|Aircraft Role||Carrier aircraft|
|Operators|| Estovakian Air Force |
|Appearances|| Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation |
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
Ace Combat Infinity
Built as a next-generation fighter aircraft, it is compatible with an arsenal of highly advanced combat tools with matching technology and efficient performance. It is also known as the "Fandance" in the "real world", as per NATO naming conventions.
In the Strangereal continuity, the Nosferatu was a next-generation carrier-launched fighter aircraft developed by Estovakia in the 2000s. The jet, lightly resembling the conventional Su-33 used by the Estovakian Air Force, was designed to operate from the P-1112 Aigaion or traditional aircraft carriers under the jurisdiction of the Estovakian Navy as a platform for experimental weapon systems. The only known CFA-44 prototype built was a highly stable aircraft to facilitate the use of electromagnetic weapons in long range combat. It was later taken and tuned by Ilya Pasternak as an extremely agile and rapid aircraft, an antithesis to its original form.
The modified aircraft was flown by Ilya in April 2016 during the liberation of Gracemeria at the end of the Emmeria-Estovakia War. Armed with nothing except all-direction missiles and a control system for UAV-45 Malebolge drones, Pasternak launched a suicide attack on the Emmerian forces to allow the Strigon Squadron to escape to Estovakian territory after ordering them to escape. Despite his overwhelming firepower, he was eventually disabled by Talisman of the Garuda Team in a prolonged battle, proclaiming that Estovakia "had won" before perishing when the aircraft exploded.
In the Horizon universe, the CFA-44 was developed by the former Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century by an unknown manufacturer. The aircraft was produced in factories in the provinces of Romania, then under Soviet control. It is unknown whether it was indigenously produced by Romania, or if it was lended to them by Russia.
The existence of the aircraft remained unknown to the Western Bloc untl the early '80s, when a Nosferatu was spotted by satellites over the coast of Romania near the Black Sea. Initially, the Nosferatu was not believed to be a vehicle by Western officers because of its shape, only being determined as such after checking its shadows on nearby clouds. Because no other aircraft in the Soviet air force matched its characteristics, special attention was placed on this particular jet.
Soon after the initial sighting, satellital imagery detected other CFA-44s at bases in Romania and Ukraine, which gave the West a clearer view of the aircraft. Their upper weapons bays were discovered as heat signatures by infrared systems. NATO member states began to obtain intelligence on the newly discovered aircraft, but the images were not believed to warrant a performance assessment. Mikoyan-Gurevich and Sukhoi were suspected as its developers; however the true origins of the Nosferatu, even whether it had been created by Russia or another republic under Soviet control, remained a mystery.
The CFA-44 was soon given names by the Western Bloc. The Air Standardization Coordination Committee (ASCC) of NATO named it "Fandance" after a type of dance, in reference to its wing shape. In the other hand, the US Department of Defense (DoD), which used stricter naming conventions, designated it "Uni-D", or "Unidentified Delta". Between 1983 and 1985, as the MiG-29 Fulcrum and the Su-27 Flanker respectively entered mass production, it disappeared from Western eyes.
Believed to be in response to the United States' reveal of the F-117A Nighthawk in 1988, the Fandance was deployed by Russia in conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. Advances in visual technology allowed to obtain more detailed images of the enigmatic aircraft. During operatons in the mid-1990s, it gained the attention of the West for using experimental weaponry against enemy aircraft— a pilot who was engaged by one described being shot down by "a type of laser weapon" without hearing a missile alarm. As well, it was said that the Fandance tended to intermittently vanish from ground radar.
During a flight over Africa, a CFA-44 produced in the Romanian Constanta province, serial number 44-025388, suffered mechanical failure and crashed, killing the pilot. The accident occurred in a country within the Western sphere of influence, and its remains were soon recovered by NATO, becoming the first unit in Western hands. The following investigation provided insight on the design of the aircraft, revealing details on its engines, weaponry and avionics. However, the cockpit was destroyed by a self-destruct device, making an autopsy unfeasible.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, classified information on Russian weapons was leaked to the black market. The analysis carried out by NATO identified the avionics and design flaws of the aircraft, but also assumed the possibility that the Nosferatu could be replicated by other nations, and thus constituted a major threat to Western aviation.
In the onset of the 21st century, two CFA-44s were responsible for an unauthorized flight over the Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Kyushu in 2002. However, the aircraft could not be properly identified as such, as they only appeared as blurry shapes in American satellites.
Several years later, in 2016, CFA-44s were engaged under unknown circumstances by ASF-X Shinden II pilots. Air Self-Defense Force pilots Kei Nagase and Wataru Asano were involved in combat against them.
BodyEditThe CFA-44 is a twin-engined carrier fighter using a delta wing configuration, which gives it a distinctive "kite" shape, with outer-canted twin tails. It uses canards to enhance its mobility, providing it with an aggressive front profile. The wingtips use protruding leading edge extensions, while the wings themselves use wide slats, and can be folded for aircraft carrier use. A radar is mounted inside the rear tail boom. It uses arresting landing gear for carrier operations, a modification made for use with Typhoon-class submarines converted to submarine aircraft carriers.
