Home » Air » Air Force testing laser-guided rockets on A-10s, F-16s

Air Force testing laser-guided rockets on A-10s, F-16s

by Kris Osborn on April 19, 2013

The U.S. Air Force is working to mount the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) to the A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 fighter jet, a service official said.

Air Force engineers are experimenting with additional applications the laser-guided precision 2.75-inch folding fin Hydra-70 rocket able to pinpoint targets not suitable for larger Hellfire missiles or small arms fire from the air, said Laura McGowan, an Air Force spokeswoman.

Although APKWS has historically been configured to fire from rotary wing platforms such as the Marine Corps AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter, the Air Force is currently test-firing the laser-guided rockets from fixed-wing aircraft such as the A-10 F-16, McGowan said.

“Testing is currently ongoing and will continue through 2013,” she added.

In fact, the Air Force successfully test-fired APKWS rockets from an A-10 for the first time this past Feb. 13, striking within inches of the intended target, according to an Air Force statement.

While the APKWS, designed for maximum precision, has a Circular Error Probable (CEP) of about 2-meters, the round has exceeded this benchmark in testing and come within inches of targets at ranges up to 5 kilometers, according to BAE Systems officials.

The fixed-wing –mounted laser rockets are identified as a second variant of APKWS, Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II, service officials said.

APKWS II does involve some technical modifications above and beyond the original configuration such that the weapon can fire from a faster, higher-altitude fixed-wing platform, said Dave Harrold, product line director, precision guidance solutions, BAE Systems.

“This presents very different environmental challenges. It is one thing to shoot one of these from a rotary wing aircraft that is in a hover and not very far off the ground – and another to fire out of a jet aircraft that is at 10 or 15,000 feet and going 350 knots,” said  Harrold. “There were slight modifications to the control actuation system.  We have learned things from the rocket and its guidance system, and taken that technology to other applications.”

In development since approximately 2005, APKWS adds precision-guidance technology to existing conventional Hydra-70 rockets; the developers of the system added a guidance section in-between the warhead and the rocket-motor, slightly lengthening the rocket.

“The Hydra 70 unguided rocket has a warhead that is screwed into a rocket motor. In essence, we’re taking an unguided rocket and through a plug and play methodology, turning it into a precision rocket,” said Harrold.

Also, instead of having a nose-mounted seeker which is typical for these kinds of munitions, APKWS uses what’s called a Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker, four separate seekers on small wings mounted onto the round and designed for steering the warhead.

The semi-active seekers, configured to provide a 40-degree field of view in order to quickly obtain precise target locations, are engineered to locate the “spot” or target location identified by a laser designator, he explained. The laser designation can come from either the ground or the air, Harrold said.

“With these semi-active seekers, the optics are looking for the energy that is bouncing back off the target that the laser designation has put on. They are receiving the laser energy that is coming back from the target; both the information from those optics along with the information from the on-board IMU [Inertial Measurement Unit] figure out where the target is and then navigate toward that target,” he added.

Overall, the APKWS is engineered to give aircraft crews additional offensive attack options, allowing them to reduce collateral damage with precision accuracy and pinpoint targets not large enough to justify firing a much larger, heavier munitions such as a 100-pound HELLFIRE missile.

“APKWS was always designed to fill the niche between simple unguided rockets like the Hydra 70 and larger weapons like the Hellfire – to give the pilots the ability to have multiple munitions to choose from depending upon the type of target they need to engage. Not everything that gets a Hellfire shot at it, should get a Hellfire shot at it,” Harrold added.

Share |

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

USS ENTERPRISE April 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm

So this is kinda like adding a JDAM kit to a "dumb Bomb". Hmm. Sounds actually pretty promising. JDAMS have functioned well, I don't see why this won't.

Reply

Pete Mitchell April 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm

JDAMS are GPS guided; they're saying these are laser guided.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm

I wasn't saying that JDAMs are laser guided or anything like that. I was saying that both the JDAM and this new device are essential add-ons to already functional weapons systems to make them "smarter".

