The F-24 Monach is a twin-engine, transonic, 4th generation jet trainer/light attack fighter aircraft designed and constructed by Hunter Defence Systems (HDS) to be the flagship piece of equipment in the company's new line of inexpensive military equipment. To combat the issue of differing design requests, the aircraft is designed to handle both the role of trainer and light fighter so as to allow a more flexible choice for prospective customers.
The F-24 was first conceptualised alongside other products in 2007, when Hunter Defence Systems had begun the development process of the F-19 Aingael fighter due to the realisation that the company was further distancing itself from affordability and instead focusing on new, innovative technology. In an attempt to combine its philosophy of innovation and affordability, HDS initiated a project whose target was to begin a new line of easily-manufactured and cheaper equipment for customers with lower budgets or with less of a need for military hardware than its usual target market.
The aircraft's prototype primarily focused on its role as a trainer, yet further designs allowed for full-combat capability. The tests of the aircraft were entirely successful, displaying the power of the small aircraft. As a fighter, the F-24 proved itself extremely capable, able to be used in intensive combat simulations and utilising systems that are simple to understand.
The aircraft's design was made to maximise its affordability, therefore it does not use afterburners, instead utilising two Quentin turbofan engines to power it and allow for transonic flight second only to aircraft using afterburners. This was first seen as something of a concern for the aircraft, as it may not have been capable compared to other modern fighters or trainers. This theory was swiftly debunked during one of its first tests, as the F-24 proved more-than-capable of achieving its desired speeds.
The F-24's flight control system, which utilises an advanced digital fly-by-wire system, is entirely optimised for the aircraft's aerodynamic design, allowing for easy manoeuvrability and control at even very high angles of attack. In using this design, the aircraft's flight control is equipped with adjustable limitations on the angle of attack and g-force, allowing it to mimic other fighter aircraft in training situations, which can be reset to return the aircraft to a general flight path.
The digital avionics system is designed to stand among its counterparts in the industry such as the F-19 Aingael fighter and the F-123 Falcon, allowing it to be used in any advanced flight training stage. The glass cockpit is also reflective of latest generation cockpits, as it is equipped with: night vision goggles; LCD multifunctional displays, a head-up display, a helmet-mounted display (this is an optional configuration), and a voice command system.
The F-24 Monach is designed with nine hardpoints on its frame, each of which has the capacity to carry external loads of up to 3,000 kg. The weapon systems are integrated with the digital displays of the cockpit which can present the weapons store's management data. The standard setting for the radar cross section is 20 square metres, which can be reduced to singular through the installation of a low-observability kit. There is space for more self-protection systems such as a radar warning receiver, flares and chaff dispensers, and active electronic warfare systems. Targeting pods, a tactical datalink and multi-mode fire control radar can be installed onto the aircraft as well.
The F-24's trainer configuration is easily capable of performing well in combat missions, as its design allows for rapid reconfiguration into a combat-ready aircraft in the field, capable of ground attack, anti-shipping and aerial combat. However, there are variants of the F-24 which are specifically designed for combat usage rather than training. The aircraft is capable of carrying a variety of munitions, a 12.7mm gun pod, air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, anti-ship missiles, free-fall and laser-guided bombs and rockets, reconnaissance pods, and electronic warfare pods. Aiming is performed through the various displays in the cockpit.
F-24T: Basic Training Aircraft, limited combat capability.
F-24FT: Multirole training variant, capable of easily switching between comabtive and non-combative roles.
F-24FA: Mutlirole combat variant, capable of light attack aerial operations.