Ok, now this is very very interesting. "Recently", it was discovered in the biography of Colonel Joseph A. Lanni, that he had flown a YF-24 (I say
recently in quotes, because they used the wayback machine to find the page with his aircraft on it). The Pentagon says "no such beast, maybe it was
the X-24". The problem with this idea is that the X-24 was flown long before Col Lanni was a test pilot, or even in the Air Force.
The X-24 was a lifting body design under the NASA PILOT program, and was flown from 1963-1975. Col Lanni graduated from the Air Force Academy in
1980. So we can see a problem right there. In 2004 he was commander of the 412th Flight Test Center at Edwards. He had (at the time) 4,300 hours of
flight time involving manned and unmanned test aircraft, as well as classified aircraft. His list includes the F-4, F-5, F-15, F-16, F-14, F/A-22,
and the YF-24, among a few others. He also commanded a classified flight test unit between 1995 and 1997.
At the same time, there is a very interesting paper involving the "Model 24" which appears similar to Boeing's X-32, and the F/A-XX program. This was
supposedly designed using 1998 technology, with an IOC of 2005 (according to the paper with the design on it). There is a .pdf that talks about
Integrated Control Effectors (ICE) that would allow for much better control of the aircraft with a smaller, or no vertical tail. It was a joint
USAF/USN test program. Six control types were tested. They were the: split aileron, moveable chine strakes, seamless leading and trailing edge
flaps, pneumatic forebody devices, wing leading edge blowing, and wing mounted yaw vanes.
It was determined that split ailerons, moveable chine strakes, and variable dihedral horizontal tails were the three best. They were rated as the
variable dihedral horizontal tails being the best, with split ailerons being second, and the chine strakes being third. They were tested at all
aspects of flight, including carrier suitability.
The .pdf is very technical, and as tired as I am I don't want to try to go into too much detail about it yet, until I can sit and go through it and
put together two coherent sentences in a row. But it would appear that the aircraft was built and tested. It includes 2D thrust vectoring, and a
rather interesting engine design to go with it. It would have a top speed near the F-22, at Mach 2.2-2.5, but without the ability to supercruise.
The chine strakes were never tested at full integration, as they would be mounted on the front of the aircraft, where it is difficult to integrate
them due to things like radar. The split aileron ran into difficulties with the thickness of the wing, and the RCS, but was fully investigated.
The abstract of the paper talks about "further study" and "wind tunnel tests", but then goes on to say that since this was a joint project it required
carrying "two baseline aircraft" to fully test the carrier integration, and reconfiguring the vehicle for carrier operations. So it sure sounds like
it went a lot farther than wind tunnels and computers. It goes on to say that the baseline aircraft selected was the Model 24F by Boeing.
The Model-24F is a diamond wing, single engine aircraft designed for air to air, and air to ground missions. Two complete models, one 12.5% and one
5% scale were built for testing (sure, and it ended there, HAH),
I'll post more after I get a little sleep and can digest all this information. This paper has everything from RCS, to control input testing comments,
so it might take me a little while.
Here's the link to the .pdf if anyone wants to take a crack at it.
Was there ever a YF-24? The US Air Force says no. "Our historians said there is no record of there ever having been a YF-24," says Lt Col Max
Despain, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon. "Perhaps it's being mistaken for an X-24 which wasn't a fighter?"
That said, this old bio for a former test pilot, Colonel Joseph A. Lanni lists such an aircraft--which is curious. So there remains a small
possibility a YF-24 might have been squirreled away somewhere out in the desert in Nevada. I say that because Lanni, according to his bio, commanded a
classified flight test unit between July 1995 and June 1997.
While the entry in the bio might be a typo, it was certainly not the X-24 that Lanni flew. The Martin Marietta X-24A flew during 1963 to 1975, which
was well before Lanni became an Air Force pilot. It's also not likely that Lanni flew the Northrop YF-23 either since he was assigned to Eglin AFB in
Florida during the time those jets were flying.
So, what exactly the YF-24 is or was is still kind of a mystery. Your guess is as good as mine.
edit on 2/26/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason