posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 12:36 PM
reply to post by RichardPrice
This is true (Northrop was having horrible troubles with B-2 development, production, etc) - however, there's a bit of a catch. Albeit - we're
arguing over 'alternate history' - a world where anything we want to happen, happens (and, therefor, murphy's laws and other laws of physics don't
apply that would end up influencing real-world scenarios that we don't dream up).
However - it is worth noting that the stealth design concepts of the ATF and B-2 are remarkably similar. Northrop was the only company with
experience in producing airframes of those specifications, and it is speculated that their competition bid would have been far more accurate to
development and production quotes than Lockheed's turned out to be.
It should also be noted that, at the time of the competition, Lockheed was swamped with contracts for fighters, while Northrop was bone-dry with F-5s
being phased out of necessity due to changes in foreign market authorizations under the Reagan administration. That's not to say they would not have
run over-budget; I don't believe there has been a single government-sponsored contract for the development of an aircraft that has not had to be
renegotiated since the P-51.
However, we may have only been looking at a 20% cost inflation as opposed to an 80% (or whatever it turned out to be). And it may have been in
serviceable numbers within a decade of contract approval, as opposed to two decades.
Not that it matters - half the weapons that were supposed to be developed and delivered specifically for the ATF program still haven't gotten out of
purgatory. We wouldn't have been able to arm the F-23 with anything but Aim-9 Mikes until about last year.
I'm being overly facetious - but it seems anything 'new' is on back-order until it's already being phased out.