Secret Stealth VTOL Transport - "Senior Citizen"

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sublight

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Abraham Gubler said:
sublight said:
I'd like to further that by putting up a wager that when forum members finally dig up its origins that not only is it "made in USA", but its a Northrup craft. If I am wrong I will cough up $200 to the Secret Projects Forum paypal account. B)
Can you add inflation indexation to your offer? Because it might be some time until everything from 1989 is declassified and I would hate to see Overscan miss out on lost value. Perhaps it would be better if you just gave him the money now and if the slightest shred of evidence arises otherwise he can refund you?

To me it’s obvious that this thing if actually real and airborne is just the delta wing of an ultralight (TrikeBuggy Delta), hang glider or kite with some lights on each corner. Probably not even a prank just some harmless home building pilot trying to get some light for safe night landing.

As to the timing the lack of Belgium’s geographic centrality to anything associated with the fall of Berlin Wall makes a mockery of this argument. Especially since no one in between Belgium and the Iron Curtain (ie south west Germany) saw the same thing.
I did in fact donate this amount many moons back.... :)

Now I'm just waiting for loose lips.
 

Stargazer2006

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In my files I have a copy of an old May 28th, 2006 message from another forum (red highlighting is mine):

What I have is that program Senior Citizen (evidence number PE0401316F) was born in second half of 80s and cancelled in 1993. It was designed as special V/STOL stealth transport plane for 12 soldiers and one vehicle in Hummer class.

It seems that Lockheed, Northrop and Boeing submitted proposals. I made some drawings of Northrop proposal based on sketch that I have from reliable source. It was derived from B-2 as other proposals from this era (for example ATA) to reduce the costs. But personally I think that four fans in fuselage produced not enough lift, so plane should be at best in ESTOL class. Other proposals are still objects of my research. I found one sketch of double delta design with eight lift and one (two ?) cruise engines with description that it is Boeing design. But two years later one my source sent me the original drawing that says, its from Lockheed. So....
Considering LTV's aircraft manufacturing division became part of Northrop in the early 1990s, and the well-known ties between Scaled and Northrop, perhaps the B-2 derived design described here was simply Scaled's Model 223? For Rutan/Scaled's active design involvement in the SOFTA program (subcontracting for LTV), please see:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20555.0
There is a wealth of information there on the SOFTA program (which apparently replaced SOFA) and I sincerely thank sublight for taking up the search/scanning for me at the University of Texas in Dallas. We may not have evidence to back his claims that "Senior Citizen" hardware was built and that, if built, was a Northrop product, but I believe we are now one step closer to the truth. There is an obvious design lineage between the B-2 (Northrop, with Rutan/Scaled involvement on the RCS model), Scaled's Model 223 (Rutan/Scaled design for Vought, later part of Northrop) and the Model 326 (Northrop X-47A, a Scaled design).
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
Considering LTV's aircraft manufacturing division became part of Northrop in the early 1990s, and the well-known ties between Scaled and Northrop, perhaps the B-2 derived design described here was simply Scaled's Model 223?
No. Different wing/fuselage concept and fan in wing propulsion (consistent with other proposals such as Boeing Model 2000-201/202). Way too different from Model 223.
 

quellish

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Stargazer2006 said:
There is a wealth of information there on the SOFTA program (which apparently replaced SOFA) and I sincerely thank sublight for taking up the search/scanning for me at the University of Texas in Dallas. We may not have evidence to back his claims that "Senior Citizen" hardware was built and that, if built, was a Northrop product, but I believe we are now one step closer to the truth.
Northrop's B-2 derived design is depicted earlier in the thread. This effort was run out of the advanced development projects group at Hawthorne. Unfortunately it does not appear that Northrop received any significant amount of public funds for this effort, at least not from the SENIOR CITIZEN PE or any related PEs.
Other companies did.

Stargazer2006 said:
There is an obvious design lineage between the B-2 (Northrop, with Rutan/Scaled involvement on the RCS model), Scaled's Model 223 (Rutan/Scaled design for Vought, later part of Northrop) and the Model 326 (Northrop X-47A, a Scaled design).
The Scaled 223 actually looks almost exactly like an aircraft that Steve Douglass captured on film at Roving Sands in 1994 and identified as the TR-3.
I thought X-47A was designed by Northrop but constructed by Scaled. The patents I've seen for X-47A technology have been filed by Northrop with infamous Northrop personalities as inventors.
 

