• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

A-4 Skyhawk bring back the concept for the 21st century

kcran567

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Aug 15, 2009
Messages
667
Reaction score
21
The a-4 was absolutely loved by its pilots. Cheap and versatile (less than 600k ea when first introduced) Heinemann's hot rod was built for simplicity, ruggedness and performance. It was even more agile than the Mig-17s according to pilots. The last F404 powered version for Singapore (A-4SU) was spectacular in its performance.


Any thoughts on a next generation, rugged, simple, and cheap A-4 type aircraft built with the same things in mind that made the A-4 so great?


For the modern day add some stealth features, light weight materials, an f404 type engine, flyby wire, advanced shaping, etc. Have an air to air version, strike version and possibly a STOL version for the Marines. (I know, sounds like the JSF) BUT KEEP COST DOWN and the aircraft small like the A-4 was.


I talked to a person in the Navy who wasn't a big believer in the modern ever increasing complexity and cost in the new systems. He said many wanted more of a "numbers" philosophy that the A-4 represented, badly needed today. He also said many times on the ships the encrypted communications systems would fail or be jammed, and the simple morse code transmitters (80+) years old, would be able to punch thru the jamming for ship to ship and ship to aircraft communications. Just something to be said about simplicity in combat, and the things that work. That was the underlying philosophy of the A-4.


Anyway, back to the A-4. Would like to see some personal sketches of you're idea of a 21st century/modern A-4 would look like. I will add some of my sketches if others are interested, and are A-4 fans.


<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BLMM_jf6Lwc?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

Attachments

  • a4-02.jpg
    a4-02.jpg
    67 KB · Views: 528

cluttonfred

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
142
Website
cluttonfred.info
Here's my suggestion...

1) Have Boeing dust off their X-32 JSF design--not the proposed production model, but the delta-wing design that actually flew which didn't meet the revised maneuverability requirements but carried lots of fuel internally.

2) Strip out anything related to the STOVL variant and create a single CTOL/STOL version suitable for carrier use or, with double wheels/bigger tires, STOL use from short, rough strips.

3) Dial back the avionics to use instead off-the shelf, current-generation equipment from various aircraft in service right now, focused on a primary attack mission with secondary air-to-air capabilty for self-defense.

4) Offer the new Boeing F/A design as a capable, stealthy strike aircraft, an alternative to the F-35 at half the price.

;D
 

Attachments

  • Boeing_X_32A_by_bagera3005.jpg
    Boeing_X_32A_by_bagera3005.jpg
    40.6 KB · Views: 512

2IDSGT

Ah tale yew wut!
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
371
Reaction score
3
Wouldn't be much point to the Boeing JSF without STOVL. Engine is in the front to accommodate direct lift.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,979
Reaction score
5,303
Northrop had some appropriate ideas... e.g. Cooperative Fighter, Missileer, Compact Efficient Fighter.


Co-operative fighter takeoff weight is 17,700lb which is squarely A-4 class. Add a bit more stealth shaping, single afterburning F-414 engine, and Bob's your uncle.
 

Attachments

  • Cooperative Fighter.jpg
    Cooperative Fighter.jpg
    102.2 KB · Views: 517
  • Missileer.jpg
    Missileer.jpg
    48.2 KB · Views: 515
  • CompactEfficientFighter.jpg
    CompactEfficientFighter.jpg
    56.5 KB · Views: 515

cluttonfred

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
142
Website
cluttonfred.info
2IDSGT said:
Wouldn't be much point to the Boeing JSF without STOVL. Engine is in the front to accommodate direct lift

Absolutely right, I stand corrected on the JSF. Why not take it even further since smart weapons are getting smaller and lighter all the time? What we need is a 21st century Folland Gnat! But then I've already started two threads along those lines in the past. ;D In fact both of those and this one could well be merged into one.

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,6123.msg50545.html

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,14706.msg146797.html
 

2IDSGT

Ah tale yew wut!
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
371
Reaction score
3
Mole said:
2IDSGT said:
Wouldn't be much point to the Boeing JSF without STOVL. Engine is in the front to accommodate direct lift
Absolutely right, I stand corrected on the JSF. Why not take it even further since smart weapons are getting smaller and lighter all the time? What we need is a 21st century Folland Gnat!
You need to refine your KPPs a bit more than that. Let's say the CUDA missile and SDB II are ready to go. How many, how far, and how fast?
 

