SOKO G-4 Super Galeb (Super Seagull) Light Attack / Advanced Trainer Aircraft
The dual-role advanced SOKO G-4 trainer survived the Yugoslav war of the 1990s and still maintains a presence in todays military airspace.
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The G-4 Super Galeb (Super Seagull) advanced trainer/light strike aircraft was born out of a Yugoslavian requirement to replace the aging Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star and G-2 Galeb jet-powered trainers then in service. VTI - the Aeronautical Technical Institute of Yugoslavia - undertook the program and design work began sometime in 1973. The prototype - designated as "G-4 PPP" - was produced by 1975 and first flight was achieved on July 17th, 1978. Six pre-production aircraft were next produced and delivered for evaluation, these also coming under the designation of G-4 PPP. Full production under the SOKO/Lola Utva factories banner began in 1982 and the system was officially added to the Yugoslav military ranks in 1983. In all, between 123 and 135 Super Galebs would be delivered (sources vary on the exact count). She remains in active service today and holds a relatively stellar service record with only two lost to accident in her nearly-thirty year career. At one point, the United States evaluated the aircraft during its Joint Primary Aircraft Training System competition, American test pilots giving the G-4 favorable reviews, but the Yugoslavian aircraft eventually lost out to the indigenous Raytheon T-6 Texan II.
The Super Galeb sports a modern appearance. She holds a rather short nose cone with the cockpit situated just aft. The stepped cockpit features seating for two personnel in tandem - a student in the forward seat and an instructor in the rear seat when used in the advanced trainer role. The cockpit canopy is a multi-piece unit with individual systems for each pilot as well as a framed forward component. Ejection seats are afforded to both positions. A raised spine behind the cockpit area disrupts views to the "six" angle. Intakes are mounted along the sides of the fuselage and aspirate the single turbojet engine. Wings are low-mounted assemblies fitted approximately amidships in the design. The wings sport sweep along the leading edge, features cut-off rounded wingtips and have slight sweep along the trailing edge. The empennage is conventional and makes use of a single vertical tail fin with a pair of all-moving horizontal tailplanes mounted at its base, each sporting anhedral. The engine exhausts through a circular ring at the rear of the fuselage and base of the vertical tail fin. Her undercarriage is a traditional tricycle arrangement featuring two main single-wheeled landing gear legs and a single-wheeled nose landing gear leg.
Performance and Dimensions
The G-4 is powered by a single engine buried within the elegant fuselage. The engine itself is of British origin, a license-produced Rolls-Royce Viper Mk 632-46 series turbojet system delivering up to 4,000lbs of thrust. Her top speed is billed at 565 miles per hour while her range is limited to 1,553 miles. The G-4 maintains a service ceiling in the neighborhood of 42,160 feet and sports a rate of climb equal to 6,100 feet per minute. Dimensionally, the G-4 features a wingspan of 32 feet, 5 inches and a running length of 37 feet, 2 inches. Her sitting height is just over 14 feet. The aircraft fields an empty weight of 6,993lbs and boasts a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) near 13,889lbs.