Friday, November 27, 2015

VSKYLABS F-19 Stealth Fighter

Testors/Italeri version of the
** VSKYLABS development of the F-19 is approved by Italeri **


In General:
The VSKYLABS F-19 Stealth Fighter aircraft is designed around the Testors/Italeri's concept, which was based on research and information that was available back in the 80's through the media and public sources. The assumptions back then were that the stealth fighter was a sub-sonic aircraft, small, light and with dimensions which made it air-transportable in a Lockheed C-5A Galaxy. It was assumed also to have only internal fuel tanks, and used the same General Electric F404 engines as the F-18 Hornet but without afterburners. This is the most comprehensive project of VSKYLABS, and it features a fully operational aircraft and systems.

The VSKYLABS F-19 Stealth Fighter is an upgraded version of the 80's concept. The upgrade is mostly done with a replacement of the old F404 engines with a newer, more powerful F414-GE-400 engines.

Flight Dynamics Model:
This is the core of the project: Is the F-19 design plausible, considering its design and mission estimations back in the 80's? X-Plane's Flight Dynamics Model is based on the physical dimensions and structure of the aircraft, and this was a really great opportunity to test the design and see if it meets its estimations regarding it's range of operation, lift to drag ratio and power to weight ratio, service ceiling, maximum speed, low speed characteristics, payload management, center of gravity behavior and the performance of the GE F404 engines when propelling it's platform.

The Testors/Italeri F-19 Stealth Fighter design history:
summary from an article, published in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, by Paul Ciotti:

In the spring of 1985, the Testors model kit company introduced it's model of the super-secret F-19 stealth fighter, and immediately created an international sensation. An irate congressman held up the kit during testimony from the chairman of Lockheed and demanded to know how a toy company was able to sell plastic models of a plane that members of Congress weren't allowed to see.

The man who came up with the model, Testors plane designer and airplane buff John Andrews, claimed it to be a result of sound engineering and common sense. Because Andrews had learned from public sources that the stealth fighter used the same General Electric F404 engines as the F-18 Hornet but without afterburners, he knew the plane was subsonic, which was no surprise. Figuring out the size of the stealth fighter was less difficult than one would suppose. "We knew that it was air-transportable in a C-5 (the Lockheed C-5A Galaxy)," Andrews says, which meant the plane had to be small, light and not burdened with external fuel tanks. "You wanted to be able to roll it out of the C-5 and fly away."

Operating on the assumption that the plane, like the C-5, had to be able to take off from unpaved runways gave Andrews a wheel tread the width of the main landing gear of 15 1/2 feet. That and the fact that the plane had to have internal fuel tanks dictated a wingspan of 24 feet. Because the cargo bay doors on the C-5 are only 18 to 19 feet wide, Andrews knew that the stealth had to have folding wing tips. The size and weight of the engines determined the center of gravity, which in turn determined the location of the forward landing gear.

For weaponry, he gave the stealth the same AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground laser-guided missiles used by the Air Force and Marines but mounted them internally.

To reduce the infrared signature left by exhaust, Andrews says, he added flush-mounted air intakes for adding bypass air to the exhaust and a rectangular nozzle for scattering engine gases.

In deciding on the model's basic shape, Andrews had a lot to go on. Twenty-five years earlier, Lockheed had built the SR-71 high-altitude reconnaissance plane with its classic sharp-edged, wedge-shaped cross section ("a very stealthy plane," Andrews says). He had also seen the CIA's Mach 3.5 D-21 photo reconnaissance drone in an aircraft "boneyard" outside Tucson. Andrews says he combined the primary features of these pre-stealth aircraft with what he already knew, then took the design "to the ultimate."

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