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The "Real Aerospace" Thread 
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Arioch wrote:
But A-10's don't fly off of carriers, so we'd be talking about jump jets or Apaches instead, which are even more expensive and vulnerable.


The only things you need to fly A-10s off carriers is to weld on an arresting hook and convince naval aviators to fly them. They wouldn't even need a catapult launch off the deck of a Nimitz-class, they're designed for STOL and the Nimitz has a long-ass flight deck.

Okay, that's oversimplifying a bit, but the A-10 is quite capable in theory of a carrier launch and carrier operations. Frankly, it remains the ground-attack aircraft we need, and it desperately needs several rounds of modernization.

You can't just weld an arresting hook onto an aircraft; you'd have to modify the A-10 for carrier operations, which would not be trivial. Not that the Navy would ever agree to it; they'd want to develop their own aircraft if you gave them the role, or they'd insist on using the F-18E or F-35B.

If you did want to use an A-10 variant for short support, I think you'd ideally want to operate them off of an amphibious assault ship (LHA or LCC), rather than a full-blown supercarrier.

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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Arioch wrote:
You can't just weld an arresting hook onto an aircraft; you'd have to modify the A-10 for carrier operations, which would not be trivial.


I did say I was oversimplifying a bit - but with an A-10, not by much. It's a tough, overengineered, durable, overengineered-again tough sunofabitch, literally the closest thing to a flying tank we have; modifying existing airframes with an arresting hook wouldn't pose too much of a challenge.

Remember also, the A-10 has those enormous (YUUUUUUGE!) straight wings with flaps the size of God - low-and-slow is what they do. So it's not going to be hitting the arresting line nearly as fast as one of the Navy's zippy little gofasts.


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Not that the Navy would ever agree to it; they'd want to develop their own aircraft if you gave them the role, or they'd insist on using the F-18E or F-35B.


Anyone who suggests using the F-18E or the F-35B in the ground-attack role is hereby charged with modifying those airframes to do the following, none of which are optional:

  • Main armament must be a GAU-8/A Avenger cannon.
  • Ordnance load must be at least 16,000 lbs (that's 7,260 kg in sane measurements)
    • At least eleven hardpoints capable of carrying a variety of ordnance, including a minimum load of 8 externally-mounted rocket pods.
  • The aircraft must be up-armored until it is rated to consistently withstand strikes from 23mm cannons and continue operating..
    • Cockpit armor must be a minimum of 1,200 lbs (540kg,) no less.
  • It must be able to keep flying and land with no hydraulics and half a wing.
  • It must be STOL capable when flying out of improvised runways.

If you can make an F-35 do that, then you're not a general or admiral, nor an engineer, you're a wizard.

I'm not opposed to replacing the A-10. It's old, and a modern aircraft designed for the ground-attack role would be far better than giving it a Block Whatever update. But everyone who says "Oh, the F-35/F-18 can do that just fine" is a liar or an asshole, and needs to be assigned to a front-line infantry unit under fire and told that their air support will be arriving shortly, and departing even more rapidly because it has no loiter time and no durability in the face of enemy fire, and also it's going too fast to put munitions on-target without likely putting them on you, too - oh, and its main chaingun only has like 180 rounds and is piss-weak to boot, so you'd better hope you don't need it to kill enemy armor.

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If you did want to use an A-10 variant for short support, I think you'd ideally want to operate them off of an amphibious assault ship (LHA or LCC), rather than a full-blown supercarrier.


Sure, but I'm not entirely sure the A-10 is capable of QUITE that short a takeoff, and modifying it to withstand a catapult launch would likely be considerably more nontrivial than modifying it for arresting hook capture... And neither the LHA or LCC have those anyway. They're also both way shorter than even the most optimistic takeoff distances for the A-10.

I mean, it might be possible, but you'd be looking at a JATO launch every time, and that's a bad idea.


Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:49 pm
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
But what I'm saying is that it's a political thing. Nobody wants the A-10 or anything like it. The Air Force never wanted the A-10 because it's down-to-the-ground close support, which they have never liked -- they prefer high altitude precision munitions platforms. The Army didn't want it because they prefer helicopters to fixed-wing aircraft. The Navy doesn't want it because it's close support AND it's not a Navy aircraft; the Marines don't want it because it can't take off from a helicopter carrier. And all of them dislike it because it's low and slow and not even remotely stealthy, which in today's environment means it will be taking the lion's share of combat losses (which is its own political problem).

