A site on Aerodynamics

Translated by BabelFish


From 1913, and this during nearly one half-century, the manufacturers of fighters were interested especially in the increase in performances in flight in the apparatuses which they produced. With the advent of the propulsion with reaction, new prospects opened as regards speed, and the aerodynamicists endeavoured to discover forms adapted to these possibilities. It appeared whereas the future belonged to the ramjet, the fighters being then conceived to evolve/move at more Mach 3,5. Towards the end of the Fifties, the air persons in charge were much less sour way than it would be necessary for them to adopt. The British estimated that the fighters control from now on had become obsolete and that all the wars of the future would rest on the use of missiles.

     This conviction made it possible to the British soldiers to obtain funds for the acquisition of intercontinental missiles out of silo and missiles launched by submarine. Then the United Kingdom, after having stopped its programs of hunters and strategic bombers, gave up its missiles out of silo and bought in the United States of the missiles launched by submarine. The search speed for the planes control did not continue any less, and, of 1955 to 1959, the US Air Force, supported by US Navy, financed an important program concerning the development of a fuel with high energy, Zip Fuel. The use of such a fuel would have multiplied the problems of logistics and maintenance within the units of combat. But, already, times changed. The missiles did not replace the hunters; however, during a time, US Navy supported the development of an air-to-air missile whose range had exceeded 150 km, which would have to make its interceptors of simple punts forms of carrying.

     In August 1959, the Dixon vice-admiral, chief of the office of naval aeronautics, let know with Congers that the navy would not need from now on more Zip Fuel, the speed having become a less important parameter in the design of the fighters. It was the one major rupture in the history of 1' military aviation. Another essential fact was the progressive discovery, during the Fifties, that planes could take the air vertically. Consequently, the air persons in charge showed an inconceivable passion for the v.t.o.l. The continuation of this history is properly incredible. At the beginning of the Fifties, the vulnerability of its landing strips dictated all the choices of NATO as regards fighters - the most characteristic example is the international competition relative to a hunter of tactical attack able to operate apart from the known grounds of the enemy, competition gained by the FIAT G-91.

     However, at the beginning of the Sixties, this subject became practically taboo, and requires it of a dispersion of the fighters either was denied, or been unaware of. The reasons of this change of doctrines will undoubtedly be never completely known, but it is certain that the influence of 1' US Air Force, increasingly hostile with the ADAC/V, was dominating. Its persons in charge were then obnubilate by the realization of the tactical program of hunter TFX (F-111), which was to carry fuel enough to cross a distance of 5 560 km without in-flight refueling. It was this requirement as regards passable distance which pushed the Air Force has not to adopt the TFX as a tactical hunter and has to reject any project of fighter has vertical takeoff and landing.

     Another factor which explains the hostility of USAF towards an apparatus of this type is that the idea was primarily British and that the United Kingdom had a very great advance as regards reactor technique with vectorial push. The US Air Force abruptly ceased paying attention to the vulnerability of its aerodromes. Today, it continues to spend of the billion dollars to build apparatuses which it bases on grounds threats by hundreds of nuclear missiles. This incomprehensible attitude prevented the development of a Western air power able to survive the initial blows doors by the enemy. It amèné the persons in charge for the air forces has to want to obtain planes being able to operate in an intensive and reliable way during years at a minimal cost. In this field, the pressure which is exerted on the manufacturers is as strong as that which they underwent when only the performances of flight counted. It should be remembered that the fundamental principles of the military aviation of today are reliability, the availability and the maintainability of the apparatuses.


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