MS asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 4 weeks ago

Can a fighter aircraft evade a heat seeking missile in a way explained below?

A fighter aircraft is chased by a heat seeking missile. On the ground, a steam locomotive travels in full power producing dark smoke through its chimney. If the pilot flies ahead of the train few feet over the track, will the incoming missile seek the heat coming out of the chimney and hit the train instead of the aircraft? I am letting my imagination run wild here. 

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  • 4 weeks ago

    That might work in the MOVIES, but certainly not real life, as there are any number of problems with that scenerio........such as a jet Flying that low......with absolutely nothing in it's way.........

    the speeds of the jet, train and missle.......

    the heat variations between a jet engine and a steam engine. ...........and so on.

  • 4 weeks ago

    It wouldn't work out very well if the speed of the train was lower than the stall speed of the plane!

  • 4 weeks ago

    The heat seeking missile goes for heat. The smoke coming out of a steam engine is no where near as hot as the jet engine exhaust. That is why they fire out super hot flares, to get the missile to go for those.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Probably not with the new, modern missiles that have AI in their software. But in olden days, yes that might have done. The Sidewinder, for example [See source.], was easily fouled by an alternative heat source. Flying up and toward the Sun as a heat source, for example, would mess up its guidance and cause the AAM to miss its target.

    Source(s): The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a short-range air-to-air missile which entered service with the US Navy in 1956 and subsequently was adopted by the US Air Force in 1964. Wikipedia
    • oldprof
      Lv 7
      3 weeks agoReport

      And, to add a bit more, when we assembled the Sidewinder guidance system we tested it by having it track a single candle...at some distance. I've forgotten the distance but it was outside when we did that. BUT...as I admit at the outset, "probably not..." for the newer models.

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  • Daniel
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Military aircraft are equipped with countermeasures like flares so that they don't have to worry about having to fly directly over a 19th century train to avoid getting hit.

    I guess that theoretically a locomotive could have enough heat to possibly change the target of the missile, but what horrible pilot would kill an innocent locomotive engineer to save his own *** when he could just eject if he were that desperate?

    Let's not forget that since a locomotive is only going about 50 mph (maybe 88 if it has some of Doc Brown's magic logs firing it up), well below the speed a fighter trying to get a missile off it's tail, so the math of timing this whole endeavor becomes trickier, especially when you consider that the plane was probably flying a few thousand feet up (at least) when that missile was fired at it.

  • 4 weeks ago

    heat seeking missiles are obsolete

  • 4 weeks ago

    If you was to give the missile that's after you another heat source more powerful than yours the missile might just go after it instead.

    • STEVEN F
      Lv 7
      4 weeks agoReport

      Which is why this method doesn't have a prayer.

  • 4 weeks ago

    nope, heat seeking missiles have intelligence

    • oldprof
      Lv 7
      4 weeks agoReport

      The later ones have AI, but not the earlier ones. They're as dumb as a guided missile can get. They'll track in on any heat source hotter than the background heat. I've seen the guidance system track a single lit candle for example.

  • 4 weeks ago

    You sure are. Like heat seeking missiles and coal fired locomotives are about 2 generations apart. But to answer your question. It won't work. The missile is looking for certain signatures of the heat exhaust of a jet engine. Which would be certain energy spectrums and shapes. Like you want the missile to tell the difference between a decoy flare and an engine. And you want the flare to look like an engine. But a locomotive is way off.

  • Its reasonable except there are very few steam engines left

    Steam engine would be a huge thermal target and would attract the missle

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