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Author Topic: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals  (Read 158403 times)

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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A-12 press pack, courtesy of flateric
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 05:56:04 pm by PaulMM (Overscan) »
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Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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last of the press pack
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Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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A-12 display model courtesy of Ian Maddock
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Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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more:
« Last Edit: December 09, 2006, 12:33:48 am by overscan »
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Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Different model, again from Ian Maddock.
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Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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more:
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Offline Sundog

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A good A-12 website, JIC anyone didn't know about it. It has alot of pics of the full scale mockup, which has the proper canopy shape (As opposed to the models incorrect canopy shape) and you can see the inlet vanes/baffles behind the plexiglas, for good airflow control and to shield the engine faces.

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Indeed, a good site, but really poor scans unfortunately.
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Offline flateric

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I should add also that the first model pics that Overscan posted are in-house MDC/GD model from ca.1990, second pics series is a limited run model made for A-12 government litigation team using first model as a base - as well as set of contractor's declassified drawings.

As Sundog correctly mentioned, many models' details are not quite complify to the artist's renditions and to 'ultimate' desktop model - I mean full-size A-12 mock-up, which I'm considering 'source code' for any modelling effort.

BTW, do anyone knows current state of A-12 full-size mock-up?

Also, if someone do have this AWST issue ca.1990(91) with a beefy several-page article with first A-12 renditions published, I'll be happy if you can share it. I've just found out what our State Scientific&Techniclal Library does with magazine backissues....after 10 years...they throw it away...idiots...
« Last Edit: December 09, 2006, 04:35:31 am by flateric »
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline hesham

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Good work dear overscan,

I have also an artistic picture to the rival proposal to A-12,
it was twin engined two seat canard aircraft project,and
the wing was look like Douglas F4D wing.

Offline Matej

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Hesham, please can you post it? My first impression was that you are speaking about what-if drawing from Stealth Warplanes, but after checking I realised, that it is not a canard.

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Offline Antonio

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Hesham,

On Skunk Works, the first 50 years there are some designs of its AF/X proposals:

Lockheed/Boeing
Grumman/Lockheed
Rockwell/Lockheed

Grumman/Lockheed has canards, but I can't see the wing plan...

Are you talking about this?

Offline Sundog

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The full scale Mock-Up, I think, is in a museum in Texas.

Also, if anyone has the book, Billion Dollar Blunder, their is a pic of the model of the Northrop design for the ATA program. It looks like a smaller version of the B-2 (The planform is more like the original B-2 layout, with a smaller aspect ratio) and the wingtips would bend up vertically for greater stability when the gear was extended.

I would love to 3D model this plane, but it has so many subtle curves, without good cross section drawings it would be about impossible to get it right.

BTW, Overscan, that first "official" model for GD-McDD that has the cockpit modeled, is there any chance you can get a pic of the lower back exhaust area? I'm just curious if what is on that model is what is also shown on the full scale mock-up, because it's always been my understanding that it is still classified.

Also, an interesting side note, the Air Force version was to have the exhaust above the wing, not below. If you recall the Navy was supposed to get a version of the ATF and the Air Force a version of the ATA. The Air Force told the Navy that with stealth they wouldn't need to penetrate below the RADAR OTD the way A-6's did, so they could put the exhaust on the top so it was shielded from below. But the Navy felt they needed to perform low level penetration so they kept them on the bottom to shield them from above. At least that's what was said. I think it actually had more to do with the exhaust sytem.

In one of my old AIAA Aerospace America magazines they had a CFD image of a "Delta Shaped Flying Wing" that looked remarkably like the A-12 in planform and in the CFD pic, the exhaust (Also in the same location as on the A-12) is shown vectored down and forward about 30 degrees and slightly angled out from centerline, hitting the ground/deck and bouncing back up under the wing as if to act as a "thrust cushion." I've often wondered if that was a feature the A-12 had to reduce the impact forces at landing and was why the noxzze(s) were classified.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2006, 08:12:01 pm by Sundog »

Offline flateric

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Sundog, to my sorrow, we don't have pics of official model exaust...but look, Habu2 site have at least four photos of full-size mock-up exaust area.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2006, 06:37:48 am by flateric »
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Offline flateric

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Also, if anyone has the book, Billion Dollar Blunder, their is a pic of the model of the Northrop design for the ATA program. It looks like a smaller version of the B-2 (The planform is more like the original B-2 layout, with a smaller aspect ratio) and the wingtips would bend up vertically for greater stability when the gear was extended.

Here's Northrop ATA proposal from the great James P. Stevenson's 'The $5 Billion Misunderstanding: The Collapse of the Navy’s A-12 Stealth Bomber Program'.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2006, 06:41:19 am by flateric »
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline flateric

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Some rare A-12 production photos (not sure of this is real a/c or mock-up)
« Last Edit: September 27, 2007, 04:22:12 pm by flateric »
"There are many disbelievers in
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Offline Matej

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It looks more like mockup to me. At the third picture, isnt it wooden sandwich?

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Offline Deino

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Regarding the other ATA contenders I only have these two pictures ... the first from the FLUG Revue (issue ??) saying it shows a Boeing/Rockwell design and another one without any source !

PS ... + a wonderful build Model in 1/48 scale ....

Deino
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For nothing now can ever come to any good.
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Offline hesham

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My dears,

first sorry, I have not scanner now,second I mean the
Grumman/Northrop team first proposal,and I don't know
if Lockheed joint them later or not,but if dear Pometablava
have a drawing to Grumman/Lockheed please send it,and
I will tell you if it is like my picture or not.

Offline Matej

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I think pometablava meant this:

http://www.hitechweb.genezis.eu/stealth4.files/AFX1.jpg

There was not Grumman/Northrop consortium in AF/X program. I collected nearly all designs and they are here:

http://www.hitechweb.genezis.eu/stealth4.htm

Hesham, you can take a look and probably there is the picture that you are reffering to.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2007, 02:18:20 am by Matej »

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Offline Matej

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Deino, thanks for the pictures. The first of them shows something similar that I have from forum member elider. The original drawing was lost, but he did a handmade drawing. But there are some differencies:

Bigger, more rounded nose similar to the aircraft Northrop aircraft used to
validate the B-2s stealth.

Side-by-side crew compartment and a different windscreen--similar to the A3 Navy aircraft or somewhat like a commercial airliner.

No bulge or sensor below the radome.

The long sensor housing on the lower body side is longer, thicker and
further back ( not as big as the E8 lower bulge but similar in shape)..

Intakes identical to Boeings TFX proposal.

Only one vertical tail and it had a shape like the B-29 (seriously).

Horizontal tails had B-29 contours as well, and did not have any downward
curve--they were flat.

Main wing was straight ( flat) for some distance from the main body, then
it turned downward at an ever increasing rate until the wingtips were
nearly pointing straight down.

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Offline Antonio

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Quote
I think pometablava meant this:

That's it Matej ;)

Offline hesham

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dear pometablava,

where is the drawing of Grumman/Lockheed for AF/X.

Offline BAROBA

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Hello all
I don't know if this is the right place to ask: But I am searching for hi-res images of the A-12 avenger2 blueprints.
I know about the Habu-A12 site, but they are not exactly hi-res images...
Those are way too small..
I had contact with the museumowner(?) a few years ago, they have/had the blueprints of it. But they couldn't scan them, because of too much work involved and because of their size... I read in a thread here on this forum ( Yes, I did do a search for the A-12) that the museum is closed already...
Does someone know of another source for the blueprints?

cheers

Offline flateric

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I'm very sceptic about possibility to get them because many things were and stay classified of Flying Dorito. News that museum stuff ever had them is a breakthrough for me - you should have been using this rare chance if you still have his contacts.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2007, 10:23:06 am by flateric »
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline BAROBA

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Hey Gregory

Unfortunately, I lost the email-adress a few years ago...
Strange that a decent 3view didn't end up in some book..

Offline flateric

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Seems strange, yes, but so far it goes. All I've seen is a crap official 3-view. Koku-Fan had some nice cutaway drawings ca 1992 made from placards shown to magazine staff in FW.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 05:06:37 am by flateric »
"There are many disbelievers in
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Offline Matej

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Offline flateric

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Yes, these plus several other more detailied blocks with sizing.
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline elmayerle

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Hello all
I don't know if this is the right place to ask: But I am searching for hi-res images of the A-12 avenger2 blueprints.
I know about the Habu-A12 site, but they are not exactly hi-res images...
Those are way too small..
I had contact with the museumowner(?) a few years ago, they have/had the blueprints of it. But they couldn't scan them, because of too much work involved and because of their size... I read in a thread here on this forum ( Yes, I did do a search for the A-12) that the museum is closed already...
Does someone know of another source for the blueprints?

More like the museum never got things completely together and never got built, let alone opened.  The last B-36 is now elsewhere and I've been told that the A-12 mockup is now in the "storage area" at the north end of the plant here in Fort Worth.  Most of the stories I've heard say that the exact 50/50 work sharing was a big mistake in that no one could make final decisions and lots of time and money got wasted on meetings to decide way too many things and too many things weren't coordinated until it was too late.

Offline flateric

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When one was talking about FW USAF Plant No.4 with a phrases like 'far north end' I had an impression we're talking about something a size of Darth Wader's Death Star or imperial battlecruiser - before I googled it...

I wonder why they just didn't pass/lease/sell mockup to USAF Museum.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2007, 12:26:22 am by flateric »
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline elmayerle

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Well, it's not quite that big, though the main assembly area is a mile long.  The "dump" as at the extreme north end of the facility, up against the edge of Lake Worth.  I suppose that if someone made them a decent offer, they'd likely be willing to give it over, but the offer has to be made.  I suspect asking either the USAF Museum or the Museum of Naval Aviation would be worth trying.  I suspect they'd be willing to give it over if the recipient would just handle the shipping.

Offline BAROBA

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Thanks Matej :)
The only part I needed is not on the image...
The exact shape of the inlet is a mystery, I can get it almost right, but never good.
Thanks for posting anyways :)

The A-12 mock-up just stands there and rots away? :s
Or is it protected against the weather?


Offline Sundog

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You might want to check out the book, The $5 Billion Misunderstanding. because it has a pic of a "clear" model of the A-12 and you can sort of see the path and width of the intakes in top view. You know where the engine face is as well, and from the pics available you can see where the intakes are and put together a good enough model of it. BTW, pay close attention to the intake pic at the A-12 site where you see the plexiglass over it, as right behind that you can see the intake vanes/baffles that help hide the intake face.

The only thing I was wondering about the inlet is whether or not the lower lip "droops" for high alpha flight or to increase capture area at low speeds. Or if that piece is just a separate piece that wasn't blended well on the mockup.

I had started modeling the A-12 for FS9, but then went over to modeling the GD Model 100 single seat flying wing that supposedly flew. Although, I actually have seen drawings of another design called the GD Model 100. That other being a highly swept delta wing with all three apex's rounded, side by side seating, twin side by side engines, with a dorsal inlet behind the cockpit and twin canted tails (like on the F-35) with nozzles like on the YF-23. It looks to be an F-111 class aircraft in terms of size, but that's just based on what I've been able to put together based on different articles. I was working on a model of it for FS9 as well, but really haven't had the time to work on them.

Offline Matej

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I had started modeling the A-12 for FS9, but then went over to modeling the GD Model 100 single seat flying wing that supposedly flew. Although, I actually have seen drawings of another design called the GD Model 100. That other being a highly swept delta wing with all three apex's rounded, side by side seating, twin side by side engines, with a dorsal inlet behind the cockpit and twin canted tails (like on the F-35) with nozzles like on the YF-23. It looks to be an F-111 class aircraft in terms of size, but that's just based on what I've been able to put together based on different articles. I was working on a model of it for FS9 as well, but really haven't had the time to work on them.


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Offline RobertWL

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The A-12 mockup WAS at one time kept in a hanger Lockheed was letting a museum group use until they built a permanent facility. The mockup, along with a B-36 and a few other aircraft they had stored were suppose to go into their museum, which never happened. Lockheed took the hanger back a few years ago for the JSF program, and the Air Force took the B-36 and I'm not exactly sure what happened to the other aircraft.

I wish I'd gotten more pictures of the scale model they also built, It was pretty detailed as well. The museum usually brought that out at the local airshows. Too bad I don't live there locally, otherwise I might be able to find out something. :(

Offline flateric

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As of 08/06/2007 - "This aricraft <B-36> has been moved to the Pima Aerospace Museum, Tucson Arizona, but is not yet on display.
More info on Southwest Aerospace Museum rise and death http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/museums/tx/sam.htm

Here goes some shots og full-scale mockup and official GD desktop model that can give an idea of A-12 intake shapes (missing radar blockers seen at fully restored mockup at habu2 site). Note that their crosssections are definitely changing along the trakt with outer walls being vertical in a front view - l__\ _ /__l. Nose lower part reminds boat nose, so inner walls are V-shaped. Along the intake trakt, both walls become incrinated, forming /-\-shape.

Also goes my teenage attempt to draw A-12 in AutoCAD using KokuFan cutaways and all the sources available as references.
And, don't forget to share your attempts to draw it;)

Desktop model pics courtesy by Ian Maddock.


« Last Edit: September 06, 2007, 01:36:00 pm by flateric »
"There are many disbelievers in
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Offline flateric

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this is ghost view of intakes from Stevenson
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Sundog

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I'll have to make ACAD drawings I was doing into Jpegs to show how I was doing.

Matej, the plane you show above was the precursor to the flying wing version of the model 100 I have seen. Wasn't "pigeon" part of the code name of the plane you're showing? (It's in my books in the basement, I'm not running down to look it up now ;)

The version with the rounded Apexes I'm talking about is a Delta Wing, not a flying wing and much larger.

Although I believe you did have at your website the top view of the wing variant I was going to model. The only pic available is a top view of it in Viet Nam era camouflage (Sneaky Pete) and the faceted canopy. There's also an artists rendering of that variant shown with a wing way too thin to be of any use. The artist should have at least looked up the diameter of the engines likely to be used in it and made the wing thick enough to house them. The artist also made the mistake of showing the exhaust on top and bottom of the wing. Since the model shows it on top, it wouldn't be on the bottom.

In fact, along those lines, the main difference between the USN A-12 and the USAF A-12 was that the USAF variant would have had the exhaust on the top surface of the wing, not the bottom.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2007, 04:54:11 pm by Sundog »

Offline Sundog

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OK,
Here are my drawings which are my copyright. The first is my rendition of Sneaky Pete. In some articles I have seen this design referenced as the GD Model 100.

The second pic is a larger F-111 sized aircraft that I have also heard referenced as the GD Model 100. It's only the top view because I haven't finished the other views yet.

The last is just a pic of the A-12 I was working on. I stopped, because I think you really do need good cross section drawings to get the "flat area" on the lower leading edge of the wing where the intakes are correct.

All of these are AutoCAD pics.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2007, 10:44:02 am by flateric »

Offline flateric

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Cold Pigeon it was
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline quellish

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I'm very sceptic about possibility to get them because many things were and stay classified of Flying Dorito. News that museum stuff ever had them is a breakthrough for me - you should have been using this rare chance if you still have his contacts.

Much of the A-12 program found its way into other things. The radar used on the Global Hawk, for example, has it's roots in the A-12's SAR. A lot of the interesting and expensive things created during the A-12 program later flew on other aircraft in Nevada and elsewhere.

Offline flateric

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These are official A-12 renderings, that obviously were made using 1/12 highly detailed factory model pictures as a basis.
Now it's quite rare stuff to find anywhere. Enjoy!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 12:56:27 pm by flateric »
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline flateric

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Some new stuff that I've received recently.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 03:17:46 am by flateric »
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline archipeppe

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Great flateric!

I've always wondering about the look of A12's cockpit...

Offline flateric

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Great flateric!

I've always wondering about the look of A12's cockpit...

http://www.habu2.net/a12/a_ckpit.htm
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline uk 75

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Does anyone have any artwork of the USAF version?

Offline MartG

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I've been told that the A-12 mockup is now in the "storage area" at the north end of the plant here in Fort Worth. 

It was certainly there when the pics for MS Virtual Earth were taken
« Last Edit: January 20, 2008, 03:00:07 pm by flateric »

Offline hesham

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Regarding the other ATA contenders I only have these two pictures ... the first from the FLUG Revue (issue ??) saying it shows a Boeing/Rockwell design and another one without any source !

PS ... + a wonderful build Model in 1/48 scale ....

Deino

From Flightglobal;
http://www.flightglobal.com/PDFArchive/View/1986/1986%20-%202890.html?search=aircraft%201986

Offline flateric

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1989 ATA speculation from, I presume, Interavia. Reprinted in TzAGI Technical Information, No.3-4 1990
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline LowObservable

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Jeez, what were they smoking?

Offline MihoshiK

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Almost looks like something from "Space, Above and Beyond"...

Offline fightingirish

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Almost looks like something from "Space, Above and Beyond"...
...and the F/A-37 "Talon".

Great find, flateric!

Would love to see profiles or CGI's done at WiF and by Planepictures.
Slįn,
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Slįn ist an Irish Gaelic word for Goodbye.  :)

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McDonnell Douglas Model 225 painting by "The Artist" Michael Burke (Tavush) 2018, found at deviantart.com and at Secret Projects Forum » Research Topics » User Artwork » McDonnell Douglas Model 225 Painting

Offline LowObservable

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I have information that suggests that the "ATA" origins are highly unofficial. Although I'm sure its creator would be flattered to see it in a TsAGI handbook.  ;D

Offline flateric

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A-12 manufacturing pics...something rare to see...courtesy my wallet.
Don't looks like this is full-scale mockup manufacturing.
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline LowObservable

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Looks like totally efficient manufacturing going on in that middle pic...

Offline flateric

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These would be nice illustrations for the mid section of Stevenson's The '$5 Billion Misunderstanding', yeah....
"We should stay overnight...Cheney will come tomorrow at 10 A.M. and we still need to understand where's right wing console"
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline hesham

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Oh sorry my dear pometablava,

I don't mention the site;
http://www.habu2.net/a12/a_pete.htm

Offline flateric

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"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Antonio

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Thanks a lot Gregory!

BTW, any chance to see that "F-22 Evolution pic" from Aricle Part II in full resolution? ::)

Regards,

Antonio

Offline flateric

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From the (never built) Forth Worth Aviation Heritage Museum site

"The painting of the A-12 was one of the last done by the late General Dynamics artist, Bob Cunningham. The TBM Avenger in the painting was the one flown by President George Bush, who went to Fort Worth and dedicated the A-12 when it was still classified. The A-12 was to have been the Avenger II."
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline flateric

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US Naval Institute sells some interesting A-12 manufacturing photos...'Digital Download $29.97 each'
In this case cats' feeding would not be an excuse, I suppose...

As Overscan have suggested, 'Navy is trying to recoup A-12 costs'
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline prolific1

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Some guy had some A-12 structural drawings on the web years ago. That would be awesome to have since I'd love to make a cutaway of an A-12. There is so much info on it yet I haven't seen any illustrations of it.
Windows/PCs/anything Microsoft sucks.

