Confederation spacecraft designations.

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
One way or another, I’m fairly certain that the CF designation doesn’t represent a manufacturer; rather than adding an X designation for experimental models, Confed appears to use letter designations pertaining to the company manufacturer, similar to American manufacturer's codes used during World War 2.

I don't follow you, I'm not aware of any reference to a WW2-USN-style system for Confederation fighters ordered by manufacturer (there is one for Border Worlds fighters, but it hasn't been published.)

The Confederation *does* seem to use the same status prefix designation system as the US military -- we see the YA-18 Crossbow in Special Operations 1 (contrary to popular opinion, 'Y' means prototype... 'X' means experimental, and you would not fly an experimental spaceframe in combat.)

However, the one problem with this is that while the Broadsword was reclassified as A-17, later Attack craft such as the Raptor (A-14) and Gladius (A-15) receive lower numbers.

That's not really a problem, though -- there's nothing preventing the Raptor and the Gladius from being older than the Broadsword.

To address the subject, though, there are three obvious schools of thought:

1) The systems are SEQUENTIAL
2) The systems are CONCURRENT
3) There is only one system

Under (1), I see two possible explanations:

a) One system replaces the other
b) One system follows the other

Both of these are based on the 'real' designation shift from the 1960s. Option (a) would be the shift from the Navy to the unified system -- the old system was simply thrown out entirely (no more PBJs, TB3Ms and so forth) and replaced with a new type of numbering. (b) would be the Air Force's experience... which essentially amounts to a renumbering starting back at 1 (ie, CF-337 Stryker is followed by CF-338 Crabhammer is followed by F-1 StarLancer.)

System (2) is the easy answer -- that every military contract spaceframe has a 'CF' designation that's separate from its US military-style designation... so the F-109 Vampire might also be the CF-883.)

... and then system (3) is that there's only one system which for whatever reason has given unusual 'CF' designations to several spacecraft, separating them from ordinary fighters (F), attack craft (A) and so forth. This is not entirely without merit -- look at the F-117 today. It is possible that these spacecraft all share some common merit that gives them this unusual designation... and that the Broadsword has concurrent designations similar to all the revamps of the B-17 or the B-29.

Now, we don't have an answer for this yet, but in considering it we might want to remember that the designer's *intentions* were more along the lines of #1 (or #3) than #2 -- the 'CF' was supposed to be the same type of designation as seen in the other games, just not as well developed.

And then towards suggestion 3, note that the Kilrathi 'KF' designation system still seems to be in use for fighters we're familiar with later in the games.

(Also, in considering the CF-337 remember that these don't *necessarily* have to be linear. Think of the German system in World War II which would make the followup to the ME-110 the ME-210... the CF-337 might be an update of the CF-237 and the CF-137 and so forth. There are always possibilities...)

If there was some great change over in Confed’s spacecraft designation system, it appears to have taken place sometime between 2632 and 2633. This would mark the time that the Broadsword was reclassified A-17 (though if the movie material is any indicator, the CF-131 designation remained until at least 2654) and the introduction of the F-10 Merlin.

The mistake here is assuming that there is a precise cutoff between the two designation systems and that the material we see will immediately reflect it. Almost any history, including one printed today, will refer to the Mustang as the 'P-51', even though it ended its career as the F-51 thanks to a similar reboot...
 

RogueBanshee

Rear Admiral
I think that it's fairly safe to say the academy sim fighters are Hellcats. After all other then the Excaliber every other fighter class, other then the Hellcat, on Victory was confirmed as an earlier model. Arrows from 2650, IIRC Longbows were either seen in Academy or mentioned somewhere as pre-dating Academy, and IIRC Blair refers to the Thunderbolt as being a reliable, old fighter in the WC3 novelization so it would be odd if the Hellcat were new.

Perhaps the sim fighters were Hellcats and the statue was a Wildcat?

Also about the CF-105 and F-105 designations being close, the US Navy had 3 different aircraft designated F4, and two of those, the F4F and F4U were in service at the same time.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Also about the CF-105 and F-105 designations being close, the US Navy had 3 different aircraft designated F4, and two of those, the F4F and F4U were in service at the same time.

This is what we were talking about already; the US Navy used a system that's very different from the modern day (or Wing Commander) ordering scheme, where designs were counted by manufacturer rather than type. The Wildcat was (F)ighter #(4) designed by Grumman(F) while the Corsair was (F)fighter #(4) designed by Vo(U)ght.
 

