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Rainier MQ-125A Ghost [CAS Challenge]

24.0k JohnnyBoythePilot  1.7 years ago
Auto Credit Based on mikoyanster's CAS Challenge

HELLFIRE UNLEASHED UPDATE (INCLUDES FIXED COCKPIT)

MQ-125A Ghost

Carrier-Borne Light Close Air Support

Manufacture:
Rainier Aerospace (United States)

Year:
2019

The MQ-125A Ghost is a stealthy, 5th generation, carrier-borne, mid-to-short ranged UCAV that is designed to bring light-attack close air support capabilities to the carrier flight deck. The MQ-125A features an advanced AI guidance system known as "Pixy", that is coupled with a powerful FLIR imaging & targeting turret on the nose, as well as an optical imaging & targeting pod on the left side of the aircraft. The UCAV features multiple sensors around the airframe for Pixy to utilize for controlling the aircraft, or for the remote pilot operator. The airframe has both ultrasonic, radar, optical, and IR sensors. The MQ-125A also employs a small center-line weapons bay that can carry x2 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or x2 Mark 82 Snake Eye gravity bombs. For carrier operations, the wings can fold, and it employs a arresting tailhook & catapult launch bar. The side-arm of the UCAV is a General Electric 20mm M61 Vulcan Gatling gun with 250 rounds, and a slowed rate of fire, optimized for air-to-ground strafing runs. The MQ-125A's primary "weapon of choice" is the AGM-114 Hellfire missile, as it can carry a large quantity of them. Using it's advanced targeting capabilities, the MQ-125A can fire multiple AGM-114's in quick succession, and with a wide angle of fire. However, this capability has been nerfed as it uses the AGM-114's provided for the competition, as the competition strongly encourages using said provided missiles. An "unleashed" version will be released that utilizes AGM-114's that can take advantage of the MQ-125A's advanced targeting capabilities.

OPERATIONS:

AG-1 = ---
AG-2 = Master Arm On/Off
AG-3 = Level Flight Stabilizer (Useful for take-offs, landings, and maintaining level flight)
AG-4 = Lower/Raise Catapult Launch Bar
AG-5 = Lower/Raise Arresting Hook
AG-6 = Wings Fold/Unfold
AG-7 = Jettison All Weapon Pylon Stations
AG-8 = Nav, Beacon, Strobe, & Landing Lights On/Off.
Trim = Trim (Be sure to apply MAX Trim Up before take-off since the MQ-125A is nose-heavy at low speeds when fully loaded with ordnance.)

ARMAMENT:

[2] AIM-9X Sidewinder
[14] Rocket Pod
[18] AGM-114 Hellfire
[2] Mark 82 Snake-Eye
[250] 20mm M61 Vulcan Gatling Gun
[50] Flares
[50] Chaff

PAINT SCHEMES/VARIANTS:

US Navy Scheme

Rainier Aerospace Company Demonstrator

Desert Ops Scheme

Night Ops Scheme

BACKSTORY:

Conception, US Navy Contract, and Prototype Stages:

The MQ-125A is the first official serial production model of the Ghost UCAV design. The design itself shares the same body as it's RQ-120 Wisp stablemate. The MQ-125 was initially just a "paper plane" concept; a possible split-off of the RQ-120, once the RQ-120 was to be completed. Ironically, the MQ-125 ended up receiving the highest priority with Rainier's UCAV development division, after the US Navy placed a firm order 2 experimental Ghost UCAV's for testing purposes. The prototype was named "QLX-125 Ghost", L meaning "laser", since the prototype employs a high-powered laser turret. The 1st QLX-125 prototype flew in early 2019, and after multiple successful test flights, including carrier trials, the US Navy ordered 1 more Ghost, making the total 3. Rainier Aerospace themselves also placed an order for 2 QLX-125 Ghosts as well, and later, the final customer for the experimental UCAV, DARPA, placed an order for 1 QLX-125 as well. The QLX-125 is no longer available for orders since the MQ-125A has now been developed, but there will be a total of 6 QLX-125 Ghost prototypes. Prototypes 1, 2, and 4, are meant for the US Navy, while 3 & 5 are for Rainier Aerospace, and the last prototype, 6, is going to DARPA for classified tests. Rainer's 3rd prototype sported a company livery, and was the first Ghost to receive larger winglets for better yaw-stability, since the Ghost design naturally has poor yaw stability, since it's a flying wing design. After the 3rd QLX-125 prototype was completed, the manufacturing process greatly improved to where Ghost airframes could be completed much quicker, and the remaining prototypes are all currently under construction, while the first 3 are all complete and performing test flight missions with the US Navy and Rainier Aerospace.

Official Serial Production Model & Exiting Prototype Status Stages:

A very large contract/competition was launched in the summer of 2019 for close air support attack aircraft, and Rainier decided to bid their Ghost UCAV design. The Ghost recieved priority funding & development to speed up it's development process & transition the design out of the prototype stage and into the serial production stage. It was given the designation "MQ-125A". The MQ-125A received a few major changes that differ from the QLX-125 prototypes; The MQ-125A featured a fully-developed version of the winglet stabilizers that the QLX-125 Prototype #3 pioneered to give it better yaw-stability for air-to-ground strafing runs. The MQ-125's off-the-shelf powerplant was also heavily uprated to give it a much-needed performance boost, so much so that the MQ-125A is capable of transonic flight in the upper atmosphere. The powerplant is also coupled to a 1D thrust-vectoring, IR-suppressing exhaust that gives the MQ-125A a boost in turning performance, as well as limited-post stall maneuverability. But perhaps the biggest change, is the fact that the MQ-125A has completely abandoned the engine-driven high-powered laser turret system that was the hallmark development of the QLX-125. The competition prohibited laser weaponry, so Rainier Aerospace instead equipped the MQ-125A with a high-powered FLIR imaging & targeting turret, and is a great tool for guiding a swarm of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, but even this capability was nerfed for competition's sake. The MQ-125A is only capable of firing AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, since it lacks a proper radar to guide the AIM-120 AMRAAM. The MQ-125A also features 8 hardpoints for mounting weapon pylons, although the 2 at the rear of the airframe are strictly for AGM-114's, while the QLX-125 has a single fixed pylon with a telemetry & air data tube for test purposes.

First Flight:

The MQ-125A Ghost itself hasn't flown yet, but the Ghost design overall has, in the form of the QLX-125 prototype. The MQ-125A Ghost is expected to fly by the end of 2019. The Ghost assembly line at Rainier Aerospace's Moses Lake Flight Center 1 is currently full with the remaining QLX-125 prototypes, but once those are complete, the first small batch of MQ-125A Ghost UCAVs for demonstration, testing, & certification purposes will be produced. At least 5 MQ-125A Ghosts will be produced for said roles.

GALLERY SHOWCASE:

















Enjoy!

General Characteristics

  • Predecessor CAS Challenge
  • Successors 12 airplane(s)
  • Created On Windows
  • Wingspan 42.1ft (12.8m)
  • Length 49.9ft (15.2m)
  • Height 8.3ft (2.5m)
  • Empty Weight 8,525lbs (3,867kg)
  • Loaded Weight 12,691lbs (5,756kg)

Performance

  • Power/Weight Ratio 1.062
  • Wing Loading 58.5lbs/ft2 (285.7kg/m2)
  • Wing Area 216.9ft2 (20.1m2)
  • Drag Points 7983

Parts

  • Number of Parts 264
  • Control Surfaces 4
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  • Profile image

    SAircraft
    Thx!

    4 months ago
  • Profile image
    16.4k Stinky

    Np@JohnnyBoythePilot

    +1 5 months ago
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    @soundwave
    @Default4
    Thanks for the upvotes!

    5 months ago
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    @DickBrazen
    Thanks!

    +1 1.2 years ago
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    Of course, great build

    +1 1.2 years ago
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    @HeavyC22
    Thx!

