Both F-22 and F-23 get built

rooster

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Despite all the detailed argument on this thread I think the YF23 is a bit like the P1121 and the Supertiger on this site. We like them because they look so good.
I use this picture taken at random from Google to make the point.
I actually like the yf22 better than the f22 and yf23. It looks more like a 21st century aircraft. The production f23 was a sex goddess. Not too mention it would have bested the raptor in range which is more important then post stall nose pointing. Too bad we didn't get both as there was ample money
 

helmutkohl

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Despite all the detailed argument on this thread I think the YF23 is a bit like the P1121 and the Supertiger on this site. We like them because they look so good.
I use this picture taken at random from Google to make the point.
I actually like the yf22 better than the f22 and yf23. It looks more like a 21st century aircraft. The production f23 was a sex goddess. Not too mention it would have bested the raptor in range which is more important then post stall nose pointing. Too bad we didn't get both as there was ample money
assuming as there was money..
is there a use case that would justify having both the F-22 and F-23 in US service?
the only possibility I can think of is if there was another YF-16/YF-17 scenario where the USAF and USN goes their separate ways and adopts the other design. (still unhappy the USN never ended up with a 5th gen aircraft until now).
 

FighterJock

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If the NATF never got cancelled things would have been much better for the US Navy and they would have had a highly capable fifth generation fighter too before JAST/JSF.
 

helmutkohl

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rooster

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Despite all the detailed argument on this thread I think the YF23 is a bit like the wth P1121 and the Supertiger on this site. We like them because they look so good.
I use this picture taken at random from Google to make the point.
I actually like the yf22 better than the f22 and yf23. It looks more like a 21st century aircraft. The production f23 was a sex goddess. Not too mention it would have bested the raptor in range which is more important then post stall nose pointing. Too bad we didn't get both as there was ample money
assuming as there was money..
is there a use case that would justify having both the F-22 and F-23 in US service?
the only possibility I can think of is if there was another YF-16/YF-17 scenario where the USAF and USN goes their separate ways and adopts the other design. (still unhappy the USN never ended up with a 5th gen aircraft until now).
Well of course there was money. We went years without buying replacement 15s and 16s and cancelled the b2 the midgetman and the sramii and tacit rainbow and many other projects; which is why the fleet is so old. Money yes. Congressional will, no. It was only in the 1980s that the usaf decided one 1 main fighter with 1 backup light weight low cost supplement. Prior to the 80s the usaf had more than 1 main fighter. There were phantoms and voodoos and deuces and ardvarks and 7s, sure different missions like a hypothetical 22 and 23 mix would had different missions. Then the 80s came and the flight line variety evaporated. 1 plane for all seasons. Need a long range interceptor? F15. Need an air superiority fighter? F15. Need a medium weight bomber? F15.
 

apparition13

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thats why I mentioned until now. the USN had to wait a while before getting the 35C, although i see the NATF to be complimentary with the C
NATF was meant to be complimentary with the A-12, replacing F-14s and A-6s respectively. A/FX would have been more like a stealth Attack Super-Tomcat in capability. F-35 was never in the Navy's plans. They wound up with it because it was the only thing available.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Northrop get to build the LCF as the low-cost ATF complement, MRF. JSF doesn't happen.

dsc000040001-jpg.14750
dsc000010001_1-jpg.14746

dsc000020001-jpg.14748
 

apparition13

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Well, yes. MRF, ASTOVL, and AFX means the USAF and USN get what they need, not a mod of what the Marines needed.
 

apparition13

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assuming as there was money..
is there a use case that would justify having both the F-22 and F-23 in US service?
the only possibility I can think of is if there was another YF-16/YF-17 scenario where the USAF and USN goes their separate ways and adopts the other design. (still unhappy the USN never ended up with a 5th gen aircraft until now).


If you're talking about the YF-22 and YF-23 designs as they would have been built as the F-22 and F-23, the only thing I can think of is if the F-15SMTD went into production as a STOL fighter/strikefighter, in which case the F-22 could use its thrust vectoring as thrust reversers for STOL. You'd buy the F-23 for CONUS and the Pacific, and the F-22(stol) for Europe and perhaps South Korea. In which case JSF is dead, since FA versions of both negate the need for the F-35A. The F-35B would still be needed by the USMC and STOVL carrier navies. The F-35C could be dispensed with in favor of NATF (which really needs the A-12, preferably the NG version since that one would have actually worked) or AFX.

