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Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 2:38 am

This is all speculation and arm chair quarter backing, but does anyone out there wonder if the YF-23 would have had any more/less problems than the F-22 is now experiencing?
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I know the YF-23 had a problem with visible wingtip vorticies, but other than that, I thought it was comparable to or even better than the F-22. Another post on this topic exists, http://www.airliners.net/discussions/military/read.main/3479/ but my inquiry is to whether or not the YF-23 would have had as many development problems.


Let the debate rage!!!   

(On an ironic note, check out the date of the original post)

[Edited 2005-09-16 19:40:24]
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
ulfinator
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:08 am

Quoting Boeing Nut (Thread starter):
more/less problems than the F-22 is now experiencing?

Just out of my curiosity I was wondering what problems the F-22 is now experiancing???...

I mean I may be getting just the positive stuff as a Boeing employee (actually worked on F-22 for short time) but things seem to be moving along fine.

Perhaps you speak of cost. I do agree it is one expensive bird.
 
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STT757
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:44 am

If costs were not such a huge factor I would have loved to see if they could have built a Navalized F-23, being able to project such dominant air power from an Aircraft carrier any where in the World would have been HUGE!..
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Areopagus
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:24 am

Quoting Ulfinator (Reply 1):
things seem to be moving along fine.

YF-22 first flight: 29 September 1990
F-22 in service: about now

Yup, seems to be moving along just fine.
 
Areopagus
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:41 am

I recall reading that the decision partly rested on the feeling that Lockheed's management could keep the program on track better than MD's, considering the aborted A-12 program. Another factor cited was the need for work on the materials to line the F-23's exhaust troughs, as the acoustic environment was too harsh for the prototype's materials to hold up well in service.

Another factor cited was the F-23's maneuverability due to the vectored exhaust. MD asserted that that level of maneuverability had not been asked for, and that their plane was more stealthy. Lockheed countered that looking stealthy is not the same as being stealthy, and their plane was plenty stealthy. A lot seemed to hinge on the manufacturers' different interpretations of requirements that were somewhat loose
 
USAFMXOfficer
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:48 am

I'm stationed at Langley AFB, VA, home of the 1st Fighter Wing. Although I have an office (cubicle) job in Headquarters, Air Combat Command, I actually have a window! This past week I witnessed a four ship F/A-22 takeoff, it was awesome! Great to see the -22's coming along.
44th Fighter Squadron Vampire Bats - 63 years of history
 
Thorny
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 12:56 pm

Quoting Areopagus (Reply 3):
YF-22 first flight: 29 September 1990
F-22 in service: about now

Yup, seems to be moving along just fine.

The bulk of that is due to budget cutbacks and program stretchouts after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The rest is largely a problem of integrating all that sophisticated software. Therefore, it is a safe bet the F-23 would be in more or less the same situation today, had it won the ATF competition.
 
CTR
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 10:29 pm

Quoting Areopagus (Reply 3):
YF-22 first flight: 29 September 1990
F-22 in service: about now

People outside the industry don't realize that there is a BIG difference between a prototype aircraft and a production version. The F-22 that flew in 1990 has almost zero parts in common with the aircraft that is now being produced. For the few hours the prototype was required to fly fatigue life of parts was not a concern. Parts such as doors and skins were not even interchangeable, they were all custom drilled on the aircraft. That said, Lockheed ended up grossly under estimating the cost and manhours that would be required to bring the F-22 to production.

Quoting Areopagus (Reply 4):
recall reading that the decision partly rested on the feeling that Lockheed's management could keep the program on track better than MD's, considering the aborted A-12 program.

The A-12 contract was not to build a prototype aircraft. The A-12 Avenger was a contract for a production aircraft. This meant proving full fatigue life, reliability, maintainability, flight performance and stealth starting at aircraft one. In retrospect, the cost over runs and delays that occurred in the A-12 production program were probably less than those that have occurred in the F-22 production phase.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 6):
The bulk of that is due to budget cutbacks and program stretchouts after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The rest is largely a problem of integrating all that sophisticated software. Therefore, it is a safe bet the F-23 would be in more or less the same situation today, had it won the ATF competition

I disagree with this statement based on having worked on elements of both aircraft and information from friends that worked on the F-22. The prototype F-23 did not only look more stealthy, it was more stealthy than the prototype F-22.

