Obviously this is a Lockheed design, but I think it is relevant to this conversation considering that the proposed variant for the F-117 fulfills many
of the aforementioned requirements of the companion craft. It is also easier to preserve the confidentiality of an aircraft from the same family than
a radically different platform. I may be way off, but this aircraft proposal received very serious consideration before disappearing.
I also think that the F-15 SE or a modified variant could be the companion craft if it could do the job well enough.
The Teledyne photos and boeing XX proposals are quite interesting as well. It would be amazing if it turned out to be the f-19 all along. This topic
of the companion craft has fascinated me for quite some time.
The following info on the SeaHawk is from f-117a.com. I know that the timeline on this info doesn't quite match up with the gulf war, but it could
have already been in the works, with the proposal being a ploy to garner more funding and bring it out of the black.
Shorty after Desert Storm offered the US Navy a minimally changed F-117A as the F-117N. (Reported in the September 13, 1993 Aviation Week, pg. 96)
Inherent structural features of the F-117A fuselage enable it to be effectivly modified specifically for Navy use. The F-117A possesses three primary
Navy characteristics not normally found in Air Force aircraft. These are: a full-depth center keel from nose gear to tail hook; three full-depth
fuselage frames for wing carry through; and the main landing gear being attached directly to a major bulkhead.
Lockheed thought the Navy could use it like the Air Force uses it's F-117As-have a small strike force that's routinely deployed on board carriers that
would be able to help beat down air defenses and leverage the conventional airplanes that are on the ship. Originally the plan was for 40 to 70
The Navy criticized that the F-117N was for a single mission aircraft for night operations. After the Pentagon rejected the F-117N in mid 1993,
Lockheed went back to the drawing boards to modify the F-117N so that it met the requirements for the canceled A/F-X program and presented the
A/F-117X in mid 1994.
For the A/F-117X Lockheed added an afterburning General Electric F414 engine, the same one that powers the F/A-18E/F. An elongated platypus section
was added to accommodate the larger engines. The A/F-117X also had an advanced radar/infrared suite, which would have provided an all-weather
air-to-ground and air-to-air-missile capability. The latter, with the added maneuvering capability provided by the afterburning engines, would turn
the F-117 into more of a multi mission aircraft according to Lockheed officials. The A/F-117X met all of the A/F-X requirements except for the
"carrier deck spotting factor".
The internal payload capacity was doubled-from the current 5,000 lbs. to 10,000 lbs. by enlarging the bomb bay. The keel was dropped 19 in. and the
doors replaced creating a shallow, elongated bulge underneath the fuselage. The bulge added some drag, but did not adversely effect aerodynamics or
stealthiness according to Lockheed. Two stores pylons were also added under each wing to allow for external carriage of an additional 8,000 lbs. of
fuel or ordinance. Other features included a "very high resolution ground targeting radar, navigational forward looking infrared (FLIR) system, and an
infrared search and track capability". (See World Air Power Journal #19, Winter 1994).
The fuselage and landing gear were further modified and strengthened for shipboard operations. The A/F-117X had a much-revised trapezoidal horizontal
tail (to control the landing pattern approach angle and descent rate), with the horizontal stabilizers resembling those of the F-22. The A/F-117X
included all the Navy standards-a carrier qualified arrestor hook, folding wings for deck storage, F-14 undercarriage, and twin nosewheels (possible
F-18) with catapult tie bar.
The wing sweep was lessened to 42 degrees while the span was increased by 21.45 ft. The wing also featured double-slotted trailing edge flaps and
three-section spoilers forward of flaps for improved low-speed approach handling characteristics.
The A/F-117X would feature access to equipment bays with "tail over water" and/or one engine running. Lockheed documents credit the A/F-117X with
AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile capability. The pictures/diagrams show the AIM-9/AIM-120 rails on the interior sides of the
A/F-117X's (fully bulged) bomb bay doors. Flyaway cost was estimated at 70 million per aircraft in 1994, based on a 250 aircraft production run.
In a push for modular production and alleged cost savings, Lockheed proposed that the US Navy and Air Force execute a joint program to build both the
F-117B and A/F-117X.
The Senate Armed Services Committee earmarked $175 million to initiate a program definition phase and flying demonstrator of the new production
A/F-117X (reconfigured F-117N) "Seahawk"
Similar to F-117B
Max. T.O. wt.: 73,200 lbs. (vs. F-117A's 52,500 lbs.)
Unrefueled combat radius: 980 miles (vs. F-117A's 570 miles)
Internal payload: 10,000 lbs. (vs. F-117A's 5,000 lbs.)
Payload: AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-9, LGB
Engines: afterburning GE F414 (2)
Wing sweep: 42 degrees (vs. F-117A's 67.3 degrees)
Wing Span: 64 ft.9.4 in (vs. F-117A's 43 ft 4 in)
Folding outer wing panels
F-22 style clear canopy
All-moving tailerons for roll control
F-14 Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS)
edit on 2-9-2015 by PwnisaurusRex because: (no reason given)