Personally for the NATF I'd like to see a navalized F-23 with canards added, even if you might need to fold the nose. Make the main bay big enough for a couple Harpoons, build the GD/W AIM-152 since the wingless form factor means a lot more could be carried, and use ASRAAM as the short range missile, for the same reason. Not the STOL F-22, since range is still king in naval aviation, and true STOL is unnecessary on CATOBAR carriers.

*Removed paragraph about Grumman involvement since I can't find where I saw that information.*
 
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overscan (PaulMM)

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The F-23 NATF was Northrop/McDonnell-Douglas and Grumman had nothing to do with it. I recommend you buy this book:


The Lockheed/General Dynamics/ Boeing NATF design likewise had nothing to do with Grumman.
 
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What can the YF-23 do that a raptor variant can’t? That should be the question to answer before going forward. Otherwise I think commonality will give a Raptor replacement the advantage.
 

Desertfox

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Once upon a time I heard that the YF-23 stealth and range were so good, that it got turned into a "black" program as a long range strike fighter to replace the F-111. Alas it was just rumors. But an FB-23 might be a way to have both the YF-22 and YF-23 enter service at the same time.

Personally, I would go with the F-16XL beating out the F-15E, the YF-23 beating out the YF-22, the Super Hornet dying at birth giving the Navy money to buy the NATF version of the YF-23, and the FB-23 being built to be the high mix to the low F-16XL. The F-16XL and NATF means no JSF, so the Marines get an upgraded Harrier and the Navy gets an upgraded Hornet (or buy into Rafale?). The FB-23 possibly also allows the B-1 and B-2s to be retired earlier, freeing up money sooner for the B-21.
 

apparition13

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What can the YF-23 do that a raptor variant can’t? That should be the question to answer before going forward. Otherwise I think commonality will give a Raptor replacement the advantage.
It's was stealthier, longer ranged, and faster, which means it was a better fit for the proposal in the first place, which assumed the combination of stealth and supercruise would dominate over agility. And when it came time to develop the tactics for the F-22 what the people involved came up with emphasized range, speed, and stealth, validating the intitial requirements.

USAF pilot Dozer talks about his involvement in developing the F-22 tactics starting at 36:00.

 

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What can the YF-23 do that a raptor variant can’t? That should be the question to answer before going forward. Otherwise I think commonality will give a Raptor replacement the advantage.
It's was stealthier, longer ranged, and faster, which means it was a better fit for the proposal in the first place, which assumed the combination of stealth and supercruise would dominate over agility. And when it came time to develop the tactics for the F-22 what the people involved came up with emphasized range, speed, and stealth, validating the intitial requirements.

USAF pilot Dozer talks about his involvement in developing the F-22 tactics starting at 36:00.

Do we have any idea by how much? Are these major difference, minor? How many are related to engine choice, what is applicable to EMD? Do we have hard sources on the differences? Are they reliable antidotes with reasonable attempts at comparison or fish stories.

These are important if we’re attempting to justify buying two airframes. For example if the YF-23 has major advantages in the areas it’s better then it’s an easy task to create a scenario to secure both. If the differences are relatively minor the task changes. For example a X-44 manta based design might be even more stealthy, have greater range, and have commonality with the F-22 fleet. If we give it a YF120 derived engine we might perhaps get better supercruise preformance.

The YF-23 has imagination on its side as it never had to be developed into a final product. But unless we can find a definitive area where it has a major clear advantage that we can quantify l feel it’s hard to justify two unrelated expensive airframes. It might exist but I don’t have it to make an opinion.
 

apparition13

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The question of the thread is can you justify buying both the F-22 and F-23? USN doesn't drop out and chooses the loser is one option, as helmutkohl points out.