To make the production F-22 as stealthy as the F-23 Lockheed said they would use new Radar Absorbant Materials that they were developing. RAM at the time was still very heavy and imposed a severe payload penalty to an aircraft. That is why the F-23 went with the more stealthy shape. Well Lockheed eventually developed the RAM they promised (although heavier) . But it took a lot more money than they estimated. This resulted in an Airforce General blasting Lockheed at a design review "If we had known how much you (Lockheed) were lieing to us, we would have chosen the F-23".

Still now that all the money has been spent, the F-22 is a great aircraft. Designed and flown by great people.

Have fun,

CTR
Aircraft design is just one big compromise,,,
 
Blackbird
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:53 am

If the F-23 had the same RAM on it as the modern F-22... how stealthy would it be?
 
474218
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:17 am



Quoting Areopagus (Reply 3):
Yup, seems to be moving along just fine.

The Air Force wants 183 F-22's and over 100 have already been delivered. At the current product rate my son will be out of a job in 2009. It's moving right along fine
 
wvsuperhornet
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sun Nov 25, 2007 8:55 am

the only thing that made the F-23 more stealthy was its recessed engine exaust but they also coudlnt do thrust vectoring on the F-23. So my choice would be to lose a little stealth and go with a more manuverable aircraft in a dog fight. The f-23 looked cooler but looks dont win wars. My vote the F-22.
 
connies4ever
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:14 pm



Quoting Thorny (Reply 6):
Yup, seems to be moving along just fine.

The bulk of that is due to budget cutbacks and program stretchouts after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The rest is largely a problem of integrating all that sophisticated software. Therefore, it is a safe bet the F-23 would be in more or less the same situation today, had it won the ATF competition.

How much of the time lag from first flight to in service can be attributed to the decision to change the FCS and targetting system s/w from Ada to C++ ? This was a non-trivial exercise as I believe you're looking at millions of lines of code. And, what was the rationale ?
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:50 pm



Quoting Areopagus (Reply 3):
Quoting Ulfinator (Reply 1):
things seem to be moving along fine.

YF-22 first flight: 29 September 1990
F-22 in service: about now

Yup, seems to be moving along just fine.

The F-22A entered service in 2003, and was combat ready (1st FW, Langley AFB, VA) in 2004.

Quoting Wvsuperhornet (Reply 10):
but looks dont win wars

Yes, it does, look at the A-10!!!!  bigthumbsup 

What a beauty she is.....................
 rotfl   rotfl   rotfl 
 
ebj1248650
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:15 pm



Quoting CTR (Reply 7):
This resulted in an Airforce General blasting Lockheed at a design review "If we had known how much you (Lockheed) were lieing to us, we would have chosen the F-23".

Do you have a source for this? Apparently, there wasn't that much difference in the two airplanes. The YF-22 was more manueverable, but the YF-23 still met the AF requirements for the competition. Perhaps the AF would have been better off with the F-23.
Dare to dream; dream big!
 
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Stitch
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:08 pm



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 8):
If the F-23 had the same RAM on it as the modern F-22... how stealthy would it be?

Mighty stealthy.

I am told the YF-23 was also faster in supercruise and in afterburner.

The YF-23 was a classic "missile sled" - fast and stealthy, it would have made a great long-range interceptor. It wasn't the raw dogfighter the F-22 was, which is why the throttle-jockeys preferred the Raptor when it came time to make a choice. Mind you, the Raptor is an amazing plane in it's own right.
 
CTR
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:27 pm

Do you have a source for this? Apparently, there wasn't that much difference in the two airplanes.

I left MCAIR (now Boeing St Louis) in 1991 to work for an aerospace actuation supplier in California. After winning the ATF contract Lockheed moved design and manufacture of the F-22 to Georgia. Despite offering some attractive moving packages, Lockheed was unable to convince more than a handful of engineers to move from CA to GA. So when the recs when out for engineers to staff the F-22 program in GA, most positions were filled by MCAIR engineers from St Louis.

The canopy actuation system on the YF-22 was an abortion of off the shelf parts. I was a canopy systems expert at MCAIR, so in 1992 I got a call from an old MCAIR friend now at Lockheed asking for help with the F-22 system. On a trip to GA a few months later I had a reunion with about seven old MCAIR engineers now working on the F-22. Some of these guys had also been on the YF-23. Over dinner and beer they told me about the generals statement.

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 8):
If the F-23 had the same RAM on it as the modern F-22... how stealthy would it be?

