F/A-26E Thunder Eagle Strike Fighter [MT: ZDI]

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F/A-26E Thunder Eagle Strike Fighter [MT: ZDI]

Postby Atlantica » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:47 pm

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Z.D.I. F/A-26E Thunder Eagle Strike Fighter
Absolute Power tactically. Absolute Power on the Air. Bringing the thunder in silence.
An F/A-26E Thunder firing a cruise missile on distant seas.

UNIT COST: $165,000,000
DPR: $118,000,000,000

The Zeus Defense Industries F/A-26E Thunder Eagle is a twin-engine, twin-seat strike fighter built by Zeus Defense Industries, based on the famous F-26 Black Eagle line of Z.D.I. Designed for long-range, high speed interdiction without relying on escort or electronic-warfare aircraft, it is intended to replace Panavia Tornados and Su-34's, as well as few Su-30 units in service within the Greater Eastern Imperium Air Force and Navy.

Based on the famous F-26 Black Eagle, the twin-seat F/A-26E, as it is stated on its name, is designed primarily for tactical deployment against ground and naval targets (Tactical bombing/attack/interdiction roles, including against small and mobile targets) on both solo and group missions in daytime and at night, under favourable and adverse weather conditions and in a hostile environment with counter-fire and EW counter-measures deployed, as well as for air reconnaissance. However, its capabilities do not end here: thanks to its base on the F-26, it can also carry out air-to-air missions as a secondary role, though usually at the form of a long-range missile hauler.

  1. History
    1. Development
    2. Operational History
  2. Design
    1. Configurations
    2. The Cockpit
    3. Armament
    4. Avionics and Electronics
  3. Variants
  4. Specifications
  5. Current Operators
  6. Purchase Costs



The F-26 served as an adequate replacement to many F-16s, Su-27s, Panavia Tornados and several other fourth-generation mid-class fighters in EIAF and EIN service. However, as operations of the F-26 began, the Greater Eastern Imperium Government started to feel that the F-26 alone was not enough for filling up the strike fighter role the Panavia Tornado, Su-34s and the Su-30s were carrying. Procuring more of the F-26 was not an option - after all, sending many fighters to compensate for a lack of individual capability was inefficient. And so came the Advanced Strike Fighter program - in response to this, Zeus Defense Industries found a solution from the F-16XL - a project that had once been defeated by the capable F-15E Strike Eagle. Given that the F-27 Ghost Bird was still in development, Zeus Defense Industries decided to modify the F-26 line into a strike fighter: using the wing structures under development from the F-27 program and increasing size for greater armament and fuel storage, Zeus Defense Industries created an adequate strike fighter that eventually won the Advanced Strike Fighter program. The prototype here, called the F-26 ASF-M (Advanced Strike Fighter - Modifications), later developed into the F/A-26E today.

The F/A-26E made its first flight in April 4th, 2005, with the Imperator himself, as well as several officials from the Greater Eastern Imperium Defense Forces, overseeing the flight. Following extensive combat testing for the next two years, the first production F/A-26E was put in service within the 301st Strike Fighter Squadron. This was followed by a subsequent order and production of almost 200 F/A-26E's by the Greater Eastern Imperium Defense Forces, who were clearly satisfied with the performances of the F/A-26E. Since then, all Panavia Tornados, as well as several aging strike fighters in EIDEF service, had been replaced by the F/A-26E.

Operational History



One notable feature about the F/A-26E is its stealthy delta wing - while lengthening the fuselage, the wing area was enlarged to bring more lift and armament capabilities into the F/A-26E, which was to serve as a strike fighter. Though there was debate in design and maneuverability, Zeus Defense Industries eventually decided to prioritize weapons loading and employ the larger wings. As a result, the F/A-26E achieved much more armament capabilities than the F-26: it was capable of holding twice as much weapons than the F-26, and slightly more than the F-27 Ghost Bird. This was the result of a design philosophy learnt from the F-16XL and the FB-22 Strike Raptor.


Since it is based on the F-26 Black Eagle, the F/A-26E's cockpit basically has little to no differences to the F-26's cockpit, perhaps except that the interface is more strike-optimized and that it has two seats. Very much like the F-26 Black Eagle, the F/A-26E has a full-glass, touchscreen cockpit that utilizes a 'panoramic cockpit display (PCD)', with dimensions of 20 by 8 inches (50 by 20 centimeters). The PCD displays vital flight information, while its display works together with the pilot's helmet-mounted display (HMD). Its display configuration can be altered through simple ways, allowing the pilot to switch to his/her preferred views easily. Like on the cockpit layout is built around the display and key systems - simple, yet easy to operate. However, the key difference on the F/A-26E's cockpit lies on the strike-optimized interface: it has direct connections that can switch from flight to targeting in a blink, allowing faster strike processing.

Also like the F-26, the cockpit is also equipped with an onboard voice recognition system (VOIRS). The VOIRS enables its pilots to send commands throughout the aircraft much faster: without pressing buttons or even minding the touch screen, the pilot, using the VOIRS, can speak the command. Working with quick response from the fighter, the VOIRS contributes to simpler, faster controls of the aircraft.

The F/A-26E is equipped with a right-hand side stick controller, similar to that of the F-35. The indigenous ZDI34 ejection seat - the very one that is used on the F-26 Black Eagle as a standard ejection seat - is employed on the F-26 Black Eagle. The ZDI34 seat design balances prime performance requirements, including safe-terrain-clearance limits, pilot-load limits, and pilot size; to propel itself and the pilot, it uses a twin-catapult system housed in side rails.

