It is highly survivable by application of broadband stealth techniques (reduced infrared (IR), acoustic, electromagnetic, visual and radar signatures), emissions control procedures, low altitude terrain-masking manoeuvres, Mach 2+ supersonic dash speeds, careful route planing, and use of electronic warfare systems/penetration aids to counter enemy air defences. A stiff airframe grants high agility with fighter-like handling qualities that can be applied equally to low-level nap-of-the-earth (NOE) flying and high altitude air combat manoeuvre (ACM) tactics. The aerodynamic configuration features a blended body with variable-sweep wings that optimise flying profiles between long-range and high altitude supercruising penetration, low-level subsonic penetration, and loitering at high fuel economy for extended combat persistence (long-range being synonymous with long loiter times). These allow the bomber to fly complex mission profiles involving air defence penetration at high altitude in supersonic mode (the so-called 'hi-hi-hi' mission profile) or at low altitude in subsonic mode (the 'hi-lo-hi' profile). The airframe configuration offers a substantial 80,000 lb (40 ton) weapons payload allowing a mix of different munitions to provide maximum mission flexibility or to deliver a large number of weapons in a single sortie. Missions systems provide a time-critical targeting (TCT) capability through a combination of active and passive sensors, netted sensor fusion via tactical datalinks, and advanced tools for in-flight mission planning, re-planning and target prosecution that allow the aircraft to provide highly mobile, on-call, day/night all-weather precision fire support to battlefield commanders.
The B-90A can deliver a wide range of precision, GPS-aided/INS-guided stand-off and direct attack munitions against area targets that cover square kilometres with independently targeted weapons for multiple "point" kills per pass. Such area targets may include rail marshalling yards, oil refining and storage facilities, factory complexes, power generation and transmission facilities, armies in road march, and deployed arrays of ground forces. It can also perform offensive counter-air missions using low-level tactics and runway cratering munitions, and countermine missions with chemical dart bombs to clear terrain or beaches for assault by friendly forces; launch retaskable air-launched cruise missiles from far outside the range of enemy air defences, to minimise the risk to aircraft and aircrew, against key interdiction targets such as bridges, storage areas and fuel dumps; employ high speed air-to-surface strike missiles that minimise enemy reaction time, against high-priority relocatable and emergent targets such as transporter-erector-launchers, and ships underway at sea; defence suppression missions using high speed anti-radiation missiles to disrupt enemy early warning and air defence capabilities; employ tactical and earth-penetrating nuclear gravity bombs, and non-nuclear large-yield bombs to defeat aboveground, shallow and deeply buried hardened targets such as command, control, and communications (Cł) complexes, national-level command-and-control (C˛) facilities, missile tunnels, and munitions storage bunkers and silos; perform defensive mine-laying operations to restrict enemy submarine and naval operations at key choke points, in port, the littorals or open ocean; and offensive mine-laying operations in the surf zone to defeat enemy landing craft. For enhanced survivability, it can carry air-to-air missiles for self-defence in contested airspace.
The B-90A derives its power from four Powerdyne F155-PWR-204VCE variable-cycle twin-spool augmented turbofan engines, higher-thrust versions of the F155 engine that also powers the F-26A Tempest, F/A-38A/B Sentinel and F-40A Whirlwind single-seat fighter aircraft. The powerplants are uprated to 122.3 kN (27,498.25 lb/f) in maximum dry thrust and 191.2 kN (43,000 lb/f) in maximum augmented power. The engine cores have a high parts commonality with those installed in fighter aircraft, sharing the same fan diameter and stator case, but differing by a higher airflow capacity and pressure ratio to achieve their uprated thrust performance. All F155 powerplants feature an adaptive engine cycle that offers high efficiency with low specific fuel consumption (SFC), and high lift-to-drag ratio with high specific excess power. The combined cycle engine cores are dual-spool, vaneless, counter-rotating turbines with a double bypass/hybrid fan arrangement that operate like a conventional turbojet engine at supersonic cruise speeds and as a more fuel-efficient low bypass turbofan engine at subsonic cruise speeds. A dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system allows selection between a high thrust-to-weight mode to propel the aircraft to its maximum Mach 2+ supersonic dash speed, and high fuel-efficient supercruise mode for long-range endurance.
The engines are mounted side-by-side pairs in parallel engine nacelles widely spaced apart to leave the centerline free for the weapons bays, for protection of the engines from an uncontained failure or fire, and to achieve a reduced thermal and noise signature. Air is inducted through diverterless intakes under each wing that provide a clean airflow, having a shockwave half-cone mounted between the intake and lower fuselage, variable intake ramps that offer low drag and high pressure recovery across the Mach range, and serpentine inlet ducts (S-ducts) that mask turbine compressor faces and engine fan blades from direct line-of-sight illumination by radar. An air induction control system varies the internal geometry of the inlets to maintain the required airflow to the engines in all flight conditions. Auxiliary blow-in inlet doors located on the outer side of each engine nacelle augment the intakes and mitigate mass (air) flow losses from the S-duct arrangement by providing additional air to the engines during take-off and landing rolls, low-speed manoeuvres, taxiing and idle power. As with other doors on the aircraft they feature sawtooth edges that smoothly blend into the fuselage when closed, and take only 3 seconds to open or close to to minimise their period of radar reflectivity.
Each engine pod houses an Auxiliary Power Generation System (APGS) located in a bay between the two powerplants. These consist of a 603 horsepower (449.5 kW) single-shaft gas turbine engine and a Saft low maintenance battery system with twin 37 Ah secondary (rechargeable) lithium-ion polymer (Li-poly) batteries. The APGS operates as part of the engine starter system, supplying compressed bleed air to engage the start-up of both adjacent engines at once to allow scrambling of the aircraft under alert conditions, and for in-air restarts to recover from compressor stalls or engine flameouts. They also provide bleed air to the environmental control system (ECS) and ground power and in-flight emergency power backup to all-electric, pneumatic and hydraulic systems (see below).
