The Python Conquest is a perfect example of an aerial engineering marvel. While other forward-swept wing (FSW) aircraft languish in the prototype stage, the Conquest was successful enough to be approved for regular military use. The Joe team is just fortunate enough to have this multirole fighter and reap the benefits of its layered epoxy, honeycomb FSWs: less drag, shorter takeoff length, and greatly enhanced maneuverability.
Unloaded, the Conquest only weighs 24,000 lbs gross, but with a 7,000-lb warload mounted onto 11 hardpoints, the maximum weight that it can fly is 31,000 lbs. Even when fully loaded, its twin “Liftoff” 25K thrust turbofan engines still let it reach speeds of up to Mach 2.42 (1,600 mph) and a combat radius of 1,200 mi. In addition to the 11K internal fuel tank under the engine compartment, there are two Mk 3 “Pike” IRGB wing tanks that each carry 300 gal of extra fuel to boost the operational range by 40%. The fuselage is constructed from carbon fiber and other advanced materials, so it does not buckle under high g-force maneuvers. It also has an X-tail design.
Offensive capabilities include twin “Double Blast” 25mm Vulcan cannons with 750 rounds each, antitank cluster bombs, and four underwing AIM-12 “Light Sparrow” AAMs. Targeting is aided by an LRMTS installed under the nose. The X-30 is outfitted with an EW suite that is one of the most sophisticated in the world and remains one of the most closely guarded secrets. Nevertheless, it is known to integrate internal passive and active jammers as well as built-in chaff and flare dispensers.
The Conquest has “bogey” threat warning sensors and electro-optical sensors embedded in the ventral airframe, along with radar warning receivers in the bottom tail surfaces and ECM transceivers in the tail fins. The nose comes with an APG-65 radar which acts as a multimode sensor for air-to-air and ground-attack ops. The glass cockpit has multimode full color displays, HOTAS, a HUD laser guidance system, and a blastproof canopy that tilts rearward. The pilot's bio-form “slantback” ejection seat is also amazingly ergonomic, allowing the maximum working condition to perform aerial feats. Right and foreward of the cockpit, mounted on the fuselage in a recessed bay, is the in-flight-refueling probe.
However, the key to the X-30's success is its “relaxed stability”, meaning it relies on 3 computer black boxes using an FBW flight control system to continually make micro-adjustments to its inertial navigation in order to correct the warplane's inherent instability.
- Grumman X-29 - Wikipedia article on the plane the Conquest X-30 is based upon.