Upgrading a Skyraider in Fiction

New and old developments in aviation technology.
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robphx387

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Unread post26 Jan 2019, 03:03

So, the short end of it is this: If some 2nd rate air force still had a bunch of prop jobs lying around for CAS (for the sake of an example, use the Skyraider) would it be theoretically possible to upgrade the aircraft with any of the following items:

Optical Detection System (such as AAX1 TCS)
lookdown targeting radar (for use against helicopters, low flying drones, etc. Would it even be useful? Does it help with ground targeting at all?)
Radar receiver/threat detection technology
Chaff/flare/electronic countermeasures?
GPS (even if it is just a Garmin type device strapped in like so: https://twitter.com/garmin/status/669341873895563264)
Any other cool stuff a military with 90s or early 2000s technology might have on hand?


The longer story:
I'm working on a novel where two such aircraft are on patrol looking for insurgent ground forces or drones in a rear area. Another large nation joins the war in a surprise attack using a stealth fighters against several airfields (including our characters', while they are on patrol). I thought it would be interesting if the patrol managed to get off a couple IR missiles just after the strike began.

If the enemy are coming in at full emcon, it is possible for the characters’ aircraft to be undetected up to the point where the raid begins. Possible, but I’m not sure how plausible.

One variation on my plan would be for the enemy to detect them and attempt timing a shootdown with the opening salvo against the base. The only way that I know of for the characters’ aircraft not to be obliterated would be if they had a threat receiver and countermeasures (and for the enemy to be dumb enough—or far away enough—to use radar-guided missiles).

I grant that this is pushing the limits of reality, but stranger things have happened (like running dogfights between American and Japanese heavy bombers patrolling over the pacific).

I’m just wondering how feasible it would be to MacGyver some of the newer technology into an older airframe, simply from the ‘can it happen’ standpoint. I realize in any current air force, there would be few such aircraft available to overhaul outside of boneyards—and those would be so badly in need of rebuilds that it would be more effective to just produce new designs. But if there weren’t . . .

Even so, can some of these things just not physically work in a single-engine propeller aircraft, given the inability to put anything in the nose?

Thanks for your help.
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basher54321

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Unread post26 Jan 2019, 11:59

Variants like the EA-1 used pods - I cant remember what version had the radar but there was one used as an interceptor in Nam - there was also an ECM EW version and an AEW version.

https://www.avionslegendaires.net/avion ... skyraider/

Unlimited fictional budget so full cockpit upgrade with MFDs and wiring upgrade and everything else on pods. Podded TCS - don't think there was one but LANTIRN AAQ-14 I suppose is the pod equivalent of TCS.

Pulse Doppler radar with Ground and Air modes - this is really cutting edge stuff though. Don't know how many boxes you can fit in the back cabin area but for fiction should be enough space.

Hiding from radar - maybe they are good at flying behind mountains - oh well


To add.....

EA-1F was the 4 Seat ECM version that was used as a night interceptor. As well as detect and Jam hostile radars using ECM pods etc it carried Chaff (in pods) and could also carry an air intercept radar or ground mapping radar (both in separate wing pods) so what you ask for has kinda been done before.

There have been various ways to glue expendable pods onto aircraft, so you could for example have a short ALQ-119 on one wing, AAQ-14 on the other, and a radar pod on the centreline, maybe a more powerful engine if that would make any difference.
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robphx387

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Unread post26 Jan 2019, 19:12

Thank you for the quick reply. If I may, I have a couple follow-up questions based on some of your information.

basher54321 wrote:
Unlimited fictional budget so full cockpit upgrade with MFDs and wiring upgrade and everything else on pods. Podded TCS - don't think there was one but LANTIRN AAQ-14 I suppose is the pod equivalent of TCS.


Hiding from radar - maybe they are good at flying behind mountains - oh well





Not necessarily everything needs to be in a single plane, I was just wondering which things would even be possible. If there wasn't an unlimited budget, what would you suspect would be the most important upgrades needed to perform well as CAS in an environment like Iraq/Afghanistan (no enemy air, but many different ground-based AA types)?

As far as hiding from radar goes, our characters will not be hiding from radar in the scene mentioned. They are supposed to be undetected only because the enemy are in stealth profile and not running active sensors—to pull off the surprise attack. Alternatively, I could have the enemy aircraft locate the skyraider type plane but hold off on firing until the bomb run has started, for the same reason—to preserve surprise. Would the skyraider type aircraft still be too detectable from 25 or more miles away at a 2-3K altitude if the enemy were in an SU 57 or comparable machine?

Also, the pods . . . I'm sort of unfamiliar with most of these and how they work. would the aircraft have to sacrifice payload space like with external tanks, or are some of these able to be retrofitted internally? in the case of countermeasures or sensors, are some of those fitted to the side, or is this not possible due to the need for wires or the increased drag?

Thanks for your help
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madrat

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Unread post27 Jan 2019, 20:49

Probably more believable if they were flying Cessna jets.
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basher54321

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Unread post27 Jan 2019, 23:00

You are confusing me with the time line with the Su-57 - for modern day look up the A-29 Super Tucano that the Afghan AF use - that already has some of what you need - a much better fit.


CAS - in todays world - fairly advanced MANPADS and old Soviet AAA could be found in insurgent hands along with small arms. Small Arms were effective Vs VNAF A-1s and insurgents have been well funded as late with MANPADS well in advance of SA-7s - So essential feature is IR defence (like Comet or a DIRCM turret and missile warning system).

Another essential feature is a targeting pod - so it can stand off and ability to point it at coordinates passed to you from troops on the ground.

Yes Pods would take up space but for example any powerful radar antenna has to be away from the pilot so better on the wings.

You would still be adding weight adding things internally which also could indirectly effect your payload anyway (e.g whoops cant takeoff)

You might be able to stick on decoy dispensers to the underside if they don't interfere with anything else.



If or when Su-57s come into service they should at least be able to take info from other support aircraft.

e.g. if an A-1 is at 3,000ft and easily seen by the enemy ground or airborne radar at a long distance then the Su-57 could get the exact location via data link without having to transmit anything. Although the chances of an underfunded 4th rate air force with A-1s having ECM gear that can detect modern LPI radars is probably zero. Su-57 probably doesn't have to remain silent and will have Passive IR sensors as well.
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vilters

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Unread post28 Jan 2019, 15:02

As stated above, the A-29 Super Tucano is the modern version af the Skyraider and seems to do pretty good out there in the real world.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post29 Jan 2019, 02:13

This was an interesting concept based on the Skyraider. 8)


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