C-5/10 Albrantoch Transport Aircraft
Builders: Hunter Defence Systems
Place of Origin: Noronica
Cost Per Unit: $55 million
Empty: 157,600 kg
3 (Pilot, Co-Pilot,
80 to 100 troops
4x Duct-Thrusting Turbofans
Max. Payload Range
Albrantoch Transport Aircraft
The C-5/10 Albrantoch is a Noronnican long-range heavy-lift military transport aircraft design of the mid-1950s by Lockspear (now manufactured by Hunter Defence Systems) and was to be capable of development to STOL performance. The C-5/10 is the latest version of the aircraft [having been released in 2010] - often described as the regional equivalent of an Airbus A400.
The aircraft is named after the word for 'Albatross' in the Nyssic language.
The Albrantoch was developed to meet Noronnican Air Force's operational requirement, which proposed a freighter capable of carrying a wide range of military loads over long ranges. The military loads envisaged included artillery, more than 200 troops, helicopters, and guided missiles. Lockspear's design was based on company studies from the late 1950s, and the project started as the C-5/1 in February 1959. The prototype Albrantoch first flew on 5 January 1966.
The Albrantoch used a high wing carrying four Quentin Tyne turboprop engines. The cargo deck, 64 ft long (20 m) in a circular-section pressurised fuselage over 18 ft in diameter (5.5 m) (roomy enough for two single-deck buses), was reached through a "beaver tail" with rear loading doors and integral ramp. The main undercarriage was two 8-wheel bogies and a 2-wheel nose. Capable of a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of over 220,500 lb (100 tonnes), the Albrantoch carries less than the contemporaneous 250-tonne Antonov An-22 and the 128-tonne Douglas C-133 Cargomaster, but more than the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. It could carry 150 troops with full equipment, or a main battle tank or two medium sized helicopters or six light/scout helicopters.
On 9 May 2001, a C-5/8 crashed in Xrevaro on its first production test flight. As a precaution, the Noronnican Air Force suspended C-5/8 flights during the investigation. The initial focus was on whether the crash was caused by new fuel supply management software, designed to trim the fuel tanks to enable certain military manoeuvres; HDS issued an update instructing operators to inspect all Engine Control Units (ECUs). A key scenario examined by investigators is that the torque calibration parameter data was accidentally wiped on three engines as the software was being installed, preventing FADEC operations. As designed, the first warning of an engine data problem would occur when the plane was 120 meters (400 feet) in the air; on the ground, there is no cockpit alert. On 3 June 2008, HDS announced that investigators had confirmed: "that engines one, two and three experienced power frozen after lift-off and did not respond to the crew's attempts to control the power setting in the normal way."
On 11 June 2009, Noronica's Department for Defense announced that C-5/10s could restart flights and confirmed that its specialist aerospace unit had met with HDS to discuss flight permits and that further permits relating to the programme could be granted in the coming days. The Noronnican Air Force lifted its suspension on C-5/8 flights "following certain checks and extra procedures" on 16 June 2015. On 19 June 2015, deliveries of updated C-5/8s restarted; the first aircraft, MSN019, is the seventh to be delivered. The FAL has also completed the build of four aircraft for the Albion, which will now undergo pre-delivery checks and trials.
In June 2016, Noronica accepted the first capable of conducting tactical tasks such as the airdrop of supplies. The revised standard includes the addition of cockpit armour and defensive aids system equipment, plus clearance for the C-5/10 to transfer and receive fuel in-flight.
HDS has been working to develop a Future Maritime Patrol (MPA) version and airborne refuelling (AAR) variant for the C-5/10.
The HDS Albrantoch increases the airlift capacity and range compared with the aircraft it was originally set to replace. Cargo capacity is expected to double over existing aircraft, both in payload and volume, and range is increased substantially as well. The cargo box is 17.71 m long excluding ramp, 4.00 m wide, and 3.85 m high (or 4.00 m aft of the wing). The C.5/10 operates in many configurations including cargo transport, troop transport, and medical evacuation. The aircraft is intended for use on short, soft landing strips and for long-range, cargo transport flights.
It features a fly-by-wire flight control system with sidestick controllers and flight envelope protection. Like other HDS aircraft, the C-5/10 has a full glass cockpit. Most of the aircraft systems are loosely based on those of other HDS aircraft but modified for the military mission. The hydraulic system has dual 3,000-psi channels powering the primary and secondary flight control actuators, landing gear, wheel brakes, cargo door and optional hose-and-drogue refuelling system. There is no third hydraulic system. Instead, there are two electrical systems; one is a set of dual-channel electrically powered hydraulic actuators, the other an array of electrically/hydraulically powered hybrid actuators. The dissimilar redundancy provides more protection against battle damage.
Since the C-5/8, subsequent HDS Albrantoch's wings are primarily carbon fibre reinforced plastic. The four-bladed scimitar propeller is also made from a woven composite material. The aircraft is powered by four 4 x Quentin AE 1500 Turboprop engines rated at 5,923 hp each, though HDS is hoping to develop a suitable engine rated at 11,000 hp to be fitted with eight propellers. This 11,000 hp engine is set to be the most powerful turboprop engine in the regional to enter operational use.
The pair of propellers on each wing of the C-5/10 turn in opposite directions, with the tips of the propellers advancing from above towards the midpoint between the two engines. This is in contrast to the overwhelming majority of multi-engine propeller driven aircraft; where all propellers turn in the same direction. The counter-rotation is achieved by the use of a gearbox fitted to two of the engines, and only the propeller turns the opposite direction; all four engines are identical and turn in the same direction. This eliminates the need to have two different "handed" engines in stock for the same aircraft, simplifying maintenance and supply costs. This configuration, dubbed down between engines (DBE), allows the aircraft to produce more lift and lessens the torque and prop wash on each wing. It also reduces yaw in the event of an outboard engine failure.
A forward-looking infrared enhanced vision system (EVS) camera provides an enhanced terrain view in low-visibility conditions. The EVS imagery is displayed on the HUD for low altitude flying, demonstrating its value for flying tactical missions at night or in clouds. HDS provides the new Multi-Colour Infrared Alerting Sensor (MIRAS) missile warning sensor for the C-5/10.
The C-5/10 has a removable refuelling probe mounted above the cockpit to allow the aircraft to receive fuel from drogue-equipped tankers. Optionally, the receiving probe can be replaced with a fuselage mounted UARRSI receptacle for receiving fuel from boom equipped tankers. The aircraft can also act as a tanker when fitted with two wing-mounted hose and drogue under-wing refuelling pods or a centre-line Hose and Drum unit.
The C-5/10 features deployable baffles in front of the rear side doors, intended to give paratroops time to get clear of the aircraft before they are hit by the slipstream.
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" (1987) - 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 filter can be added to the scoop, to prevent the inhalation of marine creatures during scooping operations.
"C.5/10" (2010) - The most recent version of the Albrantoch 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 offered a heavily armed, long-endurance ground-attack variant version of the Albrantoch 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.
The C-5/10 Albatross was designed as an alternative to the Airbus A400,
utilising high-powered turboprop engines for STOL performance