Vectored thrust is actively directed thrust from a jet engine or rocket motor. There are many ways to actually achieve this, from ducted exhaust to jet vanes or even liquid injection. The most famous example in the Western world is on the AV-8 Harrier jump-jet, which can vector its thrust far enough to achieve VTOL capability, and even fly backwards. The Harrier uses ducted exhaust - rather than a single tailpipe, the Pegasus engine in the Harrier emits thrust through four ducts, two on either side of the airframe. The ducts are vaned, and can be rotated by the pilot to allow the Harrier to perform its magic. Jet exhaust is also routed through several small thruster nozzles around the edges of the airframe (wingtips, etc.) to control the aircraft's attitude while in 'hovering' mode, or at speeds below that where the control surfaces are operational.

Some other vehicles that rely on vectored thrust include the Space Shuttle in its Main Engines, the Orbital Maneuvering System, and on the Solid Rocket Boosters. Some ICBMs and SLBMs do as well. The Su-27 Flanker's vectored thrust system allows pilots to perform the fairly impressive (and risky) maneuver known as Pougachev's Cobra. Russia lost a Flanker at the Paris Air Show while it was attempting this - but the pilot lived, having ejected horizontally at 100 feet altitude. Russia makes damn good ejection seats.

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