Monday, November 21, 2011

MQ-9 Reaper

The MQ-9 Reaper is a medium-to-high altitude, long endurance unmanned aircraft system. The Reaper's primary missions are close air support, air interdiction, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR.  It acts as a Joint Forces Air Component Commander-owned theater asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of the Joint Forces Commander.The MQ-9 is a system, not just an aircraft.  A fully operational system consists of several air vehicles (with sensors and weapons),  a ground control station, or GCS,  a Predator Primary Satellite Link, or PPSL, and spare equipment along with operations and maintenance crews for deployed locations.

The basic crew consists of a rated pilot to control the aircraft and command the mission and an enlisted aircrew member to operate sensors and weapons plus a mission coordinator, when required. To meet combatant commanders' requirements, the Reaper delivers tailored capabilities using mission kits that may contain various weapons and sensor payload combinations.

The MQ-9 baseline system carries the Multi-spectral Targeting System, or MTS-B, which has a robust suite of sensors for targeting.  The MTS-B integrates an infrared sensor, a color/ monochrome daylight TV camera, an image-intensified TV camera, a laser designator and a laser illuminator into a single package. The full motion video from each of the imaging sensors can be viewed as separate video streams or fused together.

The unit also incorporates a laser rangefinder/designator which provides the capability to precisely designate targets for laser-guided munitions; such as the GBU-12 Paveway II. The Reaper is also equipped with a synthetic aperture radar to enable GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions targeting. The MQ-9B can also employ four laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles which possess a highly accurate, low collateral damage, anti-armor and anti-personnel engagement capability.

Each MQ-9 aircraft system can be disassembled and loaded into a single container for deployment worldwide. The entire system can be transported in the C-130 Hercules or larger aircraft.  The MQ-9 aircraft operates from standard U.S. airfields with clear line-of-sight to the ground data terminal antenna which provides line-of-sight communications for takeoff and landing. The PPSL provides over-the-horizon communications for the aircraft and sensors. 

An alternate method of employment, Remote Split Operations, employs a GCS for takeoff and landing operations at the forward operating location, while the CONUS-based crew executes the mission via beyond-line-of-sight links. 

 General Characteristics
  • Crew: None onboard (controlled remotely by pilot and sensor operator)
  • Landing Type: runway
  • Launch Type: runway
  • Length: 36 ft (11 m)
  • Wingspan: 66 ft (20 m)
  • Height: 12.5 ft (3.6 m)
  • Empty weight: 4,900 lb (2,223 kg)
  • Fuel Capacity: 4,000 lb (1,800 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 10,500 lb (4,760 kg)
  • Power Plant: Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, 900 shp (671 kW), with Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC)
  • Maximum speed:  (482 km/h, 300 mph)
  • Cruise speed: (276–313 km/h, 172–195 mph)
  • Range: 1.000 nautical miles (1.852 km)
  • Endurance: 14–28 hours (14 hours fully loaded)
  • Payload: 3,800 lb (1,700 kg)
    • Internal: 800 lb (360 kg)
    • External: 3,000 lb (1,400 kg)
  • Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15 km)
  • Operational altitude: 25,000 ft (7.5 km)
  • AN/APY-8 Lynx II radar
  • AN/DAS-1 MTS-B Multi-Spectral Targeting System
  • 7 hardpoints
    • Up to 1,500 lb (680 kg) on the two inboard weapons stations
    • Up to 750 lb (340 kg) on the two middle stations
    • Up to 150 lb (68 kg) on the outboard stations
    • Center station not used
  • Up to 14 AGM-114 Hellfire air to ground missiles can be carried or four Hellfire missiles and two 500 lb (230 kg) GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs. The 500 lb (230 kg) GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) can also be carried. Testing is underway to support the operation of the AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missile.


