Life is often unfair, which is why the fighters went all the laurels of glory, lifted about their film "Top Gun" and "Go to fight some old people", specifically to those nimble and fast cars chained unflagging enthusiasm of the public. Terrible truth lies elsewhere — only the application of the fighters to bombers, they are made only to counter the bombers or, conversely, to cover up their own bombers from enemy fighters.
It is in the very base of the Air Force is the idea bombers — destruction from the air enemy troops and military equipment, command and communication centers Fri, destruction of transport infrastructure and economy of the enemy country. Specifically, this — the main tasks the Air Force, which summarizes the sound as "promoting the success of the ground troops." The rest of fuss in the sky, no bombers would have no meaning.
On the basis of these criteria, the main problem of bombers at all times been, despite angry opposition to the enemy, Fri fly from "A" to point "B" to throw out their own deadly cargo and, naturally, safely return back to the point "A". And the problem this way is not so simple …
The air bombers have only two enemies — and the enemy's air defense fighter aircraft.
Before the invention of anti-aircraft missiles, anti-aircraft gunners special performance has never been. Despite the repeated successes associated with the occurrence of the development of radar and fire control systems, the overall situation was absolutely not in their favor: single victory against hundreds of sorties by enemy aircraft. The theory of probability, not more …
Reason looks completely trivial: even if the gallant gunners will be able to within a meter to find a removal to the target altitude and speed of the enemy aircraft, even if the ballistic computer with the utmost precision calculate preemption point when fired anti-aircraft guns and the calculation of time to bring an instrument to that point — they promazhut 99.99% of cases.
At a time when the barrel anti-aircraft gun flinch from the shot, the pilot of the aircraft deliberately (evasive maneuver) or, on the contrary, under the influence of a random gust of wind will change the course of the plane by a few degrees. After ten seconds, when unguided anti-aircraft missile reaches the target point, bomber, soaring at a rate of at least 400 km / h (× 120 m / s) deviates from it to the side for a good hundred meters.
The only solution to this problem — the introduction of a continuous adjustment of flak during the flight to the target, ie we come to the idea of anti-aircraft missile systems, which half a century back changed the face of aviation.
But the missile weapon appears a bit later, and during the second world gunners had to enjoy the barrage — for example, the Germans there were not shameful to bring down the "Flying Fortress" having shot with all this fifteen hundred 128 mm shells, price exceeded the price that they shot down the aircraft.
In such criteria before aircraft designers first was a question of protecting the bombers from the fragments of anti-aircraft shells. Task was doable, it was enough just to enter into the design of a number of specific technical solutions:
— Book cockpit main components and assemblies;
— duplication of important fundamental systems (wiring, traction control), the introduction of multi-engine scheme, which allows to continue the flight after the failure of the 1 st or even 2-engines;
— avoiding the use of liquid-cooled engines, which differ in the least survival — rather just a hole in the radiator in order to bring the engine down;
— retreading fuel tanks and boost their free volume with nitrogen or exhaust motor.
Subsequently, all in the matter progressed Americans — the famous "Flying Fortress" had 27 built into its design armor plates (total weight of armor — 900 lbs!). Four-monster takeoff weight of 30 tons with as strong and robust design, which allowed to continue flying even with extensive destruction of the power set of the fuselage, wing or languid damage at failure of half of the motors. Duplicating a principal systems samovypuskayuschiesya chassis, self-sealing fuel tanks, in the end, the rational assembly that allows you to save the lives of the crew in a forced landing on the fuselage.
But first bombing raids deep into Germany showed that all the efforts of American engineers were in vain. First alarm bell sounded April 17, 1943, when, while trying to storm an aircraft factory in Bremen, was shot down 16 "Flying Fortresses". The bloody end came on August 17 of the same year — daylight air raid on Schweinfurt and Regensburg ended in total mayhem American bombing armadas. Pulled hard on all sides of the 400 fighters "Luftwaffe" shot down 60 strategic bombers, and half have returned to base 317 "fortress" had significant injuries, including, brought 55 more dead bodies inside the fuselage of their own.
With all of this refers to the Boeing B-17 «Flying Fortress» — impartially far the best bomber of those years with unparalleled security and self-defense measures. How unfortunate it did not sound or large, or massive booking, nor mnogokalibernyh 12 machine guns were not able to save the "Flying Fortress" from malehankih nimble fighters — Luftwaffe pilots broke through the murderous fire of hundreds of trunks and shot "Fortress" in the face. Experienced method was found to be an American car was quite about 2-10-s hits 20 mm shells.
Americans have decided the problem of them with characteristic bluntness — did escort fighter P-51 "Mustang" and the P-47 "Thunderbolt" (more precisely the special equipment for these machines and mounted fuel tanks). Now they were able to accompany bombers throughout the flight until at least some point in Germany. 1000 "fortress" under the cover of 1000 "Mustangs" Germans did not leave any chance of success as a reflection of a massive attack.
