|Aircraft Role||Carrier aircraft|
|Operators|| Estovakian Air Force |
|Manufacturers|| Estovakia |
|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.
The CFA-44 was a next-generation carrier-based fighter developed in the 2000s by the Federal Republic of Estovakia. The history of the plane remains shrouded in mystery, but it is known that its existence was unknown outside the Estovakian military, and that it was equipped with cutting edge combat technology.
Originally developed for use by the Estovakian Navy, the sole known Nosferatu prototype was created as an stability-focused aircraft to facilitate the use of on-board railguns. The jet was acquired by Ilya Pasternak and customized, removing its speed and agility limitations at the expense of low stability; an antithesis to its original form.
Pasternak flew the CFA-44 in April 2016 during the battle for Gracemeria. Arriving shortly after the fall of the city, he single-handedly engaged the Emmerian military to distract them so his subordinates could escape. Armed with ADMM launch pods and a swarm of UAV-45 drones, he was eventually bested and disabled by Talisman, proclaiming the "victory" of Estovakia before the jet exploded, killing him.
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 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.
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
- Owing to the fictional aircraft's very origin being not of the real world to begin with, its designation is not related to any aircraft designation system used in the real world despite the fighter's later portrayal as one linked to the former Soviet Union. The prefix instead indicates only its main characteristics. The aircraft was originally designed for use on an aircraft carrier, therefore its prefix CFA denotes that the plane is a "Carrier-Fighter-Attacker".
- The aircraft is named after the Nosferatu, a vampire from Romanian mythology. A Nosferatu is classified as a Strigoi, from which the squadron's name is derived.
- The lack of a one-piece cockpit, external armaments and the lack of a smooth airframe suggests that the Nosferatu is not very stealthy, even though gameplay suggests otherwise. It is possible that the paint contains a radar-absorbent materal similar to that used on the F-22A Raptor. It is also likely that the plane is a prototype, and its design and capabilities have not been fully refined. Its difficulties in making tight turns may support this.
- The CFA-44 appears as the "protagonist" aircraft in another Namco production, the 2013 arcade game Mach Storm. The game, which is built on the Ace Combat: Assault Horizon engine, also contains a variety of references to Ace Combat, such as a possible player title of "Demon Lord of the Skies", the presence of the "CVN-30" aircraft carrier used in Assault Horizon's campaign, and F-3 Shinden IIs on the deck of said carrier.
- The Nosferatu cockpit is reused on the GAF-1 Varcolac.
- In Assault Horizon, the Nosferatu's seat reuses the ACES II texture used by the F-15S/MTD.
- In Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, the Nosferatu's countermanuever arrangements are the same as the Su-35 Super Flanker. The very flexible nozzles are capable of performing the Kulbit turn and Pugachev's Cobra, though the latter is a neutral maneuver.
- In Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, the CFA-44 suffers from a glitch like the Su-47 does. Due to both aircraft having immense speed and turning abilities, they seem to "drift" through the air at times when turning. Pulling out of a dive may still send you crashing belly first into the ground, due to the "momentum" they seem to carry.
- The flaps on the CFA-44's engines function similarly to that of the XFA-36A Game.