posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 04:39 PM
a reply to: Northernhollow
That's why I left some of the really big classified platforms out of there, because they could well have been McD/Boeing/Northrop birds.
If I could conjecture at a Northrop "skunk" timeline, it would look something like this:
~1984: F-117 companion/successor to Tacit Blue/THAP
~1984: Low altitude penetrator/B-2 demonstrator
~1988-90: (and this is a wild guess, but I've got a strong hunch) SR-71 replacement. A low-risk, low-cost, supercruising stealth platform meant to
supplement the KH-11 and Quartz/AARS with a quick-responding ISR and possible ELINT/ECM capability. This aircraft was to the YF-23 what the A-12 was
to the YF-12, a black project that was brought into the light by a "fighter" variant. It's always seemed fishy to me that Northrop built what was
basically a stealth F-111 or A-5 (big, fast, long range, poor maneuverability, awful for a fighter but perfect for ISR/ELINT/ECM work) design to
compete for the ATF (where all of the early studies were hypermaneuverables a-la the SU-35 or the Typhoon) when Lockheed built a stealth F-15 with
thrust vectoring. This would explain why.
1990's are mostly quiet with B-2 construction/maintenance paying the bills
~1996: The YF-24, or more likely, what it flew against. Lockheed hates the navy, and if the USN had a secret fly-off for either an N-ATF follow-on
or a naval JST variant, it would have almost certainly been between Boeing/McD and Northrop.
2007: The RQ-180, which lines up excactly to when that new big hangar was built at Groom
~2013: The LRS-B competitor