Not my area of expertise. But I know enough that there is no simple answer. Types of threats, proximity, number, environmental degradation and other factors are a factor.

Have fun,

CTR
Aircraft design is just one big compromise,,,
 
Blackbird
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:41 pm

Stitch,

Assuming it's not classified, do you have any estimates on how much faster the YF-23 was in supercruise and afterburner verses the YF-22 / F-22?


CTR,

How much did Lockheed misrepresent the cost of the RAM? Did they knowingly misrepresent the cost?


Andrea Kent
 
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:28 pm



Quoting Areopagus (Reply 3):
F-22 in service: about now

IOC was 15 October 05.
Learning to fly, but I ain't got wings.
 
wvsuperhornet
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Mon Nov 26, 2007 8:54 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 12):
Yes, it does, look at the A-10!!!!

What a beauty she is.....................

I totally agree, the best aircraft in the inventory!!!!
 
texl1649
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:37 pm

The F-23 lives on in some darker programs. It's strength would never have been air-to-air maneuvering, but as a stealthy sensor and delivery platform.

The YF-22 completely outclassed it in maneuverability and most of the key performance measurables the AF looked at. McDD/NG would have been capable of producing production versions no doubt.
 
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Stitch
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:42 pm



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 16):
Assuming it's not classified, do you have any estimates on how much faster the YF-23 was in supercruise and afterburner verses the YF-22 / F-22?

It's been a long while, but I believe both supercruise and top-end speeds were about Mach 0.3 or so faster then the YF-22 prototype.
 
SCAT15F
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:53 pm



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 16):
Assuming it's not classified, do you have any estimates on how much faster the YF-23 was in supercruise and afterburner verses the YF-22 / F-22?

Both aircraft were faster with the variable cycle F120 than with the F119.

YF-22: mach 1.58 (GE) mach 1.43 (P&W)

YF-23: mach 1.64 (GE) mach 1.48 (P&W)

The YF-22 was chosen mainly for political reasons, as Northrop had the B-2 contract. The USAF acknowledged that the YF-23 was the more advanced aircraft from a configuration, stealth, and speed standpoint. The YF-22 was only slightly more maneuverable and of a conventional configuration (basically a stealthy F-15 with internal weapons storage and thrust vectoring). Northrop engineers stated that aerodynamic control surfaces are better for maneuverability than thrust vectoring, and indeed, the YF-23, with its two large canted tail surfaces and diamond wings, was capable of astonishing maneuverability; better than any aircraft previously built, and capable of outmaneuvering the vectored thrust YF-22 in the trans-sonic regime and when the YF-22 was only using normal control surfaces, the YF-23 could outmaneuver it in any flight regime.The YF-23 was also designed to incorporate thrust reversers, and the engine"humps" would have been lower profile on the production version as the requirement for thrust reversers was dropped by the USAF. Also, as we have seen in the past, the USAF tends to go the conservative route with new systems, hence the more conventional F-22 and F-119 engine instead of the more radical (and higher performance) F-23 and F120 engine.
Given the rediculous amount of time it took to get the ATF into service (a new record) USAF should have chosen the more advanced YF-23 to better keep pace with more advanced technologies. (In hindsight, nobody ever thought it would take as long as it did; 14+ years vs. 3 for the F-15)
OH, and of course the YF-23 is the sexiest fighter ever built!  yes 
 
Blackbird
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Mon Nov 26, 2007 8:28 pm

Texl1649,

-In what key performance variables (assuming it's not classified) was the YF-23 outclassed in comparison to the YF-22 other than just maneuverability?

I've heard about it living on in some secret programs too, myself. I wouldn't be suprized if some YF-23 technology ended up in the F/A-22 as well (Let's hope I don't get a heart-attack for saying that)


SCAT-15F

-If Northrop had the B-2 contract, wouldn't that show that it had success with it's designs and should have been given the F-23 contract too?

-Did the F-22 gain any performance over the YF-22A, to make it's performance more along the lines like the YF-23?

-Did the F-119 have any advantage over the YF-120 in terms of performance characteristics or internal geometry? Were there any drawbacks with the YF-120.

-Wasn't the YF-120 a variable cycle engine?


Andrea Kent
 
texl1649
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:04 pm

Turning.

