avatar_chrisonord

Cut price COIN aircraft for Honduras. The story so far.

Started by chrisonord, January 21, 2009, 03:35:35 PM

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chrisonord

Due to global financial meltdown, the Honduras airforce has asked the virtually impossible for their next generation COIN aircraft.
The Hondurans want an aircraft that can fulfil several tasks, be based on an existing airframe and carry a varied weapon load depending on mission.
The aircraft must be suitable for;
Pilot training.
Counter insurgency.
Helicopter escort.
Combat air patrol.
inshore maritime patrol.
Anti drug enforcement.
Forward air control.
After looking at all modern contenders for these roles, not many aircraft were suitable for every mission. Several aviation contractors were asked to come up with a suitable aircraft within the budget allocated. Just about every contractor failed to come up with an aircraft that could do everything the Honduras Air Force wanted, and all but one contractors representative went back to their tails between their legs and scratching their heads in disbelief.
The one contractor that said they could build them what they wanted, from an existing airframe. JML aviation in  Arizona, a relatively new outfit to the game had just bought 2 old F-84's out of 8 that were laid up in mothballs at Davis Monthan bone yard.The owner of JML , James Mason ws going to refurbish the F-84's back to original flying condition to do the show circuits with. After seeing an email sent out to all aviation contractors JML fancied having a go at the military market, instead of doing the old stuff up for private collectors.
Anyway back to the aircraft in question, one of the 2 planes that JML had acquired  was a 2 seat conversion, which was done by a previous private owner, this gave JML an idea, as the airframes were in good condition,and the standard wings were strong enough to mount multiple hard points.The 2 seater was a duel control aircraft, so that took care of the training part.
Now down to the finicky and technical stuff, these aircraft are from the fifties and therefore everything had to be ripped out and replaced with more up to date equipment, avionics, communications and pilot life support etc all had to be thought about acquired and fitted to the pre production mock up/prototype. This is where JML's contacts at Davis Monthan AFB came up trumps, several A-37's had been brought in to be scrapped that had belonged to an air national guard unit, they had low hours on them and were in pretty good condition.
As much of the equipment as possible was grafted into the F-84 airframe, and because Honduras already has A-37's, their pilots won't need a great deal of extra training to convert to the type.Other avionics included a FLIR pod, and multi mode targeting system from an experimental fitment on an old and crash damaged OH-58. This equipment was the basis for the targeting system needed to fire Hellfire missiles.
The next biggest hurdle was finding an engine suitable for the job. The hondurans specified a turbo prop aircraft, that was powerful enough to give the aircraft a good cruise speed at any altitude with a full weapons load out, and be serviceable  by their own engineers and be affordable to maintain. After looking around the boneyard for anything suitable, JML came up against a brick wall, nothing on site was anywhere near what they needed. This problem was going to turn out to be the most expensive part of the project.
After contacting several US based aircraft turbine builders, with no joy, JML contacted Rolls Royce in the UK to see if they had anything available for them to try in their aircraft, with the prospect of buying several more units. Rolls Royce were very interested in this proposal as they were working on a new Turbo prop engine that was purpose designed for long duration long service intervals and ease of service.
Three Rolls Royce engineers and 2 engines were on their way to JML, within 2 days of agreeing to the proposal, and the staff at JML waited with crossed fingers hoping that the engine would fit and meet all expectations.
The engine bay on the F-84 was plenty big enough for the engine, so there were no problems there.2 weeks later after much head scratching and propeller configuration, the prototype was wheeled out for the first time and its engine fired up in situe. The engine was very quiet,much more than was anticipated and ran well passing all pre flight tests, and given the go ahead for the aircraft to do taxi tests.
After all the necessary tests the aircraft was deemed airworthy and was fitted with mock weapons ready for the Honduras Airforce offical inspection. The first prototype was taken out by the owner of JML himself, and a test pilot from the Honduras airforce.
This was a very big gamble for JML as the project was entirely funded by the company. The O/A-38a Tijuana, as it is now officially known was taken to Honduras and was put through several vigorous tests of which it past with flying colours, and also took part in an anti cartel raid on a  floating weapons cache, based aboard a heavily armed cargo ship.
Pictures to come when I can get some decent light outside, and when I have finished my Decals off!!
Chris.       
The dogs philosophy on life.
If you cant eat it hump it or fight it,
Pee on it and walk away!!

rallymodeller

--Jeremy

Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part...


More into Flight Sim reskinning these days, but still what-iffing... Leading Edge 3D

chrisonord

The plane is nearly finished, and because the Honduras government and airforce were so happy with the outcome, they have put forward a request for a single seat dedicated close air support and COIN aircraft, using the same engine.
So I will have something else up my now very baggy sleeve soon.
The dogs philosophy on life.
If you cant eat it hump it or fight it,
Pee on it and walk away!!

