"I am straight, I am sideways,
With a turn, and with a bounce,
And with the run, and on the spot,
And with two legs together ... "
With a turn, and with a bounce,
And with the run, and on the spot,
And with two legs together ... "
The titanic efforts of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, aimed at comprehensive coverage of the JSF program (a detailed description of the stages of development, construction and test results of the new fighter), each time encounter a wall of persistent hostility and misunderstanding on both sides of the ocean. A significant part of the public is still convinced that in front of her is a yuber aircraft that can fly in any modes, including vertical takeoff and landing.
Too versatile machine, as a rule, loses the possibilities of specialized fighters and tactical bombers. However, it is unnecessarily expensive and difficult to operate.
Of course, there is no universal “Ybermashina”. Everything is much more complicated.
Under the JSF program, three modifications of the fighter are being developed:
F-35A - the basic model, a fighter for the Air Force;
F-35В - fighter for the Marine Corps (ILC);
F-35C - deck fighter for the Navy.
Apart from the numerous “national” modifications for the JSF program countries, each of which differs in the configuration and composition of the avionics (for example, the F-35A for the Norwegian Air Force will be equipped with a braking parachute for safe operation from icy arctic airfields). Of all the many-sided family of machines created by the program Joint Strike Fighter, only F-35B is engaged in vertical exercises.
"Bravo" is so serious differences that it can be seriously considered as a separate type of fighter. Relatively few such aircraft will be released: under the most optimistic scenario, the F-35B production volume will not exceed the 521 units (total 15% of the total F-35 release), but it is this modification that delivers the most noise, defaming and discrediting the JSF program.
F-35A, F-35B and deck F-35C (with a larger wing). Compared to F-16, Harrier and F / A-18C
Because of the appearance of the F-35B, Lockheed Martin engineers gained the unpleasant glory of plagiarists: the tail end with the deflecting nozzle of the cruise engine seemed to be copied from the Yak-141 Soviet supersonic “vertical line”.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to recognize that the dispute over the borrowing of the Soviet experience is the personal problems of F-35B. The rest of the F-35 family have nothing to do with the Yak. The only thing that binds the basic model of the F-35A and the Yak-141 is that both aircraft are heavier than air.
F-35B will be the third in stories aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), adopted for service - after the British "Harrier" and the Soviet carrier-based Yak-38. And if the meaning of the creation of the latter is obvious, then the appearance of a “vertical” based on F-35 defies a sound explanation.
The Harrier was created as a response to the threat of destruction of airfields in the early hours of the new world war. Subsequently, when it turned out that the VTOL, in any case, is not a competitor to classic fighters, the Harrier evolved into the Sea Harrier and redeployed to the decks of mini aircraft carriers. On bezrybe and cancer fish - decided the British admirals, and after them the Italians, Spaniards, Indians, Thais and the USMC. Despite the fact that the upgraded Harrier II continues to be exploited in our time, its combat value every time turns out to be questionable.
Yak-38 - a consequence of the uncertainty with the appearance of the Soviet aircraft carriers (or, according to the accepted classification - heavy aircraft carrying cruisers). As a result, a flying miracle was born without a radar, whose combat load reached one ton!
The meager combat load, weak LTH and “huge” combat radius, for which the Yak received the honorary title of “guard mast plane” - as a result of these listed “merits”, the VTOL aircraft turned out to be completely useless for solving any urgent tasks. The only positive feature of the Yak-38 was the system of forced ejection - despite the overwhelming number of catastrophes, there were no serious casualties. “The terrible Yak is fluttering in the sky -“ Yak ”about the deck bum”! And there is nothing to add.
Why did the Yankees in the XXI century need to “step on a rake” and create something that contradicts the laws of nature? "Vertikalka" a priori inferior to conventional aircraft. And the need to create such a technique is not so obvious to justify the additional costs and a serious deterioration of the fighter's LTH.
At first glance, the answer is simple: VTOL are created by order aviation ILC, for basing on advanced bases and cramped decks of landing ships.
However, in this case, an insoluble logical paradox arises: what is the point of basing fighters on the decks of the UDC?
The speed of their use, quick response, the provision of fire support to the landing ... But what does 5-10 mean of under-aircraft, when the Nimitz is on a traverse with a full wing? After all, Americans are proud of the number of their aircraft carriers; It’s simply incredible that during a combat operation there was no such ship nearby. In turn, “Nimitz” and UDC are just minor mischievous people against the background of the winged power of the Air Force.
This logical chain can lead to the only conclusion - the placement of "verticals" on the decks of the UDC has no practical meaning. It's a whim, cheap muscle play. The decision to purchase the "thirty-fifths" in the form of F-35B only reduce the combat potential of the US armed forces. We are sincerely glad and fully support the further development of the F-35B program.
From the point of view of Russia's interests, it would be much more dangerous if these “non-aircraft” were on the decks of the “Nimitsev” in the form of F-35С or even more terrible - they were embodied in the form of F-35A in the combat squadrons of the USAF.
F-35B and Honorary Senator McCain. Both are standing each other
Likewise, F-35B is not much favored abroad. Of the 11 countries that have expressed their interest in the JSF project, only two agree on the purchase of a plane with the letter “B” - the United Kingdom and Italy. Initially, the British scornfully wrinkled noses at the sight of the F-35B, hoping to equip their aircraft carriers with more decent F-35C. But then they didn’t have enough money for an electromagnetic catapult, and I had to take what Queen Elizabeth fits in its current, very regrettable state. To alleviate the plight of naval aviators, the British promise to equip the "Queen" with a nose ramp.
As for the cheerful naval forces of Italy with the funny-showy aircraft carrier "Cavour" - there are no long comments here. The Italians ordered as many as fifteen (!) Verticals in the interests of the sailors and also 75 machines (60 F-35A and 15 F-35B) for their air forces.
Creating an F-35B is impractical from a military point of view. The appearance of these machines is dictated by the desire of the Marines to emphasize their “exclusiveness” and to maintain the continuity of tradition. Any other explanation is excluded here.
Every family has its black sheep
The price of exclusivity turned out to be extremely high. This is expressed by the following figures.
F-35B consists of 300,000 parts - there are thousands more on 20 than is used in the land-based F-35A design. In addition, the empty F-35B is heavier than the F-35A on 1,36 tons.
The degree of unification of units and parts of the "vertical" with the base model is 81%, with the deck aircraft is 62%.
According to data from open sources, VTOL is the most expensive representative of the F-35 family, its cost is higher than the cost of the basic F-35A model by $ 25 million.
F-35B has a number of external differences from other cars of the Lightning-2 family. First of all, the cockpit lantern catches the eye - instead of a clean “drop-shaped” shape, as on the F-35A version, the back part of the F-35B flashlight abruptly changes to the Gargot, which restricts the viewing sector from the pilot's cabin (due to the installation of a lifting fan right behind the cabin).
Many skin panels also have a different shape than the base model. Large openings appeared on the top and bottom sides of the fuselage (the channel of the lift fan), which were closed by flying wings. All this increases the EPR of the machine, thereby worsening its secrecy (the extra gaps are additional resonators).
Much more differences are hidden inside - the layout of the F-35B is fundamentally different from the layout of the other thirty-fifths.
The fuselage fuel tank and the built-in 25 mm caliber aircraft cannon have supplanted the two-stage fan, its channels, flaps, and transmission in the form of a uncoupling coupling, drives, shaft, and bearings.
The scheme with a lifting fan has many advantages, and only one drawback - all of these bulky units in horizontal flight become a "dead mass", an extra ballast that takes away precious kilograms of payload.
As a result, max. F-35B's internal fuel supply, as compared with F-35A, has been reduced by 2270 kg, and the combat radius of the vertical command has decreased by 25%.
Of course, the concept of the use of CMP aviation and the ability to perform take-off and landing operations from tiny advanced platforms suggest that a large combat radius of the CMP fighter is useless.
In the end, all this is of little importance in the era of air tankers and air refueling. As well as the myth of "advanced airfields" - fire support, in one way or another, is carried out by classic Air Force planes from the "duty in the air" position.
The disappearance of the built-in 25-mm gun "Equalizer" did not pass without a trace. At present, the designers of Lockheed Martin offer a compromise in the form of a suspended cannon container. It will create additional resistance in flight, with all the ensuing consequences, and will also be a factor in the sharp increase in the ESR of the aircraft, compared with the base model. But, alas, no other solutions to this problem have been proposed.
But ... Why F-35B gun armament, if he is contraindicated to participate in maneuverable battles? The available overload of the F-35B is only 7g (against 7,5g in the deck version and 9g in the ground-based fighter) - with such characteristics, the "vertical" will not be able to go to the tail of most modern fighters. Even a slightly lower wing load and greater thrust-to-weight ratio, due to the lower take-off mass of the VTOL aircraft itself, are not able to rectify the situation - the F-35B is categorically unable to conduct short-range air combat.
Combat load. Everything is obvious here - a vertical take-off in the gravitational field of the Earth, without the use of aerodynamic lift, is an extremely energy-intensive way that imposes severe restrictions on the take-off mass of the aircraft.
Even in the case of a shortened take-off, the combat load of the F-35B will always be lower than that of the F-35A. The official data is 6800 kg versus 8125 kg for the base model. The number of suspension nodes remained the same (two internal bomb compartments and 6 external suspension points). Sighting and navigation complex remained unchanged.
Among the other drawbacks of the F-35B is a hose-cone refueling system (in this matter, the vertical link is identical to the deck F-35C). In contrast, on the F-35A, as well as on the entire aircraft of the US Air Force, a scheme with a throat and a filling rod is used for refueling.
The use of a filling rod allows you to increase the pressure in the system by increasing the fuel transfer rate several times (up to 4500 l / min against 1500 l / min in the hose-cone system). In addition, the boom simplifies the refueling procedure itself - the plane being refueled does not need to perform complex maneuvers in order to “get” the fuel-receiving boom into the cone dangling in the wind streams. It is only necessary to keep behind the tanker at the same speed with him - the operator will do the rest himself.