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quellish said:
sublight is back said:
A couple things,

has anybody other than Paul McGinnis said that Senior Citizen was a tactical airlift aircraft?

Paul was only repeating what DoD said it was. The PE code indicates what it is.
Quellish, am I using the wrong decoder ring? This doesn't seem right for this program...

The funding code for Senior Citizen was Program Element 0401316F


DoD PROGRAM 04 (mobility forces)
R&D CATEGORY 01 (basic research)
EQUIPMENT/ACTIVITY 3 (Missiles & Related Equipment)
SERIAL NUMBER 16 (The 16th version?)
SERVICE F (Air Force)

DoD PROGRAM ELEMENT CODE SYSTEM

DoD PROGRAM
01 Strategic Forces
02 General Purpose Forces
03 Intelligence and Communications
04 Mobility Forces
05 Guard & Reserve Forces
06 Research & Development
07 Central Supply & Maintenance
08 Training, Medical & Other
09 Administrative & Associated Activities
10 Support of Other Nations
11 Special Operations Forces



R&D CATEGORY
BA-1 Basic Research
BA-2 Applied Research
BA-3 Advanced Technology Development (ATD)
BA-4 Advanced Component and Prototypes (ACD&P)
BA-5 System Development and Demonstration (SDD)
BA-6 RDT&E Management Support
BA-7 Operational Systems Development


SERVICE
A Army
BB U.S. Special Operations Command
BL Defense Contract Management Agency
BP Chemical & Biological Defense
BR Defense Threat Reduction Agency
C Missile Defense Agency
D8Z Office of Secretary of Defense
DO Operational, Test & Evaluation Defense
E DARPA
F Air Force
J Joint Staff
K Defense Information Systems Agency
M Marine Corps
N Navy
S Defense Logistics Agency
T Defense Security Cooperation Agency
SE DoD Human Resources Activity
V Defense Security Center
KA Defense Technical Information Center
B8W Washington Headquarters Service


EQUIPMENT/ACTIVITY TYPE

1 Military Sciences
2 Aircraft & Related Equipment
3 Missiles & Related Equipment
4 Military Astronautics and Related Equipment
5 Ships, Small Craft & Related Equipment
6 Ordnance, Combat Vehicle & Related Equipment
7 Other Equipment
8 Programwide Management & Support
 

sublight is back

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quellish said:
sublight is back said:
Quellish, am I using the wrong decoder ring? This doesn't seem right for this program...

You are using PE guidance that is too modern. See
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,413.msg2710.html#msg2710
The SENIOR CITIZEN program element was assigned in 88 or 89 as I recall.
After an hour of Google I still cant dig up the old PE mapping. FAS has something but the formatting is near impossible to decipher.... :(
 

quellish

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sublight is back said:
After an hour of Google I still cant dig up the old PE mapping. FAS has something but the formatting is near impossible to decipher.... :(
I took a quick look around DTIC and didn't find what you would need for that time period. I found 1996 documents that are missing some important parts, but not the complete handbook for that time period. They like to deprecate the older versions when new ones come out, unfortunately.

As I recall, the important change is that if something is program X, the next two digits have a different meaning than they did before these changes. So if something is an R&D program, the next digits have very different meaning. IIRC, these meanings vary quite a bit between different revisions of the PE structure.
So, for example, SENIOR CITIZEN may be...
04 - Mobility Forces
01 - ? Not Basic research as this is not an RDTE program (program 4, not 6). This may not have any explicit meaning.
016 - Serial 16
F - Air Force

The important part here is that it is not an RDTE program. Again, this is all from memory, I don't have documentation relevant to this time period handy, nor could I find it through a quick DTIC search.


However, if you ARE interested in particular PE codes, these two resources are often useful:

Search DTIC for the PE number:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=site%3Adtic.mil+0401316F

Search comptroller.defense.gov for the PE number:
http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Acomptroller.defense.gov+0401316F

This is more useful for recent programs than historical programs like SENIOR CITIZEN, but should still be helpful.
 

sublight is back

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Thanks guys. I guess we'll get the rest of the details in the 2030 timeframe....
 

Stargazer2006

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To complement my previous post, here's a complete list of all known PE numbers from the same time frame. Don't know if this can be of help to anyone.
 

