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Blackfish
Arma3-render-blackfish
Faction NATO
Type VTOL Transport / Gunship
Seats All variants:
  • 1× Pilot
  • 1× Co-Pilot

Armed: 4 seats:

  • 2× Gunners

Infantry transport: 36 seats:

  • 2× Crew Chiefs
  • 32× Passengers

Vehicle transport: 4 seats:

  • 2× Crew Chiefs
Item capacity Max: 12000 kg
  • 64× Weapons
  • 256× Magazines
  • 64× Backpacks
Top speed ~ 538 km/h
Service ceiling ~ 8,350 m
Fuel capacity 1000 L
Primary armament Armed only:
  • 1× Minigun 20 mm
  • 1× Cannon 40 mm
  • 1× Cannon 105 mm
Secondary armament Targeting:
  • 1× Laser Designator

Defensive:

  • 240× Countermeasures (Flares/Chaff)
Variants Armed, Vehicle Transport, Infantry Transport
Games
Apex

The V-44X Blackfish is a VTOL transport aircraft that is used by Pacific NATO forces in ArmA 3. It was added with the release of the Apex DLC.

Overview

  • Roles:
    • Vehicle transport
    • Troop transport
    • Close air support
« The V-44X Blackfish’s third-generation tilt-rotor VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) technology allows this long endurance aircraft to conveniently utilize a wide range of airfields and runways. It also provides unparalleled maneuverability with its unique ability to perform pylon turns or merely hover in place. The huge internal storage allows for transportation of vehicles up to the size and weight of AMV-7 Marshall APC in the vehicle transport variant or up to 32 fully armed soldiers with supplies in the infantry transport variant. The storage space of the gunship variant is fully occupied by automated weapon stations and carried ammunition.
Field Manual
»

Design

The Blackfish is a multi-mission tiltrotor aircraft that uses one three-bladed proprotor, turboprop engines fitted on the end of each wing.

It has both VTOL and STOL capabilities; both for take off and landing, and can operate as a helicopter with the nacelles orientated vertical and rotors horizontal.

Features
It is is available in three variants; a dedicated gunship version that has multiple weapons mounted on it, and two transport variants that are designed to carry either infantry or vehicles (respectively).

Combining the flexibility of a rotary-wing helicopter and the speed of a fixed-wing jet, the Blackfish is a uniquely designed VTOL transport/gunship aircraft.

It can fulfil a variety of roles ranging from transporting troops or vehicles into battle, or providing persistent close air support as a (literal) flying gun turret. All variants also possess a nose-mounted targeting pod with an integrated laser designator which can be used to mark targets for friendly forces.

Notable Traits
Unlike its CSAT counterpart, it has a significantly greater cargo capacity and can carry twice as many troops or vehicles. In fact, a single Infantry-only Blackfish can paradrop up to thirty two soldiers into battle which is double the Y-32's maximum capacity.

Arma3-blackfish-01

Mediterranean NATO VTOLs en-route to their drop-off point. Note the nacelles being vectored upward, which allows the Blackfish to be controlled like a conventional helicopter.

This is almost four full-sized squads worth of NATO forces; an impressive feat that remains unmatched by any other aircraft or ground vehicle transport in ArmA 3.

Last but not least, it is the only Vehicle-in-Vehicle capable aircraft which can carry (most) medium-sized armoured vehicles like the AMV-7 Marshall IFV or the Rhino MGS tank destroyer.

It does not need to rely on slingloading to do so like most helicopters, which lowers the risk for the vehicle crew as they won't be exposed to dangers like anti-tank missiles/cannon fire while in transit.

Incidentally, by ferrying in IFVs like the Marshall, any NATO infantry squad in the field can be quickly reinforced and transformed into a mechanised unit; a capability which is exclusive to NATO only.

Drawbacks
The Blackfish consequently has poorer manoeuvrability and is slower due to both the size of the fuselage and its wings being longer. This also means that it is restricted from landing in areas that lack enough clearance (i.e. building rooftops, small forest clearings, etc.) lest the rotors be damaged from contact with structures or nature.

It also cannot defend itself while transporting either vehicles or infantry, as only the dedicated gunship variant of the Blackfish retains armament.

Lastly, the Blackfish's extremely large dimensions make it undisputedly the worst when it comes to remaining hidden from electronic sensors. With an extremely high base RCS rating, it can be detected on radar at 180% (160% on infrared/visually) of the opposing sensor's default maximum range.

A prime example of this in action would be flying against the AAF's A-143 Buzzard jet; the Buzzard's active radar only has a maximum range of 8 km by default. Against the Blackfish however, the former's location can be picked up by the Buzzard from almost 14.4 km away the moment the Blackfish's active radar is switched on. Needless to say, the Blackfish is not the most ideal aircraft for operations that require stealth.

Crew Capacity
The Blackfish always has at least a seating capacity of four regardless of the variant. This consists of both the pilot and co-pilot, and either two gunners in the case of the armed variant, or two flight engineers/crew chiefs for the transport variants.

Note that while the cockpit crew can swap seats with each other, they cannot switch to the back of the aircraft (and vice versa), and none of the cockpit crew are able to eject in flight. As such, the Blackfish is limited to deploying no more than thirty two paratroopers at a time.

Variants

Armed variant of the Blackfish. Has two gunners who remotely operate its weapon systems through control panels in front of their seats.