Reply

blight_ April 26, 2013 at 11:33 am

At some point they'll merge Paveway and JDAM…

Reply

Lance April 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Soon we may not need the Avenger cannon on the plane is rockets can be this accurate who knows sounds cool though.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Doubt it. Rockets aren't bad, but in the end, just look at 'Nam. We need to keep the gun. I personally trust the gun more than a rocket if you are attacking the enemy in extreme CAS situations.

Reply

Belesari April 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Agree'd gun is outstanding. These are nice but hardly game changing other countries have had guided rockets for a long time.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Well, the US has had guided rockets as well. Like I said, this is kinda like the JDAM kit.

Reply

PolicyWonk April 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm

That cannon has proven itself to be one of the most effective weapons ever devised. And bullets are *real cheap* compared to missiles.

Reply

platypusfriend April 20, 2013 at 12:52 am

Big A-10 fan, myself. Throwing DU everywhere, though, isn't the cheapest thing to do, for a number of reasons. Long live the GAU-8! :)

Reply

JetJock April 20, 2013 at 7:03 am

Not all rounds are DU, either. In fact, firing DU at insurgent bodies isn't the best use of the gun. HEI, on the other hand… :)

Reply

FormerDirtDart April 20, 2013 at 10:28 am

DU rounds replaced rounds with titanium penetration rods because DU was cheaper.

Reply

Thomas L. Nielsen April 23, 2013 at 2:05 am

"….titanium penetration rods…." – that should be "tungsten penetration rods" methinks, or, to be completely correct, tungsten carbide. Titanium is insufficiently dense to be used as a penetrator.

Incidentally, DU is often alloyed with titanium when used in penetrators.

DU is still cheaper than tungsten carbide, and in addition, DU is pyrophoric, giving you a nice incendiary effect into the bargain.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

Nick T. April 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I've always been hoping that they would do a 4.5 or 5th-gen replacement for the A-10, something a bit more sturdy than the '35. No stealth, but improved jamming, same gun (caliber at least), VTOL, and the same or better durability the A-10 is known for. I know it's a pipe dream, but still. Replacing the A10 with the F35A leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Reply

Big-Dean April 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm

that's air farce thinking for ya,

replace a dedicated ground attack bird designed for toughness/survivability by a stealth $100+ fragile fighter-yep I understand it now, I see the light!

Jacob April 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm

If it's got a guidance system, should it still be called a "rocket"?

Reply

pedestrian April 21, 2013 at 12:56 am

There are more nasty confusions going on. JSOW-ER has a turbo fan, and its still called a bomb :-)

By the way, somehow the military lovers "Extended Range" accronym these days, that there are several weapons ending with ER

JDAM-ER
SLAM-ER
JSOW-ER
JASSM-ER

Maybe more to see.

Reply

blight_ April 26, 2013 at 11:49 am

Hilarious.

JSOW was a glide bomb, the ER adds a turbofan, so it's a…fan-powered glide bomb?

If you are a turbofan, chances are you are a cruise missile?

Missile is too generic a term, except for unguided, gravity powered projectiles (RV's are now Missiles). Rockets are now dumb rockets or guided rockets. AMRAAM is now AMRAAR. AAM's are now AAGR's. AGM's are now AGGR's if guided or AGR's if unguided.

I can see why rockets are still marked and don't have prefixes…(eg, Hydra 70mm is a Mk 66).

Reply

Thomas L. Nielsen April 23, 2013 at 2:08 am

Agree! "Guided rocket" = "Missile".

The only reason for the designation "guided rocket" that I can think of is to indicate that, rather than a designed-from-scratch missile, this is a rocket retro-fitted with a guidance system.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

Reply

FormerDirtDart April 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm

"Air Force engineers are experimenting with additional applications the laser-guided precision 2.75-inch folding fin Hydra-70 rocket able to pinpoint targets not suitable for larger Hellfire missiles or small arms fire from the air, said Laura McGowan, an Air Force spokeswoman."

I'm sorry, but since when has 20mm and 30mm aviation cannon fire been considered "small arms fire"??

