rec.aviation.military FAQ, Part 1


Please send updates to Urban Fredriksson 

Last updated 1998 Apr 25

The rec.aviation.military FAQ is posted to the usenet newsgroup 
rec.aviation.military about once per month and is available via WWW at


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).


Subject:  A.2.  Table of contents

Section A.  Preliminaries
    A.1.  Introduction
    A.2.  Table of contents
    A.3.  A note on character sets
    A.4.  Common abbreviations * Updated 1998 Sep 23 *
    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.  JSF (Was JAST) X-32 and X-35  * Updated 1998 Jan 12 *
    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 * Updated 1998 Jan 12 *
    B.13.  Shenyang J-8/F-8
    B.15.  Yakovlev Yak-41/141 "Freestyle"
    B.16.  FLA - Future Large Aircraft

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? * Updated 1998 Jan 12 *
    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?
    C.18.  Do Harriers VIFF in combat?

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?
    D.3.  Jet powered sea planes

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? * Updated 1998 Sep 23 *

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 * Updated 1998 Apr 25 *
    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
    alpha   = angle of attack
    AMCM - Airborne Mine Counter Measures
    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
    ASuW    = Anti-Submarine Warfare
    ASW     = Anti-Submarine Warfare
    AT      = Advanced Trainer
    ATB     = Advanced Technology Bomber
    ATC     = Air Traffic Control / Air Training Corps
    ATF     = Advanced Tactical Fighter
    ATGM    = Anti-Tank Guided Missile
    ATGW    = Anti-Tank Guided Weapon
    ATM     = Anti-Tank Missile
    AWACS   = Airborne Warning and Control System
    beta    = sideslip angle
    BAI     = Battlefield Air Interdiction (RAF-speak for CAS)
    BARCAP  = Barrier CAP
    BDA     = Bomb Damage Assessment
    BUFF    = Big Ugly Fat Fucker (B-52)
    CAD     = Computer Aided Design
    CAG     = Commander, 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
    FMRAAM  = Future Medium Range Air To Air Missile (UK)
    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
    IFR     = in-flight refuelling
    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
    MiGCAP  = CAP for MiGs.
    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
    TARCAP  = Target CAP
    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 Imager and Airborne Laser Designator
    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 Aerial Vehicle
    UCAV    = Uninhabited Combat 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

Bombardier related abbrevitions 
    ATF      = actual  time of fall
    BC       = Balistic coefficient
    CE       = circular error
    DA       = Dropping angle
    PDI      = Pilots directional indicator
    RCCT     = range component of cross trail error
    TA       = Trail Angle
    VFG      = Vertical flight gyro

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)
    FAA     = Fleet Air Arm (UK)
    FAA     = Argentinian Air Force (Argentina)
    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)
    MoD     = Ministry of Defence (UK)
    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)
    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)
    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     = Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG (Germany)
    DH       = De Havilland (UK)
    DHC      = De Havilland Canada
    EC       = Eurocopter (France/Germany)
    EE       = English Electric (UK)
    EHI      = Ellicoteri/Helicopter Industries (Italy/UK)
    Embraer  = Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica (Brazil)
    Euroflag = European Future Large Airlifter Group
    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)
    SAAB     = Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (Sweden) (Aktiebolaget usually 
                       abbreviated AB, meaning Ltd)
    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.

    Inch           = 2.540 cm
    Foot           = 0.3048 m
    Yard           = 0.9144 m
    Mile           = 1.609 km
    Nautical mile  = 1.852 km

    Gallon (US)    = 3.785 L
    Gallon (UK)    = 4.546 L

    Pound          = 0.4536 kg
    Short ton      = 907.2 kg
    Long ton       = 1016 kg

    Mile per hour  = 1.609 km/h
    Knot           = 1.852 km/h

    Pound force    = 4.448 N
    Kilogram force = 9.807 N

    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

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  * Updated 1998 Feb 16 *

The origins of Eurofighter 2000 go back to 1972 and an RAF request for
a future STOVL capable ground attack aircraft. This was latter changed
after discussions with France and Germany leading to a requirement for
a STOL capable air superiority fighter (the STOVL request was 
fulfilled by the Harrier GR5). At this time, Britain, France and Germany
 initiated the ECA (European Combat Aircraft) project, it failed due to 
irreconcilable differences in requirements (primarily French demands that 
the aircraft be small enough to operate from its carriers and for it to 
optimised for the AG role rather than  for the AA role). In 1979, BAe 
and MBB (now part of DASA) proposed the ECF (European Combat Fighter) 
to their governments. Although Britain and Germany showed some interest 
they demanded other countries be included so as to reduce costs. Like 
the ECA, ECF never amounted to much. At this time, BAe initiated the 
P.106 and later the P.110 concept demonstrators, DASA started the 
TFK-90 and France the ACX. 

