UFC F-29 Hurricane

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UFC F-29 Hurricane
Hurricane.png
A Hurricane in Commonwealth Air Force service
Role Stealth multirole fighter
National origin  Arthurista,  Belfras,  Latium,  Onekawa-Nukanoa,  Velikoslavia
Manufacturer United Fighter Corporation
First flight April 2, 2003 (2003-04-02)
Status Full-scale operational production; in active service
Primary users see Operators
see Operators
Produced 2002–present
Number built 300+
Program cost
  • $63.4 billion (development)
  • $274 billion (procurement)
  • $600 billion (operations & sustainment)
Unit cost


  • $85 million (F-29A flyaway cost, 2012)
  • $98 million (F-29M flyaway cost, 2012)

The UFC F-29 Hurricane is a family of fifth generation single-seat twin-engine stealth multirole fighters designed for a variety of modern aerial warfare missions.

The Hurricane was primarily designed and developed by a multinational consortium set up by under a cooperation agreement between four states - Arthurista, Belfras, the Latin Empire and Onekawa-Nukanoa, in order to pool their resources to facilitate the development of fighter aircraft. This consortium had previously designed the UFC Tempest, a 4.5-generation multirole fighter. The Hurricane was intended to complement the more numerous Tempest as a high-end 'silver bullet' force to carry out the most demanding missions.

The Hurricane is largely marketed as a highly versatile multirole fighter with a blend of air-to-air and air-to-ground capability and use of advanced technologies. The volume of fighters produced makes the jet, through economies of scale, significantly lower cost that comparable aircraft with similar electronic and stealth capabilities. These characteristics have led the fighter to be adopted by numerous air forces globally.

The contract for producing the fighter, after an extensive competition, was awarded to the multinational consortium UFC, technically a quango structured as an ordinary public listed company, although both aircraft designs satisfied all major requirements and performed remarkably similarly. The project dominated military-related politics throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, as its rapidly increasing costs caused enormous political controversy. A large number of issues flared during early testing, leading to further cost overruns and delays, in addition to several nations reducing their order. As issues were slowly resolved, the JCF program finally reached initial operational capability (IOC) in early 2008. This was followed by a number of larger orders, as full operational capability was declared in 2010 and large numbers of aircraft were procured. The cost of each individual aircraft at the time was well over USD $250 million; however, after several large orders, the cost rapidly decreased until it stabilized at roughly USD $85-105 million per aircraft.

The Hurricane is in active service in several countries, and it is in current production with numerous aircraft ordered. The fighter was first deployed in combat during the Latin succession crisis of 2016, where it was reported to have "performed as advertised".

Design

Kinematics

The Hurricane is an advanced fighter jet that incorporates stealth technology. Its dual afterburning Rollers Engineering F151 turbofans. Both incorporate fluidic thrust vectoring to enhanced maneuverability. The aircraft can supercruise, in which state the F-29A can reliably maintain Mach 1.81 with superior fuel efficiency as compared to fighters without supercruise capability, which must employ the use of afterburners in order to fly at supersonic speeds. The engines are among the most powerful jet engines ever used for a fighter jet.

The F-29's incredible agility is supplemented with variable control surfaces, multi-axis fluidic thrust vectoring, and high-effect air brakes. In total, the aircraft consists of over three dozen control surfaces, ranging from multiple wing decelerons, canted vertical stabilizers (that also act as ruddervators and split rudders as an airbrake) with rudders as well, horizontal stabilators, six separate non-dedicated air brakes (using various FCS), intake blocks, and additional wing surface adjustment controls. These are operated by low-maintenance electro-hydrostatic actuators (EHAs) powered by the aircraft's integrated power management system. A majority of flight control surfaces simply act as redundancies as most flight maneuvers can be accomplished with thrust vectoring alone.

Overall, the F-29 is highly maneuverable at both high supersonic and low subsonic speeds, with the A and C models qualifying as 'supermaneouverable'. Its fluidic thrust vectoring, high thrust-weight ratio, and low wing loading allow it to turn tightly and perform extremely high angle of attack maneuvers such as the Herbst maneuver, Pugachev's Cobra, and the Kulbit. It can also maintain a constant angle of attack of over 60°, while continuing to maintain control of roll. The aircraft is claimed to have a rate of climb greater than that of the F-15, supplementing its overall dogfighting capability.

