A-11 MACHETE | GROUND ATTACK AIRCRAFT
A-11A left, A-11B right.
A-11A - Turboprop Model
A-11B Model - Turbofan
The Machete, developed by Stavatti, is New Hayesalia's newest family of next generation Close Air Support, Attack, and Counter Insurgency aircraft, having replaced both the A-10 and A-3 in active service.
A series of aircraft designed to satisfy a breadth of military aviation requirements with a modular airframe, the Machete family includes the SM-27 Turboprop Machete dubbed the A-11A, and the SM-28 Turbofan Machete dubbed the A-11B. and the SM-47 Super Machete.
Significant emphasis has been placed upon ensuring that the A-11 series is highly survivable in a high threat, SAM saturated CAS environment. A major part of achieving that high level of survivability comes from how the airplane is built including its level of intrinsic and discrete armour. The core part of the aircraft is it's large mounted gun.
The A-11's fixed internal armament includes one 30mm cannon mounted within a streamlined ventral fuselage fairing. The 30mm cannon is mounted directly to the aircraft fuselage on a vibration dampening mount as an integrated fixed weapon system. The 30mm cannon fairing is a permanent structural fixture engineered specifically for housing, supporting and stabilizing the 30mm cannon. 30mm cannon ammunition is fed through a link-less feed system supplied by, and contained within, an aft fuselage located armoured ammunition drum. Ammunition is loaded/serviced through a ventral fuselage loading hatch. The cannon provides the aircraft with anti-armour/anti-aircraft capability.
The standard A-11 cannon is the General Dynamics GAU-13/A 30mm derived from the GAU-8/A. The GAU-13/A is a four barrel, electrically driven cannon with a variable rate of fire of up to 3,000 rds/min. The GAU-13/A employs standard 30mm PGU-13 (HEI) and PGU-14 (API) ammunition with a muzzle velocity of 3,600 ft/sec. The A-11 may also be fitted with the GAU-8/A or lightweight derivative thereof, resulting in three additional gun barrels and an increased rate-of-fire of up to 4,000 rds/min, but with a weight penalty of 281 lbs. In the A-11, the cannon may be provided with over 1,000 rounds of additional ammunition contained within an expanded ammunition drum located aft of the forward cockpit.
The Machete is designed primarily for air-to-ground missions, employing ordinance such as the AGM-65, GBU-39/B, GBU-31, GBU-32, GBU-38, CBU-97, CBU-59, BLU-107 and additional stores. Optimized for precision strike, the SM-28 employs GPS guided munitions, including the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SBD) to dispatch ground threats with minimal collateral damage. The A-11B can carry up to 28 GBU-39/Bs, or 6 AGM-65s or 2 GBU-31 JDAMS externally in addition to 2 AIM-9s.
Air-to-Air capability is provided through the carriage of AIM-9 and similar passive homing/IR AAMs. The Machete is capable of LANTIRN, LITENING and ECM pod carriage and employs a MIL-STD-1760 Weapon Interface Data Bus. Weapons release is conducted through a control column gun trigger switch and weapon release button for air-to-air/air-to-ground.
The A-11 has an Open System Architecture (OSA) with avionics and sensors integrated about a MIL-STD-1553B Interface/Data Bus. Featuring a comprehensive avionics and sensors suite, the philosophy driving the A-11 avionics configuration focuses upon capability, reliability, flexibility and ease of serviceability. The A-11 offers maximum flexibility to meet specific mission needs.
Standard core A-11 avionics include the Power-By-Wire (PBW) Flight Control System, Air Data Computer, Flight Management System, Avionics Management System, Automatic Flight Direction System, Instrument Landing System, Secure Data Link, Voice/Data Recorder and emergency power supply.
In the Basic configuration, aircraft avionics and sensors are optimized to provide the most cost effective CAS solution while providing the same basic capabilities as A-10, A-4, A-37 and Su-25 aircraft. In the Deluxe configuration, the A-11 features AESA radar, comprehensive IFF and other systems for enhanced mission performance.
A probe-and drogue in-flight refueling system is located in the aircraft nose. The refueling probe for the in-flight refueling system is of retractable type.
To extend aircraft range four wing hardpoints are plumbed for external fuel tanks. The A-11 may carry up to four Cobham external fuel tanks with a maximum capacity of 150 USG for up to 4,020 lbs of additional JP-8 Fuel.
The A-11 has electromechanically actuated, retractable tricycle landing gear. The landing gear is designed for operations from unprepared, forward locations with sink rates up to 15 ft/s, with a high tolerance to hard landings.
Intrinsic Armor consists of primary aircraft structural elements that not only serve as load-bearing members, but also provide an element of armour protection through their inherent design. A principal example of intrinsic armour is the use of foam metal sandwich construction throughout the aircraft. Over the past two decades, the ballistic protection properties of foam metal sandwich armour have been repeatedly demonstrated. Organizations have shown that foam metal sandwich armour, in particular composite metal foam (CFM) armour provides significant protection against ballistic impact. Offering very high armour to weight ratios, combining metal foams with appropriate strike and backplates results in formerly unheard of levels of protection.
