Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

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Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Backsword » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:48 am

I am currently working on a comic involving painstakingly accurate depictions of military hardware and it appears that I've run into a problem, and that problem is tailplanes. You see, this is a comic based on a novelization of Command & Conquer 3. For those of you who know what I'm getting at, the GDI Firehawk has no tailplanes. I've been able to make the rest of the Firehawk actually aerodynamic and flight capable thanks to cribbing heavily off an Su-47. But there's the issue of having to stay true to the design. So the question is: Would keeping it tailplaneless and sticking with thrust vectoring like the FB-22 and X-44 MANTA be feasible or sane for a production aircraft? Or am I going to have to throw reason out the window?

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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by halberdier25 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:10 am

Don't they have canards?

See:

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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Dragon029 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:22 am

The Firehawk has canards. For yaw, thrust vectoring and fly-by-wire controlling the other surfaces can suffice - both Boeing and Northrop Grumman have been showing off concepts for 6th gen fighters and both have no vertical stabilisers of any kind:

Image
Boeing's new revision of their Next Gen Air Dominance concept aircraft.

Image
Northrop's new concept for a 6th gen fighter.


You want to know what's funny though? The Northrop concept must be a tad old - they assisted in the aircraft design for the movie Stealth, and that 'new' concept looks a hell of a lot like EDI.
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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Backsword » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:24 am

Well, for reference:

Image

So, as long as there are canards, it's all good to go? Well, time to stress about the actual VTOL capability then...

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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by halberdier25 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:27 am

Yeah, so long as those forward surfaces, you're fine with pitch.

The fact of the matter is, though, that thrust vectoring can go for both pitch and yaw, and if you have two side-by-side, you can get roll. The first bit of this video explains what I mean:

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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Backsword » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:31 am

And in terms of providing thrust, would something like this arrangement be possible?

Image

Is the whole radical "rotating assembly" thing workable?

Again, my thanks for the help. It's immensely, well, helpful.

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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Dragon029 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:40 am

The forward VTOL engines look a bit small, but meh; it's a video game.

Overall the whole thing would be hideously maintenance heavy - while I could be wrong, it appears the intakes stay stationary and the engine assemblies themselves rotate. That means decently powerful hydraulic systems and mechanics which would wear out from the high levels of stress.

Either way though, we're talking about a game where physics is second to looks, so don't sweat it.

(Eg - the pop-out ion cannon - why would it pop out? Not because it's fragile; when deployed it's in the jet stream of 2 jet engines. So for drag? That's a bit silly when you have 2 block rocket pods sticking out from under the wings.)
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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by NavyGator » Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:19 am

The Pop-out concept would be for protecting one's own weapons
from damage due to debris caused by combat as well as the combat itself.
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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by halberdier25 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:49 am

Dragon029 wrote:Overall the whole thing would be hideously maintenance heavy - while I could be wrong, it appears the intakes stay stationary and the engine assemblies themselves rotate. That means decently powerful hydraulic systems and mechanics which would wear out from the high levels of stress..
Gonna be honest: the same general scheme has been applied to many of the planes I have in my mental collection of "what Halb would model if he could get a grasp on modeling". Sure, it'd be hell on the airframe, but that doesn't mean it can't be incredibly useful in a given mission setting. Look at the hostage rescue schemes for Iran. Rocket-powered C-130s aside, we saw quite quickly how it was idiotic to use conventional helicopters to do it. The V-22 was born and, while it's a hangar queen, the Marines and AFSOC fucking love it for the very reasons we built it.

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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Dragon029 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:12 am

halberdier25 wrote:
Dragon029 wrote:Overall the whole thing would be hideously maintenance heavy - while I could be wrong, it appears the intakes stay stationary and the engine assemblies themselves rotate. That means decently powerful hydraulic systems and mechanics which would wear out from the high levels of stress..
Gonna be honest: the same general scheme has been applied to many of the planes I have in my mental collection of "what Halb would model if he could get a grasp on modeling".
Ditto - I had a little bit of a progress done on a model of the Fairchild AVS project at one point:

Image

EDIT:

Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing some of the planes on this page (and pages 2 & 4) in YSF.
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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Shiny Rice » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:09 am

I would love to see these. Also, why 6th gen fighters don't have COFFIN? NASA is developing it, and in the 6-6.5th could be perfectly integrated. I saw a plane that had cameras and LCD panels. I don't know where I saw it but I'm sure I saw it. And I don't think it's gonna be called COFFIN.
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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Dragon029 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:34 am

The name COFFIN is from a video game and therefore likely trademarked or copywrited.

However, the idea of synthetic vision isn't new - the F-35 already has it (the pilots can see through their plane via sensors stationed around it) and the 6th gen will obviously retain that ability as well.

However, as for completely encasing the pilot; that's a bad idea seeing as a computer glitch could leave the pilot completely blind - in a modern fighter, losing your HUD and/or displays is pretty detrimental, but you can at least keep the plane flying until help arrives or you navigate the ol' fashion way to some airfield or substitute.

That's just the argument against encasing the pilot. Trying to hook a pilot up to a neural link isn't going to be that helpful:

1. We don't have that much fidelity available, because we don't know enough about the brain.
2. All current neural sensor system have a time lag, because the computer needs to be able to make sure that your order to roll to the right wasn't a fleeting memory of you waking up in the morning.
3. Again, if it stuffs up, you're not only encased, but you now need to complete some actions to transition to manual control. If this is a life and death situation (you've been shot, the computer's stuffing up and you're falling towards the ground), you don't have that time.
4. Muscle memory vs conscious though - we don't know entirely how the body works in lightning quick situations - I was reading a new book about the RAAF and their operations in the past 10 years (the book came out a few months ago) and one pilot recounted how he was engaged by a SAM. He barely had a couple of seconds to react when he recognised the threat and most of it was drilled training that saved him - it happened that quick and unexpectedly that his ACO and wingman were quiet the rest of the way back.
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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Shiny Rice » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:45 am

Maybe a backup joy. Also, direct connection through surgery would be dangerous.
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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Dragon029 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:50 am

Definitely - I think overall it'd be safer / better overall just to continue finishing up UCAV tech - we effectively already have the tools and knowledge for making a dogfighting UCAV; we just need to work on / ensure that they can operate in congested friendly airspace, work on their physical forms (airframes), make them tough and also make sure they can work in a team with humans.
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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by halberdier25 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:09 pm

Rise and Shine wrote:I would love to see these. Also, why 6th gen fighters don't have COFFIN? NASA is developing it, and in the 6-6.5th could be perfectly integrated. I saw a plane that had cameras and LCD panels. I don't know where I saw it but I'm sure I saw it. And I don't think it's gonna be called COFFIN.
That has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Backsword » Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:10 pm

So, I have something like this:

Image

I'll obviously be fixing it up, and yes, the basics were pretty much traced off the Su-47 to get an idea of how the design would be put together. Aside from that, are there any particular issues?

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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Timmayx » Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:28 pm

The intakes look like they start a bit to far back, extend them to halfway up the wings?
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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Backsword » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:44 am

Hooray for necroing my own thread... Anyhow, I've finally had some time to get back to the redesign of the Firehawk:

Image

Still rather rough, but would the configuration of the forward VTOL engine-wossnames work? Should I make 'em bigger?

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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Crazypilot » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:07 am

That really does remind me of a futuristic Su-47.
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Re: Tailplanes - Who needs 'em?

Post by Dragon029 » Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:05 pm

Looks nice, are the intakes now shared at the front by the way? If so, you'll also want to have a little auxiliary intake up on top for when performing VTOL operations - those intakes far back and up top before are bad for general flying and dogfighting, but for VTOL operations, jet aircraft require an intake away from the exhaust. Because those exhausts are pointed down during a hover, that means the top of the fuselage. The F-35B for example has auxiliary intakes just behind the ducted fan, to provide extra clean air ingestion during static manoeuvring.
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