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YK GOH

Hunter tow-target

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Photos show a bracket on the Hunter's belly ahead of the speed-brake.

Believe its to attach the cable that tow a banner target.

Have not been able to find photos of how the banner cable is attached to this bracket as it would have to be electrically released after the live-firing.

Would anyone be able to help?

 

Hunter TT attachment

 

TT bracket

 

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Hunter target towing information is a bit tricky to come by, but this is what I know.

 

When target towing is required, the fairing in your photos is bolted to the engine access door. Just aft of that is bolted the release unit mounting bracket - this is the 'plate' in your photos with two large holes in it. This is literally just a mounting bracket - two electrically-operated release slips are mounted (using adapter plates) onto this bracket (one either side, sandwiching the bracket between them) and the targets are attached and streamed from them via shackles on 800 feet nylon lines with 50 feet safety links. The Hunter is therefore able to carry two separate banners - port and starboard. For air-launching, these banners are carried in target containers which are mounted on the inboard pylons (ground snatch launch is also an option).

 

In the cockpit, a removeable panel is attached to the top of the gyro gunsight. The panel contains two illuminated buttons, one each for the streaming of the port and starboard targets. When pressed, the relevant target is ejected from its container, the towline payed out and the light on the control panel illuminates. Ordinarily the streamed target is jettisoned using the bomb/RP release button on the control column, however a separate standby release button is fitted to the towing panel on the GGS if required.

 

This is a drawing from the AP showing how the release units are mounted. You can see the fairing and the large T-section mounting bracket from your photos in the drawing.

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If it's any use this is a drawing of the bolt positions of the release units. It might help to show the shape of it better than the above.

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This is the control panel mounted on the gunsight,

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I hope that helps.

Mark

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Thanks Mark, for the most informative drawings of the fitment of the release units to the bracket.

I always had the impression that the Hunter tow a single cable, and its laid on the runway with the banner target at the other end before take-off. 

The "twin-tow" configuration you described is new to me and was also mentioned by a pioneer airframe technician who answered the same question I posted in a local veteran chat group I am in.

He says that for tow target duties, the Hunter carried a pair of target containers on the inboard station and a pair of drop-tanks on the outboard. However, he was unable to remember the name or designation of the target containers.

This will be an unusual configuration on the Hunter to model. Now is to hunt down pics of the target container and how the cable is routed from the release unit to the container.

Thanks again for the most useful information.

YK

Singapore

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, YK GOH said:

 However, he was unable to remember the name or designation of the target containers.

 

Officially they are "9A/2286 Container, air launch Mk.4" or "RFD Banner Target Container". It's an oval container with an upper compartment, containing the towline, and a lower compartment containing the banner target itself. An electrical release slip allows a spring to eject the banner when activated. Here's a photo of one fitted to a Hunter F.6,

 

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Edited by StephenMG

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Posted (edited)

Thanks very much Mark, for the photo of the banner target container.

 

Based on your information and those I gathered from my friend, I made an attempt to pictorially depict the launch sequence of the "twin-tow" system for the Hunter.

Without knowing the details of how the cable from the fuselage attachment point to the tow cable (I was told its made of nylon) in the container was connected, I made some assumptions in the simplified picture below.

Look forward to corrections and any other information to enlighten on this interesting configuration.

 

Hunter TT sequence

 

Edited by YK GOH

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Apologies, the nylon cable is about 1000 ft, and as Mark mentioned, 800 ft.

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I think what you've drawn there is just about right. The only additional equipment that is added to the Hunter for the target towing role is the fairing, tow bracket, 2 x release units, cockpit control panel and 2 x air launch containers. The cable routing is therefore as you have indicated as there is nothing else (such as cable guides) involved.

 

A couple of minor corrections if I may,

  1. The total length of the towline is 850 feet - 800 feet of "treated nylon rope" plus a 50 foot "safety link". I believe the safety link is a length of the towline that is designed to break at a particular strain/aircraft speed. This is so that if the jettison system should fail, the aircraft can be accelerated to over 400 knots to break the towline (normal towing speed is a maximum of 250 knots).
  2. The target is a 6 x 30 feet radar responsive banner.

The Pilot's Notes indicate that the port target should be launched first - exactly as you have illustrated.

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That banner release unit looks the same as the Hawk one - which would be logical

 

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Yes, it's a standard device I think - hence the need for the adaptor plates to fit it to the Hunter's bracket. 👍

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