Offline flateric

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Well, it's not quite that big, though the main assembly area is a mile long.  The "dump" as at the extreme north end of the facility, up against the edge of Lake Worth.
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Sundog

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Quote
Some guy had some A-12 structural drawings on the web years ago. That would be awesome to have since I'd love to make a cutaway of an A-12. There is so much info on it yet I haven't seen any illustrations of it.

Do you mean these?

Offline Pyrrhic victory

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Here's a December 1995 email from the Skunk Works Digest concerning the A-12 authored by Art Hanley.  Some interesting bits about the teaming of the two competitors and the stringent VLO requirements.

Quote
The Advanced Tactical Aircraft program was, basically put, the
future of Naval Aviation.  It was to be a first-day survivable strike
aircraft that could operate in all weather, day or night, and possess
good self defense capability against aerial threats, although not be
designed for offensive counter-air operations.  It would replace the
A-6 and have a greater radius of action.  Very heavy emphasis was
placed on stealth (in the opinion of many, too heavy an emphasis) and
all weapons were to be carried internally.  It would have been the
stealthiest aircraft ever.  To give an idea of how heavily stealth
characteristics were pushed, one of the requirements that has been
disclosed would have required the plane to open the weapons bay
doors, eject the weapon(s) and close the doors in 1/2 second.  This
is doable, but it has many consequences in design and drives the cost
up.  This could be a real problem since this was to be one of those
consistently disastrous fixed price development contracts.

The Department of the Navy insisted that companies team for the
competition.  Although never Officially confirmed, it was believed
by some that Department of Navy not only required teams, but directed
who was to team with who.  This is believable when you saw Grumman
teamed with Northrop and GD teamed with Macair.  In those days, a
voluntary teaming probably would have resulted in a MDD-Northrop
team, as they had done in the past on the F/A-18, as well as on the
YF-23. Tthis made for awkward meetings at the plants when the two
companies were pals on the ATF but foes on the ATA. This also
prevented cross fertilization of technologies within the companies.
For example, the MDD people working on the ATF team were able to
share the benefit of Northrop's experience in developing stealth
technology for the B-2 (one of the reasons that the YF-23 was the
stealthier of the two ATF competitors), while the MDD people working
on the ATA team were forbidden to be told anything about it. I have
been told that at that time the Grumman-Northrop pairing was not a
happy one either.

This posed a problem.  The Grumman-Northrop team had a leader with
55 years of building carrier aircraft, and had built the long range
attack aircraft the ATA was to replace, and a team member with an
enviable reputation for weight control and had built the world's
stealthiest aircraft.  Both team members had large scale composite
structure experience.  The GD-MDD team was lead by a company with no
carrier air experience and had weight problems on previous aircraft.
The other team member had been building naval aircraft for some time,
but the portion of that company that had built large attack aircraft
for the Navy, Douglas, had not designed one of them since the early
1950s.  Needless to say, this team was at somewhat of a disadvantage.

The design competition went forward.  It is known that there were
discussions with the Grumman-Northrop (and Vought) team (whose
design has been said to resemble a smaller, tandem seat B-2) to
reduce their bid down to what the Government wanted the plane to
cost. Grumman, having gone through this before on the original F-14
contract, along with Northrop basically said, 'Look, we Know how to
build this plane and you can't do it for that amount of money'.
According to published reports the Government said it was this or
else and the team responded with what was a polite form of, 'O.K.,
See Ya!', and walked away. This only left one team, and they got the
contract.

The A-12 had a number of serious problems in development.  One of
the most serious was that the team had to essentially reinvent
stealth technology.  The team expected that they would be provided
technological data from previous stealth programs, notably the F-117
and B-2, to which Northrop and Lockheed said, 'Say, What?  That's our
proprietary technology and processes and you want us to give it to
Who?  For a plane we aren't even building'?   This drove up costs and
produced delays while GD and MDD labored to reinvent the wheel.  Of
course, since this was a fixed price development contract, there was
no guarantee they'd get paid extra for this.  Weight problems also
developed, partly but not solely because the RAM being developed
wasn't as light as estimates.  Later reports indicate that MDD, who
had carrier experience, tried to raise bigger warning flags about
weight control but that the team leaders didn't realize how really
critical this was on a carrier plane.  DoD also thought that
management improvements could solve all the problems.  It is also
known that some of the problems were in fact concealed from DoD.  The
final straw came when soon after a major management review where DoD
seemed assured that that had good cost and schedule figures and so
briefed Congress, it surfaced that the plane would experience another
delay and an additional $1 billion would be needed for R&D to meet
spec.  This embarrassment was coupled with the fact that rigid
fixed-price development contracts have little or no adaptability
(something we have to relearn ever 20 years or so) which means a
go/no go decision had to be made.  The Air Force said it was fully
supportive of this magnificent joint development, was unequivocally
committed to the program (the A-12 was to be the F-111 replacement),
and could they please have more F-15Es instead? All this led
Secretary of Defense Cheney to cancel the program when the first
prototype was about 80% complete.

This devastated Naval Air, and also had an adverse affect on the RAF
which fully planned to buy the A-12 as their principal strike
aircraft. While a relief, there were a number who thought the program
should have been restructured not cancelled.  Their argument was that
the plane had serious problems, but they were fixable and doing that
would cost far less than starting something else, plus you'd actually
end up with an airplane instead of more studies.  This prediction has
unfortunately proved correct since the Navy is now going to spend
much more in R&D to get a strike aircraft much less capable than the
A-12.

The replacement program was the AX (which eventually became the
A/FX). There was more user input to the requiremnts for this plane
which actually would have been a more useful plane than the A-12.
Not as stealthy (but still a stealth aircraft), it would have had
better provision for more flexible payloads, would have had somewhat
less range (although still more than A-6's), but would have greater
counter-air capability.  It would have had offensive air-to-air
abilities and would be more maneuverable and faster.  A bunch of
different teams formed for that one with some companies competing
with themselves by being on different teams with different partners.
The record, I think, went to Lockheed which was on at least four
teams with different partners ( I can list all the teams if anyone's
interested, but it's complicated enough to require a program).   A/FX
sort of moved along for a while, its IOC was moved back partly to
make room for the F/A-18E/F. The Air Force said it was fully
supportive of this magnificent joint development, was unequivocally
committed to the program (the A/FX was now to be the F-111
replacement), and could they please have more B-2s instead?  A/FX
just sorta went away and along came the first of the many
incarnations of JAST.  The JAST (JSF) aircraft, by the way is not
planned to be able meet the A/FX requirements.


Meanwhile, back in court, the A-12 team and the Government were
suing each other.  The Government said that the program was
terminated for non-performance and that certain problems were
concealed from it.  It says it is entitled to get back the money it
spent on the program.  The A-12 team said that the program was
terminated at the convenience of the Government.  Their main
arguments are that they made it clear that their schedules and costs
were based on the Government supplying them with stealth and
composite construction technology data, which didn't happen, and that
while they were indeed overweight on the prototype, the contract
specified that they didn't have to meet the weight target until the
32nd aircraft and they claim they would have made it by then.  If
this was a convenience of the Government termination, then the
contractors are entitled to reimbursement for their costs and
possibly penalties as well.  So Far, the courts have tended to rule
in favor of the contractors, but everybody is appealing everything
(you're not surprised, are you?).

http://www.netwrx1.com/skunk-works/v05.n570

Offline F-14D

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Here's a December 1995 email from the Skunk Works Digest concerning the A-12 authored by Art Hanley.  Some interesting bits about the teaming of the two competitors and the stringent VLO requirements.

Quote
<snip>
The A-12 had a number of serious problems in development.  One of
the most serious was that the team had to essentially reinvent
stealth technology.  The team expected that they would be provided
technological data from previous stealth programs, notably the F-117
and B-2, to which Northrop and Lockheed said, 'Say, What?  That's our
proprietary technology and processes and you want us to give it to
Who?  For a plane we aren't even building'?   This drove up costs and
produced delays while GD and MDD labored to reinvent the wheel.  Of
course, since this was a fixed price development contract, there was
no guarantee they'd get paid extra for this.

 <snip>
Meanwhile, back in court, the A-12 team and the Government were
suing each other.  The Government said that the program was
terminated for non-performance and that certain problems were
concealed from it.  It says it is entitled to get back the money it
spent on the program.  The A-12 team said that the program was
terminated at the convenience of the Government.  Their main
arguments are that they made it clear that their schedules and costs
were based on the Government supplying them with stealth and
composite construction technology data, which didn't happen, and that
while they were indeed overweight on the prototype, the contract
specified that they didn't have to meet the weight target until the
32nd aircraft and they claim they would have made it by then.  If
this was a convenience of the Government termination, then the
contractors are entitled to reimbursement for their costs and
possibly penalties as well.  So Far, the courts have tended to rule
in favor of the contractors, but everybody is appealing everything
(you're not surprised, are you?).

http://www.netwrx1.com/skunk-works/v05.n570


In those court cases things have come out that were not known in 1995.  For one thing, it turns out it wasn't Northrop and Lockheed' claim of proprietary information that prevented the A-12 team from getting information on stealth technology.  It turned out that USAF controlled all access to stealth technology at the time.   Now it was known that USAF didn't like the idea of having to buy a Navy plane instead of one of its own, and this may just be coincidental, but it seems that whenever members of the A-12 team needed access to that body of knowledge, it just turned out that they didn't have the acceptable clearances to see that and it wasn't sure when they could get that.  Apparently it reached the point that GD-MDD decided they would just have to reinvent everything rather than to keep marching in place.   There is some credibility to this because if you think about it, if the Government funded the development of the F-117 and B-2, then the Government, not Lockheed or Northrop owned those technologies and processes, so they themselves data couldn't withhold the Government owned data from another contractor working on a Government program, as long as the recipients had the proper clearances. 

Even if they had received the data, the plane still would have been over budget and probably wouldn't have met its promises, but we'll never know.   Too bad we didn't get the A/FX, a much better concept.    . 
« Last Edit: May 13, 2008, 06:28:50 pm by F-14D »

Offline LowObservable

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Couple of points: 
The A-12 wasn't really the "stealthiest aircraft ever". The concept was to use a combination of stealth, situational awareness (a breakthrough ESM system) and self-defense (AMRAAMs and HARMs) to get through the defenses.
The lack of a clear lead was definitely an issue. I don't recall a successful two-company program where the roles were as ill defined as they were in this case.  Also, my impression is that neither GD nor McDD had a mature in-house LO capability when they started;  a whole bunch of LO manufacturing work was to be farmed out to Rockwell in Tulsa (went back to the Hound Dog).
How much would access have helped? It's actually a serious question. The coating and edge technologies used on the F-117 were far too heavy and maintenance-intensive to work for ATA. Ditto, in almost every case, the B-2. And the A-12 was running years ahead of the ATF program, which was never even due to start FSD until 1991, by which time FSD A-12s should have been flying.

Offline CFE

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But it should be noted that the schedule for ATA was highly ambitious (and unrealistic.)  There's a table in the Stephenson book comparing the amount of time between contract award and first flight for various combat aircraft, which lays out the case that the Navy's expectation of a 1991 first flight was totally unrealistic.

Offline Triton

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I remember seeing the following artwork in the early 1990s when the configuration of the A-12 Avenger II was still secret. I don't remember the name of the book or its author in which this artwork appeared. Does anyone have a better scan of this artwork?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 01:49:52 am by overscan »

Offline Merv_P

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I don't have a scan but I know which book it's from - "Stealth Warplanes" by Doug Richardson.


Offline Matej

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Yess, but only in a first edition. Second edition has a small tiny pic on the page 86 with the description generally saying...  how we imagined the ATA. But probably its better to scan, because in the first edition it is very big image printed on the both pages.

Bizarre aviation expert.

Offline Merv_P

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Yess, but only in a first edition. Second edition has a small tiny pic on the page 86 with the description generally saying...  how we imagined the ATA. But probably its better to scan, because in the first edition it is very big image printed on the both pages.

You're right; I've dug out my copy of the first edition. Fortunately, though, the image Triton wants is on a single page; the double-page spread is of the aircraft in a different colour scheme. I've attached a scan.


Offline Triton

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Thank you Merv_P.  B) I don't recall the other image of the design in a different color scheme. Did this speculative design only appear in Stealth Warplanes by Doug Richardson, or were there other publications/sources that speculated that this was the shape of the U.S. Navy Advanced Tactical Aircraft (ATA)?
« Last Edit: February 01, 2009, 08:31:12 am by Triton »

Offline GTX

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Is James P. Stevenson's "The $5 Billion Misunderstanding: The Collapse of the Navy’s A-12 Stealth Bomber Program" the only book to comprehensively deal with the A-12 program?

Regards,

Greg

Offline Pyrrhic victory

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[
Is James P. Stevenson's "The $5 Billion Misunderstanding: The Collapse of the Navy’s A-12 Stealth Bomber Program" the only book to comprehensively deal with the A-12 program?

Regards,

Greg

Inside the Ironworks: How Grumman's Glory Days Faded has a chapter (mostly) devoted to the failed Northrop-Grumman ATA bid.  Nothing really technical, just a couple of tid bits about the inlet and weapons bay as well as how the contractor pairings came about.

http://tinyurl.com/cz68sd`(link to google books preview)
« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 03:18:29 pm by Pyrrhic victory »

Offline CFE

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Did the Northrop-Grumman ATA teaming help in any way to grease the skids for the Northrop-Grumman merger?

Offline Orionblamblam

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My take on it, with 80 foot span, 46 foot length, with B-2 for scale.
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Offline GTX

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B-3 ish :D



Regards,

Greg

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Here is the *only* source picture. From Stevenson's "The $5 Billion Misunderstanding" and sourced to the March 1987 "NAVAIR Technical Review and Assessment of BRR Concept Formulation" (BRR was the triagraph for BRAVERY the A12 ATA secret codeword).
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline flateric

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To my knowledge, Jim is one of forum members.
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline donnage99

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My take on it, with 80 foot span, 46 foot length, with B-2 for scale.
Are you sure that northrop ATA bid has a side by side 2 seater?

Offline Orionblamblam

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My take on it, with 80 foot span, 46 foot length, with B-2 for scale.
Are you sure that northrop ATA bid has a side by side 2 seater?

I'm told that "$5 Billion" describes it as such. I don't have a copy of the book, I'm afraid, given that it costs about as much as I'll make *this* *week.*
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Offline Abraham Gubler

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My take on it, with 80 foot span, 46 foot length, with B-2 for scale.
Are you sure that northrop ATA bid has a side by side 2 seater?

I'm told that "$5 Billion" describes it as such. I don't have a copy of the book, I'm afraid, given that it costs about as much as I'll make *this* *week.*

I have a copy of this book from back a few years when they were selling them at a few bucks a pop to clear the stack of boxes at back of the Navy Institute... While almost all of it is an in depth expose of the insanity of Navy contracting at the time (which takes a certain insanity to read it all, though I found the same inbred problems scaringly similar to defence procurement here in Australia) there is a brief look at the differing offers from an aircraft perspective.

There is also a quoted page from the NAVAIR technical review on the A-12A offerings from both GDFW and McAir Team and the Northrop, Grumman and LTV team. Plus the picture I uploaded earlier (which is clearly side by side seating). Anyway from Stevenson's "5 Billion":

Early Configuration Summary

Area: 1,720 sq ft
Span: 80 feet
Length: 46 feet
Unique features: Tips raise for carrier ops. Side-by side crew
Propulsion: (2) [F404]F5A2 engines
Static thrust: 2 x 14,200 lbs
Inlets: Upper surface setback
Exhaust: Upper surface
Radar: Ku Band, conformal passive in wing L.E.
Takeoff weight: 69,713 lbs
Payload: 5,160 lbs
Fuel: 21,322 lbs
Wing loading: 41 lbs/sq ft
Spotting factor: 1.44
Launch wind over deck (WOD): -2 knots
Arresting WOD (Mk 7 mod 3): +9 knots
Waveoff rate of climb: + 680 feet/minute

"NavAir Technical Review and Assessment of BRR Concept Formulation", 27 March 1987

One hopes there is a nice, juicy chapter on the A-12A in Tommy Thomason's forthcoming study of post war USN attack aircraft. Other than that information on the Northrop A-12A is pretty thin. No doubt because much of the design (the wings at least) has been reused in the X-47B and probably their 2018 Bomber.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2009, 01:49:21 am by Abraham Gubler »
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Orionblamblam

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I'm finally getting around to drawing up the A-12. Here's the basic top view to scale with the Northrop ATA, with an additional view showing the two vehicles with their outer wing panels removed (in lieu of showing them folded), superimposed to show deck spotting. The Northrop design would have taken up a bit more space.

The N-ATA canopy configuration is purest guesswork. It more than likely was much larger than shown here.

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Offline Tailspin Turtle

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My version is also based on the pictures in Stevenson's book, with assistance from Tony Chong and Jens Baganz. I like my canopy but there's no evidence for it. I like Orion's side view although it might be a bit too sleek. Extending the elevons out to the wing tips might be a blunder on my part.

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Great pictures. I think the straight wing fold line in the Tailspin drawing is probably a bit more likely than the angled line on the Orion drawing. The roof canopy is an interesting concept. The ATA flight profile was to include low altitude penetration so it would make some sense from a crew view perspective but not top side LO.

On spotting the Northrop ATA did have a higher spot factor than the General Dynamics ATA. From the same source as the other data it was 1.44 (Northrop) to 1.32 (General Dynamics). This is a factor based on 1.0 being an A-7. Though spot factors are calculated by square meterage and the Northrop ATA folds into a hexagon shape compared to the truncated triangle of the A-12A. This would enable much more efficient use of space in nose to tail parking. The good people at Shipbucket have drawn the various ATAs parked on a Nimitz showing the Northrop design actually can fit more in.

http://z11.invisionfree.com/shipbucket/index.php?showtopic=1378

As to other carrier suitability factors the following are very significant:

Launch wind over deck (WOD): -2 knots (Northrop) vs +19 knots (General Dynamics)
Arresting WOD (Mk 7 mod 3): +9 knots (Northrop) vs +12 knots (General Dynamics)
Waveoff rate of climb: + 680 feet/minute (Northrop) vs - 100 feet/minute (General Dynamics)

Negative waveoff climb rate! Even if the A-12A had meet its predicted 40,000 lbs empty weight in the 87 technical review it still would have lacked a waveoff capability! Wrong choice for so many reasons.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Orionblamblam

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Great pictures. I think the straight wing fold line in the Tailspin drawing is probably a bit more likely than the angled line on the Orion drawing.


Very likely. As originally drafted, just "traced" over the top-view photo, the vehicle was too short in length for its span. Looking at the photo more closely, it looks like the picture was taken at fairly close distance, centered right over the tip of the "tail." Perspective would cause parallel lines like the wing folds to point "inwards."  Spreading them outwards to make them parallel would also have the effect of moving the inlets outboard and makign the cockpit wider... a  good thing considering that it was side-by-side seating.

Quote
http://z11.invisionfree.com/shipbucket/index.php?showtopic=1378

A pity you've got to be registered to see whatever's there.

I'll post a corrected version when I can.
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Offline donnage99

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Yeah, I also think the northrop bid is larger than a-12.  The side-by-side seaters are just way too narrow if compared them to the A-12 cockpit

Offline Orionblamblam

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On spotting the Northrop ATA did have a higher spot factor than the General Dynamics ATA. From the same source as the other data it was 1.44 (Northrop) to 1.32 (General Dynamics).

According to AutoCAD, the N-ATA takes up 110.6 sq. meters, the A-12 92.15... a ratio of 1.2:1. Your data of 1.44 to 1.32 works out to a ratio of 1.09:1. When you factor in that the drawings show the outer wings just hacked off, rather than folded (which would make the outlines a bit more complex)), I guess things aren't *too* far off. If the Northrop design does a better job than the GD design of foldign the wings ou of the way, it might work out just right.

Anyway, here's the revised N-ATA. Reworked the fold lines, the cockpit/upper fuselage contour, the underside contour and the canopy frames. I tried to make the canopy roughly the same sort of size as that for the A-6 Intruder, also shown to scale.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2009, 12:54:24 pm by Orionblamblam »
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Offline Orionblamblam

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I suppose it'd be appropriate to throw in the N-381 "Manta" as well...
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3919.0/highlight,miller+archive.html
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Offline Abraham Gubler

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The side-by-side seaters are just way too narrow if compared them to the A-12 cockpit.

There is also a drawing in Stevenson's book of the A-12A in a side-by-side configuration (Model 21). Have to jiggle some cables and scan that in some time today.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Abraham Gubler

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A pity you've got to be registered to see whatever's there.

OK, forgot that. Been registered for a while as its interesting to see all the 'never built' designs that get drawn fleshing out the many concept studies for warships.

Anyway I've downloaded the pictures in question and attached them here. They show the bow of a Nimitz class carrier loaded nose to tail with the rival ATA designs. Because of the hexagonal shape you can actually fit more Northrop ATAs on the deck than A-12As. At the end of the last two cycles of a flight operations period all the day's flying aircraft (>40) are packed together nose to tail at the bow.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Abraham Gubler

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If the Northrop design does a better job than the GD design of foldign the wings ou of the way, it might work out just right.

Here is a close up of one of the few bits of detail one can see in the picture of the Northrop ATA. It shows a large panel inboard of the wingfold that looks like a cover for the folding mechanism. Considering its size this could enable the wing to fold inwards from a position enabling it to be completely inside the 'chopped off' or hexagonal outer line.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Here is the image of the side-by-side crew station configuration ATA offered by General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas (later the A-12A).
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Did the Northrop-Grumman ATA teaming help in any way to grease the skids for the Northrop-Grumman merger?

It wasn't a merger of equals. Northrop brought Grumman for $2.1 billion. They pipped Martin Marietta ($1.9 billion) saving the world from the company name "Martin Grumman"... Though interestingly Grumman approached Northrop first with private talks for the takeover which broke down leading to Martin Marietta being the public merger buyer and then Northrop beat them to the Bethpage Iron Works prize with a higher offer.

NORTHROP BESTS MARTIN MARIETTA TO BUY GRUMMAN
By CALVIN SIMS,
Published: Tuesday, April 5, 1994, New York Times

The Northrop Corporation won the final round today of a heated battle for the Grumman Corporation, the venerable Long Island military contractor. Grumman had decided to seek a merger in the face of its own diminished prospects and declining military spending in the post-cold-war world.

In the monthlong fight for Grumman, Northrop wound up triumphing over the Martin Marietta Corporation by agreeing to pay $62 a share, or a total of $2.1 billion. Northrop's bid exceeded Martin Marietta's by $7 a share, or about $170 million. The Martin Marietta deal would have been worth $55 a share, or $1.93 billion.

Faced with drastic cuts in military spending, weapons contractors have adopted a strategy of acquiring businesses in markets they can dominate and selling off the rest. A deal for Grumman, based in Bethpage, L.I., represented a rare opportunity to acquire a large contractor with a variety of strong weapons programs.

While Grumman has lucrative contracts in military electronics programs, large components for commercial aircraft, and computer information systems and software, the company does not have enough long-term contracts to become a leading force in those areas. Therefore, Grumman officials determined that the company would be better off merging with another contractor than going it alone.

The agreement reached today put an end to the initial plan to merge Grumman with Martin Marietta that was announced publicly on March 7 after Grumman broke off private talks with Northrop.

Under the terms of that agreement, Grumman agreed to pay Martin Marietta $50 million for tearing up the deal and accepting Northrop's richer offer. Martin Marietta said Grumman paid that money today.

Also, Grumman is required to pay up to $8.8 million of Martin Marietta's investment-banking and legal fees and other expenses from the battle.

In the end, Northrop, a weapons maker based in Los Angeles, raised the ante to a level that Martin Marietta believed was too much to pay even for Grumman's highly prized operations in a weapons industry consolidating rapidly amid shrinking Pentagon budgets.

Almost everybody expects layoffs in Grumman's Long Island plants as the merger jells. Grumman acknowledged last month when it announced its plan to link up with Martin Marietta that it would eventually have to eliminate thousands of jobs on Long Island, where 8,900 Grumman workers, or nearly half the total work force of 18,000, are based. With the combination of Grumman and Northrop, industry analysts predicted that 10 to 12 percent of the total work force, which will be more than 40,000 people, would be laid off.

Grumman had agreed on March 7 to merge with Martin Marietta, based in Bethesda, Md., for $55 a share, but was later forced to consider a hostile bid of $60 a share from Northrop, which is best known as the builder of the costly B-2 long range bomber.

Grumman, which had asked both suitors to submit their best offers by 5 P.M. last Thursday, said in a statement today that its board had unanimously approved Northrop's $62-a-share tender offer. Martin Marietta did not increase its offer of $55 a share. Would Not Budge

Phil Giaramita, a Martin Marietta spokesman, said today that the company had determined that $55 a share was what Grumman was worth and that based on its long-term policy, Martin Marietta would not overpay.

"Martin Marietta is a healthy corporation and we have made numerous acquisitions in the past," Mr. Giaramita said. "We are in a position where we can sit back and wait for the right opportunity. Grumman was the right opportunity at $55 a share, but not at $62."

Winning Grumman is a big victory for Northrop, which had failed in two previous attempts to acquire large weapons businesses and was under pressure to make an acquisition or face being swallowed by another military contractor.

Merging with Grumman is also a personal conquest for Kent Kresa, Northrop's chairman, president and chief executive, who was said by friends and associates to be angry that Grumman officials struck a secret merger agreement with Martin Marietta despite a yearlong courtship by Northrop. Mr. Kresa has said that his unrelenting pursuit of Grumman was purely business.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline donnage99

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Does the McDonnell Douglas proposal of the ATA speaks of their less experience in stealth operational effectiveness in comparison to the Northrop bid?  The MDD bid is intended to go in at low altitude, so its stealth is masked from AWACS and such, with its under surface setback inlets and exhausts like conventional aircraft method of penetration, while the northrop bid is the opposite.  I mean, why do you have to go low and risk visual identification if you going for ultra stealth flying wing? 

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Does the McDonnell Douglas proposal of the ATA speaks of their less experience in stealth operational effectiveness in comparison to the Northrop bid?  The MDD bid is intended to go in at low altitude, so its stealth is masked from AWACS and such, with its under surface setback inlets and exhausts like conventional aircraft method of penetration, while the northrop bid is the opposite.  I mean, why do you have to go low and risk visual identification if you going for ultra stealth flying wing? 

Well that is two of the main controversies in the ATA project (there were others!) as outlined in Stevenson's book.

Firstly the level of stealth awareness of the General Dynamics Fort Worth bid (McDonnell Douglas was not the team leader though in some cases their name was placed first. The A-12A was designed by GDFW and was going to be final assembled by them). The Navy had kind of indicated they wanted a stealth builder to team with a naval aircraft builder, like the Hornet project where the light fighter designers (Northrop's F-17 and GDFW's F-16 were teamed with naval builders McDonnell and Vought). Grumman got in with Northrop over Lockheed and GDFW and McDonnell teamed without Lockheed. There were assumptions that because McDonnell was teamed with Northrop on the ATF they would know stealth... Of course the Navy and the succsessful bidders had underestimated what it took (ie cost, weight and schedule) to build a LO aircraft and the A-12A ended in disaster.

On the flight profile the Navy wanted low level penetration but Northrop tried to convince them that LO was better at altitude. The Navy countered by pointing out they had no smart weapons that could be deployed from 40,000 feet (what became JDAM was a USAF program) and curvature of the earth is the ultimate radar countermeasure (of course it wasn't Vietnam anymore and the Soviets were fielding many, many look down shoot down radars). Anyway the Northrop model was turned upside down and its topside RCS measured (not good).

Which indicates that there should be a big RCS model of the Northrop ATA out there or at least some pictures of it (it was probably scrapped). But the continuing life of this design through X-47B and NGB will probably mean it won't be seen until these aircraft are in service.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline CFE

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I think that Scott's last N-ATA drawing is getting pretty close to the real thing, or at least how I've always imagined it based on extrapolating from the early SENIOR ICE concepts.  My only question is whether the flaps would have extended to the region aft of the exhausts.  I know that engineers generally don't like having moving parts located near the hot flames.  But the flaps could serve as a "cheap and dirty" form of thrust vectoring.

Another possibility is that N-ATA had a movable beaver tail like the B-2 does.  It could compensate for the loss of flap area if the flaps stopped short of the exhausts (although it would represent lost roll control, assuming the flaps aft of the exhausts were operated differentially.)

Offline Orionblamblam

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After consultations, I've repositioned the cockpit slightly. The underside is anybody's guess, but I still stand by my basic profile of the upper surface including the cockpit. Looking at the photos of the model, it just seems to have the "B-2 Beak" to it, though perhaps not as prounounced.


I suppose along with the N-ATA, the A-12 and the "Manta," the disappointing "Stealthy A-6 Intruder" would also fit in here. That one would of course be just a whole lot of speculation.
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Offline donnage99

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Grumman got in with Northrop over Lockheed and GDFW and McDonnell teamed without Lockheed. There were assumptions that because McDonnell was teamed with Northrop on the ATF they would know stealth... Of course the Navy and the succsessful bidders had underestimated what it took (ie cost, weight and schedule) to build a LO aircraft and the A-12A ended in disaster.

I thought that McDonnell/GD also signed a contract with Lockheed to help them with stealth, like work on the leading edge and stuff.  I read it from that website that is no longer active.  Forgot its name, anyone remember?

Offline flateric

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It was Invisible Defenders site, shut down after boss have talked to site owner - due to nature of site owner's job.
Man that GD wanted to make exaust area for A-12, was Ben Rich.

"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline donnage99

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Thanks, Flateric!

As for the cockpit, I still find it too narrow compared to the A-12 avenger II cockpit.  If it's that wide for one person to fit into the A-12, it should be 1.7 times that for two person sitting side-by-side.  Take a look at the su-27 and Fullback:

Offline Orionblamblam

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Thanks, Flateric!

As for the cockpit, I still find it too narrow compared to the A-12 avenger II cockpit. 

However, it compares well to the A-6 Intruder.
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Offline donnage99

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However, it compares well to the A-6 Intruder.
Forgot to take into account the possibility that a-12 cockpit is wider than typical ones.

Offline Orionblamblam

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The A-12 canopy was relatively  low and flat, meaning it had to be fairly wide.
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Offline Orionblamblam

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The latest zoo of Navy stealth, with the in-progress "stealthy A-6" at left and the Northrop AX at center bottom (with the slim data I have, it appears to be scaled about right... it was, apparently, fairly small). The A-12 is the design I have the most info on, and it's the one taking the longest.
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Offline flateric

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I want to buy these A-12 drawings that Scott have made from giant original blueprints...
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Orionblamblam

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I want to buy these A-12 drawings that Scott have made from giant original blueprints...

Around about a year ago I had the notion of creating detailed scale drawings as some sort of stand-alone product. As with a lot of my ideas, that one just sort of fluttered away due to being busy and scatterbrained. The A-12 was to be one of those drawing sets. Might still happen in some form, I suppose.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2009, 11:34:04 pm by Orionblamblam »
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Offline CFE

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If you want to talk about the "zoo of Navy stealth," it's interesting to look at the progression from ATA to NATF to A-X and A/F-X, to F-117N & A/F-117X and finally to the F-35C.  The road to a naval stealth aircraft has been an arduous one, and the final result is somewhat disappointing in my view.

Offline donnage99

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The Northrop A-X is certainly very small to carry a weapon load similar to the A-6....or does it?

Offline Orionblamblam

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The Northrop A-X is certainly very small to carry a weapon load similar to the A-6....or does it?

It has more lifting area than the A-6, so perhaps more payload capacity. How much of it would have been internal, and how much external, I can't say. A stealthy plane with a bunch of bombs hanging underneath might be a bit of a contradiction; but if it flies low, the only radar to see it would only see the upper surface.
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Offline flateric

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The A-12 was to be one of those drawing sets. Might still happen in some form, I suppose.


"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Orionblamblam

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The A-12 was to be one of those drawing sets. Might still happen in some form, I suppose.




It would be an expansion of the drawing below. Top, bottom, side, front, rear views as detailed as I can get 'em, along with the sections and inboard profiles (and inboard plan view) showing important inner structures. Conveniently, it would fit nicely on 11X17 paper at 1/48 scale.

Before that, though, it's looking like a US Navy Stealth article for APR is in order.

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Offline GTX

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Quote
Before that, though, it's looking like a US Navy Stealth article for APR is in order.

Most definitely!

Regards,

Greg

Offline vulture

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Re: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals
« Reply #115 on: September 26, 2009, 01:45:53 pm »
Hi;

Could someone repost the Northrop ATA concept - again.  Thanks a bunch.


Vulture

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"They can't see our arses for dust."
 
- Sir Sydney Camm

Offline GTX

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Anything further on good quality A-12 drawings and the potential US Navy Stealth article for APR?

Regards,

Greg

Offline GTX

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The A-12 saga continues:

Quote
General Dynamics to Appeal A-12 Decision
   
   
(Source: General Dynamics; issued November 24, 2009)
 
    
   FALLS CHURCH, Va. --- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today denied a request for a rehearing of the Federal Circuit's prior decision sustaining the government's default termination of the A-12 aircraft contract to which General Dynamics and The Boeing Company were parties with the Navy.

General Dynamics disagrees with this most recent decision and continues to believe that the government's default termination was not justified. The company also believes that the ruling provides significant grounds for appeal, and intends to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for review.


General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 92,300 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. (ends)

   
   
Quote
Boeing Statement on Appeals Court Refusal to Rehear A-12 Case
   
   
(Source: Boeing Co.; issued Nov. 24, 2009)
 
   
   CHICAGO --- J. Michael Luttig, Boeing executive vice president and general counsel, today said that the company intends to appeal to the Supreme Court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit refused to rehear the company’s appeal in the long-running A-12 case.

"We are disappointed in today's decision. The Court of Appeals' decision is clearly wrong as a matter of law and it has broad implications for all forms of government contracting nationwide. As a consequence, I have directed that an immediate appeal be taken to the Supreme Court of the United States," Luttig said.

At issue in this litigation, which has been pending over a decade, is the manner in which the Defense Department terminated the A-12 military aircraft program and whether the government owed Boeing (then McDonnell Douglas) and General Dynamics Corporation money for work in progress when the contract was terminated, as well as certain other expenses.

The trial court originally ruled in favor of the contractors, but various appeals over the years have delayed a final decision.

The A-12 was to have been the Navy's next-generation, carrier-based advanced tactical aircraft utilizing low observable "stealth" technology.

-ends-

Please note that this post wasn't meant to raise political issues re the cancellation of the A-12.  It is simply to convey news that the A-12 cancellation issue is still kicking along.

Regards,

Greg

Offline Tailspin Turtle

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Thanks for that - Here's the status as of last June:

http://thanlont.blogspot.com/2009/06/12-gift-that-keeps-on-giving.html
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 12:29:11 pm by Tailspin Turtle »

Offline flateric

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remains of A-12 'iron bird' in St.Louis Boeing plant

"An unused legacy of the past. Bruce McIlroy, Test and Evaluations Operations manager in St. Louis, is pictured with the A-12 “iron bird,” a
massive fixture used to test the hydraulics of the cancelled U.S. Navy aircraft and now no longer needed."


From Boeing Frontiers, July 2007 issue
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Orionblamblam

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I've been meaning to do something meaningful with these - and several more - drawings for years, but it just keeps slipping. An APR article has been planned, but I just haven't gotten to it. So... here. Hopefully I will get back to it.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 08:50:50 am by Orionblamblam »
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Offline flateric

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Scott, thanks for your generosity - many didn't see them before
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline archipeppe

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Outstanding.....as usual.

Offline GTX

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Outstanding - hopefully you do get back to that APR article.  It would be great.

Regards,

Greg

Offline flateric

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but I bet that ones from Jay Miller's archive are other set
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Orionblamblam

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but I bet that ones from Jay Miller's archive are other set

The Miller drawings that I saw and photographed were electrical wiring diagrams, with structural arrangements being merely a side effect. These drawings are dedicated structural drawings, and are far better than the Miller drawings for the simpl fact that these are high-rez scans rather than crappy photographs.
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Offline Sundog

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but I bet that ones from Jay Miller's archive are other set

The Miller drawings that I saw and photographed were electrical wiring diagrams, with structural arrangements being merely a side effect. These drawings are dedicated structural drawings, and are far better than the Miller drawings for the simpl fact that these are high-rez scans rather than crappy photographs.

If you ever get around to it, I would like to see some of the Jay Miller photo's, simply for 3D modeling as they had the various mold line/cross section contours. I've tried 3D modeling this, but it's a difficult shape to capture accurately as there is a lot of subtle complex curves that change across the span. However, that isn't a complaint, just a wish, thanks for what you've posted.

I'm still trying to digest the info on that structural drawing, especially the exhaust louvers. I'm guessing they used those as an "internal nozzle" so they could control the exhaust area without affecting the outer mold lines for LO. I was also surprised by the towed decoys and the length of the inlet vanes down the duct. I think I'm suffering information overload right now.  ;D

Offline Orionblamblam

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If you ever get around to it, I would like to see some of the Jay Miller photo's, simply for 3D modeling as they had the various mold line/cross section contours.

The scans are  better. More complete, more sections (lat and long), higher rez and most importantly *flat.* The CAD drawings I had created based on the photos had errors introduced by lens aberations, being off-axis, etc.


Quote
I'm still trying to digest the info on that structural drawing, especially the exhaust louvers. I'm guessing they used those as an "internal nozzle" so they could control the exhaust area without affecting the outer mold lines for LO.

Maybe this'll help...
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Offline Sundog

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That definitely helps, thanks. I remember the nozzle design always being one of the most guarded secrets of the design so I've always been trying to figure out why. These drawings are very illuminating in that regard.

Offline GTX

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Scott, between this and the NATF one, you could release the definitive Naval Stealth platform APR edition.

Regards,

Greg

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Not forgetting the Quiet Stealth design too :)
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Offline TinWing

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Utterly stunning.

