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      06-09-2023, 12:27 PM   #1431
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Jane View Post
It drove you nuts, didn't it? I fully understand the feeling.
Yep, it did not make sense.

The original is a Shenyang J-16D electronic warfare/defense suppression aircraft, analogous to the USAF's Wild Weasel or the Navy's EA-18G electronic attack aircraft. Here's another photo. This aircraft is further evidence of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force's increasing capabilities and sophistication.
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      06-09-2023, 07:46 PM   #1432
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      06-10-2023, 02:31 AM   #1433
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There are two advanced 5th-generation stealth fighters in service or under development in China.

The Chengdu J-20 first flew in 2011 and entered service in 2017. There are more than 200 currently in service.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chengdu_J-20

The Shenyang FC-31 was a company prototype, slightly smaller than the J-20, that has been developed into a J-31 air force fighter and a J-35 carrier fighter. These are still under development and have not yet entered service.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenyang_FC-31

Historically, the weak area for Chinese aircraft has been the powerplants and they have used Russian engines for many aircraft. This is now changing and Chinese jet engines are being used in the latest models.
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      06-10-2023, 06:14 AM   #1434
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The sole bomber in service with the PLA Air Force is the Xi'an H-6, which was originally a license-built Tupolev Tu-16 (NATO Badger) bomber. The Tu-16 first flew in 1952 and entered service with the Soviet air force in 1954. Plans, components and technical assistance were provided to China by the USSR in 1959. The Sino-Soviet rift soon thereafter slowed Chinese production as Soviet technical assistance was withdrawn.

Today's Xi'an H-6 is an updated version of that antique Soviet aircraft and is used in a number of variants by the PLA Air Force. The most formidable are several variants carrying air-to-surface missiles, but some H-6s are used as aerial tankers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xian_H-6

There are persistent rumors that China is working on the design of an advanced bomber; observers have even speculated on the designation of H-20. (No photo)
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      06-11-2023, 02:56 PM   #1435
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The Chinese People's Liberation Army has a wide variety of electronic special mission aircraft based on transport aircraft.

They started with the Shaanxi Y-8, based on the Soviet/Ukrainian Antonov An-12 transport, which they modified for signals intelligence, electronic countermeasures/jamming, airborne command post, maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare and airborne warning and control (AWACS) missions. They have a couple of different versions of the latter with a couple of different radar systems.

The Y-8 is similar to the Lockheed C-130 Hercules and, like the Hercules, has spawned a large number of special mission variants.

Shaanxi developed an improved and stretched version of the Y-8 designated Y-9 which has also been modified for special missions, such as AWACS or ASW. The photo is of a KJ-500 AWACS version.

The Chinese KJ-2000 is a larger jet Ilyushin Il-76 modified for the AWACS mission, but after buying a small number of Il-76s for these duties, the Russians raised the price considerably, causing the PRC to start development of its own four-engine jet transport, the Xi'an Y-20. No doubt an AWACS variant of the Y-20 is under development and there may be more electronic special mission variants in the future. The photo is of a tanker/transport version.

The final PLA special mission aircraft I'd like to cover is the KJ-600 PLA Navy carrier-based radar plane. The only photos we've seen are pretty fuzzy, but the aircraft looks very similar to the U.S. Navy E-2 Hawkeye.
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      06-12-2023, 08:10 AM   #1436
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The end of an era for the UK's Royal Air Force, which first bought the Lockheed C-130 Hercules in 1966. The last of the current-generation (C-130J) Hercules C4/C5 is being retired, with the A400M Atlas C1 (seen here in German markings) taking over its duties.

