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Draken Intl's 2nd A-4K assembled

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From Jose Ramos's aviation photography.  FB page https://www.facebook.com/RamosAviationPhotography

 

 

Draken's first operational A-4K, N145EM, formerly Royal New Zealand Air Force NZ-6215 also traces its history back to the Royal Australian Navy as an A-4G 871, BuNo is 155052.

Under the centerline station is a D-704 refueling store or buddy pod. Draken successfully tested the D-704 refueling system and performed "practice plugs" with TA-4K N141EM on 24 July 2013. Draken International is unique in having this capability in the world of Commercial Air Service companies.

 

http://www.airventure.org/news/2013/130724_draken-to-display-ex-fighter-jets.html

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Beautiful. Pure speculation, with a new engine, can the A4 be converted in a cheap fighter? Not now when cells are tired, but in the mid 60's. New engine and more hardpoints.

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Beautiful. Pure speculation, with a new engine, can the A4 be converted in a cheap fighter? Not now when cells are tired, but in the mid 60's. New engine and more hardpointsIn reality  you have the money and imagination

In reality if you have the money upgrades can be done, In simeality it's only time and imagination. I was working on a fake pilot with wingtip launch rails for air to air missles. Somebody was working on conformal fuel tanks.

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In reality if you have the money upgrades can be done, In simeality it's only time and imagination. I was working on a fake pilot with wingtip launch rails for air to air missles. Somebody was working on conformal fuel tanks.

Will love to see a pic of your version with wingtip rails. I think I will try a updated A4, should I add a engine with afterburner?

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Will love to see a pic of your version with wingtip rails. I think I will try a updated A4, should I add a engine with afterburner?

I will have to look for the wingtip A-4K  that was SF1 and that computer is in storage. Gave the SF2 A-4K a GE F 404 turbofan with burner and some upgraded weapons  the Aim-7 Sparrow series, Skyflash, and  AMRAAM Aim 120.

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Some kind of skin pack with ATAC and Draken skins would kick ass badly...just saying

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Looks good, but that mod is not feasible in reality. The truth is an afterburner-equipped engine is much larger than one without, and such an engine is far too big to fit in the Scooter. The entire aft fuselage would have to be redesigned and rebuilt. The cooling and CG considerations...

 

The A-4's nose also has a TINY dish in it. Far too small to accommodate any decent AA radar, so to make it bigger means redesigning the nose quite a bit.

 

After you've done all that work on the nose and tail, and possibly in the middle as well where the engine is actually mounted, you will arguably no longer have the same plane. Would it still have the flight handling of the original Scooter, or would it be compromised by the rebuilding?

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SIM COP. blah blah blah engine buppah buppah bah A-4 blah blah blah blah blah. HOT AIR!

 

Looks good, but that mod is not feasible in reality. The truth is an afterburner-equipped engine is much larger than one without, and such an engine is far too big to fit in the Scooter. The entire aft fuselage would have to be redesigned and rebuilt. The cooling and CG considerations...

 

The A-4's nose also has a TINY dish in it. Far too small to accommodate any decent AA radar, so to make it bigger means redesigning the nose quite a bit.

 

After you've done all that work on the nose and tail, and possibly in the middle as well where the engine is actually mounted, you will arguably no longer have the same plane. Would it still have the flight handling of the original Scooter, or would it be compromised by the rebuilding?

You bet your ass it looks good!

Dude Its a SIM, and in reality the A-4K KAHU hawk is a true wolf in sheeps clothing. It has HOTAS, an AN/APG-66 radar and many of the onboard war computers of the F-16 (which also has a small nose cone) and with a few software tweaks can guide AIM-7s, Skyflash and  could have successfully illuminated a target for AIM 120 AMRAAM. Now for the engine, Singapore's A-4SU Super Skyhawk had several computer upgrades similar to the A-4K and yes they installed a non after burning version of the GE F 404 turbofan used in my A-4K and the real F/A-18. I just haven't gotten around to adding an extension to the tailpipe similar to the IAF's  A-4H Skyhawk, which would in theory relieve the real world heat issue.  I'm sure to your surprise I also altered the gun to be a General Dynamics rotary 50 cal. GAU-19 with a rate of fire of 1300 rounds per minute to fire out the port side and ammo to be kept in the emptied starboard side with 600 rounds. True story a BOAC 707 airliner crashed near Mt. Fuji Japan. Guess what plane was sent out to look for the crash site, yup an A-4 Skyhawk from VMA-224. The winds on Mt. Fuji's leeward side are known to be crazy high the average 60-70 mph throughout the year and have been known to gust to 100 mph+. Anyways the Skyhawk came back the pilot reported he was tossed around like a rag doll. The plane was reported to have been subjected to 9+ G's and -3 G's undamaged, the limit of the gauges ability to record. So who knows what the actual forces were that were applied to the little tuff plane. In reality this plane is very tough and robust plane and would be able to handle the upgrades. It has built in stealth from it's size, a Cessna Skyhawk has a greater radar signature than a clean A-4 Skyhawk. It can carry almost It's own weight in mud moving gear. If I was a small country like Argentina, Brazil this is the plane I would try to get. Small cheap to maintain and it sips jet fuel compared to a Phantom, Hornet, or Falcon. Now quit narc'n my stuff, go mess with other peoples what ifs and home grown modes. You of all members must know there are some way more radical stuff out there then my little souped up rig, which if you think about it or "READ" up on it (before you comment). The Skyhawk's chassis is way over engineered. Not sure if you researched this plane like I have (I'm going to say,... No).  My mods and what if really isn't to far fetched, is it?  Next you'll tell me there is no Santa or Easter Bunny, and my puppy will live forever.

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Radar performance is dictated by dish size. Fact.

 

The A-4's nose is even smaller than the F-16's. Fact.

 

An A-4's A2A radar performance can not be as good as an F-16 as a result. Fact.

 

Yet putting an AN/APG-66 radar in an A-4 would cost just as much as one in an F-16. Fact.

 

As I said, it could be done, yes. If you're a fan of the Scooter and like how it looks, there's no reason in a sim not to make it...because a sim doesn't make you think about the economics, just the aerodynamics. You could make a fighter that costs $500m and it would be fine, just don't expect to see it built.

 

It's just not economically feasible. Not when there are used F-16s out there that would give better performance for the money. Or you can spend as much money (or maybe more) redesigning the nose and aft section (which is more than an extended tailpipe...that cooled the exhaust to make IR missiles have more difficulty tracking it, not to prevent the tail from melting in full stage 5 burner) and then all the associated flight testing to make sure you didn't ruin anything you liked about the Scooter in the first place.

 

So I answered Stratos' question by saying "No" if you're talking about real life. The sim is irrelevant. The costs are just prohibitive given what would have to be done...otherwise, don't you think we WOULD have seen this done? The RNZAF would've upgraded it's planes instead of deciding to buy F-16s...the political decision to scrap it all notwithstanding.

This has NOTHING to do with your mod vs some other what-if mods vs the price of pie in Togo. I'm just talking about the possibility of ever seeing an A-4 like the one you modded actually in service anywhere. Besides, if you use his "60s" stipulation, you can't use the F404, you can't use the AN/APG-66, you have to use what was around at the time...and neither of those were, so it's even more "no."

 

Most people don't ask if a given mod is something we'll ever see, they just go with it because it's cool. So I don't bother to point out why mod X would not happen because, well, it's just a mod.

 

 

But, hey, if you want to take my declaration that it would never happen (which history has supported) as some sort of indictment of your mod, well, go ahead, I can't stop you. Feel free to misinterpret every thing I say for that matter. Doesn't really make a difference. Just know that if anyone would mod say an F-86 to have an F110 engine and a nose with an AESA AN/APG-79 radar that just dominates the skies, and someone asks if we could ever see something like that in reality, I will also say "no."

Edited by JediMaster

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The A-4K had a designated version of the APG-66NZ modified for maritime use it states on several sites - the A-4AR also has a version (incorrectly given as the APG-66v2) 

 

Looking at its location the antenna dish seems to be a lot smaller

 

 A-4K

 

2rc7lm1.jpg

 

 

F-16B

APG-66.jpg

 

 

A-4AR

 

a4ar_APG66radar.jpg

 

 

 

 

And yes today the F-16AM (MLU) uses a modified APG-66v2 which gives it similar capability to the APG-68v5  (F-16CM and B50/52+ use the superior APG-68v9) - so the A-4 version could maybe be upgraded but would have radar range limitations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JediMaster, I asked If the upgrade was possible back in the day. Not now. Maybe in early or mid 60's, converting the plane into something more A/A oriented. Again adding a better engine and more hardpoints for A/A...

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Radar performance is dictated by dish size. Fact.

 

The A-4's nose is even smaller than the F-16's. Fact.

 

An A-4's A2A radar performance can not be as good as an F-16 as a result. Fact.

 

Yet putting an AN/APG-66 radar in an A-4 would cost just as much as one in an F-16. Fact.

 

As I said, it could be done, yes. If you're a fan of the Scooter and like how it looks, there's no reason in a sim not to make it...because a sim doesn't make you think about the economics, just the aerodynamics. You could make a fighter that costs $500m and it would be fine, just don't expect to see it built.

 

It's just not economically feasible. Not when there are used F-16s out there that would give better performance for the money. Or you can spend as much money (or maybe more) redesigning the nose and aft section (which is more than an extended tailpipe...that cooled the exhaust to make IR missiles have more difficulty tracking it, not to prevent the tail from melting in full stage 5 burner) and then all the associated flight testing to make sure you didn't ruin anything you liked about the Scooter in the first place.

 

So I answered Stratos' question by saying "No" if you're talking about real life. The sim is irrelevant. The costs are just prohibitive given what would have to be done...otherwise, don't you think we WOULD have seen this done? The RNZAF would've upgraded it's planes instead of deciding to buy F-16s...the political decision to scrap it all notwithstanding.

This has NOTHING to do with your mod vs some other what-if mods vs the price of pie in Togo. I'm just talking about the possibility of ever seeing an A-4 like the one you modded actually in service anywhere. Besides, if you use his "60s" stipulation, you can't use the F404, you can't use the AN/APG-66, you have to use what was around at the time...and neither of those were, so it's even more "no."

 

Most people don't ask if a given mod is something we'll ever see, they just go with it because it's cool. So I don't bother to point out why mod X would not happen because, well, it's just a mod.

 

 

But, hey, if you want to take my declaration that it would never happen (which history has supported) as some sort of indictment of your mod, well, go ahead, I can't stop you. Feel free to misinterpret every thing I say for that matter. Doesn't really make a difference. Just know that if anyone would mod say an F-86 to have an F110 engine and a nose with an AESA AN/APG-79 radar that just dominates the skies, and someone asks if we could ever see something like that in reality, I will also say "no."

I said nothing of the 60's to Stratos, I only showed and explained what I did to my A-4K Skyhawk. My version I added a afterburner, and some medium range air 2 air missles. I added the burner not for speed, but to help keep air speed up around 400-450 mph when whipping the ponies doing mud moving missions. In the SF2 world the A-4 has some built in hidden DNA that will not let it go faster than MACH 1.09.

 

Dude go look up the RNZAF's A-4K Skyhawk upgrade program called "Project KAHU" started in 1986. The A-4K KAHU Hawk is an F-16 w/an A-4 Body. Turn that F-16 nose 90 degrees and the cross sections are very similar. The dish is smaller about half as big, the range would still be about 100 miles.Would it be harder to find those targets beyond 70+ miles? Or would one need help from a command and control/patrol aircraft. Then look up the RSAF's upgrade by ST Aerospace for A-4SU Super Skyhawk started in 1985 a lot of upgrades similar to the KAHU Hawk along with the installation of the General electric F404 turbofan. I'm not making this sh!t up! Fact!

 

http://a4-alley.x90x.net/A4-Alley/index.html

 

http://a4-alley.x90x.net/models/Walkarounds/Skyhawk-Walkaround-1.html

 

http://redkiwi.weebly.com/project-kahu.html

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDV9xhDL-kI

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekgNfZELRws

 

Not your typical Skyhawk cockpit.

a4g-rnzaf-kahu-cockpit-upgrade.jpg

skyhawkint2.jpg

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The A-4K KAHU Hawk is an F-16 w/an A-4 Body. Turn that F-16 nose 90 degrees and the cross sections are very similar. Then look up the RSAF's upgrade by ST Aerospace for A-4SU Super 

 

That's not entirely true - although the A-4Kahu was a superb budget fighter for that era

 

The A-4Kahu is a conventional aircraft with a standard control system  - The added MIL-STD-1553 in the A-4 would have only been putting in a bus to allow it to fire the AGM-65 and AIM-9L etc - this is not the same as the F-16A B10 where it was also integrated as part of a highly responsive FBW system and an unstable airframe.

 

For wiki to say it has the eyes and ears of an F-16A B10 is also incorrect - in a merge you need to be able to see the other person so a raised bubble canopy is essential - and that person also probably didnt take the antenna size of the radar into account.

 

The F-16 was actually designed to sustain 9Gs and in 1978 was the only production jet on the planet that could do this.  this btw is not the same as withstanding 9Gs for a second or so (like Red Bull racing Aircraft do) 

 

Obviously no point talking about energy when it comes to the A-4 - anyway there are videos of the A-4K with an F-16 in the HUD - the same as there are Eurofighters getting blasted by F-16AMs - all this means is that if you put a **** pilot in a top line jet even an A-10 has a chance in a merge.

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That's not entirely true - although the A-4Kahu was a superb budget fighter for that era

 

The A-4Kahu is a conventional aircraft with a standard control system  - The added MIL-STD-1553 in the A-4 would have only been putting in a bus to allow it to fire the AGM-65 and AIM-9L etc - this is not the same as the F-16A B10 where it was also integrated as part of a highly responsive FBW system and an unstable airframe.

 

For wiki to say it has the eyes and ears of an F-16A B10 is also incorrect - in a merge you need to be able to see the other person so a raised bubble canopy is essential - and that person also probably didnt take the antenna size of the radar into account.

 

The F-16 was actually designed to sustain 9Gs and in 1978 was the only production jet on the planet that could do this.  this btw is not the same as withstanding 9Gs for a second or so (like Red Bull racing Aircraft do) 

 

Obviously no point talking about energy when it comes to the A-4 - anyway there are videos of the A-4K with an F-16 in the HUD - the same as there are Eurofighters getting blasted by F-16AMs - all this means is that if you put a **** pilot in a top line jet even an A-10 has a chance in a merge.

Not entirely true?, but very close. The RNZAF fit as much stuff from an F-16 as they could into the little frame of the A-4K. The A-4K KAHU Skyhawk is a wolf in sheep's clothing and in the late 80's and early 90's was a very capable little plane. To quote the people that flew and maintained them , people from other air arms would often say It's just a Skyhawk. "Only a Skyhawk?? That's a KAHU buddy! Don't you ever forget it!"          

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Not entirely true, but very close.        

If you feel anything I have stated is incorrect than please state what that is with evidence to support it - because I can back up everything I have just stated.

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If you feel anything I have stated is incorrect than please state what that is with evidence to support it - because I can back up everything I have just stated.

I see nothing I stated that says you are incorrect. Well yeah the F-16 is faster and can carry more gear. However, for somebody to say the A-4K KAHU Skyhawk does not have some of the same tactical capabilities as the F-16 and is not a scary little plane would be ludicrous. Wouldn't you agree?

I try to stay away from wiki, I use it as more of a cross reference. Oh now I see what you meant.  I forgot the question mark. Not entirely true?, but very close.

 

I use this site a lot, you may already know about it.

http://www.f-16.net/

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Yes certainly the A-4Kahu upgrade gave it the best avionics an aircraft of that size could have had and a top line ability for that era.

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With regards to the performance and range of the AN/APG-66NZ radar in the project Kahu upgraded A-4K Skyhawks:

 

Yes the radar dish/ antenna had to be made smaller to fit in the A-4 nose cone and normally that would result in a decrease in performance. HOWEVER the very cleaver people at Westinghouse (now Northrop Grumman) came up with a software modification/ upgrade specifically for the AN/APG-66NZ that prevented any decrease in range or performance due to the smaller antenna. The same software modification was also required to solve a few issues created by the length of wiring between radar components due to some of the radar components being located away from the nose in the fuselage avionics bay. Again this was due to the limited space in the nose.

 

This information comes first hand from an ex RNZAF avionics specialist who I asked a bunch of questions when I did my A-4K Kahu mod for SF2. He spent his career in the RNZAF working on the radar and avionics systems of the post project Kahu A-4K. He has also recently co-authored a book on the A-4K in New Zealand service.

Edited by dtmdragon

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With regards to the performance and range of the AN/APG-66NZ radar in the project Kahu upgraded A-4K Skyhawks:

 

Yes the radar dish/ antenna had to be made smaller to fit in the A-4 nose cone and normally that would result in a decrease in performance. HOWEVER the very cleaver people at Westinghouse (now Northrop Grumman) came up with a software modification/ upgrade specifically for the AN/APG-66NZ that prevented any decrease in range or performance due to the smaller antenna. The same software modification was also required to solve a few issues created by the length of wiring between radar components due to some of the radar components being located away from the nose in the fuselage avionics bay. Again this was due to the limited space in the nose.

 

This information comes first hand from an ex RNZAF avionics specialist who I asked a bunch of questions when I did my A-4K Kahu mod for SF2. He spent his career in the RNZAF working on the radar and avionics systems of the post project Kahu A-4K. He has also recently co-authored a book on the A-4K in New Zealand service.

 

I am not making this stuff up JediMaster, Fact!

I was in Florida this past April spoke to 2 members of the RNZAF, now that I think of it the younger guy was a Draken employee that was former NASA. Well anyways the RNZAF 25+ years of service who was detailed to Draken Intl, the new owners of quite a few A-4K KAHU Skyhawks.  I asked him about weapons, pretty much what ever an F-16 could carry they could carry just less of it. His words "The plane may only be a Skyhawk, but they have a lot of onboard stuff that the US State Dept doesn't want to flaunt to the public, It is a fully capable modern combat plane, Its pretty much a mini F-16". I talked to the NZ guy for awhile. I have spent years doing research on the A-4 Skyhawk and all It's users and versions. I told him that the KAHU is a wolf in sheep's clothing, he laughed and agreed that is the best description he's ever heard of the KAHU Hawk. It is a mean little plane that if given a chance could give some bad guys a run for their money, Fact!

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With regards to the performance and range of the AN/APG-66NZ radar in the project Kahu upgraded A-4K Skyhawks:

 

Yes the radar dish/ antenna had to be made smaller to fit in the A-4 nose cone and normally that would result in a decrease in performance. HOWEVER the very cleaver people at Westinghouse (now Northrop Grumman) came up with a software modification/ upgrade specifically for the AN/APG-66NZ that prevented any decrease in range or performance due to the smaller antenna. The same software modification was also required to solve a few issues created by the length of wiring between radar components due to some of the radar components being located away from the nose in the fuselage avionics bay. Again this was due to the limited space in the nose.

 

This information comes first hand from an ex RNZAF avionics specialist who I asked a bunch of questions when I did my A-4K Kahu mod for SF2. He spent his career in the RNZAF working on the radar and avionics systems of the post project Kahu A-4K. He has also recently co-authored a book on the A-4K in New Zealand service.

 

 

Thought that would have been made public somewhere. I suppose there would have been 10 years of radar development from 78 to the time the A-4K come off the line in 88 so its possible they overcome the antenna gain limits through other means. In 1988 the APG-68v / v1/ v4 were in use and the v5 was due for production jets from 89.

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Thought that would have been made public somewhere. I suppose there would have been 10 years of radar development from 78 to the time the A-4K come off the line in 88 so its possible they overcome the antenna gain limits through other means. In 1988 the APG-68v / v1/ v4 were in use and the v5 was due for production jets from 89.

A lot of technical details at the time were kept under wraps due to the level of American military technology and hardware involved. Even as time has gone by lot information on the true capabilities of the Kahu upgraded A-4K has remained closely guarded by the RNZAF not only for the above reason but also the obvious tactical advantage to the RNZAF by keeping those details secret. That has continued today with the US State Department even restricting how close the public were allowed to view the aircraft when Draken displayed them this year. The RNZAF to this day refuses to declassify the post Kahu upgraded A-4K Pilots Manual citing security restrictions still imposed by the US State Department. A lot of the Kiwi ex A-4K pilots and technicians I have talked to over the years have implied that there is more to the Project Kahu upgrade in terms of capability that has or will ever be made public.

Edited by dtmdragon

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I will try to get an update on a 1965 A4. Kahu is too modern for y taste, at least until I can have moving radar cues.

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I will try to get an update on a 1965 A4. Kahu is too modern for y taste, at least until I can have moving radar cues.

A-4K Super Kahu

 

Stratos it's your sim world. I would like to see some pics of your souped up old school scooter.

img00074 - Copy.JPG

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