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back to article Raptor over Blighty: Watch the stealth fighter in infrared

This week the Reg flying car, killer robot and general military crazytech desk has been attending the Farnborough Airshow. One of the show's highlights this year is the reappearance of the US F-22 Raptor ultrafighter, previously seen publicly in the UK for just one brief Monday display at Farnborough '08. This time the Raptor …

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Shucks...The world at large doesnt want war machines!

Some sanity still exists.

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"The price of peace is eternal vigilance"

You enjoy the freedoms you have today because of the awesome sacrifices made by your fellow countrymen before you were born. Likely long before you were born.

Grow up.

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Yeah, 'cos

Under a Nazi German government we would have all of our information recorded on a central database, be under almost constant surveillance, be unable to take photographs in public places and be subjected to invasive searches because we wanted to fly anywhere.

...

Hang on...

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Swoon, an fae-mouse..

Haven't we seen you before, with the "Armchair Generals" and "Animal Fannies" tags, on ifyoulikeitsomuchwhydontyougolivethere?

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@Doug Glass

"ou enjoy the freedoms you have today because of the awesome sacrifices made by your fellow countrymen before you were born. Likely long before you were born."

Old

Militaristic.

Confrontational.

True.

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AC@15:29

You forgot to include the right to make *any* kind of protest and the right to change the government by something as simple as an actual *vote*.

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But we'd miss all those cheesy "war machine backing tracks"

For instance, this one sounds a bit like a remix of an instrumental version of "Two Tribes Go to War" ... Which I suppose it is...

Let's call it "One Tribe Goes to War, but Everyone Still Gets Bombed".

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@Doug Glass

"Grow up."

Really? That's your whole argument for throwing massive amounts of money at technology with zero purpose? That's the reason we should all be happy about the current policy of aggravating people into wanting to blow us up on our trains and buses - because you think that acting rationally and questioning the morons in the Pentagon and Whitehall with their unlimited job-creation schemes is childish and naive?

I don' t know where you come from, but around here it's generally regarded as a childish trait to blindly accept everything handed down by arbitrary authority figures who tell you that they need to be in charge of your life because they know better. Growing up normally involves leaving that sort of simple-mindedness behind and, you know, thinking for yourself. You should try it some time.

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@nazi government

Aren't you forgetting that other chestnut, that without US intervention all of western europe would be learning to speak german now (totally unlike now, when they're of course learning english)?

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truly a jaw dropper..

saw this monster at Fairford this weekend, and you would genuinely fancy its chances if it was dropped into a dogfight with a cylon - it actually drew gasps from the crowd

the eurofighter on the other hand, brough forth much scoffing and a collective "blehh" - how do we get it wrong every single f-ing time???does NOBODY get shot for their mistakes anymore??

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Grenade

Hmm

The F-22 (also saw it at Fairford) is a monster. The article's a bit of a Page classic, though. They're different things for different jobs. It's the ultimate air-superiority fighter; I don't think we'll see the likes of one ever again. The Typhoon is popular with those that use it.

TVC isn't unique to the Raptor though. The MiG-29 OVT in 2006 did a similarly exciting display, and that's basically a MiG-29M with fly-by-wire and TVC engines.

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Re: Does NOBODY get shot for their mistakes anymore?

When did people in the military top brass get shot for their mistakes? I'll agree, mistakes have been made - and on many of those occasions, a good many people have been shot, as a result...

For instance: "All ranks to advance at walk, arms at port, bayonets fixed, and under no circumstances to return fire." A great many people got shot, that time, but I don't recall the ones who made the mistake being amongst them.

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Isn't Typhoon meant to be an air superiority fighter?

In which case it is perfectly reasonable to compare the two planes.

Unless of course BAE have suddenly decided it's an awesome ground attack plane and are busy charging us again to turn Typhoon into a dead dog like the Tornado ground attack variant which was slightly better at killing its crews than Iraqis in Gulf War 1.0

Oh and it looks a bit crap too - compared to the sci-fi swoopiness of the Raptor or even the Russian fighters, it looks all cheap and nasty. Two things Typhoon most certainly isn't.

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And both of them are pretty useless for most conflicts

World has come full circle. We are going back to the days of "Dogs of War". Most conflicts are once again fought by cannon fodder with 20+ year old equipment and mercenaries or "consultants" providing "training and support".