The outlets are two-dimensional convergent-divergent variable exhaust nozzles located inboard of a low radar cross-section (RCS) sawtooth profile serrated boattail trailing edge. They consist of low drag /high thrust coefficient nonaxisymmetric two-dimensional single expansion ramp nozzles (SERN) featuring a 20° ramp angle and variable external flap on top of each nozzle. They are submerged inside heat resistant carbon-fibre-reinforced carbon (carbon-carbon) lined troughs that run into the rear fuselage. These mask the outlets from radar and thermal sensors and diffuse the engine exhaust plume over a large surface area of low thermal conductivity that cools the hot gasses down to ambient temperatures. An aerosol system also provides passive signature reduction through supersaturation of the engine efflux with an ethylene glycol/water solution-based non-corrosive surfactant held in reservoirs. When injected into the flow they minimise visual signature by suppressing the formation of vapour contrails (condensation trails) from the engine exhaust gasses. This system operates at all power levels with zero impact on mass flow and therefore thrust performance.
The fuel type is low smoke-producing JP-8 or Jet A kerosene-based distillate aviation turbine fuel with a freeze point of -47°C, and the fuel quantity is approximately 75,000 kg (165,346 lb) held in self-sealing bladder-type integral tanks in the fuselage, wing carry-through box (WCTB), wing torsion boxes and wing outer panels. The Fuel is supplied to each engine by a dedicated feed tank using booster pumps. An emergency service tank provides a failsafe reserve in case of failure of the main fuel system. All tanks are pressurised and incorporate tear-resistant, self-sealing fuel cells lined with reticulated foam fire screens that also provide anti-slosh damping to prevent undesirable lateral forces that can affect roll stability. Empty tank volume is filled by inert nitrogen gas to protect against fire and explosion. The fuel system is fully automated with digital fuel metering/engine controls responding to throttle commands using servo-operated valves, centrifugal boost pumps and redundant pulsating electric fuel pumps. A cross-feed system allows any pump to supply any feed tank and therefore engine, with automatic fuel transfer sequencing that consolidates or distributes fuel between the main tanks to maintain pitch or lateral trim. These allow the aircraft to fly more efficiently, transferring fuel to preserve the optimum centre-of-gravity (cg) and increasing service life by reducing the structural bending loads on the wings. Fuel also provides lubrication to gear pumps and cooling, via heat exchangers, to the integrated drive generators (IDG) mounted on the engine casings that are the main electrical source (see below.) The aircraft has a double single-point pressure fuel loading system with a receptacle on the underside of the right engine nacelle, and a dorsally located Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) aft of the crew compartment for receiving or offloading fuel in-flight from an aerial tanker.
Main electrical power generation for the avionics, mission systems and flight controls is provided by four 75 kVA integrated drive generators (IDG), that consist of a hydromechanical constant speed drive (CSD) directly coupled to the engine accessory gearbox mounted on each powerplant. The generators supply 230/400V 3-phase AC power at 400Hz through four main electrical buses and 28V DC power to two secondary buses via two forced air-cooled pulse-width modulated (PWM) transformer-rectifier units (TRU). A minimum of two generators can supply the entire electrical system to power all mission systems (radar, electro-optics, electronic warfare and penetration aids), avionics (datalinks, navigation aids, fault-tolerant computers, flight instruments, mission displays), and critical flight systems (electrical pumps to maintain hydraulic pressure in the flight control system, fuel system, landing gear, and swing-wing pivot mechanisms.)
In event of a total electric failure in-flight emergency electrical power and hydraulic pressure to critical systems is supplied from an internal ram-air turbine (RAT) located in a ventral bay in the rear fuselage. It is connected to a ram-air scoop stealthily hidden by a shutter actuated by a hydraulic accumulator, and automatically opens to allow the airstream to drive a wind turbine coupled to a 7.5 kVA electrical generator. These allow flight critical functions including instrumentation, navigation and communication equipment and flight controls to be kept operational albeit in a reduced capacity. The emergency power system is limited to operation at a 130 knot or greater airspeed. It is backed up by Saft Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery systems of the APGS/engine starter systems to offer 30 minutes of ride-through emergency power to standby flight deck instruments, with solid-state switching providing automatic load shedding (ALS) to protect against interruptions and overloads.
The aircraft has four independent hydraulic power systems to actuate the primary flight controls (variable-sweep wing mechanisms, all-moving canards and ruddervators), secondary flight controls( flaps and slats), and utility systems (nose wheel steering, anti-skid wheel brakes, and landing gear, air intake ramps). These are powered by self-contained hydraulic pressure sources that operate multiple-redundant lightweight electrohydraulic, electrohydrostatic and electromechanical actuation systems. Weapon bay doors are simultaneously powered by hydraulic piston motors and brushless DC electric motors in a separate independent system backed up by emergency accumulators operated by a crank handle hand pump in the main cabin. The primary pressure sources consist of quadruplex-redundant 3-phase AC electric motor driven variable displacement pumps of lighter mass and lower complexity than conventional engine accessory drive hydromechanical power take-off (PTO) systems. The systems operate off diverse power sources for high resilience, reliability and redundancy including quadruplex-redundant AC electrical buses, or in an emergency directly from the tertiary (RAT) generator or the dual-redundant APGS essential buses. The safety-critical wheel brakes and parking brakes are additionally protected by standby accumulators that store energy as an emergency power source if all other sources of power are inoperative. The working fluid used to transfer power is MIL-H-83282 fire-resistant hydrogenated polyalphaolefin-based lubricant oil held in segregated reservoirs and conditioned by fuel/hydraulic heat exchangers located in the fuel tanks.
