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Tomorrow's fighters: aircraft or integrated weapon systems?

Tomorrow's Fighters: Aircraft or Integrated Weapon Systems?

Technology is no Longer the Number One Problem

If Clement Ader and the Wright brothers were still alive, they would probably be bemused to see how aeroplanes are designed today. These aviation pioneers had to learn everything about lift and aerodynamics, had no computers to help them, no choice of lightweight materials, short of wood and fabrics, and engines were appallingly heavy, unreliable and underpowered.

They would probably think that today's engineers have almost everything they need to make the world's best aircraft, including special design software like the Catia developed by Dassault, which is also used in the United States. But, ironically, most problems encountered by aeronautical experts have a human origin, and engineers have to design their aircraft according to the moves made in one of the most complicated forms of strategic games: the three-dimensional chess game (in which three perspex chess boards are stacked). The bottom board is played by the military (requirements), the middle one by the budget and financial experts and the top one by the politicians. In this game all three levels are, of course, interactive.

Ask any western high-technology aircraft manufacturer from Seattle to Naples what is the current keyword to the design of tomorrow's fighters. Invariably the answer is: integration. As the word implies, almost all the vital elements of the aircraft have to be determined from the outset. The best radar plus the best airframe plus the best engine no longer necessarily give the best aircraft if each one of these components (to name only three) do not "know" what the others are doing. Thus, any movement on any one of the three chess-boards will have a dramatic effect on the engineer's drawing board. Revising, or even delaying, a design costs money and thus causes a piece to be moved on the mid-level chess-board and so on.

This perplexing situation seems to have reached its culmination in the United States where programmes are as a rule modified and even scrapped altogether. Some have even been resurrected as soon as a new government came to power (the B-1 bomber, for example). This kind of instability has claimed the lives of many an illustrious company in the past.

In Western Europe, the fighter aircraft situation is slightly different. First of all, there are only two manufacturers whose fighters still bear only one company logo on their tailplane. These are Dassault and Saab, and they are not competing against each other for national requirements. All the other fighter aircraft manufacturers now cooperate on a single product: take BAe, Aeritalia and MBB and you get Panavia (Tornado); add Casa of Spain and you get Eurofighter (European Fighter Aircraft). In both categories - the "independent" firms as well as those belonging to a consortium - each one is the lone survivor of a dying breed in its country whose government is for the time being reluctant to let it disappear. But for how long? Secondly, building a multi-national aircraft implies total agreement on all the main requirements. Unlike the United States and the Soviet Union which have the necessary resources to produce mission-dedicated aircraft, the Europeans have to build smaller quantities of smaller types featuring a higher degree of flexibility. In other words, their fighter aircraft have to be capable of carrying out air defence, ground attack, nuclear strike and reconnaissance missions. The Rafale, in its Avion de Combat de Marine (ACM) guise, will even be carrier-based.

Advanced Tactical Fighter

The Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) is currently being designed primarily as a twin-engine air superiority aircraft. The US Air Force's objective is to start replacing its McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagles in the mid-1990s: by that time the earlier F-15 models will have been in service for more than twenty years. The ATF, which will have roughly the same mission weight as the F-15C, is designed to operate in the Central European theatre. As such, it would have to counter aircraft like the MiG-29 and the Su-27 (or more recent derivatives of these two types) as well as a dense network of new-generation surface-to-air missiles and radars. In order to maximise their stealth properties, the aircraft are to be powered by high dry thrust engines providing supersonic performance (around Mach 1.4) without using the after-burner, in a capability which is now known as "supercruise". Reheat will be used for acceleration. As the ATF will be a single-seater, a large number of integrated computer-driven systems are incorporated. The idea is to let the system perform all the routine work so as to allow the pilot to concentrate on what only the brain and not the machine can solve.

The US Air Force has a requirement for 750 ATFs, but the US Navy is also considering the aircraft as a potential candidate to replace its Grumman F-14D Tomcats. This naval version, called NATF, could add a further 546 to 618 aircraft to the production programme of the winning team. The first figure corresponds to the number indicated in Defense Secretary Richard Cheney's aircraft procurement revision, which also indicates a two-year delay in the procurement of the Navy ATF, until Fiscal 1996.