A long-range supersonic interceptor aircraft, the MiG-31 Foxhound, a two-seat aircraft developed principally for the Russian and Kazakhstan Air Forces, was derived from MiG-25 Foxbat. The maiden flight of the MiG-31 took place in September 1975. Mikoyan is the designer and manufacturer of the MiG-31.
MiG-31 can work efficiently in all weather conditions while fulfilling visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR), day and night. It is equipped with state-of-the-art digital avionics. MiG-31 was the first soviet fighter aircraft to have true look-down and shoot-down capability.
Approximately 500 MiG-31 aircraft had been produced to 2009, out of which 370 were delivered to the Russian Air Force and 30 are in service with Kazakhstan Air Force. The remaining aircraft were upgraded to different variants under several upgrade programmes. Only some of the Russian MiG fleet have been upgraded to MiG-31BM standards under the upgrade programme.
In 2007, Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) signed two contracts worth $1bn with Syria. One contract was for MiG-29M and another for MiG-31. The deliveries of MiG-29M are ongoing, but those of MiG-31 were not effective till 2009 when the UAC confirmed its plans to deliver the eight MiG-31 aircraft to Syria as part of the $1bn contract. The eight MiG-31 aircraft were ordered in a deal worth $400m signed in 2007. The order was cancelled in May 2009 due to pressure from Israel and lack of funds.The armament of mig 31 includes four long-range Vympel R-33E air-to-air missiles are installed in the MiG-31 aircraft. The R-33 can be launched in inertial navigation mode to shoot the target at extreme range. It can be guided in semi-active radar homing (SARH) mode for initial acquisition and mid course updates. It is used for attacking large and high-speed targets such as the SR-71 Blackbird, the B-1 Lancer bomber, and the B-52 Stratofortress.
The aircraft is also equipped with four short-range R-60MK missiles and two Bisnovat R-40TD1 medium-range missiles. A six-barrel 30mm internal cannon (Ghs-6-23M) is installed above the starboard main landing gear bay of the MiG-31 aircraft. The cannon contains 800 rounds of ammunitions and can fire at a rate of over 10,000 rounds a minute.
MiG-31BM can accommodate the AA-12 Adder missile and various Russian air-to-ground missiles (AGMs) such as the AS-17 Krypton anti-radiation missile (ARM).

 General characteristics
  • Crew: Two (pilot and weapons system officer)
  • Length: 22.69 m (74 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 13.46 m (44 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 6.15 m (20 ft 2 in)
  • Wing area: 61.6 m² (663 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 21,820 kg (48,100 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 41,000 kg (90,400 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 46,200 kg (101,900 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Soloviev D-30F6 afterburning turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 93 kN (20,900 lbf) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 152 kN (34,172 lbf) each
  • Maximum speed:
    • High altitude: Mach 2.83 (3,000 km/h, 1,860 mph)
    • Low altitude: Mach 1.2 (1,500 km/h, 930 mph)
  • Combat radius: 720 km (450 mi) at Mach 2.35
  • Ferry range: 3,300 km (2,050 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 20,600 m (67,600 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 208 m/s (41,000 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 665 kg/m² (136 lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.85
  • Maximum g-load: 5 g

Sunday, November 20, 2011


The SEPECAT Jaguar is an Anglo-French jet ground attack aircraft, originally used by the British Royal Air Force and the French Armée de l'Air in the close air support and nuclear strike role, and still in service with several export customers, notably the Indian Air Force and the Royal Air Force of Oman.
Originally conceived in the 1960s as jet trainer with a light ground attack capability, the requirement for the aircraft soon changed to include supersonic performance, reconnaissance and tactical nuclear strike roles. A carrier-based variant was also planned for French service, but this was cancelled in favour of the cheaper Dassault Super Étendard. The airframes were manufactured by SEPECAT, a joint venture between Breguet and the British Aircraft Corporation, one of the first major joint-Anglo-French military aircraft programs.
The Jaguar was successfully exported to India, Oman, Ecuador and Nigeria. With various airforces, the Jaguar was used in numerous conflicts and military operations in Mauritania, Chad, Iraq, Bosnia, and Pakistan, as well as providing a ready nuclear delivery platform for Britain, France, and India throughout the latter half of the Cold War and beyond. In the Gulf War, the Jaguar was praised for its reliability and was a valuable coalition resource. The aircraft served with the Armée de l'Air as the main strike/attack aircraft until 1 July 2005, and with the Royal Air Force until the end of April 2007. It was replaced by the Panavia Tornado and the Eurofighter Typhoon in the RAF and the Dassault Rafale in the Armée de l'Air. India plans in the long term to replace its Jaguar fleet with the developing Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

