Sunday, October 23, 2016

Lavi Armament - Stores and Weapons Stations

I recently received an email question inquiring into the weapons stations and stores arrangement of the Lavi.

The weapons compliment for the Lavi has been described in a number of key sources. The Lavi had a total of fifteen weapons stations, as illustrated in the figure below (adapted from Tsach and Peled, 16th ICAS, p. 836). This included six weapons stations on or under the wings (portrayed in red), seven weapons stations under the fuselage (portrayed in blue), and two weapons stations on each side of the engine inlet (portrayed in green).

Lavi hardpoints for fuel, weapons and sensor integration

How these hard points might be employed in practice is portrayed in the next two diagrams (obtained from Shmul, et al, Int. J. Control, p. 160). The first illustration portrays the Lavi in the "cluster bomb" configuration, with a large number of individual stores loaded. In this configuration includes fuel tanks loaded on the innermost wing hardpoints, cluster-bombs loaded on the outer under-wing hardpoints, and six cluster bombs loaded under the fuselage. A pair of heat-seeking air-to-air missiles would also have been loaded on the missile rails. Noteworthy is the fact that the under-fuselage hard points were staggered, rather situated directly in-line, to accommodate the landing gear and landing gear bay doors.
Lavi in the "cluster bomb" loading configuration.

The subsequent illustration portrays the Lavi in the "HOBO" configuration, which would have aimed at maximizing range. This configuration includes drop tanks installed at the innermost wing hardpoints, iron-bombs loaded on the outer under-wing hardpoints, as well as heat-seeking air-to-air missiles installed on the wing tip missile rails, and navigation and targeting pods installed on the weapons stations located on each side of the engine inlet.
Lavi in the "HOBO" weapons configuration.

A Lavi prototype in flight test with a centerline telemetry pod (IAF photo)
In flight test, the centerline fuselage hardpoint was sometimes utilized to integrate a telemetry package. This was done on the Lavi Technology Demonstrator (the number three prototype), allowing the rear cockpit seat position (which was used to house telemetry in the previous prototypes) to be freed up.

Examples of stores installed on the outer wing weapons station can be seen in wind tunnel footage - as part of a series of tests to assess wing flutter with a variety of stores configurations.

Lavi wing tunnel model from weapons integration test

Thanks again to William Zhou for asking this question.

Shmul, Menachem, Eli Erenthal, and Moshe Attar, “Lavi Flight Control System,” International Journal of Control, No. 1, 1994: 159-182.
Tsach, S., and A. Peled, “Evolution of the Lavi Fighter Aircraft”, in Proceedings of the 16th International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS) (Jerusalem: Aug. 28 - Sept. 2, 1988): 827-841. 

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