Signature-reduction and survivability

The airframe is designed with advanced composites and integrated heat distribution systems to enable efficient supersonic flight in atmosphere. The advanced stealth materials (SM) include radar-absorbent materials, infrared signature reduction, and more. The aircraft is less detectable than legacy platforms across the electromagnetic spectrum. RCS-reducing fibers augment these materials, and are designed to reduce the intense heat from friction of air resistance across the airframe, which allows the airframe to withstand extremely high speeds. The airframe is constructed from a basis of advanced metal matrix composites, formed from high strength oxide fibers and a titanium/aluminum laminate matrix. This results in high strength crystal matrices, forming a strong, flexible, and light airframe.

The default configuration calls for a "compass ghost" paint scheme, often associated with air superiority fighters, consisting of two shades of grey on the jet. Navalised variants use different shades of a "multirole grey" scheme, consisting of solid dark grey. The F-29M scheme is slightly darker. Specific squadrons may be cleared to utilize custom paint schemes, such as the deceptive "Dogfighter" scheme made famous by the Fleet Air Arm's 800 Naval Air Squadron, which gives a similar appearance on both the top and bottom of the aircraft to confuse adversaries during dogfights.

The aircraft is designed with survivability as a major priority. Its EHAs are all double redundant, as are the avionics systems. The landing gear is also full of failsafes, so should the EHAs fail, the wheels are hinged to the rear so that wind resistance can cause them to deploy. The fuel tanks are self-sealing and protected with fire-retardant foam, preventing them from leaking or exploding. The aircraft itself is claimed by UFC to be able to fly, with assistance from the onboard computers, with half of an entire wing missing (due to its lifting-body principle-based design) and only operating on a single engine. The undercarriage is hardened against rough landings and the engines are ideal for taking off and landing from unprepared landing strips and are resistant to bird strikes. The canopy is bird- and ordnance-resistant, with a thick windscreen. The extensive survivability measures are intended to allow the aircraft to perform close air support at slow speeds effectively against enemy air defenses which, coupled with the aircraft's SPECTRA countermeasures system, makes it an effective replacement for models such as the A-10 or Su-25.

Armaments

The use of internal weapons bays allows the aircraft to maintain a comparatively higher performance with a heavy payload as compared to other aircraft due to decreased drag. It can also intercept time-critical or rapidly moving targets that a subsonic aircraft would not have the speed to follow and an afterburner-dependent aircraft would lack fuel to reach, such as missiles or high-speed hypersonic bombers/interceptors.

Embedded in the right wingroot is a GAU-22/A 25mm four-barrel rotary cannon that is present on all models.

The Hurricane has two internal weapons bays along the bottom and sides of the fuselage (each containing three hardpoints), in addition to four underwing hardpoints and two near-wingtip hardpoints. Each hardpoint is rated for approximately 1150 kg, giving the F-29 a total payload capacity of about 9,200 kg, allowing it to store the heaviest of ordnance effectively; this makes the jet very capable in air-to-air or air-to-surface combat. The near-wingtip hardpoints are limited to a single air-to-air missile each, primarily short-to-mid range missiles such as the AIM-9X Sidewinder. The other pylons can carry these as well as the AIM-120D AMRAAM, other air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, guided or unguided bombs, gun pods, guided or unguided rocket pods, equipment stores, and 1,800 L and 2,300 L external fuel tanks.

Internal weapon bays can also store a variety of ordnance. Up to two 2,000-lb (910 kg) bombs or four 1,000-lb (450 kg) bombs can be stored internally in the two bays combined. The bays also usually carry two smaller weapons, usually ABVRM Comet or ACCM Taipan missiles. Smaller bombs may be carried as well. Missiles are usually designed to fit in these bays, often with smaller foldout fins and advanced TVN. Using internal bays entirely, an air-to-air configuration of six Comet missiles and two Taipan missiles is possible. Additionally, an air-to-ground configuration of two Comets, two Taipans (for self-defense), and two 2,000-lb bombs is possible as well.

Control and ergonomics

The F-29 features a complete 50x20 cm panoramic cockpit display (PCD) glass cockpit with a cockpit speech recognition system (DIVOCAR) to improve the pilot's ability to operate the aircraft. The PCD displays all vital flight information, and its information can also be displayed on the pilot's HMD while viewing through EO DAS mode. Its configuration is customizable through a simple menu, allowing the pilot to utilize the display to his or her preferences. The cockpit layout is minimalist and streamlined to be as simple and easy-to-use as possible, allowing the pilot to focus on making tactical decisions rather than be more concerned about controlling basic aircraft functions. The fighter lacks an inbuilt heads-up display (HUD), instead relying entirely on the pilot's helmet-mounted display.

The canopy is made of thick bullet-resistant polycarbonate with liquid glass coating and a stealthy tint, protecting the occupant from solar rays, laser dazzles, and electronic interference. It also provides limited protection against enemy fire. It is a frameless single-piece bird-proof bubble canopy uniquely hinged on the front, with no bow frame to increase visibility. The frontal portion is tapered to be thicker to allow resistance to bird-strikes and even ballistics. In addition, the ejection seat is elevated to provide a large field of vision to the pilot, and it is reclined to increase pilot resistance to G-forces. The canopy shatters upon ejection using integrated explosives, allowing the pilot to eject at extremely low speed, including while the aircraft is parked on the ground; this is referred to as "zero-zero" capability.

The integrated G-suit and helmet-mounted display system is the Vizispace Joint Aviator Combat Engagement System (JACES), consisting of a flight suit and helmet. This ensemble allows the pilot to view the battlefield through the aircraft's EO DAS system, providing him with a complete spherical view of the space around the aircraft in enhanced full-color or infrared mode. This system is preferred for use only during combat operations and provides pilots and CSOs with unparalleled situational awareness. The aircraft is designed without a built-in HUD display, instead relying completely on the pilot's HMD. The JACES is also capable of locking on to multiple targets simultaneously with simple controls, giving pilots significant overall combat capabilities. It projects a display that provides the pilot with vital flight information without looking down at the cockpit, providing the pilot with the ability to focus primarily on flying the jet. In addition, the G-suit provides resistance to G-forces of up to 9 g.

The helmet, in order to reduce weight and ensure compatibility with the Laertes IV ejection seat, is constructed from a metal matrix composite chassis with a carbon fiber polymer shell, and features lightweight polymer foam on the inside for shock absorbance. The helmet is connected via a short tube to the Laertes IV's suspended headrest, which in turn links with the seat's oxygen supply that is connected to the aircraft's facilities. This further reduces the weight load on the pilot's head to enhance endurance with high-g maneuvers.

The HMD provides the pilot with all necessary symbology required to fly the aircraft. The latest increment 2.7.4 software further updates the HMD for a unique "airstrike" mode which aids the pilot in operating air-to-ground weapons successfully. This system provides the pilot with the optimum airspeed and angle to perform an airstrike effectively, displaying the appropriate symbology on the HMD. The system also displays an "air highway", or "lanes" in the HMD, for the pilot to fly through in order to reach the necessary objective, thus reducing the need for the pilot to navigate manually. The software was developed initially for the United Nations Alliance's F-29s, although a subsequent software upgrade (i2.7.4) was distributed to all operators of the aircraft by UNADS that included the system ready for use.

The F-29 does not need to be pointing at its target for successful guided weapon deployment. Sensors on the aircraft can track, prioritize, and target nearby aircraft or ground units from all directions all the time, providing the information to the pilot. High off-boresight missiles allow the aircraft to aggressively attack hostile aircraft or ground units anywhere around the F-29, although this can significantly affect the range of the weapon. Sensors utilize combined radio frequency and situational awareness infrared search-and-track (SAIRST) to constantly track hostile aircraft and select and prioritize targets through the JACES. The pilot may select specific targets for lock simply by looking at them, pointing the HMD's reticle symbology at the target to achieve a lock.

