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The KSP Design-a-plane competition: multirole fighter edition


Toxn
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Dear [iNSERT NAME OF COMPANY REPRESENTATIVE HERE],

 

Congratulations!

Your company has been selected to partake in a competition to design an aircraft for the Republic of Kerbalia. The competition will be in the form of a fly-off, with entrant designs being assessed relative to each other and the current front-line multirole fighter of the Republic (specifications included in data pack attached hereto).

 

Should you choose to partake in this process, initial development funds of up to 40 000 Kerbalians will be made available to you. Technological limitations being what they are, the use of speculative engine designs (SABRE et al.) will not be accepted as a means of achieving competition goals.

 

The aircraft submitted must be of the multirole fighter type, with the ability to perform a variety of missions while still being able to outfight current aircraft on a 1-to-1 basis. Significant leeway will, however, provided as to the details of the design. If required, a flyable example of the current front-line aircraft will be provided for internal comparison.

 

Submissions must include, at minimum:

- A name and internal design number (a prototype designation number will be assigned)

- A full list of specifications

- A background and detailed description 

- One or more images of the submission

 

We wish you the best of luck with your undertakings in this regards.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Lotho Kerman

 

Head Company Wrangler,

Department of Defence,

Republic of Kerbalia 

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INFORMATION PACKAGE A: K-21 MULTIROLE AIRCRAFT ANALYSIS

 

DESCRIPTION

 

The K-21 'Incompetent Dragon' is the current front-line fighter aircraft of the Republic of Kerbalia. It is a fourth-generation aircraft, of fairly conventional design and making use of a delta and canard configuration. A single, large, divertless intake and limited vector-capable turbofan engine complete the basic package, allowing the K-21 to handily exceed the speed of sound in a low-level dash. Unfortunately, engine limitations have resulted in a fairly low top speed (Mach 1.6) at altitude. The range of the K-21 is excellent, with 3000km cruise radius being achieved during testing. Equally, a maximum takeoff weight of 18400kg means that the lightweight fighter can haul over ten metric tonnes of ordinance into the air if stretched.

 

The Incompetent dragon is constructed primarily of high-strength aluminium alloys and composite materials, producing a very lightweight and compact airframe. Never-exceed loadings for the aircraft have been authoritatively measured, with a g-loading of 12 being at the absolute limit of the airframe's capacities. Due to this aforementioned testing, production models of the K-21 include automatic limitations of control surface movements. Control of the aircraft itself is fly-by-wire, although the conventionally stable nature of the design allows manual backups to be used in an emergency.

 

The K-21's avionics package consists of a nose-mounted pulse doppler radar system; integral navigation, laser weapon guidance, FLIR and search-and-track capabilities; and twin external ECM/countermeasure dispenser pods mounted to the rear fuselage. Offensively, the K-21 carries an internal 20mm rotary cannon, located on the right side of the fuselage behind the cockpit. Six underwing and two wingtip hardpoints allow a variety of stores to be carried, with a standard load consisting of up to six tonnes of ordinance and stores.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Length: 10.6m
  • Width: 9.3m
  • Height: 4m
  • Mass (fuelled): 5.5 tonnes
  • Mass (maximum takeoff weight): 18.4 tonnes
  • Unit cost: 27 035
  • Max speed (sea level): Mach 1.25
  • Max speed (altitude): Mach 1.6
  • Climb rate: 238 m/s
  • Max altitude (engine flameout): 30 000 m
  • Max altitude (apogee): 43 000 m

 

IMAGES

 

nDXhUWW.jpg

Test model of the K-21, with pilot for scale

 

N4SVLd1.jpg

Test model in flight

 

WrkyyI2.jpg

Early production model, displaying fuselage-mounted IR missiles. The fuselage mounts were removed from later production models due to a number of missile separation failures.

 

EyarG2k.jpg

Late production model, shown during manoeuvres while carrying a maximum combat load. 

