How does a fighter craft rebalance itself after it fires its missiles? Each missile could range anywhere from 40kgs up to 750kgs depending on the model. I am curious to know how a fighter craft redistributes or counters this sudden loss in weight to balance itself after firing such heavy payloads.

  • $\begingroup$ Why would it need to do anything special other than what it already does? Jet fighters already have things such as trims, fly by wire, active stabilization, and fuel management between the wing tanks (though I expect these not to react as fast as the missile is fired). I'm trying to think if there are any WW2 bombers or fighters (i.e. non-computerized) that had heavy wing mounted bombs but I none come to mind. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Oct 25, 2023 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ sudden wind changes can produce load changes that are greater than the weight of a missile $\endgroup$
    – jsotola
    Oct 26, 2023 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen apparently the Lanc leapt up quite a bit when releasing the Grand Slam... :) $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Oct 26, 2023 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ If you drop a 750 pound wing-mounted munition at 20,000 feet doing 500 knots, and you have 420 sqft of wing each side, how much does the CoL need to change on that wing? $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Oct 26, 2023 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ omnicalculator.com/physics/… $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Oct 26, 2023 at 23:23

1 Answer 1


Airplanes are designed for the tasks expected from them. Dropping a heavy bomb could create a transient lift, or cause a nose pitch-up. The location of the bracket and the mechanism of the release and training of the crew are more than enough to handle this.

A C-5 Galaxy can carry two Abram A-1 tanks and drop 60000 lbs from its cargo bay.

in routine daily flights, planes have to deal with turbulence and shear winds much more intense than dropping ammunition. I fly small single-engine airplanes and have had my own share of being jerked around in turbulence and hearing the frame of my Cessna 172 squicking and moaning under the stress of the storm while my hands are sweating under the force I put them to exert.

Of course, the fighter planes fly by wire and the controls are mediated by the onboard computers.


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