These systems provide the F-29 with an edge in the OODA loop; its stealth and advanced sensors enhance observation while making the same difficult for the enemy, automated target tracking aids in orientation, sensor fusion drastically simplifies the incoming information to ease decision making, and the aircraft's fluid, simple controls allow the pilot to keep their focus on the targets rather than on controlling the aircraft.

The controls of an F-29 are arranged in a Hands On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) side-stick configuration, allowing the pilot to operate almost all aircraft functions without taking his hands off the throttle and stick. The stick is usually to the right-hand side and the throttle left, although these can be switched with ease according to the pilot's preference. The cockpit features very few cockpit buttons and no analog flight instruments, with a majority of flight controls available via touchscreen, controls on the sticks, or direct voice input. Voice control is utilized for simpler maintenance and other tasks, while combat tasks utilize more conventional controls due to the split-second decision making required to perform them effectively.

F-29 fighter jets now feature a Symmetriad Laertes IV fourth-generation ejection seat, designated the SJU-20/A, produced under license by Universal Air Systems. This replaces the previous UAS SJU-19/B third-generation ejection seat in early production versions. The Laertes IV employs hybrid rocket propulsion for safe ejection, further utilizing protective netting to allow ejection at higher altitudes and airspeeds.

One of the seat's prime features is its enhanced ergonomics. It is adjustable in all three axes in order to accommodate almost any fighter pilot. It also features "G feedback", a special feature designed to optimize the ejection seat's position and actions depending on the present g forces. The armrests move alongside the rest of the arm according to the g forces acting upon the pilot at the time, allowing the pilot to move his arms without overwhelming difficulty. The seat also reclines during high-g or negative-g maneuvers while simultaneously moving forward to allow the pilot to maintain access to the controls, reducing the overall effects of g forces on the pilot.

Avionics and countermeasures

Flight computers

The F-29 contains two primary flight computers: one redundant system and a liquid state primary system, all ruggedized and hardened against potential threats. The computers utilize a fly-by-light system that uses fiber optics, which is highly resistant to damage and interference, and is itself double redundant; this system is supplemented with a redundant hardened fly-by-light system. A primary advantage to using fiber optics rather than traditional wires (fly-by-wire) is that fiber optics transfer information faster and more efficiently, and their lighter weight reduces a significant amount of weight inside the aircraft.

Electronic and cyberwarfare

The avionics are supported by all-purpose GPS with interference protection. It also features an array of cyber warfare systems designed to protect the fighter and can act as electronic warfare computers to jam enemy systems. This allows the aircraft to act as a dedicated electronic warfare platform without modification. The Hurricane's Bodkin Electronic Warfare System features six AESA receiver/emitter arrays which are scattered around the airframe to provide 360-degree coverage. It can operate in automatic, semi-automatic or manual mode, enabling the aircraft to detect and process radar signals and jam them with minimal delay. In addition, the Hurricane's primary fire control radar also features an 'electronic attack' mode which enables it to operate as a powerful directional jammer.

Radar

The primary sensor system is the Rayzero AN/APG-90 Sensory Combat AESA Network (SCAN), a multi-mode AESA radar system. This phased array radar is a highly advanced radar that is smaller than conventional radars and has no need for physical motion, making it more reliable and less demanding of maintenance than legacy systems. Its increased field of view, extremely rapid scanning rate, increased range, and the ability to track and engage a large number of air and surface targets simultaneously, in addition to its low probability of interception or detection and ability to function as an electronic warfare jamming system make it extremely capable. The system's synthetic aperture radar mode make it well suited for anti-ground warfare; although incapable of actually simultaneously tracking air and ground targets, the radar switches between the two so rapidly that it seems simultaneous to the pilot. The radar consists of a primary array in the nose and two secondary arrays in the cheeks, providing a wide angle of coverage. An additional rear-facing radar augments this capability, providing a large coverage zone to detect threats anywhere around the aircraft. The radar features several modes, ranging from stealth modes to aerial combat to air-to-ground. It also features "look down/shoot down" capability, meaning it can detect, track, and engage a target beyond the horizon, and it also is able to engage targets below the aircraft from long range. Three dimensional radar views or "situational awareness" 3D visual views (using LIDAR and radar as well as the EO DAS sensors) can be projected onto the HMD.