The airframe is built using light alloy and carbon materials. Through the use of electromagnetic wave-absorbing metamaterials in its midsection, it exhbits light stealth capabilities, allowing it to intermittently disappear from radar. However, the gap between the body and the canards, along with the angle they form, negatively affects its stealth. The exact details of the plane's stealth capabilities is a mystery, as all research on this technology was lost when Russian scientists fled Romania after the 1989 revolution.It is powered by unspecified engines developed by Russian manufacturer NPO Saturn. The engines, which employ highly durable single crystal blades, use a type of thrust vectoring similar to that used in the Rockwell-MBB X-31 demonstrator, employing special two-dimensional rudders to achieve this. Combined with its wing configuration, this provides the Nosferatu with high maneuverability, at the expense of poor flight stability.
The Nosferatu's cockpit uses a panoramic display system, similar to that used by the F-35 Lightning II, containing a digital interface that monitors the physical condition and weapons of the aircraft, and is equipped with a voice warning system in Russian. Russian CFA-44s are equipped with internal explosives to destroy the cockpit in emergency situations.
WeaponsEditThe Nosferatu uses a variety of experimental weapon systems and derivaties of exisisting Soviet weapons. It is mainly armed with a variant of the AA-11 Archer missile, which are carried on external pylons on the wings, and uses dual Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 autocannons mounted on wing roots. The origin of the missiles is suspected as either Russian or a license-built design.
A prominent feature of the CFA-44 is the use of vertical internal weapon bays, with two compartments on the upper midsection and one between the intakes in the ventral area. It is compatible with electromagnetic launchers, experimental anti-aircraft railguns designed for long range engagements, and triple launch pods for All Direction Multi-Purpose Missiles to engage multiple targets. In addition, it has an integral ECM system. The Estovakian model was designed to handle a control system for UAV-45 combat drones.
A disadvantage to the aircraft's unique weapon bays is that, in conjunction with the engines and landing gear, it must use a complex air intake, thereby affecting its performance. In addition, the increased weight only worsens the Nosferatu's poor stability and the body design makes the use of conformal fuel tanks impossible, giving it a small operational radius. The intake design, described as "crude" and "poor" by the NATO officers that investigated the African CFA-44, was intentional to achieve maximum weapons performance.
Two Nosferatu models were photographed by NATO intelligence efforts, which have minor design differences. The first variant, the "Fandance-A", is the model frequently sighted in Romania, Ukraine and Africa. The second model, the "Fandance-B", has its wings and canards placed higher on the airframe and a greater leading edge extension, along with an exposed right-hand gun compartment.
The following are estimated parameters obtained after the NATO investigation of the CFA-44 lost in Africa.
- Length: 66'11" (20.40m)
- Wingspan: 40'8" (12.40m)
- Height: 13'1" (3.99m)
- Engines: unknown Saturn engines
- Maximum speed: estimated subsonic from leaked documents, each engine estimated to achieve a 90kN (166km) net thrust
- Medium stealth capabilities
Behind the scenesEditThe CFA-44 Nosferatu debuted as the traditional fictional aircraft in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, appearing as the "level boss" of the mission "The Liberation of Gracemeria". Owing to the fictional origin of the aircraft, the "CFA" (likely "Carrier Fighter Attacker") designation does not follow any actual naming convention despite its later portrayal as a product of the Soviet Union, only denoting its characteristics. The -44 number and wing configuration, on the other hand, may point to the MiG-1.44 as a design inspiration.
As a playable aircraft, it is made available for the price of $229,500 after completing the campaign in Hard difficulty, regardless of whether it is done on a New Game or New Game. Three skins - the Prototype, Razgriz and ACES - are available for download from the Xbox Marketplace, the last being the final DLC release for the game. It is also available as a downloadable aircraft in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon as part of the Online Pack of the sixth DLC bundle, limiting its use to Free Mission and multiplayer.
The Japanese book Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Master File contains a section dedicated to the real-world CFA-44, where it is described as having originated in the Soviet Union. It plays a fundamental role in the development of the ASF-X Shinden II, and appears as an antagonist aircraft in the climax of Ace Combat: Ikaros in the Sky, where a single unit battles Kei Nagase and Wataru Asano. The collaboration between Shōji Kawamori and Project Aces in Assault Horizon led to an special promotional section on the December 2011 issue of Dengeki Hobby Magazine titled Ace Combat Short Story Scene 00 "Battle Encounter" which contains an interview with Kawamori, along with a hypothetical confrontation between an ASF-X and a CFA-44. The article displays a 1/72 CFA-44 model kit converted by artist "P.P." from a Hasegawa Su-27 Flanker kit, which is also featured in Ikaros in the Sky.
The CFA-44 appears in modified form in the arcade game Mach Storm as the protagonist aircraft, where it is identified as "FA-44" by the arcade cabinet. Unlike the original aircraft, it is armed with AIM-9/X Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles carried on triple ejector racks and its upper launch bays, each of which contain a Sidewinder. At the start of the game, the plane is launched from the CVN-30 aircraft carrier featured in the story of Assault Horizon, and is followed by a second unit at the start of each mission.