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Know Your Plane #8 | ADF-01 Falken (Ace Combat)

December 3, 2019


This episode of the Know Your Plane series
will cover ADF-01 Falken, one of the most iconic and oldest original aircraft in the
Ace Combat series. But don’t let the Falken’s old age deceive
you because this air dominance fighter from the 90s has some cutting edge technology:
it’s the first plane to feature a full COFFIN system, meaning the aircraft has no canopy
and the pilot sees the outside via cameras and sensors, while at the same time the plane
could be flown by artificial intelligence instead of a pilot. To make the Falken even more powerful, its
armament includes an improved version of the TLS and the capability of shooting missiles
backwards. Now prior to talking about the Falken’s
development history and specifications let’s briefly cover the Falken’s appearances in the
context of the Ace Combat series. The first original fighter aircraft designed
by Project Aces debuted in 1997 with the release of Ace Combat 2. There were two aircraft, the XFA-27 which
was playable, and the ADF-01 Falken which appeared only as bonus final boss – you didn’t
really have to fight against it to finish the story mode. But in Ace Combat 2’s remake: Ace Combat
3D Cross Rumble, (also known as Assault Horizon Legacy) the Falken was the final boss aircraft
in the last mission of the game therefore making its appearance canon. However for the rest of the games where Falken
appears: Ace Combat 5, Zero, X, Joint Assault, Infinity and 7, the Falken only appears as
a bonus aircraft and isn’t featured as a main story point. Now let’s get on with the history of the
ADF-01 which can be traced to Belka’s initiative to produce a new-generation fighter back in
1985. This was the beginning of the ADF family which
stands for Advanced Dominance Fighter. The company in charge of the project was the
South Belka Munitions Factory, a government-owned company. With the economic difficulties that threatened
Belka in the late 1980s and early 1990s the progress on the project was rather slow due
to insufficient funding and only two prototypes for the next generation fighter were built
by the late stages of the Belkan War of 1995. These prototypes were the ADFX-01 and ADFX-02,
both known as Morgan. I have already made an episode on the Morgan
that you can check out right here but what you need to know is that roughly speaking,
the Morgan has similar design compared to the Falken but it really lacked the technological
advancements that made the Falken so distinctive. In the aftermath of the Belkan War a rebel
organization stole one of the Morgans and used it on their last stand over the Avalon
Dam V2 launch facility. Although the Morgan was flown by a skilled
rebel pilot known as Pixy, he was defeated by the ace pilot of the allied forces after
an epic duel which brought the revolt to an end. Although shot down, the remains of Pixy’s
ADFX-02 proved invaluable to the Belka South Munitions Factory which was now a private company based in North Osea and known simply as Grunder Industries. Technicians from Grunder Industries were able
to find, retrieve and analyze the data from the downed ADFX-02 and use that data to evaluate
and improve the ADF design. The new design became what we now know as
the Falken, but it doesn’t stop there because after the Belkan War the ADF project was merged
with super secret Z.O.E. (Zone of Endless) project. You see, after the Belkan War the Belkan Air
Force suffered severe casualties and due to the country’s low population and scarce
number of qualified pilots, emphasis was put on advanced AI becoming more common in fighter
jets to eventually replace manned flights, this is what the Zone of Endless project was
trying to accomplish. The details on the Falken’s development
are hard to find but what we do know is that it progressed rapidly that a flying model
was operational by the year of 1998 and here’s where the story gets interesting. In that year an armed coup was taking place
over the continent of Usea where rebel forces took control of most of the continent in the
early stages. Taking advantage of the situation, most likely
due to the connections a covert pro-Belkan group known as the Grey Men, Grunder Industries
sent some aircraft to take part in the conflict as a secret experiment. Their goals were to first gather combat data
for the Zone of Endless project and to test the performance and capabilities of the Falken
in a real combat, the experiment was so secret that even the rebel forces didn’t know the
Z.O.E. aircraft, painted on a very distinguishable red colour, were on their side.>>>>>The first sorties were with unmanned lower-performance aircraft such as the F-14 or F-18 and they were purely for the purposes of gathering
combat data, if the aircraft got too damaged they would automatically withdraw from combat. As more data was gathered and the AI was able
to improve itself, more advanced aircraft such as the YF-23 and the F-15S/MTD were deployed. From here on Z.O.E. aircraft were programmed
to fight until the end. A mercenary ace known as Phoenix was capable
of destroying the Z.O.E. aircraft and changing the tide of the war in the continent, but
his last opponent was waiting for him. What is believed to be only combat sortie
of the ADF-01 Falken took place over North Point on September 18, 1998. The Falken controlled by the Zone of Endless