WCX

Rear Admiral
What I was saying was that rather than an experimental spacecraft receiving an X designation (such as the X-29, one of my favorite aircraft) the craft is give a letter (or two) prefix for the company (G for Douglas, OA for Origin) similar to American manufacturer's codes used during World War 2 (B for Boeing, D for Douglas, S for Sikorsky, M for General Motors Corp. ect.). The number following this manufacturer's code apparently has little bearing on the final line designation number.

When the craft is oked by the military for possible future use, a Y prefix is added to whatever its future line designation letter and number may be, marking it a prototype. If the craft is approved for mass production, then the Y prefix is dropped.

As for the Hellcat’s age, apparently the Hellcat older than the Rapier, as suggested by the information here: https://www.wcnews.com/articles/contest-nob.shtml

The F-44 began development in 2650.107 in response to a joint TCSF/TCN request for proposals (RFP) of a new high-performance, carrier based medium attack fighter capable of serving both in atmosphere and deep space. Intended to replace the aging CF-105 Scimitar in the medium attack role and the CF-117 Rapier in the superiority role,

[Two rapier designs] were submitted to the Joint Forces Aerospace Committee in 2651.251, alongside proposals from both Douglas Aerospace and Camelot Industries. After several weeks of evaluation, the Committee chose to go ahead with the Douglas G-80 proposal (later to become the Hellcat V) and the OA-150B. The 150B scored higher than the Douglas G-80 on the evaluation scale, but had the draw-back of being based on unproven technology. As a result, the TCSF was reluctant to issue a contract before further evaluation, instead providing Douglas with an order for 1,500 G-80 derivatives on 2652.072, and a contract for 2 evaluation model OA-150Bs from Origin Aerospace, now tentatively designated YF-44.

Thus this marks the birth of the Hellcat V on or around 2652 (and, I suppose, puts its designation somewhere between F-39 and F-43). That said, the fighters in WC Academy could very well have been Hellcats, just as easily as they could have been Wildcats. If only we knew if those plebes where playing a historical, theoretical, or standard simulation.

Also, the Longbow is seen for a few seconds in WC Academy. Though appearing in only one episode, its presence in relation to the story hints at a possible SAR use for the Longbow. One might wonder why not use a shuttle, or a marine LC for rescuing downed pilots, but then again, maybe the Longbow was originally treated as a sort space Mi-24 “Hind” (that is to say, a flying armored personnel carrier). I wonder how well the longbow handles in atom. Despite looking like a missile itself, its flight surfaces are rather limited. Hmm.

These are the things I think about when I’m home along and the power goes out.:p
 
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Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Ooooh -- the Rapier biography is all fanfic, completely non-canonical. The Rapier was never designated "OA-150" in any official source (and I believe this is a reference to real-world bid numbers, not some alteration of the actual system.)

This also isn't what the 'X' designation is for -- there would *only* be an XF-44 if the design required some special proof-of-concept demonstration... which fighter design doesn't, in most cases.
 

WCX

Rear Admiral
What? I…ugh. This information has made me a very sad panda. :(

Innocently, who penned the Rapier biography, as it sounded thoroughly convincing to me.
 

RogueBanshee

Rear Admiral
Also, the Longbow is seen for a few seconds in WC Academy. Though appearing in only one episode, its presence in relation to the story hints at a possible SAR use for the Longbow. One might wonder why not use a shuttle, or a marine LC for rescuing downed pilots, but then again, maybe the Longbow was originally treated as a sort space Mi-24 “Hind” (that is to say, a flying armored personnel carrier). I wonder how well the longbow handles in atom. Despite looking like a missile itself, its flight surfaces are rather limited. Hmm.

If the Ekapshi and Vindicator are atmosphere capable I don't see the Longbow having any probelms in atmosphere.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
What? I…ugh. This information has made me a very sad panda. :(

Innocently, who penned the Rapier biography, as it sounded thoroughly convincing to me.

The biography was by Nob, his entry for the Arena fan art contest. It's very well done - he hasn't been around recently, but I would like to see more such works.
 

RogueBanshee

Rear Admiral
I know that, what I'm trying to say is that in Wing Commander you can't tell if a fighter is atmosphere-combat capable or not based on it's appearence. Personally I feel that any fighter is atmosphere-combat capable unless something specifically says that it's not.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
I figure that most of them CAN fight in atmosphere, but some are better at it than others based on aerodynamic shape, etc.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
I know that, what I'm trying to say is that in Wing Commander you can't tell if a fighter is atmosphere-combat capable or not based on it's appearence. Personally I feel that any fighter is atmosphere-combat capable unless something specifically says that it's not.

This thread from last summer has discussion about specifics if you are interested, but yeah unless otherwise stated I assume the same thing about atmospheric capability.
 

WCX

Rear Admiral
LOAF, I want to thank you for the thorough analysis and discussion on the designation system. Ultimately I feel that Confed’s system is something of a hodgepodge of different systems and eras (no doubt reflecting Confed’s diversity).

Also, I for one would not shy away from piloting a manly craft such as the CF-338 Crabhammer. Yelling and courage are all anyone really needs. Ayatollah of Rock-and-Rolla baby!

[…] note that the Kilrathi 'KF' designation system still seems to be in use for fighters we're familiar with later in the games.

The KF designation appears to be a human applied system, though the numbering is beyond me. I always though the Kilrathi got by with simply naming their craft.
(The Kilrathi never struck me as being ga-ga over numbers and such like some cultures *cough Japan cough*.)

Shifting gears now.

If the Ekapshi and Vindicator are atmosphere capable I don't see the Longbow having any probelms in atmosphere.

I’d like to invoke the Law of Topological Aerodynamics, First Law of Anime Aero-Dynamics, which specify states: *ANY* shape, no matter how convoluted or odd-looking, is automatically aerodynamic.

Seriously though, the way I see it, aerodynamic shape has little to do with determining a ship being atmo-capable. Atmo-capability means that the craft is equipped with a second set of engines or dual-purpose engine ductwork. What I got out of Forstchen’s novels was that while space-only craft can fly in atmosphere they have to worry abut fuel, or at the least bleeding off speed.

And let’s face it, traveling upwards of Mach 20 (300 KPS is Mach 23.112 by my rough reckoning), you’re plowing through the skies on brute force.
This is pretty much how other sci-fi ships, such as the lovable TIE fighters, operate in atmosphere.

Now, if we look at the Longbow (that old lovable flying torpedo filled with torpedoes) may fly well enough in a straight line, turning might be a bit tricky, unless it can pull some of that ‘Tokyo Drifting’ we see in the WC2 cinematic.
 

Deadman_ny

Spaceman
Only thing that comes to mind as to why the Hellcat and Longbow were in WCA aside from the producers feeling that the wc3 ships looked cooler and thought maybe the "kids" wanted to see them.
Maybe like the P-51 Mustang which lacked a proper engine and wasn't seen as a fit fighter until the Brits got ahold of it and installed a new engine(Allison?). The hellcat, thunderbolt ect may have been in the same boat with one type of tech or another. They were seen as good designs on their face but current engine tech, ect just wasn't there. After the Battle of Terra..with shipyards destroyed and the bulk of Confeds fighters destroyed or showing age the fighter designs were given a second look.
The Longbow is shown in WCA but in an SAR capasity. Maybe it was being "put through the paces" as it were to see what it could do. Very large ship capable of carrying a hell of a payload, lot of room as a troop trans...but no mention of atmosphearic flight. Eh a cartoon...eh a game. It's like trying to nail jello to the damn wall! The more you try the more it falls apart.
____________________

I'm ready! I'm ready! I'm ready ready ready!!!
 

Ijuin

Admiral
You're off by about two orders of magnitude there--300 km/s is about Mach one thousand. Mach One is around 300 meters per second.

A Longbow or Broadsword would probably be even MORE of a pig in air than in vacuum--it's the craft with the high streamlining like the Ferret, Rapier, etc. that can "turn on a dime" by comparison. For example, a Vindicator is about the same agility as a Thunderbolt in vacuum, but the Thunderbolt probably loses more maneuverability in atmosphere.
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
Maybe like the P-51 Mustang which lacked a proper engine and wasn't seen as a fit fighter until the Brits got ahold of it and installed a new engine(Allison?).

Allison V-1710 engines were what was in the A model, which contributed to its mediocre high-altitude performance. It was the Rolls-Royce Merlin that made the B and later models the asskickers at altitude they're known for in WW2.

(Though, IIRC Mustangs themselves were using licensed versions of the Merlin engine, built by Packard.)
 

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
The Allison equipped P-51 A's could still tangle effectively with enemy fighters down low. The first enemy fighter destroyed by a Mustang was accomplished by an A model (Mk I.) in the hands of the RAF (an RCAF pilot.)

The Typhoon and Tempest fell into this category as well... it would be great if we had this kind of data fleshed out on some of our favorite WC fighters. Maybe some of the older designs were originally more effective at a different task, and evolved as the conflict drew on. I like stories like this that show that just because something isn't quite perfect on the first try, hope and perseverance (often combined with downright necessity) pay off...
 
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