fighter plane

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When you are in the combat zone, agility of a fighter jet is of utmost importance. But as an engineer, if you have already fiddled around with the wing structure your next option would be to fiddle around with the direction of the thrust.

Thrust Vectoring

Thrust vectoring is primarily used for directional control in rockets and jets. And one achieves this by manipulating the direction of thrust .

This generates the necessary moments (and forces) that enable the directional control of the aircraft. 

An aircraft traditionally has three “degrees of freedom” in aerodynamic maneuverability; pitch, yaw and roll. **

The number of “dimensions” of thrust vectoring relates directly to how many degrees of freedom can be manipulated using only the vectored engine thrust.

Therefore, 2D vectoring allows control over two degrees of freedom (typically pitch plus either roll or yaw) while 3D controls all three.



Lockheed Martin F35B

The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft.

It achieves STOVL by swiveling its engine 90 degrees and directing its thrust downward during take off/lvertical landing mode.

In the following gif you can witness the transition from a 90 degree tilted engine towards a forward thrust engine during flying.

Unlike other variants of the Lockheed Martin F-35 the F-35B has no landing hook. And as a result, witnessing its landing is rather pretty special.

But nevertheless, this is one of those posts which addresses a topic that has been a gold mine for research. If this sort of thing fascinated you, there have been a lot of research conducted by NASA do check them out.

Have a great day!


*Rockets - How to turn during flight ?

** Aviation 101 : Pitch Roll and Yaw

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Dewoitine D.520 fighter plane

Manufactured by SNCAM - formerly Dewoitine - c.1938, introduced in 1940.

Primary Gun

Hispano-Suiza HS.404 Mle 1938 autocannon

Designed by Marc Birkigt.
20x110mm 60-round drum magazine
Gas operated, delayed blowback
500 r/m

Located in the engine and firing through the propeller’s shaft.

Secondary Guns

MAC 1934 M1939 machine gun

An aircraft variant of the Mle 1931 Reibel.
7,5x54mm MAS Mle 1929 675-round belt
Gas operated
1450 r/m

Two in each wing.

Engine

Hispano-Suiza 12Y-45 engine

Pictured here with its autocannon.
12-cylinder V-type, 930 horsepower

It gave the D.520 a top speed of 540km/h and a range of 1540km

Empty weight of 2092 and 2790 when loaded.
Less than 900 produced.

Arguably the best French fighter of the World War 2, similar in many aspects to the earlier Messerschmitt Bf109, with a better autonomy, maneuverability and ease of maintenance but failing to attain anywhere near its production run before the fall of France.