Model 276 = STOVL Aircraft for Sea-Based Multimission Tactical-Sypport Roles - An Alternative 872353
The possible replacement of existing Navy tactical-support air assets by a single airborne platform is being contemplated for such roles as Airborne Early Warning. Anti-Submarine Warfare, Electronic Warfare, and other secondary applications. These missins are currently performed by the E-2, S-3, and EA-6A air vehicle systems. This new multi-mission tactical aircraft is to be operated from larger carriers of the CVA-63 class with high performance catapult and arresting equipment. With this type of basing, design studies have shown that a conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) navalized aircraft will most effectively and efficiently meet the projected requirements. However, a unique dimension in operational deployment freedom and basing flexibility could be achieved with a Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft under preliminary evaluation by MCAIR - the Model 276 Medium Speed Tactical Aircraft. STOVL aircraft can operate without catapult or arresting gear from small ships, such as LHD and LHA, as well as from larger carriers. This vastly increases the options for projecting air/sea coverage and enhancing response through forward or lateral ispersal, and in secondary scenarios to free the larger carriers for major operations. This paper describes the Model 276 STOVL airborne sensor/weapons concept which features two shoulder mounted, high bypass ratio turbofan engines with full thrust vectoring. The total engine exhaust flow can be vectored downward, with the thrust axis passing essentially through the aircraft center-of-gravity, by unique vented “eyelid” nozzles. This provides the propulsive lift needed for heavier takeoffs on decks as short as 450 feet and for vertical takeoff and landing operations.