General characteristics
  • Crew: One
  • Length: 16.83 m (55 ft 2½ in)
  • Wingspan: 8.69 m (28 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 4.89 m (16 ft 0½ in)
  • Wing area: 24.2 m² (220 ft²)
  • Aspect ratio: 3.12:1
  • Empty weight: 7,000 kg (15,432 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 10,954 kg (24,149 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 15,700 kg (34,612 lb)
  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.6 (1,699 km/h, 917 knots, 1,056 mph) at 11,000 m (36,000 ft)

  • Guns: 2× 30 mm (1.18 in) DEFA cannons, 150 rounds/gun
  • Hardpoints: 5 total: 4× under-wing and 1× center-line pylon stations with a capacity of 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:
    • Rockets: 8× Matra rocket pods with 18× SNEB 68 mm rockets each
    • Missiles:
      • AS.37 Martel anti-radar missiles or
      • AS-30L laser guided air-to-ground missile.
      • 2× R550 Magic air-to-air missiles on underwing pylons
    • Bombs:
      • various unguided or laser-guided bombs or
      • 1× AN-52 nuclear bomb
    • Other: ECM protection pods, Reconnaissance Pod, ATLIS laser/electro-optical targeting pod, external drop tanks for extended range/loitering time

Beriev A-50

The A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft (AEW&C) was developed and manufactured by the Beriev Aircraft Research and Engineering Complex Joint Stock Company based at Taganrog in the Rostov Region of Russia. The A-50 aircraft was developed from the llyushin Il-76MD military transport aircraft manufactured by the Ilyushin Aviation Complex Joint Stock Company based in Moscow.
The aircraft is known in the West by the Nato codename Mainstay. Beriev aircraft normally carry the Russian designation Be- followed by the number, however, the A-50 aircraft retained the well-known A-designation which Beriev allocated to the original prototype.
The A-50 entered service with the Russian Air Force in 1984. Currently, 16 aircraft are operational in the Russian Air Force. The service life of the Russian AF A-50s has been upgraded to 2020. The overhauled A-50M Mainstay aircraft began official testing on 10 September 2008.
The modernised A-50 aircraft can now take more fuel on board with the same take-off weight, while increasing the range and mission time performance. A satellite navigation system integrated into flight and navigation complex offers a dramatic increase in the navigational accuracy.
The A-50 entered service with the Russian Air Force in 1984, and is thought to have 16 aircraft still in service. The latest version, the A-50U was shown in 1995. Russian AF A-50s are being upgraded to extend their service life to 2020. The upgraded aircraft entered service in 2008.
The A-50 aircraft detects and identifies airborne objects, determines their coordinates and flight path data and transfers the information to command posts. The A-50 also acts as a control centre, guiding fighter-interceptors and tactical air force aircraft to combat areas in order to attack ground targets at low altitudes. The role of the A-50 is comparable to that of the US's E-3 AEW system developed by Boeing.
India selected three A-50EI / Il-76 variants equipped with Phalcon AEW radar systems in 2001. Elta of Israel provided the AEW radar systems. A contract for the sale was signed in March 2004. The AEW aircraft which was expected to be delivered to the Indian Air Force in 2007-2008 was delayed and finally the first AEW aircraft was delivered on 28 May 2009. The second AEW aircraft is expected to be delivered by early 2010 and the third aircraft in 2011. Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) purchases the aircraft from Ilyushin and TAPC.
China also ordered four A-50/A-50M/U aircraft from Russia.

General characteristics
  • Crew: 15
  • Length: 49.59m (152 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 50.50 m (165 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 14.76 m (48 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 300 m² (3,228 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 75,000 kg (165,347 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 170,000 kg (374,786 lb)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Aviadvigatel PS-90A turbofan, 157 kN (35,200 lbf) each
  • Maximum speed: 900 km/h (559 mph)
  • Range: 6,400 km (3,977 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,371 ft)

Boeing YC-14

The YC-14 military transport was built to carry troops and equipment into battle zones with short, temporary airfields. Cargo and wheeled vehicles could be loaded into the wide fuselage via a built-in tail ramp. The high-wing, two-engine YC-14 demonstrated excellent capabilities for short takeoffs and landings, while still capable of cruising with modern jet efficiency.