Flight control surfaces are operated by electrically-powered closed-circuit hydrostatic actuators controlled by a quadruplex-redundant fly-by-light (FBL) FireWire-based MIL-1394b (SAE AS5643) Fibre Channel network. The system has high resilience with power and signalling following multiple and reroutable pathways that can overcome battle damage and system failures/malfunctions. The aircraft has a fault-tolerant three-axis stabilised, dual-redundant full authority digital automatic flight control system (AFCS) with six redundant flight management system (FMS) computers distributed as dual-redundant pairs in forward, centre and aft avionics bays. The computers are based on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) modular open architecture multi-slot VME64x backplanes with single board computer (SBC) modules with two-way quad-core 64-bit QorIQ PowerPC superscalar microprocessors. A dual-redundant four-axis digital autopilot system working in parallel with a digital flight director allows the aircraft to be flown 'hands-off' at all flight levels to ease crew workload. This controls flight path, roll attitude, altitude, airspeed, autothrottle and terrain following/avoidance, and provides full flight envelope protection using nonlinear, multichannel control laws. A quadruple-redundant self-calibrating fault-tolerant air data/inertial reference system (ADIRS) provides feedback using passive fibre-optic through-beam air data sensors, three-axis solid-state gyro sensors. and low probability of intercept altimeter (LPIA) to provide active control including relaxed static stability (RSS) augmentation, automatic gust alleviation, manouevre load alleviation and flutter suppression.
The undercarriage is a retractable tricycle type landing gear consisting a steerable twin-wheel nose unit with over-and-under mounted low-current, moisture-reistant, flasher friendly, high insensity LED landing/taxi lights, and single strut gear leg that retracts forward, and semi-levered suspension main landing gear (MLG) with twin tandem articulated bogies that retract inward and rearward between the engine nacelles. The landing gear has dual-chamber cantilevered oleo-pneumatic shock struts to absorb landing forces, using electro-hydraulic power for retraction, extension, steering and braking, with backup hydraulic accumulators as a failsafe. All wheels use high-pressure tyres that can be used on unpaved runways, and have multi-disc carbon brakes with multi-lane dual-redundant electronically controlled anti-skid and auto-brake systems with adaptive pressure control. Corrosion-resistant steel deflectors are fitted to the main gear to protect the aircraft underside, wheel wells and engine air intakes from foreign object debris (FOD) damage during take-off and landing rolls.
The aircraft is a cantilever low-wing monoplane with a tailless integral blended wing/body layout with slim and shallow fuselage blended smoothly into long-chord wing roots, and area ruled shape optimized for high lift-to-drag efficiency, and thus long-range and high-speed performance. The airframe provides maximum internal stowage space for weapon stores while keeping surface area and drag to a minimum. All weapons are carried internally with no provision for external stores to maintain a clean aerodynamic configuration, and to minimise radar cross-section (RCS). Extensive use is made of masking and shaping, serrated panel lines, and saw-tooth edged doors that eliminate radar reflective gaps (surface incongruities) around access panels, landing gear and weapon bay doors, and precisely aligned edges including a serrated aft profile or "beavertail" empennage. Internally inserted frequency-selective surface (FSS) of layered dielectric materials are used in the bandpass resonant radome and conformal antennas and apertures. A long nose offsets the mass of four large aperture high thrust-to-weight ratio engines that are located in twin pods under each wing centre section close to the centre-of-gravity (cg) for optimum stability. The forward fuselage is carefully streamlined and smoothly contoured to minimise transonic and supersonic drag with a sharply raked windshield as flight deck canopy, a high fineness ratio nose of reduced frontal area, and forebody chines and vortex generators.
Variable sweep (16° to 72.5° leading-edge swept) wings offer optimum performance across the full performance envelope, being extended at full span into a high lift straight position during takeoff, landings, subsonic loitering, air-to-air refuelling and when releasing weapons at high altitude; and swept back for drag reduction and gust alleviation during high subsonic, supersonic dash and long-range supercruise flight. The swing-wing mechanisms use spherical steel bearings and are actuated by two screwjacks driven by four hydraulic motors that can be powered by two of the aircraft's four hydraulic systems, with asymmetric movement prevented by a torque shaft between the dual screwjacks. These mechanisms are masked by flush wing gloves that blend smoothly into the fuselage for reduced drag and radar signature. The wings have lift-enhancement devices for relatively short take-offs with a full load, including seven-segment full-span extensible leading-edge slats and six-segment single-slotted Fowler-type trailing-edge flaps. Each wing has four spoilers, in place of ailerons, that operate symmetrically as airbrakes and lift dumpers and differentially to provide lateral control. Twin low aspect ratio close-coupled canards are shoulder-mounted aft of the flight deck situated above the wing chord plane. They can deflect from 0° to 40° for trimming, and move the aircraft's cg forward for improved stability in low-altitude turbulence conditions. Pitch, roll and yaw control authority is provided by all-moving V-tail ruddervators (combined rudder and elevators) that are canted outwards at 100°. The ruddervators are set back into the "beavertail" empennage and significantly reduce the tail and dorsal aspect infrared and radar signature by masking the engine exhausts to deny line-of-sight detection by enemy acquisition/tracking sensors.
The airframe is constructed with high stiffness to withstand flight turbulence during high-speed low altitude passes over targets and when performing terrain avoidance and air combat manoeuvres. The aircraft is hardened to survive the overpressure from nearby nuclear air blasts while protecting aircrew and avionics from thermal flash, ionizing radiation (alpha, beta, gamma and neutron particles), and electromagnetic pulse. The internal structure including fuselage and wing subframes, torsion box, ribs, spars, stringers, bulkheads, longerons, intakes, ducts, and landing gear bays and weapon bays, are forged from scandium aluminium alloy of low density, high specific modulus and excellent fatigue strength. Hardened areas including the forward fuselage, around the cockpit, wing spars, highly stressed wing carry-through box (WCTB) linking the wing pivots, single forged wing pivots and actuator swing pivot pins, dorsal spine, landing gear struts, fuel tanks, fuel lines, engine bays and engine nozzles are made from heat-treated Ti-6A1-4V titanium alpha-beta alloy.
The fuselage and wings have a cantilever fail-safe semi-monocoque stressed-skin structure comprised of an aeroelastic load-bearing skin of high-temperature-resistant heat-insulated quartz/polyimide skin-honeycomb core sandwich panels. The integrally stiffened outer panels are fabricated using resin transfer moulding (RTM) production techniques to maintain a seamless outer mould line (OML), with extensive use made of corrosion-resistant multi-layered radar-absorbent material (RAM) to reduce scattering from surface breaks, and radar-absorbent structure (RAS) to minimize scattering from hard edges. Secondary structures including control surfaces, canards, the bandpass resonate radome, all conformal radio frequency (RF) antennas, landing gear bay doors and weapon bay doors are constructed from polyimide-quartz prepreg unidirectional tape. All exterior surfaces are treated with a conductive primer and a topcoat of dielectric nanocomposite film that is rain erosion and salt air corrosion-resistant, with low infrared emissivity, high resistance to nuclear flash, and provides low radar attenuation by scattering and absorption.
Optronics bays are covered with flush windows made from furnace-grown single-crystal sapphire glass. There are no static heads and external vanes with only flush air-data sensors used to maintain a clean aerodynamic and low-RCS profile. The flight deck windscreen canopy is a multi-segment assembly made from high temperature/melt and impact-resistant Zone 1 optical quality monolithic polycarbonate transparencies with dielectric, anti-reflective and laser protective coatings, with electrically conductive transparent heating film providing anti/de-ice protection and windscreen demisting.
The ventilation-type flight deck has side-by-side seating for the pilot (aircraft/mission commander) and co-pilot on United Technologies/Collins Aerospace Advanced Concept Ejection Seat (ACES) seats, with low-rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft receiving the ACES II, moving to the ACES 5 as it became available on full-scale production aircraft. The seats feature tilting backs, passive arm, leg, head and neck protection, and self-deploying parachutes and survival equipment. They can operate from "zero/zero" (i.e., zero altitude and airspeed) up to maximum altitude and airspeed conditions, and ride telescoping rails for safe emergency egress through explosively jettisoned blow-out panels in the canopy overheads. Escape hatches are also located on either side of the cockpit along with stowable escape ropes and friction brake belay devices. Normal crew access is via a pressure door crew entry/exit hatch in the nosewheel well equipped with an extensible two-part ladder that is pulled down for boarding. At the halfway point of the climb a quick start switch is provided for engaging engine air starters/APUs and primary systems on the ground for fast scrambles.
Crewmembers wear a partial pressure suit at high altitude comprising an anti-exposure coverall/immersion suit, upper body counterpressure garment and lower body anti-g garment, with an air-cooling undergarment to provide thermal relief, and dual visor flight helmets (with inner clear and outer tinted visors), and full-face breathing regulator and anti-g (BRAG) masks to complete the ensemble. The environmental control system (ECS) maintains the flight deck at a constant 8,000 ft Above Sea Level (ASL) pressure altitude with fresh conditioned filtered air to create a comfortable "shirt-sleeve" working environment, although in combat situations crew are required to wear their suits and helmets at all times. The cabin is pressurised by bleed air taken from engine compressors or APGS-driven turbocompressors, and is conditioned by triple-redundant bootstrap cycle air conditioning packs that contain heat exchangers and dehumidifiers. Oxygen-enriched breathing gas is supplied to helmet masks by a separate Molecular Sieve Oxygen Generation System (MSOGS) for maintaining normal levels of blood oxygen saturation as a physiological protection to aircrew when experiencing high levels of acceleration (g) and during extreme high-altitude flight. The crew compartment is relatively spacious allowing crewmembers to freely move around while fully suited. Comfort facilities, comprising a lavatory, folding bunk bed and small galley with dinette area, are provided in the rear cabin to ease crew fatigue during typical long combat sorties.
The flight deck features an Integrated Flight Instrument System (IFIS) or "glass cockpit" with eight active-matrix liquid crystal (AMLCD) Head Down Displays (HDD) managed by four redundant single-board computer (SBC) modules containing dual-core 64-bit PowerPC QorIQ microprocessors running DO-178B certified safety-critical software. Multiple sensor outputs are multiplexed onto a single high-speed link by an ARINC 818 Avionics Digital Video Bus (ADVB) Fibre Channel communications interface operating at 2.125 Gbit/s. Each pilot has duplicate instruments and controls that can be electronically coupled (mirror mode) or decoupled (priority mode). Each pilot station also contains overhead avionics panels, control panels and non-flying related instruments. A multi-mode Head-Up Display (HUD) presents airspeed, altitude, a horizon line, heading, turn/bank and slip/skid, and target designation indicators on a parallax-free holographic combiner in each pilot's forward field-of-view; and two 26.41 cm (10.4 inch) and one 21.33 cm (8.4 inch) Multi-Function Display (MFD) with integrated button bezels (24 push-buttons and 4 snap-dome rocker switches) are centred on each pilot's field-of-view with wide view angles for cross-cockpit viewing.