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Getting out of character for a bit:

 

  • Anyone who wants to can enter. I will talk to management about advertising the contest in other forums, but for now that hasn't happened.
  • The prize hasn't been decided yet, so suggestions are welcome.
  • Mods for KSP include: Ferram Aerospace or similar (non-negotiable, as the baseline flight mechanics are waaay too easy to exploit), B9 aerospace (optional) and BD armory (optional, but recommended for that loaded-plane look).
  • Other mod suggestions are welcome, but I'd advise against dicking around too much with fantasy engines as that's against the spirit of the contest. Similarly against the spirit of the competition: invisible or sneakily stacked surfaces, stacked or hidden engines, and other tricks which rely too much on min-maxing the game at the expense of a realistic design.
  • I can send over the file for the K-21 upon request, so that people can test it against their aircraft directly. I can't get the multiplayer mod to work, but if people want to use that to test things directly then that would be sweet.

Edit: A couple bunch of other things I forgot/need to be added for clarity:

  • The competition will run till May 15, with the winner announced after comparison of the entries (probably early to mid June).
  • Planes can have any sort of crew setup (including unmanned), but would have to justify accordingly. Unmanned planes would also have to include something (comms, extra sensors, space for a super-computer) on the model itself to show how it will do its thing.
  • The Republic of Kerbalia is basically Chimerica; with a large central landmass, lots of coastline and a few neighbouring countries that it has uneasy relationships with.
  • Accordingly, the K-21 was made as a do-it-all fighter: great manoeuvre and climb capability for short-ranged interception, great range for long-distance strikes and great carrying capacity (at the expense of manoeuvre, climb and range) for bomb-truck duties. Unfortunately, it's slow, non-stealthy and has an outdated avionics suite.
  • The honchos at RoK think they simply want an updated version, capable of meeting or exceeding the K-21's specifications while providing improved speed, stealth and avionics. The kicker, however, is that they've provided a fairly limited budget (less than double that of the basic K-21 model) and are committed to having a fly-off between the K-21 and the competitor aircraft.
  • Entrants can thus opt to simply provide an improved aircraft, bust the budget and then justify, or do something clever at own risk. A big part of what will get accepted will come down to arguments provided, as well as performance versus K-21 and the competition.
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Getting out of character for a bit:

  • Other mod suggestions are welcome, but I'd advise against dicking around too much with fantasy engines as that's against the spirit of the contest. Similarly against the spirit of the competition: invisible or sneakily stacked surfaces, stacked or hidden engines, and other tricks which rely too much on min-maxing the game at the expense of a realistic design.

 

Is procedural wings haram?

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What sort of country is the RoK and what sort of missions does it need a fighter for? A nation like Croatia has very different "multi-role fighter" requirements than one like the UK or France.

 

This is a good point even if to a certain point the requirements of carry a heavy load a long way and maneuver a bit/a bunch halfway start to blend together a bit.

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Example: Croatia needs a fighter that can take off with a couple of Sidewinders to intercept aircraft in their airspace. Those fighters also need to be a good value, which means they need to be able to perform ground attack and other more pedestrian missions involving carrying lots of payload but not doing air-to-air stuff. This has some implications for the vehicle. Certainly, Croatia could buy Rafales or something truly "multi-role", but it could also get away with J-7s. J-7s can carry Sidewinders, and you can stick four rocket pods on them and a couple of spare fuel tanks and hose down whatever tonka trucks used by the local rebels that the UN Coalition has asked you to dust.

France needs a carrier-capable fighter aircraft that can dogfight with Su-27s and win, while simultaneously carrying four tactical nuclear weapons and thirty-seven external tanks for intercontinental range because FRANCE EST FORTE!!!!

So it's very, very important what sort of country RoK is.
 

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oh my god you somehow made a KSP thread even spergier

 

(Your points are valid though, I should probably work on a light fighter to back up my twin turbojet monstrosity.)

 

Not so much sperg as just noting that "multirole" doesn't actually mean anything, and that Tox didn't really put any requirements in the title.

 

If it's just an aesthetic KSP Kreations thread, then my observation probably doesn't matter, but if Tox meant it as a serious "build the best performing KSP bird" competition, then it does.

