Category: Aircraft Types

Breguet 14

 
Replica Breguet 14 B.2 F-AZBP
flies at La Ferte Alais. (photo, Thierry Deutsch)

Key Facts

Main Role: Two-Seat Bomber/Reconnaissance Aircraft
Configuration: Tractor biplane
Country: France
Current Status: Out of Service, Out of Production

Development

When Louis Breguet began the design of his Type 14 in 1916 he was totally unaware of the success that his aircraft was to achieve. The prototype of the big cumbersome two-seater, powered by a 220 hp Renault engine with a large frontal radiator was flown by Breguet himself on 21 November 1916 at Villacoublay. An unusual feature of the aircraft was the wide use of Duralumin in the fuselage. An initial batch of 580 Br 14.A2 reconnaissance models were ordered in April 1917 and at this point in time the prototype Br 14.B2 was built and delivered, this being the bomber version. The Br 14 was much in demand during the last years of the 1914-18 war, which resulted in the production of 5,500 before the war ended, this including both types. The B2 version differed from the A2 in having a lower wing of increased span with full span flaps and a glazed side panel to the observers cockpit, as well as Michelin bomb racks. Both versions were armed with a forward firing Vickers gun for the pilot and twin Lewis guns for the observer. Some A2s had a Lewis gun mounted on the top wing in place of the Vickers and a downward firing Lewis for protection from below and for trench strafing (the first recorded gunship). The B2 could also carry thirty-two 8 kg bombs although the A2 only carried 4 small bombs. The Breguet 14 was supplied to seventy-one French escadrilles on the Western Front, five escadrilles in Serbia, three in Greece, six in Morocco and eight in Macedonia as well as two Belgian escadrilles. Poland used them in the Kiev Offensive during the Polish-Bolshevik war in 1920. Two hundred and twenty-nine A2s, forty-seven B2s and one hundred E2 trainers were supplied to the American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.) in 1918. The aircraft were widely used for both day and night bombing in the last year of the war.

During its life time the Breguet Br 14 was fitted with various engines including the 300 hp Renault 12 Fcx (one version with the Rateau supercharger), a 370 hp Lorraine-Dietrich, a 400 hp Fiat A-12 bis and a 400 hp Liberty 12. The construction of the aircraft was contracted to Michelin, Renault, SIDAM, Schmitt, Bellanger, Latecoere, Darracq and Farman. Variants included the 14 B1 single seat bomber, 14 S ambulance, 14 T/Toe civil versions and one 14 H central float seaplane.

After the war, ex-military aircraft were converted to carry mail, while others were adapted to the passenger role possibly being the first French airliner. Some conversions had a 2 seat cabin behind the pilot, termed The Limosine, while others sported a 4 seat glazed compartment in a position between the wings and flown from the rear cockpit. Most of the conversions were undertaken by the Societe Industrielle d’Aviation Latecoere and were used by the French postal service and mail service in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The French postal system stretched to most European countries as well as French protectorates in Africa. One of the pilots being Jean Mermoz who later came to fame with his Trans-Southern Atlantic flights only in more up to date Latercoere types.

During its long post-war career in the French Aviation Militaire the Breguet 14 was used by at least 10 foreign air forces including those in South America and the Far East.

The Breguet 14 could easily be compared with the latter day Douglas DC-3 with regard to its various uses but not its longevity. More than 8,000 were built before production ended in 1926 and the type was still in use by French forces up until 1932.

Variants

Side view of replica Br 14 B.2 F-AZBP.
(photo, Vanhulle Jan)
Br 14 A.2 c/n 2016 at the Musée de l’Air,
Le Bourget. (photo, Mick Bajcar)

Requirement Specification: -
Manufacturers Designation: Br XIV

Development History:
Breguet AV Type XIV First prototype, with 220 hp Renault engine.
Br 14 A.2 Standard production reconnaissance version, with Renault 12Fe engine of 300 hp. Camera and radio equipment fitted.
Br 14 A.2 1918+ improved production reconnaissance version, with horn-balanced ailerons and increased span lower wings.
Br 14 A.2 24(16?) aircraft built with Renault 12FeR engine with Rateau supercharger. 1924.
Br 14 AP.2 Planned escort fighter version of Br 14 A.2 with Liberty engine. No production.
Br 14 B.1 Long-range single-seat bomber conversion of B.2, with fuel tank in observers cockpit. Few built.
Br 14 B.2 Standard production bomber version, with Renault 12Fe engine of 300 hp. Longer span lower wing than A.2, with flaps on lower wing, glazed side panels to observers cockpit, air brakes, Michelin bomb racks.
Br 14 B.2 1918+ improved production bomber version, with horn-balanced ailerons and reduced span lower wings, revised wing tip shape, flaps deleted.
Br 14 BN.2 2-seater night bomber version.
Br 14 E.2 Production dual controls trainer version. Unarmed. (also written as Br 14 Et.2)
Br 14 H Floatplane version – some with large central float and small outrigger floats, some with twin floats.
Br 14 S Ambulance version with room for 2 stretcher cases in rear fuselage. 1917
Br 14 Interim civil conversion of 14 A.2 by Latecoere with pilot in front seat and enclosed cabin for 2? passengers in rear cockpit.
Br 14T Postwar civil conversion with cabin for 2 passengers and pilot in rear cockpit. Fuel in streamlined tanks under top wing.
Br 14T.2 Salon Further civil conversion with cabin for 3 passengers and pilot in rear cockpit. 1919. Fuel tanks under top wing.
Br 14T bis Improved civilianised version with deeper cabin with 4 windows and 4 portholes. 1921. Fuel tanks under top wing. Some fitted with floats for colonial use.
Br 14 T bis Sanitaire Ambulance version of civilianised transport. Some fitted with floats for colonial use. 1920s
Br 14 TOE Colonial policing version.
Br 14/400 Export version for China with 400 hp Lorraine-Dietrich 12 Da engine.
Br 16 B.2 Enlarged version of Br 14 B.2 with longer span 3-bay wings, revised fin shape, 1213 lb (550 kg) bomb load, Renault 12Fe engine. June 1918.
Br 16 BN.2 Night bomber version of Br 16 with landing lights on lower wing. Standard production version.
Br 17 C.2 2-seat escort fighter version with scaled-down airframe, revised fin & rudder shape, 400 hp Renault 12K1 engine, 2 forward firing Vickers guns. Mid 1918.
Br 18T Civilian cabin conversion of 16 BN.2 – similar to 14T. Few built.
Nakajima B-6 Japanese licence-built version of Br 14 B.2 bomber. 360 hp RR Eagle engine. 1 only.

History

Key Dates:
June 1916    Start of design work on Type AV
21 November 1916    Maiden flight of Breguet AV first prototype
spring 1917    Breguet 14 B.2 first flight
12 April 1917    Breguet 14 B.2 prototype delivered for service testing
6 March 1917    First production order for 150 Breguet 14 A.2 aircraft
summer 1917    First production delivery of 14 A.2 to French AM
1918    Revised wing and aileron designs introduced
January 1919    Breguet 14 used in double flight across the Mediterranean
1919    First flight of 14 T.2 civil conversion
1921    Breguet 14T bis civil conversion first flight
3 Nov 1922-8 Jan 1923    Long range flight from Paris to Morocco and back in a Breguet 14
1926    Last French-produced Breguet 14 delivered
1928    Last Breguet 14 A.2 withdrawn from French military service
1930    Last Breguet 14 B.2 withdrawn from French military service
1932    Breguet 14 withdrawn from the training role in French military service
1937    Breguet 14 withdrawn from Thai Air Force service

Fiat-engined Breguet 14 T with Avro 504
G-EAJU in the background. (photo, via author)

Operators

Military Operators

Belgium – Air Force (40 aircraft)
Brazil – Air Force (30 aircraft)
China – Air Force (70 aircraft + some Br 16)
Czechoslovakia – Air Force (10 Br 14 + some Br 16)
Denmark – Air Force (4 aircraft)
El Salvador – Air Force (1 aircraft)
Finland – Air Force (38 aircraft)
France – Air Force (operated Br 14, Br 16 and Br 17)
France – Navy (some Br 14 H)
Greece – Air Force (40+ aircraft)
Iran (Persia) – Air Force (2 aircraft)
Italy – Air Force (a few aircraft)
Japan – Army Air Force (1 Br 14 B.2, NOT the Nakajima B-6)
Lithuania – Air Force (2 aircraft)
Manchuria – Air Force (some aircraft)
Poland – Air Force (158 aircraft)
Portugal – Air Force (29 Br 14 + 1 Br 16)
Romania – Air Force (20 aircraft)
Spain – Air Force (90+ aircraft)
Sweden – Air Force (1 aircraft)
Thailand (Siam) – Air Force (30+ aircraft)
Turkey – Air Force (32+ aircraft)
Uruguay – Air Force (9 aircraft)
USA – Army Air Service (600+ aircraft)
USSR – Air Force (6 French Br 14 captured)
Yugoslavia (Serbia) – Air Force (60+ aircraft)

Government Agencies

None

Civilian Operators

Argentina – Latecoere  
Belgium – SNETA  
Brazil – Latecoere  
France – CMA & Latecoere  
Sweden – Red Cross  
Thailand (Siam) – ?  
Uruguay – Latecoere  
USA – 1 Br 14 civil registered  

Not Guatemala Air Force as some sources state.

Farman-built Breguet 14 T of Cie Des
Messageries Aeriennes. (photo, via author)

Specifications

Breguet 14 A.2
Role: Two-seat reconnaissance aircraft
Crew: Two
Dimensions: Length 29 ft 1.25 in (8.87 m); Height 10 ft 10 in (3.30 m) tail down over propeller arc; Wing Span 47 ft 1.25 in (14.36 m) with original ailerons or 48 ft 9 in (14.86 m) with balanced ailerons; Wing Area 511.30 sq ft (47.50 sq m) with original ailerons or 529.60 sq ft (49.20 sq m) with balanced ailerons
Engine(s): One liquid-cooled, 12-cylinder vee, Renault 12Fe of 300 hp (224 kW).
Weights: Empty Equipped 2,227 lb (1010 kg); Maximum Take-off 3,386 lb (1536 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 114 mph (184 kph) at 6,560 ft (2,000 m); Time to 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 12 min 10 sec; Service ceiling 19,690 ft (6,000 m); Endurance 3 hr 0 min.
Armament: One forward firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine-gun in port forward fuselage side; twin 0.303 (7.7 mm) Lewis guns on ring mounting in rear cockpit; up to 88 lb (40 kg) of bombs under lower wings. Some aircraft with over-wing Lewis gun in place of forward-firing Vickers installation.
Breguet 14 B.2
Role: Two-seat light bomber
Crew: Two
Dimensions: Length 29 ft 1.25 in (8.87 m); Height 10 ft 10 in (3.30 m) tail down over propeller arc; Wing Span 47 ft 1.25 in (14.36 m) with original ailerons or 48 ft 9 in (14.86 m) with balanced ailerons; Wing Area 540.40 sq ft (50.20 sq m) with original ailerons or 522.00 sq ft (48.50 sq m) with balanced ailerons
Engine(s): One liquid-cooled, 12-cylinder vee, Renault 12Fcx of 300 hp (224 kW).
Weights: Empty Equipped 2,283 lb (1 kg); Maximum Take-off 3,892 lb (1765 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 110 mph (177 kph) at 6,500 ft (2000 m); Time to 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 16 min 30 sec; Service ceiling 19,030 ft (5,800 m); Range 560 miles (900 km); Endurance 2 hr 45 min.
Armament: One forward firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine-gun in port forward fuselage side; twin 0.303 (7.7 mm) Lewis guns on ring mounting in rear cockpit; up to 660 lb (300 kg) of bombs under lower wings. Some aircraft with additional downward-firing Lewis gun.
Breguet 14.T bis F-ADBM c/n 1912.
(photo, via author)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Louis Breguet, with Marcel Vullierme [note the spelling] as cheif engineer/assistant designer
Design Office: Societe des Avions Louis Breguet, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France.

Manufacture

Société Anonyme des Ateliers d’Aviation Louis Breguet
(Vélizy per Chaville, Seine et Oise, France.)
Br 14 production 1917-1926.
Br 16 production 1919-1923 (200+ a/c total, mostly by sub-contractors).
Br 17 production 1919-1922 (less than 100 a/c).
Société Anonyme Darracq
(33 quai du Général Galliéni, Suresnes, France.)
Br 14 production spring 1918-late 1918. First order 25 April 1917. Production in association with Michelin.
Société Henri et Maurice Farman
(149 à 169 rue de Silly, Billancourt, Seine, France.)
Br 14 production 1917-1918. First order 8 June 1917.
Paul Schmitt
(39 route de la Révolte, Levallois Perret, Paris, Seine, France.)
Br 14 production 1917-1918. First order 18 June 1917.
Société Anonyme des Automobiles Bellanger Fréres
(1 á 35 route de la Révolte, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.)
Br 14 production 1918. First order 9 December 1917. Production in association with Hanriot.
S.I.D.A.M.
(?, France.)
Br 14 production 1918. First order 9 December 1917.
Société d’Emboutissage et de Constructions Mécaniques (S.E.C.M.)
(171 boulevard du Havre, Colombes, Paris, France. Later became Amiot.)
Br 14 production 1917-1918.
Br 16 production 1919-1923.
Société des Automobiles L. Renault
(Billancourt, Seine, France.)
Br 14 production 1917-1918.
Les Ateliers d’Aviation Lioré et Olivier
(Levallois-Perret, Paris, France.)
Br 16 production 1919-1923.
S.I.M.B. Bernard-Ferbois
(La Courneuve, Siene-Saint-Denis, France.)
Br 16 production 1919-1923.
Forges et Ateliers de Construction Latecoére
(Toulouse-Montaudron, France.)
Br 14T conversions 1919-1921.
Br 14T bis conversions 1921-1923. Nearly 100 conversions.
Nakajima
(Ojima, Ota, Gunma Prefecture, Japan.)
one (only) Br 14 B.2 licence-built as Nakajima B-6 in April 1922.

Note: Some sources mention licenced production from 1920 by Spain of the Breguet 14 B.2 with a Liberty engine. Although a licence may have been acquired, there doesn’t seem to have been any aircraft actually built. CASA was not created until March 1923 and did not build any.

Some Br 14 aircraft were also reportedly assembled from spares by the French military workshops in Indo-China.

Total Produced: 8590+ Br 14 a/c, (incl. 5300 aircraft 1917-Dec 1918 by 6 companies and 2500 Br 14 A.2/B.2 1919-1926 by 20 companies).

Production List

To be added.

More Information

Books

‘Breguet 14 (Windsock Datafile Special)’
by Alan D. Toelle
Published by Albatros Publications, 2003 ISBN: 1 902207 61 0 1
* 84-page detailed profile of the Breguet 14.

‘Samolot Breguet 14 (TBiU No.197)’
by Tomasz J Kowalski
Published by Wydawnictwo Bellona, 2002 ISBN: 83 11 09461 6
* Polish text profile.

‘The Breguet 14: Profile No.157′
by J.M. Bruce & J. Noel
Published by Profile Publications Ltd, 1967 ISBN: n/a
* Concise well illustrated history of the Breguet 14.

‘Latecoere: Les Avions et Hydravions (Docavia No.34)’
by Jean Cuny
Published by Editions Lariviere, 1992 ISBN: 2 907051 01 6
* French text history of the aircraft company.

‘Mermoz: L’Esprit de l’Aeropostale’
by Jean-Paul Ollivier
Published by Selection de Readers Digest, Feb 2002 ISBN: 2 7098 1315 7
* French text biography of the pioneering pilot.

‘Reconnaissance and Bomber Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War’
by W M Lamberton
Published by Harleyford Publications Ltd, 1962 ISBN: n/a
* Includes a section on the Breguet 14.

Magazines:

Windsock International Vol.6 No.1 Jan/Feb 1990 & Vol.7 No.5 Sept/Oct 1991
Scale Models August 1970
Aeroplane Monthly August 1988
Le Trait d’Union No.154 March/April 1994
Icare No.194: L’exploration des lignes d’Amérique du Sud

Links

wikipedia: Breguet 14
(concise profile)

Breguet 14
(close-up photos of museum example)

Bréguet 14 A2 In Finnish Service 1919 – 1927
(detailed article on Finnish use)

Breguet Type 14 Maintenance and Rigging Manual
(CD-ROM of official technical manual for sale)

Breguet 14
(short profile)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
See Scale Models article above.

Videos:

To be added.

North American A-5 Vigilante

 
RA-5C 150831 of RVAH-11 from USS Kittyhawk
(photo, US Navy)

Key Facts

Main Role: Carrier-based Long-Range All-Weather Attack Aircraft
Configuration: High-mounted delta-winged jet
Country: USA
Current Status: Out of Service, Out of Production

Development

Just hours after the United States Army Air Forces massive B-29 bombers had delivered the atom bomb to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the US Navy began to realize that its position as the forefront of America’s defense and first strike capability could be in jeopardy. The continued development of the long distance bomber as a first strike platform and its perceive efficiency in bringing both Germany and Japan to their knees, made the Navy’s top brass very worried about losing the service’s primary position within the US Armed Forces. Things were more worrisome when the newly formed US Department of Defense separated the air force section from the Army; creating a brand new service: the US Air Force. Within months after its creation, the Air Force assumed primary role on the use of the country’s nuclear arsenal. This development, added to the perception that with the coming of the jet age, the navy would be relegated to a more littoral duty; forced the Navy’s leaders to find a weapon platform capable of providing the service with a nuclear option of its own. The Navy’s first attempt to field this concept was to equip its main strike force, the aircraft carriers; with aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The acquisition of North American’s AJ Savage and the Douglas Company A-3 Skywarrior bombers in the late 1940s and early 50s, both subsonic aircraft; represented a first step toward nuclear strike independency. But due to the increasing pace of aircraft developments, each example became obsolete after a just a few years of front line service. The Navy needed a new aircraft, and North American Corporation was once again ready to provide the service with its requirement.