The radars are supported by an AN/ALR-82 radar warning receiver, which features antennas facing 45, 135, 225, and 315 degrees, providing 360° RWR coverage for maximum threat detection and interception.

Electro-optical sensors

In addition, the aircraft features an AN/AAQ-38 electro-optical distributed aperture system (EO DAS) that provides a 360° "sphere" of situational awareness through the use of an array of advanced sensors that provide hybrid thermal, visual, and light-intensified data. These sensors, placed around the aircraft, are integrated with laser warning receivers, infrared missile approach warning systems, and other sensors to provide maximum situational awareness without compromising the aircraft's stealth design. This serves many functions; it alerts the pilot or CSO of any threats and triangulates the location of the threats (such as the launch point or even potential launch point of a surface-to-air missile), predicts the target, provides information for the elimination of the threat, or reacts to the threat by deploying appropriate countermeasures automatically. In addition, connecting to the pilot or CSO's HMD, the system provides a spherical view of the battlefield with all vital navigation and target data, allowing advanced tracking and enhanced night operations capability. The system also contains several modes for pilot viewing; these include "full view" which replaces the entire view of the pilot with a spherical view through the EO DAS and a "canopy view" which provides superior visibility in all directions while retaining the aircraft's flight controls and displays in the cockpit.

EO DAS sensors form the basis of the aircraft's entire countermeasures suite, AN/ALQ-43 SPECTRA (self-protection electronic countermeasures, tracking, and response, aircraft). SPECTRA is an advanced self-protection system that greatly enhances an aircraft's survivability by using various methods of detection (EO DAS and STRIKE), jamming, and decoying to passively or actively defeat airborne and ground threats. It employs the aircraft's AN/ASQ-392 electronic warfare system, developed by Southard-Ackerman, and integrates the onboard Vehicle Countermeasures Package (VCP) (more information below) to defend the aircraft. In addition, the system features active radar cancellation, detecting wavelengths and intensity of incoming waves and generating matching waves of opposite phase that actively cancel the radar through destructive interference (part of the VCP). This process is entirely computer-controlled due to its complexity. SPECTRA as an overall self-protection system allows the aircraft to perform large-scale operations with little need to execute suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD). This enhances the F-29's ability to perform interdiction missions, as it is able to strike deep within the enemy's territory while using SPECTRA to defend itself. SPECTRA also greatly enhances an aircraft's SEAD capability, useful when friendly aircraft cannot operate safely with enemy air defenses. SPECTRA is developed by an aerospace industry team led by Southard-Ackerman and Alliance Industries.

The F-29 also features an integrated AN/ASQ-144 Synchronized Target Relay Installation and Kill Emulator (STRIKE) electro-optical remote targeting system that is mounted internally under the nose. When deployed, it acts as a ground-observing full-color camera, hybrid phase thermal camera (all-direction FLIR), laser designator, laser rangefinder/LIDAR, and laser warning receiver/spot tracker. This allows the onboard tracking systems to identify, track, and engage targets at extended standoff ranges. The system is most commonly utilized as a laser designation system for dedicated ground attack aircraft while the F-29 is serving in a high-endurance loiter-type role or as an electronic warfare platform. However, it can be used to operate onboard laser-guided munitions, allowing a single F-29 crew to independently designate and engage targets with precision munitions. In addition, the targeting unit features a Low-altitude Navigation and Targeting Internal Network (LANTIRN) autopilot system, providing the pilot with "hands-off" terrain-following low-altitude capability in day or night, integrating onboard infrared and radar sensors.

Countermeasures

The aircraft features a Vehicle Countermeasures Package (VCP), which is a standardized countermeasure package. It features AN/VLE-10 laser dazzlers that deploy decoy laser beams; AN/VLQ-11 infrared countermeasures that emit modulating dazzling laser beams; AN/VLE-12 active radar cancellation systems; and AN/VLE-13 decoy launchers that can deploy high-powered infrared flares, ion flares, radar-defeating smoke generators, and chaffs.