The primary flying instruments are laid out as a Vertical Situation Display (VSD) with orientation (attitude), altitude, airspeed, heading and angle-of-attack information, above a Horizontal Situation Display (HSD) with digital moving-map, radar planned position indicator (PPI), primary return (i.e. skin paint) radar mode with weather detection and terrain following and avoidance information. Beside these stacked displays is an Engine Instrument Crew Alerting System/Engine Instrument Display System (EICAS/EIDS) that presents engine, hydraulics, pneumatics and fuel system indications and emergency, caution, warning and advisory information. The HSD and VSD can be configured to provide point-of-view and god’s eye view visual information for flying and weapons targetting, duplication of HUD flight or target indicators, and real-time FLIR/TV video imagery. Towards each sidewall is a Multipurpose Control Display Unit (MCDU) for flight and mission management, communications and data links, with a 17.78 cm (7 in) AMLCD display, 16 line function-select keys (FSK), 12 line-select keys (LSK) and 40 alphanumeric keys for data entry. A data port on the panel allows operational and mission information to be securely entered or retrieved during the pre-flight or post-flight phases by plugging in a secure rugged handheld fill device equipped with a cryptographic module, such as a AN/PYQ-10 Simple Key Loader (SKL) portable computer. Side consoles contain audio control and communications panels. The centre instrument panel holds annunciators (indicator lights) and standby electromechanical flight instruments including airspeed indicator, attitude indicator, altimeter, turn coordinator, heading indicator, and vertical speed indicator.
The pilot's primary flying controls are a side-stick controller (SSC) for roll and pitch control with trim hat switch, toggle switches, push-buttons (including a takeover/priority switch for either crew station), pickle button and trigger/armament release switch, and left/right rudder pedals for yaw control. The throttle quadrant (TQ) is on the centre pedestal between the pilots and has interlinked thrust levers, gear switch, and secondary flight controls including trim wheel, and flap/slat, spoiler and wing sweep control levers. To ease workload a three position master control switch selects between take-off, combat and landing modes, automatically configuring the aircraft by activating or deactivating numerous avionics, mission systems, instruments, and controls, and without having to laboriously work through a checklist of toggling hundreds of buttons and switches for each mode of flight or operation.
The B-90A is equipped with a Synergy Electrodynamics AN/APG-84(V)2 Advanced Multifunction Integrated Radio Frequency System (AMIRFS) as its primary active sensor. This is a fourth-generation, all-digital, liquid-cooled, solid-state, coherent pulse-Doppler, electronically scanned array (AESA) multi-mode radar operating in the 8-12.5 GHz (IEEE X/Ku-band, NATO I/J-band) frequency range and scanning ±120° field-of-regard. It is derived from the fire-control radar that equips F-26A Tempest and F-40A Whirlwind single-seat fighter aircraft with performance increased from a peak radiated power of 33 kW to a surge capacity of 37.5 kW. It otherwise includes the same 90 cm diameter planar antenna consisting of 2,200 two-channel gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN-on-SiC) transmit/receive (T/R) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) modules, shared multi-channel wideband digital receiver/exciter (DREX) low phase noise waveform generators in the front-end, and open architecture radar processor in the back-end with 6U VME64x backplane mounted in a rugged shock-resistant chassis cooled by liquid flow-through (LFT) sidewalls. This processor is configured as an asymmetric multiprocessing system with eight single-board computer (SBC) modules containing a total of 32 quad-core 64-bit general-purpose processors (Freescale PowerPC e6500) and 32 six-core 64-bit digital signal processors (Freescale StarCore SC3850) that are integrated by CoreNet highly concurrent, fully cache-coherent, multi-ported interconnect fabric.
The radar set scans a sector ±120° in azimuth and ±60° in elevation with thousands of electronically steered pencil beams broadcasting at 3-15 watts per channel for low propability of intercept (LPOI). Capabilities include velocity search for long-range wide-angle searching, track-while-scan (TWS) and range-while-scan (RWS) of up to 250 tracked targets with full look-up/look-down capability, and engagement of 40 air targets or 20 surface targets simultaneously, with a performance of 360 km (194 nmi) against a 1.0 m˛ RCS (0 dBsm) target. Air-to-surface modes include Doppler beam sharpened (DBS) sector and patch mapping, 1-metre resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and long-range inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) imaging capability, including a SAR snapshot mode that produces instantaneous one- and two-dimensional sub-images of a target area to designate aimpoints with automatic correction of target location error (TLE) to increase the accuracy of direct attack and stand-off weapons, and fast three-dimensional imaging to provide topographic mapping and post-attack battle damage assessment (BDA) of weapon effectiveness. Other capabilities include fixed and air and ground moving target indication (MTI) clutter rejection filtering, and multi-target tracking (MTT algorithms for engagement of multiple moving targets. Fuzzy-logic based non-cooperative target recognition (NCTR) identification algorithms automatically discriminate between airborne and battlefield targets, and constant false alarm rate (CFAR) clutter rejection algorithms allow operation in dense electromagnetic environments. The radar also offers navigation modes including automatic low altitude terrain following/terrain avoidance (TF/TA) to allow the autopilot to fly very low altitude flight profiles, and weather and turbulence detection (WX + T) with ground and sea clutter rejection.
The primary passive sensor is an Emerson Optronics AN/AAQ-249(V)2 Forward-Looking Infrared Search and Track (FIRST) system that provides all-weather, day/night, precision pilotage and passive, wide area search, detection, weapon cueing and multi-target auto tracking, identification of terrain features and targets at long range, while defeating camouflage, concealment and deception. It is another system carried over from Aerodyne's figher programs consisting of dual stereoscopic parallax ranging electro-optic (EO) sensors in the port and starboard wing roots protected behind 70° wide field-of-view (WFOV) flush conformal faceted furnace-grown single-crystal sapphire glass windows. The sensor payloads consist of high spatial resolution infrared search and track (IRST)/forward-looking infra-red (FLIR) quantum well thermal imagers capable of simultaneous dual-band (multi-spectral) imaging in the 3-5 µm medium wave infrared (MWIR) and 8-12 µm long wave infrared (LWIR) atmospheric windows to see through weather and obscurants, and large format 3-CCD colour daylight and monochrome electron multiplied CCD (EMCCD) low light level continuous optical zoom high-resolution TV cameras. Capabilities include multiple target tracking (MTT), and classification and prioritisation of threats and targets.
Using image signal processor (ISP) and digital signal processor (DSP) adaptive realtime processing FIRST provides passive, non-cooperative target recognition (NCTR) using narrow-beam interleaved search and track (NBILST) (aka synthetic pseudo-imaging) to recognise surface targets, discriminate targets from decoys, and defeat camouflage and concealment. Operating modes include a single-channel scanning IRST air-to-air mode for wide area air surveillance, dual-channel imaging FLIR air-to-air/air-to-surface mode for enhanced target/decoy discrimination, high resolution daylight or low-light-level TV mode for long-range detection, and fused infrared and TV channels for enhanced stand-off range target recognition. An embedded GPS generates geo-coordinate positions of all targets that can be shared over secure datalinks.
The system is integrated with a Sigleuir AES-108 "Profile" eye-safe three-dimensional scanning light detection and ranging (lidar) system using a diode-pumped solid state scanning laser of low beam divergence and 800 nm-2.5 µm short wave infra-red (SWIR) multi-band laser spot tracker. This system performs STANAG 3733 compliant pulse coded laser designation, ranging and marking for laser-guided weapons, wind profiling for wind-corrected delivery of weapons and cargo, and 3D laser scanning for photogrammetric digital terrain elevation mapping for low altitude terrain following, avoidance and navigation. On-board sensor fusion between the FIRST/Profile optronic and APG-84 fire-control radar can create unjammable integrated optronic/radar target cues with a multi-target tracking (MTT) and designation capacity of 300 targets.
Passive 360° full spherical situational awareness is provided by a Emerson Optronics AN/ASQ-251(V)2 Distributed Aperture Ranging and Targeting System (DARTS) that offers 4π steradian passive sensor coverage of all four quadrants, and dorsal and ventral aspects. It is a scaled up version of the system used on fighter aircraft, with a detector array of eight multispectral staring-type focal plane array (FPA) sensors operating in dual-band 3-5 µm and the 320-380 nm near ultraviolet (UV) spectral ranges that can see through specific atmospheric windows i.e. wavelengths transparent to weather and other environmental effects, obscurants and optical clutter. DARTS offers continuous passive omni-directional surveillance of the battlespace with fire control quality tracking of multiple, simultaneous threats, using IR/UV sensor fusion and two-colour discrimination to detect and track laser, IR and UV energy from missile seekers, track engine exhaust and missile plumes (missile approach warning and launch point detection), cue countermeasures effectors and weapons, and provide all-weather day/night synthetic vision for precision pilotage. The high sensitivity sensors can operate over extremely long distances with performance limited only by slant range and the visual horizon, tracking thermal emissions as far away as 1,500 km (810 nmi) and is capable of optical target detection and threat classification at distances of 300 km (162 nmi).
The B-90A provides dual capability in the tactical and strategic nuclear attack role, and a conventional capabiity with stand-off and direct attack munitions. The 40 ton (80,000 lb) warload is split between twin parallel volume efficient weapon bays in the fuselage centre section. Each bay is 9.5 metres long, 2.4 metres wide and 3 metres deep, with a capability to carry, arm, and release a wide variety of munitions, from general-purpose gravity bombs, or converted with GPS navigation or laser guidance homing and glide kits, air deliverable buoyant and bottom-moored multi-influence mines and encapsulated torpedoes, inert practice bombs, and precision-guided air-to-surface missiles and stand-off range air-launched cruise missiles with folding wings. Stores suspension equipment consist of either an electrically operated multi-purpose rotary launch assembly (RLA) with a nominal capacity of fifteen 907 kg (2,000 lb) class weapons on electric motor driven rotating stores stations, or an electro-hydraulic driven universal bomb rack assembly (BRA) with a nominal capacity of six vertical columns of ten 227.5 kg (500 lb) general-purpose bombs or sea mines. A single pneumatic and hydraulic powered twin rail vertical ejection missile rack assembly (MRA) can optionally be mounted on each inner bay door for carriage of compact clipped wing air-to-air missiles for self-defence or anti-radiation missiles for defence suppression. Prototype aircraft were originally plumbed for fuel to carry auxiliary fuel tanks in the weapon bays, but this capability was abandoned on production aircraft to save overall weight, interior space, and simplify fuel line plumbing.
The weapon bays are highly reconfigurable, being able to mount other electromechanical stores suspension/ejector rack equipment - accomodating three 2,268 kg (5,000 lb) bunker busters on a mutiple ejector rack (MER) or a single outsized 9,072 kg (20,000 lb) large yield bomb on a single ejector rack (SER). This allows the aircraft to carry a mixed load of internal stores on a single sortie for maximum operational flexibility and responsiveness. A dynamic load balancing system maintains aircraft stability by automatically compensating for any mass and centre-of-gravity (cg) issues from asymmetric loadouts and as weapons are deployed in combat. Weapon bay door actuators and ejector mechanisms operate in only a ˝ second to minise unmasking the aircraft to radar detection during weapon deployment. All suspension equipment can safely release munitions at up to a 4.5 g load factor, and support individual stores selection. Sequencing systems can eject munitions in programable dispersal patterns with multiple weapons released/launched in 120-150 millisecond intervals to maximise on-target accuracy. This includes the dropping of multiple bombs on a single target area in ripple or salvo mode, and independent targeting to attack multiple targets with multiple weapon types in a single pass - up to a maximum of 160 individual targets in a single 20-second bombing run. In salvo mode a deconfliction system minimises the risk to the aircraft from from mid-air detonations caused by bomb-to-bomb collisions.
Modular weapon reloading systems enable fast sortie generations rates, with a four-person reload crew able to fully re-arm the aircraft on the flight line in only 1-2 hours with weapons preloaded on the stores stations of the BRA or RLA mechanisms, or by direct load path techniques to MRA, MER and SER stores stations. The interface betwen the Stores Management System (SMS) handling weapons delivery and stores stations is a MIL-STD-1760E Aircraft/Store Electrical Interconnection System (AEIS) that contains a Fibre Channel interface operating at a 1.0625 Gbit/s link rate over a pair of 75 ohm coax cables, a MIL-STD-704F 28V DC electrical bus and electrohydraulic control lines. Misiles on the MRA rail launchers are safed by an in-flight lock (IFL), with a fault isolation system using built in test (BIT) checks for reliable operation of the suspension, rotation, arming and release mechanisms.