Similar actions took place in other belligerent countries. Even if the "Flying Fortress" could not properly stand up for themselves in a dogfight, then there could be no hope that the group of IL-4, Ju-88 or Heinkel-111 will be able to without the help of others to break through to the deepest targets in the enemy's rear. For example, IL-4 could not immediately fend off attackers behind-the-top and behind-the-bottom-fighters (turrets in the rear hemisphere ran one shooter), and all the numerous firing points "Junkers" accounted for only 4 crew members (including pilots)!
Escape was one — to go on a mission with only fighter cover. As a result of all the range bombers second world was not limited to a capacity of fuel tanks and combat radius of fighter escort.
However, there was another way to avoid losses languishing in distant bombing raids — generally not to meet with enemy fighters. According to statistics, during the air Battle of Britain, German bombers had 1 loss of 20 combat missions during daylight hours and 1 loss for 200 combat sorties during the night! Even the appearance of the first non-ideal radar, thermal imagers and systems such as "Incorrect Music"
("Shrege Musik" — placing special weapons on German night fighters at an angle to the horizon) does not change the overall situation — the loss of night bombers remained at the level of 1%. How unfortunate it did not sound, the effectiveness of night bombing expressed the same digit.
The situation is somewhat corrected the emergence of radar bombsight. The unit entitled AN/APS-15 "Mickey" made for the safety of "Flying Fortress" more than all of its 12 guns. Since then, "fortress" could bombard through the clouds, hiding from the fighters and anti-aircraft guns in the thick cloud cover.
The emergence of jet aircraft again changed the rules of the game. By the end of the 40s, when the sky went MiG-15 and F-86 "Sabre" with reliable and high-torque jet engines and swept wings, optimized for highest speed flight — no slow-speed reciprocating bomber could not seriously expect to perform tasks deep behind enemy lines.
The apotheosis of these stories was the "Black Thursday" over the Yalu River, where Russian MiGs shot down by various sources from 10 to 14, "Sverhkrepostey" and 4 jet fighter-bomber F-84. The pogrom was the natural result of the imprudent decisions of South American command that sent to the fundamental task obsolete "Superfortress" under the guise of not the best escort of F-84 "Thunderjet." Naturally, fast MiGs, honed under liquidation languid bombers blew apart the South American armada of 23 mm and 37 mm guns — almost every bounce B-29 were killed or wounded.
At a time when the MiGs were celebrating the triumph in Korea, on the other side of the world unfolded more important and disturbing actions. Since 1954 began periodic violation of the air space of the USSR with the introduction of strategic reconnaissance jet (bomber) RB-47 "Stratodzhet." Previously, offenders — scouts RB-29 or maritime patrol aircraft PB4Y «Prayvetir" pinned their hopes only on the mercy of Russian pilots and a ban on opening fire in peacetime (once in vain — April 8, 1950 PB4Y was shot down over the Baltic Sea in the area of Liepaja, crew died. same fate realized brazen B-29, which was drowned in the Sea of Japan MiGs 13 June 1952 g) — but with the emergence of high-speed "Stratodzhetov" with engines from the "Sabres" the situation has become truly critical.
April 29, 1954 a group of 3 RB-47 made a daring raid on the Novgorod — Smolensk — Kiev. Samples catch offenders were unsuccessful.
The situation repeated 8 May 1954 — in the air space of the USSR invaded again scout RB-47, the interception was raised two regiments of MiG-15. Trouble again — RB-47 took off all of the objects on the Kola Peninsula and just slipped away from his pursuers.
By 1956, Americans have grown bolder so that ventured to conduct the operation, "Home Run" — in the period from March 21 to May 10, 1956 RB-47 jet made a 156 deep inroads into the air space of the Union of Russian in the Kola Peninsula, the Urals and Siberia.
Lawlessness continued in the summer of the same year — from 4 to 9 July single "Stratodzhety" taking off from air bases in West Germany, once a day violated the air space of Poland and, accompanied by a dense swarm of MiGs, invaded the 300-350 km deep into the western regions of the USSR.
The situation was complicated by a sense of uncertainty — distinguish between "harmless» RB-47 reconnaissance equipment and cameras from the rigors of B-47 with 8 tons of nuclear bombs in the internal bomb bay, it was hard enough.
The premise of impunity American RB-47 was very highest speed — 1000 km / h, which is only 100 km / h in less than the maximum speed MiG-15 or MiG-17. And go for the interception, not having significant advantages in speed was worthless — hardly had time to take a fighter bomber in sight, the pilot RB-47 nekordinalno changed course. Miguev had to turn to pawn, losing all the speed and hard to catch up again with a bomber. A pair of failed attempts — and fuel costs to zero, it's time to stop the persecution.
10 fighters can not shoot down a single bomber! — No pilot second world would believe in this fairy tale. Fortunately, the "golden era" bombers completed rapidly — with the rise in service with the Soviet Air Force supersonic MiG-19 and MiG-21 flights violators RB-47 became the most risky undertaking.
July 1, 1960 electronic reconnaissance aircraft ERB-47H was savagely shot down over the Barents Sea. 4 crew members were killed and two others were saved Russian trawler and sent home.
The emergence of missile weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles, delivered by strategic bombers symbol huge issue, and the yield on alert submarines with ballistic missiles quite put an end to this matter. The development of strategic bombers were forever frozen — no coincidence that our days are in the sky, you can create the most ancient flying "artifacts» B-52 and Tu-95. In general, these machines have long since moved away from its own start origin, becoming a platform for launching cruise missiles, or, in the case of the American "Stratospheric fortress", a common and affordable for the carpet bombing of the Third World.
Peacemaker with a nuclear bomb
Speaking about the strategic bomber late 40's — early 50's, we should note a fierce car destruction, as the B-36 "Peacemaker". The makers of this miracle of technology gone the extensive way of trying to the last to defend the right of existence of its own piston machine in the era of jet aircraft.
Fair to say that the B-36 is the birth of a monster with a different size and indescribable quite inadequate appearance — which cost only 6 engines with pusher! In principle, the idea of a "peacemaker" is quite yavna — more speed, more heavier payloads, more range.
All properties are likely to limit! 39 tons of bombs, 16 automatic guns caliber 20 mm, maximum take-off weight — 190 tons (which is 3 times larger than that of the famous B-29!). I wonder why the Pentagon did not find anybody who said, "Guys! Yes, you're crazy. " Awesome car had adopted and brought to 380 the number of copies. In general, the "Peacemaker" was a huge advantage: legkosnaryazhenny, he could climb into the stratosphere to a height of 13-15 km, becoming completely inaccessible to all air defense and fighter at the time.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, the rapid development of av
iation technology in a few years before the Air Force has put the issue of decommissioning of this kopotlivogo Leviathan. The new jet B-47 could do the same tasks with greater efficiency and lowest cost.
Trying to keep my baby, engineers office "Convair" were fooling are for real: in addition to the 6 piston engines, for "peacemaker" hitched four "afterburner" jet engine from the B-47. As a result, a large B-36 cmog short term to accelerate to 700 km / h! (All other times it slowly floated at 350 … 400 km / h).
Realizing that the best defensive weapon bomber — a fighter escort, at the dawn of a B-36 project has worked through the project "pocket pistol" for strategic bombers. The result of the work on this topic was the smallest fighter jet in aviation history — XF-85 "Goblin" is suspended inside the huge B-36 bomb bay, and produced in the event of enemy fighters.
To the credit of the designers McDonnell's office, they were able to make an indescribable — to make a real fighter plane the size of a subcompact car! For the ridiculous appearance of a "flying egg" hiding the truth combat-capable jet fighter, not inferior in speed of the MiG-15 and armed with 4 mnogokalibernymi "browning" with 300 rounds per gun. Autonomous flight duration was calculated from the judgments of 20 minutes and half an hour of air combat flight in cruise mode. On a tiny plane had even sealed enclosure with ejection seat and some sort of chassis, made in the form of a metal "ski".
Despite the promising results of flight tests, the very idea of "parasite fighter" was very complicated, inefficient and unreliable for real air combat. By the way, a similar idea came to Russian designers in the 30's: towing bomber TB-3 immediately 3-16 fighters. The project has not received special development, first because the TB-3 was not under force to drag a "triple" burden — sharply reduced range and speed was reduced below any reasonable limits. As for the B-36 "Peacemaker", these extraordinary machines was successfully sent to landfill in the late 50's. By the way, they are not just used as a high-altitude reconnaissance flights over to China and the Soviet Union — the large size of their position inside the fuselage allow a giant camera with the highest resolution available.
In these days of special significance acquired a tactical strike aircraft — A unique symbiosis of multi-role fighters and bombers, some of which duplicate the functions of attack aircraft and attack helicopters.
F-15E, F-16, F/A-18, «Tornado" — these are the main protagonists of modern local wars.
On the Russian side in the list are the Su-24, Su-25 and Su-34 are promising. You can recall the multi-purpose fighter-bombers Su-30 attack aircraft and old MiG-27, up to now heavily used in the Indian Air Force.
Notwithstanding belonging to different classes, all of these machines are doing the exact same function — "have the greatest assistance to the success of the ground troops," ie, as usual, makes a major puzzle of military aviation.
The main method of increasing the security of modern bombers (and strike aircraft in total) — in any case, not seen by the enemy! On another plane waiting ambulance and unavoidable death. Someone builds a machine technology "stealth", someone tries as low as possible, "cuddle" to the ground, flying below the radar radio horizon. In addition, in modern combat are used extensively opto-electronic jamming station, fire back traps and chaff, still is a live ballistic booking. Some puzzles aviation steel drums passed on drones.
Despite the global stagnation in the creation of new designs strike aircraft at the turn of the twenty-first century, we have at the moment are on the verge of a real breakthrough — may already be first in the next decade, the sky will be hypersonic shock machines and the deadly supersonic drones with artificial intelligence.