In mid November 1953, a group of North American engineers commenced preliminary work on the development of a new type of aircraft. An aircraft more similar to the Air Force’s medium bomber concept than with the Navy’s history of carrier based bomber planes. North American designers proposed a radical departure from the current carrier aircraft situation. An all-weather, long range carrier based bomber capable of reaching speeds up to Mach 2 was envisioned at North American and that vision was eagerly expected to become a reality by the Navy. To meet the Navy’s and their own company expectations, the designers, lead by a brilliant engineer named Frank G. Compton; began the work promptly on what was referred to as North American General Purpose Attack Weapon System (NAGPAW) or designated project NA-233. After months of close consultation with Navy engineers, North American decided to base its new airplane on a twin engine concept. The idea behind the dual propulsion system was the aircraft’s survivability in case of one of the power plants failing. Another requirement for the concept was the ability to reach Mach 2 speed. To achieve this parameter, the aircraft was fitted with two of the most powerful engine systems available at the time: the General Electric J79-2 afterburning jet engine, capable of providing the aircraft with 15,150lb of thrust. To ensure the airframe’s integrity at high flying speeds and the aerodynamic conditions encountered by the airframe at those speeds, some heat sensitive areas of the fuselage were covered by titanium plates. The wings surfaces were machined as one complete piece from a combination of aluminum/lithium alloys. Nitrogen, not conventional hydraulic fluids, was used by the 233 in some of the hottest areas of the airframe. Even gold was utilized as heat reflectors in the engine’s bays. In order to capture high aerodynamic angles, the 233 was fitted with a small highly-loaded swept wing configuration with a powerful flap system and a one piece powered vertical tail. The wingtips folded up to allow the aircraft to be housed in an aircraft carrier hangar. The single, vertical tail structure also folded for hangar deck operations. The NA was one of the first aircraft to use a fully variable engine inlet system installed to reduce supersonic air to subsonic levels before it reached the engine main chamber, thus providing the engines with ultimate performance at any speed level. Beside the innovations on the airframe, the latest technology was implemented on the 233 avionics package. A state-of-the-art Versatile Digital Analyzer or VERDAN computer, one of the first solid state computer systems ever utilized on an aircraft; was fitted under the pilot’s seat. But the real technology breakthrough was the North American Autonetics System. The AN-ASB 12 System, as the package was referred as, included a multiple mode radar system housed in the aircraft’s nose cone. The radar was fitted with the Pilot’s Projected Display Indicator or PPDI, an early generation head-up display. A close captioned TV camera mechanism was installed under the nose for daylight targeting operations. Its image transferred directly to the pilot’s HUD and the rear seated navigator radar display. A first of its kind, terrain avoidance radar system, similar to that on the Navaho Cruise Missile, was used to guide the plane while on night operations. The aircraft’s also had the distinction of being one of the first designs to be fitted with a partial fly-by-wire system. The 233 was manned by an after mentioned crew of two. A pilot and a bombardier/navigator. The pilot was seated in the front of the pressurized cabin and the navigator on the rear, atop the advanced electronic package assigned to the aircraft. Original, the navigator canopy did not posses any view windows or reflective mirrors because company engineers estimated that the navigator’s instruments would be easy to ready in darkness and to protect them from the anticipated EM emissions expected from a detonated nuclear bomb. The whole cabin was housed on a structure fitted with an HS-1 rocket design to boost the ejection seats in case of an emergency.

The first 233 prototype rolled out from North American’s Columbus, Ohio factory on the afternoon of May 16th, 1958; when it was officially named the Vigilante. The first fly took place on August 31st, 1958. The aircraft performed as good as advertise by the North American design team. It achieved supersonic speed for the first time on September 5th of that year. Carrier trials began on the USS Saratoga on the morning of July 1960 with fourteen take-off and landing test flights performed by the sixth Vigilante prototype built. On the afternoon of December 13th, 1960, with Commander Leroy Heath at the controls and Lieutenant Larry Monroe in the back seat, the Vigilante, flying at Mach 2.1, set a new world altitude record for a bomber type aircraft when it climbed above 91,451ft while carrying a payload of 2,403lb. The Vigilante’s payload was storage in an unorthodox internal bomb bay without external doors, located in the airframe underbelly. This unique system was installed on the Vigilante because of the aircraft’s main purpose: the deliverance of nuclear ordinance. The engineers at North American figured that the aircraft had an enhanced chance of escaping a blast from the new thermonuclear weapons if the ordinance was ejected to the rear instead of a direct level drop. This was achieved with the assistance of a complex long duct system that extended back between the two engines. The duct would house the nuclear ordinance until the order for release was given. The aircraft was designed to carry one of the Mk 27, Mk 28, or Mk 43 free fall nuclear bombs in its internal bomb bay. Additionally, a pair of smaller, Mk 83 or Mk 84 nuclear bombs could be fitted on pylons underneath each wing.

Deliveries of the A3J Vigilante commenced in the spring of 1961 and lasted until the summer of 1963, when the US Navy shifted its main nuclear deterrent platform from its carrier fleet to the new Polaris augmented submarine force. When the production line was terminated in 1963, fifty nine examples had been delivered to the navy. The Vigilante’s first carrier deployment occurred when they were assigned to the USS Enterprise on its maiden cruise in August 1962. In September of that year, the US Defense Department changed the new aircraft designation A-5A, due to the decision to standardize all US Armed Forces aircraft designations. Once the Vigilante entered front line service, the aircraft was not well received by carrier air commanders who, although impressed with the aircraft payload capacity and airframe structure, felt that an aircraft filled such advanced technologies were primed to become a major maintenance problem. They were right. Constant shutdowns by the VERDAN system meant that the aircraft’s turn-around capabilities were severely curtailed. Problems also arose with the use of its fly-by-wire system that required many man hours to prepare to full operational mode. Also the aircraft’s large size made it difficult for airmen to operate during take off and landing situations. With the shift of the US Navy’s nuclear deterrence platform, the days of the Vigilante as an offensive aircraft were numbered. Rather than scrapping the examples they already possesed, the Navy devised a new role for the Vigilante, a role that would made the aircraft’s name “fit the bill”. The Navy’s deep reconnaissance mission had been neglected partially by the lack of a long range aircraft; this role was tailor-made for the A-5A. All of the Navy’s Vigilantes were returned to North American for conversion to RA platforms. Eventually, fifty three examples were converted between early 1963 and the spring of 1963. They were augmented by a batch of fifty five newly produced aircraft and given the RA-5C designation. The RA-5C retained the A-5A performance capabilities as well as its avionic package. The main upgrade to the system was the installation of optical, electronic, and electromagnetic sensors storage on the aircraft’s once exposed bomb bay. They included an AN-ASS21 infrared sensor for the continued filming of thermal targets images at angles of 140 degrees, a Westinghouse Side Looking Airborne Radar or SLAR for all side-by-side image mapping; an AN-ALQ61 Electronic Intelligence Unit System that would pick-up radar emissions and triangulate their originating coordinates, frequencies, and electronic signal patters. A vast array of optical camera systems such as panoramic, oblique or vertical; were fitted around the airframe. The complete reconnaissance system was under the control of the Recon Officer seated were the bombardier/navigator used to be.

The first RA-5A entered carrier service in 1964. It went on to see duty in the Vietnam War. The RA version proved to be more successful than its predecessor. Usually, the Vigilante was the last aircraft launched from the carrier during an operation, since its speed allowed it to catch-up quickly with the mission package. Eventually, the US Navy ordered the Vigilante production line to re-open and the first of a new batch of Vigilantes were delivered to the Navy. Forty four examples were ordered, but only thirty-six units were actually completed by the time the line was closed again in August 1970. The last operational RA-5C Vigilante squadron was disbanded in September 1979. A short lifespan for such a revolutionary aircraft design. In the end, it was a magnificent aircraft, but without a clear mission, it was an unsupported plane.

A-5A 147856 with the Naval Weapons
Evaluation Facility in 1961.
(photo, NWC China Lake)
RA-5C NL/704 of RVAH-6 in 1966 showing the ventral recce equipment fairing.
(photo, US Navy)

Variants

Requirement Specification: -
Manufacturers Designation: (see below)

Development History:
NAGPAW Projected 2-seat low-level attack bomber.
XA3J-1 Initial designation for the two prototype aircraft.
YA3J-1 Two prototype aircraft with YJ78-GE-2 engines of 15,000 lb st (66.71 kN) afterburning. Blown trailing edge flaps.
A3J-1 Initial production version. J79-GE-2, -4 or -8 engines. Provision for underwing fuel tanks.
A3J-2 Improved production version with hump-backed fuselage for additional internal fuel capacity. Blown leading & trailing edge flaps. 2 additional wing pylons.
A3J-3 Photo-reconnaissance version of the A3J-2. Ventral ‘canoe’ fairing for cameras, SLAR and ELINT/ECM sensors.
A-5A Designation of A3J-1 after September 1962.
A-5B Designation of A3J-2 after September 1962.
YA-5C Designation of first four conversions of A-5B to RA-5C configuration. No photo-recce equipment carried – used as trainers. Later fully upgraded.
RA-5C Designation of A3J-3P after September 1962.
RA-5C ‘Phase II’ Improved RA-5C with J79-GE-10 engines, improved engine intakes and wing/nacelle fillets added.
NA-233 Company designation for original NAGPAW project proposal. Not built.
NA-247 Company designation for YA3J-1 & initial A3J-1 batch.
NA-263 Company designation for second A3J-1 batch.
NA-269 Company designation for remaining A3J-1 & A3J-2 batches.
NA-279 Company designation for first A3J-3 batch.
NA-283 Company designation for second and third A3J-3 batch.
NA-296 Company designation for A-5A conversion to RA-5C – first batch.
NA-298 Company designation for A-5A conversion to RA-5C – second batch.
NA-316 Company designation for RA-5C ‘Phase II’.
‘Retaliator’ Projected interceptor fighter version of A-5 for USAF with rocket engine in place of weapons bay. 1960. Not built.
NA-349 Projected interceptor fighter version of A-5 for USAF with three J79 engines. 1971. Not built.

History

Key Dates:
Nov 1953    NAGPAW project studies to replace A3D started.
Jan 1954    NAGPAW project presented to US Navy – design changes later requested.
March 1956    Engineering mockup inspected. Twin vertical fins soon changed to single fin.
29 August 1956    USN contract placed for 2 prototypes.
16 May 1958    First YA3J-1 completed
31 Aug 1958    Maiden flight of first YA3J-1
5 Sept 1958    YA3J-1 exceeds Mach 1.
2 Nov 1958    Second YA3J-1 flies.
15 Jan 1959    Production contract awarded.
Jan 1960    First flight of first A-5A.
July 1960    Sea trials aboard USS Saratoga.
13 Dec 1960    Altitude record of 91,451 ft achieved while carrying a 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) load.
June 1961    A3J-1 enters squadron service with VAH-7.
29 April 1962    A-5B first flight.
30 June 1962    First flight of RA-5C.
Sept 1962    A3J-1 redesignated A-5A and A3J-3 becomes RA-5C.
June 1964    RA-5C enters squadron service with RVAH-5.
August 1964    First RA-5C unit deployed to Vietnam.
March 1969    First production RA-5C Phase II first flight.
August 1970    Last delivery to US Navy.
21 Sept 1979    Final carrier deployment ends.
20 November 1979    Last RA-5C retired from US Navy service.
A-5A 147858 on loan to NASA in 1963.
(photo, NASA Dryden)
RA-5C Phase II 156608 of RVAH-5 with ashore tailcode ‘GK’. (photo, US Navy)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Navy 10 Squadrons 1961-1979

Government Agencies

NASA 1 A-5A loaned March-May 1963

Civilian Operators

None

Specifications

North American A3J-1 (A-5A) Vigilante
Crew: Pilot (front) and Navigator (rear)
Dimensions: Length 76 ft 6 in (23.35 m); Height 19 ft 4.75 in (5.91 m); Wing Span 53 ft 0 in (16.15 m) open, 42 ft 0 in (12.8 m) folded; Wing Area 700 sq ft (65.03 sq m) 700?
Engines: Two General Electric J79-GE-2 or -4 turbojets, rated at 10,350 lb.s.t. (4695 kg) dry and 16,150 lb.s.t. (7,325 kg) with maximum afterburner, or (last production batch) two J79-GE-8 turbojets rated at 17,000 lb st (7711 kg) with maximum afterburner.
Weights: Empty 32,714 lb (14,839 kg); Normal Loaded 47,530 lb (21,559 kg); Maximum Take-off 56,293 lb (25,534 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 2.1, 1320 mph (2124 kph) at 40,000 ft (12,192 m), 806 mph (1297 kph) at sea level; Initial climb rate 8,000 ft/min (2438 m/min) at sea level; Service Ceiling 58,100 ft (15,880 m); Combat radius (attack) 1,289 miles (2026 km); Range 1,807 miles (2908 km) on internal fuel, 3,200 miles (5,150 km) with external fuel tanks
Armament: One Mk 27, Mk 28 or Mk 43 thermo-nuclear bomb in linear weapons bay, plus one Mk 43 nuclear weapon on a weapon pylon under each wing, or 5,000 lb (2,270 kg) of conventional bombs.
North American RA-5C Vigilante
Crew: Pilot (front) and Recon. Officer (rear)
Dimensions: Length 76 ft 6 in (23.32 m); Height 19 ft 4.75 in (5.91 m); Wing Span 53 ft 0 in (16.15 m) open, 42 ft 0 in (12.8 m) folded; Wing Area 753.7 sq ft (70.02 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric J79-GE-8 turbojets, rated at 10,900 lb st (4944 kg) and 17,000 lb.s.t. (7711 kg) with maximum afterburner, or (post-1969) two J79-GE-10 turbojets rated at 17,860 lb st (8118 kg) with maximum afterburner.
Weights: Empty 37,498 lb (17,024 kg); Loaded ‘clean’ 55,617 lb (25,227 kg); Maximum Take-off 79,588 lb (36,133 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 2.1, 1320 mph (2124 kph) at 40,000 ft (12,192 m), 806 mph (1297 kph) at sea level; Initial climb rate 6,600 ft/min (2012 m/min) at sea level; Service Ceiling 49,000 ft (14935 m); Combat radius 1,508 miles (2427 km); Range 2,050 miles (3299 km) on internal fuel, 3,000 miles (4,828 km) with external fuel tanks
Armament: None normally carried, although a full weapons delivery capability was retained.

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Frank G. Compton
Design Office: North American Aviation Inc., Columbus, OH, USA.

Manufacture

North American Aviation
(Columbus, OH, USA. Later North American Rockwell)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
YA3J-1 (NA-247) 2 Columbus, OH Aug 1956-Aug 1958
A3J-1 (NA-247) 9 Columbus, OH 1961-1962
A3J-1 (NA-263) 14 Columbus, OH 1961-1962
A3J-1 (NA-269) 34 Columbus, OH 1961-1962
A3J-2 (NA-269) 18* Columbus, OH Apr 1962-June 1962
RA-5C (NA-279) 20 Columbus, OH June 1962-1964
RA-5C (NA-283) 23 Columbus, OH 1962-1964
RA-5C Phase II (NA-316) 36 Columbus, OH 1968-Aug 1970
Total: 156    

* Only 6 built as A3J-2, remainder converted to RA-5C on the production line.

Total Produced: 152 a/c (YA3J-1: 2, A3J-1/A-5A: 57, A3J-2/A-5B: 18, A3J-3/RA-5C: 79)
43 A3J-1/A-5A and 18 A3J-2/A-5B converted to RA-5C – total of 61 conversions.

Production List

To be added.

More Information

Books

‘North American Rockwell A3J / A-5 Vigilante – Aerofax Minigraph 9′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Micheal Grove & Jay Miller
Published by Aerofax, Sept 1989 ISBN: 0 94254 814 0
* Well illustrated profile of the Vigilante.

‘RA-5C Vigilante Units in Combat – Osprey Combat Aircraft 51′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Robert R. ‘Boom’ Powell
Published by Osprey Publishing, 29 Oct 2004 ISBN: 1 84176 749 2
* Detailed examination of the operational career of the RA-5C.

‘North American A-5A RA-5C Vigilante – Naval Fighters No.64′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Steve Ginter
Published by Ginter Books, 2003 ISBN: 0-942612-64-7
* In-depth pictorial look at all variants.

‘A/RA-5 Vigilante – Mini In Action No.3′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Terry Love
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, March 1995 ISBN: 0 89747 334 5
* Concise profile of the A-5.

‘Wings of Fame Volume 19′
Published by Aerospace Publishing, 2000 ISBN: 1 8614 049 7 (PB)
* Includes 65 page detailed feature article on the A-5.

‘North American Aircraft 1934-1999, Volume 2′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Kevin Thompson
Published by Flying Books, 1999 ISBN: 0913322067
* Excellent history of the North American company and it’s aircraft.

Magazines

To be added.

Links

North American A3J-1 Vigilante
North American A3J-2 Vigilante
North American A3J-3P/RA-5C Vigilante
(Good profile of all major versions – no pics)

wikipedia: A-5 Vigilante
(Useful profile of the A-5)

The North American A-5/RA-5 Vigilante
(Nice concise profile of the A-5)

Wing’s Palette
(Several A-5/RA-5 colour profiles)

Airliners.net
(4 pages of A-5 photos – mostly museum examples)

North American RA-5C “Vigilante”
(Good multi-page profile)

North American A-5 Vigilante
(Short profile with some photos)

A-5 Vigilante
(2 pages of RA-5C photos – including a walkaround with close-up shots)

Le North American A3J Vigilante
(Good French-language profile)

Secret Projects
(Discussion on NA-349 interceptor)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
Aviation News Vol.5 No.6

Videos:

To be added.

Lockheed Martin X-35

 
Lockheed Martin X-35A
(photo, Lockheed Martin)

Key Facts

Main Role: Technology Demonstrator
Configuration: High-mounted delta-winged jet
Country: USA
Current Status: Technology Demonstrator

Development

In aiming to use advanced technology to provide a leap forward in operational fighter capability and at the same time substantially reduce manufacturing costs, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme has ambitious goals. For the wining design the rewards could be enormous. A potential market for 5,000-8,000 aircraft has been forecast.

The origins of JSF lie in the realisation by the US Marine Corps and Royal Navy during the 1980s that a replacement for the Sea Harrier and AV-8B would be required after the year 2000. Various research studies were undertaken on both sides of the Atlantic into advanced Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) concepts. The best of these concepts appeared to involve the use of a dedicated lift-fan located behind the cockpit. In 1989, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) took over leadership of the advanced STOVL project and focused the on-going effort into a phased development programme leading to a flying demonstrator aircraft using the powerful new engines developed for the YF-22 and YF-23 Advanced Tactical Fighter.

As the studies progressed, it was realised that a STOVL aircraft with the lift-fan removed and replaced by a large fuel tank would result in a fighter with excellent long range capability. Such a fighter would fulfil the needs of the USAF, which was looking for a longer-ranged fighter capability in the light of Gulf War operations. Thus was born the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter (CALF) project – aimed at producing a single aircraft design with both STOVL and Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) variants.

In March 1993, study contracts were issued to Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas under the CALF project. In addition, Boeing and Northrop Grumman initiated self-funded design studies. In 1995, CALF was absorbed into the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) programme, which was originally intended to focus on technology studies and demonstration of various equipment for next generation strike aircraft. In fact, JAST soon evolved into a firm requirement for an advanced single-seat, single-engined lightweight multi-role fighter which could be operated by the USAF, US Navy and US Marines in closely similar variants. The opportunity to replace the F-16, A-10, F/A-18C/D and AV-8B with one design would result in huge savings in costs due to the large production run. During 1996 JAST was renamed JSF (Joint Strike Fighter).

In November 1996, Boeing and Lockheed Martin were awarded contracts to build two Concept Demonstrator Aircraft (CDA) – one CTOL version and one STOVL version – each. The aircraft were not intended to be fighter prototypes, but rather to prove that the selected design concepts would work, hence the use of X-series designations. The Boeing design received the designation X-32 and the Lockheed Martin design the designation X-35.

The design of the Lockheed Martin X-35 is clearly derived from that of the F-22 Raptor. The aerodynamic configuration is very similar, as is the application of stealth technology in the shaping of the fuselage. The STOVL version features a Rolls-Royce (Allison) designed lift-fan located behind the cockpit. The fan is mechanically driven by a shaft running from the engine and is designed to support almost half of the aircraft’s weight when in the hover. At the rear of the fuselage is a pitch-axis vectoring nozzle for the engine exhaust, which provides the remaining thrust to balance the aircraft.

For the two CDA aircraft, the designation X-35A was allocated to the CTOL version and X-35B to the STOVL version. Unlike Boeing, Lockheed Martin introduced a third version, the X-35C, to undertake simulated aircraft carrier (CV/CTOL) testing. This aircraft was produced by converting the X-35A after it had completed it’s planned flight trials. The X-35A and X-35B have very similar airframes, including the aft cockpit bulge and associated doors for the lift-fan, which is only fitted to the X-35B. In addition to the clamshell doors above and below the lift-fan bay are another set of doors in the aircraft spine serving an engine auxiliary intake for use at low forward speeds. When transitioning to and from the hover, all three sets of doors open or close as required. The X-35C was converted at Palmdale from the X-35A. It featured increased wing area and significantly larger tail surfaces to demonstrate carrier approach performance.

The production version of the X-35, known as the Preferred Weapons System Concept (PWSC), will feature a number of design changes. All versions will have the main air intakes reshaped and located further aft on the fuselage. The USAF’s CTOL version is considered the baseline model. The STOVL version is 81% common in terms of airframe structure, while the CV version is only 62% common. The CTOL and STOVL versions have the same wing design, which has increased area compared to the X-35A/B. The CV version has much larger wings and tail surfaces and strengthened landing gear, including a twin wheel noseleg. The CTOL and CV versions will not feature the slightly bulged area behind the cockpit, which houses the lift-fan on the STOVL version, allowing a larger canopy glazed area. Extra fuel will be accommodated in place of the lift fan. The CTOL and CV versions will also feature slightly bulged weapons bay doors to accommodate larger weapons.

The Lockheed Martin X-35 was selected as the winning JSF design on 26 October 2001.

X-35A CTOL demonstrator Front view of X-35A X-35A taxiing
(All photos Lockheed Martin)

Variants

Requirement Specification: JORD – Joint Operational Requirements Document
Manufacturers Designation: Model 220

Development History:
X-35A CTOL concept demonstrator for the USAF. Configuration 220A.
X-35B STOVL concept demonstrator for the USMC and Royal Navy. Configuration 220B.
X-35C CV/CTOL concept demonstrator for the US Navy. Converted from X-35A. Configuration 220C.
Model 235 Lockheed Martin designation for PWSC production version.
CTOL PWSC Baseline production version, for USAF.
STOVL PWSC USMC production version with lift fan in bulged area aft of cockpit, shorter cockpit canopy and no bulging of weapons bay doors.
CV PWSC US Navy production version, featuring much larger wing and tail surfaces and strengthened landing gear with twin wheel noseleg.

History

Key Dates:
1990    Common Affordable Lighweight Fighter (CALF) study launched by Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).
August 1994    United Kingdom joins study programme.
1995    CALF incorporated into JAST (Joint Advanced Strike Technology) concept studies.
March 1996    Request for proposals issued to Boeing, Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas led teams.
mid 1996    JAST programme renamed JSF (Joint Strike Fighter).
16 November 1996    McDonnell Douglas eliminated from competition. Lockheed Martin and Boeing awarded contracts to produce and flight test 2 technology demonstrators each.
1997    Northrop Grumman and British Aerospace join Lockheed Martin team.
24 October 2000    Maiden flight of X-35A CTOL demonstrator.
21 November 2000    First supersonic flight of X-35A.
16 December 2000    Maiden flight of X-35C CV/CTOL demonstrator.
February 2001    Final production PWSC design submitted.
24 June 2001    First hover of X-35A converted to X-35B STOVL demonstrator configuration.
20 July 2001    X-35B demonstrates short take-off, level supersonic dash and vertical landing in one flight.
26 October 2001    Lockheed Martin X-35 wins the JSF competition. Engineering Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract to be awarded in November.
2005    Projected maiden flight of first EMD aircraft.
2008    Projected in-service date for CTOL aircraft.
2008    Projected in-service date for STOVL aircraft.
X-35B on the hover pit X-35B with intake doors open X-35B cruising at altitude
(All photos Lockheed Martin)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Air Force (1,763 planned)
U.S. Navy (480 planned)
U.S. Marine Corps (609 planned)
UK – Royal Navy (60 planned)

Government Agencies

None

Civilian Operators

None

Specifications

Lockheed Martin X-35
Crew: Pilot.
Dimensions: Length 50 ft 11 in (15.52 m); Height ? ft ? in (? m); Wing Span 40 ft 0 in (12.19 m) for X-35C, 33 ft 0 in (10.05 m) for X-35A/B; Wing Area 600 sq ft (55.7 sq m) for X-35C, 412.3 sq ft (38.3 sq m) for X-35A/B
Engines: One Pratt & Whitney F119-PW turbofan derivative, designated SE611, of 42,000 lb. (186.9 kN) st. with afterburning plus Rolls-Royce lift fan (X-35B only) of 18,000 lb (80 kN) thrust. (F119-PW-611C for CV/CTOL and F119-PW-611S for STOVL variant).
Weights: Empty Operating 25,000 lb (11,340 kg); Maximum Take-off 50,000 lb (22,680 kg)
Armament: Six AIM-120C AMRAAM or two AIM-120C AMRAAM and two 2,000 lb. JDAM in internal fusleage bay; provision for one 20mm M61A2 rotary cannon with 400 rounds in starboard wing root (USAF CTOL variant). Provision for 4 underwing pylons with 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) capacity each.
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 1.4+ at altitude; Maximum rate of climb at sea level classified; Service ceiling 50,000+ ft (15,240+ m); Radius of action 540 nm (622 miles, 1000 km) for USMC attack mission, 600 nm (691 miles, 1112 km) for US Navy attack mission
Top view of X-35C X-35C rear view X-35C cruising
(All photos Lockheed Martin)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Not known
Design Office: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co, ‘Skunk Works’, Palmdale, CA.

Manufacture

Lockheed Martin
(Lockheed Martin TAS, PO Box 748, Fort Worth, TX 761201, USA.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
X-35A/C 1 Palmdale, CA 1998-2000
X-35B 1 Palmdale, CA 1998-2001
F/A-xx (2900) Fort Worth, TX (planned 2004-2020+)
Total: 2    

Total Produced: 2900 a/c (planned)

Note: Manufacturing workshare is split between Lockheed Martin at Fort Worth and Northrop Grumman and BAE SYSTEMS. Final assembly will be at Fort Worth.

Production List

To be added.

More Information

Books

‘International Air Power Review, Volume 1′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by AIRtime Publishing Inc, May 2001 ISBN: 1 880588 33 1
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the two JSF contenders.

Magazines

‘Combat Aircraft, Vol. 3 No.4′
Published by AIRtime Publishing Inc, March 2001 ISBN: n/a
* Includes feature article on JSF flight testing.

Links:

Lockheed Martin Corporation

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.

Videos:

To be added.

Boeing X-32

 
The Boeing X-32A makes its first flight.
(Boeing photo)

Key Facts

Main Role: Technology Demonstrator
Configuration: High-mounted delta-winged jet
Country: USA
Current Status: Technology Demonstrator

Development

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme has been described as the largest single defence project in history, with a potential market for 5,000-8,000 aircraft and the key objective of reversing the continuing upward trend in military aircraft unit costs.
The origins of JSF lie in the realisation by the US Marine Corps and Royal Navy during the 1980s that a replacement for the Sea Harrier and AV-8B would be required after the year 2000. Various research studies were undertaken on both sides of the Atlantic into advanced Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) concepts. The best of these concepts appeared to involve the use of a dedicated lift-fan located behind the cockpit. In 1989, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) took over leadership of the advanced STOVL project and focused the on-going effort into a phased development programme leading to a flying demonstrator aircraft using the powerful new engines developed for the YF-22 and YF-23 Advanced Tactical Fighter.

As the studies progressed, it was realised that a STOVL aircraft with the lift-fan removed and replaced by a large fuel tank would result in a fighter with excellent long range capability. Such a fighter would fulfil the needs of the USAF, which was looking for a longer-ranged fighter capability in the light of Gulf War operations. Thus was born the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter (CALF) project – aimed at producing a single aircraft design with both STOVL and Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) variants.

In March 1993, study contracts were issued to Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas under the CALF project. In addition, Boeing and Northrop Grumman initiated self-funded design studies. In 1995, CALF was absorbed into the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) programme, which was originally intended to focus on technology studies and demonstration of various equipment for next generation strike aircraft. In fact, JAST soon evolved into a firm requirement for an advanced single-seat, single-engined lightweight multi-role fighter which could be operated by the USAF, US Navy and US Marines in closely similar variants. The opportunity to replace the F-16, A-10, F/A-18C/D and AV-8B with one design would result in huge savings in costs due to the large production run. During 1996 JAST was renamed JSF (Joint Strike Fighter).

In November 1996, Boeing and Lockheed Martin were awarded contracts to build two Concept Demonstrator Aircraft (CDA) – one CTOL version and one STOVL version – each. The aircraft were not intended to be fighter prototypes, but rather to prove that the selected design concepts would work, hence the use of X-series designations. The Boeing design received the designation X-32 and the Lockheed Martin design the designation X-35.

The Boeing X-32 uses a novel airframe shape combined with a direct-lift STOVL configuration. The AV-8B Harrier-style direct lift concept requires the lift nozzles to be on the centre of gravity of the aircraft. To achieve this, the engine is located in the front portion of the fuselage, with the vectoring nozzles immediately behind it, and then a long exhaust duct leading back to the afterburner and pitch-axis thrust vectoring nozzle at the rear. The engine position and overall dimension limitations dictated a very short nose. The thick delta wing was chosen to give good high-Alpha characteristics and its large volume allowed fuel tankage to give long range.

For the two CDA aircraft, the designation X-32A was allocated to the CTOL version and X-32B to the STOVL version. Unlike the Lockheed Martin X-35, there were no airframe changes required to demonstrate US Navy aircraft carrier (CV/CTOL) approach capabilities – the X-32A performed both roles. Apart from the lift nozzles on the STOVL version, there are a number of design differences between the two airframe configurations. The X-32A features a non-moving intake, and wide span wings with accentuated tip extensions. The X-32B features a moving intake cowl which translates forward during hover to allow more air into the engine. The fuselage is slightly shorter and the wing span has been narrowed to reduced weight. No wing leading edge lift devices are fitted. The twin lift nozzles are concealed behind doors in the fuselage belly when not in use.

Since the X-32 design was frozen, continued design evolution has resulted in the planned production version (model 375) gaining a conventional tailplane, to enhance manoeuvrability during approach to an aircraft carrier, and hence a stubby swept wing has been adopted rather than the original delta wing. The engine intake cowl will now be raked forward rather than backwards. Boeing anticipates that all three production versions will have the same length fuselage. The production version is known in the programme as the Preferred Weapons System Concept (PWSC).

The Lockheed Martin X-35 was selected as the winning JSF design on 26 October 2001. Some X-35 workshare may be awarded to Boeing as a consolation.

The X-32A in flight View of the internal weapons bay Rear view of the X-32A
(All photos Boeing)

Variants

Requirement Specification: JORD – Joint Operational Requirements Document
Manufacturers Designation: Model 370

Development History:
X-32A CTOL concept demonstrator for the USAF and US Navy.
X-32B STOVL concept demonstrator for the USMC and Royal Navy.
Model 375 Boeing designation for PWSC production version.
CTOL PWSC Baseline production version, for USAF.
STOVL PWSC USMC production version with shortened wings, under-fuselage lift nozzles and moving intake cowl.
CV PWSC US Navy production version, featuring additional outboard wing ailerons and strengthened landing gear.

History

Key Dates:
1990    Common Affordable Lighweight Fighter (CALF) study launched by Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).
1993    Boeing joins study programme.
August 1994    United Kingdom joins study programme.
1995    CALF incorporated into JAST (Joint Advanced Strike Technology) concept studies.
March 1996    Request for proposals issued to Boeing, Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas led teams.
mid 1996    JAST programme renamed JSF (Joint Strike Fighter).
16 November 1996    McDonnell Douglas eliminated from competition. Boeing and Lockheed Martin awarded contracts to produce and flight test 2 technology demonstrators each.
late 1996    McDonnell Douglas joins Boeing team.
18 September 2000    Maiden flight of X-32A CTOL demonstrator.
21 December 2000    First supersonic flight by X-32A.
February 2001    Final production PWSC design submitted.
7 March 2001    First hover of X-32B STOVL demonstrator.
13 April 2001    First airborne transition from conventional to STOVL mode and back again by X-32B.
28 July 2001    Short take-off, supersonic flight and slow STOVL landing in one mission achieved by X-32B.
26 October 2001    Lockheed Martin X-35 wins the JSF competition.
The STOVL X-32B flies X-32B in the hover Looking up at X-32B hover
(All photos Boeing)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Air Force (1,763 planned)
U.S. Navy (480 planned)
U.S. Marine Corps (609 planned)
UK – Royal Navy (60 planned)

Government Agencies

None  

Civilian Operators

None  

Specifications

Boeing X-32
Crew: One
Dimensions: Length 45 ft 0 in (13.72 m) for X-32A, 43 ft 8.6 in (13.33 m) for X-32B; Height 13 ft 4 in (4.06 m); Wing Span 36 ft 0 in (10.97 m) for X-32A, 30 ft 0 in (9.14 m) for X-32B; Wing Area 590.00 sq ft (54.81 sq m) for X-32A.
Engines: One Pratt & Whitney F119-PW turbofan derivative, designated SE614, rated at 42,000 lb st (186.9 kN) with afterburning and 34,000+ lb st (151.3 kN) without afterburning. (F119-PW-614C for CV/CTOL and F119-PW-614S for STOVL variant).
Weights: Empty Equipped 22,046 lb (10,000 kg) for USAF CTOL and STOVL, 24,030 lb (10,900 kg) for CV/CTOL; Normal Take-off 38,000 lb (17,236 kg) for USAF CTOL; Maximum Take-off 50,000 lb (22,680 kg) for all variants.
Armament: Six AIM-120C AMRAAM or two AIM-120C AMRAAM and two 2,000 lb. JDAM in internal fusleage bay; provision for one 20mm M61A2 rotary cannon with 400 rounds in starboard wing root (USAF CTOL variant). Provision for 4 underwing pylons with 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) capacity each.
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1.6 at high altitude; Maximum rate of climb at sea level classified; Combat ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Combat radius on USMC mission 600 nm (691 mls, 1110 km), on USAF mission 850 nm (979 mls, 1575 km), on USN mission 750 nm (863 mls, 1390 km)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: ?
Programme Manager: ?
Design Office: Boeing Aircraft Company, Seattle, Washington

Manufacture

Boeing Aircraft and Missiles
(Box 516, St Louis, MO 63166-0516, USA.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
X-32A 1 Palmdale, CA* 1998-2000
X-32B 1 Palmdale, CA* 1998-2001
F/A-xx (2900) St Louis, MO (planned 2004-2020+)
Total: 2    

* Former Rockwell facility. Forward fuselage and cockpit designed and produced at the Phantom Works, St Louis.

Total Produced: 2900 a/c (planned)

Production List

To be added.

More Information

Books

‘International Air Power Review, Volume 1′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by AIRtime Publishing Inc, May 2001 ISBN: 1 880588 33 1
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the two JSF contenders.

Magazines

‘Combat Aircraft, Vol. 3 No.4′
Published by AIRtime Publishing Inc, March 2001 ISBN: n/a
* Includes feature article on JSF flight testing.

Links

The Boeing Company

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.

Videos:

To be added.

Panavia Tornado IDS

 
Panavia Tornado GR.1 ZD966/I of 2 Sqn. RAF 1993.

Key Facts

Main Role: All-weather supersonic tactical strike aircraft
Configuration: Variable-geometry jet
Country: UK/Germany/Italy
Current Status: In Service, Out of Production

Development

From conception to operational service took twelve years, but what was remarkable
about this was that the Tornado and all its systems were delivered on time and on
budget.

The Tornado was originally designed to fulfill six different roles. After the Tornado went into service another role was defined; defense suppression, Italy and Germany procured the purpose built Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR) version. This type is armed with the High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM). The six original roles were:
1. Interdiction Strike.
2. Counter Air Strike
3. Battlefield Interdiction
4. Close Air Support
5. Reconnaissance
6. Interception

This last role was not taken up but the RAF went one step further and developed the Air Defense Variant (ADV) now called the Tornado F.3.

The Tornado is the RAF’s first variable-geometry aircraft. Built by a consortium from Britain, Germany and Italy known as Panavia with its head quarters in Munich, Germany.

The first British assembled aircraft flew from Warton in Lancashire on 30 October 1974. The first production GR1 flew on 10 July 1979. A total of 228 GR1’s were built for the RAF, 36 of these were dual control and designated GR1(T).
The three countries that contributed to the project manufactured different sections of the aircraft. Britain made the nose and rear fuselage; Italy made the wings and Germany the centre fuselage. The Rolls Royce designed engines were built by Turbo-Union; these were the RB-199 turbofans.

Originally the MRCA (Multi Role Combat Aircraft) as it was known was to be a NATO aircraft, with countries such as Canada, Belgium and The Netherlands expected to contribute, but these countries elected to go for US built, cheaper, single seaters instead.
The RAF first employed the Tornado at the TTTE (Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment) at Cottesmore in July 1980. As its name suggests this unit was to train aircrew from all three nations to use both the aircraft and its systems. This unit was followed in August 1981 by the TWCU (Tactical Weapons Conversion Unit) based at Honiton.
The Tornado superseded the Buccaneer, Jaguar and Vulcan in the bomber and maritime strike roles. A vast amount of weaponry can be carried by the Tornado including 500-Kiloton nuclear bombs, BL755 cluster bombs, 1,000 lb. HE bombs, laser-guided bombs and anti-radiation missiles.

Tornadoes are currently being converted to GR.4 standard; this will include new equipment such at TIALD, FLIR and a new navigational sub-system.

Variants

Requirement Specification: ?
Manufacturers Designation: ?

Development History:
MRCA Original designation for Tornado programme, meaning Multi-Role Combat Aircraft.
Tornado prototypes Initial development batch of 9 aircraft.
Tornado pre-series Follow-on development batch of 6 aircraft.
Tornado IDS Generic term for ‘bomber’ version. IDS = Interdictor/Strike.
Tornado ADV Generic term for dedicated interceptor fighter version. Described separately.
Tornado GR.Mk 1 Standard strike version of the Tornado IDS for the RAF. Features additional fin fuel tank and laser rangefinder in undernose fairing.
Tornado GR.Mk 1(T) Version of the Tornado GR.1 with full flying controls in both cockpits for pilot training. 50 a/c + 1 pre-series refurbished.
Tornado GR.Mk 1A Dedicated reconnaissance version of GR.1. Includes Vinten 4000 infra-red linescan video system in blister fairing below the aircraft nose. 14 a/c new build + 16 conversions.
Tornado GR.Mk 1B Dedicated anti-shiping version of GR.1. Equipped to launch Sea Eagle missiles and carry ‘buddy’ in-flight refuelling pods.
Tornado GR.Mk 4 Mid-Life Update for GR.1 with upgraded avionics and cockpit systems.
Tornado GR.Mk 4A Mid-Life Update applied to GR.1A version.
Tornado GR.4B Mid-Life Update applied to GR.1B version.
Tornado IDS Germany Version of Tornado IDS for Germany. Features different weapons ejector racks and weapons fit. 212 a/c for Luftwaffe (including 2 refurbished pre-series and 50 dual control). 112 a/c for Navy.
Tornado IDS Italy Version of Tornado IDS for the Italian Air Force. Very similar to German version. 100 a/c (including 1 refurbished pre-series and 12 dual-control).
Tornado IDS Saudi Export version of Tornado IDS for the Royal Saudi Air Force. Very similar to RAF GR.1 version. 96 a/c (including 14 dual-control aircraft and 6 reconnaissance versions similar to GR.1A).
Tornado ECR Version of Tornado IDS dedicated to reconnaissance and enemy air defence suppression. ECR = Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance. Only Tornados with RB.199 Mk 105 engines. 35 a/c new-build for Germany, 16 a/c conversions for Italy.

History

Key Dates:
1968    Initial design studies for a Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) initiated
26 March 1969    Panavia consortium formed to handle multi-government contractual aspects.
1 June 1969    Turbo Union Ltd consortium formed to design, develop and produce the MRCA engine.
14th August 1974    First flight in Germany of MRCA first prototype (P01).
30 October 1974    First flight of first British assembled aircraft (P02 XX946)
5 December 1975    First flight of first Italian assembled aircraft (P05)
5 February 1977    First flight of first pre-series aircraft (P11)
10 July 1979    First flight of initial production GR.Mk1 (ZA319).
July 1980    Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE) formed at RAF Cottesmore.
August 1981    TWCU formed at Honiton
6 January 1982    9 Squadron RAF took delivery of its first aircraft (ZA586).
1983    First deliveries of Italian aircraft.
1986    First deliveries of Saudi aircraft.
18 August 1988    First flight of converted Tornado ECR prototype.
21 May 1990    First Tornado ECR delivered to the Luftwaffe.
February 1991    First use of Tornado in combat, during the Gulf War
29 May 1993    First flight of GR.4 development aircraft (P15)
1993    Delivery of last production Tornado aircraft (F.Mk 3).
31 October 1997    Delivery of first upgraded GR.4 aircraft to the RAF.
Luftwaffe Tornado ECR 46+38 of JBG 32 seen
in 1991. (photo, Anthony Noble)
Another JBG 32 aircraft seen in 1991, Tornado
IDS 44+53. (photo, Anthony Noble)

Operators

Military Operators

UK – Royal Air Force (11 Sqns + 1 test unit + TTTE)
Italy – Aeronautica Militare Italia (3 Wings + test unit)
Germany – Luftwaffe (6 Wings + test unit)
Germany – Marineflieger (2 Wings, one later disbanded)
Saudi Arabia – Royal Saudi Air Force (2 Sqns.)

Government Agencies

UK – A&AEE (later DERA) (1 test unit)
UK – DERA (late Qinetiq) (1 test unit)

Civilian Operators

None  

Specifications

Panavia Tornado GR.1
Crew: Two
Dimensions: Length 54 ft 10.25 in (16.72 m); Height 19 ft 6.25 in (5.95 m); Wing Span 45 ft 7.5 in (13.91 m) fully extended (25 degrees sweep), 28 ft 2.5 in (8.60 m) fully swept (67 degrees sweep); Wing Area 286.33 sq ft (26.60 sq m)
Engines: Early aircraft: Two Turbo-Union RB.199-34R Mk.101 turbofans each rated at 8,475 lb st (37.70 kN) dry and 14,840 lb st (66.01 kN) with afterburning; Later aircraft: Two Turbo-Union RB.199-34R Mk.103 turbofans each rated at 8,650 lb st (38.48 kN) dry and 16,075 lb st (71.50 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 31,065 lb (14,091 kg); Normal Take-off 45,000 lb (20,411 kg); Maximum Take-off 61,620 lb (27,951 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,262 kts (1,453 mph, 2338 kph) at 36,000 ft (10975 m), 616 kts (710 mph, 1142 kph) at sea level; Climb to 30,000 ft (9145 m) less than 2 mins 0 secs; Service ceiling 50,000+ ft (15,240 m); Ferry range with four drop tanks 2,100+ nm (2,420 mls, 3,890 km); Combat radius 750 nm (863 mls, 1390 km) on a typical attack mission
Armament: Two 27mm Mauser cannon with 180 rounds per gun plus a warload of 19,841 lb (9,000 kg) on three fuselage and four underwing hardpoints. These weapons may include one 500 kts nuclear weapon, eight 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs, two airfield/runway denial weapons with multiple munitions, Paveway laser-guided bombs, two AIM-9 Sidewinder SRAAMs or up to seven ALARMs. Additionally the GR.1B carries two Sea Eagle missiles.

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: ?
Prime Contractor: Panavia Aircraft GmbH, Germany*
(*Workshare is split 42.5% BAe (UK), 42.5% DASA (Germany), 15% Alenia (Italy)
Design Office: Collaboration of the three partner companies

Manufacture

Production summary: (excludes prototypes & pre-series)

Customer IDS ECR Total
Germany 322 35 357
Italy 99 16* 99
Saudi Arabia 96 0 96
UK 228 0 228
Total 745 35 780

* Conversions

British Aerospace (BAe)
(Warton Aerodrome, Preston, Lancashire, PR4 1AX, UK. Later BAE SYSTEMS)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Tornado prototypes 4 Warton March 1973-1976
Tornado pre-series 3* Warton 1976-1978
Tornado GR.1 228 Warton 1978-1985
Tornado GR.1A 16** Warton 1985-1989
Tornado GR.1A 14 Warton 1989-1993
Tornado IDS Saudi 48 Warton 1986-1993
Tornado IDS Saudi 48 Warton 1993-1999
Tornado GR.4/4A 142** Warton 1997-2002
Total: 345    

* 1 a/c later refurbished to full production standard.
** Conversion, not new-build.

MBB
(MBB, Manching, Germany. Later DASA/Daimler-Chrysler Aerospace/EADS-Germany)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Tornado prototypes 4 Manching 1974-1977
Tornado pre-series 2* Manching 1977-1978
Tornado IDS 322 Manching 1979-1990
Tornado ECR 35 Manching 1990-Jan 1992
Total: 363    

* Later refurbished to full production standard.

Alenia
(Alenia, Turin, Italy. Initially Aeritalia-Fiat.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Tornado prototypes 1 Turin 1975-1975
Tornado pre-series 1 Turin 1977-1978
Tornado IDS 99 Turin 1981-1990
Tornado ECR 16** Turin 1992-1994
Total: 101    

** Conversion, not new-build.

Total Produced: 992 a/c (All variants)

Production List

Panavia Tornado

More Information

Books

‘Panavia Tornado’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Andy Evans
Published by The Crowood Press, 24 May 1999 ISBN: 1 86126 201 9
* Good detailed history of the Tornado.

‘Panavia Tornado in Action’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, 23 May 1991 ISBN: 0 89747 234 9
* Good pictorial coverage.

‘Tornado’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Ian Rentoul & Tom Wakeford
Published by Concord Publications, July 1996 ISBN: 9 62361 727 5
* Pictorial history of the Tornado.

‘Tornado: Multi-Role Combat Aircraft’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Jon Lake & Micheal Crutch
Published by Midland Publishing, April 2000 ISBN: 1 85780 096 6
* Comprehensive up-to-date history of the Tornado.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 3′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Nov 1990 ISBN: 1 87402 3042
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the Tornado.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 30′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Nov 1997 ISBN: 1 86184 004 7
* Includes ‘Variant Briefing’ feature on the Tornado IDS.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 32′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, May 1998 ISBN: 1 86184 011 X
* Includes ‘Operators’ feature on the Tornado.

Magazines

To be added.

Links

The RAF in the 1991 Gulf War
(Two pages of RAF Tornado photos taken during the first Gulf War)

Air Force Technology – Tornado
(Tornado variant technology data)

MRCA Tornado Walkaround
(Close-up detail photos)

Airliners.net
(23 pages of excellent Tornado IDS photos)

Jetphotos.net
(9 pages of Tornado IDS photos)

Panavia Tornado
(History, production, service, bases, in detail, links)

Panavia Tornado Homepage
(Variants, specs, photos, links etc)

Panavia Tornado IDS
(Detail close-up photos of a Marineflieger Tornado IDS)

Military Aviation Photo Gallery: Panavia
(Good selection of Tornado photos)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
‘Panavia Tornado IDS, ECR, GR Mk. 1, GR Mk. 4 (HT Model Special)’
by Marcus Fülber, Peter Novorol’nik, and Jozef And’al
Published by HT Model, Slovakia, 2004 ISSN: 1335-3667
* Highly illustrated modellers guide including scale drawings.

‘Panavia Tornado (Biblioteka Magazynu 3)’
by J. Gruszczynski and E.F. Rybak
Published by Lotnictwo Wojskowe, Poland, 2004 ISBN: ?
* Polish-text modellers guide including scale drawings.

Videos:

‘Panavia Tornado’ [Order this video from Amazon UK]
June 1999, Catalogue Number: CHV2049
* Modern documentary on the Tornado.

‘Modern Combat Aircraft 13 – Tornado’ [Order this video from Amazon UK]
Command Vision, March 1991, Catalogue Number: BAV078
* Another documentary on the Tornado.

Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion

 
US Navy P-3B 153433 of VP-4
(photo, US Navy)

Key Facts

Main Role: Land-based, long range, anti-submarine warfare patrol and anti-surface warfare aircraft
Configuration: Low-winged turboprop
Country: USA
Current Status: In Service, Out of Production

Development

The basic airframe is adapted from the L-188 Electra commercial airliner and since its introduction in 1969, the P-3 Orion has undergone a series of configuration changes to implement improvements in a variety of mission and aircraft updates. These changes have been called “Updates”. Update I was in 1975 and incorporated new data processing avionics software. Update II in 1977 included an infrared detection system, a sonobuoy reference system, the Harpoon anti-ship missile and 28-channel magnetic tape recorder/reproducer.

The TECHEVAL (Technical Evaluation) for Update III began in March 1981. Update III was enhanced by a Channel Expansion (CHEX) program; CHEX doubled the number of sonobuoy channels that can be processed. Testing and evaluation was completed in June 1988.

The ASW variants have a comprehensive suite of communications, navigation, acoustic and non-acoustic sensors, and data-processing equipment. The Orion’s capability has been greatly increased during its operational life, IFF interrogator, LTN-72 INS, Doppler navigation radar, 360° search radar, MAD, AN/AQA-7 Direction Low-Frequency Analyzer and Ranging (DIFAR) system and chin mounted FLIR.

The Orion also has an internal weapons bay and ten external weapons stations for carrying a mix of ASW torpedoes, depth charges and AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. There are three hard points outboard of the engines on each wing and four on the wing centre section. Each wing pylon can carry up to 500lb (227kg) while the middle pylons can carry 1,000lb (454kg) of stores. The internal weapons bay can accommodate a variety of depth charges and mines or up to eight lightweight ASW torpedoes. Sonobuoys can be launched from external pods or from a set of tubes located internally aft of the weapons bay. AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air and AGM-65F Maverick anti-ship missiles have been test launched from the P-3. The last Navy P-3C came off the production line at the Lockheed plant in April 1990.

Head-on view of a P-3C. (photo, US Navy) P-3C 158913 from VP-40 cleans up after
take-off. (photo, US Navy)

Variants

Requirement Specification: Type Spec No.146
Manufacturers Designation: L-???

Development History:
Electra test bed YP3V-1 (later YP-3A) aerodynamic prototype, first flown 25 November 1959.
PV3-1/P-3A Initial production version with 4,500 shp T56-A-10W engines. First flight 30 March 1961; P3V-1 redesignated P-3A in 1962. No longer in USN service.
P-3B Production version with 4,910 shp T56-A-14 Engines; 144 built, 21 for export. First flight on 24 September 1965. Most remain in US Naval Reserve service.
P-3C Definitive production version for USN. First flight 18 September 1968.
P-3C Update I Improved avionics version of the P-3C. First aircraft delivered in January 1975. 31 built.
P-3C Update II Further improvements over Update I including a Sonobuoy Reference System (SRS). First aircraft delivered in August 1977. 44 built.
P-3C Update II.5 24 aircraft fitted with new navigational and comms. equipment.
P-3C Update III 50 new build aircraft delivered from 1984 to 1990.
P-3C Update IV Boeing programme for existing P-3s and Long Range Air ASW Capable Aircraft (LRAACA); canceled in the early 1990s. Technology revived in 1995 – 1996 proposal for use in retrofitted Nimrod MR aircraft for British Replacement Patrol Aircraft (RPMA).
Orion 2000 Newly built P-3 design from Lockheed Martin for British RMPA competition in 1995 1996.
Valkyrie RMPA offering refurbished P-3s.
ASUTTA Acoustic System Upgrade to ASW Aircraft (ASUTTA).
IPADS ASUTTA programme to be applied to US Naval Reserve P-3B.
P-3D Proposed variant with Allison 501-M80C engines developed for Iran prior to the revolution, but not produced. Designation later assigned to P-3s being built for South Korea for delivery in 1995.
P-3F Similar to the P-3C, but equipped for service with the Iranian Navy. 6 were delivered before the 1979 revolution.
P-3G Proposed upgrade with Allison 501-M80C engines and update IV avionics. Superseded by Lockheed candidate for LRAACA.
P-7 LRAACA Update IV avionics suite fitted to enlarged P-3 aircraft.
P-3H Proposed upgrade of P-3C with weapons bay enlarged for AGM-84 Harpoon missiles.
EP-3 Aires/EP-3 Batrack US Navy ELINT conversion of P-3A/B aircraft for USN, specialising in tactical signal intelligence. 10 EP-3Es were converted from P-3A aircraft and are the oldest airframes in the fleet.
EP-3E Aires II Conversion in Lieu of Production (CILOP) of 10 EP-3E Aires 1 and 2 EP-3B Batracks. EP-3C ELINT variant of kawasaki-built P-3C for JMSDF. Last of 8 delivered by mid-1990s.
NP-3 Japanese P-3s configured for flight checking of navigational aids.
RP-3A P-3 configured for Project Magnet, which mapped the Earth’s magnetic field.
TP-3A P-3 aircrew training aircraft.
VP-3A US Navy VIP Transport variant.
UP-3A Similar to VP-3A, but used in utility role.
WP-3D US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather research aircraft.
Outlaw Hunter P-3C modified to support Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM). Aircraft can detect ships, establish their precise location, and maintain and predict track histories.
Australian P-3W 10 P-3B Update II aircraft delivered in 1978-1979 and 10 Update II.5 aircraft delivered in 1982-86.
1995 Australian P-3 Upgrade 18 aircraft upgraded under 1995 contract.
New Zealand P-3K/Rigel I/II/III 6 New Zealand P-3s updated under the 1981 Rigel I/II/II programmes.
Norway P-3N 2 P-3Bs upgraded to “P-3N” standard for coastal surveillance by the Norwegian Coast Guard.
Spanish P-3 modernisation 2 P-3As purchased in 1964 and 5 ex Norwegian AF aircraft bought in 1987 updated, with radar and sonar modification, addition of on-board signal processing and Infrared (IR) detection system.
Trap Shot Private study by Lockheed and General Dynamics to fit a P-3C with Advanced Air-to-Air Missiles (AAAM) in the early 1980s.
CP-140 Aurora Canadian maritime patrol aircraft using P-3 airframe and S-3A Viking avionics.
CP-140A Arcturus Stripped-down version of the CP-140 with ASW equipment deleted. Used for crew training and fishery patrols.
NP-3D 150522/340 from NWTSPM at Point
Mugu. (photo, US Navy)
WP-3D N42RF equipped for atmospheric
research. (photo, NOAA)