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Mr London 24/7 said:
Interesting planform to lower right of DARPA Image.
Indeed. And all the others are interesting too, in their own way... Is this the cover to a DARPA publication? And is it available online somewhere?
 

quellish

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Mr London 24/7 said:
Interesting planform to lower right of DARPA Image.
Now the Northrop Special Purpose Stealth planform is also interesting. Why the wing "fold" joints? Where are the inlets?
 

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quellish said:
Now the Northrop Special Purpose Stealth planform is also interesting. Why the wing "fold" joints? Where are the inlets?

I presume below leading edge (beneath the aux/bleed doors visible on upper). Mmmm - How wide is a USN Carrier Elevator?...
 

quellish

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Mat Parry said:
I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with the Northrop Special Purpose Stealth Planform so apologies if I'm off the mark or stating the obvious

the bottom left looks something like the Agusta Westland Project Zero

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,18593.msg191261.html#msg191261


all electric propulsion would of course eliminate the need for inlets
Northrop "Special Purpose Stealth" is (most likely) Northrop's SENIOR CITIZEN concept:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,413.msg2733.html#msg2733
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,413.msg2758.html#msg2758
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=1748.0
 

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Thanks!


I did a search but couldn't find anything, I understand now.


Agree a limited Carrier compatibility (such as the U2 partially demonstrated) would indeed make a lot of sense especially for a spooky VTOL platfrom.
 

quellish

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Mr London 24/7 said:
I presume below leading edge (beneath the aux/bleed doors visible on upper). Mmmm - How wide is a USN Carrier Elevator?...
With this design I would think putting the inlets down there would have some FOD issues. Those fans would move a lot of stuff under the aircraft, and that may blow right back into those inlets.
 

Mr London 24/7

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quellish said:
With this design I would think putting the inlets down there would have some FOD issues. Those fans would move a lot of stuff under the aircraft, and that may blow right back into those inlets.
I presume such an aircraft would have an extreme low speed ability (in line with the 'football stadium' landing/take-off SOF requirement mooted for rescue missions over the years) but still require forward momentum enough to help. I presume the upper doors would open under such conditions, perhaps the lower ones meshed or partly closed - but this all feels a little like pointless speculation doesn't it... Built with the last of the 'Cold War' Money? - Operational difficulties resigned it to "Dyson's Dock"? :)

The greatest interest for me is that this Project was listed as '(H)' - it seems something was funded - I do hope we learn more.
 

quellish

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Mr London 24/7 said:
I presume such an aircraft would have an extreme low speed ability (in line with the 'football stadium' landing/take-off SOF requirement mooted for rescue missions over the years) but still require forward momentum enough to help. I presume the upper doors would open under such conditions, perhaps the lower ones meshed or partly closed - but this all feels a little like pointless speculation doesn't it... Built with the last of the 'Cold War' Money? - Operational difficulties resigned it to "Dyson's Dock"? :)

The greatest interest for me is that this Project was listed as '(H)' - it seems something was funded - I do hope we learn more.
USMC had previously run two studies, THUNDER CAT, a stealthy VSTOL transport, and GHOST RIDER, a stealthy VSTOL fighter. The work from these lead into the various ASTOVL, MRF, JAST, etc. work that eventually resulted in JSF. Occasionally Lockheed will mention the work on some of the previous, secret programs. For example, the shaft driven lift fan was a part of GHOST RIDER as I recall.
The public story is that all of these this different design and conceptual study work on propulsion happened as part of one of the public programs:
http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=214108&dfpPParams=industry_aero,aid_214108&dfpLayout=article
But that's not correct.
 

quellish

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yasotay

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Found this concept in a very old briefing. Thought I would share but I have no idea if it is in anyway related to this or other stealthy cargo work. It was in an unrelated briefing on aerodynamics work.
 

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Mr London 24/7

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Thank you, looks like:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,191.msg54678.html#msg54678
 

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Hey, longtime lurker, first-time poster here.

I don't think this is worthy of its own thread, but I was wondering what people made of the apparent fuselage at 37° 14.019', -115° 48.886' at Groom, because I can't seem to identify it.

It's pretty clearly a fuselage, but I can't think of what it might be from. It pretty clearly has some sort of rear door first thought it was just a discarded fuselage from one of the DeHavilland STOL transports but after looking at it from a slightly different angle on Bing maps I can't think of any piece of hardware that it actually resembles. With Google maps, it almost resembles an early C-130 without the front radome, but using the pickup next to it as a reference, it looks a little small. It could also be a big helicopter but I can't think of any hardware that resembles that shape.