The demonstration/validation phase of the ATF programme began in 1986 with the award of two $691 million contracts to two teams consisting of Lockheed, General Dynamics and Boeing on the one hand and Northrop and McDonnell Douglas on the other. The contract calls for the teams to build two flying prototypes each. The Lockheed team aircraft is designated YF-22 and the Northrop team's YF-23.

Each type will be powered by a different set of engines supplied by General Electric and Pratt & Whitney. As seen above, the engines will feature a high dry thrust output but also two-dimensional thrust vectoring exhaust nozzles. The latter feature will not only increase manoeuvrability but is expected to reduce landing and take-off runs by 20 per cent compared with conventional exhaust nozzles. As a result, the initial idea of adding thrust reversers was abandoned as the extra braking power did not justify the additional weight and cost.

Pratt & Whitney with its F119 and General Electric with the F120 are face-to-face in a knock-out duel, as the production contracts will be awarded to only one company. With about 1880 engines and five thousand million dollars at stake, the winner is likely to wear a solid gold crown for a good two decades. Although both engine types are expected to deliver a maximum thrust of about 14.5 tonnes, which can be deflected 20 degrees upwards or downwards in one second, they are based on different design concepts. Pratt has decided to minimise risks to a bare minimum by sticking closely to the military specifications and offers a low by-pass engine. General Electric, on the other hand, has adopted a bolder approach and has designed a variable-cycle engine. Although unsolicited, this feature enables the by-pass ratio to be varied automatically in relation to speed. General Electric's strategy is to offer today a design which could be the norm tomorrow.

The Lockheed team has set up a special laboratory at the Boeing Advanced Systems Company in Seattle to develop the ATF's avionics suite. Part of the laboratory includes an F-22 cockpit simulator in a ten-metre dome. The heart of the integrated architecture is a Hughes common integrated processor which uses common modules for all processing operations. Harris data bus interfaces are used, while graphics-video interfaces and liquid-crystal displays are supplied by Sanders and General Electric respectively. The cockpit features a total of six flat panel colour screens which are programmed to display the data up to now provided by dedicated gauges. The three large-sized central screens can be temporarily associated to display a wide tactical panoramic view. The simulator has also been used to test the General Electric/Martin Marietta electro-optical search-and-track sensors, the TRW communications-navigation identification system, the Lockheed Sanders/General Electric electronic combat system and the Westinghouse/Texas Instruments active array radar.

The Northrop/McDonnell Douglas team, for its part, has used a specially modified BAC 111 transport aircraft to demonstrate the integration of its avionics system. As for the F-22, Westinghouse supplied the radar, TRW (teamed with Westinghouse) the electronic combat system and Martin Marietta the electro-optical system.

As for armament, the US Air Force specifies that the ATF will carry a "full complement of (believed to be eight) medium and short-range air-to-air" weapons. These will be AIM-120s and AIM-9s, and will be carried internally. The missiles will be launched from special hydraulic weapons racks. The ATF might also be armed with a new dogfight missile which could be derived from the Have Dash II programme currently being conducted by the Air Force. The Have Dash II uses a composite airframe, and its new air-breathing engine is expected to give the missile Mach 5 performance. The internal gun system will be based on the six-barrel 20 mm General Electric M61A1 Gatling.

The two aircraft were initially scheduled to make their maiden flights earlier this year but the demonstration/validation phase of the programme has slipped by approximately six months, which means that the first flight tests should have begun by the time these lines are printed. The US Air Force has set the unit flyaway cost goal at $35 million in 1985 dollars. The winner is expected to be awarded the full-scale development contract in the summer of 1991. The extra time is thought to be to allow the US Air Force and the Navy to mesh their requirements to enable a carrier-based version to be developed. The additional costs resulting from this programme stretch would be compensated by cutting down the 42-month full-scale development time to 36 months.

The wings of the full-scale development aircraft are expected to bite the air for the first time in mid-1994.

A-12 Avenger 2

Intended as a replacement for the Grumman A-6 Intruder attack aircraft for the US Navy, the McDonnell Douglas/General Dynamics A-12 Avenger 2 Advanced Tactical Aircraft is being developed in almost total secrecy and very little information has transpired about the actual shape and features of the aircraft. The $4379 million contract for the development of the Navy aircraft was awarded in late 1987, but a further $7.9 million contract was awarded to the team to study a US Air Force derivative of the A-12 as a possible replacement for the F-111 which entered service in 1968.

The two manufacturers - who are interestingly enough competitors in the ATF programme - have recently announced that the first flight of the A-12, originally planned for later this year, has been rescheduled for the end of 1991 as a result of a major review of the programme. The total number of aircraft to be procured has also been cut from 858 to 650 units as part of Defense Secretary Cheney's aircraft procurement review.

Heavy emphasis has been put on low observability. However, it is doubtful that the A-12 will push the art of stealthiness as far as the F-117, which had to trade a lot of its performance for passive invisibility. The A-12 is more likely to have a pronounced active countermeasures bias with a powerful software-based system capable of nullifying enemy radar signals and it will also rely on absorbant composite materials. The two-crew aircraft will be powered by unreheated General Electric F412-GE-400s. The radar will be supplied, as for the ATF, by Westinghouse, and the A-12 will also use the Department of Defense and Industry Joint Integrated Avionics Working Group's data bus developed for the ATF.

Armament will include the Harpoon anti-ship missile, a new modular glide bomb, the AMRAAM as well as the Advanced Air-to-Air Missile. Below is a short data sheet on the A-6 and F-111, the two aircraft the A-12 is supposed to replace.

JAS 39 Gripen

Although the Gripen programme was marred by the crash of the first prototype on 2 February last year and in spite of severe cost overruns, the Swedish Government decided to go ahead with the development of the country's next-generation fighter. The second prototype, which made its maiden flight on 2 May, will be followed by another three test aircraft and a batch of 30 production units.

The original development programme called for the manufacture of five prototypes - two for airframe, engine and controls tests and three for avionics trials (following the loss of the first unit, it has been decided to proceed with four prototypes only).

A formal decision regarding the development of a two-seat version and the production of another batch of production Gripens will be taken by the Swedish Parliament next year (although Saab has already been notified to negotiate a final offer for a second series of 110 aircraft). The total requirement is for 350 to 400 Gripens to replace the Viggens and ageing Drakens. First deliveries are scheduled to start in 1993.

The aim of the programme is to provide a multi-role aircraft which could do the job of the various versions of the Viggen but at a lower cost. The Gripen is a much lighter aircraft, with a maximum take-off weight of around eight tonnes versus 17 tonnes for the Viggen. Like the latter, the Gripen will be able to operate from normal roads. However, thanks to its lighter weight (over 30 per cent of its airframe is made of carbon fibre composites designed to withstand load factors of 9 g) and canards that can be swivelled almost vertically to act as large airbrakes, the aircraft can perform very short landings without thrust reversers - the latter feature usually putting a penalty on costs (purchase and maintenance) and weight. Being smaller, the Gripen also has a reduced radar signature.

JAS stands for Jakt, Attack, Spaning - or fighting, attack and reconnaissance. An outstanding feature of the Gripen is that the pilot will be able to optimise his aircraft for any one of these three types of mission by the turn of a switch. Thus, the only other preliminary ground preparations will be related to the type of loads and the fuel to be carried. In other words, there will be no mission-dedicated Gripen except for the eventual two-seat trainer version.

Since Sweden's philosophy is to adhere strictly to its neutral status, the aircraft will be used exclusively for the defence of the country's national air space, territory and waters, which explains the lack of in-flight refuelling capability. The flexibility of the aircraft is enhanced by its auxiliary power unit which will enable it to operate independently from remote, temporary "bases". As seen earlier, these can be installed anywhere provided a road that could be used as a runway by the Gripen is at hand.

The Gripen is powered by a single low by-pass ratio Volvo Flygmotor RM12 engine based on the General Electric F404. The engine's main modifications give it improved immunity to bird strike and increased after-burning performance. Currently, the engine delivers 8.16 tonnes of thrust (the actual mission weight of the aircraft), but it is expected to exceed the nine-tonne mark at a later stage.

The PS-05/A radar system, cockpit display system, electronic counter-measures suite, ground-based mission planning computers and common onboard D80 processors are all the responsibility of Ericsson. The PS-05/A has a special high resolution mode for reconnaissance missions. The cockpit is equipped with three cathode tube displays and a head-up display developed in co-operation with Hughes. The entire cockpit display package (including the HUD) developed by Ericsson is known as the EP-17. The head-down screens display flight data, map and sensor information, and their functions are interchangeable.

The JAS 39 Gripen is equipped with an internal 23 mm Mauser cannon. Whatever the mission, the aircraft's wing-tip armament will always include a pair of AIM-9L Sidewinders. Other weapons earmarked for the Gripen are Saab Missile's RBS 15 air-breathing anti-ship missile and the new DWS39 dispenser. Sweden is also considering the RB71A (a Swedish development of the Sky Flash) and the RB73 (an RB71A with ramjet propulsion) but future off-the-shelf Hughes AMRAAM and Matra Mica are also shortlisted.

Rafale

Following its disagreement with the partner countries of the Eurofighter consortium on the European Fighter Aircraft requirements (particularly weight and size) and its subsequent withdrawal from the group in mid-1985, France decided to carry out the development of its future combat aircraft on its own, while keeping the door open for co-operation with countries whose requirements could be met by the Dassault Aviation Rafale.

Currently, there are four types of Rafale: the Rafale A - the technology demonstrator; the Rafale B - a two-seat trainer; the Rafale D - the French Air Force dual-role air defence and attack aircraft; and the Rafale M - the carrier-based version for the Marine Nationale (Navy). Oddly enough, due to budget constraints and priorities, the latter derivative is now highly likely to enter service before the D.

The French Air Force is expected to order 250 Rafales and the Marine Nationale 86. According to Dassault, who had by 1st Jan. 1989 received firm export orders for 169 Mirage 2000s, the Rafale stands a good chance of attracting the export market as shrinking budgets cause governments to look more closely at highly flexible equipment.

The Rafale A took to the air on 4 July 1986 and broke the sound barrier on this first flight. The aircraft's prime goal was to demonstrate the airframe and fly-by-wire design and it was powered by a pair of 7.25-tonne General Electric F404s. Since then, the aircraft has logged over 400 flights, achieving speeds of over Mach 2 and angles of attack of 32 [degrees]. It also showed that it could withstand positive and negative load factors of 9 and 3.6 g respectively. By early 1990, the first prototype of the M88-2 engine developed by Snecma for the Rafale was ready and mounted in the demonstrator for flight testing on 27 February. According to current plans, the "A" will not be fitted with two M88-2s and will remain a hybrid engine test bed.

The first aircraft to receive the two Snecma engines is the C-01 prototype which will make its first flight in March next year. This prototype will also be the first real-size Rafale: the Rafale A was slightly larger to enable it to accommodate the American engines. The C-01 will almost certainly take part in the flying display at Le Bourget next year.

The C-01 will be followed by the M-01, which is the prototype of the carrier-based version. In addition to the expected landing gear reinforcements and installation of an arrester hook, the Rafale M will feature an unusual "jump" nose gear. The idea behind this unique Messier-Hispano-Bugatti design is to achieve similar results as with the ski-jump developed for the Harrier. With the jump system, the shock absorber is heavily compressed during the initial phase of the catapult launch. Towards the end of the deck roll the stored energy is released, literally "punching" the aircraft into a nose-up attitude.

The Rafale makes extensive use of composite materials not only in the panel work but also in the structural components. In this area alone composites account for 24 per cent of the weight of the structure, with 947 kg. In the Mirage 2000 these figures are seven per cent and 246 kg respectively. The cockpit section - in fact the fuselage portion between the air intakes and the radome - is entirely made of carbon. The same material is used for the wing skins, tail, fuel tanks and control surfaces. Most of the initial design work was carried out with the assistance of the Dassault-developed Catia CAD/CAM software. This programme enables research engineers to cut down considerably the manufacturing cycle of wind tunnel test models. The same programme is then used to drive the machine-tools that mill the moulds and dies for the various components of the aircraft. To optimize the design of structures, Dassault also developed another programme called Elfini. This package, which takes into account a number of parameters such as material resistance, vibrations flutter and not least manufacture, hunts for any excess weight in the proposed structure. According to Dassault, one of Elfini's first customers was Boeing.

Like most advanced aircraft currently being designed, the Rafale is very much an integrated weapon system with an airframe wrapped around it. The aircraft incorporates a quadruple fly-by-wire control system which is monitored by the central computer and linked to other vital areas of the aircraft. The system provides attitude control in the three axes, automatic control of the aero-dynamic limitations, coordinated turning, approach with thrust/drag ratio monitoring, etc.

The cockpit comprises no less than five display systems developed by Sextant Avionique: a wide-angle head-up display, a collimated head level display, two lateral colour displays plus a helmet-mounted display. In addition, the cockpit, which is designed on the "hand on throttle and stick" concept, is equipped with a voice control system (also supplied by Sextant) for the operation of a number of systems like radio channel selection, for example.

Initially designated RDX, then RBG, the radar is now known as the RBE2: Radar a Balayage Electronique a 2 plans (two-dimensional electronically scanned radar). The radar is currently being developed by a consortium including Dassault Electronique (1/3) and Thomson-CSF (2/3). Ground testing is under way and a first prototype should be delivered for flight testing on board a Falcon 20 during the second half of next year. A first flight of the RBE2 in the nose of a Rafale is scheduled for mid-1993. The radar is based on a concept developed by Thomson-CSF and called Radan by virtue of which the beam is scanned in elevation and in azimuth by electronic prisms, making any steering mechanism totally redundant. The RBE2 will be capable of simultaneous air-to-air (look-up/look-down) and air-to-ground operating modes (terrain-following, obstacle-avoidance and threat-avoidance).

The Rafale carries an internally mounted 30-791B 30 mm gun specially designed by GIAT. The aircraft also has 14 external hard points providing a weapon capacity of between six and eight tonnes. Typically, in a very fast interception mission, the Rafale would be equipped with up to six Mica missiles. The Mica look-up/shoot-up medium-range and dogfight missile is currently being developed by Matra.

European Fighter Aircraft

The European Fighter Aircraft programme is managed by Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH in Germany, a consortium which includes the leading aircraft manufacturers of the four partner countries: Aeritalia (21 per cent), British Aerospace (33 per cent), Casa (13 per cent) and MBB (33 per cent). The aircraft will be largely based on the experience acquired with BAe's EAP (Experimental Aircraft Programme) technology demonstrator. Although a decision on the production of the EFA will be taken only in 1992, the four parties are fully committed to the development phase.

The primary role of the EFA will be air-defence, with ground attack as a secondary role. Germany and Britain will each order 250 aircraft, Italy 165 and Spain 100.

The programme is now in its third year of full-scale development. The EFA P01 was expected to make its first flight in 1991 at MBB's flight test centre in Manching, but this will now occur in early 1992. Entry into service is slated for 1996 (pro memoria: the first Tornado prototype flew in August 1974, and the first production unit in July 1979). A total of eight prototypes (including two two-seaters) is planned. BAe will build prototypes P02, P03 and P05, Aeritalia P04 and P08 and Casa P07. MBB's second prototype will be P06. P01 and P02 will be used for agile and carefree handling, P03 (a two-seater) for two-seat development and engine tests, P04 for weapon separation and internal gun (27 mm Mauser) tests. P05 will be the first aircraft to receive the complete avionics package and will also be used for initial radar trials, while P06 will serve as the avionics integration test bed. Both P07 (the second two-seater) and P07 will perform avionics and system trials.

Each country will carry out the final assembly of its own aircraft from parts made by its own domestic industry and by the other three. BAe is in charge of the front fuselage and half of the right wing, MBB of the central part of the fuselage and half of the aft fuselage section, Aeritalia of the left wing and half of the aft fuselage section and Casa of the aft fuselage section plus half of the right wing. Like the Rafale, the EFA will incorporate a large number of carbon fibre composite elements and will make extensive use of superplastic forming and diffusion bonding techniques.

The first two prototypes will be powered by a pair of Turbo-Union RB199s delivering 7.3 tonnes of after-burning thrust (the RB199 powers the Tornados and the EAP). The succeeding prototypes will be receiving their "proper" EFA engines, the 9.2-tonne thrust EJ200 turbine developed by Eurojet, a consortium established in 1986 by Fiat Aviazione (Italy), MTU (Germany), Rolls-Royce (Britain) and Sener (Spain).

Eurofighter has recently selected the GEC Ferranti-led consortium to develop and manufacture the radar. The pulse-Doppler ECR 90 system, which is based on the Blue Vixen radar developed as part of the Royal Navy's Sea Harrier upgrade programme, was competing for the $500 million contract against the MSD 2000 based on the Hughes APG-65. The ECR 90 programme is handled by Euroradar - a group formed by GEC Fe ranti, Telefunken, Fiar (Italy) and Inisel (Spain).

Avionics will account for roughly 60 per cent of the total cost of the aircraft. In a multinational project this means a great deal of coordination and standardisation. Eurofighter has awarded a contract estimated at about 5 million [pounds] to SD-Scicon to supply the cross-compiler to enable software to be transferred to the microprocessors embedded in the 50 or so avionics systems of the aircraft. The software language selected is SD-Scicon's Ada, and Digital Equipment Corporation's VAX/VMS system was chosen as the standard hardware platform for all software development. SD-Scicon was also awarded another contract to supply the Integrated Project Support Environment (IPSE). This system, which has already been used for the development of the EH101 helicopter and the Rapier 2000 missile system, enables to control the flow of data between the team members operating in different locations.

Typical weapons for the EFA include the AMRAAM and the Sidewinder. The aircraft has a total of 15 underwing and underbelly hard-points.

Although the following aircraft are not strictly new developments, they have been unveiled to the public relatively recently.

F-117 Nighthawk

The F-117 made its first flight as early as 1981, achieved initial operational capability in October 1983 and was officially unveiled to the public in November 1988. Contrary to all expectations, the aircraft did not feature the smooth flowing lines depicted in numerous speculative "artists' impressions", but rather a series of flat panels joined together by a network of sharp edges reminiscent of a cut diamond. But isn't a diamond cut precisely to break up a single source of light into many small beams and disperse them in as many directions as possible? This is what the F-117 tries to achieve with radar signals. Needless to say, with the resulting aerodynamics the only way of providing the aircraft with suitable flight characteristics was to use fly-by-wire controls. The aircraft's structure is said to be made essentially of aluminum with a radar absorbing coating. The exhaust gases are mixed with cool air and expelled via nozzles that are spread over the full width of the fuselage trailing edge to ensure maximum dilution of the infrared signature.

The stealth characteristics enable the F-117 to be flown at high altitude with almost total impunity, thus allowing the pilot to spot his targets from a greater range than a terrain-following pattern would allow.

The aircraft is equipped with two infrared cameras, one in the nose just under the canopy, the other under the fuselage ahead of the nose landing gear well. The weapons - essentially of the laser-guided type - are carried internally in two 900-kg capacity bays (a Maverick weighs between 210 and 290 kg depending on the warhead used, a HARM 350 kg, but a GBU-15 reaches 1140 kg).

A total of 59 F-117s have been ordered (unit fly-away cost $42.6 million in early 1980 dollars), and the last one will be delivered by the end of this year. Three units were lost and will not be replaced. The F-117 saw combat in 1989 during Operation Just Cause in Panama.

MiG-29 Fulcrum

The MiG-29, which has been operational since 1985, was presented for the first time outside the Soviet sphere of influence at the 1988 Farnborough Air Show. Although the airframe was probably designed with the help of a compter-aided-design programme, the aircraft does not make use of highly sophisticated technology. However, it was recently disclosed by Soviet officials that the Mikoyan design bureau was now flight-testing a prototype of the aircraft equipped with fly-by-wire controls.

The MiG-29 has been exported to East Germany, North Korea, Syria and Yugoslavia.

Su-27 Flanker

The Su-27 probably owes most of its reputation to the Cobra manoeuvre performed at air shows by test pilot Pougachev. The figure consists in pulling the nose of the aircraft up from a normal horizontal flight attitude until it describes a 120 degree arc so that for a brief moment the aircraft actually flies with its exhaust nozzles first. During the manoeuvre, the aircraft hardly loses any altitude. The usefulness of the Cobra manoeuvre has sparked off much controversy among Western pilots; nevertheless the aircraft, which is in normal service, achieves angles of attack that are currently being explored in the United States only with special experimental aircraft.

Although the Su-27 bears a strong resemblance to the MiG-29, it is a much larger and heavier aeroplane. It incorporates more advanced technology, having quadruple fly-by-wire controls including a system which prevents the pilot from exceeding the aircraft's normal flight envelope (35-degree angle of attack for example, although the limiting system can be switched off for special demonstrations such as the Cobra). Cockpit instrumentation, on the other hand, is conventional and, although it relies heavily on titanium, the airframe is devoid of any composite elements.

Sukhoi is currently testing a version of the Su-27 equipped with thrust-vectoring nozzles and canards.

PHOTO : Artist's impression of the Lockheed/Boeing/General Dynamics contender in the US Air Force

PHOTO : ATF programme. As with the FY-23A, two YF-22A flying prototypes are planned, one powered

PHOTO : by Pratt & Whitney F119s and the other by General Electric F120s. Both engine types

PHOTO : feature thrust-vectoring exhaust nozzies.

PHOTO : In many respects the Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23A bears a striking resemblance to the

PHOTO : Blackbird.

PHOTO : The Pratt F119 engine (photo) has a more conventional design than its General Electric

PHOTO : counterpart, which has a sophisticated variable-cycle configuration.

PHOTO : With state-of-the-art man-machine interfacing modern cockpit layouts appear to be

PHOTO : deceptively simple, but in fact more data are provided to the pilot.

PHOTO : Salvaged by the Swedish Government despite much controversial debate in Parliament, the

PHOTO : development of the JAS 39 fighter is now proceeding smoothly.

PHOTO : The art of short-run landing without thrust reversers: the large canards are pitched

PHOTO : vertically to act as airbrakes.

PHOTO : The EP-17 cockpit of the Gripen features three large displays and a Hughes-based head-up

PHOTO : display.

PHOTO : The Rafale A demonstrator is now flying under hybrid propulsion with a General Electric

PHOTO : turbine on one side and the more powerful Snecma M88-2 on the other.

PHOTO : The Rafale's new 30 mm GIAT 30-791B cannon weighs 110 kg and fires electrically-primed

PHOTO : 20-790 ammunition at a maximum rate of fire of 2 500 rounds per minute.

PHOTO : The Rafale D is scheduled to make its maiden flight early next year. It will be the first

PHOTO : Rafale to fly with the definitive powerplant installation - two Snecma M88-2s.

PHOTO : The first two prototype of the EFA will be powered by Turbo-Union RB-199s, but subsequent

PHOTO : aircraft will have two Eurojet EJ200s.

PHOTO : The Eurojet EJ200 will provide the European Fighter Aircraft with 2X9.2 tonnes of thrust.

PHOTO : This view of the F-117 clearly shows the engine exhaust design which spreads the hot gases

PHOTO : over the full width of and above the "trailing edge" of the fuselage.

PHOTO : One of the imperfections of the MiG-29 design appears quite clearly on this picture: the

PHOTO : poor reaward view from the cockpit.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Armada International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Biass, Eric H.
Publication:Armada International
Date:Aug 1, 1990
Words:5391
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