F-4 Phantom II

     Notes: The Phantom II, one of the most ubiquitous fighters in the free world during its service, was conceived to fly a totally different mission than it eventually found itself in – as a high-speed, high-altitude interceptor for US carrier battle groups.  However, it found itself largely in a role it was not designed for – turn-and-burn dogfighter.  And, especially in the skies of North Vietnam, only the skill and bravery of pilots and aviators made the kill-to-loss ratio in the Vietnam War less than one might think.  The first operational deployment of the Phantom was in December 1960, then designated by the US Navy the F4H-1.  By August 1964, 13 of the US Navy’s fighter squadrons were equipped with the Phantom, now designated the F-4B.  In US service, the last Phantom in service, an F-4S in a Marine squadron, was replaced by an F/A-18A in January 1992.  Subsequent use of the Phantom by the US included research aircraft by NASA and a rather ignoble end as aerial targets.  The Phantom is or was operated by 12 other air forces or navies, but only parts or refurbished aircraft from AMARC are sold now.  Iran, South Korea, Japan, Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Turkey still use the Phantom (mostly F-4E-based versions), and the Luftwaffe still operates a small number of them.

 

The Phantom – The Beginning

     The first glimmer of a thought for the Phantom II began in the mid-1950s, as an improved version of the F-3H Demon naval fighter.  However, the Navy was more interested in a high-speed interceptor than an improved dogfighter/ground attack aircraft like the F3H-G Demon. After lots of design work, and radically-redesigned aircraft was shown – The XF4H-1 Phantom II. (The first Phantom was the end-of-World-War-2 FH-1, which did not have performance any better than the piston-engined fighters of the period and was not proceeded with.)  Though the original mock-up of the XF-4H-1 had a pair of 20mm cannons in the wing roots, the Navy decided these were unnecessary in an interceptor and they were deleted before the first flight.  This was also the time before Vietnam, when the Navy and Air Force felt that guns on a fighter were obsolete.  McDonnell-Douglas also gave the Navy a one-seater Phantom and a two-seater Phantom to choose from – in the end, once again for the Phantom’s role as an interceptor, the two-seat version was chosen, with the back-seater being a RIO, operating the radar and long-range weapons.  As a technology demonstrator, the XF4H-1 was armed only with four of the new AIM-7 Sparrow missiles.  However, the XF4H-1 prototypes set several speed, range, altitude, and climb records for the time. Some evaluation and test Phantoms were retroactively given the designation F-4A, but these did not see service.

 

The Early Phantom

     When the F4H-1 came into service, the Navy and Marines were eager to find out what their new fighter could do.  The Phantom had six wing and one fuselage hardpoints, as well as the four Sparrow semi-recessed hardpoints.  They discovered that the F4H-1 could haul a lot of munitions, including extra missiles or even air-to-ground ordinance.  The F4H-1 was fitted with TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation), a radiocompass, a radar altimeter, an air data computer (simple by today’s standards), ISS, and a 3-channel-capable UHF long-range radio.  They also discovered that the RIO had almost no ability to see ahead of the aircraft, and his controls were removed.  The Phantom was designed with maintenance in mind, with a total of 199 access doors and engines that could be removed as a set on a wheeled stand.  The radar set (which was a problem child at the time) could also be slid out on rails for servicing.  The Phantom had radar and also an early IRST (Infrared Search and Tracking) which could provide direction to a target but not range. Some 10% of the Phantom was built from titanium, a new aircraft technology at the time.  The engines of the Phantom, now called the F-4B, were either a pair of J79-GE-2s and later J79-GE-2As, both of which provided 10,350 pounds of thrust per engine or 16,150 pounds of thrust per engine in afterburner. The 46th production aircraft introduced the J79-GE-8 engines, with 10,900 pounds thrust each or 17,000 pounds thrust each in afterburner. The 19th production aircraft gave the Phantom the AN/APQ-72 radar; while it was more powerful and able, it resulted in the drooped nose characteristic of early Phantoms. Other systems included carrier landing equipment that was fitted by making one of the fuel tanks in the fuselage a little smaller.  The F-4B was introduced with an ECM/ECCM suite, one of the first.

     The F-4C was the Air Force’s first Phantom.  The Air Force originally designated this aircraft the F-110 Spectre, but changed the designation under orders from Robert McNamara. The first flight was in May 1963.  The F-4C had a number of commonalities with the F-4B (even down to retaining the arresting gear and folding wings).  The F-4C used J79-GE-15 engines; though they were only slightly uprated from the F-4B’s engines (not enough to be useful in Twilight 2000 rules), used a pyrotechnic cartridge engine start system that gave it self-starting capability.  The aerial refueling arrangements of course changed, to match Air Force tankers.  The tires were wider tread and lower pressure, as the F-4C would be operating from land runways instead of hard carrier decks.  The drooped nose allowed the back seater (called a WSO in the Air Force) good enough forward vision that he could effectively fly the plane, and so controls were installed in the rear seat.  (The higher back seat position was later adopted for all Phantoms.) The F-4C carried the more powerful AN/APQ-100 radar and a better visibility for instruments. Long-range navigation was taken up by an inertial navigation system, and an AN/ABJ-7 bombing system was added.  Electronics allowing the control of the command-guided Bullpup AGM was also introduced and integrated with the F-4C’s bombing system. The ECM/ECCM suite was deleted; the result were adapters that allowed the forward Sparrow missile hardpoints to carry certain ECM/ECCM pods or flare/chaff dispensers. When first deployed to Vietnam, the F-4C developed corrosion and problems with the humidity and it’s effects on the electronics of the F-4C, as well as fuel leaks.  These problems were addressed by the end of 1965.

     The F-4D was basically an improved version of the F-4C, built for the Air Force.  Primary improvements lay in the electronics suite.  The radar was replaced with the AN/APQ-100 with the addition of solid-state components, reducing the weight and complexity of the system.  New attack and navigation systems were added which were more reliable.  Finally, the F-4D was the first Phantom to regularly carry gun pods, usually on the centerline (though some instances of F-4Ds carrying three pods existed).  The pod was an SUU-23/A, which was a Vulcan electrically-powered.  The F-4D was provided with a special gunsight for the pod.  The IRST was deleted for most of the F-4D’s production run; however, an RWR was added.  When first deployed, the F-4D was unable to use the Sidewinder heat-seeking missile; as a result, F-4Ds went to Vietnam for a while equipped with Falcon heat seeking missiles.  This was quickly rectified, and the F-4Ds were carrying Sidewinders in less than a year after their introduction.

     In 1962, the US Air force decided to replace their RF-101 Voodoos in the reconnaissance role (though the RF-101 served on for several more years in Vietnam).  The platform chosen was the F-4C, and the result was the RF-4C.  The IRST system was removed, and radar downgraded, and the RF-4C fitted with a plethora of photoreconnaissance and ELINT gear, including three sets of cameras, SLAR (Side Looking Airborne Radar), a Moving Target Indicator that picked out moving targets in the cameras’ fields of view and marked them on the film, an IR Line Scanner that added heat mapping to the film, a Radar Homing and Warning System which marked radio and radar emitters on the film, and mechanisms to mark date, time, and altitude on the film.  The RF-4Cs inertial navigation system was substantially upgraded, and the radios replaced with longer-ranged HF radios. In addition, high-resolution night photos could be taken through the use of photoflash dispensers (essentially large flares). However, the RF-4C had it’s Sparrow missile hardpoints faired over, fire control systems removed, the pilot’s gunsight replaced with an aiming pointer for film shots, and the radar set replaced with a simplified set that was used for navigation only. Following the Vietnam War, an upgraded ELINT suite was installed.

     In 1965, the McDonnell-Douglas fitted an RF-4C’s nose and avionics to F-4Bs, producing the RF-4B.  Except for systems peculiar to the F-4B, the RF-4B was for game purposes the same as an RF-4C.  Later, the same was done to the F-4E, producing the RF-4E; however, the RF-4E was built exclusively for export sales, and not used by the US.  After Vietnam, all these aircraft received substantial upgrades in avionics, including their photo and ELINT suites, a datalink, increased numbers of flares and chaff bundles carried, and structural strengthening. Seemingly forgotten in all this was the back-seater; he had little do except navigate and monitor the automatic photo reconnaissance and ELINT suites.

 

The F-4E – The Phantom Gunfighter

     Even as the Phantom came into service, there was grousing about the lack of a gun in the Phantom.  The fighter pilots knew what the Pentagon seemed to not to want to know – that ranges in dogfights could shrink so much that missiles (especially the missiles of the time) could not be launched at an enemy aircraft because the target aircraft was inside the minimum range of the missile.  This would lead to a missile shot that never armed or never guided properly.  The Navy and Marines felt they still didn’t need a gun on their Phantoms, but Air Force pilots were persistent and were not going away on the gun issue.  In response, McDonnell-Douglas modified the Phantom into the F-4E.  This version was the most produced Phantom, and in addition to the US Air Force, virtually every foreign buyer opted for F-4E-based Phantoms.

     Early modifications included new J79-GE-17 engines, with the same dry thrust as the F-4C, but 17,900 pounds thrust each available on afterburner.  The F-4E was the first Phantom II to receive leading-edge combat slats to improve maneuverability.  These slats were not fitted until 1972, and earlier F-4Es use the Maneuverability ratings of the F-4D.  In addition, a combat slat was added to the all-moving tailplane to aid in turning further. The ejection seats were changed to the new Martin-Baker “zero-zero” ejection seats; this meant that the crew could eject, if necessary, when the F-4E was standing on the runway.  Another fuel tank was added in the tail above the engine nozzles; it was not a big tank, but helped.  The wings of the F-4E could not be folded hydraulically; instead, they were folded manually by ground crews. The signature feature of the F-4E was, of course, the M-61 Vulcan Gatling gun mounted in the nose. This made lengthening the nose necessary, along with the fitting of the more compact (but just as powerful) AN/APQ-120 radar.

     The F-4E also addressed two serious problems with the Phantom; a tendency to go into a flat spin when wrapped up in tight turns; these spins were almost unrecoverable.  This was fixed by the combat slats.  In addition, the use of the Phantom as a dogfighter led to premature wing metal fatigue.  Earlier Phantoms went through an expensive strengthening; the F-4E has that strengthening from the start. Late in F-4E production, the TISEO (Target Identification System Electro-Optical) system was F-4Es.  The system was essentially a long-range camera, and it was designed to defeat the Visual ROE (where US aircraft had to send one of their number ahead to eyeball the target and make sure it was a bogey) and allow the Phantom to shoots its Sparrows from a longer range.  Most foreign F-4Es did not have TISEO.

 

Late-Model US Phantoms

     The Navy still did not see the need for an internal gun on their Phantoms, but they were impressed with the F-4E’s maneuverability.  So they came up with something like an F-4E, but with no cannon and some other improvements, designating it the F-4J.  These entered service not long after the F-4E.  F-4Js had the combat slats on the wings and tail, the Martin-Baker zero-zero ejection seats, and the strengthened airframe and wings.  The F-4J also had new avionics and radar gear, a new fire control system (including an improved ground attack/bombing system), a data link for automatic carrier landings, and an RWR.   The radar was a solid-state system capable with Track While Scan and “Look Down, Shoot Down” capabilities.  The radar set was powerful, with a range of over 60 kilometers. The engines, however, required external power to start them, not normally a problem on a carrier or a land base.  Randy Cunningham and Willie Driscoll, the top scoring US aces from the Vietnam War, did their work in an F-4J.

     The Navy and Marines chose to update their F-4Js; the upgraded aircraft was designated the F-4S.  Perhaps the best upgrade on the F-4S was a problem that plagued previous Phantoms: All other engines of Phantoms produced a thick, oily smoke trail, visible for miles.  It led to the North Vietnamese referring to Phantoms as “smokers.”  The F-4Ss modified J79-GE-10B engines did not produce this smoke trail.  The F-4S retained the combat slats of the F-4J, but had a digital, long range, improved radar set.  The F-4S was the last Phantom used by the US, present in squadron service with the Marines until 1992.

     By 1970, the Navy and Marines were becoming concerned about the geriatric nature of their F-4Bs. So under Project Bee Line, 228 F-4Bs were upgraded and modified into a new version of the Phantom, the F-4N.  The first thing addressed was structural strength and wear condition.  The electrical system got a big upgrade, including a 30 kVA generator to keep constant electrical power to the aircraft.  The F-4N did not get most of the benefits of later Phantoms, such as combat slats on the wings; they simply did not mix with the F-4B-based airframe.  The F-4N had one feature very rare among Phantoms – a deception jamming system. There are long fairings on the fuselage sides and top for the antennas required for much of the F-4Ns avionics.  The F-4N had RWR, both to warn the crew and activate the deception jamming system.  The F-4N’s crew received a primitive helmet-sight interface, as well as Target ID and IR Uncaging features.  Improved IFF was fitted, plus a datalink.  The engines of the F-4B were retained, though smoke abatement equipment was added.  The radar and IRST of the F-4B were retained, along with the ECM/ECCM suite.  The F-4N had a rather short service life, with service ending in 1985, though some were converted to the F-4S configuration.

 

A Phantom of a Different Kind – The F-4G Wild Weasel Variant

     In the Vietnam War, the US Air Force began to use specially-modified aircraft and specially-trained crews whose job it was to act as “SAM Bait” – get the North Vietnamese Air Defense to turn on its radars and keep them on long enough to fire antiradar missiles at the radar transmitters and take them out of the fight.  Though the first Wild Weasel aircraft was a modified F-100, and the burden of Wild Weasel duties in Vietnam were done by the F-105F, towards the end of the war another Wild Weasel took to the skies – the F-4G, based on the airframe of the F-4E.  F-4Gs continued to service the Air Force as late as the early phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

     Again, the primary modifications to make an F-4G were in the nose, though new avionics were spread all over the aircraft.  The nose cannon was replaced by special sensors to detect radar and radio emissions; 52 antennas for this system were spread all over the aircraft. The F-4G crew could use this system to pinpoint and target antiradar missiles or smart cluster bombs.  Originally, the F-4Gs primary armament was the Shrike ARM, but when the HARM became available, this became the standard.  However, some F-4Gs in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom found themselves carrying Shrikes due to shortages.  The F-4G had no shortage of flares and chaff bundles, and the forward Sparrow missile recesses were taken up by an ECM pod and an IRCM pod, adding to internal ECM/ECCM and IRCM. The F-4G can use Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles, but it was far more common for it to carry more ECM, IRCM, or Flare/Chaff pods or antiradar missiles and ordnance.

 

British Phantoms

     The first foreign users of the Phantom were the British; the Royal Navy began using them on their carriers in the 1966s.  By 1978, The Phantom was out of service by both the RN and RAF. The British Government felt that it was cheaper to buy foreign weapons than to develop their own weapons and aircraft.  (Unfortunately, this meant that many promising British weapons and aircraft were cancelled or not proceeded with.)  The first British version was designated the F-4K by the US and the FAA FG.1 by the Royal Navy, and entered service in 1965.  In an interesting turn of events, there was not enough room on Britain’s carriers for all 56 FG.1s they ordered; 14 FG.1s were actually used by the RAF until the mid-1970s. The FG.1 was derived from the F-4J, but substantial changes were made to the aircraft at the request of the Royal Navy.  The only Royal Navy unit to fly the Phantom was No. 892 squadron aboard the Ark Royal.

     The FG.1 had an AN/AWG-11 radar, roughly equivalent to the F-4J’s AN/AWG-10 radar in game terms, but the entire nose/radar assembly could be swing completely sideways alongside the aircraft, to fit on a British carrier’s smaller elevators.  The engines were probably the biggest change; they were Rolls Royce Spey 202/203 turbofans with a dry thrust of 12,250 pounds thrust each and 20,515 pounds of thrust each in afterburner.  The nose strut was much longer than on US Phantoms, giving the FG.1 a higher angle-of-attack when taking off from the Ark Royal’s shorter flight deck; the higher thrust of the engines also assisted in this.  The struts were of variable height, to allow for landings at land bases or US aircraft carriers. The strut could be raised as much 15.75 centimeters. Another nod to the short decks of British carriers was a variable-angle horizontal stabilators, again to accommodate the higher nosewheel strut. The Spey 202 provided a massive increase in engine power, but also required more air to operate, and the air intakes were enlarged to fulfill this. The FG.1 ceased operations in the Royal Navy in late 1969, in favor of the Harrier.  Note that the FG.1 not only did not have an internal gun, it could not carry a gun pod.  FG.1s transferred to the RAF had this problem rectified and could carry one gun pod centerline.

     The FGR.2s (US designation F-4M) also modified F-4Js; the copies sold to the British were chosen by the US from F-4Js who had the lowest time.  The British carrier force was shrinking at the time, and only 29 FGR.2s were ordered by the British.  The surviving FG.1s were assigned to the RAF 111 Squadron, along with the FGR.2s.  The FGR.2 used the same base radar set as the FG.1, but the version used by the FGR.2 was European-built by Ferranti and could interface with the inertial navigation feature of the FGR.2. The new radar system also gave the FGR.2 Multitarget capability as well as Track While Scan and Look Down, Shoot Down capabilities.  Improvements to the inner wing hardpoints allowed the FGR.2 carry external gun pods. Other improvements included anti-skid brakes for the landing wheels.  Though the combat slats were retained on the wings, the tail slotted combat slat was eliminated.  The ASM-46 computer was added to give the FGR.2 inertial navigation ability.  The surviving FGR.1s flew their last flight (except for the occasional air show) in 1989, and were replaced by the Jaguar and the Lightning.

     The FGR.2 were used in reconnaissance role at well.  For this role, the FGR.2 used a special EMI pod equipped with cameras looking in all directions. The pod also contained an IR linescan device and SLAR.  The pod’s film cameras could mark moving and stationary targets.  In addition, three additional cameras or sensors could be added to the pod as long as they were not large.  This pod was normally carried centerline. The F-4M had a RWR installed.

 

The Japanese F-4EJ

     The Japanese F-4E, named F-4EJ in Japanese service, was essentially a stock F-4E.  However, in 1984, the Japanese started an upgrade program on the F-4EJs, resulting in the F-4EJ Kai. (“Kai” means “Augmented” in Japanese.).  First attention was given to the radar; The Kai used the Westinghouse AN/APG-66J Pulse-Doppler radar.  The new radar was smaller and lighter, yet easier to service; this offered room for Multitarget, Track While Scan, and Look Down, Shoot Down capabilities which were unique in 1984 in their power and resistance to ECM.  The aircraft was also equipped with an advanced HUD, IFF system, and inertial navigation capabilities.  Moreover, the Kai had a pair of small, low power, and short-range radar sensors to augment observation.  The radios (two UHF long-range data-capable) and a medium-range, also data-capable), had large external antennas, including a large blade-type at the middle of the fuselage behind the back-seater.  The centerline hardpoint was strengthened for use with the ASM-1 antishipping missile. The centerline also carries the 2109-liter centerline fuel tank normally carried by the F-15. The F-4E’s combat slats were not used on the F-4EJ, due to cost.

 

German Phantoms

     The F-4F (at first designated the F-4E(F)) was a greatly simplified version of the F-4E, to achieve the German’s despite to keep costs down, lower maintenance costs, but keep the performance of the F-4E at a high standard. Major components were to be manufactured or assembled in Germany.  Perhaps the biggest difference was that the F-4F had no ability to launch or guide radar-homing air-to-air missiles, and all avionics were removed relating to such.  The actual radar itself was also greatly simplified.  It is strange that though the inflight refueling ductwork was installed in the F-4F, the external arrangements for such refueling were not installed.  The slotted tailplane was removed to save costs and weight.  The F-4F lacked a poorly-known capability which almost all Phantoms had – the ability to carry nuclear weapons.  In addition, the F-4F could not use command-guided weapons or some more advanced weapons such as the Maverick, Shrike (though it could use the HARM) and Walleye. The F-4F was a shadow of its former self, in my mind.  175 were delivered between September 1973 and April 1976.

     Between 1980 and 1983, the F-4F’s ability to use Sparrow AAMs was returned, and the F-4F gained the ability to use the AIM-9L AAM, as well as the Maverick ASM.

     In 1983, the Germans decided that their stripped-down Phantoms weren’t getting the job done, and they also wanted the Phantoms to assume some more missions, such as interception and more comprehensive ground attack.  Initially, two Phantom squadrons were supposed to get the upgrade and part of a third Phantom squadron, but when JBG 36 changed to the interception role, it was decided to give that squadron a complete refit.  The upgrade caused the redesignation to F-4F/ICE (Improved Combat Efficiency), sometimes seen as F-4F+/ICE.

     First among the upgrades was for the F-4F to get it’s radar spurs back.  To this end, the radar was replaced by the Hughes APG-65, which was the original radar installed in F/A-18As.  This new radar was a quantum leap for the Phantom, and at the time, gave it the best radar of all Phantoms in service.  The radar could guide both AIM-7 and AIM-120 missiles, as well as the Skyflash if necessary.  The radar missile interface could eject the missiles into the airstream and ignite the motor in a little over a second.  Virtually every F-4F system was upgraded, including the F-4F, the bombing/PGM system, the flare and chaff dispensers, the RWR, the air data computer, and the inertial navigation system (later supplemented with GPS).  The cockpit received a complete redo, incorporating the best “glass cockpit” technology of the period.

     By the early 1990s, new budgetary pressures arose.  Reunification caused drawdowns on virtually the entire German military.  The costs of the German participation in the Eurofighter program were spiraling upward, and on top of that, the Eurofighter program was years behind, and many other partner countries were dropping out.  The result was an ICE program that upgraded as little as six F-4Fs a year.  It did mean that the F-4F has to soldier on for longer than anyone thought it would, that the ICE program was not completed until the early 2000s, and that the Luftwaffe still has F-4F/ICEs in service.

     In 1997, DASA of Germany upgraded nearly all of Greece’s F-4E Phantom fleet.  The result was a Phantom nearly identical to the F-4F/ICE, and called the EPA Phantom. EPA Phantoms normally carry one less Sparrow or AIM-120, filling the hardpoint with a LITENING sensor and targeting pod.

 

Israeli Phantoms

     Between 1969 and 1976, the Phantom was about the most powerful aircraft the IDF had in its arsenal.  Though most of the Phantom’s roles have been taken over by the F-16 and F-15, the IDF/AF still keeps a number of Phantoms in service, primarily as bomb trucks. (It is believed that if Israel were to deliver a nuclear weapon by aircraft, it would be a Phantom that does it.)  Phantom sales and deliveries to Israel were spurred by the Israeli’s pyrrhic victory in the 1967 War, and the huge number of aircraft losses they suffered.  Before then, the US refused to sell the Phantom to Israel, as it was one of the US’s latest aircraft.

     The Israeli’s Phantoms were based on the F-4E variant. At first, these were stock F-4Es (which the Israelis call the Kurnass), but after the 1969-71 War of Attrition, in which there were a good number of tangles between the IDF/AF and the Egyptian Air Force, the Israelis suffered again many losses, not only to the Egyptian Air Force, but to MiGs flown by Soviet pilots and SAM sites partially manned by Soviet “advisors.” At this point, a secret deal led them to the installation of US levels of ECM/ECCM protection, and the larger-capacity flare and chaff ejectors that the US was using over Vietnam.  In the 1973 War, the Israelis were almost totally surprised by the Egyptians and Syrians, and this time the Soviets had equipped their allies with even more advanced equipment, especially the new SA-6 SAM.  The operating mode of the SA-6 and its speed meant that detecting a launch was critical, and this led to more advanced RWRs on the Phantom and other IDF/AF aircraft. (Reportedly, some of those mods were made while the Phantoms were running hot in the shelters about to pull out on missions.  This seems unlikely to me.) ECM was also improved dramatically to account for the wider operating band of the SA-6.

     In this way, bit by bit, mostly according to operational needs, the Israeli F-4E were progressively upgraded, along with their weapons capabilities. Often, entire squadron-sized buys and, gifts for lack of a better word, were delivered to Israel on an emergency basis. (Some were fresh off the factory floor.  Radars were improved, ECM and ECCM was improved even further, and more and more Phantoms were carrying advanced electronic warfare pods.  Some of these pods sharpened the radar’s capability, some provided IRCM or more chaff bundles and flares. Israeli Phantoms through the years were modified to carry more domestically-developed weaponry.

     By 1989, Phantom upgrades reached a pinnacle – the Kurnass 2000 upgrade, designed to take the Phantom into the 21st century.  When Phantoms were scheduled for D-level overhauls, they were upgraded to the Kurnass 2000 standard instead.  One of the core upgrades was a new radar, a multi-mission radar designed around synthetic aperture radar, a system originally designed for the proposed A-6F upgrade and the cancelled A-12.  This system gave the Kurnass an air-to-ground/air capability similar to that of the F/A-18C.  The system is further improved by use of a mission computer which tells the crew all they need to know and keeps track of ground and air threats and the positions of friendly forces.  The system uses the SAR to read the terrain, allowing low-altitude attack and terrain matching to alert the crew if they are getting off target.  A GPS system also aids in this, helping the crew to get back on target if, for example, they’ve had to knock down some bothersome enemy aircraft.  Both cockpits have special heads-down displays and glass cockpits, while the pilot has a holographic HUD system.  A modern HOTAS system was added, greatly increasing the efficiency of the pilot.  Special sighting systems allow the Kurnass 2000 to fire the most modern air-to-air and air-to-ground ordinance.

     One upgrade which would have given the Kurnass 2000 a major increase in performance was the replacement of the Phantom’s standard engines with Pratt & Whitney PW1120 turbofans.  The engines were originally designed for the Israeli’s abortive Lavi fighter and were a derivative of the F100 engines used by the F-15 Eagle.  These engines had 70% commonality with the F100, and the Israelis were already flying the Eagle. The new engines offered a fantastic increase in performance – the Kurnass 2000 tested with the PW1120s was supercruise-capable and in afterburner could hit almost Mach 3.  The PW1120 gave 13,530 pounds of dry thrust and 20,585 in afterburner. Though it was rumored that the existence of operational Lavis and “Super Phantoms” would have jeopardized sales of the F/A-18 and the engine transfer was killed by the US government, it more likely that such an upgrade of the Kurnass 2000 was simply not cost-effective (the engines were expensive), and costs of the Lavi had already spiraled out of control.

     The name Kurnass is the name used for most Phantoms in the IDF/AF; it means “Heavy Hammer.”  Israeli RF-4Es are known as Oref (Raven). IAI upgraded most of the Turkish F-4E Phantom fleet in the late 1990s, producing a Phantom similar to the German F-4F/ICE.  The Turks called the upgraded Phantoms the “Phantom 2020,” though their pilots refer to the aircraft as the “Terminator.”

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: By the beginning of hostilities in the Twilight War, a surprising number of Phantoms were operational worldwide.  The hardest-working Phantoms were probably the Luftwaffe’s F-4F/ICEs and upgraded F-4Fs, which saw every duty from interceptor to armed reconnaissance to close support aircraft.  A runner-up would go to Turkish F-4Es, which often struck deep into Iraq, Iran, and the southern Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

     In the Twilight 2000 timeline, the Israeli Kurnass 2000 upgrades were nearly complete; at the beginning of the war, there were even five Super Phantoms in service.  The German F-4F/ICE upgrades were only about half complete.  The F-4S was in US Navy and Marine service in two squadrons.  As the war went on, AMARC was almost totally stripped of Phantoms, many of which were used in CONUS. Four former QF-4s were even converted back to manned F-4Es.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

F-4B

$85,703,658

JP5

7.27 tons

20.23 tons

2

26

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-4C

$77,907,322

JP4

10 tons

22.83 tons

2

28

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-4D

$87,424,206

JP4

10.01 tons

22.83 tons

2

26

Radar

Shielded

F-4E/F-4EJ

$93,893,410

JP4

11.98 tons

25.38 tons

2

28

Radar, VAS

Shielded

F-4G

$159,017,543

JP4

11.98 tons

26.47 tons

2

32

Radar, SLAR

Shielded

F-4J

$113,625,602

JP5

9.29 tons

23.25 tons

2

29

Radar, VAS

Shielded

F-4N

$151,829,000

JP5

7.21 tons

26.3 tons

2

30

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-4S

$97,654,857

JP5

9.29 tons

23.25 tons

2

29

Radar, VAS

Shielded

FG.1 (F-4K)

$137,753,960

JP5

7.26 tons

26.31 tons

2

29

Radar, VAS

Shielded

FGR.2 (F-4M)

$72,550,120

JP5

9.7 tons

23.76 tons

2

29

Radar, VAS

Shielded

F-4EJ Kai

$51,019,482

JP4

9.58 tons

25.5 tons

2

31

Radar, VAS

Shielded

F-4F

$76,193,684

JP4

12.84 tons

21.95 tons

2

24

Radar

Shielded

F-4F (MLU)

$85,232,327

JP4

12.71 tons

22.08 tons

2

26

Radar

Shielded

F-4F/ICE

$47,004,634

JP4

11.42 tons

23.37 tons

2

31

Radar

Shielded

Kurnass (Upgraded)

$50,037,637

JP4

11.98 tons

25.41 tons

2

28

Radar, VAS

Shielded

Kurnass 2000

$69,416,560

JP4

14.27 tons

28.03 tons

2

34

Radar, VAS

Shielded

Kurnass 2000 (Engine Upgrade)

 

JP4

16.77 tons

28.03 tons

2

35

Radar, VAS

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

F-4B

3428

686 (130)

NA  206  7/4  50/30

7518

3677

18898

F-4C

3038

609 (130)

NA  179  7/4  50/30

7518

4151

17099

F-4D

3038

548 (130)

NA  179  7/4  50/30

7518

4151

17023

F-4E/F-4EJ/Kurnass (Upgraded)

2734

493 (130)

NA  161  6/4  40/20

7548

4608

18974

F-4G

2621

473 (130)

NA  155  6/4  40/20

7548

4806

18974

F-4J

2983

538 (130)

NA  176  6/4  40/20

7548

4220

16672

F-4N

2637

476 (130)

NA  156  7/4  50/30

7257

4773

15239

F-4S

2983

538 (130)

NA  176  6/4  40/20

7548

4220

16672

FG.1 (F-4K)

3445

621 (130)

NA  203  6/4  40/30

7022

4134

18300

FGR.2 (F-4M)

3814

687 (130)

NA  225  6/4  40/30

7022

3733

18531

F-4EJ Kai

2720

491 (130)

NA  160  7/4  50/30

7548

4631

18974

F-4F

3226

582 (130)

NA  190  6/4  40/20

7548

3885

18974

F-4F (MLU)

3207

579 (130)

NA  189  6/4  40/20

7548

3908

18974

F-4F/ICE

3031

547 (130)

NA  179  6/4  40/20

7548

4135

18974

Kurnass 2000

2480

496 (130)

