Confusion Regarding the F-12B

KJ_Lesnick

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I have heard two different stories regarding the YF-12A's evolution into the F-12B, and I've seen diagrams which kind of confirm both stories which has me very very confused.

The most common story about the F-12B design was that it had a partial chine, the same raised cockpit as the YF-12A, re-profiled IRST's to fit in the chines, and retained the ventral-fins under the engines, but no longer featured the central-fin.

The other one I heard was that they somehow created a flatter antenna for the F-12B which enabled it to fit inside an SR-71A-type chine, as before, IRST's were reprofiled to fit in the chines. Whether it carried the ventral fin or not I'm not sure.

In either case, I've heard claims that the plane would have the same fuel as the SR-71 and/or it would have the SR-71's bobtail, however I've heard many stories about this one.

Considering the conflicting information, I'm wondering, reasonably speaking, if anybody could completely resolve this issue?


KJ_Lesnick
BTW: I'm kind of wondering if the claim of the plane featuring the flat antenna that could fit inside an SR-71A's chine, and such was used to explain-away the "YF-12C" (which was actually SR-71 #64-17951) looking just like the SR-71A (which it was)?
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Perhaps you could indicate where exactly you heard each story?

In the Aerofax by Goodall/Miller, there's a drawing of the F-12 nose evolution by Tony Landis indicating that the F-12B had a SR-71 style nose with small IRST windows each side. There are three other configurations; Original YF-12 with rounded chines, YF-12 with cutaway chines, and YF-12A with shaker vanes.

The Warbirdtech by Landis/Jenkins has the exact same drawing and notes:

Externally the F-12B would more closely resemble the A-12 than the YF-12A. Careful shaping of the radome allowed the addition of small chines, improving the aerodynamics and eliminating the need for the large central ventral fins.

The attached picture is, according to Goodall, the YF-12B front fuselage mockup.
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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I haven't been able to find anyone saying anything different, KJ. You should try to find your source for the "other" story.

I recommend you buy one or more of the three best books, the recent Aerofax, the revised Warbirdtech, or the Crickmore book. All are worthy puchases.

Sources:
Paul F Crickmore Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond The Secret Missions Osprey 2004
Jim Goodall & Jay Miller Aerofax Lockheed's SR-71 "Blackbird" Family Midland Counties 2003
Tony Landis and Dennis Jenkins Warbirdtech 10: Lockheed Blackbirds Speciality Press 2004
Jay Miller Aerofax Minigraph: Lockheed SR-71 Midland Counties 1983
Jim Goodall 6067 Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Squadron-Signal 1995
Lou Drendel Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird In Action Squadron-Signal 1982
 

KJ_Lesnick

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overscan,
Perhaps you could indicate where exactly you heard each story?

Well, at least one claim about the plane having a flat antenna to allow it to fit in the SR-71's nose was mentioned I think on Leland Haynes' (sp?) SR-71 site. It was a site about the Blackbird I read awhile back.

As for the books, I'll get out my books, and I'll check.

In the Aerofax by Goodall/Miller, there's a drawing of the F-12 nose evolution by Tony Landis indicating that the F-12B had a SR-71 style nose with small IRST windows each side. There are three other configurations; Original YF-12 with rounded chines, YF-12 with cutaway chines, and YF-12A with shaker vanes.

I don't think I have that book. However, hopefully a visit to Amazon will provide the cure.

I think I have the Landis/Jenkins book, not sure though, I'll look through it.

The attached picture is, according to Goodall, the YF-12B front fuselage mockup.

I have seen that one before, but I remember at least once it was said to be the AF-12's mock-up (I'm not sure if it's true or not, but I heard that mentioned once -- the AF-12 was the preliminary design for what would become the YF-12A)
 

SOC

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KJ_Lesnick said:
I have seen that one before, but I remember at least once it was said to be the AF-12's mock-up (I'm not sure if it's true or not, but I heard that mentioned once -- the AF-12 was the preliminary design for what would become the YF-12A)

THIS is the AF-12 mockup.

Also, the SR-71A was likely redesignated YF-12C due to NASA use. Something about the nature of the operational jet, I forget. They did the same thing with the U-2R/TR-1A, which became the ER-2 (although that designator made sense, Earth Resources).
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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There it was to be given a flat nose (like ASAR) because Hughes had developed a new antenna that could operate in an enclosure close to the original design contours of the "A" & "SR-71" noses. It was actually to be an SR-71 converted to a Fighter/Interceptor in its final configuration.

http://www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/yf12~1.htm

Sounds pretty reasonable, and this bit it is written by Bob Eaton from Lockheed ADP it seems.
 