Hobbes

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 9, 2008
Messages
988
Reaction score
455
If you want an aircraft in the same cost bracket as the A-4, you'll have to design it using the same processes as the A-4. I.e. no advanced shaping, but whatever you can throw together in an afternoon with a slide rule. That means you'll get an aircraft in the same performance bracket as the A-4 as well.
Getting better performance means spending the time to create an unstable but flyable design, and adapting a flight control system to your new airframe. Both are time-consuming and expensive.
 

kcran567

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Aug 15, 2009
Messages
667
Reaction score
21
Hobbes said:
If you want an aircraft in the same cost bracket as the A-4, you'll have to design it using the same processes as the A-4. I.e. no advanced shaping, but whatever you can throw together in an afternoon with a slide rule. That means you'll get an aircraft in the same performance bracket as the A-4 as well.
Getting better performance means spending the time to create an unstable but flyable design, and adapting a flight control system to your new airframe. Both are time-consuming and expensive.


Hobbes, i don't agree with that at all. With current supercomputers, modern smaller and more efficient engines, and materials, an A-4, Folland Gnat, F-20 type airplane would be easier to make and design than ever before. The Boeing Bird of prey was a good example of new manufacturing techniques.


The real issue is companies are not wanting a cost effective fighter/strike platform anymore and it is getting impossible to do for economic reasons.


I'm actually a fan of the F-35, its just too ridiculously expensive for many allies to afford. Manned and unmanned versions of an A-4 type future aircraft would be a way to go to get real numbers of aircraft and allies involved.


The economic loss of just ONE F-35 to attrition/combat is unacceptable for any airforce, at over 100 million or more apiece. (not to get off-topic, but the cost issue is relevant as an example for discussion)


the only option is more numbers of an A-4 for the 21st century, I'm convinced of that.
 

Attachments

  • multi-role-fighter.gif
    multi-role-fighter.gif
    112.3 KB · Views: 92

kcran567

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Aug 15, 2009
Messages
667
Reaction score
21
Modern A-4 ?
 

Attachments

  • three-view-skyhawk.jpg
    three-view-skyhawk.jpg
    31.3 KB · Views: 61
  • birdofprey11.jpg
    birdofprey11.jpg
    68.2 KB · Views: 62
  • HM-HA1407_01_lrg.jpg
    HM-HA1407_01_lrg.jpg
    34.5 KB · Views: 50
  • xBoP right front quarter view - 1.jpg
    xBoP right front quarter view - 1.jpg
    206.1 KB · Views: 42
  • xBoP left side view - 7.jpg
    xBoP left side view - 7.jpg
    61 KB · Views: 43

kcran567

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Aug 15, 2009
Messages
667
Reaction score
21
Mole said:
Here's my suggestion...

1) Have Boeing dust off their X-32 JSF design--not the proposed production model, but the delta-wing design that actually flew which didn't meet the revised maneuverability requirements but carried lots of fuel internally.

2) Strip out anything related to the STOVL variant and create a single CTOL/STOL version suitable for carrier use or, with double wheels/bigger tires, STOL use from short, rough strips.

3) Dial back the avionics to use instead off-the shelf, current-generation equipment from various aircraft in service right now, focused on a primary attack mission with secondary air-to-air capabilty for self-defense.

4) Offer the new Boeing F/A design as a capable, stealthy strike aircraft, an alternative to the F-35 at half the price.

;D


Mole, I liked the x-32 for a number of reasons too. The one-piece wing that was CHEAPER, easy to make (I think they molded it together like a Rutan design!) and held tons of fuel, I liked the lifting body shape of it too. It just wasnt popular and the brass thought it was UGLY. I think the STOVL would've worked too--as good as the Harrier--, but not as good as the F-35, even though it is a Billion times cheaper/simpler to build direct lift like the Harrier/ x-32 had.


Now, get it down to the size of the A-4 and I'm interested.
 