The refueling time is many times reduced, the process itself is facilitated - alas, F-35B has no advantages.
Another problem is caused by the use of an adjustable slewing nozzle for a main engine. Unlike the F-35A, whose engine has reduced visibility, the F-35B has nothing to boast about in this test.
When the first F-35B landed on the deck of the UDC, it immediately became clear its next (already which account for?) Flaw. Unlike the deck F-35C, the “vertical” has no wing folding mechanism, which makes it difficult to base it on board ships. Partly, the solution to this problem is facilitated by the small size of the fighter, but, anyway, the wing span of the F-35B on the 1,5 meter exceeds the wing span of the Harrier II or Super Hornet in the folded position.
Etc. - The list of problems and shortcomings of the VT-FV-35B seems endless. No intrigue was planned here. The facts are proven by theory and verified in practice. Everything is quite obvious - the "vertical line" is inferior to the F-35A in almost all respects, except for the avionics capabilities. At the same time, it is much more complicated, more expensive, more capricious, and has no distinct advantages over its counterparts in the context of modern wars. Some disadvantages ...
One of the main issues in the discussion of the F-35 is the “three in one” unification. Despite the striking differences in the design, all three main modifications of the F-35 are made in the same weight and size limits (with the exception of the F-35C, whose wingspan is more than 2 meters) and have similar general features in appearance.
All fighters of the family are made according to the normal aerodynamic configuration with a high-position trapezoidal wing and tail unit, including the widely separated, outward-inclined keels and all-turning stabilizers. In each of the three cases, a typical single-engine layout with side air intakes and a “regular” three-post chassis are used.
But what is the price paid for the unification of such a "ragtag" family of aircraft? How did Lockheed Martin engineers manage to build VTOL on the platform of an ordinary fighter without resorting to additional measures? All the necessary equipment, including a lifting fan, inexplicably fit into the fuselage of the F-35A with minimal external changes in the skin panels.
Hence the question - are there any problems and compromises in the design of the ground F-35A and deck F-35C, associated with the need to unify them with a specific VTOL F-35B?
One of the main fatal flaws F-35A called too wide fuselage. The fatal heritage of F-35B. The unprofitable "relative" took out all his 2-meter fan, as a result, all members of the family have too much mid-section, which creates additional frontal resistance. LTH aircraft have deteriorated. The dreams of cruising supersonic scattered into dust ...
But is it really?
Even on the unassuming view of a layman, two important things can be noted:
1) F-35 is a very small aircraft. It is significantly inferior in size even to the F / A-18E / F "Super Hornet" - the main carrier-based fighter of the US Navy, which traditionally belongs to light fighters. And roughly corresponds in size to the F-16.
15,7 length meters. Wingspan 10,7 meter.
In other words, the tale of the “wide fuselage” is greatly exaggerated. The F-35 fuselage can not be large a priori - due to the miniature size of the aircraft itself.
2) The disproportionality of the size of the F-35 fuselage compared with its wing span is caused not only (not so much!) By the installation of the 2-meter fan, but by the necessity:
- ensuring internal suspension of armaments (two internal bomb compartments with 2 nodes each;);
- installation of S-shaped channels of side air intakes that prevent the engine blades from being irradiated by enemy radars. The key element of stealth technology! - that is why the F-35 eliminated the installation of a direct ventral air intake, as on the F-16 fighter;
- conformity of the fuselage form to the requirements of the 2 generation Stealth technology;
- placement inside the fuselage of a large amount of fuel, aircraft guns, ammunition and numerous electronic systems.
And all this in the body of the plane, equal in size to the "Felken"!
After such jokes, the 2-meter fan will seem like a childish prank - all you have to do is sacrifice the built-in gun and fuel tank so that all the units fall into place.
In other words, I do not support the theory that a close relationship with the F-35B could in some critical way harm the ground-based and carrier-based aircraft created by the JSF program.
Lightning-2 remains Lightning-2. Powerful aviation complex, equipped with a set of modern electronics and aiming-navigation devices: radar AN / APG-81, for the creation of which a group of developers could claim to receive the Nobel Prize. Infrared systems for all-view and covert data sharing. Eight million lines of software code. Systems of automatic self-testing and troubleshooting on board.
Noticeable, less than most existing and promising combat aircraft - to deny this would be too naive. The advantage in air combat at large distances. Eight tons of combat load on 10 suspension points - in its shock capabilities F-35A can compete with the formidable Su-34, surpassing the latter in terms of the range of ammunition used and the capabilities for detecting / selecting ground targets.
Finally, LTH "Lightning" correspond to the best representatives of the fourth generation fighter. Demanding anything more from a small multifunctional F-35A (super-maneuverability, UHT) is the same as forcing an extra-class pianist to laban on a button accordion.
It defies logical explanation. Why did the Americans need to spoil such a design, turning it into an awkward goblin F-35B?