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Would it be possible to get the save you've got of the baseline plane for comparison purposes? Wouldn't want to eyeball it and make a poorly balanced pile.

Sure. Per KSP's usual weirdness, it's a lot lighter and longer-ranged than anything that size has any right to be.

Otherwise, it's a mash-up between a J10 and F16 (where Jeb left the limiter on the fly-by-wire off) that can't break Mach 2 and only has 8 hardpoints.

 

 

What sort of country is the RoK and what sort of missions does it need a fighter for? A nation like Croatia has very different "multi-role fighter" requirements than one like the UK or France.

I was intentionally being coy about this, as I was interested to see what people would come up with given only the requirements of 'make better plane to beat existing plane'. Because then they get to define and defend what 'better plane' means.

 

I will include the relevant information in an edit of post #3.

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Sure. Per KSP's usual weirdness, it's a lot lighter and longer-ranged than anything that size has any right to be.

Otherwise, it's a mash-up between a J10 and F16 (where Jeb left the limiter on the fly-by-wire off) that can't break Mach 2 and only has 8 hardpoints.

 

 

I was intentionally being coy about this, as I was interested to see what people would come up with given only the requirements of 'make better plane to beat existing plane'. Because then they get to define and defend what 'better plane' means.

 

I will include the relevant information in an edit of post #3.

 

I should clarify - I have no problem with leaving it vague (more design diversity), but I was curious.

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SUBMISSION PACKAGE FROM OKB KERBOLEV

 

Internal Prototype Designation: Coyote XVIII

Length: 11.8m

Wingspan: 9.9m

Height: 3.2m

Mass (clean): 9.5t

MTOW: 18.9t

Unit Cost: 37944 (Includes internal 20mm cannon+ammunition, as well as countermeasures dispensers)

Max Speed (Sea Level): Mach 1.3 (clean)

Max Speed (Altitude): Mach 3.2 (clean)

Max Climb Rate: ~520 m/s

Max Altitude (flameout): 28,000 m

Max Altitude (apogee): ~57,000 m

Hardpoints: 2 wingtips, 6 underwing, 2 fuselage

Internal Armament: 1x20mm cannon, 1300 rounds

 

IMAGES

 

H0bMdgW.jpg?1

Prototype on runway with typical armament load

37IqnkQ.png?1

Prototype in flight

QCKVkwA.png?1

Underside of prototype with typical weapon loadout

Wk58s3I.png

Prototype at high speed

 

DESCRIPTION

 

There were two competing schools of though during the development of the multirole fighter. One advocated development of a heavier design, capable of performing both air superiority and deep strike missions, while the second preferred a lightweight, low cost fighter. The first option was ultimately chosen, resulting in the development of the Coyote XVIII. (The Coyote XIX lightweight fighter is available for purchase by countries desiring a really cheap more economical option).

 

Early in the design process, it was decided to use two turbojet engines, in order to obtain sufficient climb rate, payload capacity, and kinematic performance. Intakes were optimized for performance at high speeds and altitudes, though the Coyote XVIII is capable of supersonic speeds at low level. The airframes performance is generally drag-limited, with the highest speeds attained near the operational ceiling. The aircraft has a large internal fuel capacity, to improve range.

 

Previously, many large interceptor and strike aircraft required multiple crew members. However, recent advances in technology, especially automation, have rendered a second crew member superfluous. The Coyote XVIII has a single pilot, reducing cost and training needs. This is enabled by an advanced avionics and flight control suite (OOC: the SAS module behind cockpit).

 

A tailless delta planform was chosen, due to good performance at both high and low speeds. Though the Coyote XVIII was not designed with maneuverability as the primary design goal, the aircraft does have good instantaneous turn performance, and has demonstrated sustained 7G turn capability. The aircraft has is approximately neutral dynamic stability; it capable of being flown without computer assistance, though this is not recommended except in emergencies. Use of yaw damper and alpha limiter is also recommended.

