Dart Jet has unveiled a new training aircraft concept that it believes answers the needs of future military pilot training but at reduced development and maintenance cost, and with increased export potential, compared with current designs. The company is now seeking investment and partners to take the concept into detailed design and engineering.
Developed by Tristan Crawford with input from RAF pilots, UK Trade & Investment and Fielding Aerospace Consultants, the Dart is a modular system that employs a core common fuselage and center wing box, to which can be added wings, cockpit, engine, empennage and landing gear applicable to the intended role and customer requirements. The single-engined Dart can be powered by a range of widely available engines in the 3,500- to 6,200-pound-thrust range.
In basic trainer form, the Dart is envisioned with a straight wing of 34.4-foot span and straight tailplanes, a maximum take-off weight of around 7,700 pounds and a top speed of 350 knots. When fitted with the 30.5-foot span swept wing and tailplane module for advanced training duties, the aircraft has an mtow of around 11,000 pounds and top speed of Mach 0.90. The advanced Dart version is planned with full virtual training and high angle-of-attack capabilities.
By employing a modular approach, Dart Jet aims to reduce development costs, with 90 percent of the airframe, cockpit and systems being common to both versions. Dart Jet expects to employ companies with particular expertise from outside the traditional aerospace world, such as those involved in Formula 1 racing, to develop some non-critical elements. The modular nature of the design could also simplify the assignment of offset contracts for export.