NA  162  6/4  40/20

7548

4561

18974

Kurnass 2000 (Engine Upgrade)

4050

730 (130)

NA  239  6/4  40/20

7548

4840

16500

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

F-4B

All-Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (10 Each), ECM (-3)

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+1

9 Hardpoints

None

F-4C

All-Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (10 Each), ECM (-3)

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+1

9 Hardpoints

None

F-4D

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (10 Each), ECM (-3)

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+2

9 Hardpoints

None

F-4E/F-4EJ

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (10 Each), ECM (-2), HUD Interface, IR Uncage

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan Gatling Gun, 9 Hardpoints

639x20mm

F-4G

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (20 Each), ECM (-7), Deception Jamming, Active Jamming, Look-Down Radar, Target ID

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+3

9 Hardpoints

None

F-4J

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (10 Each), ECM (-4), HUD Interface, Look-Down Radar, Track While Scan, IR Uncage

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+2

9 Hardpoints

None

F-4N

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (10 Each), ECM (-5), Deceptive Jamming, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Target ID

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+2

9 Hardpoints

None

F-4S

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (12 Each), ECM (-4), HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, Track While Scan

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+3

9 Hardpoints

None

FG.1 (F-4K)

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (15 Each), ECM (-4), HUD Interface, Look-Down Radar, Track While Scan, IR Uncage

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+3

9 Hardpoints

None

FGR.2 (F-4M)

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (15 Each), ECM (-4), HUD Interface, Multitarget (2), Track While Scan, Look-Down Radar, IR Uncage

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+3

9 Hardpoints

None

F-4EJ Kai

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (10 Each), ECM (-2), HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Target ID, Multitarget (2), Track While Scan, Look-Down Radar

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan Gatling Gun, 9 Hardpoints

639x20mm

F-4F/F-4F MLU

All Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (12 Each), IR Uncage, HUD Interface

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+1

20mm Vulcan Gatling Gun, 7 Hardpoints

639x20mm

F-4F/ICE

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (15 Each), ECM (-4), HUD Interface, Auto Track, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, Track While Scan, Target ID

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan Gatling Gun, 9 Hardpoints

639x20mm

Kurnass (Upgraded)

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (18 Each), ECM (-3), HUD Interface, IR Uncage

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan Gatling Gun, 9 Hardpoints

639x20mm

Kurnass 2000/Kurnass 2000 (Engine Upgrade)

All-Weather Flight, RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (24 Each), ECM (-5), HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Auto Track, Target ID, Track While Scan, Look-Down Radar, TFR

1200/800m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan Gatling Gun, 9 Hardpoints

639x20mm

 

F4U Corsair

     Notes: This was the best naval fighter of World War 2, literally built around its massive Double Wasp engine and the huge propeller necessary to harness its power.  The Corsair has 10 hardpoints, but 8 of these hardpoints are only for air-to-ground rockets, and two of them are for bombs or drop tanks.  If even one of the rocket hardpoints on a wing are used, the bomb hardpoint may not be used, or vice versa.

     The choice of a Double Wasp engine, and the massive propeller required to properly harness its power, proved to be a problem.  The landing gear had to be very long for the propeller to clear the ground.  This made it difficult for the pilot to see the ground when landing.  Compounding this were the reports that the chosen armament, two .30 caliber machineguns and two .50 caliber machineguns, was too light for modern aerial combat.  This meant that the nose-mounted .30 caliber machineguns were replaced with .50 calibers and moved to the wing (two more were added before production began).  Most of the wing fuel therefore had to be moved to the fuselage; this meant lengthening the fuselage, moving back the cockpit, making it even harder for the pilot to see over the nose on landing.  This meant that the Corsair was not certified for carrier landings for over two years.  To help this, the Corsair had the bent gull wings.

     The F4U-1 was the first model.  The later production versions were significantly different from other F4U-1s, in that the cockpit was raised 18 centimeters to give the pilot better visibility, and the canopy was replaced with a bulged Malcolm Hood.  They also had an uprated engine.  These were the F-4U-1As.  The F4U-1C had the machineguns replaced by four 20mm autocannons, and were used primarily for ground support.  The F4U-1D was an F4U-1A with one wet hardpoint on the center fuselage and two on the wings.

     The F4U-2 was a night fighter with a radar set under the right wing.  One of the machineguns and ammunition were removed from that wing so as to not unbalance the aircraft.  This primitive radar could be very fragile, so dogfighting or even tight turning was avoided as much as possible. 

     The F4U-4 introduced a more powerful engine, giving more speed and better high-altitude performance.  The F4U-4B and 4C were version with autocannons substituted for the machineguns.

     The first post-World War 2 model was the F4U-5.  It continued the trend of increasing engine power.  The fuselage was lengthened by 127mm, and the engine was angled down about 2 degrees to increase the stability.  The controls were given hydraulic boost, and the cockpit heater was improved.  The -5N was a night fighter with the radar under the right wing.

     The AU-1 was a ground attack version built for the US Marines.  It has greatly increased armor, more ammunition for its cannons, and, unfortunately, more sloppy handling.  It was considered distinctly difficult to fly, but capable of wreaking great havoc.

     The F-4U-7 was built for the French Navy.  The pilot was seated a bit higher for better visibility, but it was otherwise similar to the F4U-4C.  They remained in service until 1964, the last Corsairs in active service.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: By 2000, some 35 of these planes remained airworthy, and 6 were reactivated during the war, mostly in the US, but there were some French Corsairs flying in Europe, and at least one in El Salvador.  These aircraft were either used as reconnaissance and observation aircraft, or rearmed and flown as ground support aircraft, something they excelled at as late as the Korean War.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

F4U-1

$208,687

AvG

908 kg

5.76 tons

1

6

None

Enclosed

F4U-1A/1D

$210,169

AvG

908 kg

6.35 tons

1

6

None

Enclosed

F4U-1C

$208,110

AvG

908 kg

6.27 tons

1

6

None

Enclosed

F4U-2

$461,280

AvG

908 kg

6.46 tons

1

8

Radar

Enclosed

F4U-4

$217,687

AvG

908 kg

6.65 tons

1

6

None

Enclosed

F4U-4C

$209,569

AvG

908 kg

6.48 tons

1

6

None

Enclosed

F4U-5

$211,046

AvG

908 kg

6.84 tons

1

8

None

Enclosed

F4U-5N

$484,367

AvG

908 kg

7.04 tons

1

10

Radar

Enclosed

AU-1

$537,234

AvG

1.81 tons

9.07 tons

1

10

None

Enclosed

F4U-7

$209,569

AvG

908 kg

6.48 tons

1

6

None

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

F4U-1

1262

316 (80)

NA  79  9/5  90/50

662

700

11310

F4U-1A/1C/1D

1342

336 (80)

NA  84  9/5  90/50

662

786

11250

F4U-4/4C/7

1436

359 (80)

NA  90  9/5  90/50

662

868

12649

F4U-5/5N

1512

378 (80)

NA  95  9/5  90/50

662

951

13400

AU-1

766

192 (70)

NA  48  7/4  70/40

662

748

5944

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

F4U-1/1A/1D/4

None

560/500m Hardened Runway

+1

6xM-2HB, 8 Hardpoints (see text)

2350x.50BMG

F4U-1C/4C/5/5N

None

560/500m Hardened Runway

+1

4x20mm M-2 Autocannons, 8 Hardpoints (see text)

480x20mm

F-4U-2

None

560/500m Hardened Runway

+1

5xM-2HB, 8 Hardpoints (see text)

1950x.50BMG

AU-1

Armored Fuselage

560/500m Hardened Runway

+1

4x20mm M-3 Autocannons, 10 Hardpoints (see text)

924x20mm

F4U-7

None

560/500m Hardened Runway

+1

4x20mm M-3 Autocannons, 10 Hardpoints (see text)

480x20mm

 

F-5A/C Freedom Fighter

     Notes: This was the predecessor of the F-5E, and was also used by a large amount of world air forces.  It differs primarily in its lack of maneuvering slats and less powerful engines, as well as having virtually no modern avionics.  It was designed to be cheap and easy to fly while still giving decent performance, and is very much a “no-frills” design.  As with the Tiger, the Freedom Fighter’s wingtip hardpoints may only be used for heat-seeking air-to-air missiles, Sidearm antiradar missiles, or small, 350-liter drop tanks.   The F-5A may not be refueled in the air; the F-5C adds a refueling probe.

     The F-5A is just about as basic as a “modern” fighter can get.  It cannot be refueled in the air. The F-5C was a model for the Aggressor Squadrons of the USAF and US Navy; they have a refueling probe. 

     The Canadians had a special version of the F-5A built for them, calling them CF-5s.  They had different Canadian engines than their US-built counterparts, engines with more power.  They were equipped with a radar warning receiver and a refueling probe.  The nose wheel was lengthened slightly; this increased the angle of attack, shortening takeoff and landing distances by 25%. 

     Eventually, Canada (and especially the Trudeau government) decided that the defense budget needed to be cut.  It was also decided that the CF-5 was best used as a transition trainer rather than a combat aircraft, and that Canada would not need nearly as many CF-5s as they thought.  Some were kept in service, but many were mothballed or sold.  Some of those CF-5s were sold to the Netherlands.  The Netherlands refurbished them, updating equipment, correcting fatigue-related deficiencies, and in some cases, adding new equipment.  These were the NF-5s.  Some of the improvements include flare and chaff dispensers and leading edge combat slats.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

F-5A

$313,698

AvG

2.81 tons

9.38 tons

1

10

None

Enclosed

F-5C

$323,204

AvG

2.81 tons

9.38 tons

1

10

None

Enclosed

CF-5

$338,842

AvG

2.81 tons

9.7 tons

1

12

None

Enclosed

NF-5

$463,723

AvG

2.81 tons

9.7 tons

1

12

None

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

F-5A/C

2960

740 (130)

NA  185  7/3  70/30

2207

2380

15392

CF-5

3019

755 (130)

NA  189  7/3  70/30

2207

2511

15392

NF-5

3019

755 (130)

NA  189  8/4  80/40

2207

2511

15932

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

F-5A

None

745/900m Hardened Runway

+1

2x20mm M-39 Autocannons, 7 Hardpoints

275x20mm

F-5C

RWR

745/900m Hardened Runway

+1

2x20mm M-39 Autocannons, 7 Hardpoints

275x20mm

CF-5

RWR

595/720m Hardened Runway

+2

2x20mm M-39 Autocannons, 7 Hardpoints

275x20mm

NF-5

RWR, Flare/Chaff Dispensers

595/720m Hardened Runway

+2

2x20mm M-39 Autocannons, 7 Hardpoints

275x20mm

 

F-5E Tiger

     Notes: This is possibly the most successful fighter ever produced, used by the US (for its Aggressor squadrons), Botswana, Brazil, Greece, Morocco, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela, Yemen, Bahrain, Chile, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Tunisia.  It is a light, no-frills fighter that cannot match more advanced aircraft, but is agile and better than nothing.  The pilot has an ejection seat, and it is capable of in-flight refueling.  The two wingtip hardpoints may only be used by air-to-air missiles or small, 350-liter maximum drop tanks.  The Tiger may not use radar-homing missiles.

     Taiwanese F-5Es have a laser designator added.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

F-5E

$1,023,675

AvG

3.18 tons

11.19 tons

1

14

Radar

Enclosed

Taiwanese

$1,160,781

AvG

3.18 tons

11.33 tons

1

15

Radar

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

(Both)

3994

998 (130)

NA  250  9/6  90/60

2563

1225

15789

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

F-5E

Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Radar Warning Receiver

615/745m Hardened Runway

+2

2x20mm M-39A2, 7 hardpoints

560x20mm

Taiwanese

Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Radar Warning Receiver, Laser Designator

615/745m Hardened Runway

+2

2x20mm M-39A2, 7 hardpoints

560x20mm

 

F-14 Tomcat

    Notes: The Tomcat was originally designed as a fleet interceptor.  It was to carry the large Phoenix air-to-air missile (and still is the only aircraft that can carry the Phoenix), and be used to down the heavy maritime bombers of the Russians. 

     The F-14A was designed almost totally for this role.  It is, however, a very agile aircraft for its size, capable of dogfighting with much smaller aircraft.  The Tomcat uses a swing wing that is controlled by a computer optimizing the degree of sweep for the speed and tactical situation.  It also controls glove vanes above the intakes that further enhance lift and maneuverability.   It features what were very advanced avionics and weapon systems for its time (and still is very sophisticated).  It does not, however, have the systems required for air-to-ground combat, except for strafing at opportunity targets with its cannon.  If the centerline hardpoint is loaded, the hardpoint at the rear of the fuselage, the small centerline hardpoint, and the two hardpoints on the fuselage forward of the tail are not useable (and vice versa).  If the two hard points on the fuselage forward of the tail are loaded, the small centerline hardpoint and the rear fuselage hardpoint are not useable (and vice versa).  If the two forward outside fuselage hardpoints are loaded with Phoenix missiles, the small centerline fuselage hardpoint is not useable (and vice versa).  The Iranians were also sold the F-14A, when they were still ruled by the Shah’s government; however, theirs were not equipped with ECM, nor was the radar as powerful as US F-14As. 

     From the beginning, it was felt that the F-14A was underpowered.  The F-14A+ was re-engined with turbofans taken from the abortive F-14B program, and modified further.

     The F-14D, dubbed the Super Tomcat, was a major upgrade for the F-14.  The previously analog systems were almost completely replaced by digital electronics.  New, more powerful engines were installed.  Finally, the Tomcat was given air-to-ground capability, able to carry bombs and air-to-surface missiles. 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

F-14A

$7,256,366

AvG

4.81 tons

33.72 tons

2

50

Radar, VAS

Shielded

F-14A (Iran)

$7,131,256

AvG

4.81 tons

33.72 tons

2

48

Radar, VAS

Shielded

F-14A+

$7,370,556

AvG

4.81 tons

34.02 tons

2

50

Radar, VAS

Shielded

F-14D

$7,980,000

AvG

6.58 tons

34.02 tons

2

48

Radar, FLIR, VAS

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

F-14A (Both)

4941

1235 (110)

NA  309  8/5  80/50

9028

7602

16764

F-14A+

5103

1276 (110)

NA  319  8/5  80/50

9028

9079

16794

F-14D

4941

1235 (100)

NA  309  9/6  90/60

9028

12357

17679

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

F-14A/A+

All-Weather Flight, Radar Warning Receiver, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, ECM, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, Track While Scan, Multi-Target (6)

1500/600m Hardened Runway

+4

20mm Vulcan autocannon, 11 hardpoints

675x20mm

F-14A (Iran)

All-Weather Flight, Radar Warning Receiver, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, Track While Scan, Multi-Target (6)

1500/600m Hardened Runway

+4

20mm Vulcan autocannon, 11 hardpoints

675x20mm

F-14D

All-Weather Flight, Radar Warning Receiver, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, ECM, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, Track While Scan, Multi-Target (6), Target ID, Deception Jamming

1500/600m Hardened Runway

+4

20mm Vulcan autocannon, 11 hardpoints

675x20mm

 

F-15 Eagle

     Notes: The F-15A was one of the few aircraft designed on a computer and then ordered straight off the drawing board, without a prototype having been flown.  (It went straight into “YF,” or service test status.)  The service test period was interesting, including the “Streak Eagle” special edition used to set speed and altitude records, and even an incident in which an Eagle was hit by a live Sidewinder missile and still landed safely!  Very few problems were encountered (though the wingtips were reshaped due to flutter problems) and the aircraft passed into active service very quickly.  This is when the problems with maintenance, especially of the engines, were discovered; the F-15A required mountains of very meticulous maintenance to keep it in operating order.  An upgrade program was quickly placed into operation.

