A New Boost

Quicker takeoffs and shorter runways An improvement in takeoff capabilities using rockets, developed in the IAF these days, is expected to allow fighter jets quicker takeoffs and shorter runways

Nadav Berger and Michal Khayut

These days, the IAF is developing rockets that are expected to speed up the takeoff process for F-16 fighters and ultimately shorten runways. The first test will be conducted in 2015, with the new takeoff capabilities expected to become operational in the coming years. This capability will increase IAF operational flexibility.

According to the plans, the rockets will be placed under the wings of the jets, will be operated during takes off and will increase the power that provides the engines with movement, which will allow for faster disconnection from the ground. After takeoff, the rockets will shut off and be thrown off the jet.

The development is based on previous tests around the world that have been conduct on, inter alia, “Hercules” and “Mirage” planes, but it is worth noting that in previous tests the rockets were placed on the body of the plane and not under the wings.

“It’s a very complex engineering development”, comments Captain Fernando Zimmerman, head of the engineering team. “The rockets will significantly affect the aerodynamics of the jet and so the development process will be executed as quickly as possible but also taking safety into account”.