The story of the "ADFX-01 Morgan First Prototype" feat. Scale Aviation vol. 135
Updated: Nov 20
Scale Aviation is a "visual bi-monthly [magazine] for scale aircraft modelers" and often features incredible models and commentary by the makers on their build process. In this volume, pro modeler Pooh-Kumagai (@poohkumagai on Twitter) talked about the build process of his scratch-built 1/72 ADFX-01 Morgan and includes fantastic photos of the model. Though the commentary on the build process was fascinating, the most interesting part was the supplementary world-building information that was included by the Project ACES team to introduce the Morgan to those who are unfamiliar with it. However, there were some brand new, never-before-revealed details included within. Here's what it says:
(Told from a military reporter's point of view)
On June 30, 2020, the Osean Air Defense Force displayed a certain aircraft at a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the end of the Belkan War. It was a former test and development aircraft whose existence had been reported on intermittently up until then, but specific details were unknown. Its origin was the former Belkan Air Force. In the ceremony held as part of the Osean government's efforts to make information regarding the Circum-Pacific War public, many members of the military and media from all major countries were invited to a static display and presentation, as well as a demo flight. They even allowed for approved photographers to ride in an Osean F/A-18F chase plane to take aerial photos. Behind all this appeal to the media by the Osean government, there was the sense that they were trying to present this aircraft as a memento of Gründer I.G. which was in the process of being reorganized after the Lighthouse War.
The model number of the test and development aircraft is "ADFX-01." Development of this aircraft, code-named "Morgan" within the air force, began in 1985 by the former South Belka Munitions Factory as the Belkan Air Force's Advanced Dominance Fighter (ADF program). The aircraft has quite the eventful history, since a technology demonstrator was thrown into combat by the coup d'etat forces during the Belkan War in 1995, and the Osean military continued development using a captured aircraft as a base. This one in particular is the first Osean-made prototype and was completed by bringing in Belkan engineers who were involved in the development of the original aircraft.
The ADFX-01 is categorized as a 4.5-generation fighter with multi-role capabilities. It could be said that its form, with the forward-swept wings and canards that are excellent at reducing drag at high angles of attack and large twin engines is an embodiment of the traditional Belkan ideology that puts an emphasis on dogfighting. Though it is very large for a fighter, it does not have internal weapon bays, but the four under-wing and four over-engine hardpoints allowed it to be equipped with heavy weapons like multi-purpose burst missiles (MPBM) and a tactical laser system (TLS) that were not able to be miniaturized at the time.
Though it is a pure canard aircraft with no stabilator in the rear for pitch control, it was very maneuverable. During its demo flight, unburdened by heavy weapons, it even performed a "cobra" post-stall maneuver and thrilled the spectators. Apparently this was unplanned and instead a tactful decision by the pilot, but I remember that the atmosphere clearly changed at the ceremony grounds when it happened.
The ADF program that had continuously sought the "ultimate answer" for fighter aircraft is right now, at a critical moment. It transforms as it responds to the times, sometimes taking the shape of a fighter jet, and has even shattered the very concept of war. As the aircraft, the genetic origin of these "answers" took flight, it almost seemed to be asking us once more, "what does it mean for humans to fly?"
There were also some observations and additional info as captions to the various photos of the model. For the demo flight:
-The ADFX-01 overtakes the F/A-18F camera plane, banks easily, then turns. Perhaps due to the forward-swept wings, it has a exceedingly high roll rate, and seems to have blended the stability of canards and instability of forward-swept wings quite well. -After the aerial refueling display, the ADFX-01 flies near the tanker once more per requests by journalists. It does not seem to be affected by the slipstream of the tanker, and was very stable with very little vertical movement. The tanker at the time was an Osean Air Defense Force KC-10 Extender. From shots taken from the boom operator's seat, it was clear that the gun port was on the upper surface of the nose, right behind the radome just like a F/A-18. The gun caliber is large at 30mm, and has the ability to make strafing runs on ground targets that is on par with attack aircraft. It goes without saying, but note the inward-canted vertical stabilizers and thick engine nacelles. -A picture taken right after the ADFX-01 took off. The reason the gear is still up at this altitude is so that it can perform a dirty roll. During this ~20 minute demo flight, it executed all kinds of maneuvers and gave a performance that showed it was not inferior to state-of-the-art fighters.
For the static display:
-The inward-canted vertical stabilizers have the effect of maintaining stealth characteristics as well as preventing turbulent flow from being generated when installed with large weapons such as the TLS unit. During the demo flight, it was observed that the flaps also move upwards, confirming that they act as elevators. -The demo aircraft was displayed as an untouched prototype that only had the primer undercoat, and gives the impression that it had time-traveled from the beginnings of its development. It has not been formally adopted by the Osean military, but there have been reports stating that due to its ability to carry immense payloads, a few had been produced and are being used as testbeds for new weapons development. -The oddly long nose (relative to the small wings) catches the eye, but this is to securely house the 30mm cannon. This design also allows the aircraft to remain stable at low altitude and high speed, and enhanced its ground attack capability as an aircraft with high wing loading. The tandem double-tire main landing gear was also used to allow it to operate from unmaintained, front-line runways, and this aircraft possesses excellent traits as an attacker.
These excerpts from Scale Aviation has been confirmed as official by Masato Kanno, and "can be considered [like those materials] from ACESweb."
Also many thanks to Twitter user @fofohg14 for providing images of the text.