If you do dig up the announcement it was a clear win for the F-22 team; they simply were much lower risk (as above, that may not be a good thing for a 15-year subsequent development program) and aside from RCS won out in terms of demonstrated abilities and production development success likelihood.

As an aside, the B-2 at this time was suffering from some, err, negative PR for maintainability/over-runs itself; the Northrup specialization/history going back to the Tacit Blue program was not necessarily a strength at the time.

The F-22 program is just basically a much more advanced/integrated weapon system than the YF-22 ever was meant to be. There's been improvements, and digressions, but I don't think it turns any better than the original developmental aircraft, if that's your question (developments=weight gains. Sorry, it's true.)

The F/A-22 is a terrific platform today, even if no rational man would ever spend their own money to develop it over 20 years as it has happened. I hate to admit it, but the French say it best; "C'est la vie."
 
SCAT15F
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:37 pm



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 22):
-If Northrop had the B-2 contract, wouldn't that show that it had success with it's designs and should have been given the F-23 contract too?

-Did the F-22 gain any performance over the YF-22A, to make it's performance more along the lines like the YF-23?

-Did the F-119 have any advantage over the YF-120 in terms of performance characteristics or internal geometry? Were there any drawbacks with the YF-120.

-Wasn't the YF-120 a variable cycle engine?


Andrea Kent

I heard from an Air Force Colonel that DOD wanted to be "fair" and not let Northrop have all the lucrative contracts.

As for performance improvements, I heard that the current F-22A can supercruise at mach 1.7, so i think they must have improved the engines and reduced drag. However, I believe that the YF-23 would have been improved similarly.

I don't know the details, but the YF-120 was more efficient because it could essentially become a turbojet at supercruise speeds by a method similar to the J-58 (bypass) So, yes, I think it had variable geometry and was therefore able to have a larger, more efficient fan for lower speeds, and excellent supercruise capability. (It supposedly had higher supercruise thrust)
I recall too that the YF-120 was, like the YF-23, a riskier design, and more complicated than the YF-119, and that was the reason I heard for its termination.
 
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Stitch
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:46 pm



Quoting SCAT15F (Reply 24):
I heard from an Air Force Colonel that DOD wanted to be "fair" and not let Northrop have all the lucrative contracts.

And yet Lockheed-Martin gets all the USAF fighter programs going forward - F-22 and F-35.  Smile
 
474218
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:02 pm



Quoting CTR (Reply 15):
left MCAIR (now Boeing St Louis) in 1991 to work for an aerospace actuation supplier in California. After winning the ATF contract Lockheed moved design and manufacture of the F-22 to Georgia. Despite offering some attractive moving packages, Lockheed was unable to convince more than a handful of engineers to move from CA to GA. So when the recs when out for engineers to staff the F-22 program in GA, most positions were filled by MCAIR engineers from St Louis.

That is really surprising to hear because I was one of the engineers that moved and out of my group of twenty one, sixteen moved to Georgia in 1991. The five that stayed in California retired.
 
CTR
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:01 am



Quoting 474218 (Reply 26):
That is really surprising to hear because I was one of the engineers that moved and out of my group of twenty one, sixteen moved to Georgia in 1991. The five that stayed in California retired.

What area on the F-22 were you involved with? I kew of about 20 MCAIR engineers that moved to GA. Mostly airframe, but some systems also.

Also are you still in GA? I was told that many of the Lockheed CA engineers never sold their homes in CA and moved back to CA couple years later.

Have fun,

CTR
Aircraft design is just one big compromise,,,
 
474218
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RE: Speculation - Would YF-23 Be Better Than The F-22?

Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:01 am



Quoting CTR (Reply 27):
What area on the F-22 were you involved with? I kew of about 20 MCAIR engineers that moved to GA. Mostly airframe, but some systems also.

Also are you still in GA? I was told that many of the Lockheed CA engineers never sold their homes in CA and moved back to CA couple years later.

I was in a support group and out of our original group only two are still working at Lockheed, myself and the rest have retired. After retirement a couple returned to California, one to Hawaii, and several of us are still here in Georgia.

It was announced that Lockheed had won the competition in April of 1991, I was actually driving to Georgia when the announcement was made (I think I was in Oklahoma). However, the decision to build the F-22 in Georgia, if we won the competition, was made well over a year earlier when Lockheed announced that they were shutting down the Burbank facilities. Most of the design type people were here long before I left California. Since I moved from California I have been moved three addtional times by Lockheed and never even got near an F-22.

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