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    F-16XL: A great idea at the wrong time 
    MigBuster
    By MigBuster,
    The F-16XL was a design named after………..a golf ball………..that being the Top Flite XL for any who ever played Golf. Harry Hillaker was also a golfer….one with a problem in that the USAF wanted to use his A-A fighter (F-16A) in an A-G role hanging lots of pods and bombs off it which was just not on!    So, what did he do and why?
    He and his design team at General Dynamics redesigned the F-16 to be more suitable to an A-G role using such concepts as high internal fuel loads and conformal carriage of weapons to get that nasty drag and radar cross section right down. In fact when he first started going to the Air Force with plans for the XL they were so enthusiastic about it they apparently accused him of holding the design back so that they (General Dynamics) could sell the F-16 twice. Goals to improve operational effectiveness included:
    •    Improve the A-G role without degrading A-A capability.
    •    Increased survivability, though increased speed, manoeuvrability and low radar cross section. The idea was to replace the F-16 and remain a lower cost fighter to the high cost F-15.   So, some concept demonstrators were knocked together for testing?
    Yes, two of the Full Scale Development (Block Zero) F-16s were converted by doing such things as stretching their fuselages, removing the ventral strakes and gluing on some new cranked delta wings or double deltas. F-16XL-1 was 75-749 and had the F100-PW-200 engine, and F-16XL-2 was 75-747 which started life as single seater but was converted to the XL as a duel seater with the higher thrust F110-GE-100 engine.  
      