Now the last question I have about the A-12:

What was the bypass ratio of the GE F412?  Mass flow?

I know it sounds like minutiae, but this drawing has truly answered just about every other question I ever had.


Offline Orionblamblam

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Not forgetting the Quiet Stealth design too :)

Not forgetting. I'm just coming from transferring data & images for various backup locations to three folders under my "APR" heading... "F-23 derivatives," "Navy Stealth" and "Early Stealth." The latter has the most designs, many of which I'm pretty sure have not seen the light of day before, some of which are in fact somewhat confusing to me as well.

In deference to the tender sensibilities of some with no patience whatsoever, I'll say no more about them.
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Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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There are more A-12 drawings in this series. But that could wait for the article :)
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Offline quellish

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I'm still trying to digest the info on that structural drawing, especially the exhaust louvers. I'm guessing they used those as an "internal nozzle" so they could control the exhaust area without affecting the outer mold lines for LO. I was also surprised by the towed decoys and the length of the inlet vanes down the duct. I think I'm suffering information overload right now.  ;D

The inlets and the access panels were two things that contributed to its RCS problems. The vanes were an attempt to block line of sight to the engine faces, but apparently did not help as much as hoped.

Offline Sundog

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The inlets and the access panels were two things that contributed to its RCS problems. The vanes were an attempt to block line of sight to the engine faces, but apparently did not help as much as hoped.

Yeah, I understood what the vanes were for and remember seeing them in the pics of the full scale mock-up, I was just surprised by their length and can't believe they weren't detrimental to inlet performance. Of course, the more I learn about the GD A-12, as much as I love the design, I can't help thinking how much more "better/realistic" the Northrop design was, of course, partly owing to their B-2 experience.

Regarding the early stealth comments, that should definitely make an interesting APR article, since it's interesting just how far back some of this technology goes as I've been learning since reading more and more on RPV's from the 50's, 60's and 70's. I have feeling one of the planes you have info on is Northrop's submission for Have Blue. I'm not fishing, just saying.

Maybe you should just write a book? I mean seriously. Stealth Design, from 1960 to 1980. I only bring that up because a friend and I were saying someone needs to write a book like that from 1980 to 2010, especially with all of the ATB, ATF/NATF, JAST, AX, AF/X, and JSF info, etc. You probably have enough info to write both volumes.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 06:14:40 pm by Sundog »

Offline mz

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What complicated intake and exhausts! Wonder how the engine could work at all... Great drawings!

Offline Orionblamblam

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Maybe you should just write a book? I mean seriously. Stealth Design, from 1960 to 1980.
\
I've a sufficiency of such projects jsut now... and not enough info to make a good book-length work on that topic.
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Offline Nils_D

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Does anyone know which cockpit config is the 'production' one? The one in the simulator is significantly less cluttered compared to the diagram. Also it looks as if it uses the F-15E UFC?

Offline Colonial-Marine

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I have never been able to get a good grasp of how far along the A-12 program was when it was canceled. Were they even close to a flying prototype? Were components like the engines and avionics making good progress? I understand the program was canceled because it was extremely over-budget, but what was the cause of such cost-overruns? Was too much expected from MDD and GD?

Personally I think even today the US Navy could use something like the A-12 to be a subsonic bomb-truck.
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Offline Skyblazer

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There is a photo published in AW&ST that shows four prototypes being constructed, with one more advanced than the others. I'd say "half complete" maybe, if this means anything...

Offline flateric

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There is a photo published in AW&ST that shows four prototypes being constructed
when it was published (ref)?
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stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Sundog

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I have never been able to get a good grasp of how far along the A-12 program was when it was canceled. Were they even close to a flying prototype? Were components like the engines and avionics making good progress? I understand the program was canceled because it was extremely over-budget, but what was the cause of such cost-overruns? Was too much expected from MDD and GD?

Personally I think even today the US Navy could use something like the A-12 to be a subsonic bomb-truck.

Basically, the Navy tried to get a stealth attack plane on the cheap. Northrop told them it couldn't be built for what they were asking, which is why Northrop dropped out of it. Plus, there were many problems, one of which was the heating from the nozzles on the aft decking, IIRC, after engine shut down. I can't remember if that is in the $5 billion dollar mis-understanding or the Ben Rich book, but Ben Rich/Lockheed was asked by GD to analyze the area and they told them it would be a problem, but GD didn't listen. Plus, due to compartmentalization, GD had to develop their own stealth tech., basically re-inventing most of what Northrop had already done on the B-2. The problem with the A-12 was it simply became unaffordable for the Navy, as Northrop had warned them when they started. It wasn't that the A-12 wouldn't have worked, it was just that there was no way in hell the Navy was going to get it at the price they wanted, and the costs just kept going up. I don't know how bad the weight problem was, but I believe it was quite severe. How much they could have reduced it in a production version I simply don't have an answer for; But I'm willing to bet Northrop has a good idea. ;)

Offline Skyblazer

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There is a photo published in AW&ST that shows four prototypes being constructed
when it was published (ref)?

I cut it out from the mag, and I was still a subscriber at the time, so make it circa 1993. I'd have to find the clipping to have the date, since I always stamped the date on the articles I kept. When I find it I'll update this thread (unless someone else gets it first, of course).

Offline quellish

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I cut it out from the mag, and I was still a subscriber at the time, so make it circa 1993. I'd have to find the clipping to have the date, since I always stamped the date on the articles I kept. When I find it I'll update this thread (unless someone else gets it first, of course).

I'm pretty sure I remember the photo you are talking about, I think it was published around the same time as the photos of the sled test canopy. Sadly I don't have easy access to old AWST issues

However, this should be relevant to our interests:
http://web.archive.org/web/20060821214758/http://www.habu2.net/a12/avenger2.htm


I actually some new information on SNEAKY PETE and am working on some more. Hopefully by the end of summer we'll have a much more complete picture of how that design contributed to the state of VLO in the 80s.

Offline Abraham Gubler

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There is a photo published in AW&ST that shows four prototypes being constructed, with one more advanced than the others. I'd say "half complete" maybe, if this means anything...

From memorary the advanced aircraft was actually the mock up which was itself over budget, behind schedule, overweight and never finished!
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Offline Colonial-Marine

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The mock-up was overweight? Did GD really underestimate it by that much?
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Offline Pioneer

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Outstanding and in-depth drawings Orionblamblam!!
Thank you for posting once again.
What a loss for the USN!!!

Regards
Pioneer
And remember…remember the glory is not the exhortation of war, but the exhortation of man.
Mans nobility, made transcendent in the fiery crucible of war.
Faithfulness and fortitude.
Gentleness and compassion.
I am honored to be your brother.”

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Offline prolific1

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I suppose it wouldn't be too troubling to make a color 5 view of this; though I hadn't intended to touch 80's-90's stuff until the third installment of my book which I have yet to finish (though am rapidly tearing through).

I have some reference to do a cutaway that some gentleman sent a few years ago. That said...I'm not sure I have it in me to tackle a 40-50 hour job like that right now as I would have to do it on pencil and paper (it's cleaner in Photoshop but slower).

Hmmmn...

I"ll think about it. It is a triangle I guess. Pluto wasn't so bad...it was just a tube.
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Offline BAROBA

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I found the mock-up :)
32.786554,-97.44761 is the location.
It is called NAS JRB "Carswell" in Ft Worth, texas (Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth)
I don't know if anyone can get into the base to take pictures... I think it is in pretty bad shape...

Cheers,

Rob

Offline Howedar

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Personally I think even today the US Navy could use something like the A-12 to be a subsonic bomb-truck.
It should be said that, as envisioned, the A-12 would be a dreadfully poor bomb truck. Remember, the intended warload was always something like a F-117 with a pair of AMRAAM. I doubt that (imaginary, as far as I know) external pylons would be very successful given the serious CG margin issues with a tailless design.

Offline Abraham Gubler

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It should be said that, as envisioned, the A-12 would be a dreadfully poor bomb truck. Remember, the intended warload was always something like a F-117 with a pair of AMRAAM. I doubt that (imaginary, as far as I know) external pylons would be very successful given the serious CG margin issues with a tailless design.

Uninformed Intuition: 0, Facts: 1

The A-12A and the ATA specification had an extensive bomb truck capability. Each of the two main bomb bays could carry eight Mk 82 500 lb bomber or five Mk 83 1,000 lb bombs or two Mk 84 2,000 lb bombs. That’s a dumb bomb capability of 8,000-10,000 lbs all carried without any drag penalty. The Close Air Support (CAS) mission in the A-12A detail specification was for a mission range of 560 NM with 16 Mk 82 Snakeye 500 lb bombs (9,008 lbs) plus two air to air missiles (1,000 lbs).
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 06:01:35 pm by Abraham Gubler »
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Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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External pylons imaginary? No, not so much. Each of the two cavernous main bays easily held a Harpoon and a HARM with room to spare, plus the Sidewinders in the defensive bays.
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Offline Triton

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General Dynamics/McDonnell Douglas ATA (A-12A Avenger II)

Dimensions external
Wing span: 21.42 m (70 ft 3.25 in)
Width, wings folded: 11.05 m (36 ft 3.25 in)
Length overall: 11.35 m (37 ft 3 in)
Height overall: 3.44 m (11 ft 3.75 in)
Height wings folded: 3.82 m (12 ft 6.25 in)
Wheel track (outer rims): 6.71 m (22 ft 0 in)
Wheelbase: 5.85 m (19 ft 2.25 in)

Weights and Loadings
Internal weapon load (24 Mk 82 bombs and four AIM-120 AMRAAM) approx 6,123 kg (13,500 lb)
Design max Take-Off weight: 36,287 kg (80,000 lb)

Text source: Lambert, Mark ed. Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1992-1993 Jane's Information Group Ltd. 1992 p. 282.

« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 12:54:45 pm by Triton »

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Close enough, but this is more precise still:

Wing area: 1317 sq ft
Aspect ratio: 3.8
Max T/C ratio : 16%
Length: 37 ft 3.08 in
Span: 70 ft 3.21 in
Folded Span: 36 ft 3.17 in
LE sweep : 46.5 deg
Height: 11 ft 5.28 in
Height, wings folded: 12 ft 2.64 in

Source: A-12 Avenger II General Arrangement drawing
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 02:22:06 pm by overscan »
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Offline flateric

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Re: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals
« Reply #156 on: September 28, 2010, 12:48:17 am »
some of A-12 program patches
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Offline Colonial-Marine

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Re: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals
« Reply #157 on: September 28, 2010, 07:34:29 pm »
Seems the legal issues surrounding the A-12 have reemerged. I guess the Supreme Court has taken up the case.
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Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals
« Reply #158 on: September 28, 2010, 08:21:44 pm »
They’ve never gone away, this has been a long running dispute over the termination of the A-12 contract.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-28/boeing-general-dynamics-get-hearing-in-a-12-case-update1-.html

Hearing in Stealth-Fighter Dispute
By Greg Stohr - Sep 29, 2010 2:06 AM GMT+1000

The U.S. Supreme Court, accepting a case that will affect government secrecy claims, agreed to review a ruling that could force Boeing Co. and General Dynamics Corp to pay $3 billion in a dispute over a canceled Navy aircraft contract.
The justices today said they will intervene in a 19-year- old legal dispute over the Pentagon’s 1991 termination of the A- 12 Avenger stealth fighter aircraft program. A federal appeals court said the government was justified in canceling the contract because the companies weren’t living up to their obligations.
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Offline Tailspin Turtle

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Re: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals
« Reply #159 on: September 28, 2010, 08:28:13 pm »
"Petition GRANTED limited to Question 2 presented by the petition. The petition for a writ of certiorari in No. 09-1298 is granted limited to Question 1 presented by the petition. The cases are consolidated and a total of one hour is allotted for oral argument."
See here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/09-01302qp.pdf for the questions.

I've been keeping a running status report on my website. The last post was back in July: http://thanlont.blogspot.com/2010/07/gift-that-keeps-on-giving-iii.html
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 08:57:09 pm by Tailspin Turtle »

Offline Gridlock

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Re: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals
« Reply #160 on: September 29, 2010, 01:30:20 am »
That's funny, I thought there was a State Secrets Privilege that trumps all else. Obviously only applies to people being tortured in Moroccan shipping containers and not shareholders or the Federal Government...

Offline Sundog

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Re: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals
« Reply #161 on: September 29, 2010, 09:11:24 am »
That's funny, I thought there was a State Secrets Privilege that trumps all else. Obviously only applies to people being tortured in Moroccan shipping containers and not shareholders or the Federal Government...

Edited:I misunderstood what you were saying when I first read it. F-14D clarified it for me.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 04:31:50 pm by Sundog »

Offline F-14D

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Re: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals
« Reply #162 on: September 29, 2010, 03:45:27 pm »
Two previous posts are particularly relevant for this:
 http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1169.msg34689.html#msg34689  &
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1169.msg34736.html#msg34736

What is especially interesting is how the real world interfaces the bureaucratic world interfaces the legal world.   The issue before the Supreme Court is basically the contractors are saying they couldn't perform because the government withheld data on stealth technology necessary to build the plane and that GD-MDC had identified availability of that data as one of the cornerstones of their proposal.  Gov't is not denying, agreeing with or even addressing that key issue.  They're simply saying that the contractors shouldn't be allowed to raise that argument, in the interests of national security.    Of course without that argument, a great portion of the contractors' case collapses.  

The question seems to revolve around how much has to be disclosed in court.  If all the contractors have to show is that whenever they went to USAF for the data they were told they didn't have the right clearances without having to actually disclose the data they couldn't get, then the security argument may go away.  On the other hand, if some of the data has to be disclosed in order to asses the validity of the contractors' claims, then the gov't has a case.  Of course, the Supreme Court could still say that that must be disclosed in order for the contractors to have their day in court, but require it be be under sealed testimony before a court whose officials are cleared.  

« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 05:06:40 pm by F-14D »

Offline Colonial-Marine

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Re: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals
« Reply #163 on: September 30, 2010, 09:37:57 pm »
What were the reasons behind the Navy's choice for specifying a subsonic attack aircraft in the ATA program? Range and payload? Contractors may have been given more room to "do their own thing" with the later A-X program, but what convinced the Navy to consider more "fighter-like" supersonic designs for that program?

I imagine the lack of speed have killed any chance of the USAF adopting the A-12 as Congress hoped they would do.
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Offline F-14D

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Re: US NAVY ATA (Advanced Tactical Aircraft) program: A-12 Avenger II & its rivals
« Reply #164 on: September 30, 2010, 09:57:34 pm »
What were the reasons behind the Navy's choice for specifying a subsonic attack aircraft in the ATA program? Range and payload? Contractors may have been given more room to "do their own thing" with the later A-X program, but what convinced the Navy to consider more "fighter-like" supersonic designs for that program?

I imagine the lack of speed have killed any chance of the USAF adopting the A-12 as Congress hoped they would do.

Supersonic speed offered no advantage for the Navy attack mission, and a lot of penalties.  What ATA was supposed to be was a long range stealthy strike aircraft.  It would have AIM-120 and AIM-9 capability, but that was for self defense.  Fighter missions would have been handled by the NATF or an evolved F-14.  ATA was very much a East Coast/Beltway envisioned aircraft.  AX, on the other hand, had more input from the operating forces in the fleet.  It evolved into A/FX when, with NATF and the F-14 firmly out of the picture, it was realized that more fighter capability was going to be needed.  But even then fighter was a secondary mission.  

Lack of speed was not what killed any chance of USAF adopting A-12.  After all, B-52, B-2, B-1 most of the time, F-15E when loaded with significant external ordnance  are subsonic.  The fact that it was a  plane they didn't develop insured they wouldn't want it, and they could and did work against the plane (again, not the only reason it failed) to insure they never had to field it.  
« Last Edit: September 30, 2010, 09:59:05 pm by F-14D »

Offline Colonial-Marine

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Yes but wouldn't the A-12 been adopted as a replacement as the F-111 by the USAF? A low altitude, high speed penetrator?
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 11:38:30 am by Colonial-Marine »
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Offline F-14D

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Yes but wouldn't the A-12 been adopted as a replacement as the F-111 by the USAF? A low altitude, high speed penetration?

The original replacement for the F-111 was the B-1A.  Carter's cancellation of that was the impetus that eventually resulted in the F-15E.  One of the rationales for the A-12 was, as you state, fulfilling the F-111 role for USAF.  While AF in public was on board with that, when push came to shove they would advocate, "Can't we spend that money on more B-2s, please"? 

Offline Tailspin Turtle

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Yes but wouldn't the A-12 been adopted as a replacement as the F-111 by the USAF? A low altitude, high speed penetration?

As originally implemented in 1986 in accordance with Congressional pressure and DoD acquiescence, the ATA was to replace both the A-6 and the F-111. The ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter) program, which was to provide a replacement for both the F-14 and F-15, was implemented at the same time. The eventual result was the F-22 and the F-18E/F.

Offline Sundog

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Yes but wouldn't the A-12 been adopted as a replacement as the F-111 by the USAF? A low altitude, high speed penetration?

Also, IIRC, the USAF wasn't that interested in low alt high speed penetration at the time. The reason was, they had experience with the F-117 and with the advent of stealth, they knew they could attack from 20k ft and up relatively safely. That's why the USAF version of the A-12 was to have the exhaust nozzles above the wing. I believe they even told this to the Navy, but the Navy lacking the USAF's stealth experience still believed they would have to fly on the deck to attack, which is why they had their exhaust nozzles on the bottom of the airframe.

But the Navy was kind of stupid on this, as the book reference by F-14D points out. Especially when a company like Northrop, the company that had just built the B-2, told them they couldn't do it for the price they wanted and had the better design, IMHO.

However, for a subsonic attack aircraft, the A-12 was going to be quite maneuverable. Well, theoretically anyway. ;)

Offline George Allegrezza

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Well, John Lehman originally envisioned the ATA as a scaled-down B-2 using B-2 stealth technology, and contemporary accounts say Pete Aldridge did agree to terminate a competing fighter development and accept the ATA as the USAF replacement for its then-current generation of strike fighters. 

I guess we can disagree on how sincere Aldridge or the Air Force was, but there was a (perhaps coincidental) termination of a large unnamed program in that period that resulted in thousands of layoffs (this was reported in AW&ST at the time).   Certainly Stevenson and other authors have taken a shot at reconstructing the history here and are probably the authoritative sources on this episode.

Offline Tailspin Turtle

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Offline F-14D

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Well, John Lehman originally envisioned the ATA as a scaled-down B-2 using B-2 stealth technology, and contemporary accounts say Pete Aldridge did agree to terminate a competing fighter development and accept the ATA as the USAF replacement for its then-current generation of strike fighters.  

I guess we can disagree on how sincere Aldridge or the Air Force was, but there was a (perhaps coincidental) termination of a large unnamed program in that period that resulted in thousands of layoffs (this was reported in AW&ST at the time).   Certainly Stevenson and other authors have taken a shot at reconstructing the history here and are probably the authoritative sources on this episode.