 

The Coyote XVIII is capable of utilizing a variety of ordnance, including IR and radar guided AAMs, cruise missiles, dumb bombs, unguided rockets, and other munitions. Stores separation has been demonstrated at supersonic speeds, as well as at loads of up to 7G.  An internal 20mm cannon is fitted, with over 1,000 rounds of ammunition; it is located in the nose of the aircraft. Two countermeasures pods are mounted under the aft fuselage.

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Kerboyan/Gurkevich Sumbission

Internal Prototype Designation: KeG-2B
Crew: 2 (Pilot, WSO)
Length: 15.6m
Wingspan:10.2m
Height:4.4m
Mass (clean): 13.4 tons
MTOW: 30.4 tons
Unit Cost (includes internal 30mm cannon, ammunition, and countermeasure pod): 39,957
Maximum Speed (clean): Mach 1.37 (Sea Level)
Maximum Speed (clean): Mach 3.07 (15km)
Maximum climb rate: 650m/s
Maximum altitude (flameout): 28km
Maximum altitude (apogee): 51km
Maximum G force: 31.7
Sustained G force during turns: ~12-15
Ordinance Separation G force: tested up to 20.6
Hardpoints: 2 wingtips, 6 underwing
Internal armament: nose mounted 30x173mm cannon, 600 rounds.

 

92ssU3o.jpg

 

rwyoe2S.jpg

 

pXaG1re.jpg

 

OicF1P3.jpg

 

CGiaqbE.jpg

 

KeG-2D

XyfLzEN.jpg

The KeG-2B is an envelope pushing aircraft that won't break the bank. The simple and rugged, but still sleek, construction reduced the costs of the airframe, allowing for more cutting edge technologies to be poured into the areas that really matter. The twin F119 Turbofans not only provides respectable output even at altitude, but also has a full 20 degrees of thrust vectoring on the pitch, allowing for impressive maneuvering abilities. Combining this with the 6 dorsal airbrakes allows the aircraft to pull incredibly tight turns, and pull out of steep dives that would send most aircraft straight into the ground. The durability of the airframe can survive nearly 32 G maneuvers if handled carefully, and can comfortably take a sustained load of 15 G. These airbrakes also give the KeG-2B shortfield landing capabilities, increasing its operational flexibility.

The KeG-2B has a respectable low altitude speed of Mach 1.37, allowing the pilot to bring its  30x173mm rotary barrel cannon to bear against any unfortunate ground targets quickly. At an altitude of 15km, the aircraft can cruise at a maximum speed of Mach 3.07, and with a range of 9000km with a standard fuel load.  With a maximum takeoff weight of over 30 tons, the KeG-2B can haul 17+ tons of ordinance to the combat zone if so required.

To manage all of these weapons, the KeG-2B has a two kerbal crew with a dedicated weapon systems officer. This allows the pilot to handle the impressive power and maneuverability of the aircraft, while the WSO can focus on efficiently putting the hurt on priority targets. The cockpit controls are duplicated however, and the KeG-2B can be successfully operated by a single kerbal. From low level bombing runs to high altitude, high speed intercepts, the KeG-2B can handle any task with ease, and quickly change rolls thanks to the unmatched agility.

These are just the base performance characteristics of the KeG-2 aircraft. The KeG-2D upgrade has six more hardpoints (two more underwing, for a total of eight, and four on the fuselage), and two options for more advanced sensor packages. For a negligible increase in unit cost of 8,700, the flexibility and battlefield endurance of the aircraft is increased substantially by giving it an impressive total of 14 hardpoints and an improved sensor package.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update

 

  1. Since KSP is about to drop an update that includes/supplants many of the mods listed here, I'm going to extend the competition till the end of May to allow contestants to rework their old designs in the new system. Existing contestants may choose whether to use their old or new models, and the K-21 will be reworked for 1.0. 
  2. I will update you on the plan of action going forwards if B9 and/or BD armoury don't work any more.
  3. The prize for the competition will be gold for WoT or WoWS (3000/4000)
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I fear the Shockheed entry dual purpose interceptor/low level bomber (complete with nice bonus to the judge in congratulations for a good selection) may be permanently postponed due to great difficulty hardening the cockpit sufficiently (It's currently really easy to overspeed a plane).