Super-Duper modern kit which costs hundreds of millions is of very little use in such wars and in the few cases where it is really needed you do not need 150 of them.

As the French recently demonstrated in Africa all it takes is one sortie by a modern jet squadron to completely wipe out the airforce of a muppet dictator wannabie who has gone out of league. You do not need 150 jets to do that.

So unless Britain intends to pick a fight with one of the tier 2 nuclear powers there is no need for 250 fifth generation fighter jets (sum of Eurofighter and F35).

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Taking air superiority for granted?

An adversary may well be a hole in the wall whose military hardware is out of date, but some of that equipment may nonetheless include operational fighter jets, like the one that sank the HMS Sheffield.

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Sir

"include operational fighter jets, like the one that sank the HMS Sheffield"

My history may be a bit off here, but didnt we win air superiority in that war with Harrier Jump Jets?

Hardly F-18's were they?

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Actually, How Many Raptors Are There In Afghanistan ?

The F-22 does not have hardpoints (as they would diminish Stealthiness) and that is exactly what you need in the land of Crack: Lots of ammo hanging on a long-enudurance plane with a proper targeting system.

The most economic solution would probably be an sensors-beefed-up Mig23 (IAI could help with that), as the opposition has zero technology to attack a fast-moving plane. Or maybe an A320 with sensors and a bomb bay ?

Anyway, the Eurofighter is definitely better suited to help in Afghanistan than the F-22.

Also, if you would like to see how the Merkin Miltiary Industry is doing Delays and Cost Overruns, read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_C-17_Globemaster_III#Design_phase

"In April 1994, the C-17 program was still experiencing cost overruns, and did not meet weight, fuel burn, payload and range specifications. It also failed several key criteria and tests that had been conducted to evaluate its air-worthiness.[22][23][24] Airflow issues caused problems with parachutes and there were other technical problems with mission software, landing gear, etc.[25] In May 1994 a proposal to cut the aircraft's production numbers to as low as 32 planes emerged, but was rescinded.[26] A July 1994 GAO document revealed that to justify investing in the C-17 rather than in the C-5, Air Force and DoD studies from 1986 and 1991 had claimed that the C-17 could use 6,400 more runways outside the US than the C-5; it was later discovered that this study had only considered the runway dimensions, but not their strength or Load Classification Numbers (LCN)"

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Clearly more stealthy than you realize

> (F-22) previously seen publicly in the UK for just one brief Monday display at Farnborough '08

Not quite ... it was at the RIAT at Fairford last weekend. And while the F-22 may have stealth features there was nothing stealthy about the commentary during the display on its capabilities given by someone from the USAF with volume and enthusiasm turned up way past 11 (sounded like he was auditioning for the ring announcers job at the next Boxing Heavyweight Worldchamps bout!)

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Loud septic

Too right. I saw it fly in rehearsal on the Friday, and the only time that day when we could hear anything more than tinny music from the PA was when that git commentator was creaming himself.

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Didn't Concorde also use the get-rid-of-heat-in-fuel system?

I'm pretty sure I read that it did, as part of the mechanisms for disposing of all that Mach2 friction heat.

NOTE TO THE YOUNG: Concorde was the world's fastest passenger aeroplane built back when we were still able to be the best in the world at something. It was stopped when some soulless penpushers realised that travelling slower was more profitable. (bitter, me?)

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And also stopped

because the Yanks made it difficult to fly over their land- and this being a plane most suited for transatlantic flights that was a bit of a problem.

This may have been because of some safety concern, or it may have been because they never managed to build a supersonic passenger plane.

'course, this is a Lewis Page article. So the lack of an American one proves their technical superiority and the value for money of their tech or something.

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Bitter much?

The Concorde was fantastically expensive to build, maintain, and operate which necessitated high ticket prices. The rich were the only ones to ever really use it.

Plus you may recall that one of them exploded in Paris several years back. Quite dramatic. Made the news and everything.

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Slight correction...

Expensive to build, yes, but it was actually making an operating profit for most of its operational life (with BA at least).

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AC@13:23

Just to stoke your annoyance a little higher..