In 1982 Britain's P.110 and Germany's TFK-90 were combined with work 
by Italy's Aeritalia to form the ACA, Agile Combat Aircraft. Funding 
problems led to official German and Italian government support being 
withdrawn. Work continued though with the construction of the EAP, 
Experimental Aircraft Program demonstrator primarily funded by BAe 
and the British MoD, but with input from MBB and Aeritalia. This 
demonstrator (which would cost 120million but save over 800million 
in development costs) would examine a range of technologies, particularly 
advanced highly unstable aerodynamics requiring digital flight control, 
reduced observability issues, delta-canard design issues and cockpit 
ergonomics. EAP first flew in August 1986, it would make 259 sorties 
before the program ended in May 1991.

Following the failure of the ECF a new attempt was made in 1983 to 
develop a European fighter, this time termed F/EFA or Future/European
Fighter Aircraft to combine efforts from Britain, France, Germany, 
Italy and Spain. By August 1985 another impass had been met with 
France demanding design leadership and a 50% guaranteed workshare, 
Britain, Germany and Italy left EFA to form a new project. France 
went on alone to design the ground attack optimised Rafale for the 
French Air Force and Navy. In 1986 Spain joined with Britain, Germany 
and Italy to form Eurofighter. Initial workshares (based on future 
orders) would place Britain (BAe) and Germany (DASA) with 33% each, 
Italy (now Alenia) with 21% and Spain (CASA) with 13%.

Progress on Eurofighter was swift with a joint requirement being 
issued in 1987 and contracts for the structure and engines being 
awarded in 1988. However, new problems surfaced in 1992 with Germany 
announcing its withdrawal from the project while the RAF were being 
questioned as to their need of 250 aircraft. Eurofighter moved quickly 
to examine alternatives to the current aircraft design. In total 7 
'New' EFA (N/EFA) designs were examined but none matched EFA's 
performance and only two (both single engine variants) were cheaper.
As a result Germany obtained its 30% cost reduction by being allowed 
to fit cheaper systems and delaying service entry by 2 years (to 2002). 
Following these problems, in 1994 the first two Development Aircraft 
(proof of systems and integration aircraft) were to fly, one German 
(DA1) and one British (DA2). A year later in 1995 the first aircraft 
to be fitted with the newly developed EJ200 turbofans was to fly, the 
Italian DA3. Four more DA's were to follow including two dual seat 
models and avionics integration aircraft fitted with the ECR-90 radar.

In 1995 further problems arose concerning workshare. Since the 
initiation of Eurofighter the workshare had remained at 33/33/21/13 
(UK/Germany/Italy/Spain) but this was based on future orders of 
250/250/130/100. Following the 1992 problems, Germany had reduced 
its order to 140 aircraft, Britain had gone from 250 to 232, Italy 
from 130 to 121 and Spain from 100 to 87. Following intense 
discussions between BAe and DASA a revised workshare agreement 
was reached with the new splits being 37/30/20/13 and Germany 
taking 180 aircraft (the additional 40 to replace a number of 
Tornado aircraft from 2012) instead of 140. 