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Okay, so I've gotten to play around with the new aerodynamics model on KSP. It's fucked.

 

Putting a normal jet engine on the K-21 model I recreated now gets you all of mach 1.1 maximum at sea level, with worse performance at altitude. Put in the turboramjet and you get mach 1.1 at sea level and mach 3 at altitude. And then your plane explodes.

 

I'm going to wait a week to see if any of the mods get updated.

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I think it's the new heat model.  It used to be that you could only take damage from enormous G-forces ripping the aircraft apart (which was basically impossible in stock).  Now your parts can take damage from frictional heating, and apart from hide your entire airplane behind a heat shield, there's nothing you can do about that.

 

They seriously need to add some higher-tier titanium aerodynamic parts or something.

 

Also, so far as I can tell, there's been an enormous reduction in drag.  The new drag model is more complex and realistic, but it consistently returns lower drag coefficients for anything even remotely sensibly designed than the old stock aerodynamics did.  The reason that everything explodes now is that there's no drag so everything goes retardedly fast.

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KF-105 Assegai:

 

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Mass (empty): 9.020 t
  • Mass fuelled): 19.120 t
  • Mass (empty, rocket assisted): 48.270 t
  • Mass (fuelled, rocket assisted): 59.470 t
  • Mass (maximum takeoff weight): 70+ tonnes w/ rocket assist
  • Unit cost: 38,839 w/o rocket assist
  • Max speed (sea level): Mach 2.05
  • Max speed (altitude): Mach 2.70
  • Climb rate: 422 m/s
  • Max altitude (engine flameout): 30 000 m
  • Max altitude (apogee): 43 000 m
  • Max range: global

 

The KF-105 Assegai is a STOL/RATO-assist multirole interceptor/reconnaissance/strike aircraft. It achieves true multirole capability through a combination of thick, high ratio delta wings, six automatic/manual airbrakes, and rocket assisted takeoff. The Assegai utilizes twin turbo-ramjet engines to achieve the high speeds necessary for strategic bombing and reconnaissance missions, while maintaining good short-field performance and a high mission rate. The Assegai's space-age stability augmentation improves the handling characteristics of the aircraft beyond what is possible through aerodynamic means alone, and allows it to perform advanced maneuvers like Pugachev's Cobra, as well as to flip 180 degrees and thrust against the direction of motion, quickly changing direction to meet tactical needs.

The Assegai is also capable of using its external hardpoints as strategic heavy-lift assets, giving it true multi-role capability beyond what other airframes are capable of.

 

uKGwLO9.png

 

Engine Start:

 

WwjOoO2.png

 

Takeoff-to-zoom-climb-intercept:

 

HrRFO1O.png

 

Booster separation. The boosters separate before burnout, to ensure the safety of the aircraft.

 

tYokNz1.png

 

The Assegai in a dive, reaching maximum speed. The airspeed of the Assegai is limited only by its structural integrity.

 

Id28pzn.png

 

The Assegai performing an unpowered Pugachev's Cobra maneuver at very high altitude. Cobra maneuvers are possible at all airspeeds and altitudes.

 

yGOfxIT.png

 

The Assegai performing a short takeoff procedure:

RW73j9a.png

 

The Assegai performing a heavy-lift takeoff. Weight at takeoff is 79 tonnes.

6CXXFWU.png

 

Required landing distance, full fuel load:

gC7IIDn.png

 

Performing a strike mission with two 6.5 tonne multipurpose missile bodies.

 

9y6aMRb.png

 

Low-altitude Pugachev's Cobra with 13t external ordnance. Note how the patented Flexi-Frame™ construction prevents structural damage during extreme maneuvers. The aircraft performed three such manuevers that flight, and landed safely.

 

fhliBVF.png

 

Taking off with two air-to-surface and two air-to-satellite missiles:

uMUOdwg.png

 

With the Assegai, you can rain destruction upon your enemies, no matter how distant or peaceful they may be:

kTMKpmT.png

 

Choose the Assegai, the only multirole fighter made in all nine pronvinces.

 

DtJAmX6.png

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