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F23 - Some Qs Answered for AMM

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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 predictions.

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.


posted on Nov, 29 2007 @ 09:01 AM

Looks good, but nobody checks with me on stuff any more. ;o)
The official response to any ATF bombing mission discussion was, “Not a pound for Air-to-Ground.” Well, that wasn’t really a straight-forward answer cuz the airframe and avionics made the F22 a real animal. Software isn’t very heavy, just the stuff you put it in. F22 already had enormous computational capacity so there was always the hip-pocket option to “teach” the airplane to bomb. You can do that with a fighter, but not a chance trying to make an A2A machine out of a bomber (ala F-111 concept). To use an American football analogy, imagine if someone had put Bo Jackson over on defense as a line backer or free safety. He’d have made a mark on the game = and a few ball carriers - there too. But it would be a monumental task to make an agile ball carrier or receiver out of an interior lineman.

In hushed tones behind closed doors – and usually with beer involved – some highly placed AF officers were noting that the NATF was looking mighty good as a striker, which it was primarily designed to be. I called it a “Capital ‘S’ StrikeFighter” since that was the primary mission emphasis out of OP-05 in that 5 sided wind tunnel in DC. One AF Officer even referred to the Navy F22 derivative as a “real player as an F-22E,” using to the Strike Eagle metaphor. (If anyone else had heard that remark, he'd have probably been put on the rack for such heresy.)

My opinion? “Teach” the Raptor to bomb first b4 putting too much money in an even better Striker. I have an UNCLAS .ppt presentation fm '90 around somewhere that illustrates some important things. Wish I cd find it. (It was created to convey some critical concepts to non-operator DoD civilians in key positions.) One slide, a notional graph, depicts the VLO requirement over time in a roll-back campaign. You really need to be sneaky at first until you get your enemy’s eyes poked out and then a little less to sever his nervous system. As you destroy more and more of his war capability, you need less and less “stealth.” In the end, you just want bomb trucks to break things until the Bosses say stop. Peal off the cover plates over the hard points, hang pylons on the Super Jet and go do some heavy work.

So…. I’d put my taxpayer defense $$$ in some program(s) more critical and just extend the capabilities of what I had - or not spend the extra money in the first place. But that’s just a small-town boy from Oregon talkin’.

These were semi-old posts, but your questions were intelligent, relevant and politely expressed. You deserved answers.

Anything else?

Wraith W.

posted on Dec, 7 2007 @ 12:53 AM
To Wraith Wryder:
I 2 am nu so I cant U2U...
am very interested in the YF-23 program...
have corresponded with R Sandusky and P Metz, you obviously know your stuff which is all too rare on these sorts of forums.
Have a think about editing the Wikipedia entry for 'YF-23'
I want to build a decent model of this plane someday
Would be very interetsed to hear what you know of the weapons bay and any work done on FSD a/c config...


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