Tailspin's post emphasizes a good point:  The two services agreed to "evaluate", not necessarily adopt, the plane on which the other had the lead.  I base my comments on AF's pretty much consistent opposition to adopting aircraft (except helicopters) and large systems that they themselves didn't develop, and opposition to other services' having too much capability in an arena it considers its purview, even if it has no intention of performing the mission itself.  This continues to this day (can you say "Joint Cargo Aircraft"?).   Examples abound, but are outside the scope of this topic.  

In the case of ATA, if you'll look back you'll find AF going, "We fully support this excellent example for jointness, and by the way, this is really kind of a waste and the money would far better be spent on more B-2s".   What Stevenson and others (including court records) show  was that (remember, I don't think GD/MD would have been able to pull it off anyway on time and budget) was that the A-12 team's whole proposal required access to information on already developed stealth technologies.   They didn't get it.  As I recall, the story for many years was that because of corporate proprietary reasons, it couldn't be shared, which actually doesn't make sense on further inspection which many people, including me, didn't do.  What the court records show was that AF controlled access to said technology.  Makes sense, since they developed all the stealth aircraft up to that date.  By an Amazing Coincidence, whenever the A-12 team needed access to that technological data., it seemed that whomever they submitted didn't quite seem to be able to get the required clearances and access in a timely manner, so the team ended up having to try and invent the technologies again on their own.   This, by the way is the foundation of the issue being appealed to the Supreme Court.  One might wonder what would have happened if the Grumman-Northrop team had won, since they obviously already had that data.  

« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 02:56:58 pm by F-14D »

Offline Sundog

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Tailspin's post emphasizes a good point:  The two services agreed to "evaluate", not necessarily adopt, the plane on which the other had the lead.  I base my comments on AF's pretty much consistent opposition to adopting aircraft (except helicopters) and large systems that they themselves didn't develop, and opposition to other services' having too much capability in an arena it considers its purview, even if it has no intention of performing the mission itself.  This continues to this day (can you say "Joint Cargo Aircraft"?).   Examples abound, but are outside the scope of this topic.  

In the case of ATA, if you'll look back you'll find AF going, "We fully support this excellent example for jointness, and by the way, this is really kind of a waste and the money would far better be spent on more B-2s".   What Stevenson and others (including court records) show  was that (remember, I don't think GD/MD would have been able to pull it off anyway on time and budget) was that the A-12 team's whole proposal required access to information on already developed stealth technologies.   They didn't get it.  As I recall, the story for many years was that because of corporate proprietary reasons, it couldn't be shared, which actually doesn't make sense on further inspection which many people, including me, didn't do.  What the court records show was that AF controlled access to said technology.  Makes sense, since they developed all the stealth aircraft up to that date.  By an Amazing Coincidence, whenever the A-12 team needed access to that technological data., it seemed that whomever they submitted didn't quite seem to be able to get the required clearances and access in a timely manner, so the team ended up having to try and invent the technologies again on their own.   This, by the way is the foundation of the issue being appealed to the Supreme Court.  One might wonder what would have happened if the Grumman-Northrop team had won, since they obviously already had that data.  

I do remember reading that they would be given the relevant stealth tech info when they needed it as well. I can understand them not being given actual data from Northrop, as the manufacturers usually guard their hard won data as it pertains to real world flight tests and actual aircraft. However, I can also see where all of the research and results for stealth tech that the Air Force funded should have been available to GD/MD as it was taxpayer funded research and, therefore, should have been available to any manufacturer.

Of course, I still recall that exchange between Ben Rich and the GD design chief about the exhaust deck/nozzle problem after they shut the engines down and why they didn't listen to Ben Rich is beyond me. I also wonder if the A-12 wouldn't have had the spike straight ahead problem due to the straight trailing edge that Raymer talks about in his book.

I do think it would have turned out different had Northrop won the contract. But, partly, that's because the U.S. navy would have had to provide more funding to keep Northrop from walking away.

Offline F-14D

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I do remember reading that they would be given the relevant stealth tech info when they needed it as well. I can understand them not being given actual data from Northrop, as the manufacturers usually guard their hard won data as it pertains to real world flight tests and actual aircraft. However, I can also see where all of the research and results for stealth tech that the Air Force funded should have been available to GD/MD as it was taxpayer funded research and, therefore, should have been available to any manufacturer.

Of course, I still recall that exchange between Ben Rich and the GD design chief about the exhaust deck/nozzle problem after they shut the engines down and why they didn't listen to Ben Rich is beyond me. I also wonder if the A-12 wouldn't have had the spike straight ahead problem due to the straight trailing edge that Raymer talks about in his book.

I do think it would have turned out different had Northrop won the contract. But, partly, that's because the U.S. navy would have had to provide more funding to keep Northrop from walking away.

Couple of thoughts here in no particular order.  Keep in mind in some ways we're using hindsight.  First off, they wouldn't have to give the data to Northrop, they already had it from their work on the B-2.  That's why Grumman didn't protest too much when they were directed to team with Northrop.  The only other company that already had that kind of information had run away from the ATA project as fast as they could.  As far as giving the data to GD-MDC, remember that one of the team's biggest arguments in their claim that the cancellation was for the convenience of the government and not default was that they were not given access to the data, and they couldn't develop their plane for the price they proposed without it.  For a long time the public thought was that this  was because the other manufacturers were guarding their hard won data, as you say.  In retrospect, though, this clearly couldn't be the case.  You see, Northrop and Lockheed didn't own the data, the US Government did because the US Government funded the development of the technology.  GD-MDC wouldn't go directly to Northrop or Lockheed for the data anyway, they'd go to the Government.  Apparently,reading between the lines, the A-12 team was never actually told  that they couldn't have the data, it was just that by an Amazing Coincidence no one on the team who asked for it seemed to have just the right clearances to see it. 

That's one of the big things in the court case.   It's also worthy of note that in what's going before the Supreme Court is not a denial by the Government that the necessary data wasn't provided, but rather the protesters should not be allowed to raise that issue. 

For the record, my personal opinion was that the cancellation was the right decision for the wrong reasons, while conversely the (with hindsight) the cancellation of the A-6F was the wrong decision for the right reasons.   

Also if I remember correctly, it was Grumman who made the decision to walk away and Northrop agreed with them.  It was one of those cases where in light of all the money they'd  already put in, the only thing worse than losing the competition would be winning it. 

Offline DSE

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  In retrospect, though, this clearly couldn't be the case.  You see, Northrop and Lockheed didn't own the data, the US Government did because the US Government funded the development of the technology. 

This is not a given. It would depend entirely on the data rights clauses of the contract(s).

Offline F-14D

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  In retrospect, though, this clearly couldn't be the case.  You see, Northrop and Lockheed didn't own the data, the US Government did because the US Government funded the development of the technology. 

This is not a given. It would depend entirely on the data rights clauses of the contract(s).

I can think of no case where the Government would give up rights to something major for which it paid for the development, especially something as sensitive as stealth technology.  Proprietary manufacturing techniques maybe, but the actual basic technology and data--can't see it.  Now, I can see the government saying that it was OK to use technologies elsewhere in the company's business (this is the basis of Aribus' case against Boeing), or could say that a company could restrict access to certain technologies from its rivals in commercial business, but I would find it hard to believe that the Government would set itself up in such a way that it couldn't use technology and data it paid for on another Government project, even if it was with a rival company.  Example?  Government compelling GE to provide F404 data to Pratt & Whitney when the Navy thought it was going to second source that engine.  Another example was the required sharing of data between yards on the Virgina class submarine.   

In any case, GD-MDD went to the Air Force, not Northrop/Lockheed for data on stealth and related technologies and that's wherein apparently the problem lay.  Not that the Government said they wouldn't provide the data, but supposedly that the team couldn't get clearance to see the data. 

Offline Abraham Gubler

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My recollection from Stevenson and Skurla's autobio was that Northrop leadership took the position of providing a non compliant bid costed and structured on what was needed to actually deliver the A-12. And this position came from no less an authority as Tom V. Jones.
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Offline F-14D

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My recollection from Stevenson and Skurla's autobio was that Northrop leadership took the position of providing a non compliant bid costed and structured on what was needed to actually deliver the A-12. And this position came from no less an authority as Tom V. Jones.

It wasn't that it was non-compliant, as I recall.  If it had been non-compliant, the Gov't would have simply rejected it and as long as GD-MDD was compliant, the competition would have been over and the Navy would have awarded to them.  What I believe happened was that the Northrop-Grumman team really knew how to build the plane and really knew what it would cost.  Note who the two members of that team were.

In negotiations, the Navy tried to get them to lower their price by at least $500 million.  Grumman said to Northrop, "Let me tell you what happened to us on the original F-14 contract; we really don't want to do this".  Northrop absolutely agreed and told the Navy so.  The Navy said , "You'll need to lower your price or else".  Northrop and Grumman replied, "OK.  Else!", and essentially walked away.  The Navy then went back to GD-MDD and continued negotiating the price down, implying that they (the Navy) were getting  pricing cooperation from the other team when in fact that team was out of the picture
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 09:44:29 pm by F-14D »

Offline Abraham Gubler

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The Northrop/Grumman/LTV bid was non compliant (or "unresponsive) because they did not submit a fixed price tender. Apart from bidding $1.7 billion more than the ceiling Northrop only bid for a liability of $400m creating a "quasi-cost-reimbursement contract" (Stevenson). Also Northrop did not meet the RFP material spec and refused to provide the reliability guarantees. As quoted in Stevenson Tom V. Jones (Northrop CEO) said:

"I looked at the fiscal aspects of this contract proposal request and decided that the net worth of neither team was large enough to absorb the loss that a fixed-price type development was likely to create. I felt it would be irresponsible to accept a fixed price on this development contract as we had an obligation to our shareholders and customers to remain financially viable..."

Skurla in "Inside the Iron Works" says that Grumman's Tom Kane had learnt from their Navy friends that their negative assessments of the N/G/LTV bid was that the Navy didn't understand the inlet, the bomb bay was a mess because it used different hanging fixtures for each possible weapon (up to 24) and they weren't happy with terms and conditions (see above). And that the Navy was going to ask for a resubmit with these three items fixed. Kane went and explained all this to Northrop but there was no change on the terms and conditions.

Skurla’s opinion was that Grumman should have primmed on the ATA because they had more people available to handle the bid and better Navy understanding. Northrop at the time was building the ATB (B-2) and bidding for the ATF (F-23). He also takes a swipe at Jones who was in trouble over ROKAF F-20 bribery allegations which I think is a bit unfair because Grumman had the luxury of never really having to soil its hands with work in the third world.

But one thing is for sure apart from the stealth experience the Northrop ATA was a much nicer airplane. The design is so good it is basically reused in the X-47B and in the Northrop LRB proposals. If they had been selected perhaps as part of a Grumman prime with Northrop designing the aircraft then the A-12 “Mini Spirit” most likely would have flown and still be in production today. It would be an ideal aircraft for contemporary eight hour complex CAS/strike missions and provide the USN and any AF operator a heck of a lot of reach and capability. So good that you would want to bend the RN into building their CVFs to fly them and work towards building the entire USN air wing around this aircraft.
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Offline F-14D

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The Northrop/Grumman/LTV bid was non compliant (or "unresponsive) because they did not submit a fixed price tender. Apart from bidding $1.7 billion more than the ceiling Northrop only bid for a liability of $400m creating a "quasi-cost-reimbursement contract" (Stevenson). Also Northrop did not meet the RFP material spec and refused to provide the reliability guarantees. As quoted in Stevenson Tom V. Jones (Northrop CEO) said:

"I looked at the fiscal aspects of this contract proposal request and decided that the net worth of neither team was large enough to absorb the loss that a fixed-price type development was likely to create. I felt it would be irresponsible to accept a fixed price on this development contract as we had an obligation to our shareholders and customers to remain financially viable..."

Skurla in "Inside the Iron Works" says that Grumman's Tom Kane had learnt from their Navy friends that their negative assessments of the N/G/LTV bid was that the Navy didn't understand the inlet, the bomb bay was a mess because it used different hanging fixtures for each possible weapon (up to 24) and they weren't happy with terms and conditions (see above). And that the Navy was going to ask for a resubmit with these three items fixed. Kane went and explained all this to Northrop but there was no change on the terms and conditions.

Skurla’s opinion was that Grumman should have primmed on the ATA because they had more people available to handle the bid and better Navy understanding. Northrop at the time was building the ATB (B-2) and bidding for the ATF (F-23). He also takes a swipe at Jones who was in trouble over ROKAF F-20 bribery allegations which I think is a bit unfair because Grumman had the luxury of never really having to soil its hands with work in the third world.

But one thing is for sure apart from the stealth experience the Northrop ATA was a much nicer airplane. The design is so good it is basically reused in the X-47B and in the Northrop LRB proposals. If they had been selected perhaps as part of a Grumman prime with Northrop designing the aircraft then the A-12 “Mini Spirit” most likely would have flown and still be in production today. It would be an ideal aircraft for contemporary eight hour complex CAS/strike missions and provide the USN and any AF operator a heck of a lot of reach and capability. So good that you would want to bend the RN into building their CVFs to fly them and work towards building the entire USN air wing around this aircraft.

Since my copy of Stevenson's superb book is away in storage and hasn't been cracked in a few years (but now I'm going to go and dig it back up) and the rest of my statements come from recollection or personal conversations (including with Stevenson years and years ago), I defer to your more recently accessed data.   Still, it is clear that the Northrop Grumman team did walk away from the ATA, whether by explicitly saying thanks, but no thanks, or by making themselves unselectable by being non-responsive, which is the contracting term the Gov't uses.  Smart move. 

Offline InvisibleDefender

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I've been told that the A-12 mockup is now in the "storage area" at the north end of the plant here in Fort Worth. 

It was certainly there when the pics for MS Virtual Earth were taken

I went out to the North end in Jan 2004 looking for the A-12 mock up. Nobody had any idea where the mock-up had gone. Not even the museum guys that supposedly owned the mock-up knew where it was. They told me that if I found it, to let them know where it was! Anyway, after driving around, I found the outboard wing sections. They were carelessly discarded as they had just been dumped on the ground. Also in the area were sections of a restored B-36 and an F-16 demonstrator. I drove around a bit longer and didn't see the centerbody of the A-12 mock-up anywhere. I see that it has been dumped there as well. No idea if the stuff is still there or not.
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Offline flateric

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Quote
A-12
Four wind-tunnel tests were performed using a dynamically
scaled aeroelastic model of the A-12 configuration between
July 1989 and August 1990 as part of the flutter clearance program.
The objective of the program was to verify that the airplane would
have the required ¸flutter margin of safety throughout its flight envelope.
Initial testing was conducted using an overly stiff model to
determinestability of the configuration on the two-cable-mount system.
In addition, model configurations that were considered most
likely to ¸ utter were first tested on a sting mount to establish their
¸flutter characteristics prior to testing on the cable mount. In all, 41
model configurations were tested in the TDT. Some configurations
were tested to determine the in¸fluence on ¸flutter of free-play effects
and ¸flexibility in the wing fold joints and wing control surfaces. In
addition, fuel-mass effects on ¸flutter were also studied. All configurations
tested were shown to have the required ¸flutter margins of
safety throughout the vehicle flight envelope.

JOURNAL OF AIRCRAFT
Vol. 40, No. 5, September–October 2003
Transonic Dynamics Tunnel Aeroelastic Testing
in Support of Aircraft Development
Stanley R. Cole, Thomas E. Noll, and Boyd Perry, III
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia 23681-2199
http://aeroelasticity.larc.nasa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/JNL_ACFT_v40_n5_aircraft_testing.pdf
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 01:15:27 am by flateric »
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Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Summary of the tests performed...
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Offline F-14D

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From the lawyers' point of view this contract is the "gift that keeps on giving".  

The US Supreme Court today ruled on this case.  It overturned the previous lower court ruling, which overturned  previous  rulings in even lower courts, which had said that Boeing and GD had to repay the Government money spent on this failed project.   In an unanimous ruling, the Supremes said that if the Government was going to continue with its strategy of using the State Secrets privilege, normally used for terrorism or national security issues to deny the companies the information they say is crucial to their case, then the Government can not prove it is entitled to the damages it claims are owed it.  

The Supreme Court then sent the case back to the lower courts for further litigation.  Like Tailspin said, from the lawyers' point of view this contract truly is the "gift that keeps on giving".

« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 12:59:41 pm by F-14D »

Offline InvisibleDefender

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Wall Street Journal
May 24, 2011
Pg. B2

Boeing, General Dynamics Snag Win

Justices, Citing State Secrets, Toss Ruling That Could Have Cost Firms $3 Billion

By Brent Kendall

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court on Monday threw out a ruling that could have forced Boeing Co. and General Dynamics Corp. to repay $3 billion to the federal government in a two-decade-old contract battle.

The court, in a unanimous ruling written by Justice Antonin Scalia, said a key issue in the case couldn't be litigated because it involved state secrets that can't be aired in court.

The companies and the Pentagon have been fighting since 1991, when the government cancelled a $4.8 billion contract to build a Navy stealth-fighter jet. The government had demanded that the companies repay roughly $1.35 billion they had already received at the time of the cancellation, plus interest, for a total of about $3 billion. It argued that the companies defaulted on the contract for the A-12 Avenger stealth aircraft.

In response, Boeing and General Dynamics argued the government had superior knowledge of the stealth technology needed to build the fighter jet but refused to share it with them. But the companies weren't allowed to make this claim in court because the government invoked its "state secrets" privilege to protect against the disclosure of sensitive military information.

The companies argued that it wasn't fair for the government to assert a multibillion-dollar claim against them while also refusing to disclose information that they said was central to their defense.

The high court agreed. Justice Scalia wrote that when litigation would lead to the disclosure of state secrets, "neither party can obtain judicial relief." His opinion overturned a 2009 lower-court ruling that found the government was justified in terminating the contract because the companies had failed to meet milestones.

Monday's ruling wasn't a total win for the companies. The justices rejected their claim against the government for $1.2 billion, plus interest, for their costs not reimbursed on the project, again saying the matter couldn't be judicially determined.

"Neither side will be entirely happy with the resolution we reach today," Justice Scalia said.

Monday's ruling doesn't end the case, which will now return to lower courts. The government has said it has other legal arguments that support its determination that the companies defaulted on the contract. In court papers, Justice Department lawyers said the government was never obligated by the contract to share highly classified information with the companies.

The Supreme Court declined to rule on that question, leaving open the possibility that the issue could be litigated without endangering state secrets.

Boeing said it was pleased with the ruling. "It has always been our view that the default termination was improper," said the company's general counsel, J. Michael Luttig. General Dynamics had no immediate comment, and a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

The original contract was made with General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas Corp., which merged with Boeing in 1997. The first jet was to be delivered to the Navy in June 1990.

The contractors had problems from the start and couldn't meet the proposed schedule. They also said the cost of finishing the project would substantially exceed the price of the contract. In 1991, then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney cancelled the contract.

No planes were ever delivered.
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Offline Grey Havoc

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Offline InvisibleDefender

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My 'official' model and coffee cup. Notice the early side-by-side seating layout.
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Offline donnage99

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Side by side seats?

