external fuel tank


Photo Series #13

One of the most known multirole fighters of the world is here, yes, it’s the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
This beast of an aircraft is a twin engine, multirole, carrier-based fighter with one seat for the E variant and a tandem-seat for the F variant. The Super Hornet was developed from the F/A-18 Hornet, it is bigger and more advanced, one of it’s features is the capacity to carry 5 external fuel tanks and be configured to act as an airborne tanker with the addition of an external aerial refueling system.
It also has an internal 20mm M61 rotary cannon and can carry air-to-air, air-to-ground and anti-ship missiles as well as bombs, the newest weapons in the US Navy can be installed on the Super Hornet including the AIM-9X Sidewinder, AIM-120D AMRAAM, AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), AGM-84 Harpoon, Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), JDAM and others.
The Super Hornet entered service in 1999 with the United States Navy (USN) to replace the F-14 Tomcats which was fully retired in 2006, it currently serves alongside the F/A-18C Hornet. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also operates F/A-18A Hornets but in 2007 the Super Hornet was ordered to replace the older F-111C the RAAF Super Hornets entered service in December 2010.
It’s capacity and technological advancements makes the Super Hornets be one of the most efficient and effective carrier-based multirole aircraft in the world.

That’s it for this photo series, as always don’t be shy to send me suggestions or contributions for future photo series!
Have a great day, everyone!

anonymous asked:

Wait did the mig 27 normally come with a 30mm?

Yep, a single GSh-6-30 30mm Gatling gun, a derivative of a naval gun no less.

And fun fact: Soviet and russian Gatling guns are gas-operated, rather than electrical like their american counterparts, and as such tend to be lighter, more compact and easier to maintain, but with the downside that the RoF cannot be controlled like in electrical guns. 

But back to the plane, the problem with this cannon, which was very similar to that of the A-10′s Avenger, was that the recoil and vibrations on the airframe of the MiG-27 were so bad, it constantly fractured external fuel tanks, jammed landing gear doors, broke landing lights, shook control panels off, cracked gunsights, and in a couple of occasions, even managed to jettison the cockpit’s canopy! Basically severely limiting its use, where more often than not pilots just didn’t bother and never carried ammo for it, instead opting for more fuel or ordinance. 

Su-24M(TK) tactical tanker, developed in the CB. Dry on the basis of the Sukhoi su-24M. Serial production aircraft was started in 1984. The tanker variant of the su-24M equipped with ventral uniform suspended refueling unit ORM-A and two external fuel tanks PTB-3000 under the inner pylons. Unit ORM-And allows you to pass in flight (including night) refueled the plane up to 9000 kg of fuel. Currently, the system is also used in the refueling of su-27 fighters. At the air show MAKS-97 was demonstrated imitation of refueling of the su-30, su-24M(TK). Similarly, su-24M, possible revision and su-24МК variant of the tanker.


The MiG-17 is a jet fighter that was developed from the MiG-15 by the Soviet Union having it’s first flight in 1950 it was then put into service in 1952. The MiG-17 was not operational during the Korean war making its debut in combat during the first straits of Taiwan crisis in 1958 against F-86 Sabre’s. 

The MiG-17 saw a lot of action during the Vietnam war it had fought here against many different types of jets such as the F-86 and F-8 Crusaders, the MiG-17 was eventually replaced by the MiG-21 however it is still in use by China as trainers and by North Korea as a part of their air force. 


1× 37 mm Cannon

2× 23 mm Cannons

Up to 500 kg of external payloads and fuel tanks


Nineteen years ago - almost to the day - we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, overcame them, and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together. 
For the families of the seven, we cannot bear as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that spirit that says, "Give me a challenge and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve; and they did. They served all of us. 
We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers. And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. it’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we;ll continue to follow them…
There’s a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, ‘He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.’ Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s complete.
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to 'touch the face of God.’“
– United States President Ronald Reagan’s Speech on The Challenger Disaster; January 28, 1986 (photos by Paul Hildebrandt, director/filmmaker, 'Fight for Space’)

This week, and forever, the crew of Apollo1 AS-204 and Space Shuttle Challenger STS-51-L are remembered and heralded for their achievements in the human spaceflight program. During this time, it’s become routine for many around the space community and amongst our human family on Earth to reflect upon and mourn those relatives of ours who put their lives at risk for the study, protection, and preservation of life on this biologically diverse biosphere we call home. 

However, I can’t help but reflect on the above speech following Challenger’s demise feeling the same sentiments the world did then, while knowing what we know now, and what few were aware of at the time this speech was given. We certainly are explorers, pioneers, as asserted by President Reagan in 1986. But we were involved with an endeavor deserving the best of our energies and skills, as suggested by John F. Kennedy, who initiated this effort.

Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia were not accidents, they were (are) examples of human negligence. We 'should’ have taken proper precautions. We 'should’ have and 'could’ have done a lot of things. The United States government was in a competition of superiority - who was going to gain the "high ground” in space - with the Soviet Union. The astronauts involved were not astronauts by definition, they were active/former military pilots – they were soldiers. Their mission, as they chose to accept it, was not to advance a frontier of discovery and human advancement into space with the goal of settlement among new worlds; their mission was to carry out their positions on the front lines of a battle between [U.S.] and them.

Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee of Apollo 1 burned alive inside a crammed Command/Service Module – a mock space capsule riddled with mechanical failures, faulty equipment, and ultimately, an extremely dangerous environment overall to even be considered the testing platform for any human to operate with confidence. Seconds before the fire, “Gus” Grissom, exhausted and frustrated, is recorded saying: 

“How are we going to get to the moon if we can’t talk between three buildings?

Watch: 'From The Earth To The Moon’ film about the developing Apollo program of the 60’s and 70’s (view Apollo fire scene)

The 'Challenger Seven’ crew perished 73 seconds into its flight not due to an “accident”, but mismanagement and leadership. The Space Shuttle itself was an extremely sensitive and dangerous vehicle to haul into space. Built for access into Low Earth Orbit only, it was critical that all precautions were taken, as meticulous subsystems on board were necessary for full reliability and service from launch to landing. However, instead of equipment or infrastructure at fault, it was that of the directors responsible for moving forward with the mission itself. 

The day NASA was pressed to launch, temperatures that morning were well below what were suggested by the manufacturer/contractor of the rubber O rings responsible as a seal between the joints of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) that contained the external fuel source, thus the breach and explosion.

A critical figure in the investigation leading up to and beyond the disaster was science communicator and notable physicist Richard P. Feynman, who submitted the most sober assessment of all those involved (and responsible) in one sentence:

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

NASA was being pressed and pushed by non-scientists to not delay another launch date, which would draw critique and cost-assessment from Congress and negative press from the media, who grew consistently tired and irritated of assembling their crews to attend launches only to be let down due to some technical information pertinent to a higher percentage of mission success, resulting in grumpy communication to the press, who continually lacked true insight into how this inspirational and massive space program was being coordinated behind closed doors. 

Watch: 'The Challenger Disaster’ television film about Richard Feynman’s role in the investigation process, bringing the administration’s inner workings into public and political discussion

Space Shuttle Columbia’s fateful reentry was no accident, either, paralleling the prior fates of cargo and crew. The vehicle was vulnerable to exterior damage, as demonstrated by a piece of foam insulation (applied to the external fuel tanks to prevent ice from forming due to the liquid hydrogen/oxygen contained inside) shedding upon launch and puncturing the shuttle’s left wing, which inevitably led to disintegration upon reentry. 

Configuration of the Space Shuttle: strapping precious cargo alongside a very costly and flammable structure, where the slightest malfunction or puncture would amount to a very explosive situation. Prior to this assembly however, the steadily evolving human spaceflight program graduated from the rockets of Redstone (Mercury) to Titan (Gemini), then the true giant leap of our technological capability and prowess – the Saturn V rocket at the height of the Apollo program. 

Watch: 'The Saturn V’ film clip from 'Fight for Space’

It worked. It could’ve taken us beyond the moon, and kept astronauts at a much safer distance from the fuel tanks, equipped with a more efficient mechanism to propel a human crew to safety when an abort maneuver was needed than the Space Shuttle ever could. While equipped with this knowledge, the human spaceflight program was downgraded into a joint crew and cargo effort to do what smaller rocket configurations eventually ended up doing, taking over the bulk of NASA’s directive, sending up astronauts to Low Earth Orbit “when necessary." 

It’s essential and necessary to criticize our efforts. We all realize that the mission to the moon moved so quickly due to the threat of being outperformed by the Soviet Union. But the citizens of Earth didn’t see it this way. Surely patriotism influenced support for these programs, but we saw much more of ourselves when viewing the Earth from space. We envisioned a society with space hotels, spinoffs and everyday marketplace catalysts making their way into our daily lives at an accelerating rate, dreams of venturing off to other worlds, seeing our home planet from afar, being granted a wonderful new perspective on our existence together, and doing bold and risky things for the benefit of an entire planet. 

We associated the term "hero” with those who dove to extraneous depths beneath the sea, rushed headstrong into fires to save lives, and sometimes, rode a behemoth of a launch vehicle into the sky amidst the quiet cold of space to extend our human presence beyond our terrestrial home.

Indeed, we will speak to our children about these incidents, but we will not be coy with them. We will explain the risks involved, the arduous task it is from conception to construction and launch to landing. We’ll illustrate the importance of space exploration alongside the tremendous impact it’s had on shaping our culture, our present understanding of the universe, ourselves, and our future as a species. We will not, however, lie to them about the cause and effect relationship in regards to the decisions that were made, and continue to be made. We’ll explain why space exploration companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, XCOR Aerospace, Planetary Resources, Deep Space Industries, Astrobotic, and countless emerging others are poised to disrupt the political oligarchy whose kept the space program essentially “grounded” from doing what it is capable of.

Indeed, as President Reagan asserted, “the future does not belong to the fainthearted, it belongs to the brave.

And we intend to equip our children with the knowledge necessary to recognize when there’s a problem, meet that problem with the same open mind that propelled us to discover it, and after meticulous scrutiny, extract everything we can from it to gain further perspective. We will tell our children that yes, these new endeavors being explored and performed by multiple space companies are the things we’ve been capable of since the American space program started; but those who direct the funding decided to pull back, even while it was bringing the world together toward a common evolving vision of the humankind’s future amongst the stars.

Today’s 'space entrepreneurs’ haven’t all had the same coincidental epiphanies. They witnessed the developing space program during their childhood, watched it whither and drift from mainstream news, pop culture, and most notably – Congressional priority. Having learned from a model of what not to do, they’re taking advantage of the plethora of modern scientific advancements along an accelerating exponential growth curve, and applying them toward the development of ambitions worthy of our attention, support, and above all – hope for the spacefaring future of humankind we anticipated not so long ago. The lives lost, accomplishments achieved, technologies developed, knowledge gained…the benefits accumulated throughout our efforts in space should have amounted to more than memories of a brief era of time where we once celebrated human beings worthy of recognition as heroes and explorers. 

The human mistakes we’ve made have since passed, but what have we learned? Instead of steadily investing our funds and potential into a spacefaring future reflective of those who died for it – we’ve retracted, demonstrated by the budget we’ve misappropriated to developing technologies in preparation for warfare:

As we progress forward in an age where we are more digitally connected than ever before, maybe we’ve become victims of our own success. We’ve taken advantage of technologies the space program is directly responsible for, whereby we’re permitted quicker access to witness history unfolding in front of us. The difference however, between the space age of the 60’s/70’s is that the connectivity we’ve gained from those space assets bridged from exploration beyond Earth now allows us to take part in a means of activism and change like never before. 

No longer should we wait for other space entrepreneurs to arise. We have it in our own individual power to #FightforSpace. Our Kickstarter campaign is less than $8,000 away from its funding goal. We can do this. If we change the minds of Congress and/or educate the global citizenry of Earth on the necessity of space advocacy and scientific literacy, the course for our human future can be steered. 

58 hours left and counting. Join in the #FightforSpace and support our Kickstareter for SPACE.

The Space Shuttle enters Earth orbit

The Space Shuttle, part of America’s Space Transportation System (STS), reveals a belly covered with thousands of individual thermally protective silica tiles, scorched and charred from numerous reentries of past missions.

Nine minutes after launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the US Space Shuttle shuts down its engines, shed’s its massive external fuel tank, and enters freefall 60 miles above the Atlantic ocean. Traveling “upside down” at 16,700 miles per hour, the Shuttle has already put over a thousand miles between itself and the launch tower. If uncorrected however, the current trajectory will bring the orbiter back to Earth somewhere halfway around the globe. In order to propel the Shuttle to it’s final orbit—anywhere from 116 and 600 miles high—the two Orbital Maneuvering System thrusters (the smallest nozzles near the tail) will fire until the target altitude is reached.

Credit: Walter Myers

shiny-goodra808  asked:

Hey Enrique, the f-14 tomcat is super cool, with their variable geometry wings and all. Why dont any jets incorporate that technology anymore? What made it obsolete?

What you have to understand, is that before swing-wing technology was introduced, high-performance aircraft needed wings with great swept angles to achieve the speeds their designers desired, but that always came at the costs of long take-off runs and dangerously fast landing speeds, which slaved these planes to long runways, basically becoming their biggest handicap as without said runways the planes were useless, as the Israelis demonstrated during the Six-Day war.

So, a clever solution was found in the variable-geometry concept, which allowed excellent take-off and landing performance with the wings fully deployed, while at the same time maintaining the speed and agility performances needed for combat while retracted, BUT this came with two big handicaps: Weight and complexity:

Weight - The hydraulics needed for the system to work were very heavy, and coupled with the strength needs to keep the wing attacked to the fuselage, which unlike conventional designs there was no direct link between the two, meant that any plane using this system was considerably heavier than a conventional design.

The swept mechanism of a MiG-23, similar to that found on the F-14

Complexity - As stated, you needed a special hydraulic system to work the mechanism, alongside a pivot for the wings, creating a lot of moving parts that needed constant maintenance, and in the case of planes like the Su-24, F-111 or Tornado, these systems also include pivoting hard points on the wings, as otherwise you were forced to keep them clean of stuff like missiles, bombs or external fuel tanks. 

So all of this kept the concept limited to less than a dozen aircraft, among them the Tomcat, which was the third aircraft created around this concept, and that was ultimately killed by advancements in aerodynamics and wing construction, which allowed much better landing and take-off performance on swept-wing aircraft without compromising the combat performance. 

A two-ship of Vipers return from a training mission at sunset. The US Air Force Reserve’s 69th Fighter Squadron, known as the Werewolves, claims to be the largest and most experienced in the world. Stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, 69th FS Vipers fly in a typical air-to-ground configuration of two external fuel tanks, targeting pod, two AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two AIM-9 Sidewinders.


     Project Habu recently had the honor of touring behind the scenes at NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. All of the Space Shuttle External Fuel Tanks were manufactured at this site, including this tank, ET-94, the last remaining fully assembled External Tank.

     During launch, the external tank contains liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants, which are stored at −182.8 °C and −252.8 °C respectively. One of the systems in place to maintain this cryogenic temperature is the thermal protection system surrounding the tank; the orange foam that gives the tank it’s distinctive look.

     You may ask, why didn’t ET-94 fly? Some light may be shed on the subject when you learn that the tank made before this one, ET-93, flew on STS-107; the final, disastrous flight of Columbia.

     Through the whole 8.5 minute duration of launch, this external tank feeds its cryogenic propellants to the orbiter’s three main engines. Then, it drops away from the orbiter to disintegrate in the atmosphere. During that 8.5 minute ride uphill, the tank is subject to extreme vibration and aerodynamic loads. On the launch of STS-107, a 1.7lb piece of insulative foam shed from ET-93, and struck the leading edge of the orbiter’s wing, putting a basketball sized hole in a reinforced carbon-carbon panel. Days later, during reentry, superheated plasma was allowed to enter the structure of the wing, impinging upon key systems and structural elements of the orbiter, causing the vehicle to break up. This resulted in the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia Orbiter and her crew.

     During the accident, ET-94 was at Kennedy Space Center, in the vertical assembly building, being readied for its mission. ET-94 was shipped back to Michoud, then dissected and studied during the columbia accident investigation. ET-94 never flew, but she played an extremely important role in enabling a safer return to flight and closeout of the Shuttle Program.


  The P-51 Mustang was a solution to the clear need for an effective bomber escort. The Mustang was at least as simple as other aircraft of its era. It used a common, reliable engine and had internal space for a huge fuel load. With external fuel tanks, it could accompany the bombers all the way to Germany and back. Enough P-51s became available to the 8th and 9th Airforces in the winter of 1943–1944