History

Key Dates:
1957    Lockheed proposes Electra to meet Navy requirement for land-based ASW aircraft.
May 1958    Research & Development contract awarded.
19 August 1958    First flight of YP3V-1, the third production Electra (188-1003)
25 November 1959    YP3V-1 (BuNo 148276) with 7 ft shorter fuselage and most of the planned avionics, makes first flight.
October 1960    First production contract awarded.
15 April 1961    First flight of the P3V-1.
15 April 1962    Trials began at NATC Patuxent River.
1962-63    P-3s participate in quarantine of Cuba.
1966    New Zealand becomes the first international customer.
November 1966    VP-9 and VP-26 take delivery of the first ‘B’ models.
18 September 1968    First flight of P-3C.
June 1969    First ‘C’ model delivered to VP-30
June 1969    First EP-3B in service with VQ-1
September 1969    First operational aircraft delivered to VP-56
1970    VP-49 Makes first overseas deployment of P-3C.
1975    Iran places order for 6 P-3F aircraft.
1975    VX-1 takes delivery of the first P-3C.
July 1976    Canada orders the CP-140.
September 1977    First ‘Update IIs’ delivered to VX-1
1978    Kawasaki Heavy Industries obtains license to build P-3 for Japan’s maritime patrol needs. (90 airframes)
1981    Update II
May 1984    Update III begins service.
14 June 1984    Prototype AEW first flight.
1988    First P-3 AEW aircraft delivered to U.S. Customs Service.
17 April 1990    Last USN P-3C Update III delivered.
1990    Lockheed Corporation moves the P-3 assembly line to its Marietta, Georgia facility.
15 December 1990    Korea orders 8 P-3Cs to be built in Marietta.
3 November 1992    The first Marietta built Orion rolls out of final assembly.
12 December 1994    First flight of Marietta built P-3C.
3 October 1995    The first P-3C delivered to ROK Navy.
Underside view of a P-3C. (photo, US Navy) An AP-3C from 10 Sqn RAAF. (photo, RAAF)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Navy (Approximately 30 Sqns/units)
Royal New Zealand Air Force (1 Sqn.)
Royal Australian Air Force (4 Sqns.)
Kongelige Norske Luftvorsvaret (Royal Norwegian Air Force) (1 Sqn.)
Ejercio del Aire (Spanish Air Force) (1 Sqn.)
Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (1 Wing)
Canadian Armed Forces (5 Sqns.)
Nihon Kaijyo Jieitai (Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force) (12 Kokutai)
Marineluchtvaartdienst (Royal Netherlands Navy) (2 Sqns.)
Forca Aerea Portuguesa (1 Sqn.)
Comandancia de la Aviacion Naval de Chile (1 Sqn.)
Royal Thai Navy (1 Sqn.)
Republic of Korea Navy (1 Sqn.)
Polimiko Naytiko/Polimiko Aeroporia (Greek Navy/Air Force) (1 Sqn.)
Pakistan Navy (1 Sqn.)
Comando de Aviacion Naval Argentina (1 Sqn.)

Government Agencies

US Customs Service P-3A, P-3AEW
US Forestry Service (leased) P-3A
NASA P-3B
NOAA WP-3D

Civilian Operators

Hawkins and Power P-3A fire bomber
Black Hills Aviation P-3A fire bomber
Aero Union P-3A fire bomber
P-3C 163289 from VP-62 seen at Boscombe
Down in 1992. (photo, Anthony Noble)
P-3C 161011 from VP-26 seen at Greenham Common in 1981. (photo, Anthony Noble)

Specifications

Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion
Crew: Ten or eleven
Dimensions: Length 116 ft 10 in (35.61 m); Height 33 ft 8½ in (10.29 m); Wing Span 99 ft 8 in (30.37 m); Wing Area 1,300 sq ft (120.77 sq m)
Engines: Four Allison T56-A-14 turboprops rated at 4,910 ehp (3661 ekW) each
Weights: Empty Equipped 61,491 lb (27,890 kg); Normal Take-off 135,000 lb (61,235 kg); Maximum Take-off 142,000 lb (64,410 kg)
Armament: Ten underwing hardpoints and an internal weapons bay forward of the wing for a Maximum Weapon Load 19,252 lb (8,733 kg) – comprising Mk 46 or Mk 50 torpedoes, depth bombs, B57 nuclear depth charges, AGM-84 Harpoon missiles or underwing rocket pods.
Performance: Maximum level speed 411 kts (473 mph, 761 kph) at 105,000 lb (47,625 kg) at 15,000 ft (4575 m), 380 kts (438 mph, 704 kph) at Max T/O weight at same height; Economical cruising speed 328 kts (378 mph, 608 kph); Patrol speed at 1,500 ft (457 m) 206 kt (237 mph, 381 kph); Maximum rate of climb at sea level 1,950 ft/min (594 m/min); Service ceiling 28,300 ft (8,625 m); Operational radius 1346 nm (1550 miles, 2494 km) with 3 hours on station; Ferry range 4,830 nm (5,562 mls, 8,950 km)
P-3C 159327 from VP-8 at NAS Brunswick.
(photo, US Navy)
P-3B N920AU fire-bomber conversion.
(photo, Sandia Corp.)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Not known
Design Office: Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, CA (originally)

Manufacture

Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company (LMASC)
(LMASC, 86 South Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA 30063, USA. Formerly Lockheed Aircraft)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
YP3V-1 1 conv. Palmdale, CA May 1958-Nov 1959
P-3A 157 Palmdale, CA Oct 1960-mid 1965
P-3B 144 Palmdale, CA mid 1965-1969
P-3C 118 Palmdale, CA 1969-1975
P-3C Update I 31 Palmdale, CA 1975-1977
P-3C Update II 37 Palmdale, CA 1977-19??
P-3C Update II.5 24 Palmdale, CA 19??-1984
P-3C Update III 101 Palmdale, CA 1984-1990
P-3F 6 Palmdale, CA 1975-19??
CP-140 18 Palmdale, CA 1978-July 1981
CP-140A 3 Palmdale, CA 1989-Sept 1991
P-3C 8 Marietta, GA 1991-199?
Total: 647    
Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd
(1-18 Nakamachi-Dori, 2-chome, Chuo-Ku Kobe, Japan)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
P-3C 101* Kobe 1981-1997
EP-3C 3 Kobe 1997-2000
UP-3C 1 Kobe ?-1996
UP-3D 2 Kobe ?-1999
NP-3C 1 Kobe cancelled
Total: 107    

* First 4 a/c assembled from Palmdale components.

Total Produced: 754 a/c

Production List

‘P-3 Orion Volume 2′ Scramble Special Edition
by Marco P.J. Borst & Jaap Dubbeldam – P-3 Orion Research Group
Published by Dutch Aviation Society, 2000 ISBN: 90 806230 2 4
* Spotters history of the P-3. Includes all variants, units and complete production list.

P-3C N9lLC AEW&C prototype for US
Customs. (photo, Lockheed Martin)
P-3C 3296 of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.
(photo, Lockheed Martin)

More Information

Books

‘The Age of Orion: The Lockheed P-3 Story’ [Order this book from USA]
by David Reade
Published by Schiffer Publishing, Apr 1998 ISBN: 076430478X
* Comprehensive detailed history.

‘Lockheed P-3 Variants – Datagraph Seven’
by Jay Miller
Published by Aerofax, 1998 ISBN: 0942548167
* Good development history.

‘P-3 Orion: The Hunter In The Sky’
by Lindsay Peacock
Published by RAF Benevolent Fund Enterprises, 22 July 19968 ISBN: 1899808353
* Well illustrated history with lots of colour photos.

‘P-3 Orion in Action – Aircraft Number 193′ Squadron.com
by Richard S. Dann and Rick Burgess
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, Aug 2004 ISBN: 0 89747 478 3
* Very well illustrated pictorial history.

‘ADAK – The Rescue of Alfa Foxtrot 586′
by Andrew C.A. Jampoler
Published by Naval Institute Press, April 2003 ISBN: 1 59114 412 4
* Exciting true story of the ditching of a P-3 in the Bering Sea and the rescue of its crew.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 3′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Nov 1990 ISBN: 1 87402 3042
* Includes ‘Variant Briefing’ feature on the P-3 Orion.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 43′
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Oct 2000 ISBN: 1 86184 055 1
* Includes very detailed 57-page feature on the P-3 Orion in US service.

‘International Air Power Review, Volume 1′
Published by AIRtime Publishing Ltd, 2001 ISBN: x
* Includes 14-page feature on the P-3 Orion in Foreign service.

‘International Air Power Review, Volume 2′
Published by AIRtime Publishing Ltd, 2001 ISBN: 1 880588 34 X
* Includes 4-page feature on the EP-3E Aries II.

Magazines

To be added.

Links

P-3 Orion Research Group
(Worldwide P-3 news & info, RNeth Navy P-3 details, links)

The Hangar – Propwash
(Lots of US Navy P-3 Orion info & links)

The Lockheed P3 Orion
(Feature article + variants, photos, AIP update, CAF use)

US Navy Factfile: P-3C Orion
(Description and specification)

Aerospaceweb.org: P-3 Orion
(Description, specs, variants, 3-view, sources)

Airliners.net
(15 excellent ‘P3′ photos)

Airliners.net
(16 pages of excellent P-3 photos)

The Lockheed P-3 Orion Operating in Iceland
(A page of high-quality P-3 Photos)

P-3 Orion
(Lockheed Martin official P-3 information)

P-3 Orion
(Detailed description, P-3C spec, photos, sources)

Lockheed P-3P Orion
(Portuguese AF P-3 use and photos)

JetPhotos.net
(6 pages of P-3 photos)

US Customs Service P-3 Orion
(6 photos of USCS AEW P-3 aircraft)

Lockheed P-3K Orion
(RNZAF P-3K use and photos)

P-3 Orion Fan Page
(Photo gallery, artwork gallery, links, news – includes links to several EP-3E photos)

US Customs Service P-3 AEW
(1 page of photos of the USCS AEW P-3)

EP-3E Aries / P3-C Orion
(Summary of P-3C/EP-3E data with EP-3E photo)

P-3 Orion
(Summary of the technology included in the P-3)

P-3 Orion
(Good profile covering history, upgrades, specs, photos, variants etc)

Lockheed P-3 Orion
(Variants, production details – inc serials, conversions)

Lockheed P-3A ‘Orion’
(P-3 in Chilean Air Force service)

RADS II for the P-3 Orion / L-188
(Firebomber system for P-3 from Aero Union)

Lockheed P-3 Orion
(P-3 Flight Manual on CD-ROM)

Lockheed WP-3D Orion
(Details of NOAA operated P-3 variant)

VP Navy
(Website dedicated to US Navy ASW Patrol Squadrons and Aircraft – lots of P-3 information)

Lockheed Martin Orion 21
(Details of Lockheed Martin’s entrant to the MMA contest)

Lockheed CP-140 Aurora
(One page of info on Canadian use of CP-140)

Centerseat
(Webpage for P-3 Flight Engineers – news, mishaps, humour, photos etc)

P-3C Orion
(Vought Aircraft Industries contribution to P-3 production)

Lockheed Martin P-3B/C ‘Iron Clad’ Variants
(Detailed article on P-3 ELINT variants)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
Aviation News Volume 05 Issue 01

Videos:

To be added.

Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-31 ‘Foxhound’

 
MiG-31 Foxhound, circa 1997, on approach.
(photo, via Igor Krasnoselski)

Key Facts

Main Role: Interceptor fighter
Configuration: Delta-winged jet
Country: Russia
Current Status: In Service

Development

The Mikoyan MiG-31 is a long-range high-performance interceptor which was developed to replace the MiG-25 in the Soviet Air Defence Force (PVO). Clearly a derivative of the rather crude-looking MiG-25, the high speed and very powerful radar of the MiG-31 make it a formidable interceptor.

Developed to counter the XB-70 Valkyrie bomber, the MiG-25 Foxbat functioned well as a high-altitude interceptor with the help of Ground Control, but it was equipped with only limited avionics. From the late 1960s, bombers in Western air forces had started to switch to low-altitude attack profiles, to avoid the ever increasing anti-aircraft missile threat, and they also started carrying early forms of cruise missile. In countering low flying aircraft the MiG-25 performed quite poorly. The Soviet Air Defence Force therefore required a new interceptor which could operate well at high and low altitudes, and which was also capable of intercepting cruise missiles. This new aircraft was the MiG-31.

It was decided to make the MiG-31 a two-seater, so that it would not be dependent upon direct help from Ground Control. Given an approximate initial location of the intruder, the back-seater would guide the pilot to the target. However, it was also planned that the MiG-31 could operate semi-automatically, being directed towards a target by the AK-RLDN ground-based automatic guidance network, using the aircraft’s APD-518 digital datalink and BAN-75 command link.

Development of the the MiG-25’s replacement began with the Ye-155MP development machine, which first flew on 16 September 1975. In appearance the Ye-155MP looked very much like a stretched MiG-25, with a longer fuselage for the additional rear cockpit and a new wing. While the MiG-25 Foxbat was mostly made out of Nickel Steel, (some 80% of the structure), the Ye-155MP used much more titanium and aluminum. The reduced structure weight gave the Ye-155MP much better performance than the Foxbat. The first information the West knew for sure about the new aircraft came from Victor Ivonovich Belenko, a pilot with the 513th Fighter Regiment of Soviet Air Defence Command based in Sakharauka, Siberia. He defected to Hakodate, Japan, in his MiG-25 in September 1976 and was debriefed about the Ye-155MP. He described it as a “super Foxbat”.

Production of the Ye-155MP began in 1979 under the designation MiG-31 and it entered service in 1981. NATO allocated the reporting codename ‘Foxhound’ to the type in mid-1982. About 500 MiG-31 of all variants were build, and about 300 are still in service with the Russian air force and 30-40 with Kazakhstan. In 1992 China reached agreement with the Russian Federation to buy 24 MiG-31s, to be assembled in a new factory in Shenyang, but the contract was never signed.

The Foxhound is a large twin-engined aircraft with side-mounted air intakes, a shoulder mounted wing and twin vertical tailfins. Unlike the Foxbat it has a two-seat cockpit. The airframe of the Foxhound is stressed to withstand 5g, while that of th MiG-25 was only capable of withstanding 4.5g. The Soloviev D-30F6 turbofan engines of the MiG-31 enable speeds of up to Mach 1.23 at low altitude and Mach 2.83 at high altitude. The Foxhound is more fuel efficient than the MiG-25 but it still need a lot of fuel – much of the centre fuselage and wing structure is taken up with fuel tanks. Later production aircraft have aerial refuelling capability.

MiG-31 was the world’s first operational aircraft to use a Phased Array radar – i.e. it scans electronically rather than by moving the radar antennae physically. The Zaslon S-800 radar can track fighter-sized aircraft from 125 miles away and bigger aircraft from 250 miles away. It is claimed that several Foxhounds can link their radars and thereby simultaneously scan a much larger amount of airspace. The MiG-31 is also the first Soviet aircraft to have true “look down, shoot down” capability – essentially for intercepting low flying bombers and cruise missiles.

The crew of the Foxhound sit in Zvezda K-36DM “zero-zero” (zero speed, zero altitude) ejection seats which have built-in massage pads to keep the crew more comfortable on long patrol missions! Another unusual feature is the way that the twin wheels on each of the main landing gear units are offset left and right from each other, so that they do not run in the same track.

The Foxhound’s main weapon is the Vympel R-33 long range air-to-air missile. It can be guided in semi-active radar-homing mode or launched in internal guidance mode with the option of a mid-course update from the launch aircraft. The Foxhound can also use the R-40 long range missile or the R-60 and R-73 missiles. It also has an internal cannon, the six-barrel GSh-6-23 with 260 rounds.

Several developments of the MiG-31 have been produced. The MiG-31M is an improved version of the original MiG-31 with a new radar and is capable of carrying the advanced R-37 and R-77 missiles. The cockpit has been redesigned and now features 3 multi-functional displays. The MiG-31M also has larger fuel tanks, upgraded engines and more refined aerodynamics. The MiG-31D version was designed to carry an ASAT (anti-satellite) missile. The MiG-31B was an improved version of the original with a better computer and in-flight refueling and also a new radar. The MiG-31BM is a variant with some ground attack capability. The MiG-31FE was a multi-purpose version capable of carrying most Russian air-to-ground weapons.

Variants

Requirement Specification: ?
Manufacturers Designation: Izdelye 01, Izdelye 05, Izdelye 07 (see below)

Development History:
Ye-155MP projects Three alternative configurations explored: swing-wing aircraft, Ye-158 tailless delta and Izdelye 518-55 two-seat MiG-25 with new wing. Latter developed into Ye-155MP.
Ye-155MP MiG-31 prototype based on the Ye-155M advanced MiG-25 test aircraft. No wing root extensions. [MiG-25MP, Izdelye 83]
Ye-155MF Projected variant with side-by-side cockpit dedicated to SEAD (anti-SAM) role.
MiG-31 ‘Foxhound-A’ First production interceptor model. [Izdelye 01]
MiG-31LL One early MiG-31 converted as dedicated test aircraft with fairings for cameras on wingtips.
MiG-31DZ ‘Foxhound-A’ Unofficial designation for slightly improved MiG-31 production version with in-flight refuelling (IFR) probe installed to port of front cockpit. [Izdelye 01DZ]
MiG-31B ‘Foxhound-A’ Improved interceptor model with in-flight refueling capability, Zaslon-A radar, an updated navigation system, and compatibility with the R-33S missile [Izdelye 01B, Izdelye 12]
MiG-31BS ‘Foxhound-A’ Original MiG-31 models upgraded to the MiG-31B standard. [Izdelye 01BS]
MiG-31E Proposed export model; 1 prototype built but production then cancelled. [Izdelye 01BE]
MiG-31M ‘Foxhound-B’ Significantly improved production interceptor with cockpit enhancements, refined aerodynamics, IFR probe moved to starboard side, uprated D-30F-6M engines, increased fuel capacity, improved Zaslon-M radar, two additional weapons hardpoints under fuselage, and the ability to carry the improved R-37/AA-9 missile; 7 prototypes were built but further development appears to have have halted due to funding cuts. [Izdelye 05]
MiG-31D Anti-satellite interceptor designed to carry single large anti-satellite missile under fuselage. Large triangular endplate fins on wing tips. 2 prototypes built but production cancelled. [Izdelye 07]
MiG-31BM Proposed upgrade program to add a surface-attack capability to MiG-31 interceptor models, includes radar upgrades for ground mapping and better resolution plus the ability to carry advanced air-to-surface missiles like the Kh-31, Kh-59, Kh-59M, and Kh-29T/L as well as more capable air-to-air missiles. 1 prototype converted by 1999.
MiG-31FE Proposed multi-role export version of the MiG-31BM. Adapted for delivery of air-to-surface weapons.
MiG-31S Projected launch vehicle for small space vehicles.
MiG-31B development aircraft with 4 R-33 and
2 R-40 missiles. (Photo, MiG RAC)
MiG-31BM with underwing Kh-58 anti-radar missiles. (Photo, M. Wagner/aviation-images.com)

History

Key Dates:
24 May 1968    Government directive to start work on MiG-25 replacement.
1972    Detailed design of the MiG-31 begins.
16 September 1975    Ye-155MP first flight.
September 1976    Defecting Soviet MiG-25 pilot tells the West of advanced MiG-25 in development.
December 1976    First pre-production MiG-31 built.
15 February 1978    Zaslan radar tracks 10 targets simultaneously from a MiG-31 at 5000 m altitude.
6 May 1981    MiG-31 officially commissioned into service with PVO.
1983    Initial Operational Capability achieved by first MiG-31 unit.
21 December 1985    First flight of MiG-31M.
1986    First flight of MiG-31D satellite interceptor.
1990    MiG-31B replaces MiG-31 on production line.
October 1993    First successful launch of a R-37 missile from MiG-31M.
April 1994    Last production aircraft delivered.
25 October 1999    MiG-31B officially commissioned.