Sensor fusion

When combined with advanced sensor fusion in the F-29's fusion engine, the fighter's sensory and avionics array makes it a comparatively difficult target to detect and destroy. The fighter alerts the pilot of threats (such as a missile launch) and their location (both through symbology on the HMD and through an auditory voice cue), and relays this information through datalinks to other allied units (including other F-29s) in the vicinity. The fusion engine then combines the array of sensory information to easily triangulate the launch point for the threat, attempts to determine the nature of the threat (IR missile, SAM, etc.), and provides the pilot with a recommended solution to evade the threat as well as deploying countermeasures (such as infrared dazzlers and flares for IR-guided missiles or employment of active cancellation and chaffs for radar-guided missiles). The goal is to simplify the information that must be processed by the pilot by attempting to perform a significant portion of the processing (such as combination of SAIRST, triangulation of missile launch points, etc.) through computer systems and providing the pilot with the output. The result is a significantly-reduced workload for the pilot (one of the key goals of the JDF program), allowing the pilot to commit to making tactical decisions on a fast-paced battlefield.

Maintenance

One of the primary design attributes is the unique low-maintenance design of the aircraft. In order to ease maintenance and parts repair and replacement, almost 91% of the aircraft's parts are "one-deep", meaning no additional parts have to be removed to access the part in question. High-performance composite materials ease maintenance, and all parts are tracked and shared on a global scale as needed. Crew comfort is another major element of the design, with the aircraft being designed for long missions while retaining short-range mission capability.

The F-29's Sustainability Concept is designed to reduce the stress and cost of maintenance and parts replacement. All F-29 maintenance systems are "paperless" and all F-29 parts are tracked and shared on a global scale for rapid, efficient parts replacement. 91% of all parts are "one-deep", allowing maintenance and engineer crews to access a majority of systems without first removing other systems or parts. The entire aircraft is built in a "quick assembly" system, allowing major parts such as the entire fuselage to be removed and replaced. This allows damaged aircraft to more easily be returned to service, or provides the capability to easily scavenge surviving parts on damaged aircraft. The aircraft is built using more advanced composites and structural fiber mat, reducing the required maintenance. The maturation of several technologies has led to the reduced need for fragile materials such as stealthy coatings that are designed to overcome modern radars.

The F-29 contains a Self-diagnosis System (SDS) which tracks the status of all parts and systems, and it is capable of anticipating damages or the need for replacement; it then automatically orders the part that needs to be replaced. This reduces the cost of maintaining large stores of spare parts, with only limited stores required for immediate part replacement due to unanticipated damage. With the extensive logistics system associated with the aircraft, parts can be made available extremely quickly; in many cases, replacement parts were available on base before the aircraft even landed after diagnosing it to need replacement. The system also diagnoses parts damages that can be repaired by the maintenance crew, and provides all necessary data, including how to fix it, to the maintenance crew as soon as the damage is detected.

Companies that manufacture parts are also responsible for managing spare parts inventory and providing sustainment support. Each part contains an anticipated operating time, and the aircraft's operating time is tracked. The companies then manufacture specific parts as the ones on the aircraft approach the end of their operational life cycle. All parts and supplies are placed on the Logistics Information System, with their location and status tracked. This performance-based logistics system is enhanced and optimized for providing a minimal cost and maximum sustainability for the F-29.

Overall, the improved and networked maintenance systems, integrated pilot and maintenance training, the use of open-source software and programming, and parts commonality between services, are intended to reduce the aircraft's overall operating costs by 54%, as well as reducing the required maintenance to a mere 60 man hours per flight hour.

Upgrades to the F-29 are installed in increasing increments, with the current operating software being Increment 2.7.4. Three separate operational variants exist for the F-29.

Variants

F-29A Hurricane (CTOL)

The F-29A is the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) version of the aircraft. It is, by far, the most conventional version of the aircraft, with a procurement cost of USD $112.3 million and a weapon systems cost of USD $132.4 million. The F-29A is the fastest, lightest, and most agile variant of the F-29 series, as it is designed for conventional use.