Britain announced funding of the construction phase in September 
1996, Spain followed in November, Germany continued to drag its 
heels through 1996 and 1997. Following pressure from Britain, Germany 
agreed to additional funding of DM100million in July 1997 to keep the 
DA program on schedule. Finally, in December 1997 Germany announced 
full funding for 180 Eurofighter's, Italy quickly followed suit. On 
December 22nd 1997 Eurofighter officially entered the construction 
phase following the official signing of Memorandums of Understanding 
6 and 7. On January 29th 1998 NETMA (the Nato Eurofighter and Tornado 
Management Agency) agreed terms and conditions with Eurofighter and 
EuroJet for 620 aircraft to start delivery in late 2001. The first 
production Eurofighter is expected to fly from RAFU Boscombe Down 
in the UK around August 2001. The most likely final name for 
Eurofighter 2000 is set to be Typhoon but the name Tempest is 
being held in reserve. By January 1998 the Eurofighter Development 
Aircraft had launched both AMRAAM and AIM-9L missiles, carried heavy 
stores, reached mach 2, carried out aerial refuelling and scanned and 
tracked multiple targets at distance.

Beyond the four partner nations there are a number of potential foreign
sales. Norway is currently seriously examining the program for a 
potential (initial) purchase of ~60 aircraft (the American F16C/D 
Block 50 is running against it). Elsewhere the UAE are showing renewed 
interest and Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Chile, South Korea and 
Turkey are further potential operators. 

Future possible upgrades to the current systems include; 3D Thrust 
Vectoring Control (3DTVC) via an ITP developed nozzle (the Eurofighter's 
rear fuselage has been strengthened in anticipation of such a system), 
a new radar termed AMSAR (Airborne Multi-mode Solid-state Active-array
Radar) featuring Low Probability of Intercept features, upgraded EJ200
powerplants and new LCD based cockpit displays. Whether these are fitted
to later production models or form part of a Mid-Life Upgrade is yet to
be decided. In addition, BAe is examining a 'big wing' Eurofighter 
with a vastly reduced RCS as a potential solution to a British request 
for a Future Offensive Air System (FOAS) to replace the Tornado IDS 
from around 2020.

Design statistics :

Pitch unstable air combat optimised design with 53degree leading edge 
sweep on main wing. 70% of the skin comprises composites (mainly Carbon 
Fibre). Fully integrated structural health monitoring system. Features 
a reduced frontal RCS even with a standard air combat weapons load.

Empty Weight : 9999kg (22000lb), Max TO weight : 21000kg (46297lb)
Fuel load : ~4000kg, In-flight refuelling nozzle housed in starboard 
             compartment below canopy.
Length : 15.96m, Height : 5.28m, Wingspan (including pods) : 10.95m, 
Wing area : 50sqm, Canard area : 2.4sqm
Combat radii : Ferry range, 2000nm, Air combat 3hr CAP, 100nm, 
Ground attack (lo-lo-lo), 325nm

Stores stations : 13  with 4  (1 wet) per wing  and 5 on fuselage 
(1 wet). Multicarriage of stores possible on some stations.
Max stores load : 6500kg
Total AAM load : 10 missiles, (6*MRAAM, 4*SRAAM), MRAAM primary 
locations consists of four conformal recessed troughs under 
fuselage (reduced drag and RCS)
Internal Mauser BK27 cannon, 150 rounds of 27mm high explosive 
shells carried.

Max required level speed at 11000m : Mach 2 (achieved December 1997)
Acceleration from 200kts to mach 1 at low altitudes in under 30 seconds, 
Climb performance : runway alert to 35,000ft @ Mach 1.5 : 2 mins 30 secs  

Propulsion : 2*EJ200 (EuroJet) advanced turbofans (each delivering 
60+kN dry thrust, 90+kN reheat), possible future upgrades to 78kN dry, 
120kN reheated. EJ200 features low specific fuel consumption, 
supercruise capability and Full Authority Digital Engine Control 
(FADEC) system. First two Development Aircraft (DA1 and DA2) utilise 
Tornado ADV class RB199-104 turbofans with 42.5kN dry thrust and 
74kN reheat.

