a reply to: mightmight
One look at the LRS-B program (or Tacit Blue, for that matter) should tell you that often times, demonstrators for a given program look nothing like
that program's actual target aircraft.
Northrop is especially well known for doing this. By all accounts, there was no subscale demonstrator for Senior Ice (the B-2), but the Tacit Blue
was basically a flying proof-of-concept for everything, flying wing planform aside, that was revolutionary about the B-2, testing complex X-duct
intakes, dorsal heat-absorbing exhausts, contoured stealth shaping w/ sharp chines, faired rounded low-RCS glazing, and even RAM formulations that
were all integral to making the B-2 concept "work". Compare that to Lockheed, who never had an equivalent demonstrator aircraft for Senior Peg
because all of their faceted stealth+RAM+grated intake technology that would have been used on Peg was already proven on the F-117.
For a more recent example, look to the LRS-B competition. Zaph *might* be able to back me up on this, but by every bit of evidence that I've seen,
the Northrop LRS-B demonstrator bird was the aircraft captured in the Amarillo sighting, and was a twin-engine manned cranked kite design, roughly the
size of a B-57, resembling the art seen in those Northrop commercials. Of course, once Northrop won and we saw the B-21 concept rendering, we learned
that their actual full scale bomber design was the pure stealth-shaped root design of the B-2 that they didn't have the know-how to actually build in
It didn't matter that the demonstrator likely looked nothing like the actual aircraft, because again, the demonstrator was likely more about testing
RAM, shaping details, and engine technology in a small, manageable package that they knew would easily scale up to a later, larger production
aircraft. Think: The BAC 221 vs the actual Concorde.
But yeah, I wouldn't at all be surprised if a similar "small" aircraft existed in the late 80's to test technologies such as skins and engine
signature management for AARS/Quartz, given just how ambitious that entire project was.
edit on 28-4-2017 by Barnalby because: (no reason