      Were the goals met?
    Most of them, the low drag weapons carriage and lots of internal fuel meant vastly improved range over the F-16A (that already had comparative long legs), carried more A-G weapons, with ability to lug along 6 x A-A missiles on top. High AoA handling and instantaneous turn was improved. Cruise speed was also improved.  This is a part of a 1989 write up by General Dynamics test pilot Joe Bill Dryden:
    Pitch rate in all configurations was as good as to slightly better than a Block 10 A model (No slouch in itself) and the roll response was better. On several occasions, during demonstrations with VIPs, I had to remind them that we had 12 MK82s on the airplane! They would frequently forget because of the ease with which the airplane would attain high airspeed…….How high an airspeed? Mull this over for a while, you put 6 MK82s on your little airplane, plus tanks and try to get close to my radius. ill put 12 x MK82s on board with no tanks, still go further than you can and for the same fuel flow by going 60 to 80 knots faster than you. I risk going in to the classified arena, but with the right fuses on the bombs you could get well on the plus side of the Mach, all the while enjoying a much better ride.    Is there a but here?
    Yes using the F100-PW-200 engine from the F-16A, it was a tad underpowered, more F-14A than F-16A………..so take off requirements were nowhere near and some of it’s A-A capability was a bit degraded you could say. Perhaps an example from one of the Red Eagles pilots who flew some BFM against it in a MiG-21F-13:
    [Red Eagle Matheny flying the MiG] “We briefed each other about our airplanes and they [Edwards F-16XL pilots] turned to me and said they would be all over me – they had a roll rate of 800 degrees per second, which was the fastest in the inventory. – I got to thinking about that and it turned out the roll rate meant nothing. The problem with that airplane[F-16XL] was that it was a big bleeder: it just bled speed like nothing else when forced to turn hard – I ate them alive in the MiG-21. The F-15E on the other hand was a pretty good performer – they resisted the urge to get slow and jump in a phone booth with a MiG. They flew around the ranges at low level trying to burn off all this gas and he still needed to burn off more when we joined up on each other”.   Could they not have improved that somewhere?
    Potentially, the second F-16XL had higher thrust F110-GE-100 engine but unfortunately the majority of the evaluation data and the Dual Role Fighter evaluation was done with the lesser thrusted F-100-PW-200. In fact Harry Hillaker stated they were not allowed to use the GE engine in the evaluation (see below) for whatever reason. NASA later got it supercruising with a F-100-GE-129 (29,500 lbs class), and by the late 1990s both General Electric and Pratt & Whitney offered suitable engines with a potential max thrust class to 36,000lbs and 37,000 lbs respectively.     Was there some competition against the F-15 at some point?
    There was a USAF competitive evaluation originally called the Enhanced Tactical Fighter (ETF) competition, which in 1981 was renamed to became the Dual Role Fighter (DRF) competition. Technically not really a competition because both were evaluated and flight tested to totally different sets of conditions and to different flight test plans it seems.   Why did the USAF run this evaluation?
    It was felt by some in the USAF the F-111F was becoming a bit outdated and instead of just an upgrade they wanted something that had A-A capability and a good precision night strike role against the Soviet masses.   So, they chose two short assed fighters to replace the F-111?
    Pretty much – they would both get LANTIRN eventually and have a good A-A capability but still lacking in range.   Surely the F-16 was cheaper was it not?
    On unit cost and cost per flight hour yes – but the USAF considered the F-16XL a radical new airframe compared to the F-15E, which was considered just a modification, so the USAF estimated research and development cost would be higher for the F-16XL.   Okay but in the end the F-15 was chosen as the winner and that was that.
    No – following the DRF decision that the F-15E was going into production in February 1984, the USAF announced its intention to put the Single seat F-16XL into production anyway with the designation F-16F. So, work began on the F-16F design concept and Full Scale development into 1985.   So where is it then?
    The program was terminated in late 1985 by the USAF it later appears there was no budget for every program out there such as the ATF (F-22) and black projects such as F-117 that were unknowns to most who ran the DRF so sadly the F-16F had to take the chop - basically lack of funding finally killed it off.       End of the F-16XL – not quite
    The two F-16XLs were given to NASA in the late 1980s for various types of flight testing and we can thank them for taking some time to research into the history of the F-16XL and providing useful information on it.    But there’s more
    An interesting rebuttal, ten years after the DRF, written by Harry Hillaker in response to an article in Aerotech News and Review which perhaps gives a passionate and better insight into how farcical some of these things can be:   As the recognized “Father of the F-16,” and Chief Project Engineer during the concept formulation and preliminary design phases of the F-16XL and Vice President and Deputy Program Director during the prototype phase, the article was of considerable interest to me. The disappointment was that only one side of the issue was presented, a highly biased, self-interest input that does not adequately, nor accurately, present the real story of the selection of the F-15E.
    First, it should be understood that we (General Dynamics) did not initiate the F-16XL as a competitor to the F-15E, then identified as the F-15 Strike Eagle. We stated as unequivocally as possible to the Air Force, that the Dual-Role mission should be given to the F-15: that the F-15 should complement the F-16 in ground strike missions in the same manner that the F-16 complements the F-15 in air-air missions. A fundamental tenet of the F-16, from its inception, has been as an air-air complement to the F-15—no radar missile capability, no M=2.0+ capability, no standoff capability: a multi-mission fighter whose primary mission was air-surface with backup air-air capability.
    We proposed the F-16XL as a logical enhancement of its air-to-surface capabilities. The F-16C represented a progressive systems enhancement and the XL would be an airframe enhancement optimized more to its air-surface mission—lower weapons carriage drag and minimum dependence on external fuel tanks.  The statement that “a prototype version of the F-15E decisively beat an F-16 variant called the F-16XL,” is misinformation. I don’t know what was meant by “beat,” it is patently true that McDonnell-Douglas clearly won what was called a “competition.” However, by the Air Force’s own definition, it was, in reality, an evaluation to determine which airplane would be better suited to the dual-role mission. In a formal competition, each party is evaluated against a common set of requirements and conditions. Such was not the case for the dual-role fighter. The F-15 Strike Eagle and the F-16XL were evaluated and flight tested to different sets of conditions and to different test plans—no common basis for evaluation existed. The F-15 had only one clear advantage in the evaluation—a “paper” advantage. The weapon loading for one of the missions used in the evaluation precluded the use of external fuel tanks on the F-16XL; the F-15 could carry that particular weapon loading and still carry external fuel tanks, the F-16XL could not. That one mission was the only place the F-15 had a clear advantage. (It should be noted that a fundamental design feature of the XL was the elimination of external fuel tanks with their attendant restrictions on flight limits and their weight and drag penalty.) Further, the Air Force would not allow us to use the GE F110 engine in our proposal even though the No. 2 XL, the 2-place version, was powered by a F110 engine and provided better performance than the P&W F100 engine. And although you would expect the F-16’s clear advantage to be cost, the Air Force treated the F-15E as a simple modification to a planned production buy and the F-16XL as a totally new buy. Neither airplane used in the flight test evaluation was a “prototype” of a dual-role fighter. The F-15 was closer systems and cockpit-wise than the F-16XL and the F-16XL was closer, much closer, airframe-wise.  The F-16XLs were designed to, and flew, at their maximum design gross weight of 48,000 pounds, whereas the F-15, more than once, blew its tires while taxiing at 73,000 pounds, well below its maximum design gross weight [which was 81,000 pounds], a condition not demonstrated in the flight test program. In a meeting that I attended with General Creech, then TAC CINC [Commander-in-Chief], the general stated that either air¬plane was fully satisfactory. When asked why he and his staff only mentioned the F-15 (never the F-16XL) in any dual-role fighter statement or discussion, he gave a reply that was impossible to refute, “We have to do that because the F-16 has a heart and soul of its own and we have to sell the F-15.” I’ll have to admit that I sat mute upon hearing that statement because there was no possible retort. We had no allusions as to what the outcome of the Dual-role fighter “competition” would be and debated whether to even respond to the request for information. We did submit, knowing full well that it was a lost cause and that to not submit would be an affront to the Air Force who badly needed the appearance of a competition to justify continued procurement of the F-15—they had patently been unable to sell the F-15 Strike Eagle for five years. As is the case with too much in our culture today, the Air Force was more interested in style, in appearances, than in substance.
    Even today, I feel that giving the F-15 a precision air-surface capability was proper and badly needed. What continues to disturb me is that the F-16XL had to be a pawn in that decision and had to be so badly denigrated to justify the decision—a selection that could have been made on its own merits.   And finally 
    The concept of retaining performance with a usable Air to Ground loadout lives on today in the form of the F-35 Lightning II.......which comes with a 43,000 lbs thrust class engine to start with.     General Dynamics F-16XL  (F2275)                         ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sources Page 267 Red Eagles (Davies.S), Osprey publishing 2008 - Matheny flew the MiG-21F-13 against the F-16XL and F-15E concept demonstrators. 
    Elegance in Flight (Piccirillo.AC), 2014 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – Chapter 7: The Dual Role Fighter competition. 
    Code One Magazine, July 1989 (General Dynamics) Vol 4 No 2 -The F-16XL flies again 
    Code One Magazine, July 1991 (General Dynamics) Vol 6 No 2 – Interview with Harry Hillaker 1999 Aviationweek online: http://aviationweek.com/awin/pws-229a-edging-close-500-hours
    Pratt&Whitney's self-funded F100-PW-229A - a re-fanned F100 fighter engine that can produce as much as 37,150 lbst. - is edging close to 500 total hours of run time
    1998 General Electric online: http://www.geaviation.com/press/military/military_19980907.html
    Designated the F110-GE-129 EFE (Enhanced Fighter Engine), the engine will be qualified at 34,000 pounds of thrust and offered initially at a thrust rating of 32,000 pounds, with demonstrated growth capability to 36,000 pounds.
     

    Hellcats Over the Pacific Retrospective
    CowboyTodd41
    By CowboyTodd41,
      Hellcats box art (from GiantBomb)   Have you ever had the bug to play an old sim? Say, European Air War or Jane's Longbow. What about Hellcats Over the Pacific, or A-10! Attack? Wait… you may be saying, I've never even heard of these sims! I understand if you haven't, as these sims were released only for MacOS, an operating system most hardcore sim pilots have never even considered. In the 1990's, however, there was a very large, and rather unique simulation community built around the Macintosh. While many PC sims such as A-10 Tank Killer and Armored Fist were only starting to scratch the surface of "True 3D", with voxel graphics rendering low resolution textures, Mac developers knew they would have to take some risks to achieve the greatness that was already on full display on the DOS/Windows shelves of CompUSA and ElekTek. Their solution? A typical Mac developer response. They would sacrifice the then high resolution, "photo-realistic" textures for flat shaded polygons to create fully realized 3D worlds and models, including real-time shadows and highly accurate physics. From Wikipedia: "Hellcats was a major release for the Mac platform, one of the first 3D games to be able to drive a 640 x 480 x 8-bit display at reasonable frame rates in an era when the PC clone's VGA at 320 x 240 x 4-bit was the standard." Having only had my parent's Mac to play on, and being crazy about flying (thanks to them no less!) I dove into this world full bore. My first experience in this new world of flight was Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0, a fantastic sim I taught myself how to play at the young age of five, mostly by trial and error. Soaring above the Chicago skyline in my Cessna 182RG was truly amazing for my young self, but something was lacking. That something was obviously guns. By 1991, I was six years old. With the combination of ever increasing hours of time spent in FS4 and the excitement of reading about the air to air victories from the just ended Gulf War, I was ready. During a trip to the store I saw the game I wanted, and I begged my parents to get it for me. Amazingly enough, they actually relented. Soon, I knew, I would be soaring over tropical locales and splashing Zeroes! Hellcats Over The Pacific was released in 1991 by Graphsim Entertainment, who would go on to release the excellent Hornet series a few years later, which will be the subject of a future write-up. Developed by Parsoft Interactive and coded by Eric Parker, it would become maybe the most popular sim ever released on the Macintosh. Sporting bright graphics, excellent physics and flight models, and rudimentary carrier ops it was, much like its namesake the F6F Hellcat, truly a beast to be reckoned with that outclassed and outdated all opponents. Bagging a Zero at the merge. You can see the rudimentary "radar" here (Photo courtesy of mobygames.com) Taking place on a large map of the Solomon Islands, it focused on the Battle of Guadalcanal and related engagements in "The Slot". The missions themselves were rather basic, with accordingly basic mission names. "Bomb Base" for instance had you bombing a Japanese held airfield, which would eventually become Henderson. "Scramble!" is pretty self-explanatory, take off, shoot down the G4M Betty while mixing it up with a pair of escorting Zeroes. Rarely were there more than just a few aircraft in any given scenario. Typically no more than four or five, including your aircraft, most likely to keep memory usage down.  Only two missions ever had you flying with allied aircraft, the first an escort mission with a B-17 called, you guessed it, "Flying Fortress". And the final mission of the game, "The Duel", paired you up with ultimate Hellcat ace Cpt. David McCampbell (34 victories, including 9 in one sortie, and the Medal of Honor).  Number two behind McCampbell (Photo courtesy of mobygames.com)   A particularly grueling trial came in the form of the mission "Flat Top" where you needed to bomb and sink an opposing Japanese carrier. One bomb usually wouldn't do it, and it was hard to get both on target with the massive AAA fire from the surrounding task force. Sometimes this meant multiple sorties in a single mission, returning to trap on the carrier over and over till you finished. Since many flight sims don't include an in-mission re-arming mechanic, this made this fairly unique, especially considering the fact that in many missions you would be returning to the carrier, and not a nice long stretch of concrete. Trapping once is tough enough, but doing it multiple times per mission seriously heightened the challenge! Another tricky mission was "Divine Wind" where you needed to defend your carrier against kamikaze attacks. As the enemy aircraft spawned at a regular interval there was usually no time to return to base and rearm, necessitating careful ammunition and fuel management. With the carrier sinking, the mission is effectively over. (Photo courtesy of mobygames.com) But like all things, it was not without its problems. Chief among them was the seriously lacking draw distance, a common issue amongst many games in the nineties. It is not typically an issue in say, an RTS or corridor FPS shooter, but in flight sims, the farther you can push the draw distance, the better off you are, and the more immersive it becomes. Unfortunately, the distance in Hellcats was short even for the time, making strafing runs on enemy airfields with parked aircraft and long distance intercept missions harder than they probably needed to be. The work around was a sort of radar, in the center of the instrument panel. This radar gave a 360 view around the aircraft out to a few miles, with other aircraft represented as white dots. The enemy AI was also quite lacking. Most engagements typically quickly devolved into a tight turning fight that the Hellcat could easily win by use of the aircraft's flaps to gain a significant turning advantage over the opposing Zero. This was a feature the Hellcat did not have, but that ironically, many Japanese fighters did. The hit detection was spotty at close ranges, causing many bullets to simply pass through the opposing aircraft and simply drain away your ammo. At longer ranges accuracy was better, but many times the enemy would simply smoke then ditch, requiring close in strafing runs near the ocean's surface to get credit for the kill. I can still remember my first kill in any combat sim ever, a snapshot with a deflection angle of nearly 90 degrees. I turned sharply to the right to chase and was rewarded with a swiftly descending, and heavily smoking Zero. It's an image forever burned into my mind, and I was hooked. For better or for worse, I had begun a lifetime obsessed with the skill curve of the Combat Sim. It was a fun jaunt into the past writing this article. I even remembered most of the key bindings! If you're ever looking into the retro-sim scene yourself, don't count out the Macintosh platform. There are several other great sims from this era for the mac, a few of which will be the subjects of future articles. If anyone would like to know how to get into the world of emulating Mac or DOS games for a similar trip down memory lane, PM me. I'll get back to you as soon as I can! Thanks for reading, good luck, and good hunting.  

    Il2 DD Update Dev Blog 188 (Il2 4K Texture)
    76.IAP-Blackbird
    By 76.IAP-Blackbird,
    Hello everybody,   Today we have a small surprise for you. But we aren't its authors: it was made by an enthusiast from the Netherlands, Neeraj =BlackHellHound1= Bindraban. Neeraj turned out to be the biggest enthusiast among the Soviet WWII aircraft skin artists since he was the first to finish the entire path of re-texturing an aircraft in 4K. Not only he remade the skins in 4K, he also made many corrections to the base textures of the IL-2 mod. 1943. He started his work as early as June 2017 and finished it only now, since it was a lot of work to redraw all this in 4K to achieve the new level of detail:   - All panel lines, hatches, rivets, etc. in 4K detail  - Dirt and wear layer - Texture alpha channel that governs matte effect, reflections and glint - Bump texture that visualizes small surface details - Bump texture alpha channel that governs the damage visualization - Damage texture that shows bullet holes, raptures and other visible surface damage - 15 existing and new paint schemes   Here are some screenshots showing the new look from the IL-2 mod. 1943 cockpit:       ... new damage look:     ... and new skins that you'll get together with a ton of other improvements and additions in the update 3.001:                     Neeraj became a trailblazer in converting the entire set of aircraft textures and skins to 4K resolution and encountered difficulties all the pioneers face. He managed to overcome all these difficulties and hopefully other enthusiasts will follow, helping to take the visual clarity of various aircraft to the new level.   You can discuss the news in this thread

    IL2 Lunar New Year Sale Feb. 15th - 19th!
    76.IAP-Blackbird
    By 76.IAP-Blackbird,


    Dear Pilots,

    Our Lunar New Year Sale has started on our website and on Steam!  The sale runs from Feb. 15th until Feb. 19th.
    - 50% OFF Fw-190 A-3 and La-5 (series 8)
    - 40% OFF Ju-52, Yak-1B, P-40E and Mc.202
    - 50% OFF BOM and BOS
    - 50% OFF 10 Days of Autumn Campaign
    - 33% OFF Blazing Steppe Campaign
    - 25% OFF Cliffs of Dover BLITZ

    ...and  66% OFF all ROF content in the ROF Store.

    Grab em' All!

    Jason

    Il2 DD Update Dev Blog 187 (P-39 pit and A-20 Skin)
    76.IAP-Blackbird
    By 76.IAP-Blackbird,
    Hello everybody,   Update 3.001 testing is progressing well: almost all the planned functionality is in and ready. We know that you'd like to hear an exact release date, but since this update is shaping up to be the biggest of all, it's hard to pinpoint an exact release date. Nevertheless, as we said before, we're doing our best to release this update before the end of Winter. Major tasks that still remain include P-39 cockpit texturing and completion of 25 Career mission types that will be included in the initial release (after it the work on the new mode will continue to increase the total number of the mission types to 40). Once again, this update is going to be the leader in terms of changes and additions - the change list includes more than 80 items already.         Speaking of the further development, we'll start to disclose various details about it pretty soon. For now, we can say that the work on 3D models of P-47, Spitfire Mk.IXe and Bf 109 G-14 has already started while we're collecting reference documents on Tempest Mk.V. In the same time, we have started adapting the existing WWI aircraft FM for IL-2 Sturmovik: Great Battles engine for Flying Circus project. The work on Tank Crew is also progressing: new track assembly animation tech and increased height map detail are accompanied by the new detailed buildings destruction tech which will be used on 'Clash at Prokhorovka' map; the first two new 3D tank models are in the works as well. We'll tell you about them later, but they are heavies.   To spice up today's diary, here are the official A-20B skins. Important note is that external textures of A-20B are made in 4K resolution:                   You can discuss the news in this thread

    DCS Weekend News 9th February 2018
    MigBuster
    By MigBuster,
         DCS World 2.5 Open Beta Update Last week we launched the Open Beta version of DCS World 2.5, and your initial reports have been very helpful for us to reach a high-quality release version. The team is working very hard to bring the DCS World 2.5 release version to you as soon as possible. We have been reading all your feedback and striving to address all valid issues. Less than a week after the 2.5 OB release, we released a hot fix which you can read about on the forum in special thread. Earlier than initially planned, we also released the Open Beta of DCS World of 2.5 to Steam, which you can read about in the Steam news. DCS World 2.5 has been a significant advancement for DCS World and we are heartened by all the kind words of appreciation, thank you! If you missed it earlier, here you can find the DCS World 2.5 Open Beta launch trailer video. DCS World Helicopter Sale One of the biggest benefits of DCS World 2.5 is that it's a much better environment to fly helicopters. The higher-resolution terrain elevation mesh, higher resolution terrain and object textures, much improved trees, huge forests, and trees that now have collision / block line of sight for weapons, all create a much more engaging and beautiful environment to fly in. Starting today and lasting until 19 February at 0900 GMT, we are offering 30% off on all helicopters for DCS World! Find these great deals on our E-Shop. DCS: F/A-18C Hornet Update Progress on the Hornet is moving along quickly with much of the work focused on the air-to-air radar modes, defensive systems, INS waypoint navigation, and flight dynamics / Flight Control Computer. Our next Hornet academic video will instruct on Hornet TACAN and ADF navigation. Pre-purchase now and save $20: DCS E-Shop. New Rapier SAM Model In addition to adding new units to DCS World, we are also busy updating some of the older units. Much of the priority is based on updating units that are operated by Iran... an important aspect of the new Persian Gulf map that is in late-development. Here are a few work-in-progress of this unit that will also be playable via Combined Arms.
    Sincerely,
    The Eagle Dynamics Team

Portal by DevFuse · Based on IP.Board Portal by IPS


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