The bottom line is that the A-10 will never be used in the littoral support role, which is what the Zumwalt was designed for, so I don't think you can accurately say that it's a viable replacement. That the A-10 might be better in that role than an F-18 or F-35B is, unfortunately, irrelevant.

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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
dragoongfa wrote:
The Iowa class battleships were the last ships who ever provided naval ground support, they were retired at 1992 so the art of coordination is more or less lost at the moment as the people who did them have retired and haven't trained replacements.

Fun fact: Reactivating and upgrading the four museum/mothballed Iowa Battleships would be cheaper than the Zumwalt destroyers, provide more firepower for ground support, would be somewhat useful for naval combat and leave enough money behind for several Alreigh Burke class destroyers (perhaps even dozens) that can actually serve as an area defense ship since the Zumwalt doesn't have that capability.
Sadly, if we tried building a run of three or four new battleships the budget numbers might actually approach reality, since they wouldn't benefit from economies of scale in the first place.


ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Quote:
If you did want to use an A-10 variant for short support, I think you'd ideally want to operate them off of an amphibious assault ship (LHA or LCC), rather than a full-blown supercarrier.


Sure, but I'm not entirely sure the A-10 is capable of QUITE that short a takeoff, and modifying it to withstand a catapult launch would likely be considerably more nontrivial than modifying it for arresting hook capture... And neither the LHA or LCC have those anyway. They're also both way shorter than even the most optimistic takeoff distances for the A-10.

I mean, it might be possible, but you'd be looking at a JATO launch every time, and that's a bad idea.
Might as well go for a modernized version that had built-in VTOL. Run driveshafts into the fuselage from the engine pods, and just fill as much of the internal space as you can get away with with some of those fans they developed for the F-35, then hang some thrust-vectoring vanes wherever the air exits (I think that would sacrifice a lot of fuel, though).


Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:54 pm
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Arioch wrote:
Nobody wants the A-10 or anything like it.


This just isn't true, Arioch.

Arioch wrote:
The Army didn't want it because they prefer helicopters to fixed-wing aircraft.


This is not true, Arioch. This is extremely untrue.
The Army fucking love the A-10. Ask any groundpounder which he'd rather have doing close-air support on his position, an A-10 or an Apache, and he wants the flying tank with the gun the size of God that can shrug off cannonfire, rather than the little pop-up that may be able to resist small arms fire but will die if anybody points a real gun at it.

The army isn't allowed to have A-10 Warthogs, thanks to that ridiculous "treaty" made when the Air Force was separated from the Army that forbade Army aviators from operating fixed-wing aircraft.


Arioch wrote:
The Navy doesn't want it because it's close support AND it's not a Navy aircraft; the Marines don't want it because it can't take off from a helicopter carrier.


This is untrue as well. The Marines would love to have A-10s, because, again, it is a flying tank with a gun the size of God that can far, far take more punishment than any zippy little helicopter or jump-jet. The Marine Corps would quite gladly take all of the A-10s. Remember, not all of their aviation is done off LCCs.

Arioch wrote:
The Air Force never wanted the A-10 because it's down-to-the-ground close support, which they have never liked -- they prefer high altitude precision munitions platforms.


This, however, is entirely true - the Air Force (and Navy aviation) is made up of people who grew up on a steady diet of Top Gun. They want to fly the zippy little gofasts, and absolutely hate being told to fly anything else, which means they resent it and don't know how to use it properly. It also means there's a monumental communications clusterfuck between the close air support and the boots on the ground; by the time the infantryman's call for help that he needs fire on X position, which is Y meters dead ahead of him, reaches the pilot, the infantry have either retreated, been killed, driven off the enemy, or done it themselves and advanced into the position which is due to be strafed.

Quote:
And all of them dislike it because it's low and slow and not even remotely stealthy, which in today's environment means it will be taking the lion's share of combat losses (which is its own political problem).


This is also untrue. The A-10 is not designed to be operating in contested airspace with modern enemy fighter opposition, and if you are operating it in contested airspace, you should damn well be operating it with heavy cover from those zippy gofasts the Air Force loves so damn much.

It's a plane that's designed to do a job. That job is to fly low and fry high. Nothing else yet designed does that job better, and asking it to do anything else is absurd; but not more absurd than asking a zippy little gofast to do what the A-10's job is to do.

