military airplanes

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The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American twin-engine, straight wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. It is the only United States Air Force production aircraft designed solely for close air support, including attacking tanks, armored vehicles, and other ground targets with limited air defenses. The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon that is its primary armament. The A-10’s airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying.  The A-10’s official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of World War II, a fighter that was particularly effective at close air support. The A-10 is more commonly known by its nicknames “Warthog” or“Hog”. Its secondary mission is to provide airborne forward air control, directing other aircraft in attacks on ground targets. The A-10’s service life may be extended to 2028, though there are proposals to retire it sooner.

Aircrafts.. Glazing through the skies with their huge wings, transporting people and goods across frontiers. We see/listen to these beasts soaring through the skies on a regular basis.

But almost every time what we are referring to an aircraft, they are fixed-wing aircrafts. i.e their wing configuration does not change flight..


Behold the Variable Sweep Wing

But there are also wing configurations that can be changed during flight and these are known as Variable-sweep wings.

A variable-sweep wing, colloquially known as a “swing wing”, is an airplane wing, or set of wings, that may be swept back and then returned to its original position during flight. 

                                Dassault Mirage G with swept wing (top)

Typically, a swept wing is more suitable for high speeds, while an un-swept wing is suitable for lower speeds, allowing the aircraft to carry more fuel and/or payload, as well as improving field performance.

A variable-sweep wing allows a pilot to select the correct wing configuration for the plane’s intended speed.

                                               F-111

Where is it used ?

There is a good chance that you haven’t heard about this, and thats because in this day and age they have been superseded by other advanced versions.

One of the major problems with this concept is that swept wings add weight, radar cross section, and additional mechanical maintenance.

These aircrafts were built for speed. By altering the swept angle, they were able to achieve higher speeds, which was the need of the hour back in those days.

But with today’s engine technology, stealth tech, and radar systems, our pilots can maneuver or avoid threats altogether through surveillance aircraft, rather than depend strictly on speed.

Pretty Cool eh?