Defense Issues

Military and general security

Archive for December, 2013


Posted by picard578 on December 28, 2013

EDIT 27.3.2015.:

IR wavelength range: midwave IR

Tracking area: +-90* horizontal, +60*/-15* vertical

Detection range v/s Su-30: 90 km from rear aspect, 35 km from the frontal aspect

Laser rangefinding: up tp 30 km

EDIT 28.3.2015.:

Detection range vs aerial target: 50/90 km

Range finding vs ground target: 30 km

Range finding vs aerial target: 20 km

Number of targets that can be tracked: 4


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Close Air Support fighter proposal 3

Posted by picard578 on December 28, 2013


As EJ-230 turned out to be too expensive for estimated cost of aircraft, I have decided to replace it with commercial engine. Gun will also be replaced with 30 mm version of GAU-12 (henceforth GAU-32). 20% increase in size will result in gun being 2,53 m long, 0,31 m wide and 0,35 m tall. Projectile dimensions will be 30×173 mm, same as GAU-8. Rate of fire will be 4.200 rpm, with muzzle velocity of 1.000 m/s. Projectile weight will be 378 g, with total round weight of 681 g. Muzzle energy will be 189.000 J, and maximum output 13,23 MW. Gun itself will weight 211 kg. Recoil is (4.200 / 60) * 1.000 * 0,378 = 26,46 kN.



Length: 12,04 m (12,6 m with tail)

Wingspan: 12,97 m

Height: 3,2 m

Wing area: 26,5 m2

Empty weight: 6.500 kg

Fuel capacity: 4.900 kg

  • Rear tank: 160x110x199 cm = 16x11x19 dm = 3344 l
  • Forward tank: 220x110x110 cm = 22x11x11 dm = 2662 l
  • 1 l = 0,82 kg

Fuel fraction: 0,43

Weight: (30 mm GAU-12 round: 681 g, AGM-65: 300 kg)

With 100% fuel + 1.200×30 mm rounds: 12.217 kg

With 50% fuel + 1.200×30 mm rounds: 9.767 kg

With 100% fuel + 1.200×30 mm rounds + 4 AGM-65: 13.417 kg

With 50% fuel + 1.200×30 mm rounds + 4 AGM-65: 10.967 kg

Maximum takeoff: 13.940 kg

Wing loading:

With 100% fuel + 1.200×30 mm rounds: 442 kg/m2

With 50% fuel + 1.200×30 mm rounds: 350 kg/m2

With 100% fuel + 1.200×30 mm rounds + 4 AGM-65: 487 kg/m2

With 50% fuel + 1.200×30 mm rounds + 4 AGM-65: 395 kg/m2


1xGAU-32 with 1.200 rounds

6 wing hardpoints (70 mm rocket pods, 12 rockets each; AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-114 Hellfire, AIM-9, ASRAAM, IRIS-T, MICA IR)

1 centerline hardpoint (jamming pod or 500 kg fuel tank, or any of above)

Gun: GAU-32

Length: 2,53 m

Width: 0,31 m

Rate of fire: 4.200 rpm

Muzzle velocity: 1.000 m/s

Projectile: 378 g

Round: 681 g

1-second burst: 70 rounds / 13,23 MJ

Engines: ALF-502R-5 (statistics represent each engine)

Maximum thrust: 6.970 lbf (3.162 kgf, 31 kN)

SFC at maximum thrust: 0,408 lb / lbf hr

Fuel consumption at maximum thrust: 1.290 kg per hour

Cruise thrust: 2.250 lbf

SFC at cruise thrust: 0,72 lb / lbf hr

Fuel consumption at cruise thrust: 735 kg per hour

Length: 162 cm

Diameter: 102 cm

Wing loading:

488 kg/m2 at combat takeoff weight

395 kg/m2 at combat weight

Thrust-to-weight ratio:

0,47 at combat takeoff weight

0,58 at combat weight


Maximum: 860 kph

Cruise: 490 kph

Combat radius with 10 minute combat: 1.093 km

Combat radius with 10 minute combat and 2 hour loiter: 603 km


radar warners

laser warners

missile warners




Unit flyaway cost: 9.184.000 USD

Cost per flying hour: 1.000-1.500 USD

Sorties per day per aircraft: 3

Sorties per day per billion procurement: 324



  • large tank: 140*98*122 px = 12,38*8,67*10,79 dm = 1158 l
  • small tank: 56*52*122 px = 4,95*4,6*10,79 dm = 245 l
  • wing tanks: 2 * 504*84*8 px = 2 * 44,59*7,43*0,71 dm = 2 * 235 = 470 l

This will allow extensive combat and loiter time even if one fuel tank is punctured.

ALX combat mission fuel usage will be like this:

* takeoff – 7 kg

* 10 minutes to 10.000 meters – 430 kg

* 10 minutes of combat – 430 kg

* descent – 250 kg

* landing – 4 kg

* cruise to combat area – 1.640 kg

* cruise from combat area – 1.640 kg

* unusable fuel – 10 kg

* reserve – 489 kg

Ammo capacity:

l:72 px / 63 cm, d:92 px / 80 cm

area: 450 rounds

length: 3 rounds

total: 1.350 rounds

weight: 702 kg

Wing area: 2*210*582 + 97*215 = 244.400 + 20.855 cm2 = 26,5 m2

A-10 costs 16 million USD at weight of 11.321 kg, for a cost of 1.413 USD/kg.

Naval variant will cost 11 million USD.


A-10 has a minimum takeoff distance of 945 meters and landing distance of 610 meters. Its takeoff weight is 21.361 kg for CAS mission, with TWR of 0,38, wing loading of 454 kg/m2. ALX has a takeoff weight of 13.417 kg, TWR of 0,47 and wing loading of 488 kg/m2.

Decrease in takeoff distance is proportional to increase in TWR. 10% increase in takeoff weight increases the takeoff run by 21%. 10% increase in landing weight increases the landing run by 10%. 10% increase in wing area (9% decrease in wing loading) decreases the takeoff speed by 5%.

Thus the ALX takeoff distance is 427 meters. (945 m > 407 > 427)



Comparision with other fighters

AX’s weapons loadout allows it 24 attack passes; A-10 for comparision has 22 firing passes of gun ammo and 6 missiles, for total of 28 attack passes. A-10s unit flyaway cost of 16 million USD and 3 sorties per day per aircraft however mean that while A-10 can fly 186 sorties per day per billion USD, AX can fly 324 sorties per day per billion USD; a 1,74:1 sortie generation advantage; this means that AX offers 7.776 attack passes per billion procurement USD per day, compared to 5.208 for the A-10. AX is also less visible and somewhat more maneuverable owing to higher thrust-to-weight ratio and smaller size, resulting in greater survivability.

Comparing it with other fighters that are supposed to perform CAS is nowhere near being a fair play: aside from being completely incapable of performing actual CAS, fast jets are also too costly. F-16C costs 70 million USD flyaway and can fly 1,2 sorties per day, resulting in 16 sorties per day per billion USD (a 20:1 advantage for AX); F-35A costs 184 million USD flyaway and can fly 0,3 sorties per day, resulting in 1,5 sorties per day (a 216:1 advantage for AX).

F-16C has 4,7 1-second bursts from gun and can carry up to 12 bombs, for a total of 17 attack passes; F-35A has 2,6 1-second bursts and can carry up to 10 bombs, for a total of 13 attack passes. Thus per billion procurement USD, F-16C offers a total of 272 attack passes, and F-35A offers a total of 20 attack passes. From this it can easily be calculated that, for equal procurement cost, F-16C offers 13 times as many attack passes as the F-35A, A-10 offers 260 times as many attack passes as the F-35A, and AX offers 389 times as many attack passes as the F-35A.

It is also interesting to compare it to several proposed CAS fighters. First one is Pierre Sprey’s CAS fighter (America’s Defense Meltdown, pg 161). Sprey’s fighter has 30 mm cannon, 8.000 kgf of thrust, 6.350 kg empty weight, 4.500 kg of fuel (fuel fraction of 0,41), 11.300 kg combat takeoff weight; likely cost is 9 million USD. Another Fighter Mafia’s proposal, “Blitz Fighter” by James Burton (made into concept at LTV Vought Company), an airplane with empty weight of 2.300-4.500 kg, using 4-barreled 30 mm Gattling gun and a minimum of sensors; it would have cost 7,4 million USD (adjusted for inflation to 2013 USD). AX has 30 mm cannon, 6.324 kgf of thrust, 6.500 kg empty weight, 4.900 kg of fuel (fuel fraction of 0,43), 13.417 kg combat takeoff weight, and while it can carry guided AT missiles, it relies primarly on its gun and dumb weapons; it costs 9,2 million USD. It can be seen that while AX is not as radical concept as other two fighters, it offers most of the same advantages.

3D design by Riley Amos (added 16.8.2016.)


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On Rafale vs F-22 BFM

Posted by picard578 on December 21, 2013

First, I will note this comment:

“During an official press conference the commanding officer of the French Rafale detachment at Al Dhafra, Colonel Fabrice Glandclaudron, claimed that in six within-visual-range ‘dogfight’ engagements with the F-22A, only one resulted in the virtual destruction of a Rafale. He said the other four engagements were ‘inconclusive’, or terminated due to a lack of fuel, or approaching the pre-determined height limit.”

What does it tell? There were six WVR engagements, gun-only; one resulted in a destruction of Rafale while other four were draws. What this means is that one engagement remains unaccounted for, and it must be Rafale’s victory since both F-22 victory and draws have been accounted for. So score is: 1 F-22 victory, 1 Rafale victory, 4 draws.

It should also be noted that while F-22 is almost exclusively air superiority fighter, Rafale is a multirole fighter and AdlA pilots train far more than F-22 pilots in air-to-ground role. Majority of 1/7 pilots (a squadron that did BFM with F-22s) came from Jaguars and Mirage 2000 D/N, and were air-to-ground specialists previously (engagements with F-22s may have been scheduled precisely for that reason).

Second comes this capture:


This is a capture of an OSF camera showing proximity warning. As it is video camera and not an IRST, it means that Rafale must have had its nose pointed in general direction of the F-22, diving on it while F-22 is climbing using its afterburner. It obviously did not result in a kill, though it may have resulted in one in an actual combat, depending on wether F-22 was within engagement envelope of MICA IR, and wether the missile hit. In fact, French have stated that, had they been able to simulate use of MICA IRs, it would have resulted in several F-22 kills.

Lastly, here is a youtube video of one of engagements:

Actual video begins at 2:15. Rafale’s speed at beginning is 360 knots, and it is turning at cca 6 g. It continues turning, with a bit of rolling, at 4-6 g, entire time keeping the speed above 300 knots and even getting it up to 500 before executing a semi-vertical turn and achieving over 8 g at 2:46. At 2:49, F-22 flies into the view from right, and Rafale rolls, pulling up and gaining altitude afterwards, loosing F-22 at 2:54. Afterwards, Rafale turns around, pointing nose towards the F-22 flying below it at 3:04 and achieving a lock-on and a missile launch at 3:07. Rafale’s speed at time of missile launch was 157 kts. At 3:10, gun targeting outline appears. At 3:23, F-22 is again in view, though it does not result in either gun or missile kill, and Rafale pilot does not roll to follow the F-22. Rafale continues turning until nose is pointed upwards at 3:35, after which it turns towards the ground. At 3:59, it again has nose pointed mostly upwards, and turns sideways towards the ground. At 4:10, F-22 is again in sight, and Rafale turns inside the F-22. At 4:20 lock-on is achieved but Rafale pilot does not call a missile kill, with low speed warning appearing at 4:26 (speed cca 120 kts) and disappearing at 4:28, to reappear at 4:29; low fuel warning appears at 4:26. At 4:29, Rafale rolls, with speed at 4:31 being 91 knots, staying below 100 knots for next few seconds, causing low speed warning to blip. At 4:35, Rafale is turing towards the ground and speed has gone above 100 knots again. Rafale gets F-22, which has regained the energy, in its view at 4:40; F-22 is turning hard for next few seconds, and at 4:50, Rafale is directily behind the F-22 and has achieved the missile lock. At 4:50 and 4:52 gun piper comes across F-22 twice in a row but Rafale pilot does not call a kill. At 4:54, F-22 flies out of view and Rafale makes no attempt to follow; at 5:00, Rafale has returned to level flight, and at 5:23 Rafale pilot is heard requesting termination of engagement.

As exercise was guns-only, missile kills were not counted. It is still clear that French statement about Rafale achieving several missile kills against the F-22 is correct. At around 4:40, Rafale pilot has missed an opportunity for another gun kill, but is otherwise mostly in control of the fight, with F-22 never gaining the initiative. Video does show that Rafale has good low-speed maneuvering performance and is capable of regaining lost energy at adequate rate.

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Fighter aircraft generations issue

Posted by picard578 on December 14, 2013


Jet fighters are grouped into generations based on their design characteristics. But there are problems with that approach.

One would logically assume that higher the generation number, better is the aircraft when it comes to air-to-air combat. But examination of history shows that this is not true.

First generation fighters are Me-262, F-86, MiG-15 and MiG-17. Second generation fighters are Dassault Mirage III, Saab Draken, F-104, F-105 and MiG-21. Third generation fighters are F-4, F-5, MiG-23, MiG-25 and Saab Viggen. Fourth generation fighters are Dassault Rafale, MiG-31, MiG-29, Su-27, Saab Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, F-15 and F-16. Only active fifth generation fighter is the F-22 Raptor, whereas J-20 and PAK FA are in development.

First, second and third generation fighters have all seen combat in the Vietnam war, which can thus serve as a perfect case study of wether higher generation number automatically means more capable fighter aircraft.


In Vietnam war, NVAF lost 131 fighters (NVAF claim) or 210 fighters (US claim) of which 110 MiG-17, 10 MiG-19 and 90 MiG-21. If NVAF figure is correct, it might indicate even worse performance for radar-guided missiles than thought. According to US claims, MiG-21 achieved 85 kills and 95 losses. F-4 allegedly achieved 151 kill while suffering 41 loss to aircraft. As opponent’s losses are usually overreported, F-4 may have achieved “only” 94 kills, possibly even less. This 2:1 kill/loss ratio is consistent with what was reported in April 1982 study “Comparing the effectiveness of air-to-air fighters” by Pierre Sprey. Russian records indicate 103 F-4s shot down by MiG-21 in exchange for 53 lost. Considering that pilots tend to overreport successes due to confusion of combat – mistaking damaged enemy aircraft or one going low to avoid attack for a shootdown, for example – actual exchange ratio was likely near parity (41 F-4 loss and 53 MiG-21 losses). In summer of 1972, air-to-air combat resulted in loss of 12 MiG-21s, 4 MiG-17/19 and 11 F-4s, for a kill/loss ratio of 1,4:1 in favor of Phantom. It should be noted that this was late in the war when F-4s would have better kill/loss ratio than early in the war due to improved pilot training. However, many MiG sorties were bomber intercepts, and MiGs were ordered to ignore escorts and focus on bombers.

It is certain however that F-4 had a negative kill/loss ratio before US pilots started being trained for dogfighting (possibly as much as 3:1 advantage for MiGs); after that, advantage in training over often undertrained (though still competent) NVAF pilots helped level the field. But speaking purely from flight performance viewpoint, Boyd has shown that the F-4 could only fight MiG-21 at low altitude and high speed, and even F-4 pilots were critical of its maneuverability. MiG-21 itself was not a great dogfighter, having difficult handling, and NVAF pilots preferred MiG-17 which did very well against F-4s (and F-105s, though as these were usually used as bombers it is not surprising).

In 1967 and 1973 Israeli-Arab wars, visual-range Mirage III fighters achieved 20:1 kill/loss ratio against MiG-21s. This was primarly due to pilot quality, however Israeli pilots considered Mirage III a far better fighter aircraft than US F-4, which they referred to as “B-4”.

in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war, Pakistani visual-range-only F-86s achieved better than 6:1 exchange ratio against Indian supersonic MiG-21s, Su-7s and Hawker Hunters, in good part due to its small visual signature and good cockpit visibility. Only Indian fighter that managed to match the F-86 was also subsonic Folland Gnat, which had advantage of being the smallest fighter in the war. In earlier 1965 war, Gnat also had advantage over F-86: even Pakistani sources credit it with 3 F-86 kills for 2 losses to the F-86, while Indian sources credit it with 7 F-86 kills.

And as I have pointed out in another article: “While comparing total kill/loss ratios, expensive fighters may seem to be better off than less expensive ones. However, this is not due to fighters themselves but because only nations that can afford expense of quality training can also afford expensive fighters. Thus advantage given to fighter by the pilot is unjustly attributed to fighter’s own qualities.”

Comparision of modern fighters

F-35 is often called a “fifth generation fighter”. This is wrong on multiple levels: first, it implies that it is superior in air-to-air combat to “fourth generation” fighters, and second, it implies that valid definition of what makes a “fifth generation” fighter even exists.

Fifth generation is allegedly a term that implies combination of stealth, high maneuverability, advanced avionics, networked data fusion from sensors and avionics, and ability to assume multiple roles. But as Canada’s auditor general noted on page 23, there is no objective definition of the term, or indeed the entire generations division.

Even if definition of fifth generation outlined in the second paragraph of this section is accepted, some aircraft that are commonly defined as fifth generation do not fulfill requirements for definition, and some fourth generation fighters better fit that description than most self-proclaimed fifth generation ones.

Stealth itself is a far more complex issue than what Lockheed Martin propaganda states, and can be divided into visual, EM, infrared and acoustic stealth. Visually, Gripen is the smallest Western fighter, followed by F-16, Rafale, Typhoon, F-18, F-35, F-15 and finally F-22. In EM spectrum, F-22 and F-35 are the only fighters which are stealthy to enemy radars in entire 360-degree horizontal circle; however, Gripen, Rafale and F-16, while not relying on radar LO as their main design point, also have a design which gives them reduced RCS from all aspects. But this is only half an issue; fighter which uses its radar to detect the opponent cannot be called stealthy, and only Rafale, Typhoon and F-35 have IRST. Since F-35s IRST is optimized for ground attack, only Rafale and Typhoon actually have an IR sensor meant for air-to-air combat. On the other hand, Rafale and F-22 are the only fighters which can use opponent’s emissions to attack him, though this capability does not matter much if enemy is not emitting radio signals (radar, IFF or datalinks). Radar signature of each fighter is distictive, meaning that Rafale and F-22 can identify the enemy at BVR just through his radar emissions. IR stealth itself is a toss-up: Gripen C is very small and has low IR signature but cannot supercruise, increasing its IR signature considerably when supersonic. F-16 is larger, with stronger engine and also lacks ability to supercruise. Rafale C is even larger; its engines however have IR signature reduction measures and it is capable of supercruise, meaning that its IR signature at supersonic speeds may be lower than F-16s or Gripen’s. Typhoon can also supercruise, but is even larger than Rafale and has no IR signature reduction measures. F-35 and F-15 have no IR signature reduction measures, are incapable of supercruise and are larger than all fighters mentioned before; F-18 is not much larger than Typhoon or Rafale, but is also incapable of supercruise. F-22 has IR signature reduction measures and is supercruise-capable, but its mammoth size limits utility of these measures in reducing its IR signature. As a result, while F-22 is most stealthy in respect to active X-band radars, and Gripen has lower visual signature, Rafale is overall most stealthy fighter of those compared.

All fighters mentioned, except for F-18E, are also far more maneuverable than the F-35. F-35 itself has a fairly classic aerodynamic configuration, which means that majority of lift comes from wings. But F-35As wing loading is high (428 kg/m2 at combat weight), clearly insufficient to match that of Western air superiority fighter (Rafale C: 276 kg/m2; F-15C: 278 kg/m2; Gripen C: 293 kg/m2; F-22: 314 kg/m2; F-16C: 392 kg/m2). Its thrust-to-weight and thrust-to-drag ratios are also inferior to those of most aircraft mentioned, with only Gripen having lower thrust-to-weight ratio but better thrust-to-drag ratio. Neither does the F-35 have thrust vectoring or close-coupled canards to provide it with improved maneuverability at supersonic speeds and post-stall maneuvering and recovery capability. Rafale, with its high g capability, low wing loading (lowest of fighters compared), excellent thrust-to-drag ratio, adequate thrust-to-weight ratio, excellent responsitivity to control inputs and unmatched roll onset rate again wins.

Advanced avionics are present on most modern fighters. F-22, F-35 and Rafale have AESA radar, with Typhoon being slated to get one. F-35, Rafale and Typhoon also have IRST. F-35s DAS will, if everything goes fine, provide pilot with 360 degree spherical view of his surroundings, but Rafale also has most of that capability (two more IR sensors are required for a spherical view) and F-35s DAS does not work yet. No other fighter mentioned has that capability. Integrated countermeasures are already operational on Rafale (SPECTRA) and Typhoon (DASS), and are planned for Gripen NG.

Networked data fusion is present on F-22, F-35, Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon, as well as proposed Gripen E. Both Rafale and Typhoon have demonstrated the capability turing Libya campaign. Networking capabilities themselves are already present in a long time in form of NATO Link 16 datalink.

Multirole capability is present on more fighters than not. In fact, only single-role fighters are F-22, F-15A, F-15C and A-10, though A-10 can actually perform multiple roles if required. Rafale is replacement for 7 different types of aircraft in French service; Typhoon is also improving multirole capability, while Gripen was multirole from beginning. Rafale however offers best multirole capability.

Other F-35 “innovations” – such as integrated countermeasures – are operational on Dassault Rafale (SPECTRA) and Eurofighter Typhoon (DASS).

In short, if there is a true fifth generation fighter, it is Dassault Rafale, not the F-35 or even the F-22. But entire “generations” label is misleading. First operational US fighter jet was F-80, followed by F-86, F-100, F-104, F-4, F-15 and F-22, each being (allegedly) a generational improvement over its predecessor. If this division is taken, then F-22 is 7th generation fighter, Rafale is 8th generation, and F-35 is a true 5th generation fighter, being as “capable” in air-to-air as F-4 (some of which are still flown by Luftwaffe).

Bottom line: “fifth generation” label is a myth.

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Close Air Support fighter proposal revised

Posted by picard578 on December 7, 2013



Due to the thrust shortfall of the AX, and the range shortfall of the ALX, I have decided (after consultation with vstol jockey) to design a new, single-engined CAS fighter designed around the EJ-230. Another problem with previous AX design was its lack of close-coupled canards, caused by position of its turbofan engines.




CAS fighter needs to be stealthy, very maneuverable at low speed, and able to quickly attack the opponent. This means small size, low wing loading, straight wing and high thrust-to-weight ratio. Close-coupled canards are also advantageous for maneuverability, takeoff/landing performance and safety. Cannon should be of revolver design, with relatively large calibre and high rate of fire. Another requirement is good endurance, achieved by high fuel fraction. Engine will be single EJ230 in order to reduce profile to minimum and allow good acceleration.




Length: 11,24 m

Wing span: 10,61 m

Height: 2,22 m

Wing area: 26,88 m2


Empty weight: 3.900 kg

Operational empty weight: 4.100 kg

Armed empty weight: 6.377 kg (6 AGM-65); 10.577 kg (6*1.000 kg bombs)

Fuel capacity: 2.865 kg

Maximum takeoff weight: 13.422 kg (theoretically 17.500 kg)

Combat takeoff weight: 9.442 kg (6 AGM-65); 13.422 kg (6*1.000 kg bombs)

Combat weight: 8.010 kg (6 AGM-65); 11.990 kg (6*1.000 bombs)

Fuel fraction: 0,42


Engine: EJ230

Dry thrust: 72 kN (7.342 kgf)

Fuel consumption (cruise): 700 kg/h

Fuel consumption (maximum dry): 5.702 kg/h

Installed weight: 1.000 kg

Length: 400 cm

Inlet diameter: 74 cm

Thrust-to-weight: 11:1


Gun: GIAT 30

Weight: 120 kg

Bullet weight: 530 g

Projectile weight: 275 g (HE)

Caliber: 30 mm

Rate of fire: 2.500 rpm / 42 rps

Time to full rate of fire: 0,05 s

Muzzle velocity: 1.025 m/s

Muzzle energy: 144 kJ

Overall energy: 6 MW



1 GIAT 30 with 900 rounds

6 wing hardpoints (rocket pods, AT missiles (AGM-65, 300 kg), bombs, ECM pods)

1 centerline hardpoint (ECM pod, 800 kg fuel tank)


Wing loading:

351 kg/m2 at combat takeoff weight

298 kg/m2 at combat weight


Thrust-to-weight ratio:

0,78 at combat takeoff weight

0,92 at combat weight


Flight time on internal fuel: 4,09 hours

Flight time with centerline fuel tank: 5,24 hours



Maximum: 900 kph

Cruise: 550 kph


Combat radius: 1.100 km

Combat radius with centerline fuel tank: 1.441 km

Combat radius with 1 hour loiter: 825 km

Combat radius with 2 hour loiter: 550 km

Combat radius with 3 hour loiter: 275 km

Combat radius with 4 hour loiter and centerline fuel tank: 300 km


Takeoff distance: 700 m

Landing distance: 900 m


Unit flyaway cost: 5,5 million USD

Operating cost per hour: 5.500 USD

Sorties per day per aircraft: 3




Fuel tanks:

1: 147*109*91 = 1.458.093 cm3

2: 163*112*91 = 1.661.296 cm3

3: 4*139*49*8 = 108.976 cm3

4: 2*139*49*8 = 217.952 cm3

5: 2*149*49*8 = 116.816 cm3

TOTAL: 3.563.133 cm3

0,804 kg/l


Naval variant will weight 4.200 kg empty and cost 5,9 million USD.


Comparision with other fighters


Here, I will compare ALX with A-10, Su-25, Pierre Sprey’s proposed CAS fighter (America’s Defense Meltdown, pg 161) and the “Blitz Fighter” by James Burton.


ALX has an empty weight of 3.900 kg with 2.865 kg fuel (fuel fraction 0,42). With it, it has combat radius of 1.100 km, 550 km with 2 hour loiter or 235 km with 1,88 hour loter and 10 minute combat. Armament offers 21 gun burst plus 6 missile hardpoints, for a total of 27 attack passes. Thrust-to-weight ratio at anti-tank combat takeoff weight is 0,78, and wing loading 351 kg/m2. Unit flyaway cost of 5,5 million USD allows 182 aircraft for 1 billion USD, providing 546 sorties and 14.742 attack passes per day.


A-10 is current US close air support aircraft, and only US fighter ever that was designed specifically for close air support. It has a combat radius of 460 km at 1,88 hour loiter and 10 minute combat. Armament includes single 30 mm GAU-8 with 1.174 rounds and 11 hardpoints, of which at least 8 can be used for carrying weapons. GAU-8 fires 52 rounds in a first second of firing, thus resulting in a total of 22 gun bursts; along with 8 missiles, A-10 can have up to 30 attack passes. Thrust-to-weight ratio at anti-tank combat takeoff weight is 0,38, and wing loading 406 kg/m2. At unit flyaway cost of 16 million USD, 1 billion USD budget gives 62 aircraft, allowing a maximum of 186 sorties and 5.580 attack passes per day.


Su-25 is a Russian A-10 equivalent. It has a combat radius of 400 km at unknown loter time. Armament includes single twin-barrel 30 mm GSh-30-2 with 250 rounds and 11 hardpoints, of which at least 8 can be used for carrying weapons (same as A-10). GSh-30-2 fires 50 rounds per second, thus resulting in a total of 5 gun bursts; with 8 missiles, Su-25 can have up to 13 attack passes. At unit flyaway cost of 14 million USD, 1 billion USD gives 71 aircraft; assuming same sortie rate as the A-10, it allows a maximum of 213 sorties and 2.769 attack passes per day.


Pierre Sprey’s fighter has an empty weight of 6.350 kg, with 4.536 kg of fuel. Combat takeoff weight is below 11.340 kg. 8.165 kgf of thrust give it a thrust-to-weight ratio midway through the mission of 0,9. Cost is conservatively estimated as 15 million USD, but realistic cost is 9 million USD, allowing 111 aircraft and 333 sorties for 1 billion USD.


James Burton’s Blitzfighter has an empty weight of 2.530 kg with 770 kg of fuel, for a fuel fraction of 23%. With 238 kg of payload, combat takeoff weight is 3.538 kg, and combat weight 3.153 kg. It has 15,7 m2 of wing, and engine producing 2.291 kgf of thrust. Wing loading is 225 kg/m2 at combat takeoff weight and 201 kg/m2 at combat weight, with thrust-to-weight ratio of 0,65 at takeoff and 0,78 at combat weight. Only weapon is GAU-13 cannon with 350 rounds; this allows a total of 12 gun bursts. Combat radius is 240 km with no loiter. Cost is 2 million USD in 1979 USD, or 6,78 million USD in 2013 USD. More realistic cost of 3,57 million USD would allow 280 aircraft and 840 sorties and 10.080 attack passes per day for 1 billion USD.

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