Monday, April 4, 2011

NOVA: Battle of the X-Planes

Each newer generation of fighters costs more than the last; so fewer are purchased!! Ever more expensive fighters in ever more decreasing defence circles that's is called the ‘Death Spiral’.

Letter to NOVA:

Infiltrate the world's two largest aerospace companies—Boeing and Lockheed Martin—which are competing to build the fighter plane for the 21st century. Dubbed the X-Plane, it is known officially as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), because it will serve three branches of the U.S. military—the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Your assignment will involve taking cameras inside some of America's most classified facilities. This five-year mission will conclude with the Department of Defense awarding the winning team the largest contract in military history, estimated at $200 billion. You realize, of course, that divulging any information gathered during the making of this film could threaten the national security of the United States, not to mention your own personal well-being.


Some technical abstracts:

  • Lifting Mechanism for VTOL:

Boeing equipped their plane with the proven technology from the British Harrier..nozzle deflectors that pulls thrust from the main engine & deflect in downwards. That required great deal of thrust & engine has to be placed infront & large air-intake cowl was a necessity [as can be seen in Boeing's X-32A], may produce inadvertently large heat/radar signature. Its a proven system but when hovering in ground effect with no forward movement, the hot nozzles end up fouling the air being taken into the intakes, not to the point that it kills the motor but it causes a drop in power (which you are carefully trying to balance in Hover).Lockheed Martin on the other side placed the engine conventionally at the rear but behind the cockpit installed a ‘vertical suck vertical blow’ shaft-driven lift fan which draws rotary power [via inline shaft] & not the thrust from the main engine. Plus the inclusion of moving nozzle of the main engine provided the two lifting force [fan from at front, nozzle behind] necessary for stable VTOL.

  • Planform:

Having made the F-22 LM goes with the similar planform..Boeing go with the delta planform giving priority to lowering manufacturing costs plus speeding up the overall process. No doubt the LM was three months over the schedule but Boeing was two weeks ahead!!

Also click here; F-35 in detail


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