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Javelin: Homeland Defense Fighter

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posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 07:54 PM
The Javelin is a much talked about “sports jet” and military trainer and great things are claimed of it. It is manufactured by ATG in Albuquerque with assistance from IAI of Israel. Soon after September 11th it was marketed as a possible “homeland defense fighter”.

The Homeland defense fighter concept
The single overriding concern is expense: the current use of USAF/NATO aircraft to defend America’s skies from hijacked airlines (and the like) is costing around $1.2billion per year(!). That is despite the relative scaling down since the operational highpoint in the months immediately following the Twin Towers atrocity. To put the level of commitment into perspective, the operation monitors more than 80,000 domestic departures and landings every day, and supervises around 7,000 incoming “tracks”. Every time one of these aircrafts acts suspiciously, a fighter is scrambled or diverted to intercept. Although this happens only 0.001% of the time, that corresponds to around 24 ‘live’ intercepts per month. The operation typically ties down 35 fighter aircraft (mostly Air National Guard F-16s), 8 tankers and 3 E-3 AWACS.

The commitment is also robbing the Air National Guard units of routine training and has created pilot recruitment and retention problems because of the monotony.

The much proffered solution is to equip much cheaper lightweight jets, such as the Javelin, with the means to shoot down airliners and so replace the front line types in this role. This has perceived operating efficiencies.

The practicalities of using the Javelin
The Javelin is certainly cheaper than a ‘proper’ fighter at $5million for the basic military trainer model ($2.5 million for the baseline civilian model). I estimate that as a homeland defense fighter it would have a price tag of around $8 million.

Artist’s impression of Javelin Homeland Defense Fighter, commissioned by author:

On paper the military trainer model has a cruising speed of Mach 0.85, a maximum speed of around Mach 0.95 (estimate by author) and a climb rate of 8,000ft/min with half-fuel (10,000ft/min with minimal fuel). It has a thrust to weight ratio of 0.53:1 (i.e. only half as much thrust as it is heavy).

However, we have to consider what modifications would have to be made to accommodate a basic intercept mission and how they’d affect performance:
Air-air missiles
Older versions of the Sidewinder (AIM-9L) are the obvious candidates being relatively light and all-aspect. Singers would be far lighter but are less suited. In order to save weight the aircraft could be configured to carrying just one missile, but that would seriously compromise kill-rate. Sidewinders have a launch weight of around 180lb and related modifications (launch rails, systems) would add around a further 300lbs, totally around 660lb. The missiles would have to be carried externally adding significant drag.
This would be the back-up for the missiles. Machine guns are not powerful enough, and the Vulcan 20mm gatling gn standard on most USAF combat aircraft would be too big and heavy. A single 20mm canon with 150 rounds seems more sensible; estimate weight about 1000lb. The cannon could be mounted in a belly pack with the ammo situated where the rear seat of the existing models is.
This poses a real problem; incorporating a radar set into the nose of the aircraft would require a major redesign and shift the centre of gravity forwards. A cheaper and probably less troublesome option would be to mount the radar in a pod under the fuselage, but it would be heavy and incur a significant drag.

Thinking around for possible alternatives to mounting a radar, two options spring to mind; having a “virtual radar” which repeats third-party radar information into the cockpit (from AWACS and ground units), or using much lighter IR sensors for intercept. Neither solution would be as useful as mounting a radar.

Overall we are looking at around 3000lb extra weight, and that’s on the optimistic assumption that the airframe wouldn’t need to be re-stressed. And add to that a lot of extra drag and trim problems. The slated performance would degrade significantly; my revised estimates are an intercept speed of around Mach 0.75, a thrust to weight ratio of just 0.38:1 (!) and a rate of climb in the region of 5000ft/min.

Could the modified Javelin practicably intercept an airliner?
The first and most obvious problem is that most airliners are capable of similar if not greater speeds than the modified Javelin. If the Javelin were required to intercept the target within 15 minutes of the it being considered a threat, it would have to start its intercept run no more than 140nm (163miles) from the intercept point (see below). This distance would be significantly reduced if the Javelin were scrambled from a ground station.

The limited fuel of the Javelin would also be a major problem and air-air refueling would be too heavy a modification to make. With only 280 gallons of fuel, its ability to perform a CAP (combat air patrol, i.e. loiter on station), would be unviable. The combination of inadequate time-on-station performance, and poor speed would mean that far more Javelins, stationed at many more bases, would be needed to effectively cover the US.

What would have to be done to make it capable of the task
To be up to the task, a major redesign to bring it closer to proper front line fighters would be needed. By the time you’ve added an nose mounted radar, air-air refueling, additional fuel, much more powerful engines and re-stressed the airframe, you’d end up with an all new aircraft type with none of the cost benefits attributed to the baseline Javelin. And it would probably still be worse at it than existing frontline types.

Other concerns
There are a couple of other problems which haven’t been addressed. The first is that the whole Operation Noble Eagle and homeland defense fighter concept is geared towards intercepting airliners. But the threat may be from other air vehicle types, such as cruise missiles or a ‘disaffection’ military pilot in a warplane taking off from within the US. If the Javelin would have trouble catching an airliner, it is far beneath the task of intercepting a cruise missile.

The other concern is what I call “mission slip”. The best analogy is the British and their invention of battlecruisers. Battlecruisers where for many years the bee’s knees of naval warfare, combining the firepower of battleships with the speed of cruisers. At the outset they were intended to be used for scouting and for hit and run tactics, but with such mighty firepower, their commanders could not resist the temptation to employ them like battleships even though they were woefully under-armored. Many were thus sunk engaging targets they weren’t designed to engage (such as battleships).

The parallel is that any budget homeland defense fighter, which in reality isn’t up to the role of frontline combat aircraft, would none the less become a substitute for a ‘real fighter’, and be employed in unsuitable roles. And if the USAF purchases this genre of aircraft, it will tomorrow be told it has more fighters than it needs by penny pinching politicians who will not adequately appreciate the difference between a front line combat aircraft and a jazzed up sports jet masquerading as a fighter.

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 10:06 PM
hahahaha........ very good post, planeman, except the picture.
factually the Javelin is much nice looking than your post, I have been thinking that Javelin should instead of T-38 for a loooong time.
The picture I got is much much clear than you post a picture called J14

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 05:51 AM
Nice pictures of the pretty mock-ups Emile. Note how the real aircraft has a somewhat crude canopy profile:

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 08:51 AM

Not bad for a small aircraft, I suppose this was brought up after the Septemer 11 attack in 2001. But for a homeland defense fighter, it should be more faster, slightly bigger maybe(Gloster Javelin size) and more like a fighter. Im not against this plane whatsoever but i think we should use F-4s or F-15s not sure pricey to run, I guess F-16s and F/A-18s would do the job, especially for homeland defence.

Wasnt the Convair F-102/106 in the role of this job?, Then again these were made to fight against enemy forces like the soviet threat who had big bombers n stuff, The threat now is terrorisim.

I wonder who this Javelin will fight against, Bin Laden's Flying carpet squadron of suicide bombers?

Lets see how this Javelin gets on anyway!

[edit on 10-12-2005 by Browno]

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 12:46 PM
The Gloster Javelin was a heavy monstrosity, I don't think anyone would consider buying anything like that again. I wonder how this new Javelin would compare with a Hawk 200 with an afterburning adour?

I think a decent weapon fit for the ATG Javelin however would be a Hawk T.1 style ventral gun and wingtip ASRAAM's (if only because they are all aspect off boresight missiles and a little smaller and lighter than the sidewinder, it would also minimise the drag penalty, which would be crucial in a plane with such marginal power (for a fighter).

[edit on 10-12-2005 by waynos]

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 01:12 PM
Reading the "What would have to be done to make it capable of the task " paragraph brings one idea to mind : have ATG make some F-20s...