The Boeing YC-14 and McDonnell Douglas YC-15 were designed for the Advanced Medium STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) Transport (AMST) program to meet the need for a large STOL cargo aircraft to replace the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. The YC-14 first flew in 1976 and a competitive fly-off against the YC-15 was completed in 1977.
Although the YC-14 never went into production, its two prototypes, built in 1976, introduced significant technological breakthroughs.
The upper-surface-blowing design for high aerodynamic lift used two jet engines that blew high-velocity airstreams over the inboard portion of the wing and over special trailing-edge flaps. The large multisection flaps extended rearward and downward from the wing's trailing edge to increase the wing area, thus creating extra lift, which was further augmented by positioning the engines so their jet blast across the upper wing surfaces created still more lift.
In addition, the placement of the engines above the wing prevented the engines from ingesting dirt and debris and shielded some of the engine noise from the ground so that the transport could make a quieter approach.
Another new feature was an advanced flight display using cathode ray tubes Boeing developed for the Supersonic Transport (in work at the time). The CRT flight display format was adapted for use on the YC-14 and later tested on the NASA 737 transport systems research vehicle to help gain acceptance for the "glass cockpit" concept, used on the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
The first flight of the YC-14 demonstrated superior STOL performance and low-speed maneuverability. Even with its 27,000-pound STOL payload, the YC-14's takeoff run was 1,000 feet, and it could land in a slightly longer distance. From a long runway, it could take off with 120,000 pounds.

 General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Capacity: 81,000 lb or 150 troops (STOL: 27,000 lb)
  • Length: 131 ft 8 in (40.1 m)
  • Wingspan: 129 feet (39.32 m)
  • Height: 48 ft 4 in (14.7 m)
  • Max takeoff weight: 251,000 lb (STOL: 170,000 lb) (113,850 kg (STOL: 77,100 kg))
  • Powerplant: 2 × General Electric CF6-50D turbofans, 51,000 lbf (227 kN) each
  • Maximum speed: 504 mph (811 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 449 mph (723 km/h)
  • Range: 3,190 mi (5,134 km)
  • Service ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,716 m)
  • Rate of climb: 6,350 ft/min (1,935 m/mi

Saturday, November 5, 2011

U-2 "dragon lady"

Development of the U-2 began in the spring of 1954 to meet a joint CIA/USAF requirement for a high-altitude strategic reconnaissance and special-purpose research aircraft. It took place in the Lockheed 'Skunk Works' at Burbank, California, where - after acceptance of the design in late 1954 - two prototypes were hand-built in great secrecy by a small team of engineers. The aircraft's true purpose was cloaked under the USAF U-for-Utility designation U-2, and the first flight took place on or about 1 August 1955.
At about the same time US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was proposing his 'Open Skies' policy, one of mutual East/West aerial reconnaissance of territories. President Eisenhower hoped that his policy would reduce tension between East and West, thus preventing the growth of the nuclear arms race. Unfortunately the Soviet Union would have nothing to do with this proposal. Consequently 'Kelly' Johnson's new 'spy plane' assumed greater importance. The prototypes were followed by production of about 48 single-seat U-2A and U-2B with differing power plant, and five two-seat U-2D. Some U-2B were converted later to U-2D standard. An additional batch of 12 U-2R was ordered in 1967. A new version, known as the TR-1, is currently in production as a tactical-reconnaissance aircraft, equipped with a variety of electronic sensors.
The requirement for high altitude and long range posed enormous problems: the former needed an aircraft with low wing loading, the latter large quantities of heavy fuel to confer the necessary range. Therefore the U-2 is of very lightweight construction, dispensing with conventional landing gear and pressurisation to save extra weight, and having wings of large area. Landing gear is of bicycle type with single wheels fore and aft, and balanced on the ground by wing-tip 'pogos' - a strut and wheel device which drops away when the U-2 becomes airborne - was selected. The pilot is accommodated on a light-weight seat, dressed in a semi-pressure suit with his head enclosed in an astronaut-type helmet, and forced to breathe pure oxygen for his survival. A medium-powered turbojet is adequate to lift this lightweight aircraft, and long range is possible by shutting it down and gliding for long periods.
In addition to photo and electronic reconnaissance, U-2 were used for weather reconnaissance, high-altitude research, measurement of radiation levels, and for the tracking and recovery of space capsules. They were used for reconnaissance during the Cuban crisis, in Vietnam and during the Arab-Israeli conflict.