chrisonord

I am still waiting to get chance to take some pics as the weather has been crap, the OA-38 is finished and waiting to have its picture took, sporting a full weapon load.
The next aircraft I am doing is a converted Dasault Ouragan, it is retaining the single seat as per specification, and is going to be a turbo prop also.
Even though the aircraft is physically smaller, it is fitted with a larger more powerful engine than the OA-38, and is again a Rolls Royce engine.
The engine is a further development of the engine in the OA-38, and was designed to be fitted into a larger aircraft, and retain the same service characteristics. The aircraft is designated as an attack , and COIN platform. The aircraft has a long loiter time on station and is capable of carrying a large array of free fall and guided ordnance, and is cleared to carry sea skua missiles to use against smaller shipping and can also launch maverick missiles for precision attacks on ground targets.
The airframe was found in a private collection that was put up for auction, and although JML, ended up paying more than they originally intended, it wasn't a total loss as the plane came with another complete airframe as spares. The landing gear has been upgraded and strengthened along with the wings, and self sealing fuel tanks have been fitted in the fuselage and wings.
Another thing that had to be thought about was the relocation of the cannon from the nose.
The cannon were replaced by 3 20 mm cannon and 1 30 mm cannon, these were built into the wings of the aircraft, and given longer barrels than the previous cannon, so as to give them better accuracy and velocity against hardened targets.
I will put up pics of this aircraft alongside my OA-38, when I get chance.
Chris.       
The dogs philosophy on life.
If you cant eat it hump it or fight it,
Pee on it and walk away!!

chrisonord

Right then, here is the long awaited pictures of my COIN builds. The first one is loosely based on the other F-84 conversion, but with a few modifications to the layout etc.







And here is my other build, which is not yet finished as I have to sort the markings out and do some more detailing to it, but you can get the general idea, it was a Dasault Ouragan, and it now has a contra prop and different engine to the OA-38, this aircraft is designated A-39 Pirranah, and is a much more powerful and faster aircraft compared to the OA-38 and is capable of launching Sea Skua  missiles as well as other small guided and unguided ordnance.This aircraft also has a fixed armament of 3 20 mm cannon and 1 30 mm cannon.







I will post some more pics, when I have finished the A-39 completely.
Chris. 
The dogs philosophy on life.
If you cant eat it hump it or fight it,
Pee on it and walk away!!

kitnut617

Definitely like these Chris, goes along with some of my thinking, here's what I have been playing around with for the last few years:


If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike

BlackOps

Chris, these look great!  :wub:


Kitnut, you've got to finish that!  :thumbsup:
Jeff G.
Stumbling through life.

Mossie

I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. You see, my mule don't like people laughin'. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. Now if you apologize, like I know you're going to, I might convince him that you really didn't mean it.

Weaver

Oh yeah, those look goooooood!  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Just the thing for COIN: spiritual successors to the Vietnam-era Spads.....

The Ouragan-based one could perhaps serve as the prototype for the conversion of stored ex-Israeli examples in Honduras. In real life, El Salvador bought ex-Israeli Ouragans in the early 1970s which provoked the Honduran Super Mystere buy (also from Israel), so it's entirely credible that Honduras might have picked up a few Ouragans from the same source as well. America didn't like Israel fuelling the Central American arms race and tried to block the export of the refitted SMB2's Yank engines, so perhaps Honduras took delivery of some "safe" Ouragans to tide them over and then mothballed them when they finally got the Super Mysteres?


One minor point, if I may: Sea Skua is a semi-active radar homer, so it needs a radar on the launch aircraft to illuminate the target all the way to impact. Given that the prop wouldn't interact well with a fuselage mounted unit, the best bet would probably be to have it in a modified tip or underwing pod. The usual radar is Seaspray, which is pretty light and small: the equally small French Agave set has been mounted in the nose of drop tanks before now.
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
 - Morpheus in Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman

"I dunno, I'm making this up as I go."
 - Indiana Jones '

ysi_maniac

I have been thinking many times in a mix propulsion escort fighter made around a ThunderJet. :thumbsup:
Will die without understanding this world.

chrisonord

Thanks for the input fellas,
The Ouragan/A-39 will be fitted with a wing mounted Radar system so as to launch the sea skuas, there will also be a pod available for sighting Hellfire missiles, based on the system fitted to the OA-38. The A-39 is also undergoing trials to find an appropriate self defence missile, which will not need a lot of avionic upgrades to the aircraft. A fuselage/wing mounted infared system is being looked at but is not really ideal as this extra passenger would take up valuable ordnance space. Both inner pylons are also plumbed for fuel tanks, so the aircraft can carry out longer maritime patrol missions. This aircraft in time will be supplemented by a dedicated maritime patrol/attack aircraft (watch this space folks!!) and eventually the new aircraft will take over the maritime role permanently.
The OA-38, is still in its prototype hi viz markings as it is still under test by the Honduras air force, even though it has been used in anger against a Cartel Weapons stash. The combination of Hellfire missiles and the 4 barrelled 20mm cannon, sunk the heavily armed ship which these weapons were aboard.
Any further questions, queries or nit picks will be gladly answered.
Chris.   
The dogs philosophy on life.
If you cant eat it hump it or fight it,
Pee on it and walk away!!

Weaver

El Salvador's Ouragans were allegedly wired for Shafrirs (which were never actually delivered), so it's certainly possible.
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
 - Morpheus in Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman

"I dunno, I'm making this up as I go."
 - Indiana Jones '

Ed S

Clever.  A well planned little air force you have there.

Ed
We don't just embrace insanity here.  We feel it up, french kiss it and then buy it a drink.

Brian da Basher

Those are some absolutely killer conversions and paint schemes, chris! That splinter camo is especially sweet!
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Brian da Basher

chrisonord

Thanks Brian,
I like the splinter cam a lot also as I have used several variations on a few different aircraft, I am doing a Tupolev Backfire at the moment in Splinter cam, it can be very fustrating to do though as overspray and leaking masking tape are a pain.
I have a dassault mystere 4 that tells me it wants turboproping also.
But.....I want to do a twin turbo prop maritime patrol bird and I am struggling to find a suitable (see very cheap) donor aircraft.
Cheers
Chris.
The dogs philosophy on life.
If you cant eat it hump it or fight it,
Pee on it and walk away!!