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 01:35 PM
Thats a neat little aircraft....Can the general public buy one?

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 06:25 PM
The Javelin is a F-5/T-38 equipted with double tailfin IIRC, yes they can be bought by civilians but ofcourse not with weapons

Bring back the F-5's or better yet the F-20's! I love the would be great if the US had a flying milita of trained civilians to patrol the skies, I wonder if they need a special license to fly an armed aircraft, perhaps the police could fly fighters as well? a person can dream right?

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 07:43 PM

Originally posted by GrOuNd_ZeRo
The Javelin is a F-5/T-38 equipted with double tailfin IIRC, yes they can be bought by civilians but ofcourse not with weapons

Bring back the F-5's or better yet the F-20's! I love the would be great if the US had a flying milita of trained civilians to patrol the skies, I wonder if they need a special license to fly an armed aircraft, perhaps the police could fly fighters as well? a person can dream right?

Like in 'Independance day' where they were picking civilian pilots to fly F/A-18 Hornets. Then again some sicko may go off his head with the plane and start shooting buildings, cars and neighbourhoods up, he may start shooting police/news choppers out the sky for a laugh.

He may delibaretley crash it on purpose into a building/place he hates and eject just before it hits his target.

I have not really into the F-5 much but i still find it interesting the fact it is a 'Bantham Fighter' somthing you hop in and take off. I like the fact you dont need someone to assist you with a ladder like on the F-16, at least with the F-5 you can manage yer-self.

I like the F-20 Tigershark becouse it is an F-5 with meat on it, The F-16 is a good plane but i think it is a bit bulky for a lightweight fighter. It would be good if the US Coast guard had fighters too so they could defend the shores and coasts from any incoming threat. Remember in WW2 the British Home Guard who recruited men who were unfit/too old to join the regular army?, Well with this plane they could do the exact same thing and they could be based at major airports.

posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 11:44 AM
What about the link of its manufacturer:

Seekerof: This aircraft is of course also on my web, but I am not posting it...

posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 01:28 PM

Originally posted by GrOuNd_ZeRo
The Javelin is a F-5/T-38 equipted with double tailfin IIRC, yes they can be bought by civilians but ofcourse not with weapons

Actually the ATG Javelin has nothing in common with the F-5 (or T-38)

It does look the same in profile but this similarity is only superficial. its fuselage is actually a different shape altogether, as is its wing.

The biggest clue to how different it is (from the side) is to look at the intake shape, they curve around the round fuselage while the F-5's sit flat against its almost square sides, this is enough to demonstrate that there is no relationship between the two.

[edit on 11-12-2005 by waynos]

posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 03:50 PM
Waynos is as usual correct, the ATG Javelin is not related to the Northrop F-5/20 family of aircraft although in terms of general configuration, it does have some resemblance. If you really want to look for an F-5 with twin tales, the YF-17 and ultimately F-18 Hornet are the places to look, as well as Iranian developments.

The ultimate conclusion of my analysis is that the Javelin isn’t big enough to perform like as an armed interceptor given current technology (both in terms of engines and weaponry).

posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 11:47 AM
This is just an off the wall concept for an alternative Homeland defense solution I’ve come up with:

Long endurance high altitude UAVs with basic radar and air-air missiles loitering over cities. Air-air refueling could further extend endurance. The artist’s impression is based on a Proteus UAV.

The concept is somewhat flawed in detail, but it makes for a nice idea.

posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 02:56 AM
It is particular reality now. Armed Proteus exist and is called Northorp model 395. However it was designed for air to ground bombing by using JDAMs. If my memory works, intelgurl has something to do with it.

posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 03:57 AM
You always post some surprising photos!

I have some picture showed an aircraft will be competitor with Javelin

posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 05:35 AM
Emile, actually the aircraft type you’ve pictured has been shelved. One of the prototypes crashed killing the pilot, who happened to be the CEO of the aircraft designers. However, if you google “Viperjet” you’d find a competitor in the sports jet market.

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