C-6/12 Peliachn Transport Aircraft
Builders: Hunter Defence Systems
Place of Origin: Noronica
Cost Per Unit: $45 million
Empty: 32,600 kg
3 (Pilot, Co-Pilot,
80 to 100 troops
4x Duct-Thrusting Turbofans
Max. Payload Range
Peliachn Transport Aircraft
The C-6/12 Peliachn is a Noronnican medium/long-range STOL military transport aircraft design of the mid-1990s by Hunter Defence Systems and was to be capable of development to VTOL performance. The Peliachn is a Noronnican military transport aircraft in service with the Air Force of the United Noronnican Forces.
The aircraft is named after the word for 'Pelican' in the Nyssic language.
In 1988, the Noronnican Air Force started work on a series of prototype proposals, which would lead to a proposal for a medium range transport aircraft. Spurred on by the successful deployment of the Albatross, it was clear that Hunter Defence Systems were on to a winning combination, being successfully able to design and produce military freight aircraft. Proposals were submitted by several companies from across the region for another transport aircraft, but only the Hunter Defence Systems' Peliachn design was put forward to the final stages of selection. Hunter Defence Systems' prototype was designated C-6/1.
HDS's design incorporated a supercritical wing. This wing design dramatically lowers transonic wave drag by as much as 30% compared to more conventional profiles, while at the same time offering an excellent low-speed lift. Most contemporary aircraft used swept wings to lower wave drag, but this led to poor low-speed handling, which made them unsuitable for STOL operations.
The design team also chose to use externally blown flaps to increase lift. This system uses double-slotted flaps to direct part of the jet exhaust downwards, while the rest of the exhaust passed through the flap and then followed the downward curve due to the Coandă effect. Although the effects had been studied for some time at the GDB, along with similar concepts, until the introduction of the turbofan the hot and concentrated exhaust of existing engines made the system difficult to use. By the time of the C-6/1 project, engines had changed dramatically and now provided larger volumes of less-concentrated and much cooler air.
From even the earliest days of its design, it was clear that the aircraft was to feature a swept shoulder-mounted wing and a high T-tail. In order to meet the strict requirements of the Noronnican Air Force, the rear fuselage was to be upswept as to allowing the fitting loading doors and a ramp.
In order to power the aircraft, four HDS BS.300v Cyclone Turbofan engines with vectored thrust nozzles were to be mounted on pylons under the wings which were to feature boundary layer control with blown flaps, leading edges, and ailerons. The decision was made to utilise vector-thrusting technology. The tricky problem was that it had never been applied to a large aircraft before. With the first experiments conducted in 1996, it would take the company nearly two years to perfect the engine design and arrangement – allowing the prototype to take to the skies in 1999.
Spurred on by its success, HDS also experimented with a VTOL arrangement – but found it, unfortunately, affected the aircraft’s weight and range. However, by changing the arrangement of the exhaust nozzles (having two open and close in the undersides of the engine), they found that near VTOL flight take-off was possible - making the already practical aircraft suited to a wider range of scenarios.
Before the final configuration and instalment of the Cyclone engines, two C-6/1s were built: one with a wingspan of 33 metres and one with 40 metres. The purpose of these first prototypes was to test the feasibility of shortening the wings to allow for manoeuvring on an aircraft carrier deck. Both aircraft were powered by four lower-rated HDS Cyclone engines, each rated at 15,500 lbf (68.9 kN) of thrust. It was found that the aircraft with the short wingspan performed well at speed, but became very unstable in VTOL mode - causing the prototype to drop too rapidly. The prototype was badly damaged in the test; fortunately, the test pilots and crew survived with no fatalities. It was therefore decided to scrap a "navalised" proposal and HDS continues to advise against landing the aircraft at sea - although, with uprated engines, it is theoretically possible.
The Noronnican Air Force demonstrated their pilots' skill and training during a simulated disaster exercise, where a pair of C-6/8s landed on the larger helicopter landing pads of a disused oil rig in a simulated incident requiring evacuation. Both aircraft were able to take it in turns to land on the platform, whilst the other aircraft loitered in either hover or horizontal flight.
Having received multiple orders from numerous nations across the region, the designers at Hunter Defence Systems have constantly been looking to upgrade the aircraft, mostly upgrading the avionics and flight controls. However, as the concept continues to sell well on the international market, HDS began developing numerous variants at both the request of individual nations and as private ventures - all have been warmly received over the years.
"Raincloud" (2011) - At the request of several foreign companies and nations, a fire-fighting version was developed - fitting an enclosed water tank into the cargo bay of the aircraft and a retractable water scoop - allowing for the aircraft to take on water by either filling up at base or collecting water from a lake or sea. On request, an optional filtre can be added to the scoop, to prevent the inhalation of marine creatures during scooping operations.
"C-6/12" (2014) - The most recent version of the Peliachn features fly-by-wire controls, using optic fibre cables in both active and redundant system to help increase response times - which combined with a digitalised flight-control computer, enables the aircraft to become easier to fly than previous generations. The engines also were upgraded, utilising 3D printing to create a significant portion of the components.
"Thundercloud" (2015) - Taking inspiration from the AC-130 Spectre Gunship, HDS offers a heavily armed, long-endurance ground-attack variant version of the Pelican transport aircraft. Offering a range of weapon packages, the aircraft can be fitted with weapons ranging from high-calibre 105mm cannons, 40/30mm autocannons and Gatling/miniguns - as well as wing-mounted anti-tank missiles and smart or dumb bombs.
"Global-Pelican" (2017) - Designers at HDS found that by enlarging the aircraft, they were able to create a variant with a much higher cargo capacity. Still retaining its STOL capabilities; the Global-Peliachn featured uprated HDS Cyclone-C 40,440 lbf (180 kN) engines, a longer hull (53 metres) and stretched wingspan (52 metres). These changes allowed the aircraft over 80% more cargo than the standard Pelican, increasing its capacity to 60,500 kg; whilst also increasing its range to just over 10,000 km - making it comparable to the C-17 Globemaster. HDS found that, despite their best efforts, the Global-Peliachn was not VTOL capable - but still technically qualified as a STOL transport.
The Jaculus Aerospace Pelican was designed as an alternative to the C-130 Hercules,
opting for the unique deployment of vector thrusting engines