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F14E Super Tomcat '21 Project proposal and discussion


Tank50us
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I'm wanting to do something that really hasn't been done before in DCS: Design, model, and implement (preferably as a full module) an aircraft that was proposed, but never built due to political reasons (and that's all the politics I'm putting in here), the F-14'E' Super Tomcat '21.

 

 

The basics of the Grumman proposal is here: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/29653/this-is-what-grummans-proposed-f-14-super-tomcat-21-would-have-actually-looked-like

 

 

As for what I intend to do, is model the aircraft to emulate what the aircraft could've turned into from concept to reality. Such things could include:

 

  • Radar Cross Section reduction features, akin to what was done with the Super Hornet.
  • An integrated FLIR pod system
  • Increased weapons capacity to include the AIM-120, JSOW, and other weapons
  • Helmet Mounted Displays for both pilot and WSO (instead of RIO).
  • New radar system (either an AESA or the AN/APG-82 that's part of the original proposal)
  • A new glass-cockpit with multiple MFDs for both front and back seat.
  • a "quick and ready" start-up sequence for improved 'scramble' capability when operating cold and dark. (start APU, prime Engine 1, start engine 1, repeat for engine 2, turn on systems, close canopy, start rolling, not that quick, but you get the idea)
  • Possible Jester AI if Heatblur were to get behind it.
  • Redone air-brake system (removal of the central air brakes, and being replaced with a modified rudder system)
  • New, more powerful GE F110-429 engines, offering super-cruise with some load-outs. This would also come with a redesigned engine inlet to help reduce RCS as mentioned earlier
  • Redesigned canopy
  • A new HUD for the pilot (likely derived from the F-15Es HUD)
  • weight reduction features and improved aerodynamics to increase range (compared to the original proposal which called for an increase in internal fuel load)

So, with all that laid out, the big question comes up: If I'm able to make this thing, and I'm able to make this thing into a proper module, who would be interested? I know that there are people who wouldn't like the idea at all, it's a paper design, and the F-14D was retired in 2006, and "There are plenty of aircraft not in the game that need to be". I get all of that, but I have to ask this to those people: Why should we limit ourselves to just those planes that entered service? Why can't we have the aircraft that could've made it into service if the political or financial winds blew slightly different? Why can't we have the experimental aircraft that with only slight modifications, could've become viable combat aircraft?

 

 

I really want to do this project, but I'd like to know who'd be willing to help, and who'd be willing to fly it given the chance. And to that, I leave it to be discussed. I'll start a new thread if/when I actually start modeling this sucker, because that's going to be a long road ahead. For now, just discuss it, and please, no flaming people. Keep it civil. Or no ST21 for you!

 

 

Tank out!

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I hate to break your enthusiasm but for many of these things you need sdk-access and for that you need to set up a company and have a contract with ED.

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You didn't say what your own skills are. Are you a coder, modeller or texture artist?

 

 

Aside from that, you have 2 posts and you're a new account, so assuming you've not been lurking for a long time and are actually new here: you'd be best suited to go look at the "How To" section to get a thorough understanding of what a module as you're proposing would require. Just some of the features you describe would need a pretty complex EFM.

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You didn't say what your own skills are. Are you a coder, modeller or texture artist?

 

 

Aside from that, you have 2 posts and you're a new account, so assuming you've not been lurking for a long time and are actually new here: you'd be best suited to go look at the "How To" section to get a thorough understanding of what a module as you're proposing would require. Just some of the features you describe would need a pretty complex EFM.

 

 

Oh I'm aware, and my main focus is 3D Modeling (links to previous work to follow). The purpose of this thread is to see if people would be interested in such a module even existing, and maybe see if there's people who'd want to help either in making it a reality, or in flight testing (designers make bad testers after all).

 

As for my 3D prowess:

 

 

http://fav.me/db6r58d

http://fav.me/db55kka

http://fav.me/daie2gu

 

 

Just a few examples. I know I'd have my work cut out for me making this thing into a reality, but at the end of the day, if it works out, then I think it'll all be worth it in the end.

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Keep in mind that 3D modelling and texture work is relatively the easiest part of making a mod for any simulator. Many DCS mod planes attempts began and ended on this stage. That's because finding skilled people who can do the code for the plane FM and systems is where the real challenge begins. They're few and far between and I'd hazard a guess not many of them are going to be interested in creating a fictional plane.

 

Nothing wrong about asking, though.

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Keep in mind that 3D modelling and texture work is relatively the easiest part of making a mod for any simulator. Many DCS mod planes attempts began and ended on this stage. That's because finding skilled people who can do the code for the plane FM and systems is where the real challenge begins. They're few and far between and I'd hazard a guess not many of them are going to be interested in creating a fictional plane.

 

Nothing wrong about asking, though.

 

 

Except, it's not entirely fictional. The Super Tomcat 21 was a real project, and had things gone just slightly differently to what we had irl, it would have been built, and put into service. Heck, it was supposed to be an entire fleet replacement program for the F-14, replacing every single Tomcat in the fleet with this new bird (obviously starting with the few As still around, then the Bs, and finally the Ds).

 

 

Unfortunately, the politics at the time favored the Super Hornet (especially since some members of the SAFC had holdings in Boeing at the time), and some members of the Navy weren't sold on the idea of keeping the Tomcat around much longer either (ignoring things like how the Tomcats range makes it harder for someone with an ASM to target the carrier), and as a result, the project got scrapped before a prototype could have been built and flight tested.

 

 

The idea behind this ultimately, is to throw open the doors on the "What if" aircraft. Projects like the F-20 Tiger Shark, or the YF-23 Black Widow from the modern day, as various other projects from WW2 and the Cold War that could have been viable, and gone into service.

 

 

Then again, I'm also a proponent of the implementation of an SDK and Profit-sharing program similar to what Gaijin did with War Thunder. If someone makes a viable module that can be sold in DCS, either on its own, or as part of a pack, then the devs get a cut, and the person or persons responsible make a bit of money as well.

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With the commercially available programs to see speculated aerodynamics such as MatLab and/or Simulink, this project could be made.

 

Of course the FM data would be derived from those programs' tests, but it's better than nothing.

 

As others said though, finding competent aerospace engineers that do programming are rare in the gaming-flight sim genre. Where more profit can be had at top tier aerospace companies.

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With the commercially available programs to see speculated aerodynamics such as MatLab and/or Simulink, this project could be made.

 

Of course the FM data would be derived from those programs' tests, but it's better than nothing.

 

As others said though, finding competent aerospace engineers that do programming are rare in the gaming-flight sim genre. Where more profit can be had at top tier aerospace companies.

 

 

I have to admit, I've never heard of those programs. I was always under the impression that the game itself simulated certain aerodynamic effects, and I'd merely need to know certain functions like the amount of power the engines push out, or the capabilities of the control surfaces to function.

 

 

I know my ignorance of the subject sounds like a detriment, but I am willing to learn what I need to in order to make this work (or find someone who's willing to work with me).

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  • 2 months later...

I applaude your honesty, but I would consider contacting ED. They could give you a heads up on what you need and what they will or will not allow before you head down what looks to me a WONDERFUL project, but I'd hate you to get so far then hit a brick wall, We've seen that recently on another long time project, No harm in asking them. My wallet's ready when your ready to launch.

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https://www.artstation.com/artwork/3oOBVm

 

Stealth tomcat!,

 

 

Anyways, as others have said, the D Tomcat is still greatly classified, so an proposal, while not classified, is just a "overview" of new capabilities, there's no way to accurately simulate or even know what systems specifically were going to be installed in the new Aircraft.

 

it's all fantasy, so technically no one can say the data is wrong, as there isnt any.

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  • 5 months later...

by the way if the st21 really put into reality, then it's IRST should be something even stronger than that of f14d's, and the AESE radar is even more monsteriosly powerful than f22(you got what i mean?)

the cockpit would be like a more spacious f18d bock50, with less nob and button like removed manual switch of stab aug( full fly by wire), a f18 alike HUD, MFD, fully removed anaolg gauges and a similar stick as f18 with dlc for pilot, for RIO, it would like later version f14d( more removed system)  it also would take it could also take f119 as a alternative option( cost efficiency?), which is guarantee to be strickly classified, i could say within 10 years, majory detail of those information is still unaccessble, just simply imagination?


Edited by grumman f14
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  • 1 month later...

I am totally for this!  Go Go GO!

 

Seriously though I have long dreamed of having an ST-21 in DCS.  No one has ever brought it to life in any sim that I'm aware of, and what better place than DCS?  I would definitely pay for something like this if it became available.  Unfortunately as other people have said the 3d model would be the easy part, unless you were somehow able to take the flight model of the F-14B (as it was in say, DCS 2.5.5 or early 2.5.6 versions) and stick it on with some minor tweaks.  Even at that, you still have to model the aircraft systems, which would not be easy.  If there's enough interest in this then great, but there might not be.

 


Edited by Spino
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On 2/26/2021 at 11:18 AM, Spino said:

I am totally for this!  Go Go GO!

 

Seriously though I have long dreamed of having an ST-21 in DCS.  No one has ever brought it to life in any sim that I'm aware of, and what better place than DCS?  I would definitely pay for something like this if it became available.  Unfortunately as other people have said the 3d model would be the easy part, unless you were somehow able to take the flight model of the F-14B (as it was in say, DCS 2.5.5 or early 2.5.6 versions) and stick it on with some minor tweaks.  Even at that, you still have to model the aircraft systems, which would not be easy.  If there's enough interest in this then great, but there might not be.

 

 

 

I couldn't agree more, I'd love to see more X-Planes in DCS, especially the ones that could've seen combat had they been developed further. The kicker is that many of these planes only really failed because they weren't favored by their respective politicians (like the ST21), or there were aircraft that were just better (like the F-20 Tigershark), or something about the aircraft wasn't quite enough to win the contract (like the F-16XL). The kicker is that the data on these aircraft is either classified or speculative, so accurately modeling the characteristics of these aircraft would be tough.

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Why not just try to make an F14D, there is actualy data on that although even with that you will find it incredibly dificult to get enough data. You could go the fictional route with that and put 120's on it. Beyond that though, although I would like to have an ST-21 in DCS it would be 100% guess work. Even the artist renditions of it are guess work and not official desings.

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1 hour ago, Triggerjo23 said:

Why not just try to make an F14D, there is actualy data on that although even with that you will find it incredibly dificult to get enough data. You could go the fictional route with that and put 120's on it. Beyond that though, although I would like to have an ST-21 in DCS it would be 100% guess work. Even the artist renditions of it are guess work and not official desings.

 

I'd be taking the Super Hornet route with it, in that it would look kinda like an F-14, but the internals are completely different. At least certain perimeters are easily replicated from the game already, namely the engine, as the plan was to use an upgraded version of the GE-F110 engine already in use. Sadly, the only real way to get the exact data on what Grumman had planned would be to contact them, but I highly doubt they'd be too keen on revealing said data, not when there's even a remote chance a certain nation could use that data.

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i love how they always say the same damn thing "i just want to see if theres enough desire for this to exist" like they're all popped out of the same cookie mold

 

sure enough as they start with the same words they also all end the same way

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1 hour ago, probad said:

i love how they always say the same damn thing "i just want to see if theres enough desire for this to exist" like they're all popped out of the same cookie mold

 

sure enough as they start with the same words they also all end the same way

 

I mean, when it comes to any kind of mod or module, isn't it usually a good idea to gauge interest before sinking hundreds, or thousands of hours worth of work into it?

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If something like this actually happened, I think we already had a starting point in DCS for it, although I'm not sure if it would be feasible to use it.  Anyone who has done some flying in the HB Tomcat consistently is probably aware that HB nerfed the maneuverability on it shortly before the F-14A was released.  They did this because it was overperforming, and not realistic.  Rewind to the '90s when Grumman was working on the ST-21 design, and one of the things that they were going to change was the shape of the wing gloves - bulging them outward to mimic the shape of the wing glove vanes that earlier F-14s had (but rarely used).  This was supposed to improve the plane in several ways; it was apparently projected to increase the strength of the wing glove (a problem on the F-14 that probably was behind the weight limit on stations 1B and 8B), add increased fuel tankage in place of the old vanes that were welded shut anyway, and increase lift and maneuverability across the board (but especially at high Mach numbers where the old glove vanes were supposed to deploy).  I think it wouldn't be unreasonable for the overperforming FM of the F-14B (as it was in early versions of 2.5.6) to be close to what the ST-21 might have been like.  Of course it would need to be tweaked since the extra maneuverability didn't necessarily carry over into high speed flight and the ST-21 would have had a more powerful F-110 derivative (I believe Grumman specced the most powerful version available in the '90s, the GE-129, which may be the same version we have in the Viper) and there were a few other changes such as increased weight and flaps redesign.  But then, this all assumes that the overperformimg FM that the F-14 used to have would actually be made available (and I see no reason why HB would allow that to be used, unfortunate as that is).   So likely the flight model would have to be redone from scratch using available F-14 data and ad-libbing the increased performance based on what little we know about Grumman's projections for the ST-21. Then the external model would have to be redone and the cockpit would have to basically be completely new.  Then there's the radar and other avionics (which wouldn't be too hard to get "right" since all we know about them was that the radar would likely have been similar to the one in the F-15E and that the cockpit would have been modern enough to have MFDs and very few steam gauges).  Circa 2003-2005 the ST-21 would probably have gotten the same JHMCS upgrade that the Hornet had, along with the AIM-9X as well.  But there's the code work going into all this, and finding someone (or more likely several) who is up to this and willing to do it will be anything but easy.

