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1. Operate with Supported
Troops. The first design requirement considered was that the airplane
be able to operate with the supported troops without the necessity of
any fixed base installation. This would permit integration with the
ground scheme of maneuver and provide the minimum passive defense against
counter air operations in the combat area. Operations from within a
regimental or battalion perimeter would also minimize the security problems
that beset forward tactical airfields, especially where guerilla action
on infiltration tactics are considered. The military definition of STOL
(500' to a 50' obstacle) allows takeoff and landing in moist of the
areas in which limited war might be fought. In addition, the airplane
was designed to use roads so that operation would even be possible in
jungle areas where clearings are few and far between. As a result the
wingspan was limited to twenty feet and a heavy trailing arm type landing
gear with a tread of 6.5ft was provided for operation from roads. Float
operation is feasible.
2. Minimum Logistics. Operations with the supported
troops also demand that logistics be kept to a minimum. Therefore, the
airplane is small having a gross weight of 5300lbs for STOL operation.
Two turboprop engines of 500hp each using 7 ½' props and the principle
of deflected slipstream can provide the necessary takeoff performance.
Fuel consumption would not be excessive - about 50 gal/hr and the engines
can be burned, i.e., MO-gas, kerosene, JP-5. Simple design and more particularly
the elimination of "black boxes" should make maintenance easy.
Very little support equipment should be needed since there is no component
that cannot be lifted by hand. Provision for the use of infantry ordnance
further simplifies the logistics problems. A small bomb bay and external
racks can be used for carrying bazookas, recoilless rifles or 4.2 mortar
shells, if they can be modified efficiently for aircraft use. The primary
weapon would be multiple M-73 machine guns. This allows maximum flexibility.
If logistics are critical and STOL operations necessary, infantry type
ordnance would be carried and all necessary support provided by 6x6 truck
or helicopter. On the other hand, if an air base or carrier were available,
better than 2,000lbs of aviation type ordnance could be carried.
L2 Size Contrast with the AD
a. General. It is not considered necessary or desirable to carry
an extremely heavy ordnance load. Accuracy, proper tactics and weapons
matched to targets will provide effective firepower as distinguished from
blind, destructive force. Provision is made for a capability against relatively
soft, fleeting targets like troops and unarmored vehicles; for hard point
targets like tanks; and for larger targets like bridges and bunkers. The
aircraft will be able to carry sufficient ordnance to execute an interdiction
type strike effectively and still provide a good armed reconnaissance
capability on the same sortie.
b. Guns. The most effective all around
weapon will be the four 7.6mm machine guns (or similar type weapons)
which are effective against troops, unarmored vehicles and helicopters.
Strafing is not limited by safe separation requirements and targets
can be hit with precision without risking damage to nearby personnel
or property. There would be no particular problem in mounting 20 mm
guns, if necessary. However, unless developments like the German anti-tank
20 mm prove effective, the heavier guns would probably not be desirable.
c. Hard Point Targets. The problem with hard, point targets like
tanks is to get close enough for a direct hit without getting caught
by blast effect. The easiest weapon to use would be the 106 recoilless
rifle because of its accuracy, effectiveness and minimum blast problem.
However, these weapons are quite heavy, provide only one shot and haven't
as yet been used from aircraft. Aircraft rockets like Zuni or the 2.75
while not as accurate are considerably lighter. The bazookas or the
newer LAW could be fired at a close enough range to score hits and still
avoid excessive blast effects. Another possibility is dive bombing with
small bombs. The Germans had some success with this approach in World
War II on the Russian Front. Guided missiles like Bullpup or some of
the smaller types could be carried, if necessary.
d. Miscellaneous Targets. For bunkers,
roads and rail cuts and bridges, low level attack with delay fuse bombs
seems to be the best approach. Napalm, a number of small bombs or possibly
mortar shells or their equivalent could also be carried, if the situation
e. Sample Loads. While further evaluation
of specific weapons is required, the aircraft will be able to carry
a sufficient quantity of aviation or modified infantry type ordnance
to provide an extremely flexible capability. The following loads would
be feasible and give an indication of the possibilities of the aircraft:
(1) In a dispersed situation, operating
with the infantry, where logistics are critical and aviation type ordnance
is not available.
Four machine guns for troops, unarmored vehicles and helicopters.
(b) Packages of Bazookas or LAW rackets for use against tanks
and hard, point targets. If these aren't practical, two-106 Recoilless
Rifles could possibly be carried.
(c) Up to twelve-4.2 mortar shells or the equivalent in the
bomb bay for area type targets. The bomb bay could be used alternately
to carry up to 500lbs of supplies for air drop.
(2) From a short forward airfield
with aviation ordnance:
Four machine guns for troops, vehicles and helicopters.
(b) A choice of five inch or 2.75 rocket packs or guided missiles
for tanks and hard, point targets.
(c) A 500lb GP or napalm bomb.
(d) An observer and a camera in the bomb bay.
4. Protection Against Small Arms is provided by approximately
400lbs of armor around the cockpit. Since there are two engines which
are very small targets, they will either be lightly armored or not armored
at all. The fuel will be carried in tip tanks that can be jettisoned,
if set on fire. A small 10-15 gallon sump tank will provide protected
fuel for return and landing.
5. Maneuverability is required for the violent jinking which
experience has shown to be very effective evasive action. The 30-35lb
wing loading, 10-G load factor, low stall speed and a 3,000' per minute
rate of climb should permit impressive maneuverability. The top speed
is approximately 260kt indicated. It is estimated that an average combat
speed in the vicinity of 175kt ca be maintained even with continuous
6. Low Radiation Return will provide a desirable defensive characteristic,
if more sophisticated weapons systems are encountered. Low radar return
will be achieved by maximum use of fiber glass structures and anti-radar
"paint." Infrared output will be small to begin with and the
addition of exhaust shielding should effectively neutralize the threat
of IR missiles like Sidewinder and Redeye.
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