Delta Wing

The delta wing is a wing planform in the form of a triangle. It is named for its similarity in shape to the Greek uppercase letter delta (Δ).The first practical uses of delta wing came in the form of so-called "tailless delta", i.e. without the horizontal tailplane. In fact the designs were at the same time also the first flying wings. It could be argued if 1924 Cheranovsky designs, having one-of-a-kind parabolic planform,[5] fit the category of delta wings. Nevertheless, a triangular wing was pioneered especially by Alexander Lippisch in Germany. He was first to fly tailless delta aircraft in 1931,[6][7] followed by four improved designs. None of these was easy in handling at slow speeds, and none saw widespread service.[8][9] During the war Lippisch studied a number of ramjet powered (sometimes coal-fueled) delta-wing interceptor aircraft, one progressing as far as a glider prototype.[10] Another pioneering design was the 1934 delta-wing Sigma 4 Interceptor, designed by Aleksandr Moskalyev in the Soviet Union.

The tail-less delta became a favored design for high-speed use, and was used almost to the exclusion of other designs by Convair and by Dassault Aviation in France. Convair's F-102 was the first fighter with a tailless delta wing in service with any air force anywhere in the world.

Meanwhile, the British also developed aircraft based on the data from Lippisch, notably the Avro Vulcan strategic bomber and the Gloster Javelin fighter. The Javelin incorporated a tailplane in order to rectify some of the perceived weaknesses of the pure delta, to improve low-speed handling and high-speed manoeuvrability and to allow a greater center of gravity range.[11]

The tailed delta configuration was again adopted by the TsAGI (Central Aero and Hydrodynamic Institute, Moscow), to take advantage of both high angle-of-attack flying capability and high speeds. It was used in the MiG-21 (Fishbed) and Sukhoi Su-9/Su-11/15 fighters, built by the tens of thousands in several different communist countries.

More recently, Saab AB used a close-coupled damped canard foreplane[12] in front of the main wing of the Viggen fighter. The close coupling actively modifies the airflow over the wing, most notably during flight at high angles of attack. In contrast to the classic tail-mounted elevators, the canards add to the total lift, enabling the execution of extreme maneuvers, improving low-speed handling and lowering the landing speed.

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