A565 IMAGER | AEW&C AIRCRAFT
Crew: 18 per shift, galley and bulkheads available for 42 additional crew.
Tail Height: 18.75m
Cabin Width: 6.10m
Fuselage Width: 6.35m
Maximum Fuel Capacity: 145,000 kg
Empty Weight: 145,000 kg
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 350,000 kg
Cruise Speed: 880 kph
Maximum Cruise Speed: 905 kph
Maximum Speed: 1125 kph
Maximum Range: 21,500km
Takeoff Length: 2250m
Service Ceiling: 16,000m
Engines: 2x Azzuri TR450
Thrust: 230,000 lbf total
The A565 Imager is a Gemballan-designed Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft and is New Hayesalia's frontline AEW&C platform, alongside the Navy's CEV-22 Mastermind.
The airframe exterior is made entirely from metal alloy, in this case Aluminium Lithium alloy. Al-Li alloy is a very light yet very strong material which poses great breakthroughs for the aviation community. Because the T565 is posed as a tanker and a transport aircraft, it became obvious to designers early on that the less weight went into the airframe, the greater the payload could be which would further enhance the effectiveness of the T565. Rather than build the airframe out of conventional Magnesium Alloy which is commonly seen on modern airliners, Los Rios and Gemballa opted for a much lighter metal alloy for use on the M565 and T565 in the form of Aluminium-Lithium alloy, a very light yet very strong material well suited for use on aircraft.
Lithium is the least dense elemental metal, much less dense than alumiunium which is in itself less dense than most other metals, therefore when the two are alloyed together, the density and weight of the resulting material is less than that of the alloy while being stiffer at the same time and more resistant to strain. Al-Li alloy was also used on the wings which are acted upon by not only horizontal but also vertical forces unlike the fuselage and thus need to have the compressive and tensile strength required to outlast these forces, as well as resist the immense shearing forces which are also experienced at high speeds.
The most distinguishing feature of the A565 is of course the enormous MESA (Multi-Role Electronically Scanner Array) which is mounted on the top of the fuselage. This meant redesigning a large section of the fuselage with strengthened materials so that the MESA would be held stably and without movement. Thus, Aermet 100 steel is used to form the pylons which connect the MESA to the wingbox, the strongest part of the aircraft. This forms a triangle which leaves a very strong and stable base for the MESA to be mounted on, and guarantees the survivability of the system.
The MESA itself was designed to be slim with minimal form drag being produced from it's immense profile.
Thrust is provided by two Azzuri TR450 augmented high bypass turbofan engines, the very same used on the M565. The thrust rating of a single engine is approximately 132,000lbf and the engine itself only weighs 12,500 pounds with lightweight materials techology. The advanced direct fuel spray system, which sprays fuel into the section of the turbine which will create the most efficient combustion, and lightweight turbine technologies which give the TR450 a much higher power to weight ratio, allow the TR450 to use much less fuel than the similarly powerful engine on a rival commercial airliner. A TOGA (Take-Off, Go-Around) power function is also fitted, giving 120% thrust for 5 minutes with 10 minute rest periods in between.
The turbine itself and the compressor fan are made from a carbon-ceramic blend, which is enourmously strong and able to resist the extremely high temperatures inside the engine. Other parts of the engine are made from Aermet 100 which is a steel blend designed to cope with high temperatures and offer a high compressive and tensile strength. Exterior covering of the engine are made from Al-Li alloy, a very light weight metal.
Each engine is mounted below the wing and can be operated independently of each other. These engines do not have thrust vectoring capabilities or exhaust suppresion, as these features are not necessary for an aircraft performing these roles.
The flightdeck of the A565 was conceived as being a fully glass cockpit, without using conventional instruments. Using four large displays in front of the pilots, as well as several other LED displays around it, pilots are consistently kept up to date with what is happening to the aircraft both inside and out. On a pilot's outside screen (the screen mounted closest to the side of the cockpit), Airspeed Indicator, Altimeter, Turn coordinator, Vertical Speed indicator and Artificial Horizon are all displayed. On the inside screen, the exact location of the plane and its waypoints and destination are displayed also, along with the planned route.
The A565 features enough interior space for a crew of 15 for AWACS missions and a crew of 35 for Battlespace Command roles. All up, the A565 features a staggering fifty seperate work stations inside with over twenty tonnes of computing equipment. In addition to this huge work space, the A565 also features a conference room as well as an office for any high ranking member on board the aircraft. Sleeping bunks and a galley suitable for 42 additional crew and passengers are available in the rear of the aircraft.
The A565 features a sophisticated digital fly-by-wire system. The computers "read" position and force inputs from the pilot's controls and aircraft sensors. They solve differential equations to determine the appropriate command signals that move the flight controls in order to carry out the intentions of the pilot.
The programming of the digital computers enable flight envelope protection. In this aircraft designers precisely tailor an aircraft's handling characteristics, to stay within the overall limits of what is possible given the aerodynamics and structure of the aircraft. For example, the computer in flight envelope protection mode can try to prevent the aircraft from being handled dangerously by preventing pilots from exceeding preset limits on the aircraft's flight-control envelope, such as those that prevent stalls and spins, and which limit airspeeds and g forces on the aircraft. Software can also be included that stabilize the flight-control inputs in order to avoid pilot-induced oscillations.
Since the flight-control computers continuously "fly" the aircraft, pilot's workloads can be reduced to a minimum while in transit. Stalling, spinning and other undesirable performances are prevented automatically by the computers.