Reply

pedestrian April 21, 2013 at 1:01 am

>when has 20mm and 30mm aviation cannon fire been considered "small arms fire"??

When nailing terrorists with 30mm cannons have become no longer an overkill :-)

Reply

blight_ April 23, 2013 at 10:28 am

When you pump a Hellfire missile into a small car, or the Israelis use a brick of C4 in a car headrest to kill terrorists, the proportion of accepted killing power applied to a target increases.

Reply

BajaWarriors April 20, 2013 at 6:14 am

Bring back the rockets!

Reply

pedestrian April 21, 2013 at 12:42 am

I don't understand the difference between guided rocket and missiles :-)

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 21, 2013 at 12:50 am

Range is the biggest difference.

Reply

Honsu April 21, 2013 at 9:51 pm

price is also a big difference

Reply

Thomas L. Nielsen April 23, 2013 at 2:11 am

In the interest of technical/geek nitpicking: A rocket doesn't become a missile beyond a certain range. The difference is the guidance system: Missiles have it. Rockets don't.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Well we now have guided rockets. And I would imagine an AIM-120 has a longer range than a "guided rocket".

Aardvark April 20, 2013 at 7:07 am

On the Warthog, laser guided rockets? will be a plus, but keep the GUN.

Reply

Noha307 April 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm

It's funny when you think about it – even if they wanted to remove the gun from the A-10 they couldn't. The gun is so heavy that with out it the A-10 would be way out of balance. Have you ever seen pictures of a Warthog on the ground with it's gun removed? They have to put a stand under the tail or otherwise it would fall over backwards. I guess if they REALLY wanted to do away with the gun they could just fill the left over space with a giant hunk of some heavy material like lead (Which would be ironic (DU –> lead)) but that would just be stupid.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Never thought about that. Hm. Maybe a weapon's officer seat? Or advanced computers? I dunno. But DON'T get rid of the gun, Air Force.

Reply

Mike Mathew April 22, 2013 at 1:25 am

The A 10 was built around "the gun". Remember the retreat from Kuwait, no need for high tec munitions in a target rich environment. The Worthog with its Volcan/Gatling inspires folks to not fire on US ground troops.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 22, 2013 at 7:25 pm

The Vulcan <— look at spelling people! Anyways, the Vulcan was a key in the Gulf War(s) as it was relatively cheap, accurate, and dangerous.

Reply

Thomas L. Nielsen April 23, 2013 at 2:16 am

In addition to spelling, please note (and yes, this is another technical/geek nitpick) that "Vulcan" refers specifically to the 20x102mm M61 and its derivatives.

The 30x173mm GAU-8 fitted to the A-10 is the "Avenger".

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm

True. Though I didn't say that the Vulcan was on the A-10.

William_C1 April 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

A laser guided version of the larger 5 inch Zuni rocket should be considered.

Reply

blight_ April 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm
FormerDirtDart April 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I was just going to suggest he try googling "laser zuni"

Reply

SANDMAN April 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

GUIDED 5" ZUNI ROCKET ? AINT THAT GOING BACK TO THE HELLFIRE?

Reply

blight_ April 26, 2013 at 11:32 am

Not necessarily.
Zunis are heavier, larger and bigger, and apparently carry a bigger warhead (40 pds vs 20 pd). The MBDA brochure suggests 10+ mile range, the unclassified range of a Hellfire is less.

I guess if it requires more punch you use a Zuni. Both are laser-guided, except for the one radar-guided version.

If you need to take out a car, bring a Hydra. If it's a hut, use a Hellfire. If it's a house, take a Zuni.

Reply

justjack April 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I always wondered why the Marines didn't experiment with the A-10 in the close air support role. Put a couple of hinges on the wings and a tail hook and you could get off a short carrier deck and tear up a beach head or go tank and armor hunting back from the beach.
Great replacement for the A-6

Reply

ronaldo April 21, 2013 at 12:34 am

Because the marines believe that they are special and no one elses kit is good enough.

Obviously they should have jumped all over the A-10, but went with the AV8B instead……which is really a piece of crap.

Reply

Belesari April 21, 2013 at 8:14 am

Yea I know because no one has ever used the M-1A1, M-16, UH-1, F-18, HUMMV, M-60,M-249, and the other shit they use.

So rethink that comment. Then type it again.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 21, 2013 at 12:49 am

Well, I don't think its that simple, I am afraid. While I agree that the Marines really could have benefitted with this plane (especially considering their role), simply adding a few hinges and whatnot will not make the plane carrier-borne. Like, I don't think those high engines are well suited for carrier operations.

Reply

Belesari April 21, 2013 at 8:27 am

Exactly. The Marines would LOVE to operate these babies.

The truth is they would need a of redesign. The wings would need to be able to fold, Much stronger landing gear, the area the Tail hook goes would need to be strengthend, this all increases the mass of the plane. Which means less mass for weapons or fuel.

So yea there is a lot to it. Then there is the Air force red tape..they think anything which flys should be theres. Hell the only reason they built the A-10 was because the Army was coming up with a CAS aircraft.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 21, 2013 at 11:12 am

Possibly, on the Air Force jealousy point. And of course, the rest I agree with. An A-10 would be interesting to see on a carrier, as the only way it could get on would be via a crane, sadly.

Reply

blight_ April 21, 2013 at 9:37 pm

I wonder if it could JATO. I don't know if they can be captured on landing.

riceball April 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Aside from those there's also making the A-10 resistant to corrosion from salt water which would mean re-thinking what materials its made out of.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 22, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Well, I don't know how big that problem is. Is the F-18 made out of different materials as, say, the F-15 or F-16? I just thought there was a protective paint coat on the plane.

blight_ April 26, 2013 at 11:53 am

The solution may be sacrificial anodes, which is what's used on boats.
http://afcpo.com/images/1100_AM_-_F-35_Corrosion_

pedestrian April 21, 2013 at 12:41 am

Cheap solutions, more quantities, and less collateral damage.

Reply

Mike Mathew April 22, 2013 at 1:47 am

There is a place for shock and awe, not provided by precision ordanance. I witinessed a vulcan cannon in action in action in the 60s. Any who servived it' will tell their comrads, never fire on that ugly American piece of junk, no one will servive.

Reply

pedestrian April 23, 2013 at 1:21 am

Tell you what, the next thing this warthog could do with APKWS II is shooting tons of them in rapid fire mode around the terrorists, and the terrorists will have a nice shock and awe shower with boom boom caboom fireballs filling the space enough to ground a town. Dump in a thermobaric warhead into this APKWS II, fire it like a machine gun cannon from the warthog rocket pod, and nothing will be standing miles of diameters :-)

Reply

STemplar April 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm

So how many do you think an AC130 could carry? That could be fun.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm

A fun thought, but I doubt they will be fitted; I mean, just a few articles ago, there was a discussion of adding missiles to the Spooky. I am not saying its impossible, just highly unlikely; besides, we have Apaches and A-10's to carry this stuff. My question, for anyone who is going to downrate this comment, or really anyone, is why this system isn't going to be fitted on the F-15. I mean, the F-15E is a strike aircraft, it is a CAS aircraft, so will this be fitted on the Eagle?

Reply

STemplar April 21, 2013 at 11:08 pm

An F-15E really is more of a light regional bomber, not really CAS aircraft. It can do it but it's cost per flight hour is probably higher than a F-16 or A-10.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I disagree. It doesn't have the gun the A-10 has, but it is designed to fly in low and drop bombs. CAS, if you ask me. Yeah, the F-15 is more costly, but it has two burning engines, compared to the one F-16 engine. And the A-10 has business jet engines strapped on to it (pretty much). Claiming the F-15E isn't a CAS plane is starting to border ridiculous.

Reply

pedestrian April 23, 2013 at 1:24 am

Watch out, 40 second Boyd is shouting behind you :-)

STemplar April 24, 2013 at 12:58 am

It's a strike fighter, it can do CAS, but that's not the best use of it. An A-10 is a tank buster, pure CAS.