I think the F-23 (especially with the YF120) met the CONOPS better, which is why I linked to the video, since the tactics Dozer and co developed were the ones the F-23 was built for. I therefore think the wrong aircraft and manufacturer was chosen. I think Lockheed won on marketing, not engineering. So my scenario is one in which the F-23 is chosen over the F-22, and in those circumstances I can see a justification for the F-22 as a shorter ranged STOL fighter in Europe and perhaps Korea. STOL because it retained thrust vectoring from when reversible thrust vectoring controls for STOL akin to the F-15 SMTD were in the ATF requirement.

If the F-22 is the choice, as it was, then short of no 9/11 and a pivot to the Pacific a decade earlier bringing with it a realization that range is really important, I can't see a justification for the F-23.

The only other possibility is the Navy changing it's mind and deciding no, it actually does want an NATF, but the F-22 doesn't have the range so can it please have the F-23. But since they tried for the A/FX as their long ranged do everything aircraft and it got folded into the much less capable JSF program, that seems a route to nowhere.

Actually, I take that back. If the DoD and Congress decide in the mid to late 90s that Lockheed is doing a terrible job and decide to fund the F-23 as a competitor (given the flush tax situation at the time bringing with it the possiblity that there is money), then you could wind up with both aircraft, with the F-23 being like the GE F110 and the F-22 standing in for the F100. A congressional kick up the ass to a corporation to tell them to get their act together, if you will. In which case, if and only if the final price of the two aircraft was similar*, you could wind up with both, with perhaps the less stealthy one, the F-22, also being offered up for export to select allies. But that would mean increasing the buy significantly since there is no point in splitting less than 200 production slots between two aircraft, and that should mean the end of JSF and perhaps a proliferation of F-22 and F-23 derivatives, for the Navy as well.

*I don't think it would have been, I think Northrop would have walked it.
 

helmutkohl

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^ out of curiosity, between the 22 and 23, which platform was a better base (i say base as both would have to be updated) for naval operations?
 

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^ out of curiosity, between the 22 and 23, which platform was a better base (i say base as both would have to be updated) for naval operations?
Both teams NATF entries were very different from their ground-based counterparts, only sharing components (radar, some avionics, engines and so on). Swing wings for the Lockheed-Boeing-General Dynamics trio, high wings with canards for the Northrop-McDonnell-Douglas team.
There is a separate thread for the NATF designs. ;)



A possible scenario for the purchase of both could be a slightly different Desert Storm history. Say the Iraqis got their hands on some advanced surface to air missiles from an undisclosed origin, that the coalition intelligence failed to identify and locate.

During the initial strikes, those unexpected and unscathed SAMs take a high toll on coalition fighter bombers, including several 4th TFW F-15E Strike Eagle.
The air campaign is far more contested, longer than anticipated, Iraqi Migs and Mirages benefit from the SAM coverage and claim several air-to-air victories. Only the F-117s are allowed in certain areas. Iraqis manage to identify some patterns and set up a trap where they're able to shot down several tankers and a precious F-117 (something along the lines of what happened in Serbia in 1999).
Iraq is defeated nonetheless, it just took several weeks and more losses to locate and destroy those SAMs.

Long story short; while the YF-22 is selected in April 1991 at the end of the ATF program, the USAF takes lessons: Strike Eagle are too vulnerable to modern SAMs and F-117s lack self defense capabilities. The proposed F-23A (or more likely the tandem seat variant) with its large tandem weapons bay is then selected as a replacement for the strike role.

The F-22A got the air superiority role, the F-23 (while keeping its air to air capabilities) got the specialized long range strike role.

How does that sound?
 

kaiserd

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So the consensus no remotely realistic scenario where the US airforce buys both then?

Given that the US airforce never contemplated 2 of the designs that competed to become the F-15 both entering service, and similarly story for the F-22 and F-23 even at the height of Regan era defense spending, don’t see this as having any legs apart from rehashing enthusiasts lost love for the F-23 that never had to exist in a reality where it too would have experienced development problems and cost overruns etc. and where vague general comments about general relative performance weren’t enthusiastically magnified (or if they were it would have been about the F-22 and it would then have been “the aircraft they should have bought”).
 

apparition13

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So the consensus no remotely realistic scenario where the US airforce buys both then?