    1.2 years ago
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    24.5k Mustang51

    @JohnnyBoythePilot I’ve also heard that about UPS. I used to have a National licence in the UK which is basically like a PPL but I’m only able to fly in the UK. However, once I started university, I didn’t have the time to keep up with it and I lost it now since I didn’t have enough flights per year. When I finish uni I’m going to start flying again and get my full PPL and hopefully buy/share a plane with a couple of friends.

    +1 1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    No I don't have my PPL yet. I'll hopefully start full-time flight training some time this spring or summer. If I go international I only want to fly cargo, and I hear UPS is one of the best cargo airlines anyone could fly for. I also wouldn't mind flying for Omni Air International, which is a US-based company that does international & military charters.

    1.5 years ago
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    24.5k Mustang51

    @JohnnyBoythePilot That’s very cool! Do you have your PPL? Also have you ever thought of flying internationally or in Europe? Airlines in Europe tend to pay better wages to their long term pilots than US ones. I’ve heard that a BA captain of a 747/A380 can make around £400k per year including bonuses.

    1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    As for airlines, I few that are on my radar to fly for include Ameriflight, Point to Point Air Charters, Kenmore Air, Horizon Air, Alaska Airlines, jetBlue, and UPS Airlines. I'd greatly prefer to stay on the US West coast, which is my only gripe with jetBlue since they are mainly a US East coast carrier.

    1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    Yes I've flown 4 different airplanes so far and 3 different types. I've flown a Cessna 172M Skyhawk, Cessna 172S Skyhawk II, and more recently a Murphy Rebel homebuilt bushplane that belongs to a friend of mine.

    1.5 years ago
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    24.5k Mustang51

    @JohnnyBoythePilot
    My guess for why they didn’t go with the Fokker is the same as yours, it was risky since it didn’t look like the business was going too well. That app blackbird seems very interesting though. The whole idea of essentially a flying Uber is very cool. It would be great if this worked with helicopters but sadly that would only make the price higher and limit its targeted customers. Have you ever flown a plane before and is there any particular airline you’re hoping to be able to fly for in the future?

    +1 1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    And to answer your previous questions about Rainier Aerospace & my interest in business; No I'm currently not studying any major business or engineering-related fields/courses/degrees...... yet. I've done some basic high school classes on engineering, design, computer science, basic programming, and recently entrepreneurship. My main aspiration is to actually become a commercial pilot, but a secondary career option of mine is to go into engineering, and more recently for a 3rd option; go into entrepreneurship. I'm interested in Aerospace, Mechanical, Electrical, and Software Engineering, as well as Computer Science. Flying & Engineering/Designing/Building things have always been interests I've had since I was a kid, but entrepreneurship has been a fairly recent one I picked up. My entrepreneurship interest went into high-gear when I successfully got into an Entrepreneurship high-school class this semester that I've been interested in & trying to get into ever since 9th grade. It was a low-key interest back then, but now it's one of my main interests, rivaling flying & engineering. Playing Airline Empires believe it or not also got me more interested in the business world, particular aviation-related business. Another influence was learning about multiple successful entrepreneurs in my high school class/course, and observing other examples outside of the course content such as Elon Musk, Mike & Mark Patey twins, some of the Flying Cowboys, and even a close friend of mine, all of which run successful businesses or start-ups that enable them to enjoy life & their passions. So I figured if I decide to go down the entrepreneurship path, I figure drones would be one of the more easier aerospace-related business paths to go down. Heck, it may not even be a product I could do, but a service or platform too. I think their is a serious potential market for a "flying Uber"-like service. Although the "flying Uber" idea would probably have way more legal work to go through than making drones. There's actually been a "flying Uber" start-up I've seen in the past that failed because it was trying to get non-commercial private pilots to be able to make profit with the app & flying people around in their own planes like Uber, but it didn't work because pilots strictly need a commercial rating/license to fly-for-profit, and the app wouldn't be able to work unless the pilots using the app had commercial ratings, and not every pilot out their has or can afford commercial ratings. A recent start-up I just found today called "Blackbird" is trying to do a ride-share flying service using individual pilots & planes like the first start-up I mentioned, except this time it requires pilots to have commercial ratings to be able to fly with the app & make profit while flying.

    1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    And speaking of Embraer, the E-170LR, E-175LR, & the E-190LR will probably be my Fokker F70 replacements in the future sometime when the F70's get too old or risky for regular scheduled passenger use (more than likely will be regulated to charter service only in the future), since the E-Jet is another airplane passengers seem to really love & enjoy flying on, compared to the CRJ or Dash-8.

    1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    In the real-world, Alliance Airlines in Australia appears to have become a safe-haven home for Fokker aircraft such as the F50, F70, and F100. The fact that those designs have lasted this long & are finding 2nd lives in more rugged climates is a great testament to the quality of Fokker. Boeing & McDonnell Douglas (despite their woes) aircraft also have that ability of long durable lives. Bombardier, Embraer, and Airbus, while also terrific aircraft, just don't have the same longevity as Boeing, M.D., or Fokker or find 2nd markets very easily as some of the older designs. The only Airbus that has consistently seen secondary use after they are retired from the main airlines have been the A300 & A310. For Bombarier, that would go to the Dash-8 turboprop, and for Embraer, the EMB-120 is finding secondary use as a freighter.

    1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    I'm actually very surprised the Fokker F70 didn't sell like hot-cakes and only 47 were built. It was a better performer than the CRJ700 (which was the prime regional jet at the time). It would have been a good fit with US regional carriers especially with the later scope-clause laws. Maybe it was because the airlines could see the writing on the wall that Fokker wasn't going to last long. It was the same story for Fairchild-Dornier & their 328 design. Although the Fokker F100 & older F28 did fare much better in sales & production, especially in the US. Fokker apparently still lives on with GKN Aerospace as "Fokker Technologies", but it's just not the same. "Rekkof" or "Netherlands Aircraft Company" was formed shortly after the original Fokker's demise and is proposing an updated F100 in the form of the "F120NG" and "F130NG" and believes the F100 design can still compete in today's modern market albeit with newer engines & winglets. Although the project hasn't gone anywhere in all these years due to insufficient funding. It's always sad to see a legend such as Fokker fade away, especially when it's a manufacture that made such good aircraft.

    1.5 years ago
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    24.5k Mustang51

    @JohnnyBoythePilot Fokker made some incredible aircraft for their day. Such a shame it’s over now. I’m glad it lives on in your virtual airline

    +1 1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    My airline has been running since mid-summer of 2019. Outside of Airline Empires, it also offers charter services with some of the aircraft in the fleet, particularly the F70 since it can land in some pretty short airfields and has incredible range for it's size & class.

    1.5 years ago
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    24.5k Mustang51

    @JohnnyBoythePilot I’ll think about it. The F70 is one of my favourite airliners (big surprise since I’m Dutch) and it was such a shame to see it leave KLM. It was one of my favourite airliners to fly in actually so I’m happy it was a good one for your airline. Your airline also sounds like it would be one of my favourites in real life. I fly very often but mostly just around Europe so a relatively cost effective airline with good service would be a nice addition to the ones we have here. I mostly fly with BA or KLM and over the years, it feels like the tickets get more expensive and you receive less for your money. I try to now always get flights on E190s because most airlines give you more leg room in order to have fewer seats since if it had anymore, they would need another 1-2 crew members and they wouldn’t make as much profit that way. E190s are also a very comfortable plane I feel like but I don’t have that Dutch pride like I had when flying the F70 or even F100.

    1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    And about Airline Empires, that's just a standalone free-to-play online airline simulation that isn't connected to FSX in any way. I just integrate my airline from Airline Empires to FSX based on it's stats, routes, & fleet in Airline Empires. Although for now in FSX I'm making it purely as an AI airline, and not an actual virtual airline that other flight-simmers could fly for. But it's a great simulation/game, and it's actually taught me quite a bit on the operations & economics of an airline, and even economics in general. My first 2 attempts at "Rainier Air" actually failed with my airline going bankrupt. It was barely on my 3rd try where I got my airline to generate a self-sustaining profit, and on my 4th play-through where Rainier Air exploded into a giant west coast carrier. My main approach with my airline was to have it be a point-to-point airline with a "luxury economy" where all aircraft in the fleet just have a single economy class, but that one economy class is very high-quality and the in-flight services are even free. The customer's ticket price covers all of that, although it won't be as cheap as other carriers, but the experience, quality, and service is supposed to make up for that. The point-to-point model also means there won't be any hubs customers have to funnel through to get to their destination (unless their starting airport doesn't have a direct route to their destination). As I said earlier, it took me about 2 tries to get this model to be profitable & sustainable, and the aircraft you choose to make up your fleet make a huge difference as well on whether your carrier withers or grows. The Fokker F70 & McDonnell Douglas MD-83 were very good for my airline's mission profile. The Fokker F70 could fly into pretty small airports, but still carry a good number of passengers, and could fly very far. It was also very cheap to buy/lease & operate. Passengers also love the 5-abreast seating configuration that can be found on aircraft such as the Fokker F28/F70/F100, McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90/95 (which is why I chose it over the 737 despite it's age & outdated engines), Boeing 717-200, and more recently the Bombardier Cseries/Airbus A220. But yea its a pretty sweet game & I highly recommend you give it a whack. If you do decide to join, I'm in the "Rδ" world server.

    +1 1.5 years ago
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    24.5k Mustang51

    Do you also have any engineering experience since you mentioned wanting to build drones potentially.

    1.5 years ago
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    24.5k Mustang51

    @JohnnyBoythePilot it’s incredible that you come up with that whole thing! It’s really very cool. I feel like I have to make my own now just for some healthy competition. Also I feel like my SR2 experience is much different than that of others since I’m basically just making difference ballistic missiles and ICBMs hahaha. How long have you been creating your airline business? Also, are you studying or have you studied anything business related? It seems like something you’re passionate about and mixing that with aviation always results in something exciting.

    1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    Some of your builds are actually pretty unique, even if they took inspiration from a previous design. My MQ-125 right here took inspiration from the MQ-90 Quox from Ace Combat Infinity with its cranked "bat wing" design, although the MQ-90 and MQ-125 serve totally different missions and have different capabilities.

    1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    I also absolutely love it when I see others make their own companies too (I love competition when it comes to businesses & companies; after all it is healthy for the economy). While their isn't a whole lot of people in SP with serious fictional companies, SR2 definitely has a lot more since it has a career mode in development. My main fictional competitors include:
    Scout Company (SP; jamesPLANESii)
    Martin™ (SP & SR2; Chancey21)
    Kell Aerospace (SR2; Kell)
    Max-Q Aerospace (SR2; Teague)
    Aerojet Mariodyne (SR2; MarioG)
    Merso Aerospace (SR2; diegoavion84)
    Tronna (SR2; jamesPLANESii)

    +1 1.5 years ago
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    @Mustang51
    Same. I've got a bit of entrepreneurship spirit in me and "Rainier Aviation Group" has become my "fantasy aviation empire", sort of like Evergreen Aviation International, which was a now-defunct aviation group that hosted several sub-divisions and companies that specialized in scheduled routes, charters, military & CIA charters, aircraft maintenance, 747 super tanker water bomber services, as well as a museum & waterpark known as "Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum" and "Wings & Waves Waterpark". The museum is home to the famous "Spruce Goose" and the waterpark has a retired 747-100 on top of it with water slides coming out the sides of it! Also, ironically Evergreen was based in the Pacific Northwest (particularly McMinnville, OR), just like my fictional company, except my HQ is in Moses Lake, WA. Although Evergreen was purely a service-based organization, while Rainier offers both services & produced products. Maybe someday it could happen IRL, but I don't think it would be anywhere near the scale I'm making it fictionally. If I do pursue a real "Rainier Aerospace" company in the future sometime, it would probably be a small drone company that makes quad-copters and long-endurance UAV's that could have civilian & military applications.

    +1 1.5 years ago
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