One Hercules C4 went to the U.S. Navy Blue Angels as their support aircraft; other RAF Hercules are being sold elsewhere.
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      06-14-2023, 07:06 AM   #1437
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Continuing on my recent Chinese aircraft theme, the Chinese PLA Navy is about to replace the existing shipboard helicopters with the Harbin Z-20, the helicopter that is an improved copy of U.S. manufacturer Sikorsky's H-60 (or S-70) model. There are apparently two models in the works: The Z-20F for antisubmarine warfare (the first photo) and the Z-20J for utility/transport duties (the second photo). Both photos are of prototypes or early production models.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbin_Z-20
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      06-14-2023, 08:53 AM   #1438
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llarry View Post
the Harbin Z-20, the helicopter that is an improved copy of U.S. manufacturer Sikorsky's H-60 (or S-70) model.
Looks like they added an 5th blade to the rotor.
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      06-14-2023, 09:17 AM   #1439
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Originally Posted by Lady Jane View Post
Looks like they added an 5th blade to the rotor.
Yes. That's the major improvement. I believe that the fuselage is also a bit longer.
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      06-14-2023, 10:03 AM   #1440
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The Wright brothers made the first powered aircraft flight in 1903, proving that it was possible. This had the immediate effect of encouraging many others to redouble their efforts to design and build airplanes.

Roll control was an early issue; the Wright brothers used wing warping to increase/decrease lift on one side or the other to control roll.

One of the earliest and most successful competitors was Glenn Curtiss. Curtiss used ailerons -- a separate smaller wing between the upper and lower wings -- to increase or decrease lift and control roll.

A patent war between the Wrights and Curtiss ensued and lasted years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright...ers_patent_war

Ironically, some years later the two companies merged to become Curtiss-Wright, which continues in business to this day, although they no longer design and manufacture complete aircraft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtiss-Wright
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      06-14-2023, 07:14 PM   #1441
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Let me finish up the topic of Chinese naval helicopters with the big one. In 1975, in one of the first purchases of western military hardware that I remember, China bought a dozen French Aerospatiale SA321 helicopters. The SA321 was a relatively large three-engine design and was the first Chinese PLA Navy shipboard helicopter, used for antisubmarine warfare and transport. Production in China followed, whether by license or not, as the Changhe Z-8. The SA321/Z-8 is too large to fit on Chinese navy surface combatants such as destroyers or frigates, but is used on aircraft carriers and supply ships.

The Changhe Z-8 has been succeeded by a similar but improved Z-18 used for similar missions, but also used as an airborne early warning radar platform, the Z-18J, which has a retractable radar antenna.
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      06-14-2023, 07:32 PM   #1442
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llarry View Post
The Wright brothers made the first powered aircraft flight in 1903, proving that it was possible...
back in the mid 60's, I walked the strip in Kitty Hawk NC
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      06-15-2023, 07:22 AM   #1443
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ 911SC View Post
back in the mid 60's, I walked the strip in Kitty Hawk NC
<==== Almost lost both his parents as a child, while they were flying over Kitty Hawk in a Cessna 150.....
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      06-15-2023, 07:39 AM   #1444
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A potpourri of good airplane photos:

(1) Douglas SBD Dauntless in World War II colors. The SBD is the plane that won the Battle of Midway and stopped the Japanese juggernaut in WWII; arguably the most important type of the war in the Pacific. This one has a smaller (250-pound?) bomb on the left wing, which hides the larger (500- or 1,000-pound) bomb probably loaded on the centerline. Also visible below the wing is the post and Yagi antenna of the SBD's search radar set, introduced mid-war. The radioman/gunner in the rear seat has his seat turned around to face aft, his canopy open and his twin .30s ready for action.

(2) An EA-18G Growler of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138 coming in for a landing. This EA-18G carries the typical load of two external 480-gallon fuel tanks and three ALQ-99 jamming pods. Also visible is a slim rocket-size electronic data pod used for training exercises. The NL tail code is used by expeditionary VAQ squadrons that do not deploy on carriers but support land-based operations.

(3) An F-5F of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) in livery commemorating 45 years of F-5 service. This one with a refueling probe and a 275(?)-gallon centerline external fuel tank.
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      06-15-2023, 09:04 AM   #1445
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In the late 1960s, the U.S. military became dissatisfied with the state of aircrew training in air-to-air combat in the Vietnam war and took action to improve U.S. capabilities. The U.S. Air Force established aggressor squadrons to simulate enemy aircraft and hone the skills of fighter crews and the Navy did the same, although they termed the squadrons adversary squadrons. Both services, as well as the Marine Corps, have maintained that capability.

The Air Force has three aggressor squadrons -- one is based at Eielson AFB, Alaska, and the other two at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two of the squadrons fly F-16s, while the third operates more sophisticated F-35As. The aggressor squadrons have unique paint schemes that emulate, in some cases, the schemes used by potential enemy aircraft. The first two photos of are Air Force F-16Cs and F-35As out of Nellis that play the "bad guys" in training exercises. These exercises frequently include non-US allied nations air forces.

The Navy has three adversary squadrons; all belong to the Navy Reserve. One operates F-18E/F Super Hornets at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, one operates Navy F-16Cs at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada and a third operates modified ex-Swiss F-5Ns from Naval Air Station Key West, Florida. Like the USAF aggressors, the Navy adversaries feature interesting paint schemes, and they invariably feature red stars on the tail. Fallon is also home to Top Gun, which has a number of adversary aircraft not assigned to a squadron per se.

The Marine Corps has one adversary squadron, also a reserve unit, based at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, which also flies F-5Ns. A second Marine adversary squadron is planned to stand up in 2024 on the east coast.

The ultimate aggressor unit was a highly-classified unit that flew Soviet bloc aircraft out of Groom Lake, Nevada. The huge military ranges in Nevada and desert California were perfect for these exercises. (No photo)

Participants in these training exercises invariably carry data pods that allow detailed reconstruction of all maneuvers. These photos show the pods -- for the F-16s and F-5s, on one wingtip.
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      06-15-2023, 10:33 AM   #1446
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The history of the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver mirrors that of the Vought F4U Corsair in the early years. The Navy had high hopes for both aircraft before World War II but both had troubled beginnings. In the case of the Corsair, it overcame those troubles and went on to greatness, serving well into the 1950s. The SB2C likewise largely overcame its earlier difficulties, but was replaced not long after the end of the war in 1945.

The predecessor Douglas SBD Dauntless was much loved by its crews. It was powered by a 1,200 hp nine-cylinder radial and armed with a single 500- or 1,000 pound bomb on the centerline and twin forward-firing .50 caliber machine guns. The rear seat gunner had one (early models) or twin .30 machine guns for rear defense. The SBD was not very fast but was an excellent carrier plane and very stable in the steep dives used for dive bombing. It served throughout the war.

Its replacement was the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, a much heavier, more complex and faster aircraft with a twin-row 1,700 hp radial engine. But the SB2C was handicapped by the requirement to fit on aircraft carrier elevators, which limited its length; the Helldiver could've used a bit more tail for added stability. It also featured an internal bomb bay. It was introduced into service in 1943 and met with considerable resistance from the fleet. The crews did not like the handling -- leading to the uncomplimentary moniker 'Son of a Bitch 2nd class' for SB2C -- and at one point, there was a recommendation to remove it from service and bring back the SBD. But improved models were developed and it gradually and grudgingly won acceptance.

The SB2C's service was cut short after the war by the introduction of the excellent Douglas AD Skyraider -- later designated A-1 and destined to serve for thirty years.
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      06-15-2023, 03:24 PM   #1447
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      06-15-2023, 04:52 PM   #1448
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YYJ...?
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      06-15-2023, 04:55 PM   #1449
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YYJ...?
It flies there some times throughout the year…
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      06-15-2023, 06:52 PM   #1450
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Hangar tenant, Honda Jet Elite…
I hated working those VLJs. Not really a jet (too slow) and not a prop (too fast). They didn't climb all that well if I needed them to get up and out of Dodge, so they were trapped lower, longer. There are many turboprops I would take over a VLJ any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
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      06-15-2023, 07:24 PM   #1451
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I hated working those VLJs. Not really a jet (too slow) and not a prop (too fast). They didn't climb all that well if I needed them to get up and out of Dodge, so they were trapped lower, longer. There are many turboprops I would take over a VLJ any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
I hear that ALOT from other pilots, especially when the HJ first came out; "the HJ is nice but would rather fly something else".
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      06-16-2023, 03:20 PM   #1452
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For about 10 years (mid-1940s to mid-1950s) the Douglas AD Skyraider, to be redesignated A-1 in 1962, was THE attack aircraft for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

The Navy funded the development of a number of bombing and torpedo aircraft during World War II and shortly thereafter, desiring to replace the Curtiss SB2C dive bomber and the Grumman-designed Eastern TBM Avenger used during the war. Nothing seemed to pan out. Douglas was among the competitors -- their SB2D had tricycle landing gear, unusual at the time and had two remotely-controlled gun turrets; despite having a powerful Wright R-3350 radial engine, it was unsuccessful, as were the other competitors. Too complex.