High level of automation and integration (sensor fusion). All defensive 
and offensive systems integrated under Attack and Identification 
System (AIS). Secure datalink (MIDS) for Eurofighter to Eurofighter 
and friendly surveillance aircraft information transfer. Cockpit 
systems include wide angle HUD, Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS) and three 
colour Multifunction Head Down Displays (MHDD).  In addition cockpit 
features newly developed VTAS (Voice, Throttle and Stick) system 
allowing Direct Voice Input (DVI) for control of certain functions 
with stick and throttle mounted buttons (HOTAS) for other functions. 
Return to level feature returns aircraft to nose up, wings level and 
an intermediate throttle setting upon a single button press. Pilot 
wears newly developed integrated g-suit with both body and leg anti-g 

Primary sensor : ECR-90 pulse doppler multimode radar, 31 modes, AA 
and AG capable, multi-track while scan, detection ranges quoted as 
being >>160km for fighter sized targets, >>320km for larger aircraft. 
Features high-ECM resistance, auto-prioritisation and IFF. Passive 
sensor based on Infra Red Search and Track (IRST) and Forward Looking 
Infra Red (FLIR), known as PIRATE.

Defences integrated under DASS, Defensive Aids Sub-System. Incorporates 
RWR, MAW, LWR, ECM, 2*TRD, Chaff and Flares, all are carried internally 
with no hardpoints used. Features automated characterisation and 
prioritisation of threats and auto-release of appropriate counter measures.


Updated: 1998 Jan 12 (several correspondents)
Subject:  B.6.  JSF (Was JAST) X-32, X-35

The US Joint Advanced Strike Technology programme, established in early
1994, was intended to be a technology development programme rather than an
actual service aircraft.  It involved 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 inherited much of the defunct A/F-X project, and has been
partially combined with ARPA's X-32 project and is now called JSF, Joint
Strike Fighter. 

Twelve technology development contracts were awarded in May 1994, the
largest going to Boeing. Out of the three contractor teams Lockeed Martin, 
McDonnell Douglas/Northrop and Boeing two were awarded contracts to
each build two demonstrators, one to demonstrate the STOVL concept
and the two together showing all three variants through rebuilds.
The winners were Lockheed Martin, whose design will be called X-35A,
B and C and Boeing whose design will be X-32A, B and C. 
Any production fighter resulting from this competition will get
a completely different designation.

The chosen JSF will begin to replace the F-16 in USAF service, the 
F/A-18 (and possibly F-14 in some roles) in USN service, and the 
Harrier in USMC/RN service by 2008.

(The X-32 started life as ARPA's ASTOVL (Advanced Short Take-Off/Vertical
Landing) project, intended as a technology demonstrator to lead to a
supersonic successor to the Harrier.  This later became CALF (Common
Advanced Lightweight Fighter), a more general demonstrator for a future
lightweight fighter.  The UK is also involved in the project, putting up
about one third of the money.  The design has been made small enough for
service on Royal Navy carriers.)

See also:
Lockheed Martin: 


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, it was first reduced to 442 and has now 
been reduced to 338.

The F-22's official name is Raptor, but there were reports that
it would be Superstar, Rapier or Lightning II.

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.

The F-22 will have room internally for two 900 kg JDAM bombs in
place of the AMRAAMS, the four external hardpoints can accept either
an external tank each, a ground attack weapon, JDAM or cruise missile
or two AMRAAMs.


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


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


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 weight 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 consisting
of Saab, Ericsson and Volvo Aero Corporation.

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 ordered 204 of which around 50 had been delivered
at the beginning of 1998.

Designation  No              Deliveries
JAS 39A     126  Single seat 1993-
JAS 39B      14  Two seat    1998-
JAS 39C      50  Single seat 2003-2006  slightly heavier, more stations
JAS 39D      14  Two seat    2003-2006

The first squadron was declared fully operational with the F 7 wing
at Stens on Oct 1:st 1997. Twelve squadrons will be operational
with the Swedish air force in 2007. Next squadron to receive it will
be the other at F 7, F 10 with two squadrons at ngelholm will follow 
in 1999, F 16 also with two sqns at Uppsala in 2000.

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.

Data for JAS 39A Gripen
Length:                14.1 m
Span:                   8.4 m
Height:                 4.5 m
Normal take off weight: 8.5 tons
Max take off weight:   12.5 tons
Range:                 3000 km
Max speed:       Supersonic at all altitudes
Engine:          Volvo Aero RM12 (GE F404)
Max thrust:      approx 80 kN
Radar:           Ericsson PS-05/A pulse doppler radar
Armament:        27mm Mauser BK27 cannon, 
                 8 hardpoints including 2 wingtip AAM rails

See also: 

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.

This FAQ created and maintained by Urban Fredriksson
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