Most of the public protests were over *noise*. A mixture of takeoff noise (only civilian aircraft fitted with afterburner) and the probable "Boom carpet" laid down over various parts of the US.

It was an early successful NIMBY *green* protest. NB it was comparable to the the noise levels of the turbojet airliners flying at the time of its *design*, but not the levels of the turbofans in service when it started flying into New York. A fact *any* new supersonic aircraft would have to address. It's *extremely* doubtful that supersonic turbofans are a reasonable option for supersonic cruise. BTW the 17th Concorde would have designed out the afterburner and given enough fuel to go to New York from Germany, upping the range of potential customers.

The Americans design competition (between Lockheed and Boeing as they then were) was won by Boeing with a variable geometry wing design (Would have been the first civilian swing wing. The subtlety of Concorde's wing design to eliminate *neding* this is *rarely* commented on). Both teams went with Titanium to get M3 but only Lockheed had actually *built* an aircraft (the SR71) with it before.

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American SST

It's also worth pointing out the US spent as much on their SST as we did on Concorde. We got the most gob-smackingly gorgeous, stunning piece of technology since someone thought of knocking the edge off a piece of flint; They got a plywood model and a huge chip on their shoulder.

It must have been even more embarrassing when they realized the Soviet Union had also got a working SST and they didn't.

Does anyone think over-land supersonic flight would have been banned if the US had an SST of their own?

And I'm not sure how many passengers would have wanted to get on an all titanium Mach 3 jet - the Blackbird's tanks only seal when the airframe gets hot.

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Happy

@Mike richards

"They got a plywood model and a huge chip on their shoulder."

But it was a *really* nice plywood model.

"It must have been even more embarrassing when they realized the Soviet Union had also got a working SST and they didn't."

They went the traditional Russian way of getting the KGB to steal the design. Sadly even *they* did not get the full trickiness of the wing shape, hence the canards. Lockheed did and used chines on their SST design but I suspect they could not really explain *why* as it would have meant a *lot* of questions on the detail design of the SR71.

"Does anyone think over-land supersonic flight would have been banned if the US had an SST of their own?"

Probably not. Amaziningly enough their has been *some* work done (in the context of bullet design) on shapes which don't create a sonic boom (strictly its a double bang due to leading and trailing edge effects). *If* it works that would change *everything* but fuel economy is *critical*. The pre 1973 oil price was $3 a barrel. No that is *not* a typo.

"And I'm not sure how many passengers would have wanted to get on an all titanium Mach 3 jet - the Blackbird's tanks only seal when the airframe gets hot."

Not sure how to say this but the last book B Beaumont (Concorde test pilot) wrote before he died has some pictures of the area under the wings and fuselage. That pool of liquid is not the overflow from the in flight lavatory.

Note the speed difference between M2.3 and M3+ is *very* important. M2.3 is roughly the upper limit for high temperature use aluminium alloys (the specific one used in Concord was developed for piston heads on Rolls Royce internal combustion aero engines in the late 1930's, so it had substantial pedigree). I suspect that Concorde being an open programme in a way the SR71 was not they had staff they could devote to the tank sealing problem.

In contrast Kelly Johnson (head of Lockheed Special Projects who designed and built the SR71) was a pragmatist who went with a more stable fuel instead to get it flying sooner rather than later.

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Most unusual

You can change "The Concorde" to "Princess Diana" without affecting the accuracy of AC's post by much at all.

Did anyone else notice that?

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@Tim #3

You sick puppy. Funny, but sick.

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Paris Hilton

Genuinely giggled out loud at that...

...then felt a bit bad about it. Poor princess of hearts...

Naughty Tim. Naughty, funny Tim.

Paris... You know why...

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Correction

Kelly Johnson's primary skill was taking credit for other people's work. He was a manager. The only real engineering he did was some wind-tunnel work on the Hudson prior to WWII. He never actually designed a single plane for Lockheed. Thanks to his endless self-promotion, no one remembers, for example that B.T. Salmon actually designed the P-38. Similarly, the real designers of the F-104, SR-71, etc are all forgotten now.

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And to continue

Although you'd be surprised at the no. of incidents of tyres bursting and puncturing Concorde fuel tanks (http://aviation-safety.net/database/type/type.php?type=081), the no. of other airliners that have expired in a spectacular fashion over the decades is far higher and almost all of the types involved either still fly or did until retired due to old age.