If you look at it on Bing maps, it takes on the pale grey color that we're used to seeing on other low-observable projects, and the front end almost looks like it has rounded facets.

I know this is a long shot, but it looks an awful lot like it's from a sub C-130-sized low observable transport of some sort. What do people here make of it?
 

quellish

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Lincoln said:
Hey, longtime lurker, first-time poster here.

I don't think this is worthy of its own thread, but I was wondering what people made of the apparent fuselage at 37° 14.019', -115° 48.886' at Groom, because I can't seem to identify it.
It's a C-130 fuselage. It's been there for a good long time now. There have been discussions at DLR about it.
 

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That's good to know, it looked an awful lot like a C-130, but given some of the other governmental goofs in the past (the A-12 canopy on ebay or the uncovered SSBN propellor on bing maps comes to mind) I didn't want to rule out something more interesting being left out in the open.

Back to Senior Citizen. I'm normally pretty skeptical about seemingly outlandish low-observable projects, but something gives me a hunch that this might have led to actual hardware. I had a professor once who flew C-130's in the 1980's and he had some really interesting stories about flying missions over Eastern Europe at low level to drop off/pick up intelligence teams and the like. Missions that involved flying very, very low 50-100ft to stay under radar coverage.

Now that there seems to indicate a real need for something that could quietly get into and out of these sorts of places to drop off or pick up operatives, etc. Given the extremely sensitive nature of the work this platform would do, that's reason alone to keep it all under wraps lest the CIA have to publicly deal with the ramifications of a low-observable platform intended penetrate unfriendly airspace to drop off/pick up personnel.

We already know from Operation Neptune Spear that the US has a limited number of low-observable rotorwing assets for this sort of mission, so it stands to reason that there might exist a fixed-wing or hybrid platform designed for similar work.

My first post got me thinking that the marvelously complex Northrop proposal that's been discussed here, lift fans and all, might have been too complex a design for something that, if it exists, very well could have come from a production run of less than 5 units. Since there's concrete evidence of low-observable modifications of existing hardware thanks to the crashed article from the Neptune Spear operation, could Senior Citizen have ultimately led to something similar, a low-observable customization of a much more common airframe. Something like a heavily modified V-22, C-130, or YC-14 that would be based on existing, proven technology and could be thrown together relatively quickly. What do people here think of that idea?
 

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Lincoln said:
Since there's concrete evidence of low-observable modifications of existing hardware thanks to the crashed article from the Neptune Spear operation, could Senior Citizen have ultimately led to something similar, a low-observable customization of a much more common airframe. Something like a heavily modified V-22, C-130, or YC-14 that would be based on existing, proven technology and could be thrown together relatively quickly. What do people here think of that idea?
Nothing with a propeller, that's for sure.
 

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Kryptid said:
Lincoln said:
Since there's concrete evidence of low-observable modifications of existing hardware thanks to the crashed article from the Neptune Spear operation, could Senior Citizen have ultimately led to something similar, a low-observable customization of a much more common airframe. Something like a heavily modified V-22, C-130, or YC-14 that would be based on existing, proven technology and could be thrown together relatively quickly. What do people here think of that idea?
Nothing with a propeller, that's for sure.
I guess that would depend on what kind of stealth they'd want out of such a system. Jets would net you better results in terms of radar signature, but it would be possible to design a prop-driven aircraft that's much quieter acoustically and thermally.

It's a tradeoff for sure, and for something that'd likely be flying low and slow anyways, it might make more sense to design a platform that's acoustically quiet with an RCS that's low enough, rather than an airframe with a tiny RCS that's as loud as an airliner. Just look at the Comanche and whatever crashed in Pakistan and you see that it's possible to design an aircraft with spinning rotors that still has a fairly low RCS.

If they really wanted to get exotic but stick to proven tech, then there's no reason why a ducted fan design like the X-22 with radar-dispersing grates over the props might be an option as well.
 

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Lincoln said:
Kryptid said:
Lincoln said:
Since there's concrete evidence of low-observable modifications of existing hardware thanks to the crashed article from the Neptune Spear operation, could Senior Citizen have ultimately led to something similar, a low-observable customization of a much more common airframe. Something like a heavily modified V-22, C-130, or YC-14 that would be based on existing, proven technology and could be thrown together relatively quickly. What do people here think of that idea?
Nothing with a propeller, that's for sure.
I guess that would depend on what kind of stealth they'd want out of such a system. Jets would net you better results in terms of radar signature, but it would be possible to design a prop-driven aircraft that's much quieter acoustically and thermally.

It's a tradeoff for sure, and for something that'd likely be flying low and slow anyways, it might make more sense to design a platform that's acoustically quiet with an RCS that's low enough, rather than an airframe with a tiny RCS that's as loud as an airliner. Just look at the Comanche and whatever crashed in Pakistan and you see that it's possible to design an aircraft with spinning rotors that still has a fairly low RCS.

If they really wanted to get exotic but stick to proven tech, then there's no reason why a ducted fan design like the X-22 with radar-dispersing grates over the props might be an option as well.
Huge trade-offs either way. Frankly I think by the middle of this century the only way to make a stealth flying vehicle will be to make the radar software "not" see the data from the hardware. I am a big fan of quiet and the ability to land where the bad guys are not looking. Hard to do with a starch wing turbine.
 

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Is "Senior Citizen" related to MC-X Commando Spirit?

From Global Security:

Source:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/mc-x.htm

MC-X Commando Spirit
SOF Future Aircraft

Air Force Special Operations Command [AFSOC] is looking at a replacement for its MC-130 to complement the V-22 in the years beyond 2010 with a project called the MC-X. A potential special operations stealth airlifter, the MC-X, was the subject of a McDonnell Douglas study undertaken by the USAF completed in 1997. The primary focus of the study is infrared (IR) and radar cross section, and powerplant and propulsion systems for airlifters.

A new study of potential replacements of the C-130 transports, tankers and gunships began in 2002. Characteristics for the new MC-X aircraft, which would be smaller than the C-130, include three pallet positions, stealth, high-subsonic speeds, improved maneuverability, short or vertical takeoff and landing, and the ability to fly long range missions.

This program funds RDT&E of an advanced technology aircraft capable of meeting Special Operations Forces [SOF] long-range airlift requirements. It will provide exfiltration capability on missions exceeding the effective range of SOF vertical lift aircraft (including the CV-22) and additionally serves as a replacement for MC-130 Combat Talon Fleet in long-range infiltration and resupply roles. It builds upon future SOF aircraft studies. The system should be able to self-deploy (2400nm), Combat Radius (1000nm), STOL w/max fuel and 4000 lbs on standard day @ sea level (1500ft over 50 ft obstacle), VTOL w/4000lbs @ mid-mission point (4000ft/85 degrees F), High speed (250-400ktas) night adverse weather capable, low to moderate signature, have a system reliability of 92% with an 85% fix rate (4hrs), capable of performing clandestine missions, carrier operations, and with a survivable ground environment under hovering aircraft.

A primary lift system to accomplish this could be a stealth airlifter, since surprise is critical to success in SOF precision operations. Primary attributes that need to be incorporated into the stealth airlifter are low observability, high speed, long range, global reach, increased payload, reliability, and durability. This new airlifter could also possess vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), armament, and an array of emission support sensors.
M-X Advanced Special Operations Forces (SOF) Air Mobility Platform

AFSOC has worldwide responsibility for the Special Operations Forces (SOF) Mobility mission area, which includes rapid, global airlift and recovery of personnel and equipment through hostile or denied airspace to conduct special clandestine operations. AFSOC's capabilities must accommodate all operational and physical environments, especially at night, at low altitude, in adverse weather, and over all terrain.

Historically, SOF's niche has been to go where no one else can go, do what no one else can do, and return undetected. The exponentially increasing capabilities and arrays of threats to aircraft and ground forces will make this a difficult niche in which to maintain a robust capability in the 2018-2030 timeframe.

By 2018, for instance, AFSOC believes that a new capability, the M-X, will be required to provide the President and the Secretary of Defense a full range/spectrum of options for employment of SOF. The M-X is envisioned to provide SOF with an enhanced air mobility capability in denied or hostile airspace. It should be able to conduct undetected infiltration/exfiltration (infil/exfil) penetration of sophisticated integrated air defense systems, and possess the speed/range/defensive systems to survive if detected.

This enables SOF to be airlifted deep into and out of defended airspace and provides SOF the critical element of tactical surprise by reducing the time between detection, target engagement, and exfiltration. Minimizing time between detection and SOF actions is key to successful special operations and reduces the time enemy forces have to counter SOF operations.

The M-X needs to have "agility in the objective area". USTOL over a 50-foot obstacle, is desired, and VTOL, at mid-mission weights or better is highly desired. The V/USTOL capability gives SOF greater freedom of operations to take off and land in austere locations and objective areas closer to SOF targets. This also reduces the need for additional force protection assets and extended cross-country maneuver vehicles to support SOF operations. The V/USTOL capability reduces SOF?s dependence on large runways and the need for two-stage operations where troops or equipment are transferred to or from rotary-wing to fixed-wing aircraft.

The future M-X should have greater speed and range than current aircraft to rapidly deploy SOF anywhere, anytime. The M-X represents new capabilities and is not intended to be a ?follow-on? C-130-type aircraft. The M-X should fill the SOF niche described above by greatly exceeding the capabilities of the MC-130 and CV-22, not replacing either. It is intended that the M-X will be part of a Family of Aircraft designed to fill a variety of missions requiring low detectability and/or high survivability such as advanced cargo transport, advanced tanker, and future gunship.

By the proposed M-X IOC date of 2018, the assumption is all MH-53 aircraft are retired and the existing fleet of MC-130 and CV-22 aircraft will be supplemented by a TBD number of M-X aircraft. In general, the MC-130/CV-22 aircraft will accomplish operations in lightly defended and/or permissive airspace, and the M-X aircraft will accomplish operations in moderate to highly defended and/or non-permissive airspace.

Key M-X design considerations include: 1) In-flight refuel capability so it can conduct operations anywhere in the world within 48 hours when staged from bases in the US; 2) Maximize payload size and weight; 3) high probability of zero detection by an Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) for both airland and airdrop missions; 4) high probability of surviving threat system engagements if detected; 5) high reliability to insure mission completion without intermediate stops for maintenance; 6) high cruise speeds at altitude and low level, MC-130H speeds at the minimum, airliner speeds preferred; 7) high probability of successful take-off and landing on unimproved landing areas and ability to turn around on the ground in minimum distance; 8) fully interoperable with Integrated Broadcast Service (IBS) Command and Control Information Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR); and 9) fully compatible with current and projected National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) products and capabilities.

In May 2003, HQ AFSOC awarded a contract [FA0021-03-RFI-0001] to the Unified and Special Operations Group of Jacobs Sverdrup Technology, Inc., to conduct an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) for an Advanced Special Operations Forces (SOF) Air Mobility Platform. The Government requested each respondent provide sufficient technical and cost related information so the viability of each alternative or design can be fully considered. Technical information included shape, weight, range, speed, payload (weight and cube), offensive and defensive avionic subsystems and their performance assessments, communication/situational awareness subsystems, detectability characteristics (Radar Cross Section (RCS), IR, visible, ultraviolet, audibility), Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) / Ultra-Short Take-off and Landing (USTOL) characteristics, landing zone performance, all estimated mission and system reliability / maintainability / human factors performance, and obsolescence projections.

Respondents were required to identify the representative infil / exfil missions and concept of operations where the proposed design would be successful, or most successful. Identify an acquisition strategy (RDT&E, Procurement, and Military Construction) and sustainment strategy (O&S) to include cost, schedule, and technical risks to reach an IOC in 2018. For this RFI only, respondents calculated development costs, production costs (to include learning curves and first units), operating and support costs, disposition costs, and other costs in terms of a 20 year operational life and the following total quantities: 10, 25, 50, 100.

The analysis of alternatives, completed in September 2004, pointed to an advanced low-observable manned aircraft as the most promising option.

By mid-2005 the requirements for a stealthy transport aircraft for special operations forces had been approved by the US warfighter community. The Advanced Special Operations Forces Air Mobility Platform (M-X) will undergo a senior-level Department of Defense review to authorise Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) to solicit industry teams to begin early developmental activities for an aircraft that would enter service in 2018.

The M-X is envisaged as a vertical- or ultra-short- take-off and landing platform for clandestine transport of troops and supplies into and out of heavily defended hostile territory in all terrains and environmental conditions. The aircraft will augment, but not replace, AFSOC's fleet of MC-130 Combat Talon and CV-22 aircraft. Its agility and hard-to-detect infra-red, radar and acoustic signatures and low- probability-of-intercept communications signals will allow it to overcome sophisticated enemy sensors and surface-to-air missiles that might doom even upgraded MC-130s and CV-22s.

Reduced overseas basing and anti-access/area denial strategies drive the need for a high-speed, long-range air mobility platform capable of performing clandestine missions in denied, politically sensitive, or hostile airspace. The M-X will be designed to defeat sophisticated integrated air defense systems with low-observable/stealth design technology combined with advanced air defense systems electronic countermeasures for increased survivability.

The M-X needs "agility in the objective area" which means it must be able to accomplish short take-off and landings and/or hover at medium heights. The declining capability of the aging SOF C-130 fleet to penetrate deep into sophisticated hostile airspace beyond 2015 adds emphasis to this program. The 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review report specifically states "Special Operations Forces will need the ability to conduct covert deep insertions over great distances."

The next 25 years will see the proliferation of infrared (IR), radar-guided, and directed energy (DE) threats that will render many existing aircraft obsolete by the end of this period. Between DE and radar-guided threats current AFSOF [Air Force special operations forces] aircraft will have survivability challenges in the years 2016 and beyond. This evolving threat has the potential to significantly challenge the capability for Special Operations Forces (SOF) to achieve tactical surprise through clandestine air mobility due to the increasing technological capability of passive aircraft detection at further distances.

IR man-portable surface-to-air missiles, already a significant hazard to AFSOC aircraft, will be an increasingly dangerous threat as more capable missile systems with advanced counter-countermeasures proliferate. Furthermore, the traditional AFSOC tactic of avoiding MANPADS [man-portable air defense system] by operating mostly at night will become less effective as America's enemies acquire more night vision devices.

Emerging as a serious threat to AFSOF aircraft, the technology in radar-guided missiles is rapidly improving. Systems like the SA-10, SA-11, SA-12, and SA-20 (formerly SA-10C) are formidable systems capable of engaging targets at long ranges and at low altitudes. Recent articles in military journals describe the next generation of Russian-designed missile systems having ranges of over 240 nautical miles, altitude capability down to 1-meter above the ground level at those distances, and the capability of outmaneuvering most aircraft. Many of today's missiles and most future radar missiles will incorporate various types of anti-jamming technologies, which make them difficult to defeat.
 

fightingirish

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flateric said:
Found it in another FATE-related program paper ca.1997



For flateric! ;) :)


Here the Secret Stealth STVOL Transport concept from McDonnell Douglas. It was a part of the Advanced Transport Technology Mission Analysis (ATTMA) study from 1987/1988.
It had 6 lift engines with 158 kn each and two flight engines with 127 kn in the wing roots, so it could fly a 4g manoeuvre at 850 km/h.
I also added another STVOL Transport concept from McDonnell Douglas, this one powered with 4 tilt-rotors. The 4 engines are in or over the fuselage. This concept was not stealthier than the first concept, but its flight characteristics at low speed were better.


Source: Bill Sweetman - Kurzstartfähige Flugzeuge der Zukunft - Interavia Germany, March 1988 , pages 261 - 264


If Bill Sweetman reads this post, he might be kindly to post a summary of his article in this forum. :)
 

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flateric

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thank you! I suspect Bill is very busy now with RIAT and Farnborough.

(we need buy you a scanner)
 

RavenOne

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Hi all

Happy New Year and wondering, is there any proof that a prototype or two flown, if not tested in combat from Desert Storm to Iraqi Freedom / Enduring Freedom?

There was an AirForcesMonthly special report magazine which reached the magazine shelves at WH Smiths etc in the summer of 1998 about stealth warplanes. The section on Senior Citizen had a sentence about one night over Baghdad, where a Marine Recon sniper with a dozen important kills to his name, was dropped out of a transport but would not state what for security reasons. He claimed CENTCOM ordered nothing but stealth a/c were allowed to operate over the capital during Desert Storm on this particular night. So if 2 + 2 = 4 in this case, the sniper would be in a low observable transport not in any of Janes or Flight International listing.

Anyone's best guess would be nothing more exotic than a MC-130H Combat Talon II from either the 1st SOW or the 39th SOW but ....is there anything that could be hung onto the Marine's word.....

Cheers
 
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