AI was tasked with defending Fortress Intolerance from the allied forces’ attempt to destroy
it before ICBMs were launched. With the vast amount of data that had been
captured and analyzed throughout the war and with limiters turned off, as the craft was
unmanned and therefore did not have to concern itself with stress on the pilot’s body,
the Falken faced the leader of the Scarface Squadron, Phoenix. A ferocious battle followed, however Phoenix
emerged victorious and destroyed the Falken deployed by Grunder Industries. But this is not where the Falken’s history
ends. 12 years later Grunder Industries sold the
Falken to the Yuktobanian Union, again likely due to the influence of the Grey Men, in order
to help the Yuktobanian War effort against Osea. By that time Osea had already invaded Yuktobania
and this could be Grunder’s chance of balancing the war while making some more money out of
it. It’s unknown how many Falken’s were sold
to Yuktobania and it appears that they were still being assembled during the conflict
and never saw any operational deployment. The invading Osean forces were able to find
the Falken’s blueprints around Yuktobania and when stormed Grunder’s Headquarters
in Sudentor in the closing stages of the Circum Pacific War. Osea was then able to complete at least one
Falken and became the first air force to operate one. The Falken flew together with the Morgan and
Wyvern in an airshow over November city in the year of 2011 thus bringing the Falken’s
history to an end. When it comes to performance, the best way
to describe the Falken is as an improvement to the Morgan which was already a very potent
aircraft. At the expense of armour, the improved design
made the Falken more agile and stealthier. Unlike the Morgan which carried missiles externally,
the Falken accommodates missiles in internal weapons bays located on the outer side of
each of the engines. The most notable difference between the two
craft is the lack of a canopy as the Falken was the first aircraft to feature a full Connection
For Flight Interface, known simply as the COFFIN system. When manned, the pilot is able to see the
outside of the craft using the 16 sensors and cameras located all around the craft’s
would-be canopy. These sensors get everything from infrared
to visible light to radio waves which are displayed in hexagons inside the cockpit thus
giving the pilot the ultimate situational awareness during combat. However it is important to note, the Falken
still had to be controlled with physical or voice inputs from its pilots because the Electro-Neuron-Synapse-Interface system, which connects the pilot’s brain to the aircraft, had not been developed yet. But since all data was digital as it came
from sensors, the craft could be flown autonomously with the Zone of Endless AI from Grunder Industries
that is capable of interpreting the data and learning from each flight. Another major difference between both aircraft
is related to the new Tactical Laser System. Advances in laser technology allowed for the
miniaturization of the laser emitting device which was now stowed inside the aircraft below
what would be the cockpit. Even though it is smaller, the new TLS is
more powerful and has a longer range also thanks to the improved sensors found in the
aircraft. In order to fire the TLS, the nose of the
aircraft opens to create a direct line between the TLS and the target. Apart from using the TLS, the regular missiles
and the gun, the Falken can also be equipped with externally-mounted air-to-air missiles
or fuel air explosive bombs which defeat the Falken’s stealth. But when it comes to defence capabilities,
that is where the Falken truly shines. Besides the ability to carry flares to deceive
incoming enemy missiles, the Falken is equipped with potent jamming hardware capable of disrupting
enemy missile lock momentarily and also able to create several ghost targets on the enemy’s
HUD. Should the enemy pursue the Falken from close
range, the Falken can shoot missiles backwards in addition to a rear-firing gun. And yet, if these countermeasures are not
enough the Falken still retains superb maneuverability and can easily perform post-stall maneuvers
to dodge enemy missiles or to obtain an advantageous position in a dogfight. The ADF-01 Falken has 24 meters in length,
a wingspan of 15.92 metres, a height of 5.64 metres and it weighs 23.3 tons. It is powered by two Grunder Industries WWX-GD-425
2D thrust vectoring engines that enable it to reach Mach 2.2 or roughly 2,695 km/h. Although the Falken’s range and endurance
is classified, it can also perform aerial refueling via the flying boom system for long-range
missions. All in all, the Falken is an extremely advanced
fighter in both offensive and defensive capabilities. It is only disadvantage among the super fighters
is its relatively high weight which drags down its mobility, but the craft is definitely
a fierce opponent in the combat area. This brings me to the end of this episode
of Know Your Plane and if you’re interested in more lore about other aircraft both from
Ace Combat and real life you can check this playlist right here with even more episodes. And if you want to support the channel there
will also be a link to my merch store with some very cool jet designs. Anyway, thank you for watching and I will
see you in the next episode!

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