Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The forgotten father of the Eurofighter Typhoon: the F-104 CCV
The Aviationist ^ | Mar 07 2014 | Dario Leone

Posted on 03/10/2014 12:43:45 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki

Even if the last F-104 fighter jets in active service were retired by the Italian Air Force on Oct. 31, 2004, the Starfighter legacy survived in a modern combat plane: the Eurofighter Typhoon. Whereas the various G, S, ASA and ASA-M variants never featured it, there was an F-104 example fitted with fly-by-wire controls which flew about thirty years before the Italian Zippers were grounded forever.

During the 1970s, Germany understood that future fighters would need to achieve high agility as well as the ability to fly at high angles of attack. These capabilities required an unstable aircraft configuration.

In 1974, in order to address the need to test how a highly unstable supersonic jet fighter equipped with a proper redundant flight control system would fly, the German Ministry of Defense authorized MBB to proceed with the so-called Control Configured Vehicle (CCV) program.

The outcome of the CVV would be a fly-by-wire testbed: the aircraft selected for testing campaign was the F-104G, which was preferred over the F-4F since the Phantom was too big and too heavy, even if its size would have offered more space for test equipment than the Starfighter.

The first phase of the trials was aimed at defining the parameters for the control algorithms of the CCV and its sensors: it lasted from Sept. 27 to Nov. 4, 1976 andwas accomplished with thirteen flights.

The second phase saw the aircraft flying in two different versions, the B (for Basic) and E (with E for Ente which means “duck”, because of the canard configuration).

Flight after flight, from a stable aircraft the F-104 became an unstable platform, a goal reached shifting the neutral point and centre of gravity of the Starfighter.

The first complete mission in CCV mode was flown on Oct. 2, 1979 by the B1 model fitted with the Control Configured Vehicle software. Another variant followed the B1: the B2 with 600 kg aft and 130 kg forward ballasts.

But the first real unstable flight took place on Nov. 20, 1980 when, along with a 240 kg nose ballast, an additional F-104 elevator was mounted behind the cockpit; a version known as E1. With this variant, the neutral point was moved forward, while the E2 configuration, adding 400 kg aft ballast, shifted back the centre of gravity.

At that point the F-104 was really unstable and 26 sorties were conducted between July and September 1981. All the flights were safely conducted and the nose trim weight was replaced with another 200 kg ballast, realizing the E3 configuration.

With this additional ballast the Starfighter could perform flights at 20 percent negative longitudinal stability.

The testing phase lasted about four years during those the F-104 CCV demonstrator was pivotal to the design and development of a delta-canard control system later adopted by the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Dario Leone for The Aviationist


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; eurofighter; f104

Image credit: GAF via Key Publishing forum

1 posted on 03/10/2014 12:43:46 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

2 posted on 03/10/2014 12:44:39 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

I understand it’s a testbed but I’d hate to think of flying that thing in combat with the airfoil blocking the pilots view to the rear.


3 posted on 03/10/2014 2:00:07 AM PDT by fso301
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fso301

“... I’d hate to think of flying that thing in combat with the airfoil blocking the pilots view to the rear.”

What do you think about the rear view of the bomb truck called F-35?


4 posted on 03/10/2014 2:13:52 AM PDT by MHalblaub ("Easy my friends, when it comes to the point it is only a drawing made by a non believing Dane...")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

One of my greatest days included a backseat mission to the range in an F-104 out of Luke AFB. We dropped practice bombs and straffed the rags. What an experience. Often when we weren’t running intercepts with fighters from Luke and DM we would go to the F-104 simulator and take turns flying it. My cousin who had never been in service visited and I took him to simulator and he spent over an hour in it. The NCO taught us everything to do to reset the simulator and he would leave so that we had it to ourselves. Then the F-4 simulator arrived and we couldn’t get close to it. They were too busy and it was too fragile.


5 posted on 03/10/2014 2:43:07 AM PDT by Portcall24
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

Holy crap, the Eurofighter has a mechanically scanned radar?!! That’s like opening the hood of your new Porsche and finding an aspirating carburetor. How last-generation can you get...


6 posted on 03/10/2014 2:50:53 AM PDT by Charles H. (The_r0nin) (Hwaet! Lar bith maest hord, sothlice!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: MHalblaub
What do you think about the rear view of the bomb truck called F-35?

It definitely has a blind spot low and toward its 6 o'clock. The twin verticals don't help the rearview either.

7 posted on 03/10/2014 2:54:35 AM PDT by fso301
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Charles H. (The_r0nin)

“Holy crap, the Eurofighter has a mechanically scanned radar?!! That’s like opening the hood of your new Porsche and finding an aspirating carburetor.”

Don’t be surprised but many modern Porsche are without “Turbo”. There are even diesel engines available. No, I am not talking about Porsche Cayenne.

What is the advantage of an EASA radar then your hook can’t catch the wire?


8 posted on 03/10/2014 3:19:34 AM PDT by MHalblaub ("Easy my friends, when it comes to the point it is only a drawing made by a non believing Dane...")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: fso301
I understand it’s a testbed but I’d hate to think of flying that thing in combat with the airfoil blocking the pilots view to the rear.

You know those rear-view backing-up cameras that new cars increasingly have? How about a rear-facing camera on the tail feeding a pilot display?

9 posted on 03/10/2014 3:28:22 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: PapaBear3625
You know those rear-view backing-up cameras that new cars increasingly have? How about a rear-facing camera on the tail feeding a pilot display?

Yeah, the MiG-31 Firefox (NOT the Foxhound) had one of those IIRC. Of course, it also had a thought-controlled weapons system (had to think in Russian tho).

The basic problem with the F-35 is that its been sold as a "fighter" when it's really a stealthy light attack bomber. More of a successor to the A-7 than the F-16 and legacy F/A-18. It'll perform pretty well in its intended role, and in a beyond-visual-range air-to-air environment where it has datalinking with F-22s and legacy F-15s/F-16s (a late-entry requirement due to the F-22s smaller numbers that's being worked on).

The helmet-mounted sighting system will help somewhat, once it gets worked out, but they are having some issues now with the enlarged headrest of the fancy new bang-seat impairing the pilots line of sight. Maybe they'll end up reverting to the ACES II seat ...
10 posted on 03/10/2014 3:43:32 AM PDT by tanknetter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: MHalblaub
What do you think about the rear view of the bomb truck called F-35?

With or without the 360° Helmet Mounted Cueing System and multiple cameras around the airframe?

11 posted on 03/10/2014 4:00:26 AM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

I am a huge fan. As a kid I built the revelle (I think?) model. I remember it being “ the missle with a man in it “ and watching the right stuff as Chuck Yeager takes it into near space with the modified nf104a starfighter with added rocket motor to get him up where there is no air around 120000ft. Of course he couldn’t get it out of a flatspin so he could not restart the jet nor dead stick it and he bailed out.

Great fast Kelly Johnson vehicle


12 posted on 03/10/2014 4:22:35 AM PDT by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Yo-Yo

“With or without the 360° Helmet Mounted Cueing System and multiple cameras around the airframe?”

The view for the high resolution system of eyeball MK1 in assistance with high resolution system mirror MKx. System mirror has a far better MTBF compared to any camera or helmet mounted system. No need for much software code integrated somewhere.

KISS!

Standard sensor package on every current fighter should alert the pilot before eyeball MK1 makes contact.

Maybe the A/F-35 goose is cocked within visible range so view would not help anything at all.


13 posted on 03/10/2014 4:25:16 AM PDT by MHalblaub ("Easy my friends, when it comes to the point it is only a drawing made by a non believing Dane...")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: fso301

I believe the Darth Vader helmet makes it possible to see 360° in every direction.


14 posted on 03/10/2014 4:48:14 AM PDT by Woodman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki
While the F-104 CCV tested a number of ideas to improve maneuverability of fighter aircraft, the true ancestors of the Eurofighter Typhoon are these two planes:

British Aerospace EAP

Rockwell-MBB X-31

What was learned from these two test planes--especially the delta wing with forward canard configuration and studying how to get maximum maneuverability from this configuration--shaped the final design of the Typhoon.

15 posted on 03/10/2014 4:49:05 AM PDT by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fso301

it’s called a lawn dart for a reason.


16 posted on 03/10/2014 4:56:54 AM PDT by Bulwyf
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: MHalblaub
I believe the AN/AAQ-37, while having a higher MTBF than the MK I eyeball, may edge out the performance of the MK 1 in the infrared spectrum, at night, and in adverse weather.
17 posted on 03/10/2014 5:09:46 AM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki
Germany using fly-by-wire to make the F-104 more stable was an attempt to salvage their Air Force, which had put all their eggs in the Lockheed basket, fueled by corruption.

Starfighters dug more trenches across Europe than the Wehrmacht.

18 posted on 03/10/2014 8:49:20 AM PDT by diogenes ghost
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: diogenes ghost
Starfighters dug more trenches across Europe than the Wehrmacht.

Ouch...

19 posted on 03/10/2014 8:51:49 AM PDT by nascarnation (I'm hiring Jack Palladino to investigate Baraq's golf scores.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki; zot

Thank you for this historical note on the F-104


20 posted on 03/10/2014 9:48:24 AM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GreyFriar

Thanks for the ping. The F-104 was known as a widow maker. One of its victims was a good friend of mine.


21 posted on 03/10/2014 2:22:22 PM PDT by zot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson