's Klimov offered a variant of the RD-33 turbofan engine to power the fighter. In April 1999, South Africa's Denel offered to arm the Super 7 with the T-darter beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, rather than the reported R-Darter. In 1987, Pratt & Whitney offered the Super-7 project three engine options. Rolls Royce offered its RB199-127/128 turbofan engine.
In June 1999, the contract to jointly develop and produce the Chengdu FC-1/Super 7 was signed. After GEC-Marconi had abandoned the bidding to supply an integrated avionics suite, FIAR and Thomson-CSF proposed a number of avionics suites based on the Grifo S7 and RC400 radars despite hoping to use the PAF's Super 7 to launch its new Blue Hawk radar; because of sanctions placed on Pakistan after the country's 1998 nuclear weapons tests, design work progressed slowly over the next 18 months, preventing delivery of the Western avionics to the PAF. In early 2001, the PAF decided to decouple the airframe from the avionics, enabling design work on the aircraft to continue; as the airframe was developed, any new avionics requirements by the PAF could be more integrated into the air frame. Prototype production began in September 2002; the first batch of Klimov RD-93 turbofan engines that would power the prototypes was delivered in 2002. According to a China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation official, the JF-17's low cost is due to some of the on-board
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot onboard. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system; the flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator or autonomously by onboard computers. Compared to manned aircraft, UAVs were used for missions too "dull, dirty or dangerous" for humans. While they originated in military applications, their use is expanding to commercial, recreational and other applications, such as policing and surveillance, product deliveries, aerial photography and drone racing. Civilian UAVs now vastly outnumber military UAVs, with estimates of over a million sold by 2015. Multiple terms are used for unmanned aerial vehicles, which refer to the same concept; the term drone, more used by the public, was coined in reference to the early remotely-flown target aircraft used for practice firing of a battleship's guns, the term was first used with the 1920s Fairey Queen and 1930's de Havilland Queen Bee target aircraft.
These two were followed in service by the similarly-named Airspeed Queen Wasp and Miles Queen Martinet, before ultimate replacement by the GAF Jindivik. The term unmanned aircraft system was adopted by the United States Department of Defense and the United States Federal Aviation Administration in 2005 according to their Unmanned Aircraft System Roadmap 2005–2030; the International Civil Aviation Organization and the British Civil Aviation Authority adopted this term used in the European Union's Single-European-Sky Air-Traffic-Management Research roadmap for 2020. This term emphasizes the importance of elements other than the aircraft, it includes elements such as data links and other support equipment. A similar term is an unmanned-aircraft vehicle system, remotely piloted aerial vehicle, remotely piloted aircraft system. Many similar terms are in use. A UAV is defined as a "powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload".
Therefore, missiles are not considered UAVs because the vehicle itself is a weapon, not reused, though it is unmanned and in some cases remotely guided. The relation of UAVs to remote controlled model aircraft is unclear. UAVs may not include model aircraft; some jurisdictions base their definition on weight. For recreational uses, a drone is a model aircraft that has first-person video, autonomous capabilities, or both; the earliest recorded use of an unmanned aerial vehicle for warfighting occurred on July 1849, serving as a balloon carrier in the first offensive use of air power in naval aviation. Austrian forces besieging Venice attempted to launch some 200 incendiary balloons at besieged city; the balloons were launched from land. At least one bomb fell in the city. UAV innovations started in the early 1900s and focused on providing practice targets for training military personnel. UAV development continued during World War I, when the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company invented a pilotless aerial torpedo that would explode at a preset time.
The earliest attempt at a powered UAV was A. M. Low's "Aerial Target" in 1916. Nikola Tesla described a fleet of unmanned aerial combat vehicles in 1915. Advances followed including the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane; this developments inspired the development of the Kettering Bug by Charles Kettering from Dayton, Ohio. This was meant as an unmanned plane that would carry an explosive payload to a predetermined target; the first scaled remote piloted vehicle was developed by film star and model-airplane enthusiast Reginald Denny in 1935. More emerged during World War II – used both to train antiaircraft gunners and to fly attack missions. Nazi Germany used various UAV aircraft during the war. Jet engines entered service after World War II in vehicles such as the Australian GAF Jindivik, Teledyne Ryan Firebee I of 1951, while companies like Beechcraft offered their Model 1001 for the U. S. Navy in 1955, they were little more than remote-controlled airplanes until the Vietnam War. In 1959, the U.
S. Air Force, concerned about losing pilots over hostile territory, began planning for the use of unmanned aircraft. Planning intensified after the Soviet Union shot down a U-2 in 1960. Within days, a classified UAV program started under the code name of "Red Wagon"; the August 1964 clash in the Tonkin Gulf between naval units of the U. S. and North Vietnamese Navy initiated America's classified UAVs into their first combat missions of the Vietnam War. When the Chinese government showed photographs of downed U. S. UAVs via Wide World Photos, the official U. S. response was "no comment". During the War of Attrition the first tactical UAVs installed with reconnaissance cameras were first tested by the Israeli intelligence bringing photos from across the Suez canal; this was the first time that tacti
Air superiority fighter
An air superiority fighter is designed for entering and seizing control of enemy airspace as a means of establishing complete dominance over the enemy's air force. Air superiority fighters are designed to engage enemy fighters, more than other types of aircraft, although some may have a secondary role for air-to-ground strikes. During World War II and through the Korean War, fighters were classified by their role: heavy fighter, escort fighter, night fighter, so forth. With the development of guided missiles in the 1950s, design diverged between fighters optimized to fight in the beyond visual range regime, fighters optimized to fight in the within visual range regime. In the United States, the influential proponents of BVR developed fighters with no forward-firing gun, such as the original F-4 Phantom II, as it was thought that they would never need to resort to WVR combat; these aircraft would sacrifice high maneuverability, instead focus on other performance characteristics, as they would never engage in a dogfight with enemy fighters.
Combat experiences during the Vietnam War proved BVR proponents wrong. Owing to restrictive rules of engagement and the failings of 1960s missile and radar technology, air combat devolved into close-range dogfights; the lessons from this conflict spurred a rethinking of design priorities for fighter aircraft and development of the U. S. Navy's TOPGUN and the U. S. Air Force's Red Flag programs to teach pilots the lessons of dogfighting. After lessons learned from combat experiences involving modern military air capacity, the U. S. Navy's VFAX/VFX and U. S. Air Force's F-X reassessed their tactical direction which resulted in the U. S. Navy's F-14 Tomcat and US Air Force's F-15 Eagle; the two designs were built to achieve air superiority and significant consideration was given during the development of both aircraft to allow them to excel at the shorter ranges of fighter combat. Both aircraft serve as interceptors due to their high maximum speed. By contrast, the Soviets developed and continue to operate separate types of air superiority and interceptor fighters.
For the US Navy, the F-14 Tomcat was deployed as an air superiority fighter. By contrast, the multirole F/A-18 Hornet was designed as strike fighter while having only enough of an edge to defend itself against enemy fighters if needed. While the F-14 had an undeveloped secondary ground attack capability, the Navy did not want to risk it in the air-to-ground role at the time, due to its lack of proper defensive electronic countermeasures and radar homing and warning for overland operations, as well as the fighter's high cost. In the 1990s, the US Navy added LANTIRN pods to its F-14s and deployed them on precision ground-attack missions; the F-15 Eagle was envisioned as an air superiority fighter and interceptor under the mantra "not a pound for air-to-ground". However, the F-15C can carry "dumb" and GPS guided bombs, such capabilities which were first used by Israeli Air Force. In fact, the basic airframe proved versatile enough to produce a capable strike fighter, the F-15E Strike Eagle. While designed for ground attack, it retains the air-to-air lethality of the original F-15.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon was originally designed as an air superiority fighter but has since evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Since the 1990s, with air superiority fighters such as the F-14 and F-15 pressed into the strike role and/or having a strike derivative, the lines between air superiority fighters and multirole fighters has blurred somewhat. With the retirement of the F-14 Tomcat, the US Navy has pressed its F/A-18 Hornet and its upsized derivative, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, into the air superiority role, despite the Hornets being designed as multirole strike fighters. Interceptor aircraft Fighter aircraft Glossary of Nato Definitions Rand: Revival of the Air-Superiority Fighter
An interceptor aircraft, or interceptor, is a type of fighter aircraft designed to attack enemy aircraft bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, as they approach. There are two general classes of interceptor: lightweight aircraft built for high performance, heavier aircraft designed to fly at night or in adverse weather and operate over longer ranges. For daytime operations, conventional fighters fill the interceptor role, as well as many other missions. Daytime interceptors have been used in a defensive role since the World War I era, but are best known from several major actions during World War II, notably the Battle of Britain where the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane developed a good reputation. Few aircraft can be considered dedicated daytime interceptors. Exceptions include the Messerschmitt Me 163B—the only rocket-powered, manned military aircraft to see combat—and to a lesser degree designs like the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15, which had heavy armament intended for anti-bomber missions.
