Delta wing F-16s: SCAMP, F-16XL, Falcon 21 and more


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General Dynamics 1986 Supportable Fighter study (Configuration 700)


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Flateric, do you have any weight numbers for this design? This thing is the size of a Rafale or Hornet, but it has the wing area of a F-15.

I would also have to wonder about the engine choice. Judging by the date of the project and the drawings, I would guess that the PW-1120 or the F-404 might have been baseline powerplants.
It's generic 20 000 lb thrust ones.


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TinWing said:
I have seen a drawing of a proposed F-16 derivative with a similar trapezoidal wing planform - although it dates from 5 years later.

Thats it. F-16U - one of early proposals for Saudi Arabia.


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Per one of the aerodynamicists who worked on it, the F-16U's wing has the planform of the YF/F-22's wing. As near as I can tell, the YF-22 wing mated to the F-2 fuselage, which was derived from the earlier "Agile Falcon" aerodynamic studies, comes quite close to this.
As promised, here is a Falcon 21 design study with exactly the same wing planform and same biconvex wing profile.


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F-16XL early designs


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3 NASA windtunnel pics, 2 of which show different inlets.


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I think "F-16XL-2" shows the version I always liked, they used a standard F-16 horizontal tail as an all-moving vertical tail above the basic fairing. I seem to remember a three-view of that version in an old issue of Aviation Week.
Looks like NASA is thinking of putting F-16XL #1, the single-seater, back in the air to support sonic boom research. Fingers crossed...

Does anyone know how fast the GE version of the XL supercruised, or is that still classified?
To me, this is one of the biggest "what could have been" projects ever.
Wing modifications that F-16XL went through the test period


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Jeb said:
To me, this is one of the biggest "what could have been" projects ever.

Well, according to folk I work with who were there at the time, it did have its problems. Apparently the cg was such that ground handling, and stability, was a right handful for the pilot.
According to the reports the laminar boundary layer goals were not reachable, the plane did not supercruise efficiently.

But maybe a new version would have fix this problem.
From AIAA-81-1394
F-16 Variable-Geometry Inlet Design and Performance
L.G. Hunter and J.E. Hawkins
General Dynamics/Fort Worth,TX

"Advanced versions of the F-16 are being considered
to upgrade its present mission capabilities
as well as to expand its capabilities to embrace new
more demanding missions. The addition of a variable
geometry inlet (VGI) to the F-16, made possible by
the modular construction of the aircraft, has been a
designed-in capability since the start of the F-16
program. Fig. 1 illustrates the variable-geometry
inlet option being considered for advanced versions
of the F-16 currently in the prototype development
stage at General Dynamics' Fort Worth Division. Both
the variable-geometry and normal-shock inlet options
are available with the final choice dependent on the
future mission requirements of a production aircraft.
Fig. 2 illustrates the performance benefits of a
relatively simple, conformally shaped, variable-ramp
inlet design that has been developed for F-16 application.
Increased acceleration and higher speeds
to reduce intercept times, higher sustained load
factors and turn rates to outmaneuver advesary aircraft,
and greater persistence to enhance multiple
target and reattack capability at high supersonic
speeds, are chief benefits.


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Apparently F-16 VGI studies were used for these F-16XL iterations.,909.msg7213.html#msg7213
Hmmm I think Elmayerle already talked about this intake, at least on the whatif modelers forum...
It would make a lot of sense for the F-16XL in its SCAMP iteration, with the emphasis on supersonic cruise, to have such an intake to improve performance at high Mach numbers.
Archibald said:
Hmmm I think Elmayerle already talked about this intake, at least on the whatif modelers forum...

I'm rather rare visitor there, so didn't see it - moreover, I always think that it's better see it once than hear of it thousand times)))
F-16U info from Interavia

In principle, the F-16U is a return to the F-16XL, which General Dynamics demonstrated in 1983. In both cases, the goal is to increase the F-16's range by adding internal fuel and decreasing the drag of external weapons.

