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Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Combat Radius with Loiter Time for F-35A, F/A0-18A and F-111 From Airpower Australia

A rule of thumb for how the Combat Radius, also known as Radius of Action, is defined is that it is one-third the distance an aircraft can fly in a straight line on a full load of fuel with a combat payload. In military aviation, this assumes a trip out and back, plus one-third of fuel for combat operations.

However, the combat radius for any given mission can vary greatly based on the type of mission and the combat load it requires. For example, the combat radius of a fighter doing a combat air patrol at a distance from its base will be quite different than that of the same plane dong a simple strike mission. Another example would be that of plane that has internal bay executing a mission with only internally carried weapons vs. the same plane with additional externally mounted weapons that is not only heavier, but is experiencing much greater air drag. So, unless the type of mission and combat payload and its configuration is given, the combat radius stat may not be very useful.

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