- Initial version of the aircraft and most common export variant (designation: "aviation complex for long-range aviation"), with a 60,000 lb (30 ton) maximum weapon load split between the two weapon bays, with eight-station multi-purpose rotary launcher (MPRL) suspension equipment installed. These were based on the Boeing Common Strategic Rotary Launcher (CSRL) fielded on the B-52H Stratofortress, with support for conventional "dumb" and "smart" weapons, tactical nuclear weapons and cruise missiles.
- Developed at the suggestion and in cooperation with industrial partners in Lamoni and Imbrinium. Notable differences from Block 10 include an upgrade of the distributed aperture system from six to eight electro-optic sensor heads and integration of four additional passive RF receivers for improved coverage and spatial resolution, cognitive radio hardware and software updates to the electronic warfare system, retrofit of ACES II ejection seats with new ACES 5 seats, an increase to a maximum 80,000 lb (40 ton) warload by replacement of the mult-purpose rotary launcher (MPRL) with more volume efficient rotary launch assembly (RLA) and bomb rack assembly (BRA) suspension equipment, integration of a new special stores/ejector rack adapter for use with outsized stores, addition of missile rail assembly (MRA) attachment points on the inner weapon bay doors, updates to the MIL-STD stores interfaces to support every tactical munition in the inventories of the partner nations, and an update to the dynamic load balancing system that provides better support to asymmetric loadouts of the weapon bays.
Etoile Arcture Aerospace Forces operates 8,000 B-90A Block 10 and 2,500 Block 20 aircraft, with plans to update all aircraft to Block 20 standard by 2021.
Royal Imbrinium Air Force has 10,000 B-90A Block 10 aircraft with half in front line service and half in reserve, and 5,000 B-90A Block 20 aircraft.
Service Aéronautique operates 75 B-90A Block 20 aircraft.
Animarnian Royal Airforce operates 10,000 B-90A Block 10 aircraft.
Imperial Air Force of Anemos Major operates 200 B-90A Block 20 aircraft.
Asgarnian Air Force operates 5,000 B-90A Block 10 aircraft.
Lamonian Air Force operates an unspecified number of B-90A Block 20 aircraft.
Imperial Air Force operates 600 B-90A Block 20 aircraft.
Data from Aerodyne specifications.
Crew: 2: pilot (left seat) and mission commander (right seat)
Length: 46.5 m
Extended (16° sweep): 50.3 m
Swept (72.5° sweep): 37.5 m
Height: 6.1 m
Wing area: 426.5 m˛
Operating empty weight: 97,355 kg
Maximum take-off weight: 208,643 kg
Normal combat weight: 171,143 kg
Maximum landing weight: 141,143 kg
Maximum payload weight: 36,287 kg
Powerplant: 4 x Powerdyne F155-PWR-204VCE variable-cycle augmented turbofan
Dry thrust: 122.3 kN (12,473 kg/f) each
Thrust with afterburner: 191.2 kN (19,505 kg/f) each/list]
Internal fuel capacity: 75,000 L (19,813 US gal) JP-8 (MIL–DTL–83133)/Jet A kerosene-type aviation turbine fuel
(Under international standard atmospheric (ISA) conditions)
At sea level: 793 knots
At altitude: Mach 2.099
Supercruise: Mach 1.78
Combat radius (maximum load and internal fuel): 4,827 km (2,606 nmi)
Ferry range (maximum internal fuel): 14,816 km (8,000 nmi)
Mission endurance (10% fuel reserve): 13 hours
Service ceiling: 19,812 m (65,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 360 m/s
Thrust-to-weight ratio (50% internal fuel): 0.46:1
Maximum design g-load (50% internal fuel): -3.0/+7.0 g
Wing loading: 400.3 kg/m˛
Take-off ground roll: 1,100 m (3,609 ft)
Landing ground roll: 950 m (3,116 ft)
Stations: 2 x internal BRA bays with 1 x multi-purpose rotary launch assembly (RLA) w/ multiple ejector racks or bomb rack assembly (BRA) w/ multiple ejector racks + 1 x missile rack assembly (MRA) w/ inside door twin launcher rail per bay
Stores: weapon load of 36,287 kg (80,000 lb)
Bomb rack weapons:
192 x GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) 250 lb
192 x GBU-53/B Stormbreaker (SDB II) 250 lb
120 x MK 82 AIR (Air Inflatable Retarder) 500 lb “Slicks”
120 x MK 82 LDGP (Low Drag General Purpose) 500 lb “Slicks”
120 x MK 62 Mod 0 Quickstrike/MK 82 500 lb “Slicks”
120 x GBU-62B(V-1)/B Quickstrike-ER/MK 82 500 lb “Slicks”
120 x CBEMS/BANG-250 penetrator warhead 550 lb
120 x SAMP BL EU2 retarded general purpose 550 lb
120 x MN103 Manta (anti-landing influence mine) 485 lb
60 x M117 GP (General Purpose) 750 lb
2 x GBU-57A/B MOP (Massive Ordnance Penetrator) 30,000 lb
Rotary launcher weapons:
24 x GBU-35(V)1/B JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition)/BLU-110/B AUP (Advanced Unitary Penetrator) 1,000 lb
24 x GBU-62B(V-1)/B Quickstrike-ER/MK 82 500 lb “Slicks”
24 x AGM-158A/B JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile)/WDU-42/B AUP 1,000 lb
24 x AGM-154B JSOW (Joint Stand Off Weapon) w/ 6 x BLU-108/B Sensor Fused Weapon
24 x AGM-154C/E Block III JSOW/BLU-111/B AUP (BROACH) 500 lb
24 x AGM-129A ACM (Advanced Cruise Missile)/W80 Mod 1 'dial-a-yeild' 0.4-1.4 mT
24 x SOM (Stand-Off Missile)
24 x B61 Mod 11 EPW (Earth Penetrating Weapon)/W69 'dial-a-yeild' 0.3-340 kT
24 x B61 Mod 12/W69 'dial-a-yeild' 0.3-340 kT
24 x CBU-94/B Blackout Bomb w/ 202 x BLU-114/B anti-power supply submunitions in in SUU-66/B tactical munition dispensor
24 x MK 84 LDGP (Low Drag General Purpose) 2,000 lb
24 x HOSBO (High Performance Explosive Bomb) 2,000 lb
24 x BK-90/DWS 24 Mjölner w/ 72 x MJ1 (anti-personnel) or 24 x MJ2 (anti-armour) submunitions
24 x SBU-54 HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range)/CBEMS/BANG-250 penetrator warhead 750 lb (340 kg)
24 x ADM-141C ITALD (Improved Tactical Air Launched Decoy)
24 x ADM-160C MALD-J (Miniature Air-Launched Decoy - Jammer)
12 x GBU-61 CMS (Countermine System)/JDAM Assault Breaching System (JABS) w/ 4,000 .50-cal Venom Penetrator chemical darts 2,000 lb (910 kg)
12 x MK 60 Mod 1 CAPTOR 2,195 lb
12 x Stonefish MK II (deep water influence mine) 2,180 lb
6 x HOPE (High Performance Penetrator) 3,086 lb
6 x GBU-28C/B "Deep Throat"/BLU-222/B Penetrator Warhead 4,500 lb
6 x GBU-37/B GAM (GPS Aided Munition)/BLU-113/B Penetrator Warhead 5,000 lb
4 x LA-90 Spartan 6,400 lb
Missile rack weapons:
4 x AIM-120D AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile)
4 x RB-107 Meteor
Synergy Electrodynamics AN/APG-84(V)2 Advanced Multifunction Integrated Radio Frequency System (AMFIRFS): ultrawideband 8-12.5 GHz (X-band) active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire control radar, performance: 360 km (194 nmi) against 1.0 m˛ RCS (0 dBsm) targets, 3-15 watt per channel, 37.5 kW surge power
Emerson Optronics AN/ASQ-251(V)1 Distributed Aperture Ranging and Targeting System (DARTS): quadrant (4/6) passive multi-spectral EO/IR with very low false alarm rate/high clutter rejection consisting 3-5 µm MWIR/8-12 µm LWIR quantum-well infrared photodetector (QWIP) thermal imagers and 320-380 nm uncooled UV sensors, provides 360° full coverage at 1,500 km (810 nmi) maximum detection range and threat classification at 300 km (162 nmi)
Emerson Optronics AN/AAQ-249(V) Forward Looking infrared Search and Track (FIRST): dual stereoscopic megapixel passive multi-spectral EO/IR 3-5 µm MWIR/8-12 µm LWIR corrugated quantum well infrared photodetector (C-QWIP) infrared search and track (IRST)/forward looking infrared (FLIR), 300 km (162 nmi) maximum detection range
Sigleuir AES-108 "Profile" 3-dimensional lidar with 800 nm-2.5 µm SWIR multi-band laser spot tracker
Ithaca Intersystems AN/ALD-12A Guardian Electronic Warfare Management System (GEWMS): uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically detect, analyse, geo-locate and jam multiple interfering threat radio frequency (RF) emitters
Synergy Electrodynamics AN/ALR-99A(V)2 Multi-Purpose Passive Receiver System (MPPRS): conformal multi-aperture 0.5-40 GHz multifunction passive radio frequency (RF) detection, intercept and tracking system that provides fire-control quality tracking of VHF fighter radar and radar cueing at ranges of 463 km (250 nmi) while limiting own radar emissions
Ithaca Intersystems AN/ALQ-234(V)4 "Tesseract" Electronic Warfare Tactical Jammer (TacJammer): 800 watt peak power 1-35 GHz active/passive multimode digital radio-frequency memory (DRFM) based deception-repeating self-protection jammer
Emerson Optronics AN/ALQ-226 "Eminta" Directional Directed Energy Countermeasure (DECM): closed-loop dual-band EO/IR active laser jammer with six dual-mode 3-5µ MWIR/8-12µ LWIR staring-type focal plane array (FPA) sensors and four mini-pointer/tracker turrets with quantum cascade laser (QCL) jamming heads
Synergy Electrodynamics AN/ALE-60(V) Towed Radio Frequency Expendable Decoy (T-REX): multimode electronic frequency converter (EFC) and fibre-optic towed decoy (FOTD) self-protection deception/seduction jammer/decoy with dual high power solid state amplifiers, integrated with AN/ALQ-234
Sequoia Dynamics AN/ALE-62(V) Expendable Countermeasures Dispensor (EXCMD): multi-spectral chaff and flare countermeasure dispensor system with eight dispensing switch assemblies
Quantum Aerospace Integrated Air Data Inertial Reference System (ADIRS): airspeed, Mach number, angle of attack, temperature and barometric altitude data from triple-redundant Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU) and failsafe Secondary Attitude Air Data Reference Unit (SAARU)
BAE Systems Low Probability of Intercept Altimeter (LPIA-224R): frequency-hopped, spread-spectrum, phase-encoded, low-power signal waveform
Communications and navigation:
Synergy Electrodynamics AN/ASQ-236(V) Communications, Navigation and Identification System (CNIS)
Synergy Electrodynamics AN/ARC-242(V) Multi-Band Radio Communications System (MBRCS): VHF/UHF LOS (line-of-sight) and DAMA (Demand Assignment Multiple Access) SATCOM (satellite communications)