     The F-15B is a two-seat trainer version of the F-15A.

     The F-15C is the current version of the F-15 air superiority fighter.  It is also a capable strike aircraft, though not so much as its cousin, the Strike Eagle.  In the Israeli air force, the F-15C has a 40-to-1 kill ratio. The F-15C can carry conformal FAST packs; these packs can carry up to 3214 liters of fuel or the equivalent in sensors, ECM/IRCM devices, or reconnaissance gear. 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The F-15C is responsible for more air-to-air kills than any other US aircraft in the Twilight War.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

F-15A

$8,485,252

AvG

7.26 tons

29.94 tons

1

54

Radar

Enclosed

F-15C

$8,876,701

AvG

7.26 tons

29.94 tons

1

42

Radar

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

F-15A

5280

1320 (130)

NA  330 10/7  100/70

6776

7721

19812

F-15C

5280

1320 (130)

NA  330 10/7  100/70

7836

7721

19182

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

F-15A

All-Weather Flight, Radar Warning Receiver, Flare/Chaff Dispenser, ECM, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, Multitarget (2)

2800/1055m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan, 9 Hardpoints

940x20mm

F-15C

All-Weather Flight, Radar Warning Receiver, Flare/Chaff Dispenser, ECM, Auto Track, HUD, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, Track While Scan, Multitarget (2), Target ID, Deception Jamming

2800/1055m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan, 9 Hardpoints

950x20mm

 

F-16 Fighting Falcon

     Notes: In Vietnam, US pilots often looked at the nimble aircraft of the North Vietnamese with envy.  The US fighter pilots were qualitatively superior, but their aircraft were in most cases not built for dogfighting, but instead for speed and missile-carrying ability.  They wanted something that could “turn and burn” with their adversaries; they wanted a flying hot rod.  General Dynamics responded with the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

     The F-16A was designed to be a daylight light fighter.  It was meant to be a point defense air superiority fighter.  It was quickly discovered that the F-16A was a pretty decent “bomb truck,” too, and the F-16 has been used more as an attack aircraft than a fighter by the US Air Force (one general even suggested its designation be changed to F/A-16).  Today, the F-16 is one of the most numerous fighter-bombers on the planet, used by over 25 countries, often in large numbers due to its (IRL) low acquisition and operational costs.  Several of these countries have had special versions made for them, and others have modified or upgraded their F-16 fleets.  The official name of the F-16 is the Fighting Falcon, but most pilots call it the Viper, due to it’s perceived resemblance to the Battlestar Galactica fighter and it’s appearance as it leaves the ground when viewed from the front.  Another common nickname is the Electric Jet, due to its fly-by-wire controls (unusual at the time of its introduction) and large amounts of digital subsystems.

 

Blocks and Variants

     The types and technology upgrades of the F-16 may be delineated two ways: in development blocks and in broader marks of the F-16’s type designated by the aircraft’s suffix (F-16A, F-16B, etc.)

     The F-16’s block numbers are primarily assigned by the company to distinguish the design and avionics changes.  They are not part of the designation of the F-16 (though they are often printed by publications as a clarification).  These are production sets with graduated improvements (most of which have no effect in game terms, and will not be listed). Block improvements can also seem to be intermixed and confused; this is because some aircraft were given serial upgrades, some received some parts of the Block improvements ahead of time, and some were “jumped” from a low block to a higher block, and given their own Block improvement numbers as a result.

 

F-16A/B

     The F-16A was the original production version; the F-16B is the same aircraft, but a two-seater.  They were built with an AN/APG-66 Pulse-Doppler Radar, and a Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 with a rating of 14,670 pounds in military power and 23,830 pounds thrust in afterburner.  Construction is largely of aluminum; at first this was an aluminum honeycomb glued to epoxy, but as seen below, changed to corrugated aluminum bolted to the lower epoxy subsurface.  In addition to being available to carry virtually all USAF and Navy ordinance (of the time), it could also carry up to six Sidewinder, Falcon, or similar missiles of NATO make.  (It did not yet have radar-homing missile capability.) In general, two-seat F-16s have a reduced internal fuel supply.

 

Block 1/5/10

     Blocks 1-5 were the original F-16As, and their two-seat counterparts, the F-16Bs.  Block 1 was the original operational testing and limited production version, and blocks 1-10 introduced relatively minor changes.  The Block 1 aircraft had a nose cone painted black; the type of black paint used helped the resolution of aircraft radars.  It was also an obvious visual cue, so new paint the same color as the rest of the aircraft was formulated to make the special black paint unnecessary in Block 5.  It was also discovered that in certain places in the fuselage, rain would accumulate and increase corrosion. A small amount of strategically-placed holes were drilled at points on the fuselage to allow rain to drain away.  Block 10 primarily consisted of differences in construction and materials.  The Soviet Union had locked down their titanium sales to deny them to the West, so Block 10 aircraft used aluminum instead of titanium whenever possible.  In addition, Block 10 aircraft have the corrugated aluminum used in the construction of major wing and fuselage segments bolted to the underlying epoxy instead of the special glue used on earlier blocks.

 

Block 15

     Notes: The Block 15 improvements were in fact a major upgrade for the F-16. Block 15 introduced track while scan capability, changed the radios for greater range and security (the Have Quick II), additional wing strengthening for added carrying capability (before, the F-16 could carry wingtip missiles, but lost -1/-10 of maneuverability when doing so), and the ability to carry a wider array of ordnance.  A larger wing area and larger tail surface area further increased the maneuverability of the F-16 (for the first time, onboard computers had to put limits on the severity of turning or maneuvering, though these could be overridden). The larger tail surfaces also acted as a counterweight for the hardpoints added to the wings. (The size of the horizontal stabilizers, for example, grew by 30%.)  The Block 15 aircraft are the most numerous F-16s, with the last one going to Thailand in 1996.

     In 1988 selected Block 15 aircraft were selected for the Block 15OCU (Operational Capability Upgrade).  These aircraft were equipped with the wide-angle HUD that was otherwise a part of the Block 20 upgrade, improved ECM, ECCM, and IRCM capability.  New weapons carriage allows for the use of the AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-119 Penguin, and AIM-120 in full-capability mode.  This was a popular upgrade at the time, and many foreign F-16 operators received this upgrade in addition to the standard Block 15 upgrades.

     In 1989, a two year study began which culminated in the F-16A/BMLU (Mid-Life Upgrade).  The first of these upgrades was for NATO aircraft, though some of these aircraft or kits were later sold to other countries.  The MLU gave these earlier aircraft the capability to use radar (and later, active)-homing missiles.  Otherwise, the Block 15 aircraft were basically made more modular and capable of more upgrades in the future; in particular, the mission computer was made more adaptable, acquiring more weapons capability with time.

     The Block 15 ADF (Air Defense Fighter) is a special version of the Block 15; it is also called the Block 16, or the F-16A/B ADF. The ADF mounted a spotlight on the right side in a conformal installation which could be turned straight forward, or turned to illuminate an aircraft on the right side of the ADF. The searchlight takes some of the room for the cannon ammunition drum, with the resulting reduction.  The F-16A/B ADF have a computer module and software that allows the ADF to directly interrogate a large aircraft’s computer to prevent spoofing of IFF signals.

 

Block 20

     The Block 20 has sort of an interesting story, because at the time, the actual current production version of the F-16 was the F-16C/D.  The F-16A/B Block 20 aircraft were originally designed for use by Taiwan, and the designation “F-16A/B Block 20” was more or less a made-up term for these aircraft – they are in fact almost the equivalent of F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft.  The “F-16A/B Block 20” designation was made up to deceive the Chinese; at the time, they thought the Taiwanese were actually getting only slightly-modified versions of the F-16A/B Block 15 aircraft.  This deception was quickly discovered, however, and after that, Block 20 upgrades were offered to many countries flying older F-16A/B aircraft. This “Block 20 Upgrade” is known as the MLU (Mid-Life Upgrade) today. 

     The Block 20 also allowed the carriage of the LANTIRN pod, which allowed the use of several laser-guided, TV-guided, and some command-guided air-surface missiles and bombs. The Block 20 introduced radar-homing AAM capability to the F-16A; these F-16As are not used by the US, but are used by many export customers (most notably Taiwan and most countries using the F-16A in Europe).  The new radar which allows the use of RHM is the AN/APG-66(V)3, allowing for the use of the AIM-7 Sparrow and the AIM-120 Rattler. The Block 20s radar has a 25% greater range.  The Block 20 upgrades include an almost completely “glass cockpit” (the plethora of instrumentation largely replaced with a pair of liquid crystal displays which are also night vision device-compatible), a wide-angle HUD, an improved data modem, improved ECM, encrypted IFF, more powerful radar (though not quite as powerful as a true F-16C/D Block 50/52), and hardpoints fitted to the sides of the forward portion of the air intakes allowing the mounting of a LANTIRN pod.  Optional upgrades for the Block 20 a microwave landing system, and a helmet-mounted display.  Further MLU upgrades, available from the spring of 2004, include a helmet-sight interface, improved computer power, a limited GPS receiver (primarily to allow the use of JDAMs and similar GPS-guided weapons, and not capable of providing the pilot with his own position), and TERPROM (Terrain Profile Matching, which makes low-altitude navigation safer). A few Block 20 customers have the later MLU upgrades (also known as the MLU M2 and MLU M3 upgrades).

 

F-16C/D

     The F-16C is an updated version of the F-16 fighter-bomber.  It is both a very agile air superiority fighter and a good ground attack platform.  The F-16C version has larger tail control surfaces for more positive control and better maneuvering characteristics. It also makes the F-16 all-weather capable.  The F-16C comes standard with radar-homing AAM capability.  Since the F-16C/D was in production for the USAF as the Block 20 was in production for other countries, the Block 20 aircraft received a number of features from other Blocks with time; the Block 20 aircraft benefitted with time with from Block 25 to 50/52 upgrades in some cases.

 

Block 25

     The first version of the F-16C (and D, the two-seater) is the Block 25. The Block 25 version has more powerful radar (the AN/APG-68, to allow the full use of radar-homing and active-homing missiles) with a wider search angle.  ECCM was also improved, as was the ECM suite, in addition, several new electronic gizmos were added.  Air-to-ground capability was also improved, with improved look-down radar (primarily in the area of better anticlutter capability and sharper resolution), antishipping attack capability, and better ability to track moving ground targets.  The Block 25 has greater fire control capability. In the cockpit, a wide-angle HUD was added, allowing the projection of almost everything the pilot needs to know in most attack profiles projected on the canopy.  A “FLIR” interface was added, along with a cockpit interface allowing the pilot to see through weapons which have night-vision capability and project that as a video picture on one of the LCD screens of the now-glass cockpit. Currently, the US ANG are the only one using Block 25 aircraft, and they are used by the ANG and Randolph AFB’s Air Education and Training Command.  The engine of the Block 25 fighter is an improved Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220E, which has improvements in metallurgy and durability. Other improvements include to data-transfer equipment, more MFDs, and an improved radar altimeter. Block 25s were also upgraded to the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200E engine, which has a rating of 17,800 pounds thrust in military power and 29,160 pounds thrust in afterburner.

 

 Block 30/32

     Block 30 and 32 aircraft differ primarily by the different engines that power them under the Alternative Fighter Engine project.  Essentially, the difference is that the Block 32 aircraft uses a Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220E, and the Block 30 F-16 uses a General Electric F-110-GE-100 engine.  The GE engine has more thrust and uses a little less fuel (it is a turbofan instead of being a turbojet), but requires more airflow, necessitating a larger intake mouth.  The F110-GE-100 is rated at 21,800 pounds thrust in military power, but only 28,000 pounds in afterburner.  Block 30 and 32 engines can alternatively use the Pratt & Whitney and GE engines as required.  Essentially, these blocks and future clocks ending in 0 are powered by Pratt & Whitney, and Blocks ending in 2 are powered by GE.

     Most Block 30/32 improvements center around the F-16’s ability to carry external stores.  New weapons which may be carried included the AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-88 HARM.  The AIM-120 could also be used to its full envelope by the F-16 (before this point, the F-16 could not hand off information that allowed the AIM-120’s Active Homing capability).  These Blocks also introduced multitarget capability to the Falcon, doubled the capacity of the flare/chaff dispensers, and added the ability to carry a number of older weapons as well as some newer ones (older weapon use ability was added primarily with an eye towards export sales).  Other modifications were mostly in the area of upgraded software and repositioned antennas.  Optional upgrades for these Blocks included the ASPIS system, which improved the RWR and ECM, and the ability to use the TARS (Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System) pod. The Block 30/32 was equipped with INS, and an improved ECM/ECCM suite.  The LITENING Targeting Pod could also be carried in place of one of the intake stores.  The older INS was replaced with a ring laser gyro, and then later to a combination INS/GPS/mapping computer system in the EGI upgrades to Block 30/32.  The EGI upgrade also gave the Fighting Falcon the ability to use JDAMs and other GPS-guided munitions.  The F-16C, with all of the Block 30/32 and EGI upgrades, is often called the F-16++.

     The versions known as the Block 32H/J are special aircraft used by the USAF’s Thunderbirds Flight Demonstration team.  They have the improved engines, but other upgrades, weapons, and hardpoints that are not necessary for flight demonstrations are kept in storage at their home base.  They have special smoke-producing spray tanks at the rear and the wingtips, with the smoke-producing compounds being in a tank where the cannon ammunition drum is normally kept.

     A special Block 30 version, designated the F-16N (or TF-16N for the two-seater), was modified for it’s role as Aggressor aircraft at the Top Gun Fighter Weapons School.  These aircraft were little modified from their “stock” condition, other than special equipment added on to allow the reporting of mock combat conditions.  The aircraft, over the course of years at Top Gun, became overstressed to the point that it was no longer safe to operate them.  Fortunately, about a dozen F-16A/Bs were available, taken from F-16s that had been held back from Pakistan during the US embargo.

 

Block 40/42

     The Block 40/42 modifications unified previous sets of air-to-ground modifications and added a few more; it is the first block of improvements to fully address the F-16’s air-to-ground deficiencies. The LANTIRN pod, previously-carryable in place of a radar or active-homing missile, could now be semi-permanently mounted at the aircraft’s starboard chin. An AN/AAQ-13 targeting pod is mounted on the port chin pylon, with a full interface system for the pilot.  Radar was further improved, particularly in the look-down mode.  The EGI system which a part of the Block 30/32 improvements was applied at this time F-16s which did not have them.  New weapons for the F-16 included the WCMD and the EGBU-27 Paveway.  Weather radar has been added. The Block 40/42 included the modification of the interior and HUD lights to be compatible with ANVIS equipment, as well as datalink capability between the F-16 and AWACS aircraft.  The landing gear were beefed up to carry higher loads, as were the hardpoints. The new Combat Edge system was added, allowing the pilot to withstand greater G-forces due to improved oxygen-pumping ability.  Though previous iterations of the F-16 were stressed for up to 9 positive Gs while carrying up to 12.2 tons, the Block 40/42 aircraft were stressed for 9G maneuvering while carrying up to 12.93 tons. The improvement in air-to-ground night performance was so dramatic that aircraft of these Blocks are informally known as “Night Falcons.”