Operators

Military Operators

Kazakhstan – Air Force (MiG-31)
Russia – Air Defence Force (PVO)* (MiG-31/31B/31BM)

Government Agencies

None  

Civilian Operators

None  

* later amalgamated into the Tactical Air Force as the VVS.

MiG-31E taking-off at the MAKS-2001 air show
(Photo, MiG RAC)
MiG-31 demonstrator during it’s landing roll.
(Photo, MiG RAC)

Specifications

Mikoyan MiG-31 ‘Foxhound’
Crew: 1 pilot and 1 navigator/weapons officer
Dimensions: Length 74 ft 6 ins (22.69 m); Height 20 ft 2 in (6.15 m); Wing Span 44 ft 4 in (13.46 m); Wing Area 663 ft2 (61.6 m2)
Engines: Two Aviadvigatel D-30F6 afterburning turbofans rated at 20,944 lb (93.19 kN) dry and 34,171 lb st (152.06 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty 48,115 lb (21,825 kg); Normal Take-off 90,388 lb (41,000 kg) ; Maximum Take-off 101,851 lb (46,200 kg)
Armament: One 23-mm GSh-6-23 cannon scabbed onto the rear fuselage just behind starboard main landing gear with 260 rounds (not fitted to MiG-31M), four underwing hardpoints and four under-fuselage hardpoints (six under-fuselage hardpoints on MiG-31). Typical loadout includes four R-33/AA-9 ‘Amos’ and two R-40/AA-6 ‘Acrid’ or four R-60/AA-8 ‘Aphid’, while the MiG-31M usually carries six R-37/AA-9 ‘Amos’ and four R-77/AA-12 ‘Adder’.
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ Mach 2.83 – 1,865 mph (1620 kts, 3000 km/h) – at 57,400 ft (17,500 m), Mach 1.25 – 932 mph (810 kts, 1500 km/h) – at sea level; Time to climb to 32,810 ft (10,000 m) 7 mins 45 secs; Service ceiling 67,585 ft (20,600 m); Ferry range 1,780 nm, (2050 mls, 3300 km), Mach 0.85 combat radius 648 nm (745 mls, 1200 km) unrefuelled, Mach 2.35 combat radius 388 nm, (447 mls, 720 km) unrefuelled.
MiG-31 demonstrator at the Farnborough 1992
air show. (Photo, John Hayles)
A view of the unusual main landing gear.
(Photo, John Hayles)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Gleb Lozino-Lozinski, later Konstantin Vasilchenko, now Anatoli Belosvet
Design Office: Mikoyan Design Bureau Engineering Centre, 6 Leningradskoe shosse, 1252999 Moscow

Manufacture

IGAZ Sokol
(IGAZ Sokol, Gorky**)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Ye-155MP 2 MiG OKB, Moscow 1972-1976
MiG-31 280 Gorky 1977-1989
MiG-31DZ 45 Gorky 1990-1991
MiG-31B 162? Gorky 1990-April 1994
MiG-31E 1+ Gorky 19??
MiG-31M 7 Gorky 1985-1995
MiG-31D 2 Gorky 1987
MiG-31FE 1 Gorky 19??-19??
Total: 500    

** now called Nizhny Novgorod.

Total Produced: 500 a/c

Production List

To be added.

MiG-31 at Farnborough 1992.
(photo, Anthony Noble)

More Information

Books

‘Mikoyan MiG-31 – Famous Russian Aircraft’ [Order this book from Polygon]
by Yefim Gordon
Published by Polygon Press, Russia, 2003? ISBN: ?
* English text detailed monograph on the MiG-31.

‘Mikoyan MiG-31 Soviet Interceptor Fighter’ [Order this book from Aviapress.com]
Published by Tornado Publishing, Russia, 2002? ISBN: ?
* Russian text detailed monograph on the MiG-31.

‘Flight International World Aircraft and Systems Directory – Third Edition’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Micheal J H Taylor
Published by Reed Business Information Ltd, 2002 ISBN: 0 617 01289 X
* Includes a detailed description of the MiG-31.

‘MiG-25 “Foxbat” MiG-31 “Foxhound” Russia’s defensive front line – Aerofax’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Yefim Gordon
Published by Midland Publishing, Jan 1998 ISBN: 1 8578 00648
* Detailed coverage of the MiG-25, but not so good on the MiG-31.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 13′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, summer 1993 ISBN: 1 874023 17 4
* Includes 16-page feature on the MiG-31.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 34′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, autumn 1998 ISBN: 1 86184 019 5
* Includes ‘Variant Briefing’ feature on the MiG-25 & MiG-31.

Magazines

‘Mir Aviatsii’ N3 1999
* Russian text feature article.
‘Krylja Rodiny’ N2 2002
* Russian text feature article.

Links

Mikoyan MiG-25 “Foxbat” / MiG-31 “Foxhound”
(4 pages of MiG-31 photos)

MiG-31 Foxhound
(History, photos, variants, description and specification)

AXLs Plane Gallery
(24 MiG-31 photos)

Linden Hill Imports
(Lots of good close-up photos of MiG-31 details)

MiG-31
(35 MiG-31 photos)

RAC MIkoyan MiG-31
(7 pages of MiG-31 photos)

MiG-31 ‘Foxhound’ Interceptor in Pictures
(Photos of MiG-31s taken by NATO intercepting aircraft)

MiG-31 ‘Foxhound’
(Milavia: background, history, specs, photos, links, books)

“Sokol” Nizhny Novgorod Aircraft Building Plant JSC
(Outline history + products of ‘Sokol’ factory)

Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-31 Foxhound
(Versions, features, armament, spec, photos)

MiG-31 Foxhound
(‘MiG Design Bureau’ – detailed MiG-31 profile: history, variants, specs, excellent photos etc)

Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-31 Foxhound
(1 page of walk-around detail photos)

MiG-31 Foxhound
(Well-written profile of the MiG-31)

MiG-31 Foxhound (Mikoyan Gurevitch)
(Description, specification and some photos)

Mikoyan MiG-31
(Wikipedia entry for MiG-31)


Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
See the ‘Mir Aviatsii’ magazine listed above.

Videos:

To be added.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III

 
C-17A 99-1189 seen at London, Ontario
(photo, Alex Petrovic)

Key Facts

Main Role: Medium-range tactical transport
Configuration: High-mounted swept-winged 4-jet
Country: USA
Current Status: In Military Service

Development

The portly but manoeuvreable C-17 has emerged from a prolonged and controversial development programme to become the backbone of the USAF’s strategic transport force. In trouble spots and disaster zones around the world, C-17s are often seen delivering equipment and supplies wherever they are needed.

The development of the C-17 began in February 1980 when a draft Request For Proposals (RFP) was issued by the US Air Force for a CX heavylift cargo transport. In October this document was formally issued. The RFP required an aircraft for the strategic airlift role, replacing the C-141 Starlifter and supplanting the C-5 Galaxy. It would have a fuselage cross-section sized to carry outsized loads such as an M1 Abrams main battle tank, suitable undercarriage and high-lift devices to enable it to perform short-field landings and thrust reversers to enhance manoeuvring on the ground.

CX designs were proposed by Boeing, Lockheed and the Douglas Aircraft division of McDonnell-Douglas. Douglas’s design drew upon the experience it had gained during the design and testing of the YC-15 jet-powered tactical transport which was intended to replace the C-130 Hercules. First flown in August 1975, the YC-15 never entered production. On 28 August 1981 the Douglas design was announced as the CX winner and the designation C-17 subsequently assigned. By early 1984 detail design was almost finalised and a full scale fuselage mock-up was constructed to evaluate cargo loading capability for different load combinations. In February 1985 a contract was placed for a C-17 prototype. A total buy of 210 airframes was anticipated at this time. However, Douglas’s lack of recent experience in managing complex military aircraft programmes soon showed as programmes milestones began to slip repeatedly, sub-contractors were changed and the estimated weight if the aircraft continued to rise. Costs vastly exceeded initial estimates and in April 1990 the planned production run was cut from 210 to 120 aircraft to save money.

In September 1990 the C-17A prototype (87-0025), referred to as T-1 because of it’s test role, was towed out of the factory at Long Beach, CA, to undergo fuselage pressure testing. Two other test airframes, T-2 for ‘static’ load testing and T-3 for ‘durability’ cyclic fatigue testing were not assigned military serial numbers. On 15 September 1991, T-1 made it’s first flight – actually a ferry flight to Edwards AFB where it was accepted by the 6510th Test Wing. Shortly afterwards, a major problem emerged back at Long Beach when the T-2 airframe suffered a wing structural failure at a loading condition much less severe that had been forecast. The necessary structural strengthening would add a further 1% to the weight of the wing. The first production C-17A (88-0265), referred to as P-1, made its first flight on 19 May 1992, joining T-1 at Edwards AFB the same day. P-2, the second production aircraft, featured a production standard avionics fit and made its first flight on 20 June 1992. After its problematic development programme, the flight test programme proceeded remarkably smoothly with virtually all test objectives being achieved on time.

The name Globemaster III was officially applied to the C-17 on 5 February 1993 by the head of Air Mobility Command General Ronald R. Fogleman. The first unit to operate the C-17 was the 437th Airlift Wing at Charleston AFB, SC, which received its first aircraft on 14 June 1993. Within months of achieving Initial Operational Capability (IOC) entering service, in mid December 1995 the 437th deployed 12 of its C-17s to Rhein Main, Germany to take part in the huge airlift operation required to establish IFOR peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. The benefits of the C-17 were immediately apparent, as it carried much of the US Army’s heavy equipment into Tuzla Airport, where the C-5A was too heavy to operate safely. The reduced ramp space taken up by the C-17 compared to the C-5 was also appreciated.

During the 1999 Kosovo War a detachment of C-17s from the 437th AW operated dozens of tactical airlift flights into Tirana in Albania from Ramstein AB in Germany, while other C-17s flew strategic airlift missions between the USA and Europe. Overall, C-17s contributed 60% of the total ALLIED FORCE transport missions, but comprised only 10% of the USAF airlift fleet.

On 16 May 2000 the British Ministry of Defence announced that it had chosen the C-17 to meet its requirement for the strategic transport of outsize loads. Four aircraft would be obtained on a 7 year lease from Boeing. The aircraft were built to Block XII standard incorporating an additional 10,000 US gal (37053 litre) fuel tank in the wing centre section, redesigned cockpit multi-function displays (MFDs) and updated navigation software. The first RAF aircraft (ZZ171) was handed over to 99 Sqn on 17 May 2001 and flown to its new base at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire six days later. The fourth and last aircraft arrived on 24 August 2001. Training and logistic support for the RAF aircraft is provided by the USAF. The British C-17s faced their first major challenge when they took part in the Joint Rapid Reaction Force exercise ‘Saif Sareea II’ in Oman during October 200l. Such was the C-17’s effectiveness that the initial limited number of exercise flights was rapidly increased. Not long afterwards, RAF C-17s were making regular supply runs into Kabul to support operations in Afghanistan. 99 Squadron was also heavily committed to ferrying equipment prior to the Iraq war and still continues to make regular flights into Iraq direct from the UK. The expected annual usage rate for the British C-17s had been 3000 hours, but these aircraft are now seeing over 6000 hours usage and the acquisition of an additional aircraft is now planned.

While air strikes on Taliban/al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan were being carried out by Allied air forces, USAF C-17s were busy providing a continuous airlift of supplies to the various coalition bases. At night C-17s dropped more than 2.4 million food parcels to Afghan civilians displaced by the fighting. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, in March 2003, C-17s carried the 173rd Airborne Brigade from Italy into Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, for a 1000-troop night parachute drop. This was the first combat insertion of paratroopers using a C-17.

In FY2000 an order was placed for 15 additional aircraft to fulfill the Special Operations Low Level (SOLL) II mission, replacing aging C-141B aircraft. Since the start of series production, the manufacturer had been making strenuous efforts to reduce the unit cost of production C-17 aircraft and this effort was rewarded when the acquisition of a further 60 C-17As was officially approved on 15 August 2002. Even this additional number may not be sufficient to meet demand and further orders may eventually be forthcoming.

From the outside, the C-17 reveals little of its high technology design. It appears to be a conventional high-wing, four engined T-tailed jet transport. Inside it is a different story. The two-crew cockpit features digital displays and head-up displays. The aircraft is flown using a fighter-style control stick instead of the traditional yoke used on transport aircaft. The flying controls are managed by a quadruply redundant Fly-By-Wire control system with mechanical backup that operates 29 control surfaces – including an all-moving tailplane, two rudders, two ailerons, eight spoilers, four flaps and eight slats.

The supercritical aerofoil section wing is swept at 25º and features prominent winglets, which improve aerodynamic efficiency at the wing tips. Hung off the wing on cantilevered pylons are four Pratt & Whitney PW2040 turbofan engines. Based on the engines used on the Boeing 757, they are known by the military designation F117-PW-100. Each engine nacelle includes a thrust reverser, whereby a section of the engine cowling slides backwards to allow engine exhaust to be directed upward and forward. This function gives the C-17 the ability to complete a 180 º turn on a 90 ft (27.86 m) wide runway and to be able to reverse up a 2 per cent slope.

The positions of the engines allows the use of propulsive lift technology, first tested on the YC-15, in which the engine exhaust is trapped under the wing and forced to flow over both sides of the single split flap on the wing trailing edge. The exhaust then leaves the flap trailing edge at an angle related to the flap deflection. A full span leading edge slat helps the wing maintain optimum lift and stall characteristics. The combination of the features allows a steep, low speed final approach with a low landing speed.

The bulk of the fuselage is taken up with the cargo hold, which features a palletised load/unload system which can be handled by a single loadmaster. Powered rollers allow up to 18 standard 463L pallets to be accommodated in the 68 ft 1.5 in (21.11 m) long cargo compartment. The width and height available permits odd shaped cargo such as helicopters to be accepted with the minimum of preparation.

Attached to the fuselage are the low-drag pods for the main landing gear. The non-steerable six wheel per side main units spread the load to permit operation from most concrete hard standing areas. The steerable dual wheel nose gear retracts into the forward fuselage. An Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) in the starboard main gear fairing provides electrical power when the engines are not running.

Boeing’s hi-tech military airlifter is the right aircraft at the right time. As the rapid deployment of military forces or humanitarian relief aid becomes an ever more crucial capability, the C-17s proven ability to carry outsize loads into austere airfields is a vital asset which will ensure it remains a vital component of the USAFs inventory for many years to come.