 

That's basically my take on what an ST-21 mod might be like and what it would take to make it happen.

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Look at where the F-15EX is going to see how well this sort of fantasy would have panned out.   You don't and can't know how the aerodynamics would have changed anything, or what challenges it would have met, or what compromises would have been made to incorporate all of this stuff. 

 

One thing that's certain is that weight would increase, not decrease, and all the doodads hanging off the airframe would end any notion of supercruising with a useful A2G payload, or probably just if you even added the fuel tanks.  Any attempt to decrease RCS would require inlet baffles which would instantly eat thrust.

 

If you want to do a fictional module do it - it's a great learning experience (cubanace has been doing that with the Su-57, and the module is fictional strictly because data on this aircraft is well ... just not out there), but don't pretend that it is anything but a fictional aircraft just because it's based on a thin paper proposal of an existing aircraft modification.

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I'm not saying that it would be realistic, although it might be closer than you think.  Weight was supposed to go up by a couple thousand pounds on the ST-21, but unlike the F-15EX, the extra fuel tankage came in the form of increased wing glove area, while on the F-15E/EX it's in the FAST packs hanging to the sides of the fuselage, which is actually eating lift area to a degree because it covers up the underside of the wing root.  I'm just saying that the overperforming F-14B FM is probably a good taste of what the ST-21 might have been like in terms of performance.  However, the chances of HB actually letting anyone use that FM are basically nil, so the FM would have to be written from the ground up for any ST-21 mod.  I'm not in favor of these RCS-reducing measures that people have said should be part of an ST-21 mod, for the reasons you just mentioned.  Let's face it, the F-14 has the RCS of a semi, if not bigger, and no RCS-reducing measures would do anything significant for it unless you're willing to give up the sheer performance that is the whole reason for having a plane like that.

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11 minutes ago, Spino said:

I'm not saying that it would be realistic, although it might be closer than you think.

 

No.  Not even close.   If you're changing the fuselage it sure won't be.  No one's going to predict the weight gain well either, they might add up the new engine weight but won't consider beefing up the landing gear or the extra fuselage weight required to do everything that's needed for added strength and lifetime extension.

 

I mean,  unless someone did an absolutely full study ... which is possible, I just don't consider it likely.

 

And there again, changes to the fuselage would require figuring out the new AoA performance, new drag and lift curves, etc.

 

Quote

 Weight was supposed to go up by a couple thousand pounds on the ST-21, but unlike the F-15EX, the extra fuel tankage came in the form of increased wing glove area, while on the F-15E/EX it's in the FAST packs hanging to the sides of the fuselage, which is actually eating lift area to a degree because it covers up the underside of the wing root.

 

'Supposed to' = fiction.  There are loads of reasons for weight increase, making the fuselage last longer being a huge one - aircraft at this point are going from 8000 hour lifespans to 20000 hours.

 

Quote

I'm just saying that the overperforming F-14B FM is probably a good taste of what the ST-21 might have been like in terms of performance. 

 

You can't possibly know.  You get more powerful engines, great, but definitely a heavier and possibly draggier fuselage.   Any RCS reducing baffles would diminish thrust gains.   It could even perform better depending on things, but that seems to be the direct opposite of the trends we're seeing, especially with the more multi-role additions.

 

Quote

However, the chances of HB actually letting anyone use that FM are basically nil,

 

It is also irrelevant, since you're changing the fuselage.

 

Quote

I'm not in favor of these RCS-reducing measures that people have said should be part of an ST-21 mod, for the reasons you just mentioned.  Let's face it, the F-14 has the RCS of a semi, if not bigger, and no RCS-reducing measures would do anything significant for it unless you're willing to give up the sheer performance that is the whole reason for having a plane like that.

 

More specifically you can't have it without significantly changing the fuselage to include S-Shaped intakes etc.  Nothing would stop any aircraft from mounting an 30000lbs+ engine - but again, think about it this way.   Is it really needed?  If you're keeping a purebred fighter, what for?  Take the F-15C.  It got re-engined with the 220 and it's still highly performant.  Changing that engine would be very costly.   The X/EX get a new engine because they're new airframes but at the same time, they really, really need all that extra thrust.  Does the ST-21 need it?  Why?  Just because, or are we at least trying to pretend like we're developing a fighter with a particular purpose and the new parts are justified in some study for mission purpose and cost instead of being a brochure talking point?

 

Like I said, fiction.


Edited by GGTharos
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