[Photo]EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. Suspended under the wings are AGM-88 anti-radar missiles, AN / ALQ-99 electronic warfare pods, and a drop tank in order from the left. Furthermore, AN / ALQ-99 is hung on the underside of the fuselage. If the jamming radio waves emitted by AN / ALQ-99 are disturbed by the adjacent hanging object, it will not work. Photo: Takashi Inoue

In many cases, there is a ring on the side of the hanging object, on which the hook built into the armament rack on the aircraft side is hooked and fixed. When the hook is removed, the hanging object falls. Should be. However, even if there is only one hanging thing, if there are other hanging things adjacent to the left and right, the story becomes complicated. In addition, depending on the airflow conditions surrounding the aircraft, or the attitude and speed of the aircraft, it may not be able to separate smoothly. In particular, the large size but light weight of the drop tank tends to be a problem. As you know, the drop tank hangs the fuel tank, but it is basically separated when the fuel inside is exhausted and it becomes empty. Naturally, the drop tank is in a light state. Moreover, due to its large size, it is easily affected by aerodynamics. For that reason, depending on the aircraft and the mounting position, there is a concern that the separated drop tank may come into contact with the adjacent hanging object. Therefore, in order to ensure separation, there is a case where a hinge is installed in the upper part of the tail end of the drop tank. Then, what happens when the hook is separated? First, the drop tank will be supported only by the hinge at the tail end, and the head will be lowered and turned downward. Then, if the hinge is released, it will be easier to control the movement of the drop tank than simply disconnecting the hook. As a result, the risk of getting entangled with adjacent hanging objects can be reduced. In the case of a bomb, it’s a lot heavier than a drop tank, and now it’s forcibly thrown out using an ejector rack, so it seems unlikely that you’ll use this gimmick. Also, a rail-launched missile or a rocket that fits in a launcher will first pop out forward on its own and will not fall by attraction. Therefore, the problem of being entangled with the adjacent hanging object does not occur. Part 2: Interference of radio waves There are a wide variety of hanging objects. In addition to bombs, missiles, rockets, and drop tanks, pods containing sensor equipment are also members of the suspension. One such product is the electronic warfare pod. In addition, some aircraft have a built-in electronic warfare device, in which case the antenna often sticks to the surface of the aircraft. Not long ago, BAE Systems announced that it would strengthen production by receiving additional orders from Lockheed Martin for the AN / ASQ-239 electronic warfare equipment to be mounted on the F-35. This is an electronic warfare device built in to maintain stealth, but the antenna for receiving radio waves emitted by enemy radar etc. and the antenna for emitting radio waves to interfere with it are all parts of the aircraft. It is built into. Of course, the antenna of the electronic warfare device must be installed in a place where there are no obstacles that interfere with reception and transmission. Otherwise, it will be a hindrance to knowing the threat and a hindrance to neutralizing the threat. Therefore, in most military aircraft, not limited to the F-35, antennas are attached to the left and right sides of the nose, the ends of the main wings, the ends of the vertical stabilizer, and the tail ends. So what about electronic warfare devices that are installed only when needed as a hanging object? Of course, it is attached to the main wing or the armament pylon on the underside of the fuselage, but it would be a problem if other hanging objects attached to the surroundings interfered with the reception or transmission of radio waves. In addition, when there are multiple radio waves, it is necessary to consider the situation where radio waves interfere with each other. Most of the hanging things are lined up. Then, it is considered that the method of mounting the electronic warfare device as a hanging device is more likely to cause problems of obstacles and radio wave interference than the built-in type. Naturally, assuming that, it is necessary to specify a place that is not obstructed by obstacles and is not interfered by other radio wave transmission sources as the mounting position. Part 3: Interference in the field of view Even with the same electromagnetic waves, visible light may be a problem instead of radio waves. That is a hanging thing called a reconnaissance pod. In short, it’s a reconnaissance camera. If you make this a pod type and hang it on the underside of the fuselage or main wings, the fighter can turn into a reconnaissance aircraft only when necessary. That’s fine, but the camera built into the pod requires some visibility not only downwards, but also to the left and right. Then, it is necessary to determine the mounting position where no obstacles enter within the field of view. Therefore, in many cases, the reconnaissance pod is mounted on the center line on the underside of the fuselage. The center line is less likely to get in the way of other hangings than under the wings. Author Profile Takashi Inoue A technical writer who is developing writing activities centered on the technical field in various transportation and military fields such as railways and aviation. After working at Microsoft Corporation, became independent in the spring of 1999. In addition to developing information and communication technology as a starting point, such as “Fighting Computer (V) 3” (Ushioshobokojinsha), he handles articles in various fields. In addition to Mynavi News, he has also contributed to “Military Research,” “Maru,” “Jwings,” “Aviation Fans,” “Ships of the World,” and “Shinkansen EX.”