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rec.aviation.military Frequently Asked Questions (part 1 of 5)

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Archive-Name: mil-aviation-faq/part1
Posting-Frequency: Monthly
Last-Modified: 20-Nov-1994

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
                 Ross Smith <>

Subject: A.1. Introduction Every newsgroup on Usenet finds that certain questions crop up time after time. Regular readers of a group get tired of seeing the same old questions (and posting the same old answers) time and time again, while new readers wonder why they're getting so many impolite replies, and so few useful ones, to perfectly reasonable queries. The result is frustration all round. This list of Frequently Asked Questions attempts to provide answers to some of the most popular questions about military aircraft and aviation. It will be posted to "rec.aviation.military" every month. If you're fairly new to this group (or even if you're not) and have a question related to military aviation, you should check here first, to avoid wasting bandwidth on a topic that may have already been discussed many times. Of course, this is not intended to discourage interesting discussions; if you have something new to say about any of the topics covered here (or any other topic, for that matter), by all means share it with us. Further contributions are welcome; send any comments, corrections, new questions, or new answers to me at the address above (note that the address for FAQ-related mail is different from my normal address). If you send me mail about the FAQ, please reduce any quoted material to the absolute minimum (ideally, just give the number of the question and answer you're talking about). Nearly all FAQs and similar regular postings on Usenet are archived at ""; you should be able to find the most recent version of this FAQ there. If you don't have access to FTP, you can get instructions for using their mail server by sending email to "" with a blank subject line and a body containing just the word "help" (no quotes). This FAQ file is copyright 1994 by Ross Smith. It may be copied and archived freely, provided it remains unchanged. Portions may be quoted with appropriate acknowledgements.
Subject: A.2. Table of contents [* Significant changes to this entry] [** New entry] Section A. Preliminaries A.1. Introduction A.2. Table of contents A.3. A note on character sets A.4. Common abbreviations A.5. Conversion factors Section B. Current Projects B.1. A/F-X B.2. Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey B.3. Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche B.4. Dassault Rafale B.5. Eurofighter 2000 * B.6. JAST ** B.7. LCA B.8. Lockheed/Boeing F-22 B.9. McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III B.10. Mikoyan 1.42 B.11. Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit * B.12. Saab JAS 39 Gripen B.13. Shenyang J-8/F-8 ** B.14. X-32 B.15. Yakovlev Yak-41/141 "Freestyle" Section C. Contemporary Aircraft C.1. Why is the "stealth fighter" called F-117 instead of F-19? * C.2. Does the USAF have a hypersonic spyplane called "Aurora"? C.3. What's a TR-3? C.4. Why wasn't the B-1 or B-2 used in Desert Storm? C.5. Is fighter X better than fighter Y? C.6. Why was the YF-22 chosen over the YF-23? C.7. Did someone buy Grumman? C.8. Why do recent articles refer to the "Lockheed F-16"? C.9. Whatever happened to the F/A-16? * C.10. Why do some aircraft have gold-tinted canopies? C.11. Why do USAF aircraft have tailhooks? * C.12. What's the composition of an aircraft carrier's air wing? * C.13. What's happened to the former USSR's aircraft carriers? * C.14. What's an Su-35? ** C.15. What were the "new" fighters in _Hot Shots_? ** C.16. Why do the USAF/USN use incompatible refuelling systems? C.17. What air-to-air missiles are in service? Section D. Post-War Aircraft D.1. Is aircraft X still in service? D.2. Did one of the XB-70 prototypes crash during a photo shot? Section E. World War II Aircraft * E.1. What jet aircraft were the Germans working on during WW2? E.2. How "stealthy" was the wooden Mosquito? Section F. Books and Sources F.1. What good books are there on air combat? F.2. Where can I get a pilot's manual for aircraft X? F.3. What FTP sites have aircraft pictures and related material? F.4. What military aviation related mailing lists are available? Section G. Museums and Warbirds * G.1. Where can I see surviving examples of famous aircraft? Section H. Aircraft Designations H.1. American aircraft designations H.2. US Navy aircraft designations (pre-1962) H.3. USAF/USN fighters and attack aircraft H.4. American missile designations ** H.5. American electronic systems designations H.6. Russian aircraft designations H.7. Russian aircraft codenames H.8. Russian missile designations and codenames H.9. British aircraft designations * H.10. Canadian aircraft designations * H.11. Chinese aircraft designations H.12. German aircraft designations (WW2) H.13. Japanese aircraft designations and codenames (WW2) H.14. Swedish aircraft designations Section J. Notes J.1. Reference books J.2. Magazines J.3. Acknowledgements
Subject: A.3. A note on character sets A FAQ on a subject like this will necessarily include a lot of non-English names and words which contain letters not in the English alphabet, mainly accented vowels. I don't like the idea of forcing foreign words into an English straitjacket by converting these letters into diphthongs (or, even worse, just ignoring the accents). There is an international standard 8-bit character set, ISO 8859/1, also known as Latin 1; it's an extension of 7-bit ASCII to include most of the characters used in European languages. I've used the Latin 1 characters in this document. A lot of news transport and news reading software now supports Latin 1, and it's becoming more widely supported; unfortunately, there's still a lot of software around that reduces everything to 7-bit ASCII. For the benefit of those using such software, here's a table of the accented letters in Latin 1 (not all of these appear in this document, of course), so you can tell whether you have 8-bit software, and if not, which characters the accented letters are being turned into. If you come across a name that seems to be spelled oddly, this should help you figure out what it's meant to be. Letter A a E e I i N n O o U u Y y Acute accent (') - - Grave accent (`) - - - - Caret (^) - - - - Tilde (~) - - - - - - - - Umlaut (") - - - Ring (o) - - - - - - - - - - - - Slash (/) - - - - - - - - - - - -
Subject: A.4. Common abbreviations (See also section H) Abbreviations in common use on Usenet :-) = Smile :-( = Frown AFAIK = As Far As I Know AKA = Also Known As BTW = By The Way FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions FTP = File Transfer Protocol FWIW = For What It's Worth FYI = For Your Information GIF = Graphic Interchange Format HTTP = Hypertext Transfer Protocol IIRC = If I Remember Correctly IMHO = In My Humble Opinion IMNSHO = In My Not So Humble Opinion ISTR = I Seem To Recall RL = Real Life ROTFL = Rolling On The Floor Laughing UL = Urban Legend URL = Uniform Resource Locator WRT = With Respect To WWW = World-Wide Web YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary Abbreviations related to military aviation AA = Anti-Aircraft AAA = Anti-Aircraft Artillery AAM = Air-to-Air Missile AB = Air Base a/c = Aircraft ACM = Air Combat Manoeuvring AEW = Airborne Early Warning AEW&C = Airborne Early Warning and Control AF = Air Force AFB = Air Force Base AFTI = Advanced Fighter Technology Integration AGM = Air-to-Ground Missile AH = Attack Helicopter ALARM = Air-Launched Anti-Radiation Missile ALCM = Air-Launched Cruise Missile AMRAAM = Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile AOA = Angle of Attack AP = Armour Piercing APU = Auxiliary Power Unit ARH = Active Radar Homing ARM = Anti-Radiation Missile ASL = At Sea Level ASM = Air-to-Surface Missile ASPJ = Airborne Self-Protection Jammer ASRAAM = Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile ASTOVL = Advanced Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing ASV = Anti-Surface-Vessel ASW = Anti-Submarine Warfare AT = Advanced Trainer ATB = Advanced Technology Bomber ATF = Advanced Tactical Fighter ATGM = Anti-Tank Guided Missile ATGW = Anti-Tank Guided Weapon ATM = Anti-Tank Missile AWACS = Airborne Warning and Control System BDA = Bomb Damage Assessment BUFF = Big Ugly Fat Fucker (B-52) CAD = Computer Aided Design CAG = Carrier Air Group CALF = Common Advanced Lightweight Fighter CAM = Computer Aided Manufacturing CAP = Combat Air Patrol CAS = Close Air Support CAW = Carrier Air Wing CCIP = Continuously Computed Impact Point CO = Commanding Officer COD = Carrier On-Board Delivery COIN = Counter-Insurgency CTOL = Conventional Take-Off and Landing CV = Carrier, Heavier-than-Air CVA = Carrier, Heavier-than-Air, Attack CVE = Carrier, Heavier-than-Air, Escort CVN = Carrier, Heavier-than-Air, Nuclear Powered CVS = Carrier, Heavier-than-Air, Anti-Submarine CVW = Carrier Air Wing DACT = Dissimilar Air Combat Training DS = Desert Storm EAP = Experimental Aircraft Programme ECCM = Electronic Counter-Countermeasures ECM = Electronic Countermeasures ECR = Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance EFA = European Fighter Aircraft EFIS = Electronic Flight Information System ehp = Equivalent Horsepower ekW = Equivalent Kilowatts ELINT = Electronic Intelligence EMP = Electromagnetic Pulse ESM = Electronic Support/Surveillance Measures Eurofar = European Future Advanced Rotorcraft EW = Electronic Warfare F/A = Fighter/Attack FAC = Forward Air Control FAST = Fuel and Sensor, Tactical FB = Fighter-Bomber FBW = Fly by Wire FGA = Fighter/Ground Attack FLA = Future Large Airlifter FLIR = Forward-Looking Infrared FOD = Foreign Object Damage FR = Flight Refuelling FSW = Forward-Swept Wings Ftr = Fighter FY = Fiscal Year GA = Ground Attack GCA = Ground Controlled Approach GCI = Ground Controlled Interception GPS = Global Positioning System HARM = High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile HE = High Explosive Helo = Helicopter HOTAS = Hands On Throttle and Stick HUD = Head-Up Display IADS = Integrated Air Defence System IAS = Indicated Airspeed IFF = Identification Friend-or-Foe IFR = Instrument Flight Rules IIR = Imaging Infrared INS = Inertial Navigation System Intel = Intelligence INU = Inertial Navigation Unit IR = Infrared IRH = Infrared Homing IRST = Infrared Search and Track JATO = Jet-Assisted Take-Off JPATS = Joint Primary Aircraft Training System JSTARS = Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System JTIDS = Joint Tactical Information Distribution System KE = Kinetic Energy LAMPS = Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System LANA = Low-Level All-Weather Night Attack LANTIRN = Low-Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night LCA = Light Combat Aircraft LGB = Laser-Guided Bomb LLLTV = Low-Light-Level Television LTA = Lighter Than Air LWF = Lightweight Fighter M = Mach MAD = Magnetic Anomaly Detection MFI = Multirole Fighter/Interceptor MG = Machine Gun MP = Maritime Patrol MRF = Multirole Fighter MSIP = Multi-Stage Improvement Programme NAS = Naval Air Station NATF = Naval Advanced Tactical Fighter NAVSAT = Navigation Satellite NAW = Night/All Weather NBC = Nuclear/Biological/Chemical Warfare NOTAR = No Tail Rotor NVG = Night Vision Goggles PGM = Precision Guided Munitions PR = Photographic Reconnaissance PRF = Pulse Repetition Frequency PT = Primary Trainer RATO = Rocket-Assisted Take-Off RCS = Radar Cross-Section Recce = Reconnaissance Recon = Reconnaissance RIO = Radar Intercept Officer RPV = Remote-Piloted Vehicle RTB = Return to Base RWR = Radar Warning Receiver SABA = Small Agile Battlefield Aircraft SAM = Surface-to-Air Missile SAR = Search and Rescue SARH = Semi-Active Radar Homing SEAD = Suppression of Enemy Air Defences SDI = Strategic Defense Initiative SFC = Specific Fuel Consumption SHAR = Sea Harrier SL = Sea Level SLAM = Standoff Land Attack Missile SLAR = Sideways-Looking Airborne Radar SLUF = Short Little Ugly Fucker (A-7) SOP = Standard Operating Procedure SPAAG = Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Sqn = Squadron SR = Strategic Reconnaissance SRAM = Short-Range Attack Missile STOL = Short Take-Off and Landing STOVL = Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing TACAMO = Take Command and Move Out TARPS = Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System TAS = True Airspeed TASM = Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile TCS = Television Camera System TFR = Terrain-Following Radar TFW = Tactical Fighter Wing TIALD = Thermal Imaging and Laser Designation TLAM = Tomahawk Land Attack Missile TO&E = Table of Organisation and Equipment TOW = Tube-Launched Optically-Tracked Wire-Guided Missile TRAM = Target Recognition and Attack Multi-Sensor UAV = Unmanned Air Vehicle UH = Utility Helicopter VFR = Visual Flight Rules VG = Variable Geometry VIFF = Vectoring in Forward Flight V/STOL = Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing VTO = Vertical Take-Off VTOL = Vertical Take-Off and Landing WIG = Wing In Ground-Effect WSIP = Weapons System Improvement Programme WSO = Weapon Systems Officer Abbreviations for air forces and other organisations ACC = Air Combat Command (USA) AETC = Air Education and Training Command (USA) AFPLA = Air Force of the People's Liberation Army (China) AFRES = Air Force Reserve (USA) AMC = Air Mobility Command (USA) ANG = Air National Guard (USA) ARPA = Advanced Research Projects Agency (USA) AVMF = Aviatsiya Voenno-Morsko Flota (Naval Air Force) (Russia) BMDO = Ballistic Missile Defence Office (USA) CIS = Commonwealth of Independent States DA = Dalnaya Aviatsiya (Strategic Aviation) (Russia) DARO = Defence Aerial Reconnaissance Office (USA) DARPA = Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (USA) DOD = Department of Defense (USA) FA = Frontovaya Aviatsiya (Tactical Aviation) (Russia) FSU = Former Soviet Union FUSSR = Former USSR IDF/AF = Israeli Defence Force/Air Force (Heyl Ha'Avir) JASDF = Japan Air Self-Defence Force KLu = Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force) MAC = Military Airlift Command (USA) MATS = Military Air Transport Service (USA) NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration (USA) NATO = North Atlantic Treaty Organisation NRO = National Reconnaissance Office (USA) PVO = Protivo-Vozdushnoy Oborony (Air Defence Force) (Russia) PVOS = Protivo-Vozdushnoy Oborony Strany (Air Defence Force) (Russia) RAAF = Royal Australian Air Force RAF = Royal Air Force (UK) RN = Royal Navy (UK) RNAF = Royal Norwegian Air Force RNZAF = Royal New Zealand Air Force ROKAF = Republic of Korea Air Force (South Korea) RSAF = Royal Saudi Air Force RVSN = Raketnye Voiska Strategityesko Naznatseniya (Strategic Missile Force) (Russia) SAAF = South African Air Force SAC = Strategic Air Command (USA) TAC = Tactical Air Command (USA) USAAF = United States Army Air Force USAF = United States Air Force USMC = United States Marine Corps USN = United States Navy VTA = Voenno-Transportnaya Aviatsiya (Military Transport Aviation) (Russia) VVS RF = Voenno-Vozdushniye Sily Rossiskoi Federatsii (Air Forces of the Russian Federation) WP = Warsaw Pact Abbreviations for manufacturers' names AIDC = Aero Industry Development Centre (Taiwan) An = Antonov (Ukraine) AS = Arospatiale (France) ASTA = Aerospace Technologies of Australia BAC = British Aircraft Corporation BAe = British Aerospace Be = Beriev (Russia) BMAC = Boeing Military Aircraft Corporation (USA) CAC = Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (China) CASA = Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (Spain) CNIAR = Centrul National al Industriei Aeronautice Romne (Romania) DASA = Deutsche Aerospace SA (Germany) DH = De Havilland (UK) DHC = De Havilland Canada EC = Eurocopter (France/Germany) EHI = Ellicoteri/Helicopter Industries (Italy/UK) Embraer = Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica (Brazil) Euroflag = European Future Large Airlifter Group (France/Germany/Italy/Portugal/Spain/Turkey/UK) GD = General Dynamics (USA) GE = General Electric (USA) HAL = Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (India) HAMC = Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (China) HP = Handley Page (UK) HS = Hawker Siddeley (UK) IAI = Israel Aircraft Industries Il = Ilyushin (Russia) Ka = Kamov (Russia) LTV = Ling-Temco-Vought (USA) MBB = Messerschmitt-Blkow-Blohm (Germany) MD = McDonnell Douglas (USA) Mi = Mil (Russia) MiG = Mikoyan-Gurevich (Russia) NAMC = Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Company (China) P&W = Pratt and Whitney (USA) P&WC = Pratt and Whitney Canada RR = Rolls-Royce (UK) SAC = Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (China) SEPECAT = Socit Europenne de Production de l'Avion d'Ecole de Combat et d'Appui Tactique (France/UK) Su = Sukhoi (Russia) Tu = Tupolev (Russia) XAC = Xian Aircraft Company (China) Yak = Yakovlev (Russia)
Subject: A.5. Conversion factors I've used metric units throughout this FAQ. The following conversion factors may come in useful. Length Inch = 2.540 cm Foot = 0.3048 m Yard = 0.9144 m Mile = 1.609 km Nautical mile = 1.852 km Volume Gallon (US) = 3.785 L Gallon (UK) = 4.546 L Mass Pound = 0.4536 kg Short ton = 907.2 kg Long ton = 1016 kg Speed Mile per hour = 1.609 km/h Knot = 1.852 km/h Force Pound force = 4.448 N Kilogram force = 9.807 N Power Horsepower = 0.7457 kW
Subject: B.1. A/F-X The A/F-X (Attack/Fighter X) was a joint USAF/USN project to produce a heavy attack aircraft with a secondary fighter role; it would have replaced the F-111 and A-6 in the attack role, and (partially) the F-14 in the fighter role. It was a short-lived programme, originating in 1991 after the cancellation of the McDonnell Douglas/General Dynamics A-12, a highly advanced, highly stealthy aircraft intended to replace the A-6. A new programme, originally designated A-X, was initiated to provide a cheaper A-6 replacement. At the same time, the NATF (Naval Advanced Tactical Fighter) programme, intended to produce an F-14 replacement, had recently been put on hold, and the USAF was starting to think seriously about an F-111 replacement. The three programmes were merged under the title A/F-X. The leading contender was the Lockheed/Boeing AFX-653, essentially a navalised version of the USAF's F-22 Advanced Tactical Fighter (see below). This would have been a two-seat aircraft with Tomcat-like swing wings, but otherwise similar to the F-22. The A/F-X project was cancelled at the end of 1993; the US Navy intends to procure the F/A-18E/F series as partial replacements for its aircraft. Lockheed and Boeing are still working on the AFX-653, and hope to offer a further developed version for a future project (but probably not JAST (see below), for which the AFX-653 would probably be too big). You can find an article on the subject, with plans of the AFX-653, in the 26-Jan-94 issue of _Flight International_. Vital statistics (AFX-653): power plant: two 113 kN Pratt & Whitney PW7000 augmented turbofans; armament: one 20mm cannon, internal bays for various air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, including AGM-86E missiles and GBU-24 guided bombs.
Subject: B.2. Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey The tilt-rotor programme began with Bell's XV-15 technology demonstrator. A tilt-rotor multimission aircraft was commissioned under the title JVX (Joint VTOL X); the aircraft, developed jointly by Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing Vertol, was later designated V-22 Osprey. The first prototype flew on 19 March 1989; development has been interrupted by the destruction of two of the prototypes in crashes. Despite attempts by the US Secretary of Defence to have the programme halted in favour of conventional helicopters and transport aircraft, the Osprey has survived several rounds of budget cutting, thanks mainly to lobbying by the US Marine Corps. The first production aircraft is expected to fly in December 1996. Current production plans consist of 552 MV-22A assault transports for the USMC, 50 HV-22A combat rescue aircraft for the US Navy, and 55 CV-22A special mission transports for the Special Operations Forces. The US Army's original requirement for 251 of the transport version has been deferred, but not irrevocably cancelled. Japan is expected to order four search and rescue aircraft, and is considering the V-22 for the anti-submarine role. Vital statistics (MV-22A): length 19.09 m, span 14.36 m, empty weight 14463 kg, max weight 27442 kg, max speed 556 km/h, range 3892 km, payload 9072 kg; power plant: two 4586 kW Allison T406-AD-400 turboshafts.
Subject: B.3. Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche The LHX (Light Helicopter X) programme, to provide the US Army with a light scout/attack helicopter to replace the AH-1 Cobra, OH-6 Cayuse, and OH-56 Kiowa, was initiated in 1982. The original plan was to acquire 5000 helicopters, in a mixture of LHX SCAT (scout/attack) and LHX Utility versions; the latter was intended as a UH-1 replacement. The utility role was dropped, and the requirement reduced to 2096 aircraft, in 1987. Two consortia were awarded demonstration and validation contracts in October 1988, one consisting of Bell and McDonnell Douglas, the other Boeing and Sikorsky. On 5 April 1991, the Boeing/Sikorsky team was awarded a contract for development of the LHX, now designated RAH-66A Comanche. The programme has survived recent budget cuts; the first flight is scheduled for September 1994, service delivery 1997. The production total is now expected to be 1292 aircraft, of which about one third will be the RAH-66B version, carrying a slightly smaller version of the Longbow radar fitted to the AH-64D Apache. Vital statistics (RAH-66A): fuselage length 13.22 m, rotor diameter 11.90 m, empty weight 3402 kg, max weight 7790 kg, max speed 328 km/h, range 2335 km; power plant: two 690 kW LHTEC T800-LHT-800 turboshafts; armament: 20mm cannon, internal and external carriage for up to 14 Hellfire or 18 Stinger missiles.
Subject: B.4. Dassault Rafale When France withdrew from what was then the FEFA programme (now Eurofighter 2000; see below) in 1985, Dassault went ahead with a very similar multirole fighter of its own, named Rafale (squall). In the first few years there were half-hearted attempts to bring in foreign partners, but nothing came of this. The first prototype Rafale A flew on 4 July 1986. The Arme de l'Air (French AF) has ordered the "Rafale D", a generic name covering the two-seat Rafale B and single-seat Rafale C; the first pre-production Rafale C flew on 19 May 1991. The original plan was for a force consisting mainly of single-seat aircraft, but the Arme de l'Air now appears to like the idea of two-seat combat aircraft, and it is expected that most, possibly all, of the Rafales for the Arme de l'Air will be the Rafale B version. The Arme de l'Air is expected to order 235 Rafales, entering service in 2000, or possibly 2002. The Aronavale (French Navy air arm) has ordered the Rafale M, a single seat carrier-borne fighter; the first Rafale M flew on 12 December 1991, and made its first carrier landing on the _Foch_ on 19 April 1993. The Aronavale intends to purchase 86 Rafales, probably entering service in 1999. Vital statistics (Rafale B): length 15.30 m, span 10.90 m, empty weight 9550 kg, max weight 19500 kg, max speed 2124 km/h (Mach 2.0), ferry range 3706 km; power plant: two 72.90 kN Snecma M88-2 augmented turbofans; armament: 30mm cannon, AAM rail on each wingtip, 14 hardpoints; max external load 8000 kg.
Subject: B.5. Eurofighter 2000 In 1982 British Aerospace began development of what was then called ACA (Agile Combat Aircraft), a fighter technology demonstrator, originally privately funded, although it later attracted some assistance from the British government. The single aircraft first flew on 8 August 1986, by which time it had been redesignated EAP (Experimental Aircraft Programme). Meanwhile, in December 1983, the air forces of France, Germany (then West Germany), Italy, Spain, and the UK announced a programme for the development of a next generation combat aircraft, designated FEFA (Future European Fighter Aircraft), based largely on the EAP demonstrator, and on similar work done by MBB (now part of DASA) in Germany, under the designation JF-90 (a research project rather than an actual aircraft). FEFA was originally intended to enter service with all five countries in the mid-1990s. From the beginning the programme was dogged by political, commercial, technological, and military infighting (leading _Flight International_ columnist Roger Bacon to suggest that the acronym actually stood for Five Europeans Farting Around). Disagreement over the size of the aircraft and the production schedule led France to withdraw from the programme in July 1985 (France wanted a smaller aircraft, and postponement of production to avoid competing with Dassault's Mirage 2000). In June 1986 Eurofighter GmbH was formed to manage what was now the EFA (European Fighter Aircraft) programme, with participation by British Aerospace (33%), MBB (now DASA, 33%), Aeritalia (now Alenia, 21%), and CASA (13%). The aircraft is now known as the Eurofighter 2000; a proper name is expected to be assigned eventually. The first flight was made on 27 March 1994; production delivery is expected to begin in 2000. Orders are 250 for the UK (but they're considering an increase to 350), 165 for Italy, 100 for Spain, and probably about 100-120 for Germany (who originally wanted 140 but are expected to reduce their order). BAe and Rolls-Royce have proposed a future version with VTOL capability. Vital statistics (Eurofighter 2000): length 14.50 m, span 10.50 m, empty weight 9750 kg, max weight 17000 kg, max speed 1912 km/h (Mach 1.8), ferry range 1112 km; power plant: two 90.00 kN augmented turbofans; armament: 27mm cannon, AAM rail on each wingtip, 11 hardpoints; max external load 6500 kg.
Subject: B.6. JAST The US Joint Advanced Strike Technology programme, established in early 1994, is intended to be a technology development programme rather than an actual service aircraft. It involves all the improvements that would be expected for a next generation aircraft (advanced materials, stealth, reduced costs, better systems integration, and so forth), plus two particularly innovative concepts. The first is the idea of a modular aircraft design, so that individual aircraft could be built with different combinations of components for different services and missions (take-off capability, for example -- the same basic airframe could be built in conventional runway versions for the USAF, carrier-borne versions for the USN, and V/STOL versions for the USMC). The second is the possibility of providing a "virtual reality" environment for the pilot, which would integrate tactical information with the outside view. JAST has inherited much of the defunct A/F-X project, and has been partially combined with ARPA's X-32 project (see section B.14). This was resisted by the DOD, which wanted JAST to be a relatively low-risk project. Twelve technology development contracts were awarded in May 1994, the largest going to Boeing. The JAST project is expected to lead to the construction of two technology demonstrator aircraft (one will probably be the X-32), and eventually to a service aircraft (which may or may not be derived from one of the demonstrators) which will begin to replace the F-16 in USAF service, the F/A-18 (and possibly F-14) in USN service, and the Harrier in USMC service by 2010.
Subject: B.7. LCA The LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) is India's second indigenous jet fighter design, after the HF-24 Marut of the 1950s. Development began in 1983; the basic design was finalised in 1990, and two prototypes are currently approaching completion, with first flight expected sometime in 1995. The configuration is a delta wing, with no tailplanes or foreplanes, and a single vertical fin. The LCA will be constructed of aluminium-lithium alloys, carbon-fibre composites, and titanium. The design incorporates "control-configured vehicle" concepts to enhance manoeuvrability, and quadruplex fly-by-wire controls. Both prototypes are powered by General Electric F404-GE-F2J3 engines, but an indigenous engine, the GTX-35VS Kaveri, is being developed for the production LCA. No official name or other designation has been assigned to the LCA yet. Vital statistics: length 13.20 m, span 8.20 m, empty weight 5500 kg, clean TO weight 8500 kg, max TO weight not given, max speed 1699 km/h (Mach 1.6); power plant: one 83.4 kN GTRE GTX-35VS augmented turbofan; armament: one GSh-23 twin-barrel 23mm cannon (220 rounds); 7 hardpoints; max external load over 4000 kg.
Subject: B.8. Lockheed/Boeing F-22 The ATF (Advanced Technology Fighter) programme began in September 1983, when design contracts were awarded to seven companies; in October 1986, development contracts were awarded to two consortia, one consisting of Lockheed (prime contractor), Boeing, and General Dynamics, the other of Northrop (prime contractor) and McDonnell Douglas. The first Northrop/MD YF-23A (unofficially "Black Widow II") flew on 27 August 1990, followed by the first Lockheed/Boeing/GD YF-22A (unofficially "Lightning II") on 29 September 1990. In April 1991, the YF-22A was selected for development and eventual service. Recent budget cuts have slowed down the schedule slightly; the first flight of the production Lockheed/Boeing F-22A (General Dynamics sold its fighter division to Lockheed in December 1992), originally scheduled for June 1996, will now be in (probably) March 1997. Service entry is expected to begin in 2003; the USAF is currently fighting an attempt by the General Accounting Office to delay this to 2010. Total production, originally planned to be 648 aircraft, has now been reduced to 442. Reports differ as to whether the aircraft has an official name yet; for a while the Pentagon was considering "Superstar", and some magazine reports have claimed that the name "Rapier" has been assigned. However, Chris Ridlon of USAF ROTC/Academy reports that all the USAF people he knows (including F-22 acquisition officers) are using Lockheed's name of "Lightning II", so that may be officially approved after all. Vital statistics (YF-22A): length 18.90 m, span 13.56 m, empty weight 15422 kg, max weight 28123 kg, max speed 2655 km/h (Mach 2.5), ferry range 3704 km; power plant: two 155.68 kN Pratt & Whitney F119-100 augmented turbofans; armament: 20mm cannon, internal bays for two AIM-9 and four AIM-120A or six AIM-120C air-to-air missiles, or two AIM-9, two AIM-120, and two air-to-surface missiles, external hardpoints for four more AIM-120s or other ordnance; radar: Westinghouse/Texas Instruments APG-77.
Subject: B.9. McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III The USAF initiated the C-X (Cargo X) programme in October 1980; McDonnell Douglas was selected as prime contractor on 19 August 1981. The C-X, later designated C-17, is primarily a C-141 replacement, with some overlap with the roles of the C-5 and C-130. The first prototype flew in September 1991. The programme has suffered many technical and political setbacks, but production has begun, although the USAF's order has been reduced from the original 210. 40 have been definitely ordered, of which 10 had been delivered by February 1994. A follow-up order for another 80 is on hold, conditional on MD correcting design flaws and cost overruns; a decision will be made by the end of 1995. McDonnell Douglas are considering a civilian airfreight version, under the designation MD-17. Vital statistics (C-17A): length 53.04 m, span 52.20 m, empty weight 122016 kg, max weight 263083 kg, cruise speed 818 km/h, range 8710 km, payload 78108 kg; power plant: four 185.50 kN Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofans.
Subject: B.10. Mikoyan 1.42 Also known as MFI (Multirole Fighter/Interceptor), and sometimes referred to in the West as "ATFski", Mikoyan's Project 1.42 is a low-visibility multirole fighter, with air superiority as the primary mission, intended as an Su-27/35 replacement; in short, the Russian equivalent of the F-22. The 1.42 is one of the few Mikoyan projects to survive the recent wave of defence budget cuts from the Kremlin, although its schedule has apparently been slowed by shortage of funds as well as technical problems. The first airframe is reported to be already complete, but problems with the engines have delayed the first flight, now expected to be in September 1994. _Jane's Defence Weekly_ and _Flight International_ have published CAD images of the 1.42; they show an aircraft resembling a scaled-up F-16, with two engines with vectored-thrust nozzles, inward-canted twin tails, slightly downturned wingtips, Rafale-like rounded intakes, and possibly foreplanes. The 1.42, like the F-22, can carry weapons both internally and externally. It is expected to enter service about 2004 to 2006; service designation will probably be MiG-35. The related Project 7.01, a heavier and stealthier interceptor designed along similar lines, has been cancelled. The only available vital statistic is a maximum take-off weight of 30000 kilograms.
Subject: B.11. Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit Development of the ATB (Advanced Technology Bomber) began in 1978; the programme was revealed to the public in 1981, when Northrop's design was chosen over a Lockheed/Rockwell proposal. Although no details of the design were revealed, it was widely assumed that the aircraft would be a "flying wing" design, based on Northrop's experience with the XB-35 and YB-49, and this was confirmed when the first prototype was rolled out on 22 November 1988. It made its first flight on 17 July 1989, and the first production B-2 was delivered to the USAF in 1993. Production plans have been drastically cut from 135 aircraft to only 20, of which the last is expected to be delivered in 1997. The aircraft was officially named "Spirit" in February 1994; Northrop became Northrop Grumman in May 1994. Vital statistics (B-2A): length 21.03 m, span 52.42 m, empty weight 72575 kg, max weight 168434 kg, max speed 1103 km/h, range 13898 km, payload 22370 kg; power plant: four 84.51 kN General Electric F118-100 turbofans.
Subject: B.12. Saab JAS 39 Gripen Development of the JAS 39 Gripen (JAS = Jakt/Attack/Spaning = Fighter/Attack/Reconnaissance; Gripen = Griffon) began in 1980. It is a light multirole fighter, intended to gradually replace all versions of the Saab 35 Draken and Saab 37 Viggen in Flygvapnet (Swedish AF) service; development and production is carried out by IG-JAS, a consortium led by Saab. The first prototype flew on 9 December 1988; development has been delayed by the loss of two aircraft in crashes attributed to faults in the digital flight control software. The programme remains intact, however, and the Swedish government has confirmed its order for two initial batches totalling 140 aircraft (126 JAS 39A single-seat aircraft and 14 two-seat JAS 39B conversion training aircraft). Saab has high hopes for export success with the Gripen; the Swedish government has agreed to a slight relaxation of the export restrictions that made the Viggen a non-starter outside Sweden. An agreement with Britain was signed in February 1994, under which British Aerospace (which assisted Saab in the design of the Gripen) will market the aircraft; BAe will probably also be involved in production. An advanced JAS 39C version, with improved avionics and more powerful engines, is under development, and will probably be ordered as a third batch; the Flygvapnet originally planned to buy a total of 358 Gripens, but is expected to end up with 250 to 300. Vital statistics (JAS 39): length 14.15 m, span 8.40 m, empty weight 5800 kg, max weight 9526 kg, max speed 2336 km/h (Mach 2.2), range 600 km; power plant: one 80.50 kN Volvo Flygmotor RM12 augmented turbofan; armament: 27mm cannon, wingtip AAM rails, 6 hardpoints.
Subject: B.13. Shenyang J-8/F-8 Development of this large interceptor, the first jet fighter designed in China to enter service, began in 1964. The first prototype flew on 5 July 1969. Production of the J-8I began in July 1979; about 100 were delivered to the AFPLA before production ended in 1987. The J-8I resembled a scaled-up MiG-21 (J-7), with a tailed delta configuration powered by two engines fed from a single annular nose intake, carrying radar in the centrebody cone (it resembled Mikoyan's experimental Ye-152A, although, contrary to some early reports, it was not based on that aircraft). The more advanced J-8II was developed in the early 1980s, the first prototype flying on 12 June 1984. It differed externally in having two side intakes (similar to an F-4 or MiG-23) and a solid nose with a much larger radome. A plan to fit American avionics, including an advanced radar, fell through in the early 1990s; however, the J-8II has entered production anyway, carrying a Chinese SR-4 "lookdown-shootdown" radar. Both versions have been offered for export, as the F-8I and F-8II, but there have been no takers so far. Vital statistics (J-8II, estimated): length 21.59 m, span 9.34 m, empty weight 9820 kg, max weight 17800 kg, max speed 2336 km/h (Mach 2.2), ferry range 2200 km; power plant: two 65.90 kN Wopen 13A-II augmented turbojets; armament: one Type 23-3 twin-barrel 23mm cannon with 200 rounds, 7 hardpoints, max external load 3500 kg. ------------------------------ -- ... Ross Smith (Wellington, New Zealand) <> ... "Being in the air farce and navy means you only get to kill people by remote control, which takes some of the fun out of it." (Steve Kieffer-Higgins, in alt.tasteless)

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