Thrust vectoring is a method of aeronautical control that works by modifying the jet stream from an aircraft’s engine to produce yaw, pitch and/or roll. In general, there are 5 types of thrust vectoring mechanisms which I will touch on. I will also discuss one method that is in development for use on 6th gen fighters. In general, thrust vectoring occurs on jet engines, so assume that I am referring to some sort of jet engine unless I specify otherwise.
Gimbaling an engine is when the engine or at least the exhaust portion of the engine is set on a sort of ball joint so that it can pivot around in all directions to a certain degree. In very short and simple language, a gimbaled engine is an engine set in a ball joint. Now what this does for us is, it allows us to move the angle of thrust about so as to generate torque on the body in flight. Imagine balancing a rod on your palm. If you move your palm to the right, the rod will tend to fall to the left because of torque. A picture can help explain this.
So basically, gimabling an engine, allows us to vector its thrust and thereby control its pitch and yaw. Gimbaled engines do not allow for roll control so rockets will generally rely on fins or some sort of Reaction Control Systems (RCS) to control roll. Gimballing can be (read “is”) mechanically complex which results in higher failure rate and increased weight. Gimbaled engines have been used on the Saturn V and the Space Shuttle.
Reactive Liquid Injection
Reactive Liquid Injection or RLI as I will refer to it, (not because this is an accepted acronym but because I don’t want to type it out) is a system by which liquid is injected into the thrust plum of a jet engine in order to modify its thrust profile. RLI works in the same way as a gimbaling but rather than moving the entire thrust profile, the injected liquid simply weakens the thrust on one side of the plume producing an asymmetric thrust which, again, results in torque which pitches or yaws the missile. This mechanism was used on early Submarine Launched Ballistics Missiles of the US Navy.
Actuated nozzles are the method that most people think of when they think of thrust vectoring. Commonly used on fighter aircraft, actuated nozzles are nozzles whose position and shape can be modified to produce differentiated thrust.
This, again, works in the same way as gimbaling, adjusting the stream of the engine to produce torque. Thrust vectoring on fighter aircraft allows for maneuverability at high angle of attack and extremely low airspeed. It also allows improved maneuverability at high altitude where aerodynamic control surfaces tend to be far less effective. The reason that the most advanced fighters of the day use thrust vectoring is that vectored engines allow for vastly improved maneuverability in all situations. Thrust vectoring can allow fighters to enter a controlled flat spin at extremely low speeds which can allow them to achieve missile lock in hairy situations. Additionally, I mentioned earlier that thrust vectoring cannot produce roll, only pitch and yaw. Consider the PAK FA.
Note that this fighter features two side-by-side thrust vectored engines. If one engine was vectored down while the other was vectored up, this would produce a roll effect.
Thrust vectoring can also be used to achieve VTOL/STOL. Examples of this include the F-35 and the Harrier. This typically requires more than one type of thrust vectoring and at least on auxiliary engine adding *considerable* weight, mechanical complexity and fuel usage. Below is the Yak-38′s VTOL/STOL setup. It is incredibly complex and extremely typical of STOL/VTOL systems.
As much as it pains me to mention this meme maneuver, thrust vectoring can allow fighters to execute a “Pugachev’s Cobra.” I hate this shit so much that I am not going to explain it. You can google this yourself. I will say that *IN MY OPINION* it has little to no combat application and it is a matter of fact that it produces “unacceptable stress” on the air frame of any aircraft performing it.
Fighter aircraft to feature engine nozzle thrust vectoring include the PAK FA, some F-15 models, famously the F-22 and the McDonnell Douglas X-36.
Exhaust vanes are simply post nozzle vanes that vector the thrust in different directions. I know this sounds the same as the actuated nozzle that we just discussed, but its not. Thrust vanes are slightly different as they allow for more options but, generally, less power. A picture.
As you can see on this picture of a crashed V-2 rocket, the famous Nazi missile, there are a series of four fins around the exhaust nozzle of the rocket. Note that the V-2 also has simple aerodynamic control surfaces on the outer corners of its fins. What the thrust vanes do is they vector the thrust in a fairly logical fashion, producing differential thrust. The way in which vanes are special is that they can also control roll. by setting all of the vanes so the face in clockwise or counter clockwise, an opposite direction roll can be produced. The vanes on the V-2 were made of graphite, a heat resistant substance.
Tilt-rotor Thrust Vectoring
Tilt-rotor thrust vectoring uses actuated rotors to produces vectored thrust. The best example of this is the V-22 Osprey.
This aircraft can rotate its rotors to go from efficient lifting to efficient forward flight.
Fluidic Thrust Vectoring
The final type of thrust vectoring that I will mention is the experimental Fluidic Thrust Vectoring or FTV, an actual accepted acronym. FTV is different than the aforementioned RLI as it uses air rather than some liquid. Experiments have found that injecting air into the thrust of a jet engine can produce up to a 15 degree deflection. FTV has the advantage of being simpler, lighter, cheaper and stealthier and will likely be employed on 6th gen fighters.
honestly if kylo ren doesn’t get redeemed and fall in love with rey then rey better fall to the dark side and have cute sith babies with kylo bc their ship is honestly life and i don’t know how i’ll cope without it
Spent a good amount of time on this one. Lots of love and fun was funneled in to these little Mouse Knights. Roughly 27 stream hours of work, with at least 4-5 hours of various distractions, reference searching and general faffing about.
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