The T565 also features the Cervelo SDH-5 threat detection radar encompassing a Radar Warning Receiver and a Missile Approach Warning System. This alerts pilots to when a radar lock is engaged, and also allows the pilots to track enemies with a very narrow radar wave, which can be as focused as precisely to 1° by 1° in azimuth and elevation, making the system extremely accurate and can increase the chance of a succesful evasion. The SDH-5 can also communicate to other allied fighters in the area and alert them to the possible threat if the are not already, likewise the SDH-5 can receive this information. This is not featured on civillian versions of the aircraft.
Countermeasures in the form of Chaff and flares are provided as standard. These are automatically controlled by the MAWS.
Also operated by the MAWS is the "Blinder" system. When a missile approaches the A565, the MAWS, through a seperate countermeasure system, will "blind" the missile with a powerful beam of infra-red light. This causes the missile to lose the track on any target due to its receiver seeing only heat surrounding it and not the pin prick from the engines that it was originally chasing.
The powerful MESA radar mounted on to the fuselage has an effective range of 700 kilometers and can track up to one hundred different targets at a time. Not only can the MESA track airbone targets, it can also be tasked to pick up maritime and ground based targets such as large surface ships or enemy armour provided they are on a suitable surface. This MESA provides total 360 degree coverage in both Azimuth and Elevation excluding targets located directly below the aircrft.
At a brief overview, the Radar system generally works by connecting an antenna to a powerful radio transmitter to broadcast a short pulse of signal. The transmitter is then disconnected and the antenna is connected to a sensitive receiver which amplifies any echos from target objects. By measuring the time it takes for the signal to come back, the radar receiver can determine the distance to the object. The receiver then sends the resulting output to the display in the electronics theatre inside the A565.
An AESA or Active Electronically Scanned Array radar system represents the forefront of modern radar technology. These radars are deceptively hard to intercept because an AESA radar will change it's frequency every pulse, at up to 1000 times per second. Since the AESA can change its frequency with every pulse, and generally does so using a pseudo-random sequence, integrating over time does not help pull the signal out of the background noise. Nor does the AESA have any sort of fixed pulse repetition frequency, which can also be varied and thus hide any periodic brightening across the entire spectrum. Traditional Radar Warning Receivers are essentially useless against AESA radars. This means that the A565 can look for long periods of time without being seen in the process. This MESA radar also fitted to the A565 employs a very erratic search pattern made possible by the enourmous computing power at the disposal of the crew, further adding confusion to the Radar Warning Receiver at the other end.
Jamming is likewise much more difficult against an AESA. Traditionally, jammers have operated by determining the operating frequency of the radar and then broadcasting a signal on it to confuse the receiver as to which is the "real" pulse and which is the jammer's. This technique works as long as the radar system cannot easily change its operating frequency. When the transmitters were based on klystron tubes this was generally true, and radars, especially airborne ones, had only a few frequencies to chose among. A jammer could listen to those possible frequencies and select the one being used to jam.
Since an AESA changes its operating frequency with every pulse, and spreads the frequencies across a wide band even in a single pulse, jammers are much less effective. Although it is possible to send out broadband white noise against all the possible frequencies, this means the amount of energy being sent at any one frequency is much lower, reducing its effectiveness. Moreover, AESAs can be switched to a receive-only mode, and use the jamming signals as a powerful source to track its source, something that required a separate receiver in older platforms.
AESAs are so much more difficult to detect, and so much more useful in receiving signals from the targets, that they can broadcast continually and still have a very low chance of being detected. This allows the radar system to generate far more data than if it is being used only periodically, greatly improving overall system effectiveness.
The MESA utilises a separate transmitter and receiver module for each of the antenna's radiating elements. Making up the array of the MESA are over 5000 15cm long individual transmit and receiver modules. Each tiny TRM weighs in at just 50 grams, yet still contains a power output of six watts apiece. To remove the high amounts of heat generated by the MESA, the array is liquid cooled.
The radar's information is processed by ten Indeon Common Integrated Processors (CIP), which is effectively five times the system of the GM-24 fighter. Each CIP can process 12 billion instructions per second and has one terrabyte of memory, allowing it to store a wealth of information and making the system near impossible to overload with information. Information can be gathered from the radar and other onboard and offboard systems, where it is then filtered by the CIP which will effectively 'gist' the meanings of the signals and then pass the signals through to the crew which are responsible for the radar system.
In addition to this powerful array, the A565 also has a full Battlespace Command network capacity, in the sense that the radar system on board the A565 can transmit and receive data to and from other aircraft in the area. This allows targets which the A565 can detect to be seen among all aircraft within communication with the A565 and conversely a fighter running a forward screen for the A565 can relay any information of enemy fighters to the A565, which then can be shared amongst all other aircraft within communication with the A565. The capacity of this is near unlimited; the A565 has enough computing power to be able to effectively communicate with up to 200 aircraft at any one time and send them any information which the A565 has gathered.
As well as operate as an AWACS aircraft, the A565-B can also double as a Battlespace Command centre. Receiving video link from airborne surveillance aircraft, the A565 can be used to house a full command network inside the aircraft who can direct the entire battlefield from the air. Communications lines, both secure and non-secure, are provided so that the A565 can successfully communicate, both verbally and digitally, with fifty additonal allied units as well as two hundred allied aircraft.
The A565-B can be set up so that an entire nations military can be controlled from the one aircraft.
Mounted in the fuselage above the cockpit lies the A565's own refuelling receptacle, allowing the A565 to be refuelled in mid air. Barring long term concerns, this gives the A565 an unlimited range and time in the air.