 

Block 50/52

     The Block 50/52 was the last production Block adopted by the USAF; though other improvements and upgrades have taken place, they have not been organized into Blocks.  One of the modifications given the F-16 Block 40/42 improvements, if they didn’t already have them.  However, the Block 50/52 included a more-powerful engine; the Block 50 received the F110-GE-129 while the Block 52 uses the F100-PW-229.  The F110-GE-129 is rated at 23,200 pounds thrust, or 29,400 in afterburner.  The F100-PW-229 has a rating of 20,200 pounds thrust in military power and 43,560 pounds thrust in afterburner.

 

F-16CJ/DJ (Block 50D/52D)

     An unreleased number of Block 50/52 Vipers have been tapped to provide a partial replacement for F-4G Wild Weasel aircraft.  Unofficially known by the “J” suffix or “Electric Viper,” these F-16s are Block 50/52 aircraft with more ECM, ECCM, and IRCM capability.  Their armament is normally AGM-88 HARMs and AGM-45 Shrike ARMs, though their chin-mounted Pave Penny pod allows them to guide virtually sort of PGM.  Enhanced HARM targeting and control is also given through the use of the AN/ASQ-213 HTS (HARM Targeting System). The F-16CJ is more like an F-4G than an EA-18G – The F-16CJ is a Wild Weasel, meant to find and eliminate SAM sites instead of being a full-blown electronic warfare aircraft like the EA-6B or the EA-18G.

 

Special Foreign Falcons

     In addition to the major blocks and marks of the F-16, the majority of countries that receive the F-16 modify them to some extent.  This may be as little as the changing of the labels and software to exhibit the appropriate language, to major upgrades of electronics and hardware.

 

Block 50/52+

     The Block 50/52+ F-16s are not used by the USAF; they were offered, but turned away by an Air Force more interested in F-15s, F-22s, F-35, and (due to Congressional bullshit moves) the C-17.  The most noticeable difference in this Block is the capability to carry Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT’s) above each wing. (Just a personal note: I think a Viper equipped with CFTs is ugly as sin.)  The CFT’s do carry 1400 liters of additional fuel, but the Viper pays for it in drag and weight (this not reflected in the base stats below, however).  A dorsal spine for additional avionics or fuel may also be added, which can carry up to 800 kg or 850 liters.  Another improvement is an Onboard Oxygen Generation system, allowing the aircraft to recharge the pilots’ oxygen tanks at altitude 4500 meters or below and a JHCMS helmet, which is sort of a helmet sight interface and a night vision helmet in one. 

     Further modified Israeli F-16I versions and its Singapore equivalents are based on Block 52+ aircraft.  Egypt is currently flying F-16s of Blocks 20-32; they are being upgraded to Block 50+ standards.

 

F-16E/F (Block 60)

     Originally, the aircraft which was to arise out of the F-16XL Super Scamp was to be the F-16E/F.  However, the F-15E Strike Eagle won that competition.  The Block 60 appellation was also supposed to go somewhere else – to the F-16 variant which would have become the A-16.  In the end, neither aircraft reached fruition, and the designations were used for a special version designed for the UAE.

     The F-16E (and F) are based on block 50/52 aircraft, though the engine used in all cases is the F110-GE-129.   One of the big improvements in the F-16E is track while scan capability.  Both the RWR and ECM suite have increased range.  RWR, ECM, ECCM, IRCM, and countermeasures are tied together in an integrated and automated suite called Falcon Edge. The new AIM-132 ASRAAM is supported.  All of this is controlled by a data bus which has 1000 times the speed and storage capability than even Block 52+ aircraft.  The F-16E does not carry the chin pods of the Block 40/42 and 50/52 – these functions are integrated into the F-16E, along with a FLIR and a laser designator.

 

F-16C/D Ogzur (Turkey)

     Turkey’s Falcons are Block 30 and 32 aircraft and are currently undergoing modifications which will essentially turn them into Block 50/52 aircraft.  However, some Falcons – named Ozgur – are further modified to allow them to be used as training aircraft for Turkey’s TFX next-generation stealth fighter project.  The greatest difference is in the software for the flight controls; the Ogzur can mimic most other modern aircraft’s flight regimes, as well as the believed characteristics of aircraft arising from the TFX program.

 

F-16I Sufa

     In 1999, the IAF had the choice of the F15I and F-16I.  They chose the F-16I (at the time; they still got the F-15I later), due to lower costs per aircraft, lower costs of upkeep and operational costs, and the largely modular construction that would make modification easier.  And the Israeli’s put this ease of modification to good use, replacing some 50% of the avionics of the original Block 52 roots. An example of this is the addition of the Israeli Aerial Towed Decoy.  Another modification allows ground-attack exercises to take place while the Sufa carries no ordinance.  Some systems are simply a change to Israeli systems, which are at least just as good as American systems if not better; their purpose is to keep as many systems as possible within Israel.  This includes the helmet-sight interface, HUD, mission computer, and the mapping computer.  The Sufa has been modified to use Israeli weapons.  The Israelis have developed their own conformal fuel tanks for use with the Sufa, which hold 1730 liters each.  The upgrades turn the Sufa into what some have called an “F-16C++.”  The Sufa uses the AN/APG-68 radar which was later used on the F-15I.  This is a powerful radar which also provides SAR capability and enhanced Target ID.  The Israelis have also made undisclosed major modifications to the standard F100-PW-229 engine which dramatically increase performance while minimizing the fuel consumption one would expect from an engine of greater power.  Extra-large flaps, slats, ailerons and elevators and rudders, as well as the addition of flaperons give the Sufi an increase in maneuverability.

     The Singaporeans fly basically the same F-16Cs, which are called F-16S.  They were built with Israeli assistance and differ primarily in the domestic production of avionics and other internal details.  The F-16Ss are also based on Block 25 aircraft instead of newer Block 50s.In game terms, the results are the same as the F-16I, but the GM may want to assign a greater wear value to some parts of the F-16S, such as the airframe and engine.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The F-16CJ/F-16DJ is not available in the Twilight 2000 timeline, nor are any special foreign variants.  However, in the waning days of air combat in the Twilight War, with missiles getting short, an F-16C (a Block 52) with the name of Skycobra flown by LTC Mark Shanlin was often seen carrying two 30mm GAU-5/A gun pods in addition to its internal Vulcan cannon.  LTC often equipped Skycobra with the same gear and some cluster bomb pods when covering ground convoys.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

F-16A (Block 1-15)

$31,871,600

JP5

4.83 tons

17.01 tons

1

21

Radar

Shielded

F-16A (Block 15OLU)

$37,260.763

JP5

5.58 tons

17.11 tons

1

21

Radar

Shielded

F-16A (Block 15 ADF)

$35,847,998

JP5

5.58 tons

17.46 tons

1

23

Radar, WL Spotlight (Right)

Shielded

F-16A (Block 20)

$39,005,485

JP5

5.58 tons

17.82 tons

1

24

Radar

Shielded

F-16C (Block 25)

$38,317,886

JP5

5.58 tons

17.95 tons

1

27

Radar

Shielded

F-16C (Block 30)

$40,154,197

JP5

5.58 tons

18.11 tons

1

28

Radar

Shielded

F-16C (Block 32)

$40,121,060

JP5

5.58 tons

18.03 tons

1

28

Radar

Shielded

F-16C (Block 40)

$41,101,477

JP5

5.58 tons

18.44 tons

1

28

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-16C (Block 42)

$42,048,757

JP5

5.58 tons

18.52 tons

1

28

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-16C (Block 50)

$42,064,128

JP5

5.58 tons

18.52 tons

1

29

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-16C (Block 52)

$42,020,093

JP5

5.58 tons

18.44 tons

1

29

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-16CJ (Block 50D)

$50,940,670

JP5

5.58 tons

18.87 tons

1

33

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-16CJ (Block 52D)

$50,896,634

JP5

5.58 tons

18.75 tons

1

33

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-16C (Block 50+)

$42,274,449

JP5

5.58 tons

18.61 tons

1

29

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-16C (Block 52+)

$42,230,193

JP5

5.58 tons

18.53 tons

1

29

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-16E (Block 60)

$42,025,945

JP5

5.58 tons

18.61 tons

1

29

Radar, FLIR

Shielded

F-16I Sufi

$55,502,105

JP5

6.15 tons

19.43 tons

1

32

Radar, Advanced FLIR

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

F-16A (Blocks 1-15)

4409

2402 (120)

NA  179  10/5  100/50

3160

2410

15240

F-16A (Block 15 OLU)

4364

2386 (115)

NA  177  10/4  100/40

3160

2434

15240

F-16A (Block 15 ADF)

4924

2434 (115)

NA  169  10/4  100/40

3160

2473

15240

F-16A (Block 20)

4211

2294 (115)

NA  170  10/4  100/40

3160

2526

15240

F-16C (Block 25)

4620

2517 (110)

NA  188  10/6  100/60

3160

2526

16764

F-16C (Block 30)

4700

2560 (110)

NA  150 (164)  10/6  100/60

3160

2412

16764

F-16C (Block 32)

4602

2407 (110)

NA  187 (307) 10/6  100/60

3160

2536

16764

F-16C (Block 40)

4615

2513 (110)

NA  148 (189)  10/6  100/60

3160

2455

16764

F-16C (Block 42)

4505

2356 (110)

NA  183 (232)  10/6  100/60

3160

2589

16764

F-16C (Block 50)

4521

2444 (110)

NA  148 (243)  10/6  100/60

3160

2406

16764

F-16C (Block 52)

4633

2504 (110)

NA  147 (189)  10/6  100/60

3160

2465

16764

F-16CJ (Block 50D)

4435

2397 (120)

NA  180 (229)  10/6  100/60

3160

2452

16764

F-16CJ (Block 52D)

4554

2461 (120)

NA  148 (330)  10/6  100/60

3160

2507

16764

F-16C (Block 50+)

4498

2432 (110)

NA  182  10/6  100/60

3160

2418

16764

F-16C (Block 52+)

4610

2491 (110)

NA  151  10/6  100/60

3160

2477

16764

F-16E (Block 60)

4521

2444 (110)

NA  183  10/6  100/60

3160

2406

16764

F-16I Sufi

4517

2383 (100)

NA  183   9/5  90/50

3160

2579

16764

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

F-16A (Block 1-15)

Flare/Chaff Dispensers (32 Each), RWR, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, ECM (-2), ECCM (+1), IRCM (-1)

800/530m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan, 7 Hardpoints

515x20mm

F-16A (Block 15/20)

Flare/Chaff Dispensers (32 Each), RWR, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, ECM (-2), ECCM (+1), IRCM (-1)

800/530m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan, 7 Hardpoints

515x20mm

F-16A (Block15OLU)

Flare/Chaff Dispensers (32 Each), RWR, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, ECM (-2), ECCM (+1), IRCM (-1)

800/530m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan, 7 Hardpoints

515x20mm

F-16A (Block 15 ADF)

Flare/Chaff Dispensers (32 Each), RWR, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, ECM (-2), ECCM (+1), IRCM (-1)

800/530m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan, 7 Hardpoints

511x20mm

F-16A (Block 20)

Flare/Chaff Dispensers (32 Each), RWR, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, ECM (-2), ECCM (+1), IRCM (-1)

800/530m Hardened Runway

+3

20mm Vulcan, 9 Hardpoints

515x20mm

F-16C (Block 25)

 

Flare/Chaff Dispensers (32 Each), RWR, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, ECM (-4), ECCM (+3), IRCM (-4)

800/530m Hardened Runway

+4

20mm Vulcan, 11 Hardpoints

515x20mm

F-16C (Block 30/32)

Flare/Chaff Dispensers (64 Each), RWR, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, ECM (-5), ECCM (+5), IRCM (-5)

800/530m Hardened Runway

+4

20mm Vulcan, 11 Hardpoints

515x20mm

F-16C (Block 40/42/50/52/50+/52+)

All-Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (64 Each), RWR, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, ECM (-5), ECCM (+1) IRCM (-5), Laser Designator

800/530m Hardened Runway

+4

20mm Vulcan, 11 Hardpoints

515x20mm

F-16CJ (Block 50D/52D)

All-Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (96 Each), RWR, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, ECM (-8), ECCM (+4) IRCM (-7), Laser Designator

800/530m Hardened Runway

+4

20mm Vulcan, 11 Hardpoints

515x20mm

F-16E (Block 60)

All-Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (96 Each), RWR, Track While Scan, Auto Track, HUD Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, ECM (-9), ECCM (+7) IRCM (-8), Laser Designator

800/530m Hardened Runway

+4

20mm Vulcan, 11 Hardpoints

515x20mm

F-16I Sufi/F-16S

All-Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (96 Each), RWR, Track While Scan, Auto Track, HUD Interface, Helmet/Sight Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, ECM (-11), ECCM (+8) IRCM (-9), Laser Designator

750/500m Hardened Runway

+5

20mm Vulcan, 11 Hardpoints

515x20mm

 

F-20 Tigershark

     Notes: This was the ultimate evolution of the F-5E Tiger.  The Tigershark is a Tiger with a more powerful engine, combat slats, added fuel, and extra avionics.  It was a relatively cheap way for many poorer countries to equip themselves with a reasonably modern aircraft.  The two wingtip hardpoints may only be used for air-to-air missiles or drop tanks.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: production of this aircraft commenced shortly before the Twilight War to equip the air forces of many Third World and some First World countries (such as Taiwan). Production continued during the Twilight War, and many of these aircraft were sent to US Air National Guard units to quickly beef up numbers and replace combat losses. 

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$2,200,738

AvG

3.63 tons

11.93 tons

1

24

Radar

Enclosed

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

5145

1286 (110)

NA  322  10/6  100/60

2563

4045

16764

 

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

Auto Track, HUD Interface, All Weather Flight, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, Track While Scan, Target ID, Radar Warning Receiver, Flare/Chaff Dispensers

550/700m Hardened Runway

+3

2x20mm M-39 Autocannons, 7 Hardpoints

560x20mm

 

F-22A Raptor

     Notes: This third-generation stealth aircraft also makes use of advanced maneuvering systems to allow it unprecedented combat capability.  The Raptor’s stealth capability in the standard clean configuration (all weapons stored in the weapon bays) makes the aircraft four levels more difficult to detect or guide weapons by radar, and two levels more difficult to detect or guide by IR or thermal means.  If the Raptor uses its hardpoints, it is only one level more difficult than normal to detect, or two levels if the Raptor has empty pylons.  Its maneuverability is such that it is capable of high-angle of attack maneuvers, including stable level flight at up to 60 degrees off angle.  Avionics are some of the most advanced placed in any fighter, rivaling those of the B-2, included integrated air-to-air/air-to-ground attack modes. 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The F-22 came very late to the scene; one understrength squadron was formed, and it was sent to the Middle East, where it deployed out of Bahrain. 

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$16,181,585

AvG

7.2 tons

28.12 tons

1

47

Radar, FLIR, VAS

Shielded

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

6960*

1160 (95)

NA  290  11/8  110/80

15350

21038

19812

 

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

All-Weather Flight, Auto Track, Helmet/Sight Interface, IR Uncage, Look-Down Radar, Track While Scan, Target ID, Radar Warning Receiver, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Deception Jamming, ECM, Multitarget (4), Laser Designator

1150/1450m Hardened Runway

+5

20mm Vulcan Autocannon, 6 Weapon Bays, 4 Hardpoints

950x20mm

*The Raptor is supercruise capable.