All three gun turrets are physically located on the left side of the aircraft, allowing both gunners to fire on targets simultaneously. The right door gunner operates the 40 mm cannon while the left door gunner operates the 20 mm minigun and the 105 mm howitzer.

  • The right door gunner with the 40 mm cannon has access to 160 rounds of armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS-T) and 240 general purpose rounds (GPR-T). The 40 mm cannon fires at a rate of 3 rounds per second, and can potentially expend its entire ammo supply within 2 minutes and 13 seconds.
  • In contrast, the left door gunner's minigun comes with 4,000 rounds of high explosive (HE) ammo, which it fires at a rate of 16.7 rounds per second, precisely fast enough to expend its entire ammo supply within four minutes of sustained firing. The left door gunner's howitzer comes with 100 rounds of high-explosive anti-tank multipurpose (HEAT-MP) ammunition and fires at a rate of up to one round every five seconds.

Unarmed variant. Its cargo space contains drop down seats fixed on both sides of the compartment. It is optimised to carry up to thirty two passengers but cannot airlift any vehicles.

Another unarmed variant. Unlike the infantry-only variant, this variant's cargo space lacks seating and is instead optimised to airlift ground vehicles instead.

Camouflage

All three variants have access to the same camouflage options:

  • Olive: Pattern-less olive green paint scheme. Can be universally employed, but is more suited to tropical and and forested environments to help it blend in with ground clutter.
  • Blue: Two-tone pattern-less scheme that combines medium blue and gunship grey paint colours. Designed to blend the aircraft in with the sky as opposed to hiding it from above.

Sensors

The Blackfish's sensors are meant to enhance its survivability against both air and ground threats, while augmenting its role as an air-to-ground fire support platform in the case of the armed variant:

Arma3-blackfish-sensors

Teal = Active Radar
Orange = IRST
Green = Visual

Active Radar

It has an active radar range of 7 km against aerial targets and 4 km against ground targets. Azimuth/elevation coverage is limited to 240 and 110 degrees.

The radar has an elevation offset of 35 degrees. Targets can be identified once they move within 3 km range of the Blackfish.

Infrared Search and Track/Visual Sensor

Both IRST and visual sensors have a maximum detection range of 4 km against aerial targets and 3 km against ground targets. Azimuth/elevation coverage for both sensors is limited to an angle of 45 and 35 degrees (respectively) and have a minimum operating range of 500 m.

Both sensors are located inside the FLIR pod's camera which is placed beneath the nose of the Blackfish and is controlled by the co-pilot. It detects targets independently of the aircraft's heading.

The identity of their targets will be recognised once the Blackfish is within 2 km distance from them. Each sensor can only track targets that are moving at speeds of up to 270 km/h.

Radar Warning Receiver/Passive Radar

The RWR has a 360 degree detection radius and a target recognition range of 12 km.

Laser Spot Tracker

The LST can acquire laser marked targets within a full radius of 360 degrees horizontally, but is vertically restricted to just 120 degrees.

The sensor itself also has an elevation offset of 30 degrees.

Vehicle-in-Vehicle Transport

The vehicle transport variant has room for internal vehicle storage and can transport:

  • Quadbikes (4 max)
  • Prowlers (armed/unarmed, 2 max)
  • UGVs (armed/unarmed, 2 max)
  • Hunters (unarmed only, 1 max + 1 quad bike)
  • Civilian cars, vans, and trucks (Maximums: 2 cars, or 1 light truck/van + 1 quad bike, or 1 heavy (Zamak) truck)
  • Offroads (all variants, 1 max + 1 quad bike)
  • AMV-7 Marshalls (1 max)
  • HEMTT trucks (1 max, and base truck only, not the repair/medical/fuel/ammo/transport variants)
  • Zamak trucks (1 max, all variants)
  • Striders (All variants, 1 max + 1 quad bike)
  • Utility Drones (All variants, 7 max)
  • Rhino MGS (Both variants, 1 max)

The Blackfish has a wider range of vehicles it can transport than the vehicle transport variant of the Y-32, and is able to carry two passengers in addition to its pilot and copilot. Vehicles can also be paradropped from the Blackfish at altitudes exceeding 100 meters. However, the vehicle transport Blackfish is unarmed and relies upon other vehicles to protect it in combat.

For comparison, the infantry transport Blackfish has room for 34 passengers in addition to the pilot and copilot. The 30 passengers in the back are able to parachute out of the vehicle while in flight. This variant is also unarmed.

It should also be noted that small UAVs such as the Utility Drone will be ejected from the Blackfish with parachutes rather than immediately flying.

Trivia

  • The Blackfish appears to be based on an enlarged version of the real-life Bell Boeing "V-22 Osprey" currently in use by both the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force.
    • The rotor propulsion system on the other hand, seems to be based on the "V-280 Valor". The Valor is another tiltrotor aircraft design intended to replace the venerable "UH-60 Black Hawk" as part of the U.S. Army/U.S. Navy Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. Like the V-22, it is also designed by Bell Helicopters (a subsidiary of Textron) but in partnership with Lockheed Martin instead.
  • According to the CTRG Group 15 member Salvo in the Apex Protocol campaign, the Blackfish seemingly has a notorious reputation for being unsafe to ride in as he calls it a "deathtrap".
  • The Blackfish is second only to the LST troop transport ship in ArmA: Cold War Assault passenger capacity-wise.

Gallery

External links

See also

Aircraft of comparable role and configuration