Applying these lessons learned, the Machete airframe benefits from foam metal sandwich skins. Combining titanium and aluminum-lithium foam metals with titanium, aluminum-lithium and a variety of other skin, strikeplate and backplate materials including titanium diboride, alumina-diboride, boron carbide, Kevlar® and Spectra®, allows the Machete to be structurally skinned in a stiff, high strength structure that serves as ballistic armor while also, provides noise, heat, vibration and in some configurations, radiation dampening. In so doing, the Machete is the only CAS aircraft engineered to depart from a structural design philosophy that stresses stressed thin skin construction using either aluminium or composites and apply metal foam sandwich construction which is inherently more damage and ballistic impact tolerant.
Looking at effective CAS aircraft of the past, most were built largely of 2024 and 7075 aluminium. The P-47, A-1 and A-10 were all built primarily from thin aluminium skins stiffened by frames, bulkheads, longerons and stringers. While the A-10 does offer discrete crew protection in the form of a titanium armour “bath tub,” the remainder of the aircraft is thin skin aluminium. Some A-10 wings were thin enough that they merited a re-skinning with a thicker skin to enable a continued service life. The Machete is the only CAS aircraft ever designed to incorporate this new approach to result in a damage tolerant attack aircraft.
Combining foam metal sandwich construction with rigid titanium bulkheads, frames, sine wave spars and ribs, the aircraft is designed for redundancy offering multiple load-paths and fail-safe construction. This use of Titanium spars and ribs significantly improves aircraft survivability. Employing significant quantities of Titanium, including bulkheads, frames, longerons, stringers and skins, the Machete fuselage is of inherently survivable and crash-worthy design.
All Machete fuel is contained within discrete tanks located in the wings and fuselage. These discrete tanks are either rigid titanium fuel cells or titanium foam metal tanks. Pressurized with an OBIGGS, all fuel tanks provide both fuel storage as well as a structural form that is significantly more survivable. To prevent loss of fuel pressure, whenever possible, fuel lines are contained within fuel tanks. All fuel lines, hydraulic lines and flight control lines are or are placed within Titanium tubing to help ensure survivability. The aircraft flight control, electrical and hydraulic systems are also duplicated whenever possible and physically separated by more than 18 in to ensure redundancy.
Presenting a compact, close coupled arrangement, the Machete configuration is directed toward survivability. The empennage, for instance, is configured such that the Titanium skinned vertical stabilizers provide the aircraft propulsion system with a degree of profile shielding. Learning from the A-10, the Machete empennage is slightly oversized to ensure continued control in the event of significant loss of stabilizer area during combat. Additional reductions in overall aircraft vulnerable area are derived from the use of a low-wing situated directly beneath the aircraft fuselage fuel tanks, ammo magazine and to a degree, propulsion system, as shielding. The use of vertically sloped forward fuselage cross sections further improves survivability by ensuring that the majority of incoming ballistic projectiles will be received as deflection impacts met by Titanium skins.
Machete Discrete Armor consists of materials which function wholly as armour, serving no secondary structural purpose. The A-11 series employs no less than 500 lbs of discrete armour. Placed within critical vulnerable areas including the aircraft cockpit, powerplant zone, electrical generation, environmental, hydraulic and control systems, as well as around the internal ammunition drum and avionics bay, survivability is ensured. To further ensure crew survivability, the Machete cockpit is an integral unit contained within a unitized Armoured Cockpit Module (ACM). The ACM is a laser welded, titanium foam metal sandwich armour structure, conceptually identical to the A-10 crew protection structure with Titanium armour thickness ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 in.
The discrete armour used throughout the Machete, including the ACM, includes both foam metal sandwich armour as well as composite metal form armours and Stavatti proprietary laminates of alloy and composite materials including multiple layers of Titanium, Kevlar, Spectra® 2000 and Spectra® Shield. Thickness of the Discrete Armor laminate varies based upon specific application, ranging from 0.25 in to more than 1.5 in. Additional armour technologies including advanced alloy, ceramic, metal ceramic, aramid, and ballistic plastic may serve as discrete armour in specific Machete regions.
Composed of bullet-resistant polycarbonate, the A-11 transparent bubble canopy is no less than an inch thick throughout and provides impact protection against a 4 lb bird up to airspeeds in excess of 450 kts. To reduce signature, the canopy features an Indium Tin Oxide coating. Ensuring crew protection through 0.44 Magnum/7.62mm caliber small arms, the canopy benefits from technologies originally developed at USAF Rome and later Jalanat Research Labs (Q-JRL) to produce high strength, damage tolerant injection molded canopies that are more affordable to produce in large quantity than traditional canopies.
Enhancing crew survivability, the A-11 series is equipped with the highly reliable and proven Martin Baker MKUS.16L or MK16E zero-zero ejection seat(s). The ejection seat is provided with both sequential and auto-eject features. Incorporating a comprehensive internal electronic countermeasures suite, proven Radar Warning Receivers (RWRs), Laser Warning Receivers (LWRs), Missile Approach Warning Systems (MAWs) and Self Protection Jammers (SPJs) produced by Elisra, Elta, BAE Systems and Raytheon are offered as customer selected, standard equipment. The AN/ALE-47 electronic countermeasures dispenser system with fourteen aircraft integrated dispensers as standard equipment for the aircraft series.
For the Machete, survivability has been viewed from all aspects. It is a robust aircraft that can maneuver effectively at low level, saturate the threat environment with managed electronic warfare, provide for decoys and electromagnetic confusion when facing guided missile threats and provide for both air vehicle and crew protection or escape when enduring ballistic impact.