Tuesday, 22 March 2011

How Many Minutes Prime Minister?

He said:

"Today, I can confirm that RAF Typhoon jets have been deployed to a military base in southern Italy within 25 minutes flying time of the Libyan coast,and two Typhoons will be helping to patrol the no-fly zone this afternoon."

Why is this claim so astonishing?

Royal Air Force Typhoons have been seen at Gioia Del Colle in Italy.

It is about 580 miles* from Gioia Del Colle to the Libyan coast.

To fly that distance in 25 minutes,the Typhoon would have to average 1,392 miles per hour.

This is about 1.8 times the speed of sound (Mach 1.8).**

Which is less than the published maximum speed of a Typhoon.

But combat aircraft are rather like motor cars.

Your car might be capable of 150 miles per hour but it will spend most of it's time driving round at less than half that speed.

The faster a combat aircraft flies the more fuel it burns. 

Flying at supersonic speeds burns fuel at an extraordinary rate and consequently it is done sparingly.

Also,when the aircraft is carrying external weapons and fuel tanks,as a Typhoon would usually do in combat,it's maximum speed is reduced by the additional aerodynamic drag.

Consequently,most of the time a combat aircraft would be flying at subsonic speeds.

But the recent 3,000 mile mission to launch missiles against targets in Libya is said to have taken 8 hours.

An average speed of just 375 miles per hour.

As we are sure the Prime Minister would not dream of misleading Parliament,this raises some interesting questions:

Has the Prime Minister divulged that the Typhoon has an extraordinarily high cruising speed?

Has the Prime Minister divulged that the Typhoons are based somewhere other than Gioia Del Colle?

Are the Typhoons flying supersonic transits to Libya from Gioia Del Colle and making up the fuel burn with aerial refuelling?

Has the Prime Minister been incorrectly briefed?

*Distance from Google Earth.

**The speed of sound varies with altitude.

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