In addition I would call the inane infantile comments back and forth between you and Restore Palestine that are cluttering the grown up conversation as ridiculous personally.

haloguy628 April 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm

No it's not ridiculous. F-15E is a derivative of the F-15C which was developed solely for air superiority role. Speed, climb ability, altitude and pure air to air purpose. It was response to the Russian Mig-25.

In early 1980's because the production line was about to be closed, McDonnell Douglas started the development of F-15E without actual request from the Government to do so. Second seat, glass cockpit and hard points for deep strike tactical bombing missions utilizing precision weapons were added and it was intended as deep penetration tactical bomber potentially replacing the F-111. CAS was never the intended purpose.

F-15E does not have loiter capability, and is too fast with too big turning radius in order to be really effective CAS AC.

Mike Mathew April 22, 2013 at 1:57 am

Puff had a Volcan+ an 05+ .50s, m60s. Pot bellied old war horse probably has new teeth that I don't want to know about.

Reply

riceball April 22, 2013 at 6:45 pm

What's a Volcan?

Reply

riceball April 22, 2013 at 6:47 pm

You could probably fit some on those baby AC-130s that the Corps has or is working on. I believe that they're working on missile packs for them which, I think, are meant to fire out of the cargo bay so it might be possible to use these guided rockets in the same way or maybe mod these KC-130s to mount them on the wings.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 22, 2013 at 7:18 pm

No. Not out of the cargo bay. Heck no. its already cramped back there, with all the howitzers a-blazing. They will be fitted on wing pylons, like, say, on the B-52. Besides, what purpose would firing backwards have? You want to destroy a target as soon as it is identified, not after your plane has flown past it.

Reply

BlackOwl18E April 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm

The Navy should follow suit and add those to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. They would be very easily compatible.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Agreed. The Super Hornet is the strike aircraft for the navy (F-35 ain't near deployment yet) and should be equipped with these.

Reply

scott April 22, 2013 at 11:36 am

these things could probably be used to give troops in Afghanistan close air support in the Himalayas,and still cause some destruction

Reply

blight_ April 23, 2013 at 10:26 am

Waiting for them to build the next A-10 around a giant laser. Pewpewpew, but only in low humidity, low dust, low cloud cover conditions.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Thinking of me? The A-10 could house a laser (the gun is the size of a freakin' Volkswagen Beetle). Interesting, to say the least. Or, you could put a rail gun in the front.

Reply

Thomas L. Nielsen April 24, 2013 at 2:34 am

For both lasers (and other DEW) and railguns, the size and mass problems aren't really going to be with the weapon itself, but rather with the power supply (the "ammunition").

Depending on the exact type of laser, for example, you would either need fuel (for a chemical laser) or a dedicated generator and probably a capacitor bank (for diode, eximer or free-electron lasers). And for a railgun, we're also looking at a sizable power supply.

But yes, definitely an interesting idea, and one I believe we will see sooner rather than later.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

Reply

STemplar April 24, 2013 at 3:37 am

Capacitors. I think people get stuck on unlimited ammo for lasers. Really a capacitor bank that gave you 20 useful air to air shots would be a huge leap.

Reply

ajphillips April 23, 2013 at 10:26 pm

All this gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, our boys and girls are doing their best to protect this great country, make sure we fully support these guys. When I lay down at night I feel we are being taken care of. A long way since my time in 1958.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 23, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Sadly, we have incidents, such as the Boston Marathon Bombing, that shatter the peace, close to home.

Reply

M-1911A1 April 24, 2013 at 11:23 pm

2.75 APKWS II…………I want to see the 22 cal. version. We need to save money… Remember, 7 shot mag…. We have got to be fair in war………

Reply

greg April 25, 2013 at 2:54 am

I should think charged particle cannon should be a better bet…..

Reply

Curtis April 28, 2013 at 8:41 am

1st, mount a rocket pod on a vehicle launcher for strykers and Bradleys. It'd be a great way to take out a window sniper from a distance without hosing down the entire house with lead. Very accurate way to deal with confirmed bad vehicles in traffic. A man portable launcher could also be fun, I paint the target, you shoot from a different location.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 20, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Indeed. A-10 should live long, like the B-52.