Attachments

  • 800px-Boeing_X-32B_Patuxent.jpg
    800px-Boeing_X-32B_Patuxent.jpg
    97 KB · Views: 35

cluttonfred

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
142
Website
cluttonfred.info
kcran567 said:
Hobbes, i don't agree with that at all. With current supercomputers, modern smaller and more efficient engines, and materials, an A-4, Folland Gnat, F-20 type airplane would be easier to make and design than ever before. The Boeing Bird of prey was a good example of new manufacturing techniques.

The real issue is companies are not wanting a cost effective fighter/strike platform anymore and it is getting impossible to do for economic reasons.

I'm actually a fan of the F-35, its just too ridiculously expensive for many allies to afford. Manned and unmanned versions of an A-4 type future aircraft would be a way to go to get real numbers of aircraft and allies involved.

The economic loss of just ONE F-35 to attrition/combat is unacceptable for any airforce, at over 100 million or more apiece. (not to get off-topic, but the cost issue is relevant as an example for discussion)

the only option is more numbers of an A-4 for the 21st century, I'm convinced of that.

+1 on just about everything you said. I don't understand why none of the few big aircraft manufacturers left are doing something like this as a private venture. Something small and simple, engineered to be easy to fly and easy to maintain, taking advantage of modern manufacturing techniques and avionics to be inexpensive to buy and operate. Perhaps what we need is not an A-4 or even a Folland Gnat, but a stealthy modern version of the Cessna A-37 Super Tweet. Twin engines, a respectable load (substantially more than its weight in fuel and ordnance) and rock-solid reliability--even with 1970s technology they needed only two man hours of maintenance for each hour of flight time!

800px-Dragonfly_A-37.jpg


800px-A37B_Peru_2008.jpg


Great article from Air & Space magazine: http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/Legends-of-Vietnam-Super-Tweet.html
 

2IDSGT

Ah tale yew wut!
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
371
Reaction score
3
kcran567 said:
Modern A-4 ?
The Boeing Bird of Prey was a pure test-bed and wouldn't be any more combat capable than the X-1. You can't have a tiny VLO fighter because of the necessity for internal weapons and fuel... period. The principal Mr. Heinemann used for designing the A-4 was "take as much as possible out of the airframe." In order to do so, he actually contributed more than most people realize to the modern concept of external stores. With VLO platforms, the principal is opposite; everything that would normally hang out the outside (largely thanks to Heinemann's innovations) has to go back inside.
 

cluttonfred

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
142
Website
cluttonfred.info
2IDSGT said:
kcran567 said:
Modern A-4 ?
The Boeing Bird of Prey was a pure test-bed and wouldn't be any more combat capable than the X-1. You can't have a tiny VLO fighter because of the necessity for internal weapons and fuel... period. The principal Mr. Heinemann used for designing the A-4 was "take as much as possible out of the airframe." In order to do so, he actually contributed more than most people realize to the modern concept of external stores. With VLO platforms, the principal is opposite; everything that would normally hang out the outside (largely thanks to Heinemann's innovations) has to go back inside.

True enough, but then again the trend toward smaller and lighter smart weapons also means that a modest internal ordnance load can be remarkably effective. Just 500 kg payload gets you:

--one 1,000 lb or two 500 lb bombs, smart or dumb, iron or cluster or napalm;
or
--four GBU-39 small diameter, GPS-guided bombs;
or
--14-19 70mm rockets in their launcher(s) (more or less, depending on warheads) with the option to go for compatible precision-guided rockets;
or
--two AIM-9 Sidewinders and two AIM-120s AMRAAMs;

You get the idea. So a total payload of 1,000 kg or even just 500 kg can still make for very effective light strike aircraft. VTOL or STOVL capability is not necessary for the majority of small air forces around the world, but simple STOL capability and rugged landing gear would allow for flexible, and when necessary, forward basing.
 