Like the F-26, the canopy is made of bullet-resistant polycarbonate with glass coating and a stealthy tint, protecting the occupant from sunlight, lasers, electronic waves and even limited protection against enemy gunfire. The canopy consists of a frameless single-piece bubble canopy, frameless to increase pilot visibility. The frontal portion has been upgraded to be resistant to bird strikes and even gunfire (to a limited extent). The canopy shatters upon ejection with integrated explosive systems, allowing the pilot to eject at all speeds (even low speed), including while the aircraft is parked on the ground; this is also known as "zero-zero" capability. Both seats can eject simultaneously if needed.


Though air superiority is its second role, the F/A-26E still has weapons deemed necessary for air combat. One example of such is the GAU-22/A 25 mm Rotary Gun - the gun on the F-26 line. Like on the F-26, the gun on the F/A-26E can also be alternated with 20 mm or 30 mm guns depending on the customer's preferences. The gun provides the F/A-26E a final blade when it comes to close-quarter air combat.

Since the F/A-26E is a strike fighter, the primary focus on the F/A-26E is in its internal bay. By lengthening the fuselage and increasing wing size, the F/A-26E has created adequate space to fit a total of 24 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB)s, making it a highly capable tactical strike fighter. If thinking it in air combat, this means that the F/A-26E can carry up to 10 BVRAAMs internally - only two less than that of the F-27. Given its weapons loading capacity, the F/A-26E, when engaging in air combat, can also be used as a missile hauler against incoming enemy fighters - this concept later evolves into the design philosophy of the B-5 Cataphract.

External hardpoints, though not emphasized on the F/A-26E considering its stealth, also exist on its designs. There are four external under-wing hardpoints that can hold air-launched cruise missiles, air-to-air missiles, rocket pods for close air support, bombs and even gun pods (though this is rare). The F/A-26E was originally built to operate without external hardpoints: however, when deemed necessary, it is able to carry larger weapons on external hardpoints and unleash firepower against the enemy.

Avionics & Electronics

The F/A-26E's sensors, avionics and electronics are designated to bring the maximum situational awareness, strike precision and capability to the pilot, while ensuring the survivability of the fighter and the pilot. The most notable sensor (aka the radar) aboard is the Rayman AN/APG-97(v2) AESA radar - an evolution from the AN/APG-97 from the F-26. The AN/APG-97(v2) is more strike-optimized than the AN/APG-97: it has achieved better range on anti-surface detection and tracking, at the expense of sacrificing anti-air detection capability. It is considered to be on par with the Raytheon AN/APG-82 on the F-15E.

The AN/APG-97(v2) is augmented by the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS), similar to that on the F-35 Lightning II. The Electro-Optical Targeting System is designated to replace all external targeting pods, ensuring greater stealth while keeping the targeting capabilities. It is primarily used for air-to-ground missions instead of conventional targeting pods (like the Sniper XR pod) - being used to guide laser-guided munitions and other weapons, while it also features a Low-altitude Navigation and Targeting Internal Network (LANTIRN) autopilot system, providing the pilot with "hands-off" terrain-following low-altitude capability - suitable for deep, low-altitude strikes into enemy territories. This "hands-off" capability is emphasized even greatly in the F/A-26E - it is an important capability as a strike fighter.

However, the avionics of the F/A-26E is not complete with the two powerful sensors - the AN/AAQ-43 Distributed Watcher System (DWS) and the AN/ASQ-332-2 Aegis-E EW Suite. The AN/AAQ-43 Distributed Watcher System, similar to the AN/AAQ-37 Distributed Aperture System, is considered a highly revolutionary sensor in air warfare: bringing the roles of the IRST, the RWR and other sensors into one, it is capable of providing 360-degree watch around the aircraft in all directions. It brings sensor fusion - the key of defeating stealth fighters in war - into reality. Meanwhile, the AN/ASQ-332-2 'Aegis-E' is an evolved version of the AN/ASQ-332 Aegis EW Suite used on the F-26. Designed for the F-26C and the F/A-26E,



General Characteristics
  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 18.92 m
  • Wingspan: 11.1 m
  • Height: 4.45 m
  • Empty weight: 14,700 kg
  • Max. takeoff weight: 31,200 kg
  • Powerplant: 2 x ZDI F121-700E, delivering 17,600 lbf each at dry thrust, 30,000 lbf each at max.
  • Internal fuel capacity: 8,300 kg (no external tanks)

  • Maximum speed: Mach 2.7
  • Cruising speed: Mach 1.83
  • Range: 4,000 km subsonic, 1,900 km supersonic
  • Ferry Range: 5,500 km with one in-flight refueling
  • Combat radius: 1,800 km (subsonic)
  • Maximum G-load: 7.3 G
  • Service Ceiling: 22,400 m
  • Thrust-to-weight ratio: 1.05

  • Gun: 1 x 25 mm GAU-25/A Gun (450 rounds)
  • Central Internal Bay: 12 x hardpoints, each holding up to 2,500 lb.
  • External Hardpoints: 4 x hardpoints, each holding up to 3,200 lb.
  • Munitions: Capable of using all ZDI, NATO and Russian munitions, Chinese munitions to be added.[/i]

  • Rayman AN/APG-97(v2) AESA radar: 240 km against a 1m2 target (estimated range)
  • SDD-100 flares to counter IR missiles
  • AN/AAQ-43 Distributed Watcher System (DWS) - takes roles of MLD, RWR and IRST
  • AN/ASQ-332-2 Aegis-E Electronic Warfare Suite[/i]

Last edited by Atlantica on Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:07 am, edited 12 times in total.
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Founded: Mar 22, 2013
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Atlantica » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:55 pm

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