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BAe/Dassault Asterix C - Armée de l'Air, 2007

 

Following the introduction into RAF service of the Panavia Tornado GR.1 during the early 1980's RAF officials began planning a draft operational requirement for an advanced follow-on to enter service during the late 1990's and by 1983 this had become the ambitious Air Staff Target 411 (AST-411) calling for an advanced supersonic tactical strike and reconnaisance aircraft (ASTR). However, during 1984 there was early feedback from service pilots that the Tornado ADV was hardly likely to set the world alight as a fighter-interceptor prompting the RAF to ask the MOD to crank-in an additional interception role leading to a new designation of Project Asterix (Advanced Supersonic Tactical Reconnaisance and Interceptor experimental). BAe's Warton division soon sketched a large and impressively long single-seat aircraft with a double-delta configuration similar to the Saab Draken but with one large turbofan engine mounted mid-span on each wing. Power was to be supplied by either the General Electric YF120 or the Pratt & Whitney F119 engines depending on which company won the USAF's ATF engine competition.

 

At about the same time Armée de l'Air officials were looking forward to the introduction of the Mirage 2000N and Mirage 2000D whilst also realising that this small single-engined aircraft was deficient on range and not quite the Mirage IV replacement they had hoped for. It is believed that Armée de l'Air officials first floated the idea of a collaborative program and this thinking soon gained momentum at inter-government levels at a time when Anglo-French relations were fast thawing out since the icy cold days of 1982 when Margaret Thatcher had virtually accused François Mitterrand of betrayal over the French sale of Exocet missiles to Argentina and his reluctance to stop further shipments of the French anti-ship missile then being used with deadly effect against Britain’s task force in the South Atlantic. The decision to launch the Anglo-French 'Asterix' program was announced on February 12th, 1986 as an unexpected sideshow to the formal ceremonial signing of the Channel Tunnel treaty where Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterrand appeared to have kissed and made up. Behind the scenes Margaret Thatcher had secured airframe design leadership for the UK whilst Mitterand had secured avionics and propulsion leadership for France and the planned in service date of 2000 made this a sensible decision. Consideration was given to using the existing SEPECAT company to produce the Asterix but a new company (BAD) was created for purely financial and trading reasons and was never officially referred to outside of those circles.

 

Development moved swiftly and, in particular, the Snecma M99 afterburing turbofans broke new ground by combining a low-emissions combustor, single-crystal turbine blades and powder metallurgy disks whilst being designed for supersonic flight without the use of afterburner (supercruise) and all with exceptionally carefree handling due to the advanced inlet shock cones and long inlet ducts which combine to smooth out turbulent airflow. Entering service with the RAF in 2001 and with the Armée de l'Air in early 2002 the Asterix soon gained export orders from Japan, Israel and Saudi Arabia and continues in service.

 

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This is, of couse, Cocas' new FA-21 (Lockheed's CL-2016 early paper study for the ATF program).

 

 

 

 

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during ini work i realy found my self tinking of making into a bomber!
or something like the FB-111!

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