Night fighters and bomber destroyers are, by definition, interceptors of the heavy type, although they were referred to as such. In the early Cold War era the combination of jet-powered bombers and nuclear weapons created air forces' demand for capable interceptors. Examples of classic interceptors of this era include the F-106 Delta Dart, Sukhoi Su-15, English Electric Lightning. Through the 1960s and 1970s, the rapid improvements in design led to most air-superiority and multirole fighters, such as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, having the performance to take on the interceptor role, the strategic threat moved from bombers to intercontinental ballistic missiles. Dedicated interceptor designs became rare, with the only used examples designed after the 1960s being the Tornado F3, Mikoyan MiG-25 "Foxbat", Mikoyan MiG-31 "Foxhound", the Shenyang J-8 "Finback"; the first interceptor squadrons were formed during World War I to defend London against attacks by Zeppelins and against fixed-wing long-range bombers.
Early units used aircraft withdrawn from front-line service, notably the Sopwith Pup. They were told about their target's location before take-off from a command centre in the Horse Guards building; the Pup proved to have too low performance to intercept Gotha G. IV bombers, the superior Sopwith Camels supplanted them; the term "interceptor" was in use by 1929. Through the 1930s, bomber aircraft speeds increased so much that conventional interceptor tactics appeared impossible. Visual and acoustic detection from the ground had a range of only a few miles, which meant that an interceptor would have insufficient time to climb to altitude before the bombers reached their targets. Standing combat air patrols were only at great cost; the conclusion at the time was that "the bomber will always get through". The invention of radar made possible early, long-range detection of aircraft on the order of 100 miles, both day and night and in all weather. A typical bomber might take twenty minutes to cross the detection zone of early radar systems, time enough for interceptor fighters to start up, climb to altitude and engage the bombers.
Ground controlled interception required constant contact between the interceptor and the ground until the bombers became visible to the pilots and nationwide networks like the Dowding system were built in the late 1930s. The introduction of jet power increased speeds from 400 miles per hour to 600 miles per hour in a step and doubled operational altitudes. Although radars improved in performance, the gap between offense and defense was reduced. Large attacks could so confuse the defense's ability to communicate with pilots that the classic method of manual ground controlled interception was seen as inadequate. In the United States, this led to the introduction of the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment to computerize this task; the introduction of the first useful surface-to-air missiles in the 1950s obviated the need for fast reaction time interceptors as the missile could launch instantly and air forces turned to much larger designs, with enough fuel for longer endurance, to avoid the need for rapid reaction.
In the 1950s, during the Cold War, a strong interceptor force was crucial for the great powers as the best means to defend against an unexpected nuclear attack by strategic bombers. Hence for a brief period of time they faced rapid development. At the end of the 1960s, a nuclear attack became unstoppable with the introduction of ballistic missiles capable of approaching from outside the atmosphere at speeds as high as 5–7 km/s; the doctrine of mutually assured destruction replaced the trend of defense strengthening, making interceptors less strategically logical. The utility of interceptors waned as the role merged with that of the heavy air superiority fighter, dominant in military thinking; the interceptor mission is, by its nature, a difficult one. Consider the desire to protect a single target from attack by long-range bombers; the bombers have the advantage of being able to select the parameters of the mission – attack vector and altitude. This results in an enormous area. In the time it takes for the bombers to cross the distance from first detection to being on their targets, the interceptor must be able to start, take off, climb to altitude, maneuver for attack and attack the bomber.
A dedicated interceptor aircraft sacrifices the capabilities of the air superiority fighter and multirole fighter (i.e. countering enemy fighter airc