Given that the US airforce never contemplated 2 of the designs that competed to become the F-15 both entering service, and similarly story for the F-22 and F-23 even at the height of Regan era defense spending, don’t see this as having any legs apart from rehashing enthusiasts lost love for the F-23 that never had to exist in a reality where it too would have experienced development problems and cost overruns etc. and where vague general comments about general relative performance weren’t enthusiastically magnified (or if they were it would have been about the F-22 and it would then have been “the aircraft they should have bought”).
The difference being that only one of the F-15 proposals was built. If one of the others, especially the North American F-15 proposal, were built and the MD plane chosen I can see arguments about the superiority of the NA design still happening.

But yes, I don't see any realistic scenario with both going in to development. Personally I would have liked to have seen both given contracts, with the full contract going to the firm that did the better job turning prototypes into production aircraft, but given the increase in aircraft costs the money for that wasn't there like it was in the '50s.

Although in this case I don't think you would see as much in the way of F-22 was superior commentary if the F-23 had been chosen any more than you see the X-32 was better commentary. The fighter that was both better looking and had the better performance numbers would have won.
 

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As much as I love the concept of both the F-22 and F-23 in service I don't think it was ever possible. There isn't the political will or capital to fund the development of both programs even though the idea of having two designs for certain roles isn't necessary a bad one.

Best alternative that would be theoretically possible I think would be to go for the F-22 and then a strike version of the F-23, perhaps similar to the later FB-23.

Follow this up with a fighter program to replace the F-16 and AV-8 (no Navy CATOBAR this time though) and if things there go similar to the way the JSF did give one of the development contracts to MDD/Northrop instead of Boeing.
 

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The basic F-23 design configuration was very versatile, the FB-23 would have made a great strike platform for USAF (as compared to the FB-22) plus the the FB-23 was designed as a supercruiser (approximately m1.6 in Metz's book) and had generous weapons capacity. The Navy did not like the NATF-23. Even as a former NGC guy, I did like Lockheed's AF/X VSW design though.
 

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Despite all the detailed argument on this thread I think the YF23 is a bit like the P1121 and the Supertiger on this site. We like them because they look so good.
I use this picture taken at random from Google to make the point.
I actually like the yf22 better than the f22 and yf23. It looks more like a 21st century aircraft. The production f23 was a sex goddess. Not too mention it would have bested the raptor in range which is more important then post stall nose pointing. Too bad we didn't get both as there was ample money
Would that mean that countries like Japan and Israel are allowed to buy on of the two.
 

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Despite all the detailed argument on this thread I think the YF23 is a bit like the P1121 and the Supertiger on this site. We like them because they look so good.
I use this picture taken at random from Google to make the point.
I actually like the yf22 better than the f22 and yf23. It looks more like a 21st century aircraft. The production f23 was a sex goddess. Not too mention it would have bested the raptor in range which is more important then post stall nose pointing. Too bad we didn't get both as there was ample money
Would that mean that countries like Japan and Israel are allowed to buy on of the two.
Well they would have had to shell out tens of billions to develop the other.
 

_Del_

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Like everyone else, I'm sort of baffled on how you would get two into production.

My best attempt:
The F-23 gets the nod first for the 750 unit buy. Gets into production.

Early in the process as the costs creep up, the decision is made to transfer the F-23 into a silver bullet force and Beagle replacement at 200 units, while the F-22 which (on paper, at least) is less risky is pushed into production to replace the Eagle fleet.

Maybe the political decision is made to strip the F-22 of some of the gold plating and focus on getting new air frames off the line. Only gets spot ram treatment. Maybe even lose the thrust-vectoring ability. Makes it cheaper to develop, use, and operate. And as the AF has learned, it's easier to add capabilities to something you already have than to get new airframes. Also may make the less advanced F-22 exportable which helps bring down costs.

So you get two hundred or so F-23's for a swing force of strike and air dominance, and get several more hundred of the F-22, which in this case is less capable than the real F-22. I can also see the decision being made to cut the F-23 entirely in this scenario, so you get ~50 F-23, and are stuck with however many stripped down F-22's you can convince congress to buy.

That's the best scenario I can come up with to get both, and it's still a bit flimsy.
 

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