Offline Tailspin Turtle

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Side by side seats?
The Navy attack community liked the side-by-side seating arrangement in the A-6 and Lehman reportedly preferred it. Northrop's proposal was side-by-side. There must have been a drag (range) and/or stealth benefit to the tandem that more than offset that. The four-view is from Stevenson's The $5 Billion Misunderstanding. If he mentions the reason(s), I couldn't find it with a quick skim through.

Offline InvisibleDefender

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front view...
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Offline Vulcan652

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For anyone interested, here's a June 5th, 2011 article written by James P. Stevenson in the Federal Times: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20110605/ADOP06/106050304/  It offers his personal analysis on what the Supreme Court's A-12 decision means for the contractors.  

Also, quick question: The 1995 Skunk Works digest mentioned above (I know this thread has been going for a while now) states that the first A-12 prototype was 80% complete.  I have no idea if that info is accurate, but assuming it is, what is likely to have happened to the semi-built airframe following cancellation?  Would it have been destroyed, or is there a chance that could be hiding away somewhere like Sneaky Pete?
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 10:55:48 pm by flateric »

Offline Skyblazer

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For anyone interested, here's a June 5th, 2011 article written by James P. Stephenson in the Federal Times: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20110605/ADOP06/106050304/  It offers his personal analysis on what the Supreme Court's A-12 decision means for the contractors. 

Also, quick question: The 1995 Skunk Works digest mentioned above (I know this thread has been going for a while now) states that the first A-12 prototype was 80% complete.  I have no idea if that info is accurate, but assuming it is, what is likely to have happened to the semi-built airframe following cancellation?  Would it have been destroyed, or is there a chance that could be hiding away somewhere like Sneaky Pete?

Aviation Week & Space Technology published a factory photo circa 1992 which clearly showed 4 or 5 airframes being constructed, and I remember two of them seemed pretty much advanced. I suppose that all of these were destroyed after cancellation of the program. Why keep an aircraft that wasn't completed and that hasn't had time to become a significant milestone in a company's history?

Offline OM

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Side by side seats?

...Also known as "YOT" seating in some pilot circles. "YOT" meaning "You Over There" from the Pilot's POV.

Offline Vulcan652

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For anyone interested, here's a June 5th, 2011 article written by James P. Stephenson in the Federal Times: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20110605/ADOP06/106050304/  It offers his personal analysis on what the Supreme Court's A-12 decision means for the contractors. 

Also, quick question: The 1995 Skunk Works digest mentioned above (I know this thread has been going for a while now) states that the first A-12 prototype was 80% complete.  I have no idea if that info is accurate, but assuming it is, what is likely to have happened to the semi-built airframe following cancellation?  Would it have been destroyed, or is there a chance that could be hiding away somewhere like Sneaky Pete?

Aviation Week & Space Technology published a factory photo circa 1992 which clearly showed 4 or 5 airframes being constructed, and I remember two of them seemed pretty much advanced. I suppose that all of these were destroyed after cancellation of the program. Why keep an aircraft that wasn't completed and that hasn't had time to become a significant milestone in a company's history?

Thanks for the info Stargazer2006, I didn't know about the Aviation Week photo but definitely sounds worth a look - I'll see if I can dig it up.  I guess you're right that the airframes were probably destroyed following cancellation of the programme.  Maybe one day we'll get the details!

Offline InvisibleDefender

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Here's some stuff ... enjoy
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Offline flateric

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many thanks!
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stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline quellish

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Here's some stuff ... enjoy

If memory serves those are pretty much what was published in the AW story. I think there was a separate story that showed the canopy being used for sled tests, but I could be mistaken.

Offline Skyblazer

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If memory serves those are pretty much what was published in the AW story.

We still haven't seen here the one presenting several airframes in preparation.

Offline Vulcan652

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A-12 canopy (believed to be real) appears on eBay - yours for around $620,000!


http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2011/12/how-an-a-12-avenger-ii-canopy.html


(Sorry if it's been posted already)

Offline BillRo

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Here are some A-12 drawings I got from Gary J. an ex-Navy AD buddy of mine from Fort Worth. I don't know if they have been posted before but someone was looking for a cutaway.

Offline Vulcan652

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Very cool images there BillRo, thanks for posting!

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Nice stuff Bill. Check my email.
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Offline flateric

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Here are some A-12 drawings I got from Gary J. an ex-Navy AD buddy of mine from Fort Worth.
Oh, my. Today is kinda Xmas over whole subtopic or I've missed something? Thanks!
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

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"There are many disbelievers in
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« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 02:41:59 am by PaulMM (Overscan) »
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Offline InvisibleDefender

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Here are some A-12 drawings I got from Gary J. an ex-Navy AD buddy of mine from Fort Worth. I don't know if they have been posted before but someone was looking for a cutaway.
Thanks for posting those Bill. I've had them (and some other things) for well over a decade, but I'd never seen them anywhere else so I've been hesitant to share them.
si vis pacem, para bellum

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si vis pacem, para bellum

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I'd never seen them anywhere else so I've been hesitant to share them.

Not that they reveal much more about the shape than we already knew, mind you...

Offline Mr London 24/7

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GAO Report - "Opportunities to Apply A-12 Research, Knowledge, and Technologies"

Quote
According to Navy officials, progress was made toward building the first A-12. Both contractors had completed about 99 percent of the engineering drawings and had fabricated about 85 percent of the tools needed to manufacture A-12 parts. The contractors had manufactured a sufficient number of some parts to meet the requirements for the first 14 aircraft


http://www.gao.gov/assets/220/215882.pdf
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 03:01:42 am by Mr London 24/7 »

Offline InvisibleDefender

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That's old news and don't read too much into it. There are a lot of small parts in airplanes!
si vis pacem, para bellum

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"sufficient number of some parts" LOLd
nuts'n'bolts I guess?

ATA story would be great script basis for a remake of Pentagon Wars
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stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Bill S

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A little bit of news for you guys. The A-12 Avenger mockup is going to be loaned to the Veterans Memorial Air Park at Ft Worth Meacham Field and will be moving that way the end of June 2013.


bill


http://www.veteransmemorialairpark.com/home1.aspx




Offline Bill S

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Good News on the A-12 Avenger II mock up. The end of June 2013 it is going on loan to the Veterans Memorial Air Park at Ft Worth Meacham Field.


bill


http://www.veteransmemorialairpark.com/home1.aspx


Offline Bill S

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The A-12 Avenger II mockup has arrived at Veterans Memorial Air Park in Fort Worth Texas!

http://www.veteransmemorialairpark.com/home1.aspx


Here are some picture highlights with the rest on my photobucket


http://smg.photobucket.com/user/Phantomologist/library/A-12%20Avenger%20II%20Mockup%20Arrival%20VMAP


Enjoy!


bill

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Thanks a lot Bill! Hope they will restore it and place it in a nice display setting...

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Absolutely great news! Thanks!!
"There are many disbelievers in
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Might have to schedule a visit next time I am in town...

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Those intake baffles look very highly angled and bad for airflow.
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Offline allysonca

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I've attached a couple of pictures of an actual in-house A-12 that I received from my recently passed friend's family. He was the source of the Fish and Kingfish models that you may have seen as well as the recently posted unknown transport. This particular model looks to be 1/48th scale. The finished you see here that appears to be a hollow cast or thermoform material. I've one blank that is sold casting resin (missing inlets) with a vac canopy that he never finished. My friend was a project engineer and was a great scrounger for models over the years. Also attached is a large unfinished mock up that is wood with plastic detailing. There is a small knob on the starboard side that opens a large door to expose the wing interior. The port side lacks a door and the interior you see is a "take a guess". There is only one pilot sitting in what looks to be a side by side config. It has a center canopy frame that that extends full forward unlike the finished model. It's BIG, at 32 inches. Back is open framework not unlike a flying model. Got trades? In the collection there were also quite a few wonderful in-house 40th scale F-16's and one large JSF that I will post if I can find an appropriate forum.

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Nice pictures Allysonca.

Offline FighterJock

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Nice models.  A great pity that the A-12 never flew, another plane that got cancelled by cost over runs and perhaps the politics of the day much like the TSR2, makes you think what the aircraft carriers would look like had the A-12 made it to the prototype stage and got produced?

Offline Sundog

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Actually, based on what I've read lately on LO, I don't think it would have been that stealthy with the straight trailing edge. I think they would have had serious problems. But it's a program that was doomed from the start by wishful thinking.

Nice models though. I like the A-12's aesthetics in both tandem and side by side seating versions.

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Very nice models! I'd so love to call dibs on them! And the Skyray in the first shot as well!  ;D
In God we trust, all others we monitor. :-p

Offline Bill S

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The mockup of the engine came along with the A-12 it was covered with a tarp on delivery day, but on display now.




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Great photos.
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Offline GTX

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cutaway done by one of our members (MC72):



Offline Sundog

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It looks like he used Tim "Piglet" Conrad's A-12 from Flight Simulator for the image in the lower right corner.

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Interesting that they show the B83 rather than the B61.  :o
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Picture: http://www.codeonemagazine.com/gallery_slideshow.html?item_id=3069
Quote
A full-size mockup of the A-12 Avenger left Air Force Plant 4 on 28 June after having been stored on the north end of the plant for many years. The A-12 program was cancelled in January 1991. The mockup was the only one of its type constructed.  The model is to be restored and displayed at Veterans Memorial Air Park, which is located on the south end of Meacham Field Airport in north Fort Worth.
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"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

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Die unendliche Geschichte
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-navy-jet-suit-20140125,0,4137919.story


Interesting, thanks.


Uncanny though that while Boeing is liable for the defunct McDonnell Douglas company which they took over, General Dynamics is still quoted as an active manufacturer all through the article. I thought GD's aircraft assets had all been taken over by Lockheed. Was I wrong?

Offline JFC Fuller

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Uncanny though that while Boeing is liable for the defunct McDonnell Douglas company which they took over, General Dynamics is still quoted as an active manufacturer all through the article. I thought GD's aircraft assets had all been taken over by Lockheed. Was I wrong?

Boeing and MDD were technically merged so the new entity would have to carry the responsibility for any ongoing legal disputes. LM only bought a division of GD and probably wouldn't have touched it unless GD agreed to retain the legal disputes (which it would have done de-facto anyway as it would have been GD as the contract signatory in the original A-12 programme). Takes me back though, LM apparently out-bid NG for the GD Forth Worth division.

Offline F-14D

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[

Boeing and MDD were technically merged so the new entity would have to carry the responsibility for any ongoing legal disputes. LM only bought a division of GD and probably wouldn't have touched it unless GD agreed to retain the legal disputes (which it would have done de-facto anyway as it would have been GD as the contract signatory in the original A-12 programme). Takes me back though, LM apparently out-bid NG for the GD Forth Worth division.

A number of posts here and info elsewhere discuss  this last point.  It was not so much that LM outbid Northrop and Grumman (they were separate companies then).  It was that N&G said the plane couldn't be built for what the Navy wanted to pay (Navy tried to get them to reduce their bid), and they weren't wiling to risk their companies on a fixed price development contract (a type that makes the  program manger look good on paper but almost always goes bad on large program).  What N & G ended up doing was to make their final offer a cost plus proposal, which they knew would be rejected.  That got them eliminated from the competition, which is what they wanted, in a way that was a graceful out and wouldn't make the Navy/DoD look bad (don't want to piss off someone who may be offering other contracts in the future).   Navy kept on negotiating with GD/MDD without revealing that the other team had left because they said the plane couldn't be built for the gov't's estimate. 

LM was not involved, the other team was General Dynamics and MDD.  Lockheed wanted to stay as far away as possible from the ATA competition.  As was stated earlier, Boeing ate MDD, and got its liabilities as well as its assets.  LM in its later acquisition did not pick up the part of GD that was liable for the ATA. 

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I think he (JFCF/SLL) was referring to the sale of the enterprise GDFW by GD not the ATA program contract award. With Lockheed (1993 pre LM merger) outbidding Northrop (pre NG too) to buy GDFW from GD.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2014, 03:19:38 pm by Abraham Gubler »
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Offline F-14D

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I think he (JFCF/SLL) was referring to the sale of the enterprise GDFW by GD not the ATA program contract award. With Lockheed (1993 pre LM merger) outbidding Northrop (pre NG too) to buy GDFW from GD.


Offline Mark Nankivil

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Good Day All -

I had the opportunity to stop by the Fort Worth Aviation Museum a couple of weeks ago and photograph the A-12 mock up that is now in their care.  They also have an engine/exhaust system mock up as well. 

Enjoy the Day!  Mark

Offline Mark Nankivil

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...and a few more....

Enjoy the Day!  Mark

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Wow! Splendid pics, Mark. You're spoiling us! ;)

Offline flateric

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thank you, Mark!
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

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Thanks Mark, I had no idea the mockup had so much detail.

Offline Mark Nankivil

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Thanks - she'll look great when fully restored!  Mark

Offline Skyblazer

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Thanks Mark, I had no idea the mockup had so much detail.

Agreed. In some places it could look like a real article to the undiscerning eye.
Not all full-scale mock-ups are as believable as this one, for sure!

Offline Bill S

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A few more mockup photos are here:http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1169.msg192401.html#msg192401
« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 10:47:44 pm by PaulMM (Overscan) »

Offline Mark Nankivil

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Thanks Bill - somehow I missed that!

Enjoy the Day!  Mark

Offline Bill S

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I probably did not pick the best topic to put them in.
Yours are better any way!

Offline Mark Nankivil

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Any photo taken from a B-58 vertical fin servicing gantry has something good going for it!  ;D

Do you know if they received any documentation to go with it?  Presently working on seeing what might available here in St. Louis now that the litigation has wrapped up.  Fingers and toes crossed....

Enjoy the Day!  Mark

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I am not aware of any documentation so far.


Bill

Offline Sundog

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Nice pics as well Bill, thanks. BTW, do you guys know Orion Blam Blam has the A-12 details drawings with cross sections that he got while he was visiting the Jay Miller collection? I think they're available on his site.

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Added Bill's photos to this topic.
"They can't see our arses for dust."
 
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Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Nice pics as well Bill, thanks. BTW, do you guys know Orion Blam Blam has the A-12 details drawings with cross sections that he got while he was visiting the Jay Miller collection? I think they're available on his site.


I believe the cross-section drawings you refer to came from elsewhere, not Jay Miller - I had them some years ago but did not post them.


I recommend you buy the eAPR V3N3 addendum if you want copies of the original scans : http://www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com/blog/?p=1203
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Offline flateric

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yes, Jay Miller's collection drawings are somewhat different set
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Richard N

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A few of my pictures of the A-12 mockup from a visit to the Fort Worth Aviation Museum on October 19, 2013.  The aerial shot of the grounds is from the museum website and you can see the A-12 in the upper right corner.  The museum website is here:  http://www.ftwaviation100.com/home1.aspx

Offline Richard N

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A parting shot.  It is not in great shape, but at least it is in a place where we can walk up and admire it and it didn't go the way of the B-35s and B-49s or the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC).

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Thanks for the pics Richard.

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« Last Edit: April 06, 2014, 06:48:52 pm by Triton »

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thanks to sharp eye of LowObservable,  'unknown A-12 piece" now is "known'
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline fightingirish

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11 years ago... B)  &  :-\
Quote
[size=78%]
Moving the A-12 Avenger II mockup, 8 April 2003
After the A-12 Avenger II development contract was cancelled, the aircraft's prototype model was moved from its hangar at Fort Worth's Air Force Plant 4 to the former Carswell Air Force Base for temporary storage.
[/size]
[size=78%]

[/size]
Code: [Select]
http://youtu.be/JmZ-RqOeXq8
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Offline flateric

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for the record: full-scale A-12 mockup was donated to HAA museum at FW in summer of 1994
first mockup photos have appeared on July, 1994, issue of CodeOne
the same two photos were accompanying famous A-12 article in February, 1995 issue of Koku Fan
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Offline Richard N

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The Aviation Heritage Museum at Alliance Airport (mentioned in the caption) never happened and the website http://www.aviationheritagemuseum.com/ takes you to a site about adult acne. 


The B-36 that was restored at the General Dynamics plant (now Lockheed Martin Aeronautics) was going to go there too.  I saw the last huge B-36 wing going out the gate on its way to Pima.


The museum at Love Field wanted the A-12 too, but didn't get it. 


The A-12 has been a bit of an orphan, but it has finally found a home among people who will appreciate and take care of it.

Offline Mr London 24/7

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Naval Aviation: Status of Navy A-12 Contract and Material at Termination



http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA239119



Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Full series of the original A-12 drawings Scott cleaned up for eAPR V3N3. Scaled down from original scans.


If you enjoy please consider buying eAPR V3N3.
"They can't see our arses for dust."
 
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Just amazing. A tip of the hat to you both!

Offline Bill S

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Thank you Scott and Paul!

bill
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 03:38:22 pm by Bill S »

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I was out at FWAM for other business and happened to snag a couple of photos of the left hand weapons bay with AMRAAM mockup installed. 


bill
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 03:37:24 pm by Bill S »

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Nice shots of the weapons bay Bill, thanks.
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Offline RadicalDisconnect

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So how were they planning to address the straight trailing edge? If I understand correctly, wouldn't creeping wave diffraction contribute to a rather large frontal RCS?

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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So how were they planning to address the straight trailing edge? If I understand correctly, wouldn't creeping wave diffraction contribute to a rather large frontal RCS?


I'm not sure they had an answer. It would potentially give a 4th lobe "spike" to the 3 lobe main spikes of its radar cross section in an inconvenient direction. Dan Raymer at Rockwell came across the same issue with his similarly shaped "delta spanloader" bomber and was told by their resident RCS expert "don't worry, they all have that" it was some years later he realised it was from the trailing edge. I think A-12 was supposed to have ECM and low level flight in addition to reduced RCS, so I don't know if it was intended to be in the same RCS class as F-117 for example.
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Offline flateric

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"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline quellish

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So how were they planning to address the straight trailing edge? If I understand correctly, wouldn't creeping wave diffraction contribute to a rather large frontal RCS?


They were planning to address it with - wait for it, wait for it...
Magical RAM.
No joke. GD was under the belief that the RAM developed for SENIOR TREND and the B-2 were key to meeting the LO standards. GD really had no idea just how big the reductions Lockheed and Northrop were, just that they were better than the previous state of the art (A-12 would have been previous state of the art as well). GD was unaware of how much shaping played a part, and assumed that RAM was making a huge contribution to signature reduction.
And that's why GD was crying foul when RAM and composites processes were not handed over to them by USAF. There were assumptions made that if GD had the RAM technology that was developed for other programs their aircraft would meet the signature requirements. The reality was that even with the best RAM *physically possible* the A-12  signature would not be able to compete with aircraft designed using the methods developed for SENIOR TREND or SENIOR ICE.
GD dramatically undervalued the role of shaping, and because of that shaping did not drive their configuration.