I've seen you playing WoW a lot. Assigning the F-35 or F-18 to ground attack is assigning the party healer to DPS. Yes, he technically has a damage output, but it's not his bloody job, and he's terrible at it. Assigning the A-10 to air superiority is like assigning the party DPS to heals; if she's a Paladin she might be able to throw out some off-heals, but it's not her job and she's not very good at it and it takes her attention away from DPS, so you'd better hope her off-heals will keep the tank up long enough for the other DPS to nuke the bad'un down, or you're hosed.


Quote:
The bottom line is that the A-10 will never be used in the littoral support role, which is what the Zumwalt was designed for, so I don't think you can accurately say that it's a viable replacement. That the A-10 might be better in that role than an F-18 or F-35B is, unfortunately, irrelevant.


Almost unquestionably not, but the thing is that it's a job the A-10 would be perfectly suitable for with only minor modifications.
Modification 1: Put Marine Corps aviators in the cockpit.
Modification 2: Arresting hook.
Modification 3: Beat the Chair Force generals vigorously about the head and neck until they cease their petulant insistence that fixed-wing combat aviation is something Only Air Force pilots can do.
Alternatively
Modification 3a: Fire a few Chair Force Generals, replace them with Marine Corps and Army generals who have had their personal boots on the ground under fire, give them a mandate to recruit entire flight groups consisting of nothing but people who hate zippy little gofasts and have had their own personal boots on the ground under fire to fly A-10s in the ground-attack roll.


Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:27 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Absalom wrote:
Might as well go for a modernized version that had built-in VTOL. Run driveshafts into the fuselage from the engine pods, and just fill as much of the internal space as you can get away with with some of those fans they developed for the F-35, then hang some thrust-vectoring vanes wherever the air exits (I think that would sacrifice a lot of fuel, though).


No. Just No.

The asinine insistence on VTOL is part of the problem.
VTOL is simply not capable of getting the weight of an A-10 into the air; it's heavy, even without armament. It's armored like a tank, with a full ton of armor around the cockpit alone.

That's why it has those great, massive wings - to generate maximum lift under full thrust.

And no, you can't reduce the weight significantly enough without reducing armor coverage and payload, which means you're no longer flying an A-10, even if the body actually had room for these fabled lifting fans.

VTOL and the ground-attack role are mutually exclusive, which is a fact that, unfortunately, military aviators and aviation defense contractors have forgotten because they are completely insulated from the reality of muddy boots and needing close-air support.


Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:32 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Not sure if anyone on this forum has heard yet but the Zumwalt's 155mm guns don't have any ammunition as without the benefits of economy of scale those guided LRAP shells were about $800,000 a pop. The navy is now looking at other options either for different cheaper ammunition based off other pre-existing systems from Army artillery or skipping straight to the railguns in a few years. Until the ammunition or swap issues are solved those huge 155 guns for fire-support from the littorals are basically just big expensive hood ornaments.
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/59 ... s-big-guns

Its also apparently badly watered down anyway - http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/53 ... ble-future

Regarding various weapons systems and modern warfare scenarios; I've found this youtube sock-puppet is producing surprisingly accurate and informative informational videos on everything from Aegis combat systems to what-if warfare scenarios. I asked a few of my friends who served in the Navy and Marines about it and while its got some errors its also pretty close. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPdk3J ... lZLLt4drhw

In response to an A-10 replacement; UN-manned stealthy drones flying high altitude over-watch with a direct-link to JTAC squads on the ground are probably the best solution. Load up the drone with 250 LBs SDBs and medium range Airt-to-ground missiles and you've got on-demand long-endurance fire support from on high in a disposable platform. Basically the long-term answer is to take the man out of the aircraft and give the ground combat squad or brigade their own UAV to call on without having to wait for A-10 or other gets to get on station. Sure you don't get the bbbbrrrrrrttttttt of that lovely 30mm but you still get precision support where you want it and when you want it.

Article on the topic of 'flying vending machine' as fire-support for ground troops.
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40 ... 10-warthog


Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:50 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Absalom wrote:
Might as well go for a modernized version that had built-in VTOL. Run driveshafts into the fuselage from the engine pods, and just fill as much of the internal space as you can get away with with some of those fans they developed for the F-35, then hang some thrust-vectoring vanes wherever the air exits (I think that would sacrifice a lot of fuel, though).


No. Just No.