KJ_Lesnick

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Dear Overscan,

That's the quote that I've seen before, and it would explain why it seemed so reliable. (The reason I expressed confusion though is because the YF-12C was actually an SR-71 and, I was wondering if that was the story they all agreed on back in the 1970's to explain away the YF-12C, which was an SR-71, looking just like an SR-71.)

The one thing that doesn't seem to make much sense was his account about why the F-12B was cancelled -- I thought it was because McNamara wanted to use the USAF F-111 as an interceptor, and when Congress balked at the issue, and kept pressing, to force the issue he ordered all the A-12/YF-12/SR-71/M-21's tooling destroyed, not to "waste more money in Vietnam". (Mr. Eaton could be right though for all I know however)

Kendra Lesnick
BTW: I'm suprized ASAR technology existed back then, at least in a fighter-mounted size.
 

KJ_Lesnick

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overscan said:
Ermm....it didn't? Who said ASAR?

You quoted...

From the site... (Boldened emphasis mine)
There it was to be given a flat nose (like ASAR) because Hughes had developed a new antenna that could operate in an enclosure close to the original design contours of the "A" & "SR-71" noses. It was actually to be an SR-71 converted to a Fighter/Interceptor in its final configuration.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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I think you might want to read that quote again more carefully KJ. Its simply describing the shape of the nose, which doesn't say anything about the ASG-18's antenna (other than it fitted in a chined nose).
 

F-14D

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KJ_Lesnick said:
Dear Overscan,

That's the quote that I've seen before, and it would explain why it seemed so reliable. (The reason I expressed confusion though is because the YF-12C was actually an SR-71 and, I was wondering if that was the story they all agreed on back in the 1970's to explain away the YF-12C, which was an SR-71, looking just like an SR-71.)

The one thing that doesn't seem to make much sense was his account about why the F-12B was cancelled -- I thought it was because McNamara wanted to use the USAF F-111 as an interceptor, and when Congress balked at the issue, and kept pressing, to force the issue he ordered all the A-12/YF-12/SR-71/M-21's tooling destroyed, not to "waste more money in Vietnam". (Mr. Eaton could be right though for all I know however)
Actually, the F-111 interceptor story is exactly right. In fact, congress funded the F-12B, McNamara impounded the money. The reason for the destruction of the Blackbird line was to insure that no serious rival to his "Wonderplane" would exists. The impact on the SR-71 was incidental "collateral damage" as far as he was concerned.
 

KJ_Lesnick

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overscan,

Yeah, I misread it. Sorry about that.


F-14D,

Thanks for the verification. In either case, what an insane decision on McNamara's part huh?


KJ Lesnick
 

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KJ_Lesnick said:
overscan,

Yeah, I misread it. Sorry about that.


F-14D,

Thanks for the verification. In either case, what an insane decision on McNamara's part huh?


KJ Lesnick


Yeah, one of many. He was consistent that way, but in his mind his ego and image were paramount. All else was secondary or of no importance.
 

Kiltonge

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Lt Gen Dick Leavitt, Ret, writes briefly about the F-12 in his book 'Following the Flag' ( Air University Press, 2010 ).

He discusses his team's work on proving that AMSA could theoretically survive against the F-12, playing the role of a hypothetical best-in-class opposing interceptor:

We realized AMSA survival against the Red F-12 depended upon shrinking the time and distance for engagement
and making the AIM-47 miss before it could explode near the AMSA.

Our analyses showed the biggest payoffs for the AMSA came from combining speed and stealth. Stealth was relatively new
in 1966, and there was a great deal of skepticism surrounding the subject. Our study stressed the importance of reducing
the RCS of the AMSA to delay detection and to avoid radar-guided missiles.


The principal advocate for the F-12 in DCS Plans and Operations was a general who was very critical of our crediting the
AMSA with a significantly reduced RCS.

He knew that the F-12 would be ineffective if it could not detect the AMSA in time to launch the AIM-47. We arranged a visit for the
general to the Wright-Patterson AFB laboratory, which was developing ways to reduce radar cross sections.

Upon his return, the general called from his office. “Leavitt, you have killed the F-12.”
 

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