P-120 03-3120 leaving Long Beach
(photo, James Richard Covington, Jr)
ZZ174 on approach to Birmingham Airport
(photo, Derek Pedley/Airteamimages.com)

Variants

Requirement Specification: CX
Manufacturers Designation: -

Development History:
CX Initial project designation.
C-17A First prototype (T-1). Nose pitot boom. Reduced avionics fit.
C-17A Block I to XI Standard production version. P-1 to P-5 for development testing. P-13+ with interim strengthend wing, P-32+ with redesigned stronger wing structure, P-51+ with composite tailplane and improved avionics.
C-17A Block XII Improved production version (P-71+) with centre section wing fuel tank for extend range. Upgraded software and redesigned cockpit MFDs.
C-17A SOLL II Special Operations Low Level (SOLL) II variant to replace C-141B SOLL II.
EC-17 Projected airborne command post version to replace EC-135.
KC-17 Proposed tanker version. Additional fuel in wing centre tank and/or modular palletised tank in fuselage. Total capacity 165,513 litres. Refuelling boom and/or hose drum unit integated into rear cargo ramp door plus optional underwing pods. Operators station on modular pallet.
MD-17 Proposed dedicated commercial freighter variant.
BC-17X Proposed designation for commercially operated C-17A, subsidised by DoD to be available to USAF in time of crisis.
60002 on finals to Rhein-Main
(photo, David James Clelford)
01-0189 leaving Sydney Airport
(photo, Joe Corrigan)

History

Key Dates:
Feb 1980    Draft RFP issued for CX heavylift cargo transport.
Oct 1980    Formal issue of RFP for CX programme.
28 August 1981    McDonnell Douglas chosen as CX prime contractor.
26 July 1982    C-17 Research and Development contract placed.
early 1984    Detailed design completed.
Feb 1985    Contract placed to built a C-17 prototype.
31 Dec 1985    Full Scale Development (FSD) contract signed.
April 1990    Planned requirement reduced from 210 to 120 airframes.
15 Sept 1991    Maiden flight of first prototype (T-1)
1 Oct 1991    Static test airframe experiences wing structural failure at less than predicted maximum load.
19 May 1992    First flight of first production aircraft (P-1).
1 June 1992    Military Airlift Command becomes Air Mobility Command.
14 June 1993    First delivery to 17th AS, 437th AW.
17 Jan 1995    17th AS attains IOC (Initial Operational Capability)
3 November 1995    Multi-year order for 80 C-17s placed by DAB
Dec 1995    C-17s participate in major airlift of equipment to Tuzla in Bosnia
1997    Boeing takes over McDonnell Douglas
16 May 2000    UK selects C-17 for strategic airlift role
2 Sept 2000    UK signs 7-year lease for four C-17s
17 May 2001    First C-17 handed over to 99 Sqn RAF
15 Aug 2002    Contract signed for 60 additional C-17s
02-1110 approaching Rhein-Main AB
(photo, Oliver Brunke)
Good upper view of 03-3115
(photo, Sam Chui)

Operators

Military Operators

Royal Air Force 4 C-17A (planned total 5)
United States Air Force 180 C-17A (planned total 200+)

Government Agencies

None

Civilian Operators

None
03-03120 on pre-delivery test flight
(photo, Micheal Carter)
00-0185 landing at Rhein-Main AB
(photo, Francisco José Jurado Ariza)

Specifications

Boeing C-17A Globemaster III
Accomodation: Three crew + 102 troops/paratroopers
Dimensions: Length 174 ft 0 in (53.04 m); Height 55 ft 1 in (16.79 m); Wing Span 169 ft 9 in (51.74 m) to winglet tips; Wing Area 3,800 sq ft (353.03 sq m)
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 (PW2040) turbofans rated at 40,440 lb st (179.9 kN)
Weights: Empty 277,000 lb (125,645 kg); Maximum Ramp 586,000 lb (265,805 kg); Maximum Take-off 585,000 lb (265,351 kg); Maximum Payload 170,400 lb (77,292 kg) for 2.25 g limit
Performance: Max level speed Mach 0.875, Maximum Cruising Speed 350kts (403 mph, 648 kph) at low altitude; Service ceiling 45,000 ft (13,715 m); Range with 160,000 lb (72575 kg) payload no allowances 2,400 nm (2,765 miles, 4445 km), Range with maximum fuel no payload no allowances 4,700 nm (5,412 miles, 8710 km)
Fly-by from 10197 with the cargo door open
(photo, Paul Leach)
00-0173 at Rhein-Main AB
(photo, Snorre-VIP)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Not known
Design Offices: Boeing Military Aircraft, Long Beach, California

Manufacture

Boeing Military Aircraft
(Building 54, Long Beach Airport, CA)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
C-17A (T-1) 1 Long Beach 1987-1991
C-17A (P-1+) 40 Long Beach 1988-1997
C-17A (P-41+) 80 Long Beach 1997-Nov 2004
C-17A (UK-1+) 4 Long Beach 2000-Aug 2001
C-17A (P-121+) 60 Long Beach 2004-2010
Total: 185    

Total Produced: 185 a/c (all variants)
[In addition, two complete airframes where built for static and dynamic load testing, T-2 & T-3].
(Tailplane and fin built by Northrop Grumman in Dallas, Cockpit from Boeing St Louis)

Production List

To be added.

Cargo hold of ZZ171 looking aft
(photo, Jim Woodrow)
ZZ172/00-0202 seen at Hanover
(photo, MR)

More Information

Books

‘Boeing C-17 Globemaster III (Warbird Tech Volume 30)’ [Order this book from UK]
by Bill Norton
Speciality Press, 5 July 2001   ISBN: 158007040X
* Well illustrated history.

‘STOL Progenitors: The Technology Path to a Large STOL Aircraft and the C-17′ [Order this book from UK]
by Bill Norton
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nov 2002   ISBN: 1563475766
* Story of the evolution of the technology used in the C-17.

Magazines

Air Forces Monthly January 2000
Air International July 2004

Links

C-17 Globemaster III
* Detailed C-17 profile including history, production, data, photos etc

The Aviation Zone
* 14 pages of C-17 photos

C-17A Globemaster III Walkaround
* A page of close-up detail photos of a C-17A

Airliners.net
* 26 Pages of excellent C-17 photos.

Boeing C-17
* Boeing’s official C-17 wesbite.

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.

Videos:

To be added.

Boeing F/A-18 Hornet

 
Canadian CF-188A “917”. Seen at the London, Canada air show 1999.

Key Facts

Main Role: Multi-role Attack and Fighter aircraft
Configuration: Delta-winged jet
Country: USA
Current Status: In Service, In Production

Development

The F/A-18 Hornet is an all-weather aircraft used as both an attack and fighter aircraft. As a fighter, the Hornet is used as a fighter escort and for fleet air defense. In its attack role, it is used for interdiction and air support.

The F/A-18 Hornet is a twin engine, mid-wing, multi-role tactical aircraft. The F/A-18A and C are single seat aircraft and the F/A-18B and D are two-seaters. While the B aircraft is used mainly for training the D version is the current Navy aircraft performing the forward air control, reconnaissance, tactical air control and attack roles. The latest E and F models were rolled out in September 1995. The E being the single seater.

The F/A-18 Hornet was designed to meet a requirement for a multi-role combat aircraft to replace the ground attack role of the A-7 Corsair, and the air defense and ground attack role of the F-4 Phantom. It also had to be a low cost complement to the F-14 Tomcat and be able to operate from forward airstrips for the US Marine Corps.

The Hornets origins go back to the 1960’s and Northrop’s Light-Weight Fighter project that eventually led to the YF-17 prototype. The YF-17’s first flight was on 9th June 1974. After the YF-16 was chosen by the USAF, US Congress decided to evaluate two aircraft for the Naval Air Combat Fighter (ACF) project. The YF-17 was not initially designed for carrier operation, so Northrop collaborated with McDonnell Douglas to win the competition with General Dynamics and LTV. After modifications by the two companies, the YF-17 became “model 267″ and on 2nd May 1975, the US Navy declared the aircraft the winner. It is from this point that the Hornet becomes a McDonnell Douglas aircraft as they were the prime contractors. Originally there were two types – the F-18 and the A-18, but a Defense Systems Acquisition Review decided, on 8th December 1982, to call the aircraft the F/A-18. It is the only aircraft in services with US forces to have a dual designation. On 1st January 1977, Secretary of the Navy, W. Graham Claytor decided to call the F/A-18 “Hornet” after the USN ships with the same name.

The Hornet has been regularly upgraded since entering service in 1983. The first F/A-18’s equipped with night strike capability were delivered in November 1989. Since 1991, they have had F404-GE-402 enhanced performance engines fitted and since May 1994, the Hornet has been fitted with upgraded APG-73 radar.

Canada was the first export customer for the Hornet and it has the largest fleet of Hornets outside the US. The Canadian F/A-18’s are designated CF-188 by that country.

Variants

Requirement Specification: ?
Manufacturers Designation: ?

Development History:
YF-17 First prototype manufactured by Northrop and competed against YF-16 in the USAF competition.
YF-17 model 267 Northrop/McDonnell Douglas joint prototype.
F-18 Initial designation of dedicated fighter version.
A-18 Initial designation of dedicated strike/attack version.
F/A-18 Revised designation when common airframe selected for both fighter and attack missions. McDonnell Douglas led programme.
YF/A-18A Unofficial designation for the first nine single-seat development aircraft.
F/A-18A First model in the Hornet range of single seat fighter attack aircraft.
TF-18A Initial designation of F/A-18B two-seater.
F/A-18B Two seat, dual-control variant of the ‘A’ model. Combat capable but only used for training.
F/A-18L The ‘L’ refers to this being a ‘Land’ variant of the F/A-18A. Northrop led programme. It never went into production.
TF/A-18L Two seat, dual-control variant of the ‘L’ model.
RF-18A Initial designation for F/A-18(R).
F/A-18(R) Planned reconnaissance version of the production F/A-18A, with recce camera system replacing M61A1 cannon in bulged nose. One test aircraft converted. Development cancelled.
CF-18A McDonnell Douglas designation for single seat version for the Canadian Armed Forces. Fitted with spotlight on port side of nose.
CF-188A Canadian Armed Forces designation for single seat version.
CF-18B McDonnell Douglas designation for two seat version for Canada.
CF-188B Canadian Armed Forces designation for two seat version.
AF-18A Single seat version for the R.A.A.F.
AF-18B Two seat version for R.A.A.F. Also referred to as the ATF-18A.
EF-18A Single seat version for the Spanish Air Force. Designated C.15 by the Spanish.
EF-15B Two seat version for the Spanish Air Force. Designated CE.15 in Spain.
F/A-18C Improved and updated version of the ‘A’ model. Revised and updated avionics fit, Martin Baker NACES ejection seat, ability to fire AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, addition of small strakes on wing LERXs.
F/A-18C Night Attack Improved version with colour cockpit displays, night vision goggles compatible cockpit and external FLIR pod.
F/A-18C Night Attack Late production F/A-18C aircraft (June 1994 onwards) have AN/APG-73 radar in place of the previous AN/APG-65 unit.
F/A-18D Two seat combat capable version of the ‘C’ model.
F/A-18D+ Original designation for F/A-18D Night Attack.
F/A-18D Night Attack F/A-18D with night attack avonics fit from FA-18C Night Attack. Dedicated attack aircraft. Rear cockpit has sidestick weapons controllers in place of control column.
F/A-18D(RC) Reconnaissance Capable version of F/A-18D with wiring for ATARS recce pod. Retains night attack mission capability.
KAF-18C/D Unofficial designation for the F/A-18C and D Hornets supplied to the Kuwaiti Air Force.
F/A-18E Super Hornet Enlarged version of F/A-18C to replace F-14 Tomcat. Lengthened fuselage, larger wing and tailplane, rectangular air intakes for new F404 engines but F/A-18C standard avionics fit.
F/A-18F Super Hornet Two seat combat capable version of F/A-18E.
F/A-18G “Growler” Projected Electronic Warfare version of F/A-18D to replace EA-6B Prowler.

History

Key Dates:
9th June 1974    First flight of YF-17.
2nd May 1975    YF-17 Model 267 declared winner of competition.
1st March 1977    Named “Hornet” by the Secretary of the Navy.
18 November 1978    Maiden flight of first F/A-18A.
May 1980    First deliveries to US Navy operational test and evaluation force.
August 1982    First deliveries to a service unit – VMFA-314.
7 January 1983    VMFA-314 declared operational.
15 August 1984    Maiden flight of F/A-18(R) test aircraft.
3 September 1986    Maiden flight of first F/A-18C.
1 November 1989    Delivery of first F/A-18C Night Attack version.
15 April 1992    Maiden flight of first AN/APG-73 equipped F/A-18C.
1987    ‘Blue Angels’ aerial display team debut with the F/A-18.
29 November 1995    Maiden flight of first F/A-18E Super Hornet.
late 1998    First production delivery of F/A-18E/F to US Navy.
2002    First carrier air wing cruise for F/A-18E/F.
EF/A-18A C.15-36 from Ala 15 of the Spanish Air
Force. (photo, Anthony Noble)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Navy & Reserve (31 Sqns with F/A-18A/B/C/D, 2 Sqns with F/A-18E/F)
U.S. Marine Corps & Reserve (21 Sqns. with F/A-18A/C/D)
Australia – Air Force (4 Sqns. with 57 AF-18A and 18 AF-18B)
Canada – Armed Forces (5 Sqns. with 98 CF-188A and 40 CF-188B)
Finland – Air Force (57 F/A-18C and 7 F/A-18D)
Kuwait – Air Force (2 Sqns. with 32 KAF-18C and 8 KAF-18D)
Malaysia – Air Force (8 F/A-18D)
Spain – Air Force (4 Sqns with 60 EF-18A and 12 EF-18B)
Switzerland – Air Force (26 F/A-18C and 8 F/A-18D)

Government Agencies

NASA F/A-18B

Civilian Operators

None  

Specifications

Boeing F/A-18A Hornet
Crew: One (Two in F/A-18B)
Dimensions: Length 56 ft 0 in (17.07 m); Height 15 ft 3.5 in (4.66 m); Wing Span 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m) without wingtip AAMs, 40 ft 4.75 in (12.31 m) with wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 400.00 sq ft (37.16 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofans each rated at 16,000 lb st (71.17 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 28,600 lb (12,973 kg); Normal Take-off 33,585 lb (15,234 kg) on a fighter mission; Maximum Take-off 48,253 lb (21,888 kg) for an attack mission
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,033+ kts (1,190 mph, 1915 kph) at high altitude; Maximum rate of climb at sea level 45,000 ft/min (13715 m/min); Combat ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Ferry range with drop tanks 1,800+ nm (2,073 mls, 3,336 km); Combat radius on a fighter mission 400 nm (460 mls, 740 km) or 575 nm (662 mls, 1065 km) on an attack mission
Armament: M61A1 20-mm Vulcan cannon in the nose with 570 rounds in a drum tank located below the gun and behind the radar. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Up to 15,500 lb (7030 kg) of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried on 9 external stores stations – four wing pylons, 2 engine nacelle ‘corner’ stations, one fuselage centre-line hardpoint and one launch rail on each wingtip.
Boeing F/A-18C Hornet
Crew: One (Two in F/A-18D)
Dimensions: Length 56 ft 0 in (17.07 m); Height 15 ft 3.5 in (4.66 m); Wing Span 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m) without wingtip AAMs, 40 ft 4.75 in (12.31 m) with wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 400.00 sq ft (37.16 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofans each rated at 16,000 lb st (71.17 kN) with afterburning or (early 1992+ production) F404-GE-402 turbofans each rated at 17,700 lb st (78.73 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty 23,050 lb (10,455 kg); Normal Take-off 36,710 lb (16,652 kg) for a fighter mission or 51,900 lb (23,541 kg) for an attack mission; Maximum Take-off 56,000 lb (25,401 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,033+ kts (1,190 mph, 1915 kph) at high altitude; Maximum rate of climb at sea level 45,000 ft/min (13715 m/min); Combat ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Ferry range with drop tanks 1,800+ nm (2,073 mls, 3,336 km); Combat radius on a fighter mission 400 nm (460 mls, 740 km) or 575 nm (662 mls, 1065 km) on an attack mission
Armament: M61A1 20-mm Vulcan cannon in the nose with 570 rounds in a drum tank located below the gun and behind the radar. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Up to 15,500 lb (7030 kg) of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried on 9 external stores stations – four wing pylons, 2 engine nacelle ‘corner’ stations, one fuselage centre-line hardpoint and one launch rail on each wingtip.
Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet
Crew: One (Two in F/A-18F)
Dimensions: Length 60 ft 1.25 in (18.31 m); Height 15 ft 9.5 in (4.82 m); Wing Span 41 ft 10.25 in (12.76 m) without wingtip AAMs, 44 ft 8.5 in (13.62 m) with wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 500.00 sq ft (37.16 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans each rated at 22,000 lb st (97.86 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 30,600 lb (13,880 kg); Maximum Take-off 66,000 lb (29,937 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,033+ kts (1,190 mph, 1915 kph) at high altitude; Combat ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Combat radius on an attack mission 591 nm (681 mls, 1095 km).
Armament: M61A1 20-mm Vulcan cannon in the nose with 570 rounds in a drum tank located below the gun and behind the radar. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Up to 17,750 lb (8050 kg) of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried on 11 external stores stations – six wing pylons, 2 engine nacelle ‘corner’ stations, one fuselage centre-line hardpoint and one launch rail on each wingtip.

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: ?
Programme Manager: ?
Design Office: McDonnell Douglas Corporation, St Louis, Missouri.

Manufacture

McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation (MCAir)
(Box 516, St Louis, MO 63166, USA. Later Boeing Military Aircraft)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F/A-18A/B EMD 9/2 St Louis, MO 1978-March 1980
F/A-18A 371 St Louis, MO 1980-1986
F/A-18B 40 St Louis, MO 1980-1986
CF-18A 98 St Louis, MO 1982-Sept 1988
CF-18B 40 St Louis, MO 1982-Sept 1988
EF-18A 60 St Louis, MO 1986-1990
EF-18B 12 St Louis, MO 1986-1990
F/A-18C 355 St Louis, MO 1986-1998
F/A-18C Swiss 2 St Louis, MO 1994-1995
F/A-18D 80+ St Louis, MO 1986-1985
F/A-18D Fin 7 St Louis, MO 1994-1995
F/A-18D Malay 8 St Louis, MO 1996-1997
KAF-18C 32 St Louis, MO 1992-Sept 1993
KAF-18D 8 St Louis, MO 1992-Sept 1993
F/A-18E EMD 5* St Louis, MO 1995-1997
F/A-18F EMD 2 St Louis, MO 1995-1996
F/A-18E 500+ St Louis, MO Sept 1997-2015
F/A-18F 500+ St Louis, MO Sept 1997-2015
Total: ?    

* 3 ground test airframes also manufactured.

ASTA – Aerospace Technologies of Australia
(ASTA, Avalon, Victoria, Australia)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
AF-18A 57* Avalon 1984-1990
AF-18B 18* Avalon 1984-1990
Total: 75    

* First few a/c assembled from St Louis components.

Valmet
(Valmet, Tampere, Finland – later Finavitec)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F/A-18C 57* Tampere 1995-2000
Total: 57    

* All aircraft assembled from St Louis components. 7 F/A-18D also supplied direct from St Louis.

F+W
(F+W, Emmen, Switzerland)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F/A-18C 24* Emmen 1995-1997
F/A-18D 8* Emmen 1995-1997
Total: 32    

* All aircraft assembled from St Louis components. 2 F/A-18C also supplied direct from St Louis.

Total Produced: 1478 a/c

Production List

Boeing F/A-18 (Super) Hornet
(Last updated April 2001)

More Information

Books

‘How to Fly and Fight in the F/A-18 Hornet – Jane’s At the Controls, No.2.’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by David C. Isby
Published by HarperCollins, Dec 1997 ISBN: 0 00472 009 1
* Pilots-eye view of the F/A-18.

‘F/A-18 Hornet – A Navy Success Story’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Dennis R Jenkins & Shelley Carr
Published by McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 31 May 2000 ISBN: 0 07134 696 1
* Good development history. Aviation Week Series.

‘Warbird Tech Vol. 31: Boeing F/A-18 Hornet’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Brad Elward
Published by Speciality Press, 5 July 2001 ISBN: 1 58007 041 8
* Detailed development history with extracts from offical technical manuals.

‘McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet – A Photo Chronicle’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Bill Holder & Mike Wallace
Published by Schiffer Publishing, April 1997 ISBN: 0 76430 243 4
* Good pictorial history.

‘F/A-18 Hornet Walkaround’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Lindsay Peacock
Published by Squadron/Signal, June 1999 ISBN: 0 89747 401 5
* Close-up pictorial of external and internal features.

‘F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet Units in Operation Iraqi Freedom (Osprey Combat Aircraft No.46)’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tony Holmes
Published by Osprey Publishing, 1 July 2004 ISBN: 1 84176 801 4
* Up-to-date coverage of the F/A-18 in combat.

‘Uncovering The Boeing F/A-18 A/B/C/D Hornet’
by Danny Coremans, Nico Deboeck
Published by Daco Publications, July 2004 ISBN: 9 08067 473 7
* Features 700+ colour photos of internal and external details plus scale drawings.

‘The “Air Forces Monthly” Book of the F/A-18 Hornet’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tim Senior
Published by Key Books Ltd, 26 May 2003 ISBN: 0 94621 969 9
* Highly illustrated profile with good coverage of history, combat use and operators.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 1′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, May 1990 ISBN: 1 87402 300 X
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F/A-18A/B Hornet.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 26′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, July 1996 ISBN: 1 87402 382 4
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F/A-18C/D Hornet.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 42′ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Nov 1990 ISBN: 1 86184 051 9
* Includes feature on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Magazines

To be added.

Links

F/A-18 Hornet
(US Navy Factfile – basic information)

Super Hornet
(Links to some official US Navy info & pics for the F/A-18E/F)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Good overview with specs, pics and links)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Official Boeing F/A-18 page – news, specs, pics etc)

F/A-18 Hornet Project
(Collection of F/A-18 pics)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Boeing photo gallery for F/A-18)

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
(Defence Technology features of the F/A-18E/F)

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet Wallpaper
(Good quality F/A-18 pics)

McDonnell Douglas
(Military Aviation Photo Gallery – lots of good F/A-18 pics)

Airliners.net
(Lots of “McDonnell Douglas F/A-18″ photos)

Airliners.net
(Lots of “Boeing F/A-18″ photos)

McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 Hornet
(Index page for detailed profile of the F/A-18)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Global Security – good overview of the F/A-18)

Boeing F-18 Hornet
(Links to F/A-18 operators around the world + unofficial information sites)

AXLs Plane Gallery
(Several pages of F/A-18 photos)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Comprehensive and up-to-date profile of the F/A-18)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
See Daco Publications listed above.

Videos:

‘Sea Wings – The F/A-18 Hornet’ [Order this video from Amazon UK]
DD Video, B00004CS0H, Catalogue Number: DD1225
* 50 minute documentary on the US Navy F/A-18.

Blackburn Beverley

 
XH121 of 84 Sqn seen at RAF Riyan in Yemen,
near Mukulla. (photo, John Farrar)

Key Facts

Main Role: Medium range military freighter
Configuration: High-winged with 4 piston engines
Country: United Kingdom
Current Status: Out of Service, Out of Production

Development

Slab-sided and angular, the Blackburn Beverley never won any beauty contests, but it’s ability to carry bulky loads into short roughly prepared airstrips was almost unsurpassed. A remarkable characteristic considering that at the time of it’s entry into service the Beverley was the largest aircraft ever delivered to the RAF.

The origins of the Beverley lie in a series of design studies carried out by General Aircraft Ltd (GAL) in 1945, looking at the problems of large cargo-transport aircraft. During World War 2, GAL had been responsible for the design of the huge Hamilcar tank-carrying glider, most of which were built by sub-contractors. The development of the all-wood Hamilcar culminated in the Mk X version fitted with two Bristol Mercury engines.

Employing the operational lessons learnt from the wartime use of the Hamilcar, GALs studies projected a twin-finned, four-engined, fixed-undercarriage, pod and boom aircraft with a detachable cargo compartment. Subsequent studies evolved a substantially larger aircraft with a fixed freight compartment, but retaining the same general layout.

In 1946 the Air Ministry issued specification C.3/46 calling for a medium-range tactical transport which could safely use small airfields. GAL submitted a refined version of it’s design, designated G.A.L.60 Universal Freighter, and in 1948 was awarded a contract for two prototypes. The second prototype was later cancelled. As GAL was a fairly small company, with only limited production capacity, it began looking for a partner to help it develop the design. At the same time, Blackburn Aircraft Ltd was looking for additional work to keep its Brough factory busy, and saw good future prospects in the GAL design. Consequently, on 1 January 1949 General Aircraft Ltd merged with Blackburn Aircraft Ltd, to form Blackburn and General Aircraft Ltd.

It was decided that Hanworth Aerodrome, which adjoined GALs Feltham factory, would be unsuitable for initial flight testing of such a large aircraft and in October 1949 the aircraft was disassembled and transported by road to Brough. Reassembly posed a few problems, as the nosewheel had to be raised-up off the ground to keep the tail fins from touching the hangar roof. A simple unpressurised aircraft with fixed landing gear, the G.A.L.60 (WF320) made its maiden flight from Brough on 20 June 1950. Flight testing went very well and the aircraft was soon passed to A&AEE Boscombe Down for handling trials. These, and other tests, were very successful and a further prototype to an improved design was ordered.

The second aircraft (WZ889) differed in having Bristol Centaurus engines in place of the original Bristol Hercules, a redesigned rear fuselage, and an enlarged, more angular, tail-boom to provide passenger accomodation. The rear cargo doors were also changed. The first aircraft had been fitted with rear freight-loading doors hinged at about 30 degrees to the horizontal, together with a hydraulically powered ramp which took some 2.5 minutes to lower. The second aircraft had much larger clam-shell doors with an almost vertical hinge line. These doors could be removed to drop large stores. Also, while the first prototype had large single main wheels, the undercarriage of the second aircraft comprised double wheels on the noseleg, and four-wheel bogies on the main legs – a combination more suited to the rough field operations expected in service.

Construction of the second prototype proceeded rapidly, using many components from the cancelled original second aircraft. Designated G.A.L.65 by General Aircraft and B-100 by Blackburn Aircraft, it first flew in June 1953 – by which time an initial order for 20 production versions had been placed, under the designation B-101 Beverley C.Mk 1. In May 1954 an RAF order for additional aircraft was placed, the eventual total being 47 production aircraft. Several projects for civil versions were also contemplated, including cross-channel car ferry with two decks – but none were produced.

The Beverley was a cantilever monoplane design with the wing mounted on top of a huge two-level fuselage linked to twin fins and rudders by means of an extension to the main fuselage. The two deck fuselage comprised a freight hold of nearly 6,000 cu ft (170 m3) capacity, and a passenger carrying tailboom with accomodation for 36 troops or 30 paratroops. The engine nacelles were mounted low on the wing for minimum drag and optimum cooling. All the engines and their accessory bays were interchangeable. The engines drove 14 ft (4.27 m) diameter four-bladed Rotol constant-speed reversible-pitch propellers. The trailing edge of the wing carried large slotted trailing edge flaps, electrically controlled and synchronized. The nosewheel undercarriage was fixed and the main wheels were situated directly beneath the inner engine nacelles and linked to the fuselage sides by two horizontal fairings. The production version featured some detail modifications – the most noticeable of which were the absence of a nose-mounted flight test instrumentation boom and the adoption of tapered main landing gear strut fairings in place of the previous straight ones.

The first production Beverley C.Mk 1 (XB259) made its maiden flight from Brough on 19 January 1955. This aircraft and the second off the line were retained by the manufacturer to carry out additional flight testing. The second pair of production aircraft were flown to the Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down for acceptance testing and paratrooping trials. The second production aircraft (XB260) used a temporary civil identity (G-AOEK) during late 1955 when it carried some heavy drilling equipment from Qatar to Oman for the Iraq Petroleum Company. Hot weather trials in Tripoli were followed by cold weather trials in Canada, and on 12 March 1956 the first Beverley was delivered to No.47 Squadron RAF Transport Command at Abingdon. From January 1957 sister Abingdon unit No.53 Squadron also converted to the Beverley. THe Abingdon Wing soon established a regular service flying between the UK and RAF Wildenrath in Germany, and a weekly service to Aden.

Aircrew training was undertaken by No.242 OCU, which operated two or three Beverleys for ten years from Dishforth and later Thorney Island. In April 1957 a third Beverley unit was established, No.30 Squadron. This unit moved to Eastleigh Airport, near Nairobi, Kenya in November 1959 and remained there until September 1964 when it moved to Muharraq, Bahrein. From here it ran scheduled services around the Gulf coast in support of UK air and ground forces until it was disbanded in 1967. No.84 Squadron was based in Aden and operated the Beverley from June 1958 on short-haul Army support missions.

In Singapore No.48 Squadron operated a Flight of Beverleys, which became No.34 Squadron on 1 October 1960. The unit flew supplies throughout the region during the Malayan Campaign 1962-66. From early in 1965 many Beverleys were flown back St Athan in Wales to receive a camouflage scheme of brown and sand with black under surfaces. Originally it was intended to fully camouflage the entire upper surface, but the heat build-up in the cockpit area during overseas operations made it intolerable for the crew, so the cockpit roof remained white in order to reflect the sun’s heat away.

Right from it’s entry into service, the Beverley was worked hard flying supplies to British Forces and on disaster relief missions around the world – often operating in arduous ‘hot and high’ conditions. Although possessing an impressive load carrying capability, and very good short field performance the Beverley was slow and lacked range: when carrying a full load the range dropped off considerably. It was perhaps inevitable then that as Britain progressively withdrew from it’s overseas bases during the late 1960s, faster and longer-ranged aircraft would be needed which weren’t dependent on numerous intermediate staging posts.

The arrival of the Lockheed Hercules precipitated a rapid phase-out of the Beverley from early 1967, with many aircraft being flown directly to 27 MU at Shawbury for scrapping. The last aircraft were withdrawn in December 1967 when No.34 Sqn disbanded and it’s aircraft scrapped in Singapore.

However, three examples avoided the beakers axe and managed to survive into the 1980s. XB261 was acquired by the Southend Historic Aviation Museum, but when the museum closed down it was sold to the Moat House Hotel at Southend and then scrapped a short while later. XH124 was put on display at the entrance to the RAF Museum Hendon, but was not safe even at this prestige location. In a (hopefully) unique display of neglect and incompetence, the aircraft was allowed to deteriorate to such a state that in 1990 it had to be cut up for scap. The sole survivor was now XB259 of the Museum of Army Transport at Beverley, East Yorkshire. However, in the summer of 2003 this museum was forced to close down, and on the weekend on May 22-23 2004 the last complete Beverley was dismantled and transported to Fort Paull Museum to the east of Kingston-upon-Hull. Here it will be re-assembled and put on display to the public again.

Variants

Two views of XM103 of the 84 Sqn Detachment at RAF Eastleigh, Nairobi, getting airborne at Eastleigh in 1966. It was one of the first Beverleys put into the then new Middle East Air Force camouflage scheme. (both photos, Keith McKenzie)

Requirement Specification: C.3/46
Manufacturers Designation: B-101

Development History:
G.A.L.60 Universal Freighter General Aircraft Ltd-built first prototype (WF320). Rounded fuselage, single nosewheel & large single wheel main landing gear units. 2,020 hp Bristol Hercules 730 engines.
G.A.L.65 Universal Freighter Mk 2 Brough-built second prototype (WZ889). 80% redesign with squarer fuselage, enlarged tailboom, larger vertically-hinged cargo doors. Double nosewheel and 4-wheel bogie main undercarriage units. 2,850 hp Bristol Centaurus 661 engines.
B-100 Blackburn (Brough) designation for G.A.L.65.
B-101 Beverley C.Mk 1 Production version. Detailed changes, including tapered main landing gear strut fairings. 2,850 hp Bristol Centaurus 173 or 273 engines.
- Projected civil version of B-101 for cross-channel car ferry role. Two decks of cars plus passengers in tail boom. (1952)
- Projected civil version of B-101 with Napier Nomads as alternative engines. (1953)
B-107 Projected Stage 2 development of B-101, retaining Beverley wing and tail but with completely new rounded fuselage with a larger unobstructed freight hold. Rolls-Royce Tyne turboprop engines. Accomodation for 75 paras or 108 troops. (1956)
B-107A Projected Stage 3 development of B-101. As B-107 but with main loading doors in the nose, rear doors for para-dropping only and relocated flight deck. (1959)
Side view of the G.A.L.60 first prototype WF320,
showing the original rounded rear fuselage.
Note the 4-wheel bogie landing gear undergoing
trials for subsequent aircraft.
(photo, BAE SYSTEMS)

History

Key Dates:
1945    First design studies by General Aircraft Ltd
1946    Specification C.3/46 issued
1946    Initial design of G.A.L. 60 completed
16 December 1948    Order placed by Air Ministry for two G.A.L. 60 prototypes (one later cancelled)
1 January 1949    General Aircraft Ltd merges with Blackburn Aircraft Ltd
October 1949    First prototype moved to Brough for completion
20 June 1950    Maiden flight of G.A.L.60 first prototype (WF320)
31 December 1951    Order for second prototype placed by Air Ministry
1 October 1952    First production order placed, for 20 a/c
December 1952    ‘Beverley’ name allocated
14 June 1953    Initial flight of G.A.L.65 second prototype (WZ889)
30 July 1954    Second production order placed, for 9 a/c
19? January 1955    First flight of first production Beverley C.Mk 1 (XB259)
30 July 1955    Two aircraft delivered to A&AEE for testing
2 January 1956    Third production order placed, for 8 a/c
12 March 1956    First delivery to RAF Transport Command (47 Sqn at Abingdon)
24 September 1956    Fourth production order placed, for 10 a/c
28 May 1958    Last production aircraft delivered (XM112)
31 December 1967    Last Beverley retired from RAF service (with 34 Sqn)
XM107 “S-Sugar” on the 84 Sqn dispersal at Eastleigh in 1965 XM108 ‘T’ backtracking up the runway at Eastleigh in 1965, with other aircraft of the 84 Sqn
Detachment in the background
(both photos, Keith McKenzie)

Operators

Military Operators

UK – Royal Air Force (5 sqns + one OCU)

Government Agencies

UK – A&AEE Boscombe Down (2 for acceptance trials – 1 retained for test duties)

Civilian Operators

civil (1 a/c leased to Iraq Petroleum Company)

Specifications

Blackburn G.A.L.65 Universal Freighter
Crew: Four
Dimensions: Length 99 ft 2 in (30.23 m); Height 37 ft 9 in (11.51 m); Wing Span 162 ft 0 in (49.38 m); Wing Area 2916.0 sq ft (270.90 sq m)
Engine(s): Four Bristol Centaurus 661 radial engines of 2,850 hp (2125 kW).
Weights: Empty 79,234 lb (35,940 kg); Loaded 135,000 lb (61,235 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 239 mph (385 kph) at 5,700 ft (1735 m); Max Cruising speed 226 mph (364 kph) at 12,500 ft (3810 m); Initial rate of climb 760 ft/min (232 m/min); Range 1,300 mls (2092 km) with 29,000 lb (13154 kg) payload.
Payload: Not known.
Blackburn Beverley C. Mk 1
Crew: Four
Dimensions: Length 99 ft 5 in (30.30 m); Height 38 ft 9 in (11.81 m); Wing Span 162 ft 0 in (49.38 m); Wing Area 2916.0 sq ft (270.90 sq m)
Engine(s): Four Bristol Centaurus 173 or 273 18-cylinder air-cooled radial engines of 2,850 hp (2125 kW).
Weights: Empty 79,234 lb (35,940 kg); Normal Loaded 135,000 lb (61,236 kg); Maximum Take-off 143,000 lb (64,864 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 238 mph (383 kph) at 5,700 ft (1735 m); Cruising speed 173 mph (278 kph) at 8,000 ft (2440 m); Initial rate of climb 760 ft/min (232 m/min); Service ceiling 16,000 ft (4875 m); Range 3,690 mls (5938 km) at 188 mph (302 kph) with 1,000 lb (454 kg) payload, 1,300 mls (2092 km) with 29,000 lb (13154 kg) payload or 200 mls (322 km) at 145 mph (233 kph) with 44,000 lb (19958 kg) payload.
Payload: 94 troops, 70 paratroops, 48 casualty stretchers, wheeled vehicles up to 12,500 lb, individual paradrop loads of up to 25,000 lb or 45,000 lb (20412 kg) of freight.

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: F.F. Crocombe with C.W. Prower (of GAL)
Initial Design: General Aircraft Ltd, Feltham, Middlesex

Manufacture

General Aircraft Ltd
(Feltham, Middlesex, UK.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
G.A.L.60 1 Feltham* 1948-1949
Total: 1    

* Final assembly at Brough.

Blackburn and General Aircraft Ltd
(Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire, UK.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
G.A.L.60 (1) Brough* 1949-June 1950
G.A.L.65 1 Brough 1952-June 1953
Beverely C. Mk 1 20 Brough 1954-Oct 1956
Beverley C. Mk 1 9 Brough 1956-Apr 1957
Beverley C. Mk 1 8 Brough 1957-Sept 1957
Beverley C. Mk 1 10 Brough 1957-May 1958
Total: 48    

* First prototype constructed at Feltham, but completed at Brough.
Some sub-assemblies produced by Dumbarton factory (engine nacelles, undercarriage sponsons, clam-shell doors).

Total Produced: 49 a/c (All variants)

Production List

See the Aeromilitaria article listed below.

More Information

Books

‘Blackburn Beverley’
by Bill Overton
Published by Midland Counties, 1990 ISBN: 0 904597 62 8

* Comprehensive history of the Beverley.

‘Blackburn Beverley C.Mk 1 (Warpaint Mini-Monograph: ?)’
by Chris Hobson
Published by Alan W Hall (Publications) Ltd, 1988 ISBN: X 00863 007 X
* A5-size concise profile of the type.

‘Blackburn Aircraft Since 1909′
by A J Jackson
Published by Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1989 ISBN: 0 85177 830 5
* Detailed company history with a long chapter on the Beverley.

‘Blackburn Beverley’
by Geoff Gladstone
Published by Scoval Publishing Ltd, 2004 ISBN: tba
* Not yet published.

Magazines

‘Aeromilitaria’ Summer 2002 (Air-Britain)
* Unit and individual aircraft histories.

Links

The Beverley Association
(short Beverley history, stories and photos, squadrons, books, links etc)

30 Squadron based at RAF Dishforth
(Selection of b+w photos of 30 Sqn Beverleys in action)

Soqotra in 1964/65
(Six excellent photos of Beverleys on this island off Yemen)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.

Videos:

To be added.

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