Offline Sundog

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They were planning to address it with - wait for it, wait for it...
Magical RAM.
No joke. GD was under the belief that the RAM developed for SENIOR TREND and the B-2 were key to meeting the LO standards. GD really had no idea just how big the reductions Lockheed and Northrop were, just that they were better than the previous state of the art (A-12 would have been previous state of the art as well). GD was unaware of how much shaping played a part, and assumed that RAM was making a huge contribution to signature reduction.
And that's why GD was crying foul when RAM and composites processes were not handed over to them by USAF. There were assumptions made that if GD had the RAM technology that was developed for other programs their aircraft would meet the signature requirements. The reality was that even with the best RAM *physically possible* the A-12  signature would not be able to compete with aircraft designed using the methods developed for SENIOR TREND or SENIOR ICE.
GD dramatically undervalued the role of shaping, and because of that shaping did not drive their configuration.

I realize actual RCS figures are usually classified, but it would be interesting to see the RCS comparison of the Northrop submission versus the GD A-12. You know, like, a marble versus a water melon or something like that.

____The A-12 Program_____________________________________

The Navy; "Northrop, your design is too expensive."

Northrop; "Yes, but ours actually works."

The Navy: "Meet our price limits!"

Northrop; "No!"

The Navy; "Well then, we're going with the one that meets our prices."

Northrop; "Ok, see ya..."

GD A-12...ummm, how's this supposed to work again?

Cancellation.

Decades of litigation.

And cut.

Offline flateric

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GD was requesting DoD for LO tech share from ATB and F-117 programs with frequency of about two weeks approaching point X
they were plain sure Lockheed and Northrop would eagerly do that as they kinda achieved their current level via Gov investments
 all efforts culminated with three hour meeting with ATB LO engineers
...
profit !
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline quellish

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I realize actual RCS figures are usually classified, but it would be interesting to see the RCS comparison of the Northrop submission versus the GD A-12. You know, like, a marble versus a water melon or something like that.



That would be a very big watermelon.


Also keep in mind that the Navy wanted a low level penetrator. That doesn't work very well for stealth aircraft. The higher you are, the farther you are from the emitter, and you can control the aspect to it much better (among other things).

Offline LEG

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Sundog,

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Also, IIRC, the USAF wasn't that interested in low alt high speed penetration at the time. The reason was, they had experience with the F-117 and with the advent of stealth, they knew they could attack from 20k ft and up relatively safely.

It's _always_ safer to attack from height.  An AK or flung rock could do for you at low level.  So can an SA-2 at 25,000ft.  It's just that there's a lot fewer Guidelines than Kalashnikovs.  Or Iglas.

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That's why the USAF version of the A-12 was to have the exhaust nozzles above the wing.

Here is where you hit problems.  Stealth buys you altitude.  Altitude buys you standoff.  By the time you're in their midst, trying to 'penetrate' to deliver shortrange ballistic ordnance with blinker/sectored lightoff from remote (longwave) cuers, you're at a distance which will get you locked up and dead with any modern EPAR and most planar arrays (see: Eurofighter with Captor-PS tracking F-22 from 20nm in).

And once you're tracked, the missile can be lofted to see you from your hotside.

One of the reasons why the F-117 was a failure waiting to happen was because it took the approach of 'going down town' on an increasingly narrowed bearing lane of possible route-around approaches to the target rather than lofting a weapon with a glide kit and DAMASK seeker.

The other was the presumption that SALH laydown would even be available in Euro weather without descending to weed whacker height.

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I believe they even told this to the Navy, but the Navy lacking the USAF's stealth experience still believed they would have to fly on the deck to attack, which is why they had their exhaust nozzles on the bottom of the airframe.

The USAF told the Navy squat all.

They didn't even get into the game with applying resident knowledge to the A-12 until they were so deep on the financial shortcomings that it was all but a foregone conclusion that the A-12 would be a failure.  When the GDMD contractors issued a list of specific VLO engineering data requests, they got a _very_ general briefing, similar to one of the FMS export sales speeches.  When they came back and said that was nowhere's near enough with an addendum list as well as the existing questions, they got _nothing_.  And the USN was too embarrassed by the reality of not having the pull to put the USAF's proprietary information arm behind it's back on VLO that the Captain running the program simply failed to acknowledge the contractor's requests for a -real- brief-in.  At all.

What people don't realize is that the public brief on VLO is only half of it.  There are things that you do, internally, to cancel the signal and that is where the real ability to read the incoming pulsetrains very precisely for bearing, elevation, carrier and imbedded signal characteristics comes in.  It is also why the USN didn't believe (from pole models) that VLO was actually possible in their own CEC environement of multistatic and trackfile correlated, datalink networking.

It _has to_ be this way because if it is not, then there is no real means of knowing whether there is an SA-21 under your ground track that simply isn't emitting until the NEBO 100nm further back tells it to.  BAM.  Locked up and dead.  If you are using simply a shape+passive materials system.

What is nice about the flying wing is that it provides volume for structural deep edge treatments to contain 'glint' as weak-fuzz scatter that is returned at some angle relative to the incident one, no matter what, and which, on a jet whose sweep is always away from the line of flight, includes very few direct path or corner geometry structural conditions.  But in trade, you still have to deal with the resonant scattering mode which builds up huge impedance charges on the large skin area as surface/travelling waves move about with effects somewhere between St. Elmo's Fire and Coanda Effect.  If you don't dissipate those charges at some level, the will hit a surface discontinuity or opposed edge and retroflect back out.  And a digital radar whose signal processor is programmed with the design signatures of a Finite Elements Studied model, will 'See' that resonant return scatter and...your screwed.

The higher you are, the more of those incidental beam paths and potentially common-band scattering issues (multistatics) you have to deal with from emitters which simply wouldn't have Line Of Sight with you at low level.  And conventional, passive, band-select ('shallow channel') RAM doesn't do it.  But we haven't been using passive RAM since Gen-1.

Again, this is important because a high performance missile can be lofted to any position you like on a subsonic penetrator from a good long ways out and if that aircraft doesn't have a burner (+10ft, +2,000lbs, per engine) it will not have the Ps to defeat the threat.  Thus, especially as (self) guidance moved onto the kill effector itself, it became ever more critical not to be seen rather than to jink about or deploy CMs to defeat individual shots because it was no longer a cyclical 1-2 shot engagement per target but up to 4-6 in TVM and 'as many as you had' with GAI.

If you're subsonic, you have to be able to defeat the threat at the acquisition level of search and tracking illumination from ALL aspects, to avoid providing a composite trackfile which can have missiles shot into the seeker cube, blind at launch.

The USAF solution to this is active loading through or along the skin lines and they only told the USN about that, in conjunction with the issues around the A-12 nose and inlets, at the very last, to keep the program limping along and avoid the tacair trainwreck which would result if I the Navy threw up it's hands and requested a lot of money for a new program startup account.

Protecting the F-22 you see, sometimes means keeping floundering failures going at established funding level X rather than seeing a 'stopgap' F/A-18E/F and A/FX get lump summed together as competition for funding lines (the A-12 didn't really start to need money until production tooling for a prototype flight test regime became an issue).

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But the Navy was kind of stupid on this, as the book reference by F-14D points out. Especially when a company like Northrop, the company that had just built the B-2, told them they couldn't do it for the price they wanted and had the better design, IMHO.

The Navy committed fraud in the inducement phase and refused to notify GDMD that NorGrumman had walked away and they were essentially competing against themselves to reduce their costs when DFAR or Defense Federal Acquisition Rules _require_ that if a contract is not competitively biddable, it has to be resubmitted and relet as a newly funded effort.  When BAFO (Best And Final Offer) became BARFO (Best And REALLY Final Offer), NavAir broke all the rules.

Having already illegally begun a program under SAR (blackworld) protection without a contract and had the corporations pay their own way (Buying In, also illegal as hell) through Concept Formulation/Definition studies with basically NO MONEY, they then signed them into a full up prototyping effort with a laundry list of requirements that it was known the money they had on the table could not pay for and a 'wink-wink, nod-nod' understanding of making good the difference after FSD.

This is called a Deficiency Violation because it makes the government responsible for cost defrayment on something one of their own agencies committed to without _asking first_ for the budget authoritzation.

The Navy did not ask for money because the Navy had not run a MENS/COEA (Mission Element Needs Study, Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis) prior to generating their sandbox list of requirements.  MENS/COEA is the minimum natsec baseline that shields ways and means while listing requirements that even a Special Access Required effort requires so that the sitting select committees as the JRMB/DSARC (Joint Requirements Management Board, Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council) in Congress and DOD can maintain -some- oversight from their position as watchdogs cleared into the outer compartments of these efforts.

To make sure the public aren't getting completely fleeced.

This gaming of the system is not 'stupid' (though certainly a Captain who never finished the Defense Procurement Management course thinking he is sitting in the catbird seat on a multibillion dollar program was a fool not to smell the scapegoat), it is merely RICO Charge *****ILLEGAL******.

A deficiency act violation requires significant paper trail to prove intent and only results in a 2 year sentence for each count as a slap on the wrist in Club Fed.  A RICO charge has no requirements for co-conspiracy to be demonstrated, only that the conspiracy resulted in ongoing Bad Act awareness by one or more of the partners.  Because it is used to break Mafia dons by going after their underlings, it is accompanied by a 20 year sentencing guideline.

And that is how the USN should have been rewarded for their gross misuse of public funds.  Not a slap on the wrist but 200 lashes before the mast as the equivalent of a death sentence to all of the Op05 greybeards.

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However, for a subsonic attack aircraft, the A-12 was going to be quite maneuverable. Well, theoretically anyway. ;)

An F-22 with specific excess power measured in the high hundreds if not low thousands of feet per second can afford the SC&M (Supersonic Cruise And Maneuver) regime at altitude.  A subsonic jet cannot generate the same kinds of new-flightpath + progress along same energy to displace from the seeker cube and proximity blast radius.  It's a differerence of 6-7G at 800knots and 3-4G at 400.

What's more, if you flat plate your jet 'trying hard' (pretending to be a fighter with 5,000-8,000lbs of ordnance onboard) you will scatter return paths around the horizon to every radar that cares to look and _once they know where to gaze_ you are locked up and dead.

If you are facing a heavy I-ARH or SFPA IRH threat, you take something like the FOG-M's front and back ends, sandwich a dropfire 500lb bomb inbetween them and move your BRL out to 60-100km.  High or Low, this effectively puts the jet beyond the reach of even saturating infantry (a Man, a Manportable, a radio) are defense and even somewhat stresses the fighter threat.

They may see the launch event.  They may even see the FO tether, if you are high enough, but they will not see you and the ability to drop sixteen independent, aimed, shots from each of 12 jets aboard a carrier makes significant inroads into the economic justification of the B-2 with similar GBU-38.

It's ironic that the services saw Stealth back then as 'competing with' standoff/cruise systems as a kind of last bastion defense of manned airpower.  Instead of acknowledging that simple rule:  Stealth = Altitude, Altitude =Standoff as the means by which to justify both ordnance and LO delivery platforms basd on the sophistication of the _on-scene targeting_ that 'might as well' be hauled concurrently.  For that is the real flexibility of airpower, to restask, in flight, onto targets that are SCAR developed after launch.

Offline LEG

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for the record: full-scale A-12 mockup was donated to HAA museum at FW in summer of 1994
first mockup photos have appeared on July, 1994, issue of CodeOne
the same two photos were accompanying famous A-12 article in February, 1995 issue of Koku Fan

Aside from the 'just one landing gear down' element (converted RCS mockup?) notice the weapons bay and particularly the -two part door-.

All existing scale replicas of this jet which have weapons bays (and even on the Planet Models kit which has an outline for one), only the inboard panel opens.  But that outer door panel scissors, almost flat, which is unusual on any airfoil shaped object (there are some representations which would have you believe it is broken into a fore and aft outer panels, presumably to compensate for contour...) because it means that the door was to open and close in less than .5 seconds, through more than 270`.

Ventral View, Planet Models 'thick wing' variant
http://hyperscale.com/2007/galleries/images/IMG_7489.jpg

Look at the height of the gear clearance.  If it's six feet from the bottom of that jet to the ground and there is two feet between the bottom of the bay door to the floor while the scissor panel is 1/3rd the size of the total weapons bay, that means that EACH weapons bay is _six feet across_.  Which is where you get the reported 'X16 Mk.82, X10 Mk.83 or X4 Mk.84' loadouts.

Possibly from a permanent hanging fixture similar to the CWM on the B-2 (Why not, the NorGrumman A-11 had one and you need powered winch lift or deployable bay arms to haul weapons ten feet up off of the munitions cart).

Coupled to the engine access doors (shadow of airframe) and the outboard weapons bays and landing wells, this means that a good 60% of the lower surface is, in fact, hollow.  There are huge number of access panels on the upper fuselage which mans at least 20-30% of it is also cutaway skin over structural frames.

And what isn't obviously skeletonized is jam packed with fuel.

Offline quellish

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Here is where you hit problems.  Stealth buys you altitude.


No, altitude buys you stealth. That was true in the 1950s and is true today. The laws of physics have not changed.


One of the reasons why the F-117 was a failure waiting to happen was because it took the approach of 'going down town' on an increasingly narrowed bearing lane of possible route-around approaches to the target rather than lofting a weapon with a glide kit and DAMASK seeker.


Actually this is one of the reasons the F-117 was a success. It highlighted the importance of mission planning to make full use of the observables of an aircraft. The F-117 was *designed* to "go downtown" to attack fixed targets within defended airspace while presenting the most survivable aspect to threats. Every US low observable aircraft since then has also made mission planning and presenting the best possible aspect to threats a primary means of survivability.


What people don't realize is that the public brief on VLO is only half of it.  There are things that you do, internally, to cancel the signal and that is where the real ability to read the incoming pulsetrains very precisely for bearing, elevation, carrier and imbedded signal characteristics comes in.


I am not sure what you mean by the "public brief on VLO". RF observables follow the rules of electomagnetics. They are an application of Maxwell's equations, which are public knowledge. There is no other half of it.


You seem to be alluding to an "active stealth" system being available in the early to mid 1980s - a system that would collect the incoming signal and emit a cancellation signal. There are many, many problems with this approach, and some of the bigger problems did not have solutions within this timeframe.


It _has to_ be this way because if it is not, then there is no real means of knowing whether there is an SA-21 under your ground track that simply isn't emitting until the NEBO 100nm further back tells it to.  BAM.  Locked up and dead.  If you are using simply a shape+passive materials system.


As you yourself pointed out, not all low observable aircraft are designed for a mission that includes persistence. The F-117, for example, was designed to spend as little time as possible exposed to threats. Known, largely fixed threats. The B-2, in contrast, was designed to persist in a high threat environment, working with other platforms to find and strike mobile targets. This is a huge difference in terms of observables requirements, and is why the B-2 has an integrated defensive management system to locate threats and route around them. Similar systems exist on other persistent platforms.


But in trade, you still have to deal with the resonant scattering mode which builds up huge impedance charges on the large skin area as surface/travelling waves move about with effects somewhere between St. Elmo's Fire and Coanda Effect.  If you don't dissipate those charges at some level, the will hit a surface discontinuity or opposed edge and retroflect back out.  And a digital radar whose signal processor is programmed with the design signatures of a Finite Elements Studied model, will 'See' that resonant return scatter and...your screwed.


Dissipating surface wave energy is what RAM/RAS is used for. Shaping is a tool that allows the engineer to collect that energy in a physical location where it will be advantageous. This can mean it is directed into a place where it can't create a scattering source, or into an area where the materials have been specifically tailored to absorb that energy.


Surface waves are a problem when the threat radar wavelength is close to the size of the aircraft (or edge, wing, etc.) (this means lower frequencies, like search radars). They can manifest as travelling waves, creeping waves, or edge travelling waves. The incoming energy is received by the structure, flows over it, and becomes a scattering source when there is a large enough impedence change. This can be due to air gaps (panel seals, etc.), conductivity gaps (panel seals, etc. again), changes in materials, or reaching the end of a structure (edges, wingtips, etc.). Note that what matters here is the abrupt impedence change. Impedence can be controlled through materials - RAM, RAS, etc.
Again, surface waves are a dominant scattering source at longer wavelengths (lower frequencies). At shorter wavelengths they are typically a minor source - they only become a concern when your RCS at those frequencies is around -60dbsm. At that point surface waves are a dominant scattering source even at those wavelengths.


That is, unless the vehicle's configuration is such that all energy received by the aircraft is directed to one area, and that happens to be a discontinuity that is between one and five times the size of the wavelength. Then that edge becomes a big antenna, potentially reflecting right back at the emitter.


And conventional, passive, band-select ('shallow channel') RAM doesn't do it.  But we haven't been using passive RAM since Gen-1.


While RAM has certainly evolved since the 1950s, the principals remain the same, as previously stated. RAM is useful for a limited number of things - it is not magical cloaking paint - but for those things it can be very important. Passive RAM has been in use for a long time, continues to be, and will be for the forseeable future.


If you're subsonic, you have to be able to defeat the threat at the acquisition level of search and tracking illumination from ALL aspects, to avoid providing a composite trackfile which can have missiles shot into the seeker cube, blind at launch.


No. You only need to defeat the aspects that have an observer and/or emitter.


The USAF solution to this is active loading through or along the skin lines and they only told the USN about that, in conjunction with the issues around the A-12 nose and inlets, at the very last, to keep the program limping along and avoid the tacair trainwreck which would result if I the Navy threw up it's hands and requested a lot of money for a new program startup account.


The Navy asked about RAM. They got a response about effective use of RAM. The "active loading" you are referring to in this case is the use of RAM to eliminate abrupt changes in impedence, as described above.


The A-12's problems started and ended at it's outer mold line. USAF provided no guidance on this, and the Navy and GD probably didn't ask.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2014, 12:52:10 am by quellish »

Offline pesholito

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I was out at FWAM for other business and happened to snag a couple of photos of the left hand weapons bay with AMRAAM mockup installed. 


bill


Are they restoring it? Is it still there?

Offline hesham

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From Kryl'ya Rodine 09/1991.

Offline LEG

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Quellish,

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No, altitude buys you stealth. That was true in the 1950s and is true today. The laws of physics have not changed.

Altitude increases the number of radars viewing you and the aspect lines, especially in elevation, from which a simple 2D plot return becomes 3D off a billboard.  To fly at height requires sophisticated VLO engineering but it is not a guarantor nor even requirement to stealth.  As cruise missiles prove.


Quote from: LEG on July 14, 2014, 09:51:57 pm
One of the reasons why the F-117 was a failure waiting to happen was because it took the approach of 'going down town' on an increasingly narrowed bearing lane of possible route-around approaches to the target rather than lofting a weapon with a glide kit and DAMASK seeker.

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Actually this is one of the reasons the F-117 was a success. It highlighted the importance of mission planning to make full use of the observables of an aircraft. The F-117 was *designed* to "go downtown" to attack fixed targets within defended airspace while presenting the most survivable aspect to threats. Every US low observable aircraft since then has also made mission planning and presenting the best possible aspect to threats a primary means of survivability.

Nope.  Because the closer you go in, the more you open up your rear quarter to flash aspects which are less protected.  Having a 67` sweep angle, like a B-1 may help limit FQ return bearings but it does nothing to aid against radars in sectored look-back along or across your bearing and indeed, as you change course to thread the needle around one threat, you can open yourself up to others.
Standoff munitions prevent all of this because (at the time) there were no anti-PGM capable threats in active inventory which could shoot down glide weapons at any significant distance.  TVM-SARH still ruled and the miss distances possible on a 10ft munition are laughable, as Iraqi AF experience with the ADM-141 TALD proved later in ODS.

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I am not sure what you mean by the "public brief on VLO". RF observables follow the rules of electomagnetics. They are an application of Maxwell's equations, which are public knowledge. There is no other half of it.

I mean the mantra that shape is everything and RAM is plastered onto jets like linoleum or built into it's skin as simple ferrite absorbers when ferrites have low structural load strength, high weight, the potential for galvanic activity and are _narrow band_.

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You seem to be alluding to an "active stealth" system being available in the early to mid 1980s - a system that would collect the incoming signal and emit a cancellation signal. There are many, many problems with this approach, and some of the bigger problems did not have solutions within this timeframe.

I seem to be alluding to the ZSR-62 which was indeed on the B-2 at this time and is likely still there, 'just undiscussed' under the signal characterization element of the ZSR-63.


Quote from: LEG on July 14, 2014, 09:51:57 pm
It _has to_ be this way because if it is not, then there is no real means of knowing whether there is an SA-21 under your ground track that simply isn't emitting until the NEBO 100nm further back tells it to. BAM. Locked up and dead. If you are using simply a shape+passive materials system.

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As you yourself pointed out, not all low observable aircraft are designed for a mission that includes persistence. The F-117, for example, was designed to spend as little time as possible exposed to threats. Known, largely fixed threats. The B-2, in contrast, was designed to persist in a high threat environment, working with other platforms to find and strike mobile targets. This is a huge difference in terms of observables requirements, and is why the B-2 has an integrated defensive management system to locate threats and route around them. Similar systems exist on other persistent platforms.

As I pointed out, if you go to the heart of an unreduced IADS the threat will see you based on your operating depth in their backyard and the sophistication with which they sector (narrowed scan angles, done initially to eliminate ground clutter) and blink (hold their systems in dummy load status, waiting for long wave, or observer corps or acoustic track cuing) their radars.
The kinds of dwell we are talking about here are a few seconds needed to be within a scan pattern, not the hours spent hunting for SS-24/25 on backwoods tracks in the middle of a Russian IADS likely already devastated by early ballistic strikes.
Fly right overtop a target and ALL of the advantages of LO disappear because you are predictable in your flight path and close to the center of the enemy overlaps on defensive radar coverage which means SOMEONE is going to see you and then they can LLTV/FLIR (EOCG) kill you.
This is basic stuff that should have resulted in stealth aircraft never coming closer than maybe 20nm from their targets.  Particulary in the Warsaw Pact which had such enormous redundant emitter overlap cross coverage anyway.

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Dissipating surface wave energy is what RAM/RAS is used for. Shaping is a tool that allows the engineer to collect that energy in a physical location where it will be advantageous. This can mean it is directed into a place where it can't create a scattering source, or into an area where the materials have been specifically tailored to absorb that energy.

Fighter level RAM isn't deep enough to absord L-Band and below.  It's use on the later Lockheed jets is limited to a 'stealth ribbon' or tape to control edge glints from the leading edges of the airframe.  Especially vs. high elevation angle systems, that doesn't change the reality of the majority of the return area being flat, planar, surfaces.

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Surface waves are a problem when the threat radar wavelength is close to the size of the aircraft (or edge, wing, etc.) (this means lower frequencies, like search radars). They can manifest as travelling waves, creeping waves, or edge travelling waves. The incoming energy is received by the structure, flows over it, and becomes a scattering source when there is a large enough impedence change. This can be due to air gaps (panel seals, etc.), conductivity gaps (panel seals, etc. again), changes in materials, or reaching the end of a structure (edges, wingtips, etc.). Note that what matters here is the abrupt impedence change. Impedence can be controlled through materials - RAM, RAS, etc.

Yes, but that is not the half of it.  Radar wastes a lot of time and power as varied PRFs looking through space trying to get a ping off of 'anything' (height, range, speed) which a given combination of pulsetrains might not see but which interleaved PRI/PRF can.
Change that to a specific range and bearing angle via cuer, even just a 10-20`, 10,000ft FL and 10-20nm fuzzy-track confined one, and radar detection chances increase by orders of magnitude, even for the optimized fire control bands.
To which I will add that if simple shaping were what does the job, we would not be seeing nearly cruciform target bodies on the F-22 and F-35.  Nor would we see 'large air gaps' on applied VLO edge surrounds to the extent that the panels look like window frames with their poor fit.
You would instead see more shapes like the F-117 which is a dart generating oblique scattering paths along most of it's FQ planform (as indeed the A/FX did) or you would see flying wings whose combined front/rear quarter shaping leads to a bowtie effect of viable returns centered around the wingtips.
No.  Not just the Ufimtsyev theories but the _engineering_ knowledge that makes up VLO design is occulted behind a bodyguard of lies.

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Again, surface waves are a dominant scattering source at longer wavelengths (lower frequencies). At shorter wavelengths they are typically a minor source - they only become a concern when your RCS at those frequencies is around -60dbsm. At that point surface waves are a dominant scattering source even at those wavelengths.

Low wavelength fraction treats the entire airframe as an impedance model dipole with resonant effects, not optical ones.


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That is, unless the vehicle's configuration is such that all energy received by the aircraft is directed to one area, and that happens to be a discontinuity that is between one and five times the size of the wavelength. Then that edge becomes a big antenna, potentially reflecting right back at the emitter.

The F-35 is covered with panels that have blatanly obvious edge gaps and this, for a jet whose RAM is supposedly 'baked right in' as an aid to materials reliability is inexplicable.


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While RAM has certainly evolved since the 1950s, the principals remain the same, as previously stated. RAM is useful for a limited number of things - it is not magical cloaking paint - but for those things it can be very important. Passive RAM has been in use for a long time, continues to be, and will be for the forseeable future.

No.  The principle of _dielectric_ RAM grew out of experiments on the Windecker Eagle in the early-mid 70s when the ability to partially penetrate skin panels and trap the signal within varied layers of absorber back paneling first was explored via structural inserts.
RAM like you are talking about is WWII U-Boat periscope stuff and only acts to modify the conductivity of the surface waves and simplify multi-plane scatter.


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No. You only need to defeat the aspects that have an observer and/or emitter.

No.  Because while you may know fairly well where the big, fixed, search radars are, you cannot know where the acquisition/engagement systems are, particualrly using the Soviet model when a divisional level equivalent to the (say) the Big Bird to provide separate cueing.

As soon as you maneuver against that radar, another radar comes up, based on herding you by the wolf howl you hear to the SAMbush you don't.

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The Navy asked about RAM. They got a response about effective use of RAM. The "active loading" you are referring to in this case is the use of RAM to eliminate abrupt changes in impedence, as described above.

No.  The stealth bra which would have been used on the production airframe to _solve weight issues_ endemic to the airframe's supposedly not meeting stipulated performance conditions (a failure known from the start and ultimately a continuation of a fraud that Navair and DOD should have paid for) and yet which _The Five Billion Dollar Misunderstanding_ mentions only casually in passing, at the very back of the book's footnotes, could only have functioned because it allowed removal of a concommitant quantity of heavy, conventional, RAM coating.  Whether tiled or paint.
It would have changed the shape of the aircraft significantly and it functioned in a fashion similar to the ZSR-62 system on the B-2 which had it as a baseline for it's advanced design, from the start.


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The A-12's problems started and ended at it's outer mold line. USAF provided no guidance on this, and the Navy and GD probably didn't ask.

The USN could not possibly have failed to ask once they or one of their designated experts from each company 'had had the tour' of the B-2 production bay with the wingshape laid out before them.  The USAF would be incredibly arrogant to risk a potential 30 billion dollar aircraft investment as the national security to fail to disclose issues like the straight trailing edge and the combination of multiple apertures and active EW (see the cutaway drawing for the ALQ-165 ASPJ emitter) if they knew how bad the A-12 was.  That's borderline treason which is a very serious offense indeed in the military.

Ben Rich whose experience on the F-117 and predictions for the A-12 proved right in so many other areas, is on the books as having had the RCS model brought to him at a 3-4 and exiting his RATSCAT facility at a 10-11.  This is not possible if Denys Overholser's rules about 'shape, shape, shape and materials' were all that applied.  Indeed, the Skunk Works was given an independent contract for VLO consultancy on the A-12.  Did they 'fail to mention' VLO throughout their period of contribution?

Believe it or don't.  But Stealth is far more than simple painted or applique coatings and it always has been.  Was it Hostage who said "People don't know how stealth works and are proud to showcase their ignorance." in response to Pierre Sprey's comments about stealth being a scam?

What about his later comments that the F-35 was stealthier than the F-22 after earlier comments about the 'delta' export model not having the same baseline LO as the U.S. service model?  Why does it have all those ASQ-239 aerials which will do _nothing_ to 'route around' protect the aircraft from threats which light off, by surprise, under it's feet?  Or to provide range known bearing isolates for ARMs it doesn't carry?

Stealth is active and it likely began with the A-12 which took systems knowledge from the B-2.  Believe what the bodyguard tells you and you know only half of what VLO is about and particularly how it is generationally advancing.

Offline quellish

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Altitude increases the number of radars viewing you and the aspect lines, especially in elevation, from which a simple 2D plot return becomes 3D off a billboard. 


If the aircraft is flying higher it may be within line of sight to more emitters, but it is farther from them. The farther from an emitter the aircraft is, the less likely it is to be detected for a given RCS.


I can only assume you are trying to assert that for an aircraft flying higher, that the resulting aspect or grazing angle to the emitter would increase the RCS enough that the benefit of the greater range to the emitter would be negated. Again, the increased RCS would have to be very large for that to occur. Even a small increase in altitude will result in a large increase in range to the emitter and received power decreases with the fourth power of the range.


To fly at height requires sophisticated VLO engineering but it is not a guarantor nor even requirement to stealth.  As cruise missiles prove.


Cruise missiles have a very different mission and thus very different design requirements than manned penetrating or persisting aircraft. They have physical size constraints and face different threats than manned penetrating aircraft. In general their physical size relative to threat frequencies limits the degree of RCS reduction that is obtainable when compared to a larger aircraft. Sadly, there has not been a B-2 sized cruise missile program since the 1980s, and that was designed to fly at high altitude.


Comparing the RF survivability of cruise missiles to manned aircraft is not wise.


I mean the mantra that shape is everything and RAM is plastered onto jets like linoleum or built into it's skin as simple ferrite absorbers when ferrites have low structural load strength, high weight, the potential for galvanic activity and are _narrow band_.


Shape *is* (nearly) everthing. This is an application of Maxwell's equations. You can only absorb so much, you can reflect much more.


"Ferrites", for better or worse, has become something of a generic for the elements in materials that alter their electrical properties for the purpose of radar cross section reduction. Modern RAM/RAS does not use iron ferrites as the primary absorber and has not for a very long time.


I seem to be alluding to the ZSR-62 which was indeed on the B-2 at this time and is likely still there, 'just undiscussed' under the signal characterization element of the ZSR-63.


The ZSR-62 was and ZSR-63 is part of the B-2 Defensive Management System. I will repeat myself:


Every US low observable aircraft since then has also made mission planning and presenting the best possible aspect to threats a primary means of survivability.


The DMS detects pop up threats and allows the crew and aircraft to present the best possible aspect to the threat. This can mean altering course using the autorouter, altering flight controls to minimize scattering sources, etc. Most persisting VLO platforms (and one not so VLO) have a similar capability.


You are saying (I believe) some active counter radar emitter exists and is in use operationally on the B-2. I would certainly like to know where the antennas for this emitter are, where it gets it's power from, and how this system is maintained and tested for readiness.


Fighter level RAM isn't deep enough to absord L-Band and below.


It doesn't have to absorb it. It has to prevent the energy from being sent back to the emitter.
It also does not have to be deep if it has a large attenuation constant.


To which I will add that if simple shaping were what does the job, we would not be seeing nearly cruciform target bodies on the F-22 and F-35.  Nor would we see 'large air gaps' on applied VLO edge surrounds to the extent that the panels look like window frames with their poor fit.


The F-22 and F-35 are complex shapes. The F-117 (and X-47, and X-45) is simpler.
I do not see how you are drawing the conclusion that a more complex shape means that shaping is not the most significant contributer to RCS reduction.


No.  Not just the Ufimtsyev theories but the _engineering_ knowledge that makes up VLO design is occulted behind a bodyguard of lies.


Again, PTD is an application of Maxwell's equations. There are no lies there. No one is changing physical laws.


The F-35 is covered with panels that have blatanly obvious edge gaps and this, for a jet whose RAM is supposedly 'baked right in' as an aid to materials reliability is inexplicable.


Physical, or electrical gaps? It is the electrical discontinuities that matter, as pointed out in my previous post.


The principle of _dielectric_ RAM grew out of experiments on the Windecker Eagle in the early-mid 70s when the ability to partially penetrate skin panels and trap the signal within varied layers of absorber back paneling first was explored via structural inserts.


Um, what? All materials have dielectric properties. This is a measure of how electrically permissive a material is and is expressed in comparison to the permissivity of a vacuum. Metals are good conductors. Other things, not so much. All RAM is engineered to have dielectic properties that are favorable for whatever application the RAM is intended for. This was the case even for "WWII U-Boat periscope stuff".


What you seem to be attempting to express is the idea of the outer surface of an object having a dielectic constant much closer to free space than would be the case for metal, and putting an absorber behind that outer surface. This would be an outer surface "transparent" to radar. The Windecker Eagle was constructed of plastic and fiberglass, which are materials used for radomes for the same reasons. Of course, if you make the outer surface of an aircraft "transparent" to radar, all of those unavoidable shiny metal bits under the skin are still reflecting. This was nothing new, and the experiments with the Windecker Eagle did not advance the state of the art in RCS reduction or absorbers. Nor were they particularly successful in achieving a very low signature.


The idea of putting a lossy absorber inside an outer surface or structure that was "transparent" was not new. It had been used successfully and operationally on the A-12 (OXCART).


Ben Rich whose experience on the F-117 and predictions for the A-12 proved right in so many other areas, is on the books as having had the RCS model brought to him at a 3-4 and exiting his RATSCAT facility at a 10-11.  This is not possible if Denys Overholser's rules about 'shape, shape, shape and materials' were all that applied.  Indeed, the Skunk Works was given an independent contract for VLO consultancy on the A-12.  Did they 'fail to mention' VLO throughout their period of contribution?


Ben Rich's recollections are quoted in the Stevenson book as:
> We interviewed them and found their level of stealth was, on a rating of [1 to] 10, where 10 is best, at about a level of 2.
> ...
> There were two finalists, but before the final decision [was made] we took their model to the Skunk Works, rebuilt it, tested it at RATSCAT, and raised them from a factor of 2 to a factor of 9. And they had a good design, believe me it was a good design. But it was not stealthy...


It's important to note that this should not be taken verbatim: Lockheed did not take a model back to the Skunk Works, and it was not a full scale model. The model work was performed at RATSCAT (significantly, using the older pole and rotator).


As a result of this consulting work Lockheed was given a portion of the construction work on the A-12, specifically the trailing edges and exhaust. But it was not long before that contract was cancelled, and the product of Lockheed's *design* work was discarded. Lockheed's stealth changes did not actually make it into the A-12.
Lockheed was not permitted to discuss the products of other programs with GD or the Navy. So no, they did not mention that the "VLO" threshold was much lower than the A-12 would ever be able to achieve. They did provide more general input on reducing the RCS through both shaping and materials. This included suggesting significant shape changes to the inlets, wing thickness, and trailing edges.


Denys Overholser's "Shape, shape, shape and materials" is only restating the prinicples governing how fields intertact with a physical object in free space. There is no lie here, only math.


Stealth is active and it likely began with the A-12 which took systems knowledge from the B-2.


The A-12 (Avenger II) apparently did not receive any significant input from the B-2 program. I do believe there was a lawsuit about that.
What do you mean by "Stealth is active"? That there are components on VLO aircraft that contribute to signature reduction, such as "active" gap sealing that requires power? Or are you asserting that "active cancellation" using emitters on the VLO aircraft are operational, were pioneered by either the A-12 (Avenger II) or B-2, and contribute more than shape to the RCS reduction of the aircraft?


Believe what the bodyguard tells you and you know only half of what VLO is about and particularly how it is generationally advancing.


As you may have guessed, I believe in physics. I have no idea what you mean by "the bodyguard". The physical laws that govern how fields interact with physical objects in free space *is* the whole of what VLO is about. That is difficult to argue with.

Offline LEG

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Quellish,

Quote from: LEG on Yesterday at 07:50:21 am
Altitude increases the number of radars viewing you and the aspect lines, especially in elevation, from which a simple 2D plot return becomes 3D off a billboard.

Quote
If the aircraft is flying higher it may be within line of sight to more emitters, but it is farther from them. The farther from an emitter the aircraft is, the less likely it is to be detected for a given RCS.

No.  It is the aspect which counts because if you are LOS with an emitter, your aspect -change- is visible throughout the period of tangential or direct flyby.
This is why video like this-

F-35, SPEAR (Starting Time Index 0:50)


Is dead wrong.  If you have a shape which is only VLO across a narrow 30` cone off the nose (the A/FX was protected across almost 210`), turning your cruciform shape away from a given threat as a 'routing penalty' to thread the needle only opens up your vulnerable aspects to that radar and others.
Radar range is not static but aspect dependent.  Turn away from your best (lowest db) protected aspect because you are pushing detection threshold and you guarantee your detection because you are IMPROVING the detection range which is variable on a whole 'nother set of parameters from that of WEZ kinematics.

Quote
I can only assume you are trying to assert that for an aircraft flying higher, that the resulting aspect or grazing angle to the emitter would increase the RCS enough that the benefit of the greater range to the emitter would be negated. Again, the increased RCS would have to be very large for that to occur. Even a small increase in altitude will result in a large increase in range to the emitter and received power decreases with the fourth power of the range.

Where IADS have always (SAGE, UKADGE, the Soviet Markham derived systems) been 'networked', there is no way to 'out turn' a radar beam because what you show to the threats beside and behind you is just as important as the target off your nose.
This is where the bodyguard of lies comes in.  The propagandists WANT you to see a threat bubble as something which is a constant, like an aerodynamic envelope.  But you have to see to shoot and the RCS does indeed vary, dramatically, with aspect.  The only way to ensure you are fighting one radar alone is to sub-horizon the threat and take the others out of the LOS picture.
If you fail in this, one Tall King or Big Bird or Clam Shell can put enough energy on you to send the Fan Song or Flap Lid pointing RIGHT at your bearing and elevation, within a pie slice of maybe 20` azimuth and 40` elevation and now you're caught because the only thing which prevents radar from tracking aircraft is that it has to scan volumes for everything rather than a narrow LOS line for a fuzzy track.
This is also likely why EW is still required to degrade that functionality of EWR and Divisional level Acquisition Radars because if you don't push in their receiver gains on signal:noise, those longer wavelengths in the L/S bands are going to tag you out anyway.


Quote
Cruise missiles have a very different