1/48 Freedom Models – X-47B UCAS

Gallery Article by P.B. on Nov 30 2017

 

      

“MQAR-47C UCAS “Lone Wolf”

These are my thoughts and not a kit review: This Freedom Models X-47B UCAS kit is very impressive to say the least: in terms of size, the aircraft is a beast; the quality of the kit and plastics is very good, molding, detailing, and options, etc. The number of parts is not overwhelming, and well dispersed and solid. The kit manufacturer even produced 2 separate front landing gears: one for catapult launch vs. one for stowed (which is a nice touch). The kit also provides the option of either deployed wings version vs. stowed version, which has additional parts to assemble for the mechanism on each wing. Overall, it is an impressive kit, and highly enjoyable to build. 

Origin designation: X-47B UCAS
My designation: MQAR-47C UCAS (Block 3) “Lone Wolf”

I am converting this X-47B UCAS into an operational UCAS, specifically as US Air Force, designation: MQAR-47C (Multi-mission, drone, Air-to Ground Attack, and Reconnaissance) for theatre deployment. Since it is the only one of its kind, with no specific wing or squadron, on its down-time and as operational strike training I’m attaching it to the VX-9 detachment (hence the “Vampires” markings), based out of Edwards AFB. But due to the MQAR-47C officially belonging to USAF, and because it has attributes of stealth, first-strike and/or deterrence capability, it can be called for urgent theatre operations under Global Strike Command. Tail number is AF 001.

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Weapons/ordnance
This UCAS has 2 weapons bays, large enough to fit a GBU-31/32 in each bay, so in many ways it seems perfect for multiple payload carrier with a balance of ordnance: 

  • In bay 1, is a baseline JDAM GBU-32 (the kit provides 2 bombs); My scratch-built addition to this is a DAMASK terminal seeker at the nose tip (explanation of DAMASK system: target template picture can be chosen by the UCAS in-flight sensors and downloaded in real-time into the DAMASK for correlation and trajectory adjustment, with end product is a more precise strike (approx. 1-3m CEP); 

  • In bay 2, I made scratch-built an air-launched cruise missile similar design to an AGM-86 ALCM. The idea is for the UCAS to be able to strike at a distance with the cruise missile at a key radar/air defence installation or C2 installation, or to gain access into a restricted airspace or dense air defense network, by creating a diversion with the cruise missile, and while in a low profile, seek to separately strike with the GBU-32 bomb at a primary target.

Block 3 conversion
Under Block 3, this is a land-based version of the aircraft, (I covered the tailhook bay, and retracted the catapult launch-bar located on the front landing gear). Also under Block 3, improvement of electronics with fitting of SAR sensor node and infrared jammer node (both scratch-built) and are located under the nose. A folding refuelling arm (also scratch-built) is added.

Build note: At assembly, I found one natural gap at the junction area between the nose and the front topside of the engine intake well, so this required some putty. My configuration is gear down, main gear forward half-well covers are closed. Also, I found the gear wells very bare/empty, so I added some details inside the landing gear wells (mostly fluid lines/cables). 

Paint scheme
Main colour is navy aggressor grey, and vertical stab fins are gunship grey. Some but not all decals are from the kit, and I used low vis emblems from another kit, and I decided against some main fuselage “no step” line markings, but to keep “no step” in designated areas. Kit has English mistakes in decals (“be were exhaust” obviously should be “beware exhaust” so that was left out). Shading was done where I think most realistic, including on moving ailerons, flaperons, airbrakes, exhaust ports, etc, all in view to give realism to the aircraft as an operational aircraft (compared to factory-new).

P.B.

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Photos and text © by P.B.