LORAL was a major U.S. defense electronics and missiles system supplier of the early 1980's which was subsequently bought up by Ford Aerospace and
disappeared. As I recall, the 'Monogram' version of the F-19 is actually a shape-for-shape copy of an advertising image than LORAL plastered over
the center spread (two pages) of Aviation Week for about six months. This photoimage showed the F-19 shape flying VERY high (60-100K feet) over a
see-the-curveature earth backdrop and the only difference I specifically recall was that it didn't have wing folds and it's canards were larger and
swept (as indeed, one of the model jpegs in this thread shows).
Knowing that this company's work was largely avionics based and that they _never once_ had a prior airframe contract; it stands to reason that their
advertising blurb was and remains fictional on the basis of having been released to the public at all. i.e. "Look at what we work on, now imagine
what we /can't tell you about/" at a time when Stealth was all the whispered rage.
Now, having said that, the fact remains that Northrop did an 'Orca' styled XST platform that looked like a Have Blue XST with a ventral inlet ala
So the potential of a ventral inlet system is not itself impossible, even in a nominally 'agile' fighter.
Yet the real question is what you plan to do with the capability, in Euro Weather or at Middle Eastern radii.
The fact of the matter being that, even in the summer, if it's not hazey and pissing rain in the German afternoon, there's a mix of high-low running
scud between 3-7K and 15-20K and mornings and evenings, often a fog. In winter, this becomes icey and sleetish with solid (low) overcast ceilings.
All of which invalidates the F-117 LGB laydown concept, even before you take into account a '3 tankers later' limitation on the 500-700nm (Spain or
UK) radii necessary to keep the jet out of TBM bombardment distances. One of the things which cripples Clancy's _RSR_ 'frisbee' is it's ability
to operate out of German AFBs -long- after they would have been overrun.
It was often stated that the F-19 was associated with a secondary program name 'COSIRS' for Covert Survivable In-Weather Reconnaissance Strike.
This sounded MUCH more apt for a stealthy-F-111 type asset intended to penetrate any distance through Euro IADS. Unfortunately, nothing was ever made
public of any hardware outcome deriving from the name and if an asset existed, it is my best guess that it was as a high value target system designed
to exploit the capabilities of the nascent Tacit Blue-as-Pave-Mover and U-2-as-ASARS/PLRSS systems in a dumb bomb truck. Indeed, 'TR-3' looks about
right for a deep penetrator _given_ you accept the use of a PWW or boosted (Paveway IV as originally conceived) munition to deliver defense
suppression using DME or a datalink seeker.
Unfortunately, most now believe that even the TR-3 is simply a misnomer for 'Tier 3' or 'Pave Onyx' as a cross between the Global Hawk (for
range:payload) and Darkstar (as a limited bowtie aspect LO penetrator) which 'at full scale' was simply deemed too expensive and/or dangerous to be
used as a potential penetrating ISR 'national asset' (post Powers).
Indeed, the Dark Star was known as the 'Tier 3 Minus' and has, post-cancellation, itself spawned a scaled up equivalent platform which has seen
combat during OIF.
My guess is that either COSIRS RFI prestudy which actualized into this capability. Or has something to do with the Cold Pidgeon/Model 100 and Sneaky
Efforts which begat the A-12. Indeed, according to _The Five Billion Dollar Misunderstanding_ there was a General Dynamics set of prototypes whose
test program existence the MASSIVE profits from the F-16 program could support. And there is secondary evidence inherent that their potential
performance as LO intruders caused them to supplant work being down with F-16 mod (XL and Agile Falcon etc.) updates.
COSIRS, as a radar equipped aircraft, could beat back the weather and this would also more or less fit the time frame and coalescing mission role of
the early A-12 studies, as well as some period photos of the 'black triangle' testbeds being seen in what was /assumed/ to be ATB (Northrop)
Finally, it might explain a why the government squawked so long and hard at GD's claim of 'not being given adequate LO entry data' to fulfill the
A-12 contract during their ongoing lawsuit.
THIS, if anything is, IMO, the source of the COSIRS if not the F-19 legend. It may also be something that Clancy was allowed to refer to in his _RSR_
'Frisbee' analogue. I doubt seriously if it was weaponized. And I have some reason to think that it may have only been to gain flying qualities
knowledge on a basic LO-as-tactical-flying-wing design. But it did likely exist, at some level.