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Detachable Hardpoints/Pylons


MBot
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While many planes fly around with their weapons hardpoints all the time, I have noticed that some planes often have them removed. Falcons and Hornets being good examples, you see them with or without hardpoints.

 

 

Here is a Swiss Hornet with clean wings (during CAP for the World Economic Forum 2005):

 

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And an USN agressor Hornet with the hardpoints on the wing:

 

1646272.jpg

 

 

Now what I always wondered, how big is the performance impact those hardpoints cause (weight and drag). Do they have any significant influence on the aerodynamics of the wing they are attached to? How much work is it to attach/remove them? Is that a job that can be done alongside arming the aircraft with weapons, or would it require additional maintenance time?

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I don't know how they affect aerodynamics, some effect I bet. They aren't very hard to install/remove but it's propably not possible to do during a standard turn around. If you want to put some missiles on them, it requires installing adapters and rails which takes even more time. Still they are pretty simple and can be done rather quickly in field conditions and without special tools by regular Finnish conscripts. :)

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Sorry if I made it sound like installing pylons is easier than loading weapons. It's not. Although not a complex or hard procedure, I doubt you could install extra pylons during a standard turn around time without extra personnel. After pylon installation you are able to put a fuel tank and possibly a bomb on it but if you want missiles, you need to install more adapters and missile rails which takes even more time. Loading the weapons on ready hardpoints is much faster and easier because it has been designed so to get a fast turn around.

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  • 6 months later...

Pylons sometimes come off for air display purposes as there is no need for them, there isn't a lot to them. The ones i have removed are simply: ERU's drop out the bottom of the pylon and then two bolts and a pin hold the pylon to the aircraft along with an electrical plug. If its a wet pylon you need to fit a blank to the fuel pick ups.

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Like many things related to RL aircraft, it depends of the aircraft and the Air Force in questions. For example not all F-16 operator have the same procedures so arming times or pylons installations may vary. As for the F-16 ( as an example) Pylons are fairly easy to installed but as a matter of safety and reliability require ops check prior to use which could take anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes (depending again on many factor) To installed pylons on F-16 it only requires three bolts and several cannon plugs (on US aircraft) I personally seen and aircraft reloaded in less that 30 minutes, but pylons where already there( we just to do combat turn and the aircraft had to be reconfigured in less than 45 minutes).

 

As per drag, not sure the impact it may have, weight is to low to matter, most pylons weight less than a hundred pounds.

 

PS

The only time pylons may affect performance is at high speeds

To whom it may concern,

I am an idiot, unfortunately for the world, I have a internet connection and a fondness for beer....apologies for that.

Thank you for you patience.

 

 

Many people don't want the truth, they want constant reassurance that whatever misconception/fallacies they believe in are true..

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Can't comment on how other air forces do it, or even all aircraft types within the RAF but in the Typhoon world we only fit pylons when they are actually needed (with the exception of stations 1 & 2 which also contain the chaff dispensers, and the fusalage station units which are built into the airframe).

 

Obviously there is a small effect on weight/aerodyamics but mostly it's down to the fact that even pylons need maintenence and have a limited flight life. If they are not required, there is no point having them fitted.

 

When we fit drop tanks for example the plyons are normally fitted to the tanks and then the whole assembly is fitted to the aircraft, rather than fitting the pylons to the jet and then fitting the tanks. Other ordnance is fitted to the pylons once on the aircraft and the explosive cartridges used to jettison the pylons are loaded.

 

Fitting pylons isn't something that can really be done during a normal turnaround, a re-role as we call it is a maintenance task in itself

 

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MBot

Interesting comments. It seems to very much depend on the respective air force how pylons are handled.

Yes, but it also depends on the current mission that aircraft has, the pylons availability and so on. Some location actually play a role on how the aircraft is loaded. Some units or squadrons may have and alert or quick respond requirement together with normal day to day training, so pylons may be kept for quick roll conversions.

 

Eddie has several good points, maintaining equipment, like pylons, does have a role on this as well. If you add external fuel tanks to the mix, it become even more complicated in term of maintenance cycles, inspections and repairs.

 

PS

There is also some pylons that have to be install for the aircraft to fly. For example, has anyone ever seen an F-16 without Wingtip missile launchers flying? How about an A-10 without pylons?


Edited by mvsgas

To whom it may concern,

I am an idiot, unfortunately for the world, I have a internet connection and a fondness for beer....apologies for that.

Thank you for you patience.

 

 

Many people don't want the truth, they want constant reassurance that whatever misconception/fallacies they believe in are true..

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