XF-04A Concept Fighter
Digital Art / Drawings / Technical Drawings ©2010 ~daisukekazama
The beauty you see before you here is the XF-04A '霽月' ('Seigetsu' - 'clear moon') air superiority fighter - a concept warplane designed by yours truly.
This is the digitized version of a rough sketch that I did a while ago. I only got around to scanning and Photoshopping the original sketch recently - schoolwork and college applications taking their toll.
While you're here, check out the colored versions... they're infinitely nicer-looking than this plain old boring gray bird here.
JASDF over-water camouflage scheme
JASDF low-visibility air superiority camouflage scheme
JASDF standard gray scheme
The XF-04 is the fruit of the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF)'s 'Next-Generation Air Superiority Fighter Development Project (次期制空戦闘機開発計画「霽月」)' - a classified Ministry of Defense program to develop a truly domestic fighter to be deployed to select units of the JASDF. Developed in absolute secrecy, the XF-04 saw its first flight in 2017. In 2019, the XF-04 - now designated the F-04A - officially entered service with the JASDF.
The XF-04A/F-04A is a 5.5th-generation fighter. Its stealth capabilities and agility are on par or even superior to that of 5th-generation fighters such as the F-22, EF-2000, and Su-47. It makes maximum use of 5th-generation technologies perfected in the F-3A fighter (formerly 'ATD-X,' already in service with the JASDF as of 2013), including Conformal Radar/SmartSkin technology, helmet-mounted avionics displays, electrooptical targeting systems, multidimensional thrust vectoring systems, EMP-hardened wireless avionics, and speech recognition controls.
The XF-04 also incorporates several revolutionary, never-before-seen technologies. The cockpit has no joystick - the aircraft is controlled by means of a wireless 'glove' with several dozen motion sensors synched to the aircraft's avionics software. Furthermore, the XF-04's entire canopy is a holographic display screen, capable of displaying data about the combat environment around the aircraft (terrain data, estimated enemy movements, positions and strengths of allied units) in real time. The aircraft also boasts a high-end 128-bit AI system, capable - to a degree - of predicting enemy movements and proposing attack plans on the canopy display.
These features render the F-04 tremendously expensive to produce - a whopping 120 million dollars (11 billion Japanese yen) per unit. As such, the production-model F-04 has been deployed exclusively to squadron leaders and elite pilots in select units of the JASDF as an accompaniment to the less expensive F-3 fighter.
The '0' in the aircraft's designation (F-04) was inserted to avoid confusion with the F-4EJ Phantom fighter-bombers formerly in service with the JASDF. The same 'zero,' combined with the aircraft's astonishing performance, has led to the F-04 being dubbed 'The Zero's Second Coming (ゼロの再来)' among military aviation enthusiasts.
This thing took a helluva long time to make. I began with the scanned sketch I linked above. I then traced the thing in Photoshop with vectors. I made two sets of paths: one with the outline of each individual 'part' (TVC paddles, canards, wing surfaces), and one straightforward trace of every line in the sketch. I had to make the cockpit from scratch. I then 'filled' the outlines with a synthetic metal texture I made - except for the cockpit, which took hours, that was fairly simple. Since the image looked pretty flat, I used a non-destructive burn/dodge (i.e. Overlay layer) trick to add some shading and depth to the fuselage and cockpit. Finally, I changed the color of the hatch-thingies in the fuselage, added grooves, stuck on a canopy, and took out the lineart. I'm pretty satisfied with the result.