The asinine insistence on VTOL is part of the problem.
VTOL is simply not capable of getting the weight of an A-10 into the air; it's heavy, even without armament. It's armored like a tank, with a full ton of armor around the cockpit alone.
With sufficient stubbornness, anything can be made VTOL. It just shouldn't.

At any rate, go read again. I was mocking the JATO option.

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
VTOL and the ground-attack role are mutually exclusive, which is a fact that, unfortunately,
... is not actually a fact, hence why helicopters get used in the role so much. Fast is the opponent of ground-attack, VTOL is on a partially-unrelated axis. I don't consider actual VTOL a boon for a heavy ground-attack craft (though I do consider STOL by way of implications to be such a virtue), but the only thing it has going against it is that the closer you want to get to VTOL, the greater the equipment weight.


Wait, where's the battleship rejection ;) ?


pinheadh78 wrote:
Its also apparently badly watered down anyway - http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/53 ... ble-future
You know what we need to do? We need to stop quoting for these damned all-in-one-including-the-sink projects, and separate things out into e.g. core vehicle, avionics, weapons that can simply be allocated volume & standard utilities, etc, and pay for it as separate R&D and product instead of lumping everything into per-vehicle. This insane all-in-one stuff might seem to initially be cheaper thanks to synergy, but then you realize at the end of the project that instead of specifying a quick little minnow, you started off with a whale and then used the time it took to try to turn it into a tiger and a cactus.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:10 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
hi hi

Hmm, maybe I should have posted that news in a different thread. It seems like we've gone from real aerospace straight into the realm of imagination. :lol:

But, on the topic of real aerospace, there's some new news that is pretty cool. NASA Microthrusters hold satellite in position within a margin of 2 nanometers.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:49 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
#OnThisDay 1968: Astronauts on NASA Apollo 8 mission became the first humans to orbit the Moon & took famous 'Earthrise' photo (image @NASA)
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Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:26 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Test flight of an all-electric VTOL passenger aircraft:



I think their business model is that it would operate as an automated Uber-style service, arriving on demand and transporting passengers without a pilot. But of course it could also operate as a traditional small piloted aircraft.

The biggest problem is of course limited range. It has a top speed in level flight of 300 km/h (186 mph) but a range of only 300 km (186 miles), which translates into a flight endurance of about an hour. Being stranded in an electric car without accessible recharge is one thing, but dropping out of the sky is another.

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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Actually I wasn't that impressed with the flight, but that batteries already allow a payload of a Human and one hour of electrical flight.

I wonder how much more improvement we'll get to see the next few years?

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Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:53 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
One of Elon Musk's dream projects that he talks a lot about is a supersonic (!) electric VTOL aircraft, so we'll see.

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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Was this one of the ones that got pitched at that luxury goods convention, recently? I heard that there was both a "consumer" company, and a high-end company showing the things off.

For my money, the tipping point with flying cars will be "pegasus AI" to rationalize the driver's input, basically as a higher-tier autopilot.

I don't place that much faith in electric-powered aircraft without a mandatory life-cycle contract. The high-capacity batteries seem to have poorer charge/discharge lifetimes than I'd like. Single-run battery-life doesn't worry me too much though: most electric motors are also electric generators, so between that and an emergency-landing mode it should be fairly easy to make the control-systems inherently battery-life safe. Also, emergency pop-out windmills are a common-enough feature on the recent aircraft that some electrical faults should be "dealable" as well. The main concern will be low-altitude safety, but I believe that's a problem with VTOL craft (or for that matter, ANY aircraft located close to the ground when thrust is lost) in general.

I don't think I'd take a electric supersonic aircraft seriously at all unless you gave me a working isomer reactor to power the thing (at which point I'd tell you to make it trans-atmospheric and VTOL as well).


Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:51 pm
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Arioch wrote:
One of Elon Musk's dream projects that he talks a lot about is a supersonic (!) electric VTOL aircraft, so we'll see.

I don't think that was VTOL? I remember him talking about how you could make a viable supersonic jet just by swapping out the Concorde's inefficient 60s engines for modern ones, and that going electric would let you fly above what is termed "coffin corner" (the point where wing lift and engine thrust meet due to lowering atmospheric pressure) because electric engines don't need air to operate
(aside from as a medium to push through).

