F-19 Black Eagle Stealth Fighter
Country of Origin: United States
Armament: 11,000 ILBS of Ordnance
-AIM-9 Sidewinder Missiles (External Hard Points)
-CBU-100 Cluster Bombs
- BLU-107/B Durandal
- GBU-10 Paveway II
-GBU-12 Paveway II
-AGM-88 HARM (External Hard Points)
In the mid-1960s a Soviet mathematician published a paper that determined that radar cross sections of aircraft weren’t so much a result of size as their configuration of its edges. He suggested that one could design an aircraft to properly reflect and reduce radar; you could make an aircraft ‘stealthy’. However such a design was inherently unstable. While the Soviet military in the boom of its rearmament took note of the information it was deemed unusable at the time. The paper did make it the United States, where aircraft designers took note of the idea. Similar research was conducted during the Second World War by the Allies, mostly with the idea of flying wings. Despite the best efforts of American and German designers, the flying wing was unstable. The idea of stealth aircraft would sit on the backburner for most of the 1960s.
Aircraft designers during this time watched as the development of surface to air missiles accelerated. Germany led the field followed quickly by the European powers. Russia too followed suit and was the first to test their SAM designs under battlefield conditions. SA-2 and even more advanced SA-6 mobile systems were used in the Libyan-Egyptian conflict. It was very disconcerting to American companies to see their aircraft suffer heavily at the hands of Soviet SAMs. Various defense experts began to wonder if SAM systems were rapidly rendering modern aircraft obsolete. Air superiority was the backbone of American military operations. In a conflict with Japan, Europe, or the rebirthed Soviet Union, losing air supremacy terrified more than few Pentagon staffers.
By the early 1970s however computer flight control technology had advanced. These new control systems would make keeping aircraft airborne would be easier and boost performance. Lockheed, an inventor of aircraft designs pulled the old information about stealth out of storage and wondered if an actual aircraft was possible. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded Lockheed with a portion of its ‘black budget’ to research the possibility. This resulted in a small scale model called the ‘Hopeless Diamond’. Taken to the secretive Groom Lake testing facility in Nevada, the Diamond was placed on stand and subjected to radar sweeps. At first the Lockheed people were disappointed, noting a large radar return. However after a few moments it was realized the return came from the pole the model aircraft was on. Once it was factored out, the results were amazing. The model had the radar cross section (RCS) of a bird. From this successful test DARPA contracted Lockheed’s infamous ‘Skunk Works’ to build prototype aircraft as a Black Project called Have Blue.
Have Blue lead to two prototype aircraft which were built with off the shelf components. Both planes utilized new computer controlled flight systems and this kept them airborne as predicted. With the technology now proven on both a concept and practical level, DARPA and the Air Force awarded Lockheed a contract to begin producing the ‘Stealth Fighter’. The Have Blue design was improved and production began in 1972. Pilot training for the new fighter was highly classified. The first pool of pilots was in fact not even briefed on what they were training to operate. Eventually the pilots were briefed in and truly began to explore the capabilities of their stealth aircraft in exercises at Groom Lake Air Force Base. The first squadron was known as the 415th Tactical Fighter Squadron and went active in July of 1974.
The new Stealth Fighter was designated the F-19 Black Eagle. It was a bit of a joke on the part of the Pentagon, the stealth ‘black’ version of the F-15 Eagle. An actual comparison between the two reveals the major differences. The F-15 is a high speed, highly maneuverable, and effective interceptor. Despite its name of a fighter, the F-19 is more akin to a fighter-bomber with an emphasis on the latter. Its initial primary mission was the precision application of new laser guided bombs. To accomplish this, the Black Eagle has a crew of two. In the nose is a powerful all weather camera with a built in laser designator. For a full stealth profile the LGBs would be carried in the internal bomb bay. The Air Force however wanted the F-19 to be able to defend itself as well from enemy aircraft as well as carry heavier loads. To accomplish this, external hard points can be added. Although this makes the Black Eagle less stealthy (the sloping and angle of the wings helps the design) it does give it more punch.
Typical air to air armament is AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. Eventually a new attack profile was developed by F-19 pilots as a result. During war games out in the Nevada desert, one F-19 crew was able to close within missile range of an E-3 Sentry AWACS. The pilots suggested that using the right approach and tactics a Black Eagle could eliminate an enemy AWACS with little warning. The F-19 had the ability to launch and fire Sparrow air to air missiles but the pilots eventually decided it was more of a hindrance than an advantage. The radar homing missile required radiating, which broadcasted their location. Over a period of a few years the F-19s worked out the best attack profile for their aircraft. Many pilots came from the low level penetrating F-111. The F-19 would adopt a similar approach, eventually rising to deliver its bomb load.
One task the F-19 crews trained for but didn’t relish was that of nuclear strike. Ever since the first use of nuclear weapons during the Second World War, the various powers had developed nuclear arsenals. America, the European Alliance, and Empire of Japan all had stockpiles of nuclear bombs by 1975, in the low hundreds. American testing had allowed for the development of smaller nuclear devices that could go atop missiles, the Minutemen. Despite this advantage the U.S. maintained a force of nuclear capable bombers. The F-19 was seen as the ultimate last shot guarantee. With its ability to penetrate enemy IADS, the F-19 could theoretically reach any target in the world with in range. Two B-61 Nuclear Bombs could be carried by the F-19.
The start of the Third World War in 1975 saw the F-19s trial by fire. Soviet intelligence had sketchy reports about the F-19. USAF efforts to keep the plane secret had some success, but American aviation enthusiasts had long staked out Groom Lake AFB. They knew some sort of secret aircraft existed. The KGB also knew about the plane but lacked hard data on its capabilities. As a result on D-Day they made a concerted effort to destroy Groom Lake with SS-20V3 missiles and a Long Range Aviation strike by Tu-26 Kirov Bombers. The USAF however kept only a few Black Eagles at Groom Lake most were deployed to other airbases in the American West. By the first night of war, the F-19s went into action.
F-19s provided reconnaissance information during the early days of the war. Eventually they went into their strike roles, hitting Soviet targets as they advanced. Initially they focused on Soviet bases in Mexico and Cuba. Using a mix of precision weapons and conventional ordnance they began to hamper Soviet air bases and logistics. Russian efforts to counter the Black Eagles were frustrating. Even their most modern radar systems had trouble tracking the F-19s. Soviet defenses though claimed four Black Eagles during the first months of war. The Black Eagle played a major role in the opening air battle during Operation Last Chance, the U.S. counterattack in Illinois. Four F-19s sunk through Soviet radar and shot down their airborne radar platforms. The loss of airborne control combined with a secondary strike by Black Eagles on ground based systems through the Soviet air defenses off balance. USAF fighters and strike aircraft were able to gain control of the airspace over the battlefield and hammer Soviet troops in the field.
The success of Operation Last Chance resulted in the nuclear attack on Chicago. In retaliation President Dugan ordered a nuclear attack against a Soviet facility in Cuba. Since the Minutemen ICBMs had been destroyed along with a large number of B-52s, the attack order fell to the F-19s. Four Black Eagles were involved in the mission although only two carried nuclear ordnance. While other USAF and USN aircraft distracted the Soviets, the two F-19s took out the radar nets around Cienfuegos. One back up plane stood guard in case the first was shot down. The attack plane succeeded, delivering both B-61s against the Soviet naval base and air base. Both weapons exploded with 350 kilotons of force, destroying both targets and nearly all of Cienfuegos. The horrific attack is not answered by the Soviets, with them accepting the American revenge. Luckily none of the F-19 crews conducted further strikes during the war (the other remaining nuclear attacks were carried out by other aircraft or missiles).
Production of the F-19 was continued during the war but slowed by Soviet efforts to destroy the production facilities. A total of 70 stealth fighters would be produced during the war, with twenty-three being shot down. Three of the losses occurred during Operation Dark Knight, the famous raid on the Soviet missile bases which guaranteed European entry into the war. For the first year of World War III, Europe had to keep its assistance to the United States covert. While Britain and Germany pushed for more overt help, France and the other European Alliance members weren’t as gung ho. The Soviets deployment of nuclear missiles, the deadly and accurate SS-20s in eastern Russia, threatened their major cities and their nuclear deterrence forces. While the Europeans had a thriving space industry, they had not deployed nuclear warhead tipped ICBMs. The Soviet missiles were accurate enough to destroy their major airbases where the British, German, and French nuclear bombers were located. If the Europeans were going to enter the war, those SS-20s had to go.
In one of the largest Special Operations missions ever launched, a combination of U.S. SEALs, British SAS, and U.S. Army Rangers were set to attack the silos, Soviet air defenses, and command bunkers. American aircraft including F-19s participated. The Black Eagles had the job of knocking out Soviet command bunkers for both their air defense systems and missile command. Combined with conventional attacks, the Black Eagles would pave the way for the Special Forces. Twenty F-19s were committed to the operation and performed brilliantly even though three aircraft were lost. The Soviet air defenses were knocked back and even if Moscow had issued launch orders, the SS-20s couldn’t launch with the loss of their command bunkers. Operation: Dark Knight was a success and two weeks later the European Alliance declared war on the Soviet Union.
The Black Eagle would continue to serve with distinction during the war. They participated in the major offensives in the United States that led to the liberation of the country. Ten would be stationed in Europe as the Alliance launched its invasion of the Ukraine and liberated the country. Those ten F-19s would later be committed to the Battle of Moscow. The coup by KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov against General Secretary Romanov late in the war triggered a black lash by the Red Army. A few heroic Soviet commanders joined forces to overthrow the KGB and put an end to the war. They required Allied assistance though. A joint American-European force with rebel Russian troops attacked Moscow and defeated the elite 2nd Black Guards Tank Division units defending the city. F-19s were able to provide support and knock out a Loyalist air base near the city. Together the Soviets and Americans captured Romanov who was under house arrest in the Kremlin. Yuri who escaped KGB Headquarters was later killed when Allied forces destroyed his hideout in Romania.
The F-19 was kept in service till 1989 when it was replaced by newer stealth aircraft. As a result it never flew against Japanese during the Pacific War. Currently all remaining models of the F-19 Black Eagle are either in ‘legacy storage’ or on display.
Okay so here is my take on the Black Eagle. Now before you ask, why isn't this a Republic of Korea fighter, well in my version of Red Alert there is no ROK. The Japanese Empire lasts till the 1990s so Korea wouldn't be freed till the Pacific War (my version of Red Alert 3). So I took it and made it into a fictional stealth fighter for the USAF.
Most of this is inspired by the first ideas people had of early Stealth Aircraft. Tom Clancy had a similar aircraft in Red Storm Rising, which inspired this design. The looks come from an old toy of mine I haven't quite been able to get rid of. The first plane is pretty much in classic black stealth while the bottom one has a paint scheme inspired by the Have Blue planes, the original prototype for the F-117. Most of the fake history for the Black Eagle comes from the real life history of the F-117.