2IDSGT

Ah tale yew wut!
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
371
Reaction score
3
Mole said:
True enough, but then again the trend toward smaller and lighter smart weapons also means that a modest internal ordnance load can be remarkably effective. Just 500 kg payload gets you:

--one 1,000 lb or two 500 lb bombs, smart or dumb, iron or cluster or napalm;
or
--four GBU-39 small diameter, GPS-guided bombs;
or
--14-19 70mm rockets in their launcher(s) (more or less, depending on warheads) with the option to go for compatible precision-guided rockets;
or
--two AIM-9 Sidewinders and two AIM-120s AMRAAMs;

You get the idea. So a total payload of 1,000 kg or even just 500 kg can still make for very effective light strike aircraft. VTOL or STOVL capability is not necessary for the majority of small air forces around the world, but simple STOL capability and rugged landing gear would allow for flexible, and when necessary, forward basing.
Those are some very reasonable KPPs (similar to what the Koreans want), but they wouldn't get you anything close to the A-4's simplicity. Perhaps we could limit the internal payload to 4 spaces for SDB IIs and/or CUDA missiles (as I mentioned earlier). How small could we make the thing then? Any engineers want to jump in here?
 

cluttonfred

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
142
Website
cluttonfred.info
The Indians developed the Folland Gnat into the HAL Ajeet which almost exactly fits the specs we have just described though it had very short range. An aircraft of similar size and weight but with all fuel and weapons internal and a modern, efficient turbofan, so optimized for range and perhaps giving up some speed, would be a good place to start.

hal-ajeet.jpg
HAL+Ajeet-12.jpg


Specifications (HAL Ajeet)
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982-83 [6]
General characteristics
Crew: 1
Length: 9.04 m (29 ft 8 in)
Wingspan: 6.73 m (22 ft 1 in)
Height: 2.46 m (8 ft 1 in)
Wing area: 12.69 m² (136.6 ft²)
Aspect ratio: 3.56
Empty weight: 2,307 kg (5,086 lb)
Loaded weight: 3,539 kg (7,803 lb) clean take-off weight
Max. takeoff weight: 4,173 kg (9,200 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × TJE HAL/Bristol Siddeley Orpheus 701-01 turbojet, 20.0 kN (4,500 lbf)
Performance
Maximum speed: 1,152 km/h (622 knots, 716 mph) at sea level
Combat radius: 172 km (93 nmi, 107 mi) low level, with two 250 kg bombs
Service ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,720 m)
Wing loading: lb/ft² (kg/m²)
Climb to 12,000 m (39,375 ft): 6 min 2 s
Armament
Guns: 2× 30 mm ADEN cannons with 90 rounds each
Bombs: Up to 1985 lb (900 kg) of external stores on four underwing hardpoints
 

kcran567

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Aug 15, 2009
Messages
667
Reaction score
21
Wow, the Gnat looks very small. Really like these types of aircraft though. Max ToW 9200 Lbs.


The A-4 empty was around 10,000 Lbs and fully loaded with fuel and weapons at 24,900+ Lbs Max ToW


I don't know if a modern Gnat is do-able at this time, maybe when anti gravity engines are available :)


But an A-4 type with smaller higher thrust engine, light materials, smaller weapons like Mole said seems a great idea!




  • McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
    – single seat, carrier-based light attack bomber
  • First flight – June 22, 1954 (XA4D-1)
  • Total production – almost 3,000 over a 26-year span
  • Powerplant – one Pratt and Whitney J52-408
    - (A-4M version), 11,187 pounds thrust.
  • Wingspan – 27 ft., 6 in. (8.38 m)
  • Wing area – 260 sq. ft. (24.16 m2)
  • Length – 40 ft., 4 in. (12.29 m)
  • Height – 15 ft., 10 in. (4.57 m)
  • Weight – 10,800 lbs. empty
  • Maximum takeoff weight – 24,500 lbs.
  • Speed – 677 mph at sea level
  • Ceiling – 40,600 feet
  • Armament – two MK-12 20 mm cannons
    and up to 10,000 lbs of bombs.
 

Attachments

  • spec_a4.jpg
    spec_a4.jpg
    39.9 KB · Views: 511

Michel Van

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Messages
5,058
Reaction score
1,547
bring the A-4 back
means to bring robust airframe, simple mechanic system and Instruments,
that imply also the flight computers !

oddly, there were US pilot very happy about this uncomplicated A-4 system.
The pilots of US Blue Angels, how switch from F-4 Phantom to A-4 Skyhawk.

nice side effect on future "A-4" would be fast R&D time, especial on complex computer software, simply there no need for it.
 

lastdingo

Blogger http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/
Joined
Oct 18, 2008
Messages
586
Reaction score
29
Website
defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de
The "modern A-4" is really the AMX or the armed versions of various trainers such as the BAe Hawk 200.
Both have the principal problem of an at best adequate engine, though.

