PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – The main striking force in modern military conflicts is combat aircraft. Fighters of the last, fifth generation or equivalent to them army winged vehicles of generations “4+” or “4 ++” are not only one of the most deadly, but also one of the most expensive types of weapons.
Military experts presented the top 10 most expensive combat aircraft in the world – fighters, interceptors and attack aircraft.
#5 – McDonnel Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle – $136M
The McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle is the first fourth-generation combat aircraft to enter service with the US Air Force. Created in 1972 as a “fighter hunter” based on the experience of aerial combat in Vietnam, it will remain the main instrument for gaining air superiority for the American air force until the middle of the next decade.
The last single-seat F-15C was rolled out of the assembly line of the McDonnell-Douglas Phantom Work plant in 1992. In the same year, the production of the F-15D combat trainer “twin” was stopped: the US Air Force was quite “full” of both types of vehicles. However, the St. Louis plant continues to operate.
On its stocks, the latest Igla aircraft are being assembled – two-seat multifunctional F-15E fighters – the most powerful combat vehicles of the US tactical aviation of the 1990s.
#4 – Russian Su-57 The Felon – $150M
Su-57 (formerly PAK FA, experimental name T-50) is a fifth-generation stealth Russian fighter designed to destroy all types of air, ground and surface targets. First flew in 2010. The combination of high maneuverability with the ability to perform supersonic flight, as well as a modern complex of avionics and low visibility provide the Su-57 superiority over competitors.
#3 – European Eurofighter Typhoon – $175M
In the early 1980s. a difficult situation has developed in the air forces of European countries: fighters of the first and second generations, which entered service in large quantities in the 1950s-1960s. and which formed the basis of the aircraft fleet, were morally and physically obsolete.
In particular, the FRG Air Force demanded replacement of the Lockheed F-104O Starfighter and McDonnell-Douglas F-4F Phantom 2 aircraft, the British F-4K / M and VAC Lightning, the Italian Lockheed F-104S and Fiat G-91. The United States, which in the past carried out an active expansion in Europe in the field of the supply of aviation weapons, began to actively advertise its new aircraft, in particular the General Dynamics F-16.
But European countries with advanced aircraft manufacturing were not satisfied with the purchase of aircraft made in the United States, in particular, due to the decline in national prestige, as well as the unwillingness to lose jobs in such a high-tech industry as aircraft construction.
In addition, the requirements of the US Air Force differed from the European ones, where they needed, first of all, an air defense aircraft, while the Americans offered a fighter that was largely focused on solving strike missions and was unable to carry medium-range air-to-air missiles. In these conditions, European states have stepped up research on combat aircraft of their own design.
In particular, in Great Britain, work began on a fighter with the P-106 index, which was supposed to have a canard aerodynamic design, a delta wing and one engine. The design speed corresponded to M = 1.8, the take-off weight was close to 10 tons, and the takeoff and run length should have been 400 m.
The armament of the R-106 aircraft included two Skyflash missiles, in addition, weapons were also provided for attacking ground targets. However, the BAe company, which proposed the R-106 project, curtailed the program in 1981, since the British Air Force gave priority to research in the field of creating a new VTOL aircraft.
When creating the aircraft, the task was set to surpass the F-15, F-16 and F / A-18 fighters in terms of maneuverability. European analysts believe that at low altitudes the EF2000 will have superiority over the upgraded Su-27 aircraft.
The combat radius, bomb load and flight duration of the Euro-fighter are the same as those of the Panavia Tornado aircraft.
In the cockpit of the fighter there are three multifunctional color indicators, which display all tactical and flight information. Above the dashboard, a wide-angle GEC Evionics HUD is installed, capable of displaying information from an IR surveillance system.
There is a helmet-mounted sight-indicator with the display of flight information symbols, radio sight data, thermal imager and information necessary for target designation of the ASRAAM missile launcher. It can be used to attack a target in the rear hemisphere.
Voice control of a number of systems is provided, in particular, commands to switch displays in the cockpit can be given by the pilot’s voice. The speech system also provides interactive operation, in particular, the request and delivery of information about the remaining fuel.
Considerable attention is paid to flight safety and ergonomic factors. ACS should not allow access to dangerous flight modes, and the twin-engine layout increases combat survivability.
The main aircraft systems are duplicated, and the EDSU has a fourfold redundancy. There is a mode of limiting the minimum safe height. All the buttons and switches needed by the pilot in battle are concentrated on the control stick and the throttle.
#2 – The American F-35 Lightning II – $180M
The F-35 belongs to the fifth generation fighters, and the experience gained during the creation of the F-22 Raptor was actively used in its creation. It should be noted that the F-35 is equipped with more advanced avionics than the Raptor. The fighter’s avionics are undoubtedly the strongest aspect of this combat platform. The F-35 electronic complex includes:
- Multifunctional radar with an active phased antenna array of the second generation AN / APG-81, which can equally effectively detect targets both on the ground and in the air.
- Electro-optical system AN / AAQ-37, which includes six infrared sensors located on different sides of the fuselage. It allows you to determine the launches of ballistic missiles at a distance of 1300 km, provides navigation during piloting both in the daytime and at night, warns the pilot of a missile attack, determines the location of anti-aircraft guns, finds air targets and accompanies them.
- Passive multidirectional infrared CCD-TV camera with high resolution, which can conduct target designation at considerable distances, find enemy objects on the ground and in the air. She also warns the pilot about the irradiation of the aircraft with a laser beam.
- Installation system of individual interference AN / ASQ-239.
- A target designation and indication system, which is integrated into the pilot’s helmet and allows him to control the vehicle using head and eye movements. The F-35 pilot’s helmet can be called unique: it allows the pilot to see literally through the cockpit. This ability is provided by a large number of video sensors located on the fuselage of the vehicle. Also, the helmet is equipped with systems that inform the pilot about the flight conditions by displaying images and sound.
- The cockpit is equipped with a widescreen PCD touchscreen display, which displays information related to the flight and the functioning of the fighter’s systems. It also displays the location of enemy air defense systems and possible routes to bypass them.
- Voice recognition system, with which the pilot can control some of the F-35 systems.
- The fighter is equipped with a range of advanced aiming and communication systems. These include the Link 16 communications complex, which is often referred to as the “heavenly Internet”.
#1 – The American F-22 Raptor – $250M
The aircraft is made according to an integrated circuit, it has a high-positioned trapezoidal wing. The sweep of the leading edge of the wing is 42 degrees. Titanium alloys, aluminum alloys, composite and radio-absorbing materials are widely used in the airframe design. Composite materials not only made it possible to reduce the level of radar signature of the aircraft, but also significantly reduced its weight.
The vertical tail is two-keeled. Keels are widely spaced and sloped outward (28 degrees). Horizontal tail – all-moving.
All joints formed at the junction of various parts and parts of the aircraft have a sawtooth shape, which reduces the reflection of electromagnetic waves. The cockpit has a polycarbonate canopy. It has a special coating that scatters radio waves. The aircraft has a tricycle landing gear.
The power plant of the F-22 Raptor consists of two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 bypass turbojet engines, they allow the aircraft to reach supersonic speed without using afterburner, which is one of the main requirements for fifth generation aircraft.
In addition, these engines are equipped with a controlled thrust vector, which significantly increases the maneuverability of the fighter. The nozzles have fixed side walls and deviating lower and upper edges, which allow the machine to change thrust vector deviations and adjust the nozzle cross-section. In addition, flat nozzles reduce the aircraft’s IR signature.
The air intakes are unregulated, diamond-shaped, and have an S-shaped channel to shield the engine compressors from radiation.
The aircraft is equipped with an on-board avionics system developed by TRW, it includes a data processing system, a communication, navigation and identification system ICNIA and a combat electronic complex, including: AN / ALR-944 electronic warfare system “Sanders / General Electric” and AN / APG radar 77.
The radar installed on the fighter is worth mentioning separately. This is an antenna with an active phased array, which consists of 2 thousand elements that transmit and receive a signal. This radar can detect targets with RCS of 1 m² at a distance of 225 km in normal mode and at 193 km in LPI mode, cruise missiles with RCS of 0.1 m² at a distance of 125 km.
Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) mode allows the F-22 Raptor to detect targets without being spotted. The Raptor is armed with a 20-mm M61A2 Vulcan cannon, as well as AIM-120C AMRAAM and AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
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