The F-16U has a 1.4m fuselage stretch and a 65 sq m cropped-delta wing. The plan-form, large-area leading-edge flaps and twist and camber draw on F-22 experience, but the structure (aluminium alloy ribs and spars and composite skins) is different. The wing is bigger in span and area and deeper in section than that of the XL and, together with the fuselage stretch, increases internal fuel capacity to more than 7200kg - well over twice that of the F-16C. Wing root troughs hold four AIM-120s, and underwing hard-points can carry four 970kg weapons or eight 450kg weapons in addition to a pair of AIM-9s. Sweep angles are selected to reduce radar cross-section (RCS).

Rough calculations suggest that the fully loaded F-16U has about the same fuel fraction as an F-15E with the same weapon load and a centreline fuel tank. The F-16U has lower-drag AIM-120 carriage, no LANTIRN pods and no external fuel, so Lockheed Martin claims of equal or better range should not be dismissed.

The F-16U will be about 25% heavier than the F-16C but should turn better, even with the current 129kN versions of the F110 and F100, because of the larger wing. The F-16U is also designed to be more stable at high angles of attack.

A more powerful engine, however, is very desirable to restore acceleration. In August, General Electric plans to run a 155kN F110 demonstrator with a higher-airflow blisk fan based on F120 technology, matched to the F-16's inlet, and fitted with a scaled-up version of the F414's composite-lined augmentor. Pratt & Whitney may offer its F100-PW-229 Plus.

Lockheed Martin also believes that GE's Multi-Axis Thrust Vectoring (MATV) nozzle, tested on an F-16 last year, is mature enough to be offered on the F-16U, expanding its low-speed agility and flight envelope.

As proposed to the UAE, the F-16U will have a two-seat forward fuselage. Two-seaters will be needed for training and for some operational missions, and delivering all aircraft with the same external configuration saves development costs. The cockpit will be similar to the MLU, but with an added central MFD and LCD back-up flight instruments like those of the YF-22.

If its bid is successful, Lockheed Martin plans to spread the entire cost of development over the UAE's 80-aircraft order. The company believes that the difference in both acquisition and operating cost between the F-16C and the F-15E is so large that the F-16U can compete, even with a development bill (probably in eight digits) attached to each aircraft.


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Man! I had something just like this in one of my notebooks! Here I thought I was being innovative. :'( Ah well.
NASA has reserved the designation X-54 for a low boom supersonic demonstrator.
Modification of the F-16XL either the single-seat Ship 1 or two-seat Ship 2 owned by NASA,
is identified as the most cost effective option.
Boeing's proposal would modify the single-seat F-16XL-1's nose, canopy and tail to reshape
the aircraft's shockwave signature.
This aircraft will complement the results of the F-5SBD, NASA F-15B "Quiet Spike" and the
F-15B equipped with canard foreplanes, for which NASA investigated the effects on sonic boom
signature of changing longitudinal lift distribution and nozzle area ratio.
All these studies for a fourth generation of commercial SST with low boom, to fly over land at
supersonic speeds.
I saw the two gutted airframes of the XLs in a hangar at Dryden some three years ago. The engines weren't there, IIRC, and the airframes looked very forlorn all covered in dust, with some non-structural appendages missing.
What a great looking aircraft. Too bad it was never put into production. Imagine a hi-lo mix of F16-XLs with F-23s!

Merged topics.

Flight 3 view of Falcon 21
Some great images


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vajt said:
What a great looking aircraft. Too bad it was never put into production. Imagine a hi-lo mix of F16-XLs with F-23s!


Ace Combat Zero, Wizard Squadron ::)

Anywho, wasn't there a tailless variant of the F-16XL?
Demon Lord Razgriz said:
Anywho, wasn't there a tailless variant of the F-16XL?

The tailless F-16XL is shown in one of the tailless aircraft design threads.
It seems like this planform is a huge missed opportunity. anyone hvae any info. on why it hasn't been incorporated into any new design? It seems like it would have been perfect for CALF/JAST/JSF because of the long range. Instead neither of the 3 major designs used it. How does it fare in terms of LO? From what I know the F-16XL had great performance with this wing.
It had great super-cruise performance, however, there are other factors, such as maneuvering requirements, that have to be taken into account, among many others. If you look at some of the many threads here on the CