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This is also the reason why the external geometry has no curved edges. Straight edges reflect principally in directions given by the above rule, therefore by arranging all areas to be flat and all edges to be straight, the designers could ensure that most impinging microwave energy is reflected away from the aircraft at angles which are determined by the instantaneous orientation of the airframe relative to the searching radar.

As the frontal RCS is of greatest importance tactically, the edges and surfaces of the airframe about the frontal aspect are all arranged at shallow angles with respect to an impinging wave. The result is not only a weak radar return but also a continuously scintillating one, scintillation will cause problems in many target tracking systems. In this fashion by clever shaping the RCS of the airframe was dramatically decreased. This alone was however inadequate as other detail contributors to the aircraft's RCS would have dominated the return.

Series by cover

Hence the cockpit canopy windows were coated with an electrically conductive layer and the inlets were covered by a fine mesh grill, with holes smaller than the wavelength of the victim radars. Potentially good reflectors such as the engine fan faces and cockpit interior are thus hidden away. Electrical discontinuities associated with panel edges and control surfaces at angles close to normal to frontal aspect beams could also make a measurable contribution to frontal RCS, therefore the canopy edges, weapon bay, undercarriage doors and FLIR bay have serrated edges. The angles used in the detail features are again shallow with respect to frontal aspect beams.

In addition, radar absorbent materials were used for some panels and radar absorbent coating over the area of the aircraft. The RCS of the aircraft has been estimated in the range of 0. The aerodynamic penalties incurred by airframe shaping to minimise RCS have been considerable. Sharp edges and flat surfaces create vortices and thus severely disturb laminar flow causing parasitic drag. The large sweepback angle and low aspect ratio results in a shallower lift-curve slope which forces a higher nose attitude in landing configuration, this is confirmed by the high position of the canopy which in turn incurs an additional drag penalty.

Another consequence of this effect is limited lift on takeoff requiring taller undercarriage to facilitate the required AoA on rotation.

Highly swept wings are also poor performers at low speed, producing considerable lift induced drag, the FA will almost certainly have a narrow range of optimal high subsonic operating speeds where the parasitic and lift induced drag terms appropriately balance. Natural stability and handling characteristics have also been severely compromised by the configuration of the aircraft. The swept wing will cause poor Dutch roll performance and limited control effectiveness, while the beavertail rear fuselage will contribute little to yawing stability.

As a result, fly-by-wire control and artificial stability was an absolute must for the design, the system used was derived from the Lear Astronics design fitted to the F, quadruply redundant digital with an interface to the navigation system. The FA uses fully movable V-tail surfaces and split full span trailing edge flaps. It is unclear as to how the surfaces are used, a reasonable guess suggests the tail is used differentially with the wing surfaces used either as dedicated flaps or flaperons.

The presence of fly by wire control opens endless possibilities insofar as how the control surfaces are used. The structural design of the airframe is unclear from the available material. It is very likely that the internal weapon bay structure forms a rigid box with structural members running fore and aft to support the tail and nose.

One of the closest experiences to flying this thing came in , in the form of | Hacker News

The wing spars and engines would attach to this central structure, with radar absorbent external shells or panels fastened on to the structure. The absence of precedents makes any analysis in this area very much guesswork. These powerplants deliver about 11, lb of thrust in military power, with a pressure ratio of 25 and SFC around 0. How well they perform throttled behind a inlet mesh and constipated by an infrared suppressing exhaust is not clear. Vortex flow has been used in the past to improve the performance of dorsal inlets [2].

The exhaust geometry is typical for a stealth design cf TE May 87 in that it uses a narrow horizontal slit to confine the infrared radiation pattern of the exhaust into a very narrow range of angles in elevation ie a beavertail lobe shape. Because of the swept trailing edge of the exhaust, it was necessary to fit vanes to limit radiation to the sides, which also conveniently reduce the azimuth over which the exhaust can be sighted.

The cumulative effect of this geometry is to confine the volume of space where the exhaust is directly visible to dead astern and slightly above the aircraft. Even a gentle turn by the FA will immediately hide the exhaust from a previously well positioned observer. In practice it means that a short wavelength infrared search and track set cannot lock on to or successfully track the scintillating emissions from the F, even from astern. The slit aperture flattens the exhaust infrared radiation pattern into a beavertail lobe shape, the vanes in the exhaust narrow the shape of this lobe.

A short wavelength infrared device can detect the FA only from dead astern and slightly above, and would have great difficulty in maintaining a track US Air Force. The FA designers exploited as much off the shelf technology as practical to reduce design risks and keep costs and design turnaround times down. The FA employs a navigation FLIR system mounted in a recess below the windshield, a radar reflective cover is used. Flight instrumentation includes a Honeywell radar altimeter and air data computer. The USAF have stated that the aircraft is typically armed with a pair of 2, lb laser guided bombs, and that the full range of tactical fighter ordnance may be carried.

A weapon bay size of These would all be typical weapons for the precision strike and defence suppression role performed by the aircraft. The USAF have also stated that the aircraft has a self-defensive capability, although no specifics were released. It is likely that Sidewinders are carried on a retractable weapon bay launch rail.

The aircraft will also carry a trackbreaker ECM system to defeat close-in terminal threats, although this equipment would be used only if absolutely necessary. Concealment would be preferred to deafening the opponent's radars. The performance of the aircraft is a well kept secret. With a length of Assuming an empty weight of about 33, lb, a weapon load of 5, lb, this yields a fuel capacity of about 15, lb and hence a combat weight of about 45, lb.

Maximum speed is apparently mildly supersonic although in practical situations the aircraft would operate at high subsonic speeds. Radius performance is also unknown given the unusual aerodynamics, but the aircraft is fitted with a refuelling receptacle on its upper fuselage. The FA is tasked with precision strike against high value targets in dense threat environments.

Other items in this category include air defence radars and their associated command posts the aircraft was used during the Gulf War primarily for this purpose. The USAF have been less open with specifics on how such missions would be flown. Established doctrine, the suggested RCS performance of the aircraft and observations of its flying activity in Nevada suggest that the style of missions will differ little from those flown by the F, ie hostile airspace is penetrated at medium to low altitude at night, heavy defences are avoided where possible and the target is attacked from medium to low level with laser guided bombs.

The USAF have openly conceded that the B-2 is detectable by high power low band VHF surveillance radars, therefore it follows that the less sophisticated FA will also be detectable by such systems. HF radar such as Jindalee or VHF radar such as many geriatric Soviet systems uses wavelengths comparable in size to the aircraft itself, hence the scattering mechanism which occurs Rayleigh is different and a solid return is seen. VHF radars are however generally considered to be inaccurate and very poor performers against low altitude targets of any kind, therefore the sanctuary of low altitude is clearly available to the stealth aircraft.

In practical terms the ability of a low band radar to detect an inbound stealth aircraft may be of little real value, as the radar cannot be accurate enough to target anything but a nuclear armed SAM. SAM, AAM and fighter radars all operate in the upper G-J bands where they are effectively defeated by the stealth aircraft's unique capabilities.

A stealth aircraft penetrating at low level can defeat VHF radar by terrain masking and all other radar with its airframe design. The use of the RHAW to detect threats at several times the detection range by the threat makes avoidance of radars a fairly straightforward exercise. Oh, MicroProse. They did make a lot of good games, even if often underappreciated. I have strong feelings of nostalgia to some of the titles of theirs, that I used to play as a kid. In fact, I recently wasted couple of hours trying to get one of the old games Star Trek: Generations to run - and in the process I learned that it's quite hard to emulate a Windows 95 machine these days.

Also, manuals in XX century were great. They were often decent books by themselves, full of information and lore. I wonder why did this happen? Why did they go away? But then I remember that probably every generation romanticizes the good old days. Then, economy. Seems like a needless regression : I forget the source for this but it boiled down to: - Apparently lots of people didn't read the manuals - Game designers started using intro levels to teach the player what to do. Personally, I LOVED the MicroProse manuals and was always super excited when I unboxed a new game and would spend hours reading all the details and stories the games were awesome too.

It's like saying Marvel movies are more immersive and have better narratives than pre-fx movies. You may be right. I just attempted one possible explanation —- For sure there is more to it.


  • Series: Jane's At the Controls;
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PhasmaFelis on July 30, Visually immersive. Which has nothing to do with how realistic graphics are. Nobody said "realistic. There's more to graphic quality than tech, but tech is a major factor. Might be a Blizzard thing, I remember the original WoW box the 5 CDs version came with a small-book sized manual pages or so, IIRC with lore and explanations for the various classes, races, skills.

I'll always remember it as F Stealth Fighter : Microprose issued a patch shortly after release to correct the name, 3D model, and a "realistic" mode to conform to actual payload specs. F19 was the first version. I still have the box somewhere. The f verson came out a year later. There was more to it, new areas, new art and new game concepts. Both games were noted for the quality of the AI, ground and air units working together. F Stealth Fighter was actually released the very day that the F was announced to the public.

Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk

Which was a total coup. And many still question the "F" as it is purely a light bomber, not in any way a deserving of "fighter" status. The F at least started as a fighter. So F really made no sense then or now. Fighter numbers always confuse the hell out of me. Where did they pull from? There's no F I recently wondered this myself. The best I could determine from Wikipedia [1] of what's known publicly is that it's seemingly an artifact of when the project began.

The theory being that it was allotted a designation before the "Century Series" ended in the s. Further suggesting that other secret projects for FF were also allotted designations. At least with small arms, often the "missing" model numbers are either 1 one-off, special purpose purchases for a single service, or 2 something uninteresting.


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  8. For example, at least 1 issued "pistol" prior to the M9 was a flare gun. With aircraft, I assume the trend is similar, with the "missing" numbers being trials aircraft or testing designs. There are F and F that are ground attack aircraft like the F I think part of it was to hide the capabilities of the aircraft from other nations. The numbering system was reset in as part of a bigger change, unifying aircraft designations across all the service branches. Some aircraft designated prior to this kept their designation, while others changed.

    As for the F; fighters are generally regarded as sexier and more attractive than attack, bombers, cargo or other types.


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    By calling it a fighter the USAF reckoned that recruitment would be easier and also that it's real purpose would be obfuscated. This is also the reason for the number; by giving a high number they indicated that this was an airplane designed prior to which never became anything. F is Vietnam era, as far as I remember. But then the F was developed in the 80s. I would certainly buy into the theory that the point is to confuse the enemy. The F is almost Korean war era; its maiden flight was in , it entered active service in the late fifties and remained operational at least into the early eighties in some countries - my uncle was conscripted as a mechanic on the Starfighter for the Royal Norwegian Air Force in They were phasing in the F at the time, so probably retired the F shortly thereafter.

    Did you get any cool tours as a child? I still never fail to get an interesting story or two from his AF days whenever we meet, though - trusting stuff like the Starfighter to a bunch of twenty-somethings is basically ASKING for lots of close shaves growing into very tall tales F was developed in the late 60's and reached IOC in I recommend the Designer Notes podcast episode [1] where Sid Meier yes, that Sid Meier explains how this game was designed.

    And if you are interested, listen all of the four episodes where he is interviewed. Had no idea that Sid Meier was connected to this game.

    Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk

    His Railroad Tycoon esp RT2 is one of the greatest "business simulations" of all time! Sid Meier started his career with a string of flight sim titles. That's how he got to be a big enough name to start calling things "Sid Meier's X. Really interesting bit of history. Thanks for sharing. I remember Pirates! It looked stunning. Those old flying games had some serious manuals. I remember getting my copy of Flight Simulator for the C64 at the same time I was learning to fly actual planes.

    The game manuals plural were actually thicker than the training materials for my Private Pilot's License. Thank you for this nostalgic throwback. I loved this game so much, I wrote a book based on it in second grade, illustrating one of the missions lol. And in the game you can also shoot at air targets and even have machine guns for dog fights, in real life it's just a plane that bombs targets on the ground. The F air-to-air missions were some of the most intense gameplay I've ever experienced. You had to fly deep into Soviet territory and kick off the war by shooting down an airborne command plane or an airborne early warning plane, and then make it out alive as World War 3 literally started around you.

    The article in your link ignores the A project [1] that had been going on during the timeframe described. DuskStar on July 30, Not to be confused with the A project that actually flew [0] - coincidentally also a Skunk Works plane. It had a page manual. I read that whole thing. It was probably the most I read when I was If you still interested in that kind of thing.

    Although they do have game specific guides.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A Thrustmaster TM is about bucks is all you need harware wise. It's such an incredibly detailed sim that I barely managed to do anything more than get the plane started and in the air. It would've been much easier if I had a couple of touch screens to simulate the cockpit controls.

    Trying to click on all the buttons or remember the keyboard shortcuts was impossible. There are simple aircraft Known as FC3 that don't have clickable cockpits and can be started up with like 5 keyboard buttons. I would still say you need a Joystick and Throttle though.

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    I just found it a bit overwhelming to try and fly and click on all the cockpit buttons at the same time. There was a great let's play a while back for the A sim from gamers who don't normally play sims. Don't have the link handy right now but they basically caught the plane on fire before the could learn how to takeoff correctly.

    Is DCS an effects based simulation, or does it actually attempt to physically model the performance of aircraft systems and threat systems? I am not entirely sure what the definition of "Effects Based Simulation" is here. I can say that it actually tries to physically model the real-world performance of aircraft and threat systems.