a reply to: Zaphod58
While we're derailing this thread (with no survivors), I've got another piece of speculation, this time about the artichoke.
Since, regardless of who built it, the Companion has been suggested to have an outlandish and yet still quite advanced radar-evading shape, that makes
me think it's design is in the same vein as the Tacit Blue, a contoured craft with an outlandish fuselage/wing/empennage layout.
That got me thinking about the artichoke.
If it even existed, all signs have pointed to it being a very Echo-1 looking craft, only with it's highly unconventional tail layout. Which got me
thinking about why a craft would need such an outlandish trailing edge.
So my speculation now is whether the artichoke had anything to do with the ATA competition. The biggest challenge, and one of the things that
ultimately sunk that project, was the issue of making a carrier-capable stealth craft using 80's technology, which had never been applied to anything
with such an emphasis on large control surfaces and low-speed lift.
Northrop proposed their 1/2 scale ATB with thick wings for low-speed lift, and General Dynamics/McDonnell Douglas proposed a spanloader, but both of
their earlier stealth demonstrators were RAM-and-contour designs, whose engineering language translated well to flying wings and spanloader.
Now in the early to mid-80s when the ATA project was germinating, Lockheed was still relying on Echo-1 for their (gray/white world) designs like the
Senior Peg, and that bird proved how difficult it was to design a faceted flying wing.
Now all indications are that the artichoke was F-111 sized, so is it possible that the artichoke serrations were part of an attempt by Lockheed to
develop an F-117 descendant for the ATA competition, with the serrations serving as a way of adding the necessary control surface area to an
F-117-derived design while maintaining all-aspect stealth with 80's technology?