F-29M Sea Hurricane (CATOBAR)

The F-29M Sea Hurricane is the catapult launch but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) variant of the F-29, designed to operate from aircraft carriers equipped with either electromagnetic or traditional steam catapult systems (although optimized for modern electromagnetic catapults). It features larger wings with folding wingtip sections for superior lift and carrier storage, larger wing and tail control surfaces for low-speed control, stronger landing gear for the stresses of carrier landings (including twin-wheel nose gear), a reinforced undercarriage, and a tailhook for carrier-borne arrestor cables. The larger wing area results in decreased landing speed and superior range and payload.

Advantages to using steam or electromagnetic catapults rather than solely relying on non-catapult STOVL fighters are clear. The use of catapults expedites carrier operations, leading to a superior operational tempo for flight sorties. Catapults also control the acceleration of the aircraft (especially electromagnetic catapults) to place less stress on the airframe, extending the lifespan of the airframe. The F-29M is slower and less agile than the F-29A, although it is superior in both respects to the F-29M. Due to its lower wing-loading (due to a longer wingspan), the F-29M is the most maneuverable and features the highest payload capacity, as well as the longest range due to larger internal fuel carriage.

Operators

Specifications (F-29A)

General Characteristics (F-29A CTOL)

  • Crew: 1 (1 pilot)
  • Length: 15.65 m (51.35 ft)
  • Wingspan: 10.7 m (35.1 ft), 13.12 m (43.04 ft) (F-29M unfolded); 10.5 m (34.45 ft) (F-29M folded wingtips)
  • Height: 4.3 m (14.11 ft)
  • Wing area: 47.7 m2 (513.44 sq ft2) (F-29A/B); 69.4 m2 (747.02 ft2) (F-29C)
  • Empty weight: 14,502 kg (31,972 lbs) (F-29A); 15,547 kg (34,275 lbs) (F-29M)
  • Loaded weight: 23,470 kg (51,743 lbs) (F-29A); 24,515 kg (54,046 lbs) (F-29M)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 31,800 kg (70,107 lbs)
  • Powerplant: 2× Arthuristan Dynamics E90+ multi-axis fluidic thrust vectoring turbofans
  • Dry thrust: 72 kN each
  • Thrust with afterburner: 103 kN each

Performance

  • Maximum speed:
  • At altitude: Mach 1.61 (1,970 km/h; 1,230 mph) (tested to Mach 1.7)
  • Supercruise: Mach 1.02 (1,240 km/h; 770 mph)
  • Ferry range: 4,200 km (2,270 nmi) with two external fuel tanks or conformal drop tanks
  • Combat radius: 1,250 km (675 nmi) on internal fuel
  • Wing loading: 377.12 kg/m2 (77.24 lb/ft2) (F-29A)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.85 (F-29A) (1.17 with loaded weight and 50% fuel)
  • Maximum design g-load: -3.0/+9.0 g (F-29A); -3.0/+9.0 g (F-29M)

Armament

  • 4× under-wing hardpoints (2 per wing)
  • 2× AA/AS hardpoints (wet; 1 per wing) rated for 2300 kg
  • 2× AA/AS hardpoints (1 per wing) rated for 1150 kg
  • 2× near-wingtip single-load hardpoints (1 per wing) rated for 150 kg (A2A ordnance only)
  • 2× ordnance bays
  • 1× roof-mounted hardpoint per bay, rated for 1150 kg
  • 1× roof-mounted hardpoint per bay, rated for 300 kg (A2A ordnance only)
  • 1× door-mounted hardpoint per bay, rated for 300 kg (A2A ordnance only)

Avionics

  • Rayzero AN/APG-90 SCAN AESA radar and RWR (175 km against 1 m2 targets for radar; 350 km for RWR)
  • UAE Systems AN/ASQ-144 STRIKE remote operated targeting unit
  • LANTIRN low-altitude night operations subsystem
  • AN/AAQ-38 electro-optical Distributed Aperture System missile warning and situational awareness system
  • Southard-Ackerman AN/ALQ-43 SPECTRA defensive aids system
  • Radar and laser warning receivers
  • Southard-Ackerman AN/ASQ-392 Bodkin electronic warfare system