Reply

William_C1 April 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm

They meant to do it with the F-16 on several occasions, one time they tried fitting a 30mm gun pod to an "A-16", it did not work out too well.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Well, it will be the same story with the F-35.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 21, 2013 at 9:51 pm

No. JATO on a carrier has logistical problems from the start. A) A JATO rocket on a cramped flight deck would injure quite a few unlucky deck crew. B) Even with the blast deflectors, a JATO launch would have the exhaust fly out, and possibly hit another aircraft, which could trigger several bad things to happen. C) Considering that weapons are armed on the flight deck, in the event of a weapons cook off, we could have a result of a mass fire, one that could trigger the entire ship to burn out from the fuel of JATO rockets and whatnot. D) The wear and tear the rockets would have on the flight deck's surface would be expensive. E) I don't know if the A-10 is even rated to fly using the JATO. F) If the JATO is carried on the A-10, or can be used for that matter, then it will take up valuable "hard points" on the plane. Not a good idea. G) There are no more JATO packs in the known existence. Actually, G is probably the biggest obstacle here. Now, supposing somehow A-10's could be launched, landing could be solved by using the barricade system, but it would be quite impractical to use it regularly; it is designed mainly for emergencies. Maybe magnets? SARCASM. While an A-10 would be great, especially keeping the Marines in mind, I don't think that this would work, especially with JATO.

Reply

Lance April 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm

For wars in ground combat only we need A-10s alot more than the JSF for Ground troop support.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Yeah, the pylons on the F-35 are less than impressive. Carry anything on the wings, and one of its key features, stealth, is compromised. A-10 is the best way to go.

Reply

FormerDirtDart April 23, 2013 at 9:14 am

You are correct, I was thinking Tungsten, but for some reason typed Titanium.

Reply

Thomas L. Nielsen April 24, 2013 at 2:08 am

Indeed true, you did not. Mr. Mathew did. Although his reference was to a "Worthog", so maybe a different aircraft altogether?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

Reply

STemplar April 24, 2013 at 10:28 pm

If, and I guess when is more appropriate, they field a FEL I wonder if they would use the A10 as a sort of concept model, and build a tactical aircraft around the weapon. Instead of tank buster, an aircraft and missile buster. Instead of trying to shoe horn it into an existing tactical airframe.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 24, 2013 at 10:40 pm

I would imagine the A-10's gun bay is designed to handle all the equipment. Personally, I would think that the A-10 would be the most stable platform to test such a device. Anything else is a bit, flimsy.

Reply

USS ENTERPRISE April 24, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Okay, the F-15E doesn't even look like an F-15C (CFTs attached, of course). It does have CAS capabilities, and I should have clarified that. But effective? Of course. Loiter capability? What were the CFT's for?

Reply

blight_ April 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Fun research paper about F/A-18's. http://www.ndt.net/article/CompNDT2011/papers/16_

"The F/A-18, manufactured by McDonnell Douglas, uses a composite honeycomb sandwich panel for many of its flight control surfaces. The two rudders on the F/A-18 are located just behind each of two vertical stabilizers. Water ingress is a potential failure mechanism, as
moisture introduced within the rudder’s structure can degrade epoxy adhesives that bond the carbon epoxy skins to the aluminum honeycomb core, resulting in disbond of the honeycomb core"

So it would seem the Hornet uses carbon epoxy and aluminum for some parts. Looking at the rest.

A fun tidbit about steel: http://www.serdp.org/News-and-Events/News-Announc

"The model used in the Materials by Design™ approach rapidly evaluated and tailored the characteristics of a large suite of new metal alloys to create the novel stainless steel, Ferrium S53, with mechanical characteristics equivalent to those of the industry standard ultra-high-strength alloys 4340 and 300M and corrosion performance equivalent to stainless steel. "

Note that high strength steel lacks in corrosion resistance without toxic cadmium electroplating, and exposure/ablation of the electroplating and subsequent exposure to the environment has long term structural consequences.

And for those interested, a Boeing document on corrosion.
http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aer

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: