Work and personal commitments kept me from posting last week so here’s one a day early:
The Aviationist has an interesting story on the Foxhound “intercepting” the Blackbird:
“The scheme for intercepting the SR-71 was computed down to the last second, and the MiGs had to launch exactly 16 minutes after the initial alert. (…) They alerted us for an intercept at 11.00. They sounded the alarm with a shrill bell and then confirmed it with a loudspeaker. The appearance of an SR-71 was always accompanied by nervousness. Everyone began to talk in frenzied voices, to scurry about, and react to the situation with excessive emotion.”
I’ve heard rumors of Foxhound intercepts of Blackbirds before and given the technology involved in the Foxhound’s Zaslon (it was the world’s first passive electronically scanned array installed on a fighter) I suppose it’s possible. At certain aspects the -71s RCS is large enough to get a decent return for a fire control solution.
I’m always running into interesting things while doing research for content here. Yesterday, I ran into something called the Luneburg Lens.
Let’s start with the picture:
A radar reflector can be made from a Luneburg lens by metallizing parts of its surface. Radiation from a distant radar transmitter is focused onto the underside of the metallization on the opposite side of the lens; here it is reflected, and focussed back onto the radar station. A difficulty with this scheme is that metallized regions block the entry or exit of radiation on that part of the lens, but the non-metallized regions result in a blind-spot on the opposite side.
This is an Edwards AFB, F-22 Raptor launching an AIM-9L Sidewinder during testing. If you look aft of the missile’s exhaust plume you’ll notice an odd shape dorsally mounted on the aircraft fuselage. At first you may think it’s a camera that mounted to record launch of the missile but it’s a device meant to enhance the radar signature of the aircraft, called a Luneburg Lens.
Luneburg Lenses are used in radar reflectors to enhance radar signature of low-observable aircraft to operate in airspace that’s being controlled/observed by air traffic control. Here’s a closer look on how it appears on the F-22:
It’s kind of a grainy image so we’ll try another view of the lens on the F-22:
Here’s a close-up (again apologizes for the graininess):
The Luneberg Lenses are also used in target drones such as this Teledyne-Ryan Firebee II drone (the lens appears above the forward wheel of the dolley and aft of the air intake):
In this case the Lenses are used to enhance the radar signature in order to more accurately simulate radar signature of threat aircraft.
Luneburg Lenses are also used in the airlines to enhance signals for in-flight entertainment systems (IFEs).
I’m sure that most readers are already familiar but, since I don’t work in aerospace, I thought it was an interesting aside.
The Museum of Flight located in Everett, Washington is undertaking restoration of a Vought F-8 Crusader, known as
the greatest fighter ever developed. However this isn’t just any F-8. The aircraft undergoing restoration is BuNo: 138899, was the first F-8 built served as the prototype for a production run totaling 1219 aircraft.
The Museum has a website dedicated to the restoration of this aircraft:
’899′ made 509 flights during five years of flight testing, after which it was donated to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in 1960. After being stored at the Silver Hill, Maryland restoration facility for a number of years, and a few other intermediate stops, the airplane was moved to the Museum of Flight’s Restoration Center in Everett, Washington, where it is currently under restoration.
Here’s how 899 currently looks in the restoration hangar at the Museum of Flight:
Here’s 899 undergoing painting:
Its an interesting restoration and the restoration staff is doing a great job. I’m sure will have more on this in the future.
From teh interwebs, some cool shots of VFC-12 Hornets in the “SU-35″ paint scheme:
Some shots from the NSAWC ramp at Fallon:
You: Those were some cool shots!
YHS: I know right!?
You: When are you going to, oh I don’t know, actually write something. I mean now ya got that cool coffee mug and all.
YHS: Oh I’m sorry your were speaking?
Found out on the interwebs.
Learn more about Bell’s X-22 here.
Last month the PLANAF (People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force) publicly displayed the J-15 Flying Shark and J-10S Vigorous Dragon at Xi’an in China’s northwest Shaanxi province. Here are some photos from that event.
An interesting glance into China’s naval fighter force.