The AMX has a quite resilient, relatively modern fuselage (nothing too fancy, but a decade newer than the Hawk).
 

pathology_doc

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,007
Reaction score
293
Mole said:
True enough, but then again the trend toward smaller and lighter smart weapons also means that a modest internal ordnance load can be remarkably effective.


Absolutely. Even if you don't go internal, SDB and its ilk, and the microminiaturisation of guidance systems to the point where even a podded RP can have one, are a HUGE game-changer for COIN/trainer-strike aircraft capability. The US aircraft industry badly needs a military export market of the sort that's not unaffordable to almost all nations and unsellable to all but its closest allies.
 

northerndancer2000

ACCESS: Restricted
Joined
May 23, 2011
Messages
47
Reaction score
3
Wasn't this already done?


The RNZAF did up the Kahu modified A-4. Wonderfully capable aircraft with HOTAS, glass cockpit, 1553B data bus, AN/APG-66 radar, INS, Maverick, and LGB. The wings were reskinned and the wiring replaced. The only things that were missing are OBOGS (A-4AR) and re-engining to the F404 (as done with the A-4SU Super Skyhawk).


It is interesting to note that A-4SU aircraft of 142 Squadron won the annual Singapore AF Hotshot competition in 2005, a month before retirement, against F-16s.
 

lastdingo

Blogger http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/
Joined
Oct 18, 2008
Messages
586
Reaction score
29
Website
defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de
The A-4-like market is covered by armed jet trainers (Hawk series, L-149, MB.339 - even single seaters!).

The concept of a simple, agile and austere ground attack aircraft is not fit for a modern battlefield because such an aircraft would be too vulnerable to modern air defences. The A-4 already struggled badly in face of ZSU-23-4, SA-7 and SA-6 = 1960's threat systems.

The sales for such jet trainer-derived aircraft are few in part because the military niche is limited to bush wars, and even there you would do much better with a small cargo aircraft with plenty civilian peacetime uses plus a gunship kit for wartime use.


Don't grow a crush on sexy concepts based on sexiness; do a tactical-technical analysis and find the niches of practicality (tactical feasibility, fiscal feasibility, superior efficiency compared to alternatives).
 

yasotay

ACCESS: Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
2,645
Reaction score
1,067
Since all of the other exciting threads are too politically charged today ::)
I offer what I think are two excellent canidates for the "New A-4"
 

Attachments

  • FA-50.jpg
    FA-50.jpg
    32.6 KB · Views: 275
  • m346_israeli2_1200.jpg
    m346_israeli2_1200.jpg
    663.7 KB · Views: 277

pathology_doc

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,007
Reaction score
293
kcran567 said:
He also said many times on the ships the encrypted communications systems would fail or be jammed, and the simple morse code transmitters (80+) years old, would be able to punch thru the jamming for ship to ship and ship to aircraft communications.


OT but while we're at it, why not put IR or image-intensifying "glasses" on a long-base coincidence rangefinder and go back to completely passive concepts of naval gun fire-control systems, at least as pertains to surface targets? I'm sure with modern optics and even basic computers to do the number-crunching and send orders to the guns, the results could be impressive.


Getting back to a modern A-4 variant with modern ordnance, someone needs to do an updated version of Chris Chant's "Modern Aircraft Armament" and "Modern Air Weapons", given that those books came out when in-service fighters were still (just) carrying AIM-4 and Firestreak missiles - the shrinkage in size and weight and increase in effectiveness of modern (2014 as opposed to late 80's) air-launched ordnance would be difficult to credit for anyone reading those books as-new, but oddly enough, it may not necessarily translate very well into big increases in the number of weapons carried.
Yes, even a smaller aircraft can now lift a significantly increased number of individual "shots" on a weight basis, but volume and aerodynamic issues start to predominate. These might not be quite as critical for external carriage, where fins etc. can poke out into empty space without bumping into the sides of a weapons bay, but multiple ejector racks are very "draggy" and those same volume issues mean that not all combinations of weapons can always be put on a rack with a given weight capacity. And that's before we even get into weapon release and airframe clearance issues, wiring for the support systems, etc. etc. etc.
 