Douglas' chief designer, Ed Heinemann, and his team went to Washington with the latest company effort, a simplified SB2D, in June of 1944. It was a showdown of sorts -- a last ditch effort to stave off the competition and win what promised to be a major contract. The session did not go well; the Navy wanted something simpler. On the spur of the moment, Heinemann proposed ditching the existing proposal in favor of a new clean-sheet design to be presented in thirty days. The assistant chief of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics, an admiral, refused to give Douglas thirty days and stated that he would need a new proposal by 9 a.m. the next day. In fact, Douglas had been quietly working on an alternate proposal for some time, but it was still in rough shape. Heinemann agreed and the Douglas team returned to their hotel and worked feverishly all night on a proposal.

The next morning the Douglas team met the Navy reps at 9 a.m. as stipulated and presented the proposal. It was circulated among several Navy offices for review and before noon, Douglas had their answer: They were authorized to cancel the existing proposal and use the unexpended funds to design the new proposal BUT the new airplane had to fly within nine months.

Heinemann and team returned to California elated; they still had a chance. They got the whole team working on the new design, which they called the BT2D (BT = Bombing and Torpedo, 2 = 2nd design, D = Douglas). They ruthlessly pared weight wherever possible -- while keeping in mind the sturdiness required of carrier planes -- and made the design as simple as possible.

On March 18, 1945 (with the war against Japan still raging) the first XBT2D-1 flew. Powered by the same Wright R-3350 18-cylinder radial as the SB2D and the B-29 Superfortress, the flight went smoothly and the test pilot told everybody that they had a winner. By early April, the Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River, Maryland, conducted a preliminary evaluation of the aircraft and concurred. The Navy ordered 548 BTD-1s on an urgent basis. Before any could be completed, the war ended and orders were reduced.

In early 1946 the Navy created a new designation category: A for Attack, replacing the old bombing and torpedo bombing designations. Production models would be designated the AD Skyraider. The first production AD-1s reached squadron service by the end of 1946. By 1949, 500 ADs had been produced -- this at a time of fiscal austerity -- and the AD had replaced the old Curtiss SB2C dive bomber of WWII.

From 1950 to 1953, Navy and Marine ADs were heavily involved in the Korean war and compiled an illustrious record in combat.

The AD would remain in production until 1957 and 3,180 would be built for Navy and Marine squadrons. It was successively improved with more power, beefed-up structure, etc. While it was designed as a single-seat airplane, other versions were developed with radar or electronic countermeasures operators in cramped quarters behind the pilot. The AD was also adapted to carry a single nuclear weapon, the first single-engine aircraft to be so designed.

Given the large number of Skyraiders assigned specialty missions, in 1951 a new two-place version with side-by-side seating and room behind for additional crew, the AD-5, was designed and subsequently produced in airborne early warning, night attack and electronic countermeasures variants.

In February of 1957, the last Skyraider, an AD-7 single-seater, was delivered. By this time, jet attack aircraft were entering service in large numbers and the AD seemed to be an anachronism, though each carrier air group still included one squadron of ADs. The Navy recognized the vulnerability of the AD and was planning to phase them out eventually.

In 1962, the designation system changed and the AD became the A-1. The attack squadrons flew A-1Hs and -1Js, the AEW squadrons flew EA-1Es, the ECM squadrons flew EA-1Fs and the night attack squadrons flew A-1Gs. Jet successors were on the drawing boards.

Then Vietnam happened. The Navy quickly realized that A-1s could not survive over North Vietnam, but the A-1 proved perfect for the war within South Vietnam, where the VC did not have sophisticated air defenses. Retired A-1s were withdrawn from storage, transferred to both the U.S. Air Force and the Vietnamese Air Force and quickly became a greatly appreciated close air support aircraft.

During the Vietnam war, the attack versions (A-1H/J) were finally withdrawn from the carriers, but the specialty versions soldiered on in small numbers for years more. In the 1970s, even these were replaced with new aircraft, ending a thirty-year career.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_A-1_Skyraider
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