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tank03

Dropping tanks and racks/ordinance?

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Here's another question for those real life pilots out there: In the real world combat, is it a common occurance to drop tanks/racks/extra ordinance?

 

In playing the Third Wire sims I often unload that stuff in order to get the hell out of Dodge in one piece, but it seems a real waste of equipment and I was curious as to how it works out in the real world. Is it a common thing or does it only happen in rare instances? Any and all input on this topic is appreciated.

Edited by tank03

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Well, I've never carried live externals so I wouldn't know.

 

Having said that...

 

Back in the nuke days, the best phrase to describe the priority for completing the mission - "Stay on target!"

 

However, conventional warfare is a bit different.

 

Getting the bombs on target is important...but you still have to 'honor the threat'. If you're a air-to-mud guy and you get 'jumped', I don't know of anyone who doesn't jettison. At that point, survival takes priority...and a aircraft/pilot combo is still more expensive than a rack full of weapons.

 

I'm not as sure about 'popup' SAM/AAA. I'd imagine that if I needed all the G I could to defeat a SAM, I'd jettison. Or it might be just as easy to roll in on the launcher and kill it since I'm already outfitted with A2G ordinance.

 

As far as actual frequency of occurance? Probably not often anymore, usually because strike packages are built in such a way to prevent such a thing from happening.

 

My .02.

 

FastCargo

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Thanks for the info.

 

I always like to add an aa surpresing flight to all my ground attack missions. For example if im flying the a-7 I like to have some wild weasels with me (phantom with shrikes and rockets) That way they keep the aa deffenses buisy

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I always like to add an aa surpresing flight to all my ground attack missions. For example if im flying the a-7 I like to have some wild weasels with me (phantom with shrikes and rockets) That way they keep the aa deffenses buisy

 

Not bad, I'll insert something like this too in my missions!

Regarding using the jettison it depends by the situation: if you're not in conditions to maneuver properly to save yourself from a sudden attack, you better do it immediately or be "forced in a landing for loss of a wing or the tail..."

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If its a matter of survival I suspect the superiors would prefer the expensive jet and the very expensive pilot to come back in 1 piece - than worry about a few racks and bombs.

 

 

Have read accounts of F-15s dropping their tanks in the 1991 gulf war before they engaged some Iraqi jets BVR with AIM-7 Sparrows.

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When we were flying Linebacker II, the MiGs would try to jump the strike flights in hopes of making them jettison ordnance and keeping them from hitting their targets. If our MiGCAP didn't get to them and keep them busy, it sometimes worked. Several of the MiG kills the Triple Nickle racked up during Linebacker II were made getting them off the backs of the Phantoms carrying the bombs - often my squadron, the 335th. As a strike flight, you tried not to jettison unless you had to - but, if needed, you didn't hesitate to dump your load to save the aircraft (and your own butt!).

 

As for fuel tanks, there was a brief period where they were in short supply and we were "encouraged" not to jettison "without good reason". That was typical guidance from 7th Air Force in Saigon; nobody jettisoned tanks without needing to anyway. I believe the MiGCAP flights usually jettisoned tanks before engaging.

 

Cheers,

 

Wags

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there was an F-16 once at Cannon AFB while i was there that had in in flight emergency and upon landing approach, he ditched his external fuel tanks. they landed about 5 miles off base, one of them actually landed on a cow and killed it. so i think the govt had to pay that farmer some money.

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One of my prof's was a Rhino driver in SEA, and I remember him saying that the CO would Court-Martial the next guy who dropped his tanks at the first Bandit callout. I'm not sure when this was, or what all of the details were, though I'm sure some FNG's might of had something to do with this.

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Being a maintainer, I'm not sure where the actual decision comes from to jettision the external fuel tanks, whether it be the strike commander, the flight commander, or the individual pilots - although it is likely to be a combination of all of them and based on the scenerio and situation. Externals wouldn't be jettisioned because of being painted by a SAM radar. Our pilots during the Gulf War were fired upon by SAM's and AAA on almost every mission, yet there were only a handful of instinces where the tanks were blown off - why?

 

When running a simulation it's easy to punch off the tanks to get that extra bit of acceleration and manuverability that going from CAT 3 to CAT 1 brings you, and it's an option if you really need it, but in the "real world" fuel tanks are expensive, in limited supply, and you're operating from a remote location at the end of a LONG supply chain. So, jettision the tanks if it's really necessary, of course, but when your aircraft are flying at least two sorties a day, seven days a week, for long periods of time, jettisioning when it's not critical could mean the difference between having tanks to fly the next day - or not.

 

Mike

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didnt the navy practice getting rid of any left over weapons, bomb most likely, and extra fuel, before they landed on a carrier in vietnam?

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didnt the navy practice getting rid of any left over weapons, bomb most likely, and extra fuel, before they landed on a carrier in vietnam?

 

I think that in carrier aviation the safe landing weight for a given aircraft is much lower than on a land base, so they were (and possibly still are) limited in the amount of unused ordinace they can bring back. Typhoid could probably address this with authority.

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I recall that's one of the main things the USN liked about the Super Bug over the old Hornet--the bring back capacity. The old Hornet is very limited in how much it can still be carrying when it traps. Something like 4 missiles and 2 500lb bombs max, I forget the exact numbers. So if it takes off with more than that, it either has to use them or lose them before the trap, which gets expensive during lulls in combat.

