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Atlas FCA-1 Carver fighter project

hs1216

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Hello
I’m looking for information, dimensions, and pics on 1980’s South African light weight fighter project called the ATLAS CAVA. From what I could find, the ATLAS CAVA was designed to replace the Mirage F1, used Atar 9K-50 engines (conflicting whether 1 or 2, or both a single and twin engine versions were planned), Israeli based avionics and weapons, and might have looked like a scaled down Mirage 4000. Other then that, things were pretty sketchy.
 

TinWing

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hs1216 said:
Hello
I’m looking for information, dimensions, and pics on 1980’s South African light weight fighter project called the ATLAS CAVA. From what I could find, the ATLAS CAVA was designed to replace the Mirage F1, used Atar 9K-50 engines (conflicting whether 1 or 2, or both a single and twin engine versions were planned), Israeli based avionics and weapons, and might have looked like a scaled down Mirage 4000. Other then that, things were pretty sketchy.

It would appear that the post-Apartheid "truth and reconciliation process" didn't extend to Project Carver/Cava. I have read forum posts from an individual who claims to have seen a windtunnel model, and to have spoken to engineer(s) associated with the project. There is even a small desktop model that has appeared on a South African modeling website, depicting the Cava/Carver as a single engine type with a mid-mounted, Mirage 2000 style wing and low mounted intakes. Then there was the drawing, published in the UK, that depicts a twin engine type that resembles a stable canard delta with large, F-15 style side intakes.

In any case, official secrecy still apparently prevails when it comes to Project Carver/Cava. I can't judge the authenticity of any source, but I would surmise that the program in question might remain sensitive because of foreign involvement. Perhaps there was a real and entirely serious program, or perhaps it was only a bargaining chip. In any case, the corruption and duplicity displayed by arms supplier during the Apartheid era was astounding. It would seem that sanctions only serve to bolster the profit margins of unscrupulous companies - and individuals.
 

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JAZZ

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Rendering of twin engine drawing I did some time ago.
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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From SAAF forum, http://www.saairforce.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?t=157&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=carver&start=0

It was called "Carver" and not CAVA (natural for a purely vocal source to be misinterpreted by the flight international reporter and quite a source of amusement at the time). The picture from Deans archive is not accurate)

It started as a single engine, and when General van Loggerenberg took over from General Earp (I think it was) he decided he wanted a twin and things started over again from scratch. SAAF indecision and bad managament ensured its chances of getting anywhere were minimal.

le, there were no special engines intended. The standard Atar 9K50 was the intended engine, purely because it was all that was available.

Yes, the wind tunnel model still exists and looks approximately the way it is described. The project did, however, go through both single-engine and twin-engine configurations.

Yes, I have seen it many times. I think, however, permission would be needed from Armscor to say more about it or to publish pictures. At one point we had a discussion about writing an article for one of the local aviation magazines on the history of the project, but it would be difficult since there are parts of the project that (I think) are still sensitive and you would need to have the article vetted by Armscor before publication. It is not impossible, and we may still do it sometime in the future.

Now this fellow's model is pretty accurate in its essential features to the single engined iteration.
http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/attachment.php?s=4135486ec65c75c14cb6b02c7d5e7f1f&attachmentid=21711

(and then when a new chief of the air-force (van Loggerenberg) came in, he changed the requirement it to a twin. basically restarting it from scratch setting it back 2 years, doubling the cost and effectively condeming it to be cancelled). Eventually the project got downgraded to a Cheetah upgrade which had 2 parts, a wing modification and an engine replacement (russian engine). Both of which got to prototype stage and were successfully flight tested, (on separate airframes) but went no further. By the time these projects were successfulyl demonstrated the war was over, the ANC was in power and sanctions were over so the need to actually introduce any of those modifications into service was long over.

And basically that is the whole story in a nutshell.

No, a LERX does not necessarily imply FBW. However FBW was intended for Carver, and incidentally, I have just reestablished contact with one of the FBW people I used to work with, who is now in Italy. (everybody knows everybody else in this incestuous business Wink ) FBW is not as complecated as many make out. The real difficult part is getting the basic aerodynamics to give sufficient control effectiveness in all flight regimes. The electronics part is comparitively easy, so much so that too many aircraft companies rely on the control system rather than sorting out the raw aerodynamic problems.

Some similarity with the Mirage 2000 is not entirely coincidental since the chief engineer on the project did have a lot to do with the M 2000.

Yep, the wingtip missile concept study was a crank delta. This was necessary to get sufficient wintip chord to mount a launcher rail. However there were too many complications with that concept to pursue that option, and the basic fixed camber option with a 200 mm chord length extention proved effective, yet simple and relatively cheap and no structural or control issues.

There were a couple if interesting variations we tested using the "vortex flap" concept that the americans tested on the F-106. These were not as good as the original basic design that our camber design method produced.

Similarly the real problem for Carver (and the real reason that it was doomed from the start) would be that it would end up being not much better than a Mirage F1 or a Mirage 50 (or Cheetah C), mainly because it would have had the same engine; therefore the same basic weights and similar performance. You could squeeze a few minor gains here and there with efficient structures and a few aerodynamic tweaks but it would be no better than an upgraded Cheetah and be far more expensive. That then was the reason why the ACW and engine upgrades programs followed on after Carver was killed. Much cheaper and a better result.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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The upshot is, the Janes image is bogus, the CGI ones close to the first single engine project, which was superceded by a twin engine project.

There is a suggestion of a future article, and a wind tunnel model exists of the single engine project. Only a display model exists of the twin.
 

Kim Margosein

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http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/portland/971/Reviews/raaf/ca-31.htm

This site has some photos of a 1/72 model of the CA-31. The resemblence to the single-engine Carver is apparent.

Kim M
 

frank

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I guess considering the timeframe, its design could be considered a two seat, Atar powered Mirage 4000, rather than a twin engined Mirage type. Maybe an updated fighter version of a Mirage IV.
 

frank

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You did the drawing for Flight Int or you just 'colorized' theirs?


JAZZ said:
Rendering of twin engine drawing I did some time ago.
 

JAZZ

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I rendered the black-white drawing you see in the first post. A bit of work to clean it up, but it only takes me 1hr to do a simple render...so Im working through drawings that I would like to see rendered. I usually don't bore the forum with renders where they have already been posted as drawings, but in this case the black and white drawing was not very good.

I don't remember Flight International publishing that drawing, I think the orginal souce may be JDW
 

JFC Fuller

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I have always thought that the CAVA looked very similar to the Yugoslavian Novi and the Indian LCA.
 

frank

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Cool! I noticed the colorized version was better detailed & that's the main one I'm going to use for a kitbash ref. My ref to FI was based on the Sunday Times' crediting it to FI. Thanks for clarifying.


JAZZ said:
I rendered the black-white drawing you see in the first post. A bit of work to clean it up, but it only takes me 1hr to do a simple render...so Im working through drawings that I would like to see rendered. I usually don't bore the forum with renders where they have already been posted as drawings, but in this case the black and white drawing was not very good.

I don't remember Flight International publishing that drawing, I think the orginal souce may be JDW
 

frank

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Do you know if "Carver" has a particular SA meaning, or would it merely be "one who carves"? As in "carved up that enemy MiG"?


overscan said:
Just to be clear, its "Carver". "Cava" came from misunderstanding a spoken source.
 

Deino

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"Wilhelm" just posted three new side profiles of the single-engined twin-sticker, the single-engines single-seater and the final twin-engined two-seater at the Key-forum ... this profile seems to be from a book called "Those who had the Power" written by Pierre Victor and Nick Badenhorst and reportedly published without the blessing of ARMSCOR and Denel at the AAD06 in Ysterplaat....

http://www.saairforce.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?t=157&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=60

Deino
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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Resized, better/worse?
 

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flateric

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Damn, I'd like to buy one copy of that book...any suggestions how to?
 

compton_effect

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Buy a flux-capacitor on ebay and build a time-machine. Then pick one up at the 2006 AAD exhibition stand. Mind getting one for me as well?
The books are about as difficult to get as a South African nuclear device.
The last time I spoke to Victor Logistics they were still trying to source new copies from the printer.
 

TinWing

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Is it just me, or does the convergent-divergent exhaust remind me more the SMR-95 than the Atar 9K-50?

Wasn't the SMR-95 a far later program? Am I wrong?

In any case, the Mirage G8 had a 9K-50 with a convergent-divergent exhaust, but it did look a bit shorter and altogether different than those in the profile drawings, if memory serves correctly.
 

Deino

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here's another profile posted by "Wilhelm" at the Key-forum with some weapons said to be under development at that time !

Deino
 

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flateric

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compton_effect said:
Buy a flux-capacitor on ebay and build a time-machine.

Damn, these are pretty pricely last several months! If they didn't publish second stack due to the censorship issues? As I understand, original writings were 2/3 thicker before sensors came?
 

compton_effect

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As I understand, original writings were 2/3 thicker before sensors came?
Yep. I've heard the same thing. The Ministry of Defense is very protective of their secrets.
If half the stories I've heard from mates that served in the Military are true...
Next year will be interesting - most confidentiality agreements will start expiring and a lot of engineers that worked on Armscor projects will be able to talk about their work.

By the way - does anyone have any information about the Advanced Combat Wing project? Somewhere in a box at home I have a old aviation magazine - "Airpower, AviationWeek?".
I'd bought it for a article about the Rooivalk in the early 90's. One of the other articles was about South Africa's aviation industry and they had a photo of this project at a Air Show stand. It was a model of a Cheetah with a new wing that had tip-mounted missile rails. I'll try and find it in and post it to the forum.
 

kaiserbill

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TinWing said:
Is it just me, or does the convergent-divergent exhaust remind me more the SMR-95 than the Atar 9K-50?

Wasn't the SMR-95 a far later program? Am I wrong?

In any case, the Mirage G8 had a 9K-50 with a convergent-divergent exhaust, but it did look a bit shorter and altogether different than those in the profile drawings, if memory serves correctly.

Hi everybody, this is my first post here. I'm Wilhelm from over at Keyforums.

I spoke to my friend who has that book mentioned above and from whence I got the side profiles. The author apparentely incorporated the SMR-95 into his drawing as this engine was designed to be used in the Super Cheetah and Super Mirage F1. The SMR-95 project started in 1990 or 1991, well before the end of apartheid and the end of the arms embargo. First flight in a Mirage F1 occurred in 1994, so perhaps by this stage the programme was already on the backburner.

Certainly, the engine mooted for the Carver according to everything I know, was to be a modified Atar 9K50. Over on

http://saairforce.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?t=157

there is a discussion of a project called Atar Plus. This incorporated single crystal casting, new compressor, new turbine, and new electronics. Perhaps that would have incorporated a convergent-divergent exhaust nozzle. So I suspect that the modernised, more powerful Atar Plus was to be the Carver engine, with perhaps the SMR-95 entering in as a candidate towrds the end of the projects life.
 

kaiserbill

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compton_effect said:
As I understand, original writings were 2/3 thicker before sensors came?
Yep. I've heard the same thing. The Ministry of Defense is very protective of their secrets.
If half the stories I've heard from mates that served in the Military are true...
Next year will be interesting - most confidentiality agreements will start expiring and a lot of engineers that worked on Armscor projects will be able to talk about their work.

By the way - does anyone have any information about the Advanced Combat Wing project? Somewhere in a box at home I have a old aviation magazine - "Airpower, AviationWeek?".
I'd bought it for a article about the Rooivalk in the early 90's. One of the other articles was about South Africa's aviation industry and they had a photo of this project at a Air Show stand. It was a model of a Cheetah with a new wing that had tip-mounted missile rails. I'll try and find it in and post it to the forum.

There are some performance figure gained from the Advanced Combat Wing that I have at home. I'll post them once I dig them out. I would be most interested to see that photo of the ACW that you have. On page 4 of the discussion over on the Saaf forum, a gentleman describes some of the backround info on the ACW, as well as leading edge slats for the delta winged Carver.
 

kaiserbill

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A new member at keymags has done some nice artwok based on the various pictures posted.

http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2291
 

amsci99

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Any idea what happened to the proposed second run print of 'Those Who had The Power'? I emailed Pierre through his website at www.victorlogistics.co.za sometime in late 2007 and was told that there would be a second run sometime in mid 2008 but the site is now down and I've heard nothing from him.
 

Retrofit

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compton_effect said:
By the way - does anyone have any information about the Advanced Combat Wing project? Somewhere in a box at home I have a old aviation magazine - "Airpower, AviationWeek?".
I'd bought it for a article about the Rooivalk in the early 90's. One of the other articles was about South Africa's aviation industry and they had a photo of this project at a Air Show stand. It was a model of a Cheetah with a new wing that had tip-mounted missile rails. I'll try and find it in and post it to the forum.

Perhaps a little bit late as answer:
From Aviation Magazine n°1377, 4-10 May 1992, concerning the Advanced Combat Wing developped by Atlas Aviation Corp. for the Cheetah.
The model was presented during the FIDEA 1992.

Cheers,
 

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Deltafan

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Thanks Retrofit ! :)

I search this wing since a lot of years. I think that Aviation Magazine n°1377 will be mine soon ;)
 

kaiserbill

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Thanks Retrofit.

The drawing is the Cheetah R, which was the first Cheetah fitted with the ACW. You can tell the difference between the R and the Cheetah C by the latters longer fuselage in front of the intakes. That ACW shown on the R was not fitted with the wingtip missile rails, certainly not at least in public.

The Cheetah C was the interim fighter until Carver came online around the year 2000.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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According to discussions on Key Publishing forum, David Fabish, one of the Carver design team, worked on the Mirage 2000 for Dassault.
 

Deino

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These are the two pages from the "secret book" ...

I showed them a friend of mine just the minute - the one, who's building the Lavi scale model - and he had another friend with him, who was a former employee at IAI ... once working on the Lavi.

And right when he saw that picture he recognized four ex-IAI-engineers, which all had to leave IAI after the Lavi-cancellation … what a surprise !

And if it’s true what I wrote in IAPR-no. 22 (CAC J-10) ... that

In parallel to the warming Sino-US climate from the 1970s onwards the Israeli-Chinese relations improved steadily especially after the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1978. Only one year later the urgency for the need of a modern fighter and fighter-bomber became even clearer after the dreadful Chinese defeat in February/March 1979 in the clashes with/against Vietnam, which additional eliminated last doubts about the effectiveness of modern aerial warfare. All this led to the establishment of some first contacts in the following years to Israel which culminated finally in a secret contract in 1984. Quite interesting to note is that at the beginning many – if not all – contacts were managed thru South Africa which had very tight connections to France and Israel.

... it’s more than realistic that some of them finally found their new home in China !

Deino
 

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kaiserbill

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Some artwork from Bladerunner based on the single seater model that was displayed as well as the linedrawing from the article posterd by Deino above.
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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By the end of March 1988 IAI will
have to reduce its work force
by a total of 3,000 employees.
Of these, about 600 are being
actively sought by South
Africa's Atlas Aircraft to work
on its future fighter project.
Atlas has already recruited,
Flight believes, over 100 ex-
Lavi project designers and
engineers from a number of
disciplines.

Atlas, a subsidiary of Armscor,
is offering the "Laviites"
up to US$40 an hour or $7,000
a month deposited in any
currency in any bank in the
world, plus generous housing
and travel allowances and
home leave with cheap-rate
air travel. Besides working on
a Lavi look-alike (which
might be two-engined) the
Israelis will help with a
Mirage F.1 mission-system
update plus attack helicopter
and missile technology.

Flight, 12 Dec 1987
 

kaiserbill

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A small update.

The Carver was to have a delta wing with LERX.

From what I can gather, the Carvers leading edge sweep angle was to be 55 degrees.

As a comparison, the Mirage 2000 has a leading edge sweep angle of 58 degrees.
The Mirage III had a leading edge sweep angle of 60 degrees.

The next bit I cannot confirm, but it has been mentioned that the length was to be 16,06m and wing span 9,2m. The wing area was about 38 m2 not including the LERX.
 

Graugrun

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I originally posted this pic on the general South African aviation projects thread, however I believe it belongs here perhaps. It comes from a 2014 South African CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) brochure, and it was a tiny pic jammed up within a collage of others on the one page (the brochure was promoting the CSIR's various wind-tunnels and services).

At first I thought it was properly just the Cheetah C with the final Advanced Combat Wing (ACW) variant, including the intended wing-tip AAM rails. However the more I looked at it the more it seemed different to me - I think it might just be a picture of one of the Carver wind tunnel models/iterations. Kaiserbill has a similar pic and after re-looking at it a few times, he also thinks it might just be Carver - thoughts anyone?

I scanned it at 300 dpi - however the pic was so tiny, this is the best I could get...
 

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