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Wed May 03, 2017 6:48 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
RedDwarfIV wrote:
I don't think that was VTOL? I remember him talking about how you could make a viable supersonic jet just by swapping out the Concorde's inefficient 60s engines for modern ones, and that going electric would let you fly above what is termed "coffin corner" (the point where wing lift and engine thrust meet due to lowering atmospheric pressure) because electric engines don't need air to operate
(aside from as a medium to push through).


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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Arioch wrote:
RedDwarfIV wrote:
I don't think that was VTOL? I remember him talking about how you could make a viable supersonic jet just by swapping out the Concorde's inefficient 60s engines for modern ones, and that going electric would let you fly above what is termed "coffin corner" (the point where wing lift and engine thrust meet due to lowering atmospheric pressure) because electric engines don't need air to operate
(aside from as a medium to push through).


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Wed May 03, 2017 8:07 pm
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Anyone here bought an AT-AT?
The Canadian Authorities issued a recall... :(
(link)

Yes, I kmow, May the fourth is over...

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Fri May 05, 2017 12:10 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
The ISS has its first comedy relief robot sidekick. The Japanese-made "Int-Ball" is an autonomous surveillance bot designed to move about the station and perform continuous inspections.



http://iss.jaxa.jp/en/kiboexp/news/1707 ... ll_en.html

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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Arioch wrote:
The biggest problem is of course limited range. It has a top speed in level flight of 300 km/h (186 mph) but a range of only 300 km (186 miles), which translates into a flight endurance of about an hour. Being stranded in an electric car without accessible recharge is one thing, but dropping out of the sky is another.



Complicating things here are the rules for fuel reserves.

Quote:
§ 91.151 Fuel requirements for flight in VFR conditions.

(a) No person may begin a flight in an airplane under VFR conditions unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing and, assuming normal cruising speed -

(1) During the day, to fly after that for at least 30 minutes; or

(2) At night, to fly after that for at least 45 minutes.

(b) No person may begin a flight in a rotorcraft under VFR conditions unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing and, assuming normal cruising speed, to fly after that for at least 20 minutes.


So at night you have 15 minutes of travel time? Since its VTOL they may push for operating under rotor rules, but rotor craft are still stable with the engine off, which shocks people. Can't help but wonder what the glide slope looks like for it.


Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:35 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
Just watched the video for that VTOL electric plane again. Is it just me, or did they choose a really inefficient setup for forward flight? The wing is right at the back, so the forward fans have to work to hold the nose up. Surely this would seriously affect flight time? Wouldn't the ideal plan be to have either forward canards to hold the nose up or to move the main wing forward?

Maybe that would add to wing weight if you wanted to keep the rear jets in the same position while still wing-mounted, but surely the advantage of a well balanced centre of lift would counter that better?

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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
RedDwarfIV wrote:
Just watched the video for that VTOL electric plane again. Is it just me, or did they choose a really inefficient setup for forward flight? The wing is right at the back, so the forward fans have to work to hold the nose up. Surely this would seriously affect flight time? Wouldn't the ideal plan be to have either forward canards to hold the nose up or to move the main wing forward?

Maybe that would add to wing weight if you wanted to keep the rear jets in the same position while still wing-mounted, but surely the advantage of a well balanced centre of lift would counter that better?


The ducts of the front fans may be able to function similarly to canards.


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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
I was wondering about it, too. My hope was that they balanced it by using a lifting body with the heavy batteries in the rear pulling the center of mass aft. At speed maybe the body generates enough lift to compensate. Or maybe its just a tech demonstrator and they're just winging it. Its certainly not viable as is. No undercarriage, dreadful glide slope etc.


Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:11 am
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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
I thought it looked unbalanced too, but I suspect that's the answer: the batteries are in the back. However, I still wonder about how it will compensate for widely varying loads.

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Post Re: The "Real Aerospace" Thread
To loop back to the A-10 discussion, you guys are all a little bit behind the curve. If the A-10 was hated before it's probably a bit less now. That is to say, that the people who actually flew them are now the ones making the decisions. Congresswoman McSally being the most obvious example since that's the craft she made her air force career piloting and she's since been fighting tooth and nail to keep them flying.

I highly doubt they'll take many radical adjustments, but obviously the news since that thread of the discussion has made it clear that the hate for the craft is a bit overblown in the discussion. Though I think that's as much due to the current administrations love-hate relationship with the F-35 as it is whatever virtues and fans the A-10 has inside of it.


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