The Super Bug in contrast can trap with a larger percentage of its takeoff payload, meaning more cost-effective use of weaponry.

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When I worked on F-4Es 1/3 of my shop (sheet metal) was assigned to the fuel tank buildup team.

 

When we transitioned to F-16Cs that team went away. A few of us were talking about that on our first deployment with the airplane and one of the senior pilots in the squadron stated that if the tank is empty that with that (then new for us) jet the weight and drag of the tanks is inconsequential, and they were told to bring them back. I would imagine you would still get rid of the tanks, if they were full and any other extraneous ordnance, in the event you needed to maneuver to survive.

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If your life, and by logic your airframe, is in danger and there's even a 1% chance that jettisoning is going to save it, then by all means. The value of a few explosives, no matter how advanced or - well, explosive - doesn't compare to the value of the airframe and moreso the pilot's life. Ever notice how many hours and <insert units of currency here> go into one man's training?

 

Yeah. If you think it'll save your life, absolutely.

 

Just remember, though - it's generally unadviseable to eject over the area you just bombed. Oh, and don't drop fuel that'll make your time in the air less than what you need to get home. :biggrin:

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I was reading somewhere that the IAF doesn't allow jettison on fuel tanks or strongly discourages it. I can't remember if it had something to do with population density or what :dntknw:

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Personally, I'd drop the tanks prior to entering a close-range dog-fight. shedding that extra wieght might give me some extra help in both speed an maneuverability. Not to mention, if those tanks take a hit from a single API round, the result isn't going to be pretty. granted, this is coming from someone who's never been in a real air-battle (just simulated) and was a groundpounder (infantry), so thats up to the fighter-jocks to decide.

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I think that in carrier aviation the safe landing weight for a given aircraft is much lower than on a land base, so they were (and possibly still are) limited in the amount of unused ordinace they can bring back. Typhoid could probably address this with authority.

 

Every aircraft has a max trap weight. Usually you make this by dumping fuel, but you still need a minimum amount of fuel around the boat. At some point, if you are heavily loaded, you might need to punch off the tanks or bombs. Most of the time, you try not to launch with more than what you can trap with (excluding fuel). For example, an F-14 could launch off a carrier w/ 6 AIM-54's, but only trap with a max of 4 AIM-54's. At $1 million a pop, dunking a Phoenix to make landing weight was not practical. In the A/G role, the F-14 could only trap aboard with a limited bomb payload. So, basically, you try to avoid wasting ordnance and money by not taking more than you can bring back (unless you know all of your bombs/missiles are going on a target).

 

But, in an emergency, or a combat situation, like mentioned above, you do what you have to do to get the crew and the jet down safely.

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As a retired but qualified AO ( :alcoholic:) I can only say I have seen racks punched a total of twice in my 20 years. Once with VFA-305 when one of our birds lost a generator during a cat shot, jetted the racks and tanks to lose weight for the climb out and once at NAWS China Lake when an AV-8 malfunctioned the jett switch on take off, planted two TERs loaded with BDU-45's into the runway. Other than that I remember the Air Wing retuning back with tanks, missiles and racks attached. I think that unless a bird was carrying a GBU they would ditch the MK80 series ordnance.

 

BTW, the tanks the 305 pilot punched had to be sunk as they were a hazard to navigation. It took the MARDET on the Nimitz two M-60's and a lot of lead to sink them, I just loved telling them that the tanks were made of Kevlar.

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theres a huge different in jettision policy of normal day-to-day routine and actual combat.

When you read the pilot accounts from DS F-15 pilots, you learn that they generally jettisoned the external tanks before an engagement, at least the wing tanks first, the centerline depended on how the situation developed. One Flight was engaged by SAM, and they jettisioned the wingtanks, out-maneuvered the SAMs, continued the mission, and then dropped the centerline tanks before engaging Iraqi aircraft.

 

From reading various books about F-105's in SEA, it was standard procedure to drop the tanks before bombing the target.( edit: apparently not.. see below.. )

For the MiGCAP/Escort F-4 flights, it was the same. The big 600 gal F-4 centerline tank was a ferry tank by design, with speed and G limits for jettision.

It also restricted the use of the 2 forward Sparrows, since they can collide with the tank.

I guess all F-4 pilots just liked a clean plane while fighting MiGs...

 

In the 1973 YKW, IDF/AF pilots on CAP jettisioned so many fueltanks after GCI vectors which often lead to unsucessful intercepts that they were told to drop them only if they had sight of the enemy.... they run low on extra tanks so fast that many replacements they used were still painted in red primer.. no time for fancy paint.

 

Soviet and Soviet trained pilots were told by their GCI what to do and when to do it, that included when to drop the tanks...

Edited by Crusader

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If there’s one word that you typically think of in regards to the Thud, it’s fast. Just how fast could you go off-target? What did it take to get it there? How often did you jettison the external tanks?

 

In 110 combat missions, I can only recall jettisoning tanks about three times in the 105—and one of those was accidental. We almost always brought the tanks home. In the F-4, on the other hand, we jettisoned the C/L tank on every Pack VI mission. We usually brought the outboards back, but on long missions we would get rid of those as well.

 

As for speed, typically 600 into the target area and 600 out. I have seen as high as 750 knots outbound but that was rare. These are knots indicated. Military power—full throttle but no A/B would do 600 easily even with tanks and ordinance.

 

http://www.sponauer.com/rasimus/index.html

 

 

good book, btw.

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