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Grenade

additional to the above

or for that matter, that P.T. Barnum designed the Liberator

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Coat

Actually...

...on the Raptor's first pass it was flanked by 2 stealth fighters.

What?? You didn't see them??

Mine's the one with Jane's Aeronautic Joke Book (unread) in the pocket...

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Coat

No contest

I know which 'plane I'd rather be flying.

That's MK356, I think,

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Count me out.

I don't think I'd want to be flying either. Pretty sure it'd be terminally exciting...

Mine's the flightsuit with "Ditch" on the pocket, thanks...

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Raptor

"That's in the same price range as a Raptor (just 185 Raptors are to be made, which has pushed their unit price up)."

Well, the Raptor may not be made anymore. The latest 2010 funding has no space for them, and there is a law banning export of this craft (not so with the F-35 IIRC). They're great air superiority fighters, and are meant for that. Their primary armament is AMRAAM missiles, which are Air-to-Air (not Air-to-Ground).

"The F-22 does not have hardpoints"

WRONG. The F-22 and F-35 both have external hardpoints (F-22 has 4, 2 each wing, and the F-35 has 6, 3 each wing). However you are correct about diminishing stealthiness. As it breaks angles (and missiles have all kinds of right angles) it makes it have a much larger radar signature. Without external stores, the F-22 is described as having a "radar signature of a steel marble".

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Russian Radar Control Tower

<russian sigint operator>Sir, we have a track!

<russian sigint leader>vhat is it!

<russian sigint operator>it appears to be an airborne steel marble!

<russian sigint leader>have you not read the latest El Reg Article by zat US loving writer Lewis Carrol? It's obviously an F22!

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Heart

Pooh to the F22

Why does Lewis always do down UK war tech, but not have a problem with US tech? Yes the raptor is at the top of the tree, but it should be at the cost of it. Its about 3 eurofighters worth, and just as prone to the same stray bit of metal on the runway. When in combat, speed wins. Why then use the main thrust to change course? It might dodge the missile once, but you'll be a sitting target when the next one arrives cos you've just used your own thrust to kill your momentum. The eurofighter can make the same turn and come out running. The eurofighter is having problems adjusting to be a ground attack craft, but theres no hope of that with the F22. So give the eurofighter a break; its still the best currently out there after the F22.

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Missing the point...

Read what is written and engage your brain rather than your patriotism to analyse it.

In summary Mr Page says:

(i) the F-22 is an amazingly impressive if pointless and extortionately expensive bit of kit that even the Pentagon has decided it cannot afford;

(ii) the Eurofighter is, in comparison, an unimpressive if pointless and extortionately expensive bit of kit that most of Europe is now deciding it cannot afford.

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Oh well, look on the bright side

In thirty years time, there'll be collection plates, out, to keep the last surviving examples of them, both, flying... After all, they were both iconic planes, in the unfolding events, of wars that never happened - so hang the expense.

Who needs Catholicism, when you have obsolete military hardware?

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Well, if they wont play...

http://eucitizens.eu/Forum/index.php?topic=166.0 suggests the Typhoon, always dissed here on El Reg, can meet the F22, although the yanks don't like discussing that. There's also the suggestion that the yanks are displaying the F22 around the world for all they're worth to try to offload the things as they try to rein in their uncontrolled military spending.

AC because I hear helicopters dispensing Pagean vengeance ;-)

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Black Helicopters

slight correction

"The F-22 does not have hardpoints" - it does, its just that they're currently configured for AIM120 AMRAAM missiles or fuel only. Should be easy enough to change in future though.

http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/planes/q0105.shtml

That said, what idiot would deploy the worlds greatest air combat fighter to chuck bombs at AK-wielding taliban? Far better to use current kit, and much more economical.

The F22 is an awesome plane and I love it, but come on.... the F15 has a 104-0 air to air kill combat ratio, not even USAF pilots are THAT valuable to justify the expense of the F22!

I'd love to see a proper air-air combat simulation between the Typhoon and the F22, settle the issue once and for all.

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Black Helicopters

Probably already done and you can guess the result

Training exercises have certainly already been done by the US to plan against the UK's, Europe's and Saudi Arabia's Eurofighter contingencies and any future tranches (i.e. the kind that might be deployed if war with the US were to come about and an advantage was needed to counter the F35). The reason I think we don't know the (likely confidential) results is probably down to the fact that it's too close to call or embarrassing (i.e. you don't want other countries to know that their jets can best your latest and greatest), otherwise we'd have "league" tables showing kill ratios like they do for (e.g.) US vs Russian vs old jets.

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Quote Correctly

"If stealth is not required, additional missiles can also be carried externally on underwing pylons. The F-22 can be equipped with four external pylons, two beneath each wing. These extra hardpoints are intended primarily for ferry missions, but each can be configured to carry two AIM-120 or AIM-9 missiles on a LAU-128/A launcher. This extra carriage capacity provides room for an additional eight air-to-air missiles, allowing a maximum of 16 between the internal and external loadouts."

Note the "These extra hardpoints are intended primarily for ferry missions".

What this means is that these hardpoints can be installed, but this takes time and is probably one of the exotic features everybody hates because it has never been properly developed. Like the C-17 landing on a grass field. Theoretically possible, practically to be avoided at great cost.

All the stealthiness goes away if you mount (unstealthy) big missiles and bombs externally. If the whole system (plane and weapons) had been designed for stealthy external-carriage, they might have reached the objective off high load and stealthiness.

They never tried and now it is way too late to do that. So the F-22 is definitely just a air-dominance weapon and only a minor ground-attack plane, if stealthiness is required.

Definitely what Lewis needs when he is stuck in the mud Trying To Enlighten People At Gunpoint.

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Eh?

Yes because the late and over budget F22 was definitely value for money for the US Government. So much so that Robert Gates canned it the minute he got into the Pentagon.

Meanwhile the Typhoon stands a good chance of being exported to India and Japan because the US Government isn't going to export the F22 under any circumstances. Most of the world would call that an "export success" while El Reg and Lewis Page would call it a "costly fiasco."

Hardly the "off the shelf American" tech you keep prattling on about.

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Hmmm

I wonder how long this American high mindedness will last if the Saudis decide to buy Typhoons; especially when Tel Aviv gets on the phone to say their F15s are getting mighty old...

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Headmaster

Yep, Concorde

was designed to scrub heat into the fuel, reaching about 80 deg centigrade, so I was told by an old boy engineer in a pub in the West Country.

Also, a pilot once stowed his hat in a gap between two bulkheads in the cabin... the gap was designed to allow for thermal expansion. Upon landing, it was a very flat hat!

Flatter than the mortar board sported by the Ped. Grammer Nazi in this icon!

: D

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Boffin

They are still there!

From what I understand Hats were put in the panels on the last flights they are still there!

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Boffin

@Dave 126

"was designed to scrub heat into the fuel, reaching about 80 deg centigrade, so I was told by an old boy engineer in a pub in the West Country.

Also, a pilot once stowed his hat in a gap between two bulkheads in the cabin... the gap was designed to allow for thermal expansion. Upon landing, it was a very flat hat!"

The parallels with the SR71 are quite striking. both used fuel cooling, both had substantial thermal growth at operating speed and both have *very* complex inlet and exhaust systems. Apparently it also *leaks* like the SR71 until it gets to operating temperature. AFAIK concorde does not use the fuel to move the hydraulic actuators and runs on standard civilian jet aircraft fuel grades rather than the specialist JP7 grade.

Could we do better now? Duplicating the payload with better fuel economy (no afterburner) almost certainly. But it was *never* commercially viable if you factored in the true purchase costs. "Concorde II" "would *have* to be at least 300 seats (which is a real problem, the wing rides *inside* the "Mach cone," which depends on maximum speed, either it becomes a *lot* longer or the wing has go partly supersonic).

As for raising the money for the development programme......

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That is correct....

...but those hats belonged to the Flight Engineers, without whom a Concorde flight would have been impossible as it was their job to manage the engines, monitor the inlets (which at Mach 2 provide ten times the thrust of the engines) and move the fuel around to keep the C of G in the right place.

The panel gap that opens up is at the rear of the FE's panel in the cockpit.

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