Warplanes: The Painful Sounds Of Progress


March 23, 2009: The most powerful engine in a jet fighter is the 40,000 pound thrust F135, which  makes the F-35 twice as loud as the F-15 and four times as loud as the F-16. While this is a solvable problem for ground crews, it is a more difficult situation for civilians living near airbases these aircraft operate from. This may limit the bases that the F-35 can operate from in peacetime.

The powerful jet engines of the F-18E, F-35 and F-22, are so loud that the noise goes right through the head and damages the delicate tissues that enable us to hear. The air force equips its ground personnel with sound protection equipment, especially electronic noise cancellation devices. But the vibrations still get through. It's going to take a while for evolution to catch up with this one, although acoustic engineers believe they will come up with a solution in the next decade.



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