posted on Nov, 29 2007 @ 08:35 AM
Since I'm too new to be worthy of U2U, and attempt to relay thru FredT may or may not have worked....
American Mad Man asked some questions once upon a time. Feeble attempt to answer follows:
Apologies for the extreme tardiness. Some real world demands ruled my world. Rationalization: “What’s a couple years among friends, anyway?”
As far as the final F22 product, I have to apply some educated guesses just like the rest of you, although I might have had the benefit of a little
more of that particular education on which to base the guessing. But, during ATF DEM/VAL, I was pretty much in the thick of it.
To your 1st Q, Did the best plane win:
The real answer is, “sorta.” The tuff thing for the public to understand, mostly because we didn’t stress it enuff, was that the PAVs were not
really prototypes in the classic sense. They didn’t have a fly off against each other either. They essentially had fly offs against their own digi
They had some minimums to meet, of course, but mostly, the companies were proving 2 things – that 1) they could build a truly high performance A2A
fighter in a VLO shape and 2) they could accurately predict the performance of their airplane. The differences between the predicted and actual
performances of the respective PAVs were applied to the PSC predictions as a calibration of the Teams’ marketing …er…engineering forecasts.
There were 2 strong factors in the L/B/GD team selection. 1) Government confidence in the team’s ability to build and deliver what they said they
could, particularly wrt the massive avionics integration challenge. 2) The Navy was dragged kicking and screaming back in to the source selection
process and made to live up to at least a one of their commitments.
The L/B/GD Navy ATF proposal, which wasn’t much more than a “paper airplane” and some good ideas, was much more mature. The N/McA team almost
didn’t have a Navy proposal by comparison. The rear deck config (the IR shielding & shuttle tiles) of the F23 really fouled up potential boat ops.
Trouble was, that F23 engine nozzle area design was pretty critical to Northtrop’s boattail aerodynamics plan. It was almost if they’d started the
aero design back there and worked forward. They just couldn’t come up with a way to eliminate it satisfactorily - and get the AOA to land the
F23'N' on a boat without bumping it’s butt. When they tried to solve the prob w/ more wing, they ran into Navy max size limits (F14 shadow) and
RCS budget issues. Since the Navy was already giving up a couple clicks of supercruise anyway, a bigger signature didn’t sound very interesting.
The late stage N/McA major config change to a canard double delta looked more promising – and much like early L/B/GD lapel pins – but it didn’t
have the ‘puter runs - CFD, structures, RCS - to instill any real confidence their Navy proposal was viable.
Second, the avionics:
Trick question. Functionally, they were to be the same. Architecture and tech level were the same. Hardware would have been a little dif. Radar arrays
and radome designs were dif, but the info the airplane acquired, and rendered down to useful info (sensor fusion) to the pilot, were the same. Had to
be, those were the Customer rules. Different companies have their own design philosophies and these were evident in how the two teams handled the same
problem set with slightly dif solutions.