Last edited:

SSgtC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
680
Reaction score
1,070
For the modern day add some stealth features, light weight materials, an f404 type engine, flyby wire, advanced shaping, etc. Have an air to air version, strike version and possibly a STOL version for the Marines. (I know, sounds like the JSF) BUT KEEP COST DOWN and the aircraft small like the A-4 was.
All of this is really expensive. You don't get cheap and low observable in the same aircraft. And with all the other add ons. Cheap does not lend itself to those qualities.

(Side note: haven't read the thread yet so everything may have already been covered)
 
Last edited:

_Del_

I really should change my personal text... Or not.
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
643
Reaction score
416
You don't get cheap and low observable in the same aircraft.
You won't get broad band VLO cheap, but you can get a relatively low signature compared to conventional designs fairly cheap. Shaping and spot treatment with RAM is enough to get you much lower than the fourth gen birds. I don't at all subscribe to the idea that stealth is useless unless it is VLO and broadband.
 

H_K

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Feb 21, 2010
Messages
209
Reaction score
413
Nice necro post!

I think the main thing that has changed since 2012 is a) the USAF’s T-X program, and b) Textron’s Scorpion (although the latter was more of a CAS/light attack aircraft for permissive environments).

The T-X designs do seem to have some potential, more than the Scorpion IMHO. Essentially the T-7 Red Hawk is a « T-50 equivalent » with very modern aerodynamics. But my favorite candidate would be Northrop’s N400NT... light and super simple with a non-afterburning F404. Takeoff weight clean is 15,400lbs, almost spot on compared to an A-4. I could totally picture adding some wingtip AAMs and a light bomb load.

message-editor%2F1506045156117-screenshot2017-09-21at6.01.35pm.png


img_78-1_24.jpg


View: https://youtube.com/watch?v=hLqfdcS5Z3k


image-bigMobileWide-cb1d9ade-1228381.jpg
 

SSgtC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
680
Reaction score
1,070
You don't get cheap and low observable in the same aircraft.
You won't get broad band VLO cheap, but you can get a relatively low signature compared to conventional designs fairly cheap. Shaping and spot treatment with RAM is enough to get you much lower than the fourth gen birds. I don't at all subscribe to the idea that stealth is useless unless it is VLO and broadband.
Personally, I prefer the Navy's view on LO aircraft. In that they're useful, but not the be all, end all. Especially since a lot of missions will require external ordinance and fuel tanks to be carried, this ruining stealth. But at the same time, designing an aircraft to have good LO characteristics is going to massively increase costs since most stealth designs are unstable as hell.
 

_Del_

I really should change my personal text... Or not.
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
643
Reaction score
416
Personally, I prefer the Navy's view on LO aircraft. In that they're useful, but not the be all, end all
A lot depends on the role, and what you have to compromise to get it. Just like anything else.

RCS is directly related to RRE and detection range. If I reduce my frontal RCS by a factor of 10 over an F-15, I can get 44% closer to a radar before the detection threshold. So if the F-15 is detectable at 50 mi's, I can get with 30 before being detected.

RCS is also a factor of jamming wattage needed to prevent burn through. So I can get just as close using less wattage, or closer with the same wattage. For the case above, I need 10% of the wattage for the same effectiveness. And if the F-15 can get within 30 mi's with a given wattage, then I can get within 10 miles.

Particularly if we're looking at a light strike aircraft, then reducing frontal RCS is going to be a massive help in mission-planning and survival. A stricter bow tie signature would be even better, but just reducing the frontal RCS will help you safely get within standoff weapon range.

So even if you think stealth aircraft will be rendered detectable at great range in the near future, the LO aircraft still has significant operational advantages over conventional aircraft with much higher signatures. I know there are people here who think small RCS reductions are meaningless, but even small reductions give tactical advantages and making mission planning easier.
 

Similar threads

Top