 

F-86 Sabre

     Notes: Upon its entry into the Korean War, the US Air Force was armed with a variety of elderly and otherwise inadequate fighters, from the F-51 (essentially an upgraded P-51D) to the F-80 (the Air Force's first operational jet) to the F-84 and the night fighter F-85.  And the North Koreans entered the war with a fighter that was more than their match - the MiG-15.  Small, powerful, swept wing, with phenomenal climb rates and near-sonic performance, US Air Force (and Navy and Marine) losses became unacceptably high in a hurry.  American pilots were told not to engage the MiG-15 if it could at all be avoided.

     Now the F-86 was available for the start of the war, just not in large numbers, as brass felt their jets could handle the MiGs.  This was quickly proven wrong.  And the Sabre went up and tangled with the MiG-15 in larger and larger numbers and with better pilots (many of whom were World War 2 fighter pilots) and made mincemeat out of them.  And thus, an American legend was started. The Sabre would fly with various air forces around the world until 1993.

 

The XP-86

     In 1947, the XP-86 entered testing service with the USAF in 1949, after a design period starting in 1944 that basically took a P-51 and dropped a jet engine in it and moved the guns to the sides of the intake.  The straight wings and tail did not last long, and quickly became swept on the strength of captured Nazi data.

      The project was called NA-134, and began as a US Navy fighter that could be carrier based.  Hence the broad straight wings.  This became the XFJ-1 Fury.  (More on that later.)  The fuselage was rather tubby, and the wing, borrowed from the P-51D, was a laminar-flow wing which, though advance when the P-51 was designed, was now old hat. The intake was in the nose, and it was powered by a GE TG-180 turbojet which was a license produced British Goblin engine.  Power produced was 4000 pounds thrust.  However, the wings and tail were replaced by swept surfaces, and performance received a quantum boost.  By the end of the test program, three prototypes had been made.

 

 

F-86A "Sabre-Able"

     The Air Force actually received its first 33 F-86As in late 1946, while it was still part of the Army, and at first received the designation P-86A.  The Army received the P-86A even before the XP-86 prototype had flown, as North American gave the XP-86 some modifications and let the P-86A out for field testing at Muroc Dry Lake.  North American equipped the P-86A with many of the features being tested on the XP-86, such as deletion of the fuselage speed brake, and rear-opening speed brakes on the rear of the fuselage instead of front-opening brakes. A big difference between the XP-86 and the P-86A was the engine -- J47-GE-1, with an extra compressor stage, and delivering 4850 pounds of thrust.  Another change was the gun bay doors, which opened automatically when the pilot fired and closed automatically after that.  Though the P-86A was heavier, the increase in thrust increased the speed and climb rate.

     The P-86A was armed with six M-3 versions of the M-2HB, which were longer and had a greater ROF of 1100 rpm.  Each gun was fed from a tray in the lower front fuselage below the guns; each tray carrying 300 rounds. The P-86A had two underwing hardpoints which were wet, and often used for extra range when doing MiG patrols as each carried 782 liters in an aerodynamic package.  Bombs or rocket launchers could also be carried.  Military avionics was added, including a long-range radio, a radar compass, and an IFF set.  The IFF, new tech at the time, was equipped with a self-destruct that actuated upon a crash.  The IFF was a simple model that allowed the pilot to tell between a friendly aircraft and an enemy one.  The P-86A had an ejection seat, though the canopy had to be manually-jettisoned.

     In June 1948, the advent of the US Air Force caused a change in designation to F-86A.  The canopy windscreen had a v-shape instead of the rounded windscreen. In addition, an optical lead computing gunsight was added, which improved accuracy in combat. There was then a hiccup in the production of the J47-GE-1; the hole was filled by the similar-thrust J47-GE-3, and then the high-performance J47-GE-7, offering 5340 pounds thrust.  At this point, full production resumed.  None of the initial P-86As ever entered squadron service, and a second production batch of 188 were ordered early in 1949. This 188 had an automatically jettisoning canopy. Wing slats operated automatically instead of having to be set by the pilot.  Controls were given a power boost, something the MiGs did not have, allowing the F-86As to stay in control as speed or Gs increased to near-sonic speeds of Gs of 6+. Another 333 were ordered, but these had a different engine that had 5200 pounds of thrust. Beyond the 282nd of that batch, they were given improved boosting for their controls.  Third batch F-86As were equipped with a new sight and a radar gunsight, further improving accuracy, and this was retrofitted to the second batch.

     In 1951, some F-86As were retrofitted with the J47-GE-13 engine, which delivered 5450 pounds of thrust.

     Photo reconnaissance was a problem in the Korean War.  Various platforms were tried: the RF-80, RB-45C, F-9F Panther, F-84.  All proved to not have the speed to operate against MiGs unescorted, essentially necessitating a strike package for what should be a flight of 2-3 aircraft.  To solve this problem, several F-86As were modified to become the first reconnaissance platforms based on the F-96, the RF-86A.  Modifications were not extreme; the two lower port guns and their ammunition were removed and replaced with cameras; the four other guns were retained and the RF-86A was, for all intents, an armed reconnaissance platform. Engines were generally the most powerful available. Later versions carried more cameras; these retained only the upper two guns with limited ammunition capacity.  These were much lighter and faster than conventional RF-86As.  Most carried extra fuel tanks on their hardpoints to keep the fuel on hand for a high-speed runup to the target.

 

F-86B

     The F-86B grew out of simple desire -- allow the Sabre to operate out of soft field forward bases by using larger, softer tires and screens for its intake.  In practice, those larger, softer tires led to a huge set of modifications -- the wheels required larger wheel wells, which required that the fuselage be widened by nearly 18 centimeters, which required a more powerful engine to maintain performance.  This changed the Sabre so much that it required a change in designation to F-86B.  In the end, improved landing gear of normal size and better wheel brakes meant that the F-86B was not required, and development was not continued.  The F-86B will not be discussed here in any more detail.

 

F-86C (YF-93A)

     This penetration fighter version of the Sabre was so heavily modified that is it's Sabre roots are barely recognizable.  If I do this, I will put it in the Best Aircraft Never Made, instead of here.

 

F-86D

     Being the best fighter in the Air Force at the time, the Air Force wanted a high-speed, all-weather interceptor version of the Sabre for incoming strategic bombers. To this end, they began testing such a version in mid-1949. Some 979 were built.  They were often called the Sabre-Dog, and for a short time, were given the designation F-95, as the F-86D had only 25% parts commonalty with the F-86A progenitor.  The F-86D began service in late 1952.  Exportation was not allowed until 1958, but then, exports were made all over Western Europe, the Far East, and even Albania and Yugoslavia.  F-86D served until 1980.

     Many of the onboard controls were automated, as most such interceptors in the past were two-seaters and there was a need to relieve the single pilot of the F-86D from having to monitor minor operations of the aircraft, especially the engine.  This need to automate monitoring, along with the SAGE requirements, necessitated the first flight computers incorporated into a fighter aircraft. A radar intercept system was installed that allowed ground control to automatically guide the Sabre to it's interception point. The F-86D was built around a J47-GE-17 afterburning turbojet, and was provided with electronic fuel control so that as little fuel as possible was used, including auto cruise. The afterburner was used because an interceptor would need to climb to altitude fast, but did eat fuel. (This started a problem that would not be fixed until the advent of the F-22 decades later.)

     The nose required heavy modification.  The nose was made bulbous, with the intake becoming a wide smile below this radar-carrying nose.  The radome was 76 centimeters wide, covering the 38-centimeter width of the search radar, giving it room to oscillate and search the sky.  The Radome included a Radar Gunsight matched to the radar range othe radar range.  At first, the .50 M-3s were to be replaced by 20mm cannon; however, a more sure destructive potential (in theory) would come if they used a fuselage drop-down tray with a battery of 24 2.75-inch FFARs (called Mighty Mouses).  One-quarter or one-half of them could be launched at a time against a single target, or all of them in a gigantic ripple against one target for a surer kill. The actual firing moment was chosen by computer and not the pilot. The F-86D had an E-4 radar gunsight which offered range matching its radar range.

     The early engine gave 5000 pounds thrust, or 6650 with afterburner.  This was a preproduction version of the J47-GE-17; the production version could reach 5425 pounds thrust or 7500 in afterburner.  Even later versions has a J-47-GE-17B, with 5500 pounds thrust or 7650 with afterburner. The rear fuselage has a smaller outlet, with vortex generators added to the tail and rear fuselage to increase stability.  Piloting the F-86D always required careful piloting, due to the addition to an all-moving tailplane, which the pilots complained has an artificial feel.  Various fixes over the career of the Sabre-Dog did not do much to combat this problem, and careful piloting was always required. Even the trial use of a rudder without a trim tab did not help; however, 36 such aircraft were built, followed later by 200 such aircraft, but with a manual trim tab.

     Other modifications included an HF command radio in addition to the VHF long-range radio. A new glide path indicator was added, and an exhaust temperature gauge was added to the control panel. The F-86D-30-NA introduced an Omnidirectional Ranging Set, which allowed the radar to get the range to a target at a wider angle than the tight angle required by earlier ranging systems. A primitive inertial navigation set was added to later models.

     The large amount of radar and electronic subsystems required an enormous amount of training on the part of its pilots, even more than the B-47 with its nuclear load. Despite the simplification I have presented here, the number of blocks of F-86Ds took very different maintenance requirements.

     In the early 1950s, the need for a interceptor to take down Soviet bombers was realized.  However, the US did not want to employ the advanced F-86D overseas, largely due to it's advanced fire control and radar suite. The result was a "dumbed down" version with downgraded radar and cannons instead of the FFAR armament.  This was the F-86K.  The first such aircraft were made from kits manufactured in California and assembled by FIAT in Italy, who would assemble them for European concerns.  50 were also fully assembled in California in order to kick-start deployment. The F-86K did have some interesting components that the F-86D did not have, such as a modicum of primitive ECM and ECCM and a low-tech computer that computed proper range for the 30mm cannons and then suggested a breakaway point to avoid debris from damage to the bomber (something that, in reality, would take a supercomputer of the time).  The cannons used were M-24A1s (the same as HS 404s). These were lighter cannons to partially offset the weight of the avionics in the nose. Originally, the F-86K was to have had a two-man crew, but adding a second crewman would enlarge the aircraft unacceptably, seriously effecting performance. essentially altering it into another subtype.

     The wings used on the F-86K were the F-40 wings. Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Venezuela, Honduras, (from Venezuela; only two actually airworthy), and Turkey.

     The F-86L was for the most part simply standard late model F-86Ds which had been modified to operate in the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) system, which partially automated bomber intercepts over North America.  The modifications began in 1956.  A receiver/datalink was added to enable the automatic two-way passing of data and instructions.  This meant that a blade-like antenna was added to the starboard wing root.  A new very-long-range radio replaced the HF set of the F-86D.  A new IFF replaced the old one.  A glide slope receiver was added to further facilitate intercepts.

     By 1965, all F-86Ls had been replaced by F-102s.  The only foreign used of the F-86L was Thailand, who used them until 1976.

 

 

F-86E

     The F-86E was designed in the early months of the Korean War, based on flight test experiments and experiences from the F-86A.  Chief among these was a perceived loss of control at near sonic speeds, particularly in steep dives.  In the F-86A, the controls were actuated by cables with a hydraulic boost; in the F-86E, the hydraulic boost was applied directly without the cables, which provided more positive control, in normal maneuvering as well as in dives and near sonic flight regimes. Externally, the only difference was a bulge near the the front of the horizontal stabilizer to house the gearing mechanism, as the rear surfaces of the F-86E were an all-flying tailplane, which provided even more control in maneuvering and in near-sonic flight.  The fully-hydraulic controls did have their detractors -- many pilots felt that they had lost their feel for the control surfaces and control of the airplane, and as a result many preferred the Sabre-Able.  An artificial "feel system" was created for the F-86E, which was no more than a bungee-and-bobweight affair.  Thereafter, the F-86E has performance slightly better than the F-86A.

     Internally, the radar gunsight model used on the late F-86A was made standard on the F-86E.  In addition, the J47-GE-13 engine used in some late F-86As was made standard on the F-86E, and provided 5450 pounds of thrust.

     As many pilots preferred the F-86A, there was no hurry to replace them.  As a result, all F-86As were not replaced until mid-1952. This was exacerbated by the licensing of the Canadian Sabre Mk 2, which was essentially a F-86E with some changes.  (The Mk 1s were essentially stock late model F-86As.) The USAF leased them back from the Canadian Forces, in many cases leasing entire production runs.  Differences can be seen below. though virtually all leased aircraft were sent straight to California to be fitted with American gear, then sent straight to combat squadrons in Korea.

     Canadian Sabre Mk 2s used optically-flat glass for it's windscreen instead of the V-shaped windscreen of American Sabres. The instrument panel layout was altered, though again they were refitted before going to American units.  They were otherwise stock F-86Es.  It should be noted that a Canadian production run called E-10 went directly to combat duty, without modifications. Wings were replaced with F-40 wings.

 

 

F-86F

     The F-86F was the most numerous of the Sabres built.  It was essentially an F-86E with a more powerful engine, the J47-GE-27, developing 5910 pounds of thrust.  The engine was originally going to go into a subtype of the F-86E, but then the Air Force decided to make other changes, and the aircraft was designated F-86F.  Design work began in mid-1950, almost as soon as the F-86E began to roll off the production lines.  The F-86F marked the return to service of the Curtiss-Wright Aeroplane Division plant, which fell into disuse and had not seen manufacturing since the end of World War 2.  The initial contract was for 109 aircraft, followed closely for 333 more aircraft, and then another 441 Sabres.

     Manufacturing pace was high, but engine manufacturing pace was lacking.  The first 132 aircraft out the doors were essentially F-86Es with most of the other improvements and modifications for the F-86F, but the engines of the F-86E.  These were designated F-86E-10.  They had the new optically-flat windscreen, and a slightly different instrument panel layout.  All told, about 1400 F-86Fs were built.

     Combat introduction was slowed while the new engine was unavailable, though they were introduced as fast as they were received.  The new F-86Fs finally saw the combat zone in mid-1952, and began making an immediate mark with their faster speeds and relatively less fuel consumption, as well as being able to follow MiGs up to their service ceiling (older F-86s had to break off pursuit at high altitude, a shortcoming the MiGs often exploited).

     The F-86-5 introduced the F-86F to the ability to carry 757-liter drop tanks due to stronger hardpoints.  The F-86-10 introduced the robust new A-4 radar gunsight, replacing the A-1CM that was prone to breakage in high G flight.  It was easier to use as well.  The last 100 in the original contract were F-86F-15s, which buried vital control connections further inside the aircraft and behind semi-armored metal to decrease damage from enemy fire.  Experience showed that even a minor hit or near miss from a MiG could cause a loss of an aircraft.

     Later, Sabres were called upon for the ground attack role, but this requires the use of the hardpoints normally used for fuel tanks, severely limiting range.  This was fixed by another set of underwing hardpoints, though only the inner tanks could be used for stores  This was the F-86F-30. The F-86F-30 also tested an innovative new wing -- no combat slats, but decreasing wing loading by increasing the size of the wing.  Since the wing root increase occurred in front of the wing spar, the space could be used for extra fuel carriage. A wing increase also occurred at the trailing edge. the "6-3 wing" eliminated the need for maneuvering slats, the decrease in wing loading taking the place of them and more. Other F-86Fs were quickly converted to this standard.  At this point, the F-86 could now outmaneuver the MiG-15.

     The F-86F-35 was a little-known version -- is was capable of delivering the Mk 12 Special Store -- in other words, a 12 kt nuclear bomb.  It has a special computer to compute the RP, after which a high, sharp Immelman was to be executed to reverse direction and increase altitude.  The -35 could also carry conventional stores and drop tanks.

     A version of the F-86F-30, under Project Haymaker, was converted, and later purpose-manufactured, into RF-86Fs.  They were unarmed, and all four hardpoints were generally fitted with drop tanks.  They had a bulge on the starboard side for the camera suite and 340 kilograms of ballast on the now-empty port side of the nose to balance the nose.  fake gun ports were painted on each side to fool the marauding MiGs.  Eight were built for action in Korea, but arrived not long before the cease-fire.  They reportedly continued to operate on some classified missions after the Korean War for a short time.  For game purposes, they are treated as standard late-model F-86Fs except for the lack of armament.

     The F-86F-35 was for the most part the final version built for the USAF, but a later version of the F-86F, the -40, was built for Japan.  These aircraft were built as kits in California and shipped to Japan, where they were assembled by Mitsubishi.  (As a result they are sometimes called Mitsubishi F-86Fs.)  The -40 was an almost standard -30, but in addition to the 6-3 wing, it had the old maneuvering slats.  This markedly reduced stall speeds as well as improved low-speed handling. In addition, the wingtips were extended, further decreasing wing loading and reducing stall tendencies further (particularly wingtip stalls). While on the rest of the F-86Fs, the aileron extended all the way down the wing, on the -40, it was a separate control surface.

     After the USAF could see what the -40 could do, they had upgrade kits made for their F-86Fs.  In addition, several foreign air forces ordered the same upgrade kits for their F-86Es and Fs. This version was first shipped to Japan  in mid-1955, with work completed at the end of 1956, and modification taking place thereafter in their various countries and the US. Later, hardpoints were added for the carriage of two Sidewinder missiles. (F-86Es and Fs were also given this modification.)

 

F-86F "Gunval"

     The pilots had a lot of good to say about their F-86s, particularly the F-86F.  But one thing they didn't like was their guns -- the .50 M-3s were perceived to be lacking in range and punch, and in some cases, speed of projectiles. The MiG-15 turned out to actually be a tough little adversary, and some two-thirds of MiGs were able to beat a retreat over the Yalu despite being riddled with machinegun fire.  The pilots wanted cannons.  They had to be light in weight but superior in as many ways as possible, and with the aircraft able to carry as much ammunition as possible (the MiGs had cannons, but little room for ammunition). The result was the Gunval program, which was on the F-86F-1.  Ten F-86Fs were taken off the manufacturing line after completion and modified with four T-160 (M-39) 20mm autocannons.  This, of course, required redesigned gun bays and feed mechanisms, including stronger gun mounts, a new blast panel between the guns, a strengthened nose, and small doors cut inside the air intake in order to vent the firing gasses and to cool the guns.

      The gun vents were the first thing to go; the firing gasses caused the engine to flame out immediately when the guns fired.  At lower altitudes, this was not a problem -- firing the guns did not flame out the engines.  However, at 7000 meters or higher, the lesser amount of oxygen in the air coupled with the gun gasses meant that the engine simply could not get enough oxygen at these altitudes.  Finally, bleed holes at the bottom of the guns and horseshoe-shaped clips on the recessed trough of each gun broke up the gas enough to not have it sucked down the intake en masse.

     These aircraft were sent to Korea for combat testing. They were quite successful, racking up 9 kills and 13 damaged MiGs. The guns would appear again on later models of MiGs, and the ten that came out of Gunval were sent to the Colorado ANG's Minuteman demonstration team.

 

TF-86F

     In early-1953, a trainer version of the F-86F was proposed, and based on the -30.  The student's cockpit was placed just ahead of the instructor's.  The aircraft was based on a very early F-86F, and did not have the 6-3 wing, and instead retained the leading-edge slats. Fuel tanakage was actually greater than the very early F-86F on which this version was based, and despite the increase in length was only 91 kilograms heavier. The pilot and instructor are seated under a long clamshell canopy.  To combat the change in COG, the wing had to be moved forward about 20 centimeters.

     The TF-86F first flew on late-1953. Then, two crashes occurred in 1954 in what should have been easy maneuvers.  Early F-86E/F maneuvering slats were added.  The program was eventually scrapped, (though the slats solved the low-speed handling problem) but it served for many years as a chase plane with cameras added,

     Unlike many trainers, the TF-86F was armed with a pair of guns in the upper bay.

 

F-86H: The Fighter-Bomber

     The USAF felt that a purely fighter-bomber version of the F-86 should exist, so development of the F-86H was started in early-1951.  It marked a radical redesign of the Sabre, primarily to make the aircraft bigger and more powerful to carry a larger load. The first adaptation towards a larger load was a new engine, a GE J73-3D, with 8920 pounds of thrust.  This meant adding another 15 centimeters to the length at the intake, then another 61 centimeters at the mid-point of the fuselage.  At the same time, the fuselage was widened by a few centimeters, and the air intake was spit in two to help even airflow.  The horizontal stabilizer was some 7.6 centimeters taller than on an F-86F.

     Originally, the design was to have the slatted wing extensions, but this was later changed to the 6-3-type wing.  The first F-86H's were to have six M-3 machineguns, but these were later replaced with 20mm Cannon with the -5s (T-160s or M-39s, which are the same as KAAs).  The aircraft was to have nuclear bombing capacity, and therefore had the electronics for it, an M-1 LABS toss-bombing suite.  First flight was in mid-1953, though it did not have the top speed with ordnance that they were told to expect. The combat radius was longer; the extra fuselage space was partially filled with fuel, more than any other Sabre variant.  The first operational service of the F-86H was in the fall of 1954.  Production run was however rather short and shortened even more, due to the design limitation of subsonic flight.  Later F-86Hs had a modicum of RCM, and all remaining Hs were fitted with the F-40 wing (the -10s).

     Many F-86Hs ended their service in ignoble ends as QF-86Hs, destroyed by missiles.  Some however, saw a different fate: those with the lowest miles were taken on to TOP GUN fighter training school in the US Navy, as when clean or with tanks, they had performance similar to the MiG-17.  These were later superseded by A-4s being retired from Navy and Marine service.

 

Navalized Sabres: The Furies

 

FJ-1

     The first "Sabre" was the FJ-1 Fury. This was essentially a stubby, straight-winged shadow of the later F-86 built for the US Navy and Marines, built by taking a modified P-51 fuselage, the same wing and tail, and a new jet engine with a nose intake. 100 were ordered. Originally, the FJ-1 was equipped with slatted wing air brakes, but these were later changed to fuselage-mounted "barn-door" brakes. The slow acceleration speeds of the FJ-1 led directly to the adoption of the catapult on Navy carriers. The was faster than the F-80 in straight-line dashes, but became difficult to handle when loaded with items such as bombs, rockets, and fuel tanks. It also had no cockpit pressurization or heating. The FJ-1 was equipped with 625-liter wingtip tanks, there were feed problems and again, the aircraft performed poorly with them mounted, particularly because of the laminar-flow wing, and this was never really cured despite a "fix" by North American. The wing was also too thin to accommodate hardpoints.

     The FJ-1 operated until 1949, when they were replaced by F9F Panthers, with the FJ-1 moving to the training role. The pilots were glad to see them go.

 

FJ-2

     The FJ-2 Fury came after the Navy was forced to bite the bullet; all of the Navy's straight-wing fighters were no match for the MiG-15 in a dogfight.  Their fastest aircraft, the F9F-2 Panther and the F2H Banshee were 113 kilometers per hour slower than the MiG-15. Though naval aircraft of the period were capable fighter-bombers, they simply could not go toe-to-toe with a MiG-15. The Navy had their own problems with swept-wing carrierborne aircraft, mostly having to do with retrofits of stronger catapults and higher landing speeds.

     The FJ-2 was basically a navalized F-86E (Early Model), and had only superficial resemblances to the FJ-1. Unlike the Air Force, the Navy and Marines preferred cannon armament for its aircraft and armed them with four Mk 12 20mm cannons (equivalent to the KAA).  Carrier qualifications did not go well; problems from inadequate catapult power, weak landing gear and tail hooks, and damaged aircraft during takeoffs and landings were all too common.  Another change from it's F-86E kin was the engine used: the J47-GE-2, with 6000 pounds of thrust. The FJ-2 had wings with the leading-edge slats of the F-86F, but not the 6-3 wing planform; it was believed that it would be too large for landing on some of the Navy's smaller carriers, and that it had a low-speed performance penalty. Wheel track was widened 20 centimeters, and the landing gear in general was beefed up and given harder tires to land on steel decks. Folding wings were fitted.

     Unfortunately, the Air Force had priority on Sabre orders, and by the time of the Armistice in Korea, only seven had been delivered, and none had actually seen combat action.  The order was cut back from 300 to 200.  In addition, the Fury had a competitor, the F9F-6 Cougar, which was a better carrier aircraft and performance a slight bit better than the FJ-2.  The 200 FJ-2s were relegated to land-based Marine squadrons, though one of these squadrons saw carrier service in 1955.

 

FJ-3

     The FJ-3 proved from the outset to have much less problems than the FJ-2, and also used a much more powerful Wright J64-W-2 (a US version of the British Sapphire engine) and had a phenomenal thrust of 7650 pounds, though of course, design limitations took a lot away from this high engine ourtput. In addition to the quartet of four 20mm cannons (with more ammunition), the FJ-3 had an armored cockpit. Leading edge slats were not  used; instead a wing with larger area was used, good for low-speed characteristics, and able to carry more fuel.  An aerial refueling probe was added to the starboard wing. 1956 they were modified to carry the Sidewinder, and such aircraft were designated FJ-3M.  Despite popularity with its pilots, the Navy felt that it was an aircraft for an earlier era and but its orders for it drastically.

 

FJ-4

     In June 1953 were basically looking for what would become the last gasp of the Fury -- the FJ-4.  It was to have a design speed of 0.95 Mach, thusfar unobtainable in the Sabre design.  The design called for an almost all-wet wing of exceptional thinness, and a modified fuselage that held the most internal fuel held in a Sabre.  A tank was added below the engine, as well as one in a dorsal spine that extended from the rear of the cockpit all the way to the tail.  The wingspan was increased by two feet, but were exceptionally thin and were furthermore made of very thin aluminum plates.  The wingtips tipped about four degrees as 4 inches from the wingtips to improve low-speed characteristics. The wings' sweepback was increased to 35 degrees, to help high-speed characteristics.  Like almost all naval aircraft,

The wings folded just inside their halfway point.  They were powered by a Wright J65-W-16A developing 7700, but the new design was also to help in the speed department. Armament consisted of the standard four 20mm cannons. The innernmost hardpoint could carry racks for two sidewinders each, and the other hardpoints could carry weapons or fuel tanks as desired.

     The FJ-4 was meant to serve as a fleet point defense aircraft with some limited ground attack ability, but a variant called the FJ-4B was designed from the outset as a fighter-bomber. The FJ-4B was actually built in larger numbers than the FJ-4; 139 FJ-4s were built, and 222 FJ-4Bs  The primary design change between the FJ-4 and FJ-4B is the strengthened hardpoints, able to carry heavier stores. The wings had an additional set of spoilers, and had six hardpoints and two hardpoints for Sidewinder AAMs. It has yet another pair of spoilers ad the bottom of the fuselage,  The FJ-4B could also land hotter during carrier landings, increasing the safety margin in the case of a bolter. The FJ-4B had an auxiliary generator installed, as a backup and to allow self-starts. It was capable of carrying the Bullpup ASM, which was command-guided and the aircraft had additional avionics to allow this. The FJ-4B had the LABS system and could deliver Special Store 12.

     The FJ-4 was retained in Naval Reserve squadrons until the mid-1960s, when it was finally retired.  Many ended their operational lives in museums; more ended up as ground targets or as QF-1E or QAF-1E target drones.

 

     In 1962, the FJ-2 was redesignated the F-1C, in accordance with the tri-service designation system.  The FJ-3 was redesignated the F-1D, and the FJ-4 was redesignated the F-1E. The FJ-4B was designated the AF-1E.  The designations F-1A and F-1B were never assigned, though it has been speculated that they were reserved for the FJ-1 and early model FJ-2.

 

Foreign-Built Sabres

 

Canadian

     The first license-producers of the Sabre were the Canadians, specifically the Canadair Company.  The CL-13 Sabre Mk 1 was essentially an F-86A, built from a kit at Canadair to test its knowledge and ability to accomplish the task of building a Sabre.  Only one Mk 1 was built.  The Mk 2 was essentially an F-86E, with some minor changes in the instrument panel and other minor features.  In an interesting turn of events, the USAF bought almost all of the Mk 2s back built at the time in early 1952 to fill needs in Korea.  This amounted to some 60 aircraft.

     The Mk 4 was essentially the same aircraft as the Mk 2, except for minor changes such as more efficient cockpit air conditioning, a gyroscopic compass, improved pressurization controls, and an improved canopy release.  It was originally meant to use the Canadair-built Orenda engine, but it was not ready in time for incorporation into the Mk 4 (as the Mk 3 and 4 were concurrent in production. It was decided to make the Mk 4 a variant of the Mk 2.

     The Mk 3 was that Sabre with the Canadair Orenda 3.  This gave 6000 pounds thrust, but required a slight fuselage redesign; for example, the Orenda engine was wider, so the fuselage had to become wider. The Mk 3 is sometimes referred to as the F-86J, as the US was going to buy some Orenda engines from Canadair and power a new version of the Sabre with them.

     In 1958, Canadian Sabres were modified to carry a pair of Sidewinder AAMs.

     The CL-13A Mk 5 was powered by the 6355 -pounds thrust Orenda 10.  Despite the increased engine power, it was possible to wring only so much speed out of the Sabre design, and the hoped-for sustained-transonic speeds did not materialize.  The Mk 5 did have the 6-3 wing, along with a set of tiny wing fences for stabilization, giving the Mk 5 more stability than earlier Marks.  However, without the leading edge slats, stall speed increased and low-speed aerodynamics deteriorated, and the increased power of the engine ate much more fuel. (Leading edge slats were later retrofitted to Mk 5s.) 370 were built, and partially replaced older Marks in RCAF service.  Some 225 were also built for the Luftwaffe, again partially replacing earlier models.  By 1962 the last Luftwaffe models  had been scrapped, converted to range targets, museum models, or target drones.

     The CL-13B Mk 6 was the last and most powerful of the Sabres, able to achieve near-sonic speeds at 6100 meters.  This is due to an Orenda 14 engine with 7275 pounds of thrust; for a Sabre, climb rates were off the charts. The Mk 6 used the 6-3 wing, but with leading edge slats. The South Africans operated these at two-squadron strength.

 

Australian

Commonwealth CA-27

    For brute firepower in a Sabre, you can't beat the CA-27 with its pair of 30mm Aden autocannons.  The engine to be used, the Rolls Royce-Avon RA7, was lighter and shorter than the standard F-86F engine, though much more powerful at 7500 pounds thrust. The air intake had to be increased in size at the front, and furthermore, an auxiliary intake was installed at mid-fuselage, with the intake being faired smoothly into the aircraft underneath.  (This was to avoid having to make too large a modification in the cockpit area.) The engine had to be slid more to the rear of the aircraft to maintain the center of gravity, as the Avon weighed 182 kilograms less than the standard F-86F engine and was shorter.  This led to mounting instabilities, and the end of the fuselage with it's engine mountings had to be made shorter and the mid-fuselage extended.  The supports for the exhaust also had to be redesigned, due to the shorter rear engine and the wider exhaust.  Despite this, the overall fuselage dimensions were almost identical to the F-86F.  Wings were F-40 wings, with the 6-3 profile and leading edge slats.

    The original plan was to replace the .50 M-3 machineguns with four British-made 20mm autocannons, but this was changed to a pair of 30mm Aden autocannons. By the time all the modifications were made, only 40% of the CA-27 was original.

     Before production began, even more changes were made.  A self-starter was installed, and the shorter engine allowed for an increase in fuel tankage; in addition, leading edge tanks were added, as on US F-86Fs. Hardpoints for two Sidewinder AAM were added inboard on the wings.

     CA-27s saw combat use (mostly air support) during the Malayan Emergency from February of 1959 to July of 1960.  They were also added to the SEATO Forces, and participated in the Thailand Crisis.  In the 1960s until 1971, they flew combat support missions over Thailand in support of the Vietnam War effort.

     Eighteen CA-27s were supplied to the Royal Malaysian Air Force, and they were also flown by the Indonesian Air Force. No. 11 Squadron flew the type until 1978.  They then ended their careers as training aids, range targets, and target drones.

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: Some 25 examples of these aircraft have been sighted over the US in the Twilight War, mainly in the American West and Southwest, though one noteworthy Sabre has been used extensively as a ground support aircraft by a MilGov unit in Central Florida against New America troops.  Canada and Germany are also known to be home to some Sabres. A high-flying Sabre (assumed to be a CA-27) has been sighted through binoculars over Australia, but what it's origin is is unknown.

 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

P-86A

$314,151

JP4

806 kg

6.4 tons

1

9

None

Enclosed

F-86A (Early)

$434,031

JP4

806 kg

6.4 tons

1

10

None

Enclosed

F-86A (Mid)

$491,751

JP4

806 kg

6.4 tons

1

10

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

F-86A (Late)

$283,519

JP4

806 kg

6.4 tons

1

10

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

RF-86A (Early)

$442,390

JP4

806 kg

5.78 tons

1

12

None

Enclosed

RF-86A (Late)

$427,747

JP4

805 kg

5.47 tons

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

F-86D (Early)

$4,004,974

JP4

813 kg

8.24 tons

1

13

Radar Gunsight, Radar (30 km)

Enclosed

F-86D (Late)

$3,473,498

JP4

813 kg

8.24 tons

1

13

Radar Gunsight, Radar (30 km)

Enclosed

F-86E

$325,698

JP4

800 kg

6.61 tons

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

F-86F (Early)

$415,708

JP4

800 kg

6.61 tons

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

F-86F (Late)

$654,066

JP4

2.42 tons

6.61 tons

1

13

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

F-86F Gunval

$634,018

JP4

2.42 tons

6.61 tons

1

13

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

F-86F-40

$787.779

JP4

1.31 tons

6.89 tons

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

TF-86F

$715,858

JP4

2.34 tons

6.67 tons

1

13

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

F-86H (Early)

$773,416

JP4

4.74 tons

6.9 tons

1

14

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

F-86H (Late)

$867,200

JP4

4.74 tons

6.9 tons

1

14

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

F-886K

$4,321,334

JP4

1.78 tons

7.46 tons

1

14

Radar Gunsight, Radar (30 km)

Enclosed

F-86L

$3,940,604

JP4

1.62 tons

8.24 tons

1

14

Radar Gunsight, Radar (40 km)

Enclosed

FJ-1 Fury

$75,686

JP5

Nil

6.86 tons

1

8

None

Enclosed

FJ-2 Fury

$346,691

JP5

800 kg

6.61 kg

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

FJ-3 Fury

$734,690

JP5

1.82 tons

7.11 tons

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

FJ-4 Fury

$734,690

JP5

1.36 tons

10.75 tons

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

FJ-4B Fury

$735,779

JP5

2.72 tons

12.25 tons

1

14

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

CL-13 Sabre Mk 3

$398,296

JP4

800 kg

6.61 kg

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

CL-13A Sabre Mk 5

$418,586

JP4

1.08 tons

6.64 tons

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

CL-13B Sabre Mk 6

$431,130

JP4

1.08 tons

6.64 tons

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

Commonwealth CA-27

$821,527

JP4

1.21 tons

7.25 tons

1

12

Radar Gunsight

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

P-86A

912

365 (90)

NA  87  8/4  80/40

1647

1039

14630

F-86A (Early)

992

397 (80)

NA  95  7/4  70/40

1647

1057

14630

F-86A (Mid)

959

384 (80)

NA  92  7/4  70/40

1647

1021

14630

F-86A (Late)

965

386 (80)

NA  93  7/4  70/40

1647

1027

14630

RF-86A (Early)

1120

520 (80)

NA  108  7/4  70/40

1647

1081

14630

RF-86A (Late)

1133

525 (80)

NA  110  7/4  70/40

1647

1036

14630

F-86D (Early)

754

350 (80)

NA  73  7/4  70/40

2556

1024

15118

F-86D (Late)

821

380 (80)

NA  79  7/4  70/40

2556

1118

15118

F-86E

1000

465 (75)

NA  97  7/3  70/35

1647

1100

14387

F-86F (Early)

1072

495 (75)

NA  104  7/3  70/35

1647

1064

14387

F-86F (Late)/Gunval

1072

495 (70)

NA  104  6/3  60/30

1893

1064

14387

F-86F-40

1030

475 (60)

NA  101  5/3  50/25

1893

1064

14387

TF-40F

1063

490 (90)

NA  104  6/4  60/30

2893

3986

15387

F-86H (Early)

1113

513 (70)

NA  109  6/3  60/40

2128

1786

15607

F-86H (Late)

1113

513 (60)

NA  109  5/3  50/25

2128

1786

15607

F-86K

1325

611 (60)

NA  130  5/3  50/25

2128

1710

15119

F-86L

821

380 (60)

NA  79  5/3  50/25

2556

1118

14387

FJ-1 Fury

720

335 (80)

NA  80  8/4  80/40

1760

806

9754

FJ-2 Fury

1068

495 (75)

NA  119  7/3  70/35

1647

1178

14387

FJ-3 Fury

1096

508 (60)

NA  122  5/3  50/25

2120

1520

15120

FJ-4 Fury

1095

508 (60)

NA  122  5/3  50/25

3816

1520

15120

FJ-4B Fury

1011

469 (60)

NA  113  5/3  50/25

3816

1520

15120

CL-13 Sabre Mk 3

1034

479 (75)

NA  116  7/3  70/35

1647

1178

14398

CL-13A Sabre Mk 5

1110

514 (75)

NA  125  8/4  80/40

1647

1265

15240

CL-13B Sabre Mk 6

1144

530 (60)

NA  129  5/3  50/25

1647

1457

15240

Commonwealth CA-27

1127

522 (60)

NA  127  5/3  50/25

1920

 

 

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

P-86A

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/430m Hardened Runway

0

6xM-3, Two Hardpoints

1800x.50

F-86A (Early/Mid)

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/430m Hardened Runway

+1

6xM-3, Two Hardpoints

1800x.50

F-86A (Late)

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/430m Hardened Runway

+2

6xM-3, Two Hardpoints

1800x.50

RF-86A (Early)

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/430m Hardened Runway

+1

4xM-3, Two Hardpoints

1200x.50

RF-86A (Late)

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/430m Hardened Runway

+2

2xM-3, Two Hardpoints

300x.50

F-86D (Early)

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/450m Hardened Runway

+2

24x2.75" FFARs, 2 Hardpoints (Wet Only)

24x2.75" Rockets

F-86D (Late)

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass, Inertial Navigation

740/450m Hardened Runway

+2

24x2.75" FFARs, 2 Hardpoints (Wet Only)

24x2.75" Rockets

F-86E/F (Early)

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/450m Hardened Runway

+2

6xM-3, Two Hardpoints

1800x.50

F-86F (Late)

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/450m Hardened Runway

+2

6xM-3, Four Hardpoints

1800x.50

F-86F Gunval

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/450m Hardened Runway

+2

4x20mm KAA Autocannons, Four Hardpoints

400x20mm

F-86F-40

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/450m Hardened Runway

+2

6xM-3, Six Hardpoints

1800x.50

TF-86F

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/450m Hardened Runway

+2

2xM-3, Six Hardpoints

600x.50

F-86H

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

700/400m Hardened Runway

+2

4x20mm KAA Autocannons, Six Hardpoints

800x20mm

F-86K

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass, ECM (-1), ECCM (-1)

700/400m Hardened Runway

+2

4xHS-404 20mm Cannons, Six Hardpoints

540x20mm

F-86L

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass, ECM (-1), ECCM (-1)

700/400m Hardened Runway

+2

24x2.75" FFARs, 2 Hardpoints (Wet Only)

24x2.75" Rockets

FJ-1 Fury

None

700/430m Hardened Runway

0

6xM-3, 2 Wingtip Hardpoints (Wingtip Fuel Tanks Only)

1500x.50

FJ-2 Fury

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/450m Hardened Runway

+2

4x20mm KAA Autocannons, Four Hardpoints

600x20mm

FJ-3/FJ-4/FJ-4B Fury

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

700/400m Hardened Runway

+2

4x20mm KAA Autocannons, Six Hardpoints

648x20mm

CL-13 Sabre Mk 3/5

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

740/450m Hardened Runway

+2

6xM-3, Four Hardpoints

1800x.50

CL-13B Sabre Mk 6

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

700/400m Hardened Runway

+2

6xM-3, Four Hardpoints

1800x.50

Commonwealth CA-27

IFF, Long-Range Radio, Radar Compass

700/400m Hardened Runway

+2

2c30mm Aden Autocannons, Six Hardpoints

400x30mm

 

 

 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

F-86A

$257,768

AvG

907 kg

6.4 tons

1

8

None

Enclosed

F-86D/L

$545,857

AvG

907 kg

9.1 tons

1

12

Radar

Enclosed

F-86E

$252,683

AvG

907 kg

7.41 tons

1

8

None

Enclosed

F-86F

$264,618

AvG

907 kg

7.41 tons

1

8

None

Enclosed

F-86F-40

$283,519

AvG

1.81 tons

7.42 tons

1

8

None

Enclosed

F-86H

$298,937

AvG

1.99 tons

11.02 tons

1

10

None

Enclosed

F-86K

$379,363

AvG

1.81 tons

9.15 tons

1

12

None

Enclosed

FJ-2

$262,951

AvG

907 kg

7.41 tons

1

8

None

Enclosed

FJ-3

$332,029

AvG

1.36 tons

9.54 tons

1

12

None

Enclosed

FJ-4

$332,977

AvG

1.36 tons

10.75 tons

1

12

None

Enclosed

FJ-4B

$415,708

AvG

2.72 tons

12.7 tons

1

12

None

Enclosed

CL-13 Mk 5

$271,719

AvG

907 kg

8.02 tons

1

10

None

Enclosed

CL-13 Mk 6

$287,421

AvG

907 kg

7.72 tons

1

10

None

Enclosed

CA-27

$288,060

AvG

1.18 tons

8.46 tons

1

12

None

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

F-86A/E

2173

543 (100)

NA  136  8/4  80/40

1647

2323

14630

F-86D/L

2218

887 (100)

NA  222  8/4  80/40

2309

2327

15118

F-86F

2202

550 (100)

NA  138  8/4  80/40

1647

2631

15118

F-86-40/FJ-2

2202

550 (90)

NA  138  9/5  90/45

1637

2631

15118

F-86H

2214

554 (90)

NA  138  9/5  90/45

2127

2780

15484

F-86K

2214

554 (90)

NA  138  9/5  90/45

2309

2327

15118

FJ-3

2179

545 (90)

NA  136  9/5  90/50

1647

3409

15118

FJ-4/4B

2176

544 (90)

NA  136  9/5  90/50

2471

3432

15118

CL-13 Mk 5

2398

600 (90)

NA  150  8/4  80/40

1647

2821

14630

CL-13 Mk 6

2272

568 (90)

NA  142  9/5  90/50

1647

3241

16764

CA-27

2240

560 (90)

NA  140  9/5  90/50

1601

3342

16764

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

F-86A/E/F/CL-13

None

700/430m Hardened Runway

+1

6xM-2HB, 2 Hardpoints

1800x.50BMG

F-86D/L

None

700/430m Hardened Runway

+2

24xFFAR Rockets, 4 Hardpoints

None

F-86F

None

700/430m Hardened Runway

+1

6xM-2HB, 4 Hardpoints

1800x.50BMG

F-86H

None

700/430m Hardened Runway

+2

4x20mm T-160 Autocannons, 4 Hardpoints

800x20mm

F-86K

None

700/430m Hardened Runway

+2

4x20mm M-24 Autocannons, 4 Hardpoints

496x20mm

FJ-2

None

700/430m Hardened Runway

+1

4x20mm Mk 12 Autocannons, 2 Hardpoints

600x20mm

FJ-3/4/4B

None

700/430m Hardened Runway

+1

4x20mm Mk 12 Autocannons, 6 Hardpoints

600x20mm

CA-27

None

700/430m Hardened Runway

+1

2x30mm Aden Autocannons, 4 Hardpoints

324x30mm

 

F-100D Super Sabre

     Notes: This post-Korean War jet was known to its pilots as the "Hun."  It was one of the first production aircraft to exceed the speed of sound in level flight.  Handling problems with early versions of the Super Sabre led to a checkered reputation as a "Widow Maker," but these were quickly rectified by increasing the size of the wing and tail surfaces.  These aircraft saw service with the US, France, Turkey, Denmark, and Taiwan, but were retired except as research aircraft by the late 1980s. 

     The F-100A was designed strictly as an air superiority fighter, but was used primarily as a strike aircraft in Vietnam.  It was, as the name suggests, a basic fighter with few bells and whistles.  It had a radar warning receiver and a radar gunsight, but no capability for air-to-air refueling.  The strike ability was put into the Super Sabre because the new version of the Thunderjet was falling more and more behind schedule. 

     The F-100C was the first version of the Super Sabre to be manufactured in large numbers.  It had a number of modifications and improvements to make it into an effective fighter-bomber, including better hauling ability, more hardpoints, and capability for aerial refueling through a probe mounted under the wing.  In addition, fuel tanks were added to the wings to increase the total internal fuel capacity.  A new more powerful engine was installed to cope with the increased weight. 

     The F-100D was the version produced in the most numbers.  The idea of the Super Sabre having a secondary air superiority role was abandoned, and for all intents and purposes the F-100D was a strike aircraft.  It was a bit more maneuverable.  The F-100D was able to use almost all the weapons in the US inventory at the time, and was later modified (while in use by other countries) for other weapons. 

     The F-100F began as a trainer version of the F-100D.  However, at this time, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong antiaircraft ability was becoming more sophisticated, and they were transformed into the first Wild Weasels.  They were fitted with the ability to use the various ECM and EW pods that were becoming available, and the rear seat had a special set of threat warning displays.  They were also used as FAC aircraft.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: A few F-100s remained airworthy, and they were pressed into service late in the Twilight War to replace aircraft losses and provide air support to local forces. 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

F-100A

$346,165

AvG

907 kg

11.34 tons

1

14

None

Enclosed

F-100C

$415,994

AvG

2.27 tons

14.79 tons

1

16

None

Enclosed

F-100D

$493,139

AvG

3.19 tons

15.8 tons

1

16

None

Enclosed

F-100F

$507,912

AvG

2.27 tons

17.75 tons

2

18

None

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap