Skip to comments.New, Light A-10 Candidate? Scaled Composites Design "401 Jet"
Posted on 04/11/2018 4:20:05 PM PDT by gaijin
The new JT15D-5 turbofan-powered "401 Jet" of Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites in Mojave, Calif is a small, stealthy, single-engine jet variation on the very novel, 30 year-old "Ares" light attack jet. Never having entered production, Ares was actually an acronym, standing for Agile Responsive Effective Support:
Experts note that the X401 would have piloted and drone versions, leading to speculation that the pair could work together synergistically in a "loyal wingman" arrangement, possibly with some form of laser or directed energy weapon occupying the weapons bay, partially visible in the landing flare photo below.
A 6-minute YouTube vid explains more about the X401 in the first comment below.
It looks so fragile that if the pilot sneezed it’ll blow the wings off and eject the pilot.
Looks like a drone.
Great fan of Rutan and his aircraft, BUT, THAT is not a replacement for the A-10 either in terms of amount of firepower it can carry, nor in survivability. I doubt that thing will return when you know out an engine (oops, only 1) and half the airframe.
Rutan is a brilliant designer, and his composite craft are sturdier than they look.
But, I don’t see that replacing the A-10 in any wa , shape or form.
That was my thought. The point of the A-10 is that it can take a huge amount of damage and still fly - and still inflict massive damage against enemy ground forces. I don’t want a composite A-10; I want a solid, durable one. I don’t want a high-tech replacement; I want a reliable, combat-ready replacement.
The best answer would be to build new airframes (approved modifications to the A-10 included) from the existing design. I don’t trust the establishment to design something better from scratch, not when they seem to go in the opposite direction every time. The real A-10 does its job. Let’s build more!
A ground attack jet needs ARMOR, not stealth.
A large payload capacity is a must.
TWO engines is a must.
How many rounds of 50 cal. can it absorb and still complete its mission?
This thing replaces an A10 in the same way that a Porshe 911 replaces a Caterpillar bulldozer.
I’m not seeing a space for the gatling gun.
The A-10 was basically built around its 30mm Cannon. This aircraft could not possibly be armed with the GRU. A-10’s durability is unmatched. I have seen nothing that comes close to replacing it. I find it astonishing the “plans” (for the lack of the technical term) were destroyed and we cannot duplicate this aircraft.
The survivability probably goes like this:
A piloted sample arrives in the general target area with his 6 drone comrades. He sizes things up, then sends in his drone brethren to perform the actual attack.
Then he goes home with however many survive that attack.
The mistake that Scaled Composites made with the ARES was to try to interest the Air Force in CAS platforms: the AF is genetically opposed to CAS of any kind since Billy Mitchell walked the Earth.
Chances are that this bird is intended to become unmanned CAS which might be more palatable to the AF - or maybe even the army, should the Air Force continue to be stubborn.
Funny thing about the A-10. It’s principal designer was the infamous Col. John Boyd. Now Boyd his famous for his theories of maneuverability leading to the F16 and derivatively the F15 and F18 (though the latter two were heavier and less maneuverable than he believed you needed). So he was branded as an advanced fighter advocate in an Air Force that wanted to do strategic bombing. Then they asked for a good ground attack, direct support aircraft. He looked at what attributes were needed (firepower, survivability) and voila the A-10 a great airplane for its mission.
Well, if you just have to spend a bunch of money, that looks like a fun way to do it.
Does it make sounds guaranteed to send chills up the backside of the enemy?
Rutan’s ARES, the predecessor to this aircraft:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG9LlHcX8lg Turbofan Killer Bee: Rutan ARES “Mudfighter” for U.S. Army Close Air Support
“By the time construction started in 1986, the design had evolved to the current configuration: an asymmetric design with the engine inlet on the left side of the fuselage, a single Pratt and Whitney Canada JT15D-5 turbofan engine (same as in the Beechjet/T-1A Jayhawk), and a GAU-12/U 25mm gatling gun on the right side.”
Wingspan: 35.0 ft. (10.67 m)
Length: 25.5 ft. (8.97 m)
Height: 10.8 ft. (3.0 m)
Wing Area: 191 sq. ft. (17.49 m²)
MTOW: 6,7 lbs.
Start mass: 2767 kg
Empty Weight: 3,6 lbs. (1,308 kg)
External/War Load: 900 lbs.
Internal Fuel: 2,2 lbs. / 333 U.S. Gallons
Stores Stations: 4
Internal Gun: 1 x 25mm GAU-12/U
Maximum speed: 763kph
Maximum speed @ SL: 305 Kts.
Maximum speed @ALT: 375 Kts.
Maximum cruise @ALT: 210 Kts.
Stall speed @ SL: 78 Kts.
Maximum Climb Rate @ SL: NA
Service Ceiling: NA
Tactical Radius, Internal Fuel: NA
Ferry Range, Internal Fuel: 1,15 n.m.
Maximum Range, External Tanks: NA
Wing Loading: 32.4 lbs./sq ft.
Power/Weight or Thrust/Weight: 0.48 to 1
Load Limits: 8G
Takeoff Distance: 1,5 ft.
Landing Distance: 2 ft.
Flyaway Cost: 1 to 5 Million USD
Armament: 1 x 25mm cannon, bombs or missiles
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