Aesthetics in military aircraft.

New and old developments in aviation technology.
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zero-one

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Unread post07 Oct 2019, 08:37

Theres an old saying, "If it looks good, then it flies good".
I was wondering if this mantra actually influenced some engineers decision on the design of the aircraft.

I doubt they would actually sacrifice performance to make something look good, but I was wondering more along the lines of, Engineers shaping and contouring parts of an aircraft purely for aesthetic purposes provided it has no cost to performance.

I.E.
The YF-22 and 23, the X-32 and 35. They had the same exact set of requirements to meet but one of them seems to have taken more time to make their plane "prettier"

Another is the Rafale vs Typhoon, similar performance, in fact I personally think that the only reason the French went solo was purely for political reasons, but performance wise, the Typhoon would fit perfectly within French air force requirements.
However Aesthetically, the Rafale seems to be the prettier airplane. So did French engineers take more time to sit down and say, how can we make the Rafale look prettier.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post07 Oct 2019, 10:36

I do think that Dassault has always designed aesthetically very pleasing aircraft. Didn't Marcel Dassault also sayt "For an aicraft to fly well, it must be beautiful"? I do think that EF Typhoon is a good looking aircraft, but that Dassault Rafale looks even better. It's probably those curves... :wink:

I think every designer aims to design good looking aircraft even if it was not conscious effort to do so. I think even X-32 was quite good looking design, if not for that godawful intake.
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zero-one

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Unread post07 Oct 2019, 13:02

Yeah, I didn't mean to say the Typhoon isn't aesthetically pleasing, but the Rafale just seems to have a little notch over it.
I'm wondering if designers would pursue aesthetics even if it would have a slight negative impact on performance in the distant parts of the envelope.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post07 Oct 2019, 13:54

I think that might sometimes happen as making aircraft is business and it's easier to sell aesthetically pleasing aircraft. If the aircraft fulfills all the requirements, then making it better looking might be good for winning competitions especially when politicians are involved.
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rheonomic

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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 00:16

zero-one wrote:The YF-22 and 23, the X-32 and 35. They had the same exact set of requirements to meet but one of them seems to have taken more time to make their plane "prettier"

There's also generally less time available during the CDA phase, so depending on how things go there may be expediencies taken resulting in less-aesthetic looking aircraft. The giant verticals on the YF-22 were a hedge for directional stability if memory serves. Once a contract is awarded there's time to refine the design more.

In general you'd have a hard time finding a conceptual aircraft designer that didn't want to make a good looking aircraft (excepting maybe the Su-22 team...).
"You could do that, but it would be wrong."
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XanderCrews

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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 03:15

Beauty is subjective, and looks are usually driven by requirements.
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zero-one

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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 08:32

Would anyone here know any parts of a certain aircraft that were designed a certain way partly or maybe even mainly for aesthetic purposes.

One thing that comes to mind is the Rafale's forward fuselage and intake design. Absolutely beautiful. The Typhoon's look simpler and straight forward. Overall their performance seems to be within the same ball park. I honestly think that should Dassult drop the Snecma M-88 and go for a GE-F414 or EJ2000 engines, then the Rafale would have nearly identical performance as the Typhoon in many parts of the envelope.

So its probably one example of something that functions the same way, but one emphasized looks more
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hornetfinn

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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 09:04

No need to change the engine for another different type as Snecma has shown (-ECO demonstrator) that the AB thrust can be increased to 20,000+ lbf and dry thrust to 13,500 lbf. So dry thrust can be increased by over 2,000 lbf and AB thrust by over 3,000 lbf. That's about equal or slightly superior to EJ200 and I'd bet it's also cheaper to just use new version of existing engine.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post17 Oct 2019, 07:17

I think X-32 development to F-32 would've involved some work on the aesthetics of that aircraft. F-32 proposals looked quite different to X-32 prototype and definitely looked a lot better and from some angles pretty sinister. Like this:
Image

One thing that popped my mind is that usually fast fighter jets (Mach 2+) look good as they are sleek and aerodynamic. Jets like F-104, Mirage 2000, SR-71, F-14 and F-15 look pretty good. There are exceptions though like MiG-23, MiG-25 and MiG-31 which have pretty brutal looks. They are not ugly or anything, just aren't really sleek looking.
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element1loop

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Unread post17 Oct 2019, 10:45

... They are not ugly or anything, ...


Come on HF, the first time you saw the X-32 you threw-up in your mouth, it's OK, everyone did it.

At least these had pure brutality on their side.

Image

Image

Not so much this ...

Image
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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element1loop

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Unread post17 Oct 2019, 10:48

XanderCrews wrote:Beauty is subjective, and looks are usually driven by requirements.


36-25-35 looks good
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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zhangmdev

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Unread post17 Oct 2019, 11:09

It is not the Concorde or the Eiffel Tower, but X-32 is in the same vein of Harrier jumpjet and A-6 Intruder, putting the engine in the "wrong" place to make it work. I don't think it is that ugly, just unusual.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post17 Oct 2019, 11:29

element1loop wrote:
... They are not ugly or anything, ...


Come on HF, the first time you saw the X-32 you threw-up in your mouth, it's OK, everyone did it.


I referred to MiG-23/25/31 with that comment. I agree that X-32 was pretty damn hideous but F-32 proposals weren't nearly as bad. It would not have been very good looking aircraft though. In the F-32 sketches the intake and wing are much better than in X-32 but If F-35 is said to be rotund, F-32 would've been much worse.
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boilermaker

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Unread post18 Oct 2019, 03:43

hornetfinn wrote:I think X-32 development to F-32 would've involved some work on the aesthetics of that aircraft. F-32 proposals looked quite different to X-32 prototype and definitely looked a lot better and from some angles pretty sinister. Like this:
Image

One thing that popped my mind is that usually fast fighter jets (Mach 2+) look good as they are sleek and aerodynamic. Jets like F-104, Mirage 2000, SR-71, F-14 and F-15 look pretty good. There are exceptions though like MiG-23, MiG-25 and MiG-31 which have pretty brutal looks. They are not ugly or anything, just aren't really sleek looking.


I kind of like it. F-32 as the Stealth Sabre?

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