Warplanes: March 23, 2002


Tests by NASA have shown that an F-18 flying in the wingtip vortex of another F-18 saved about 600 pounds of fuel during a 96-minute flight. This indicates that if packages of strike aircraft going from their bases or carriers to the target flew in a V-formation, all but the lead aircraft would gain about 100 miles of free extra range. (The lead aircraft could be given more fuel instead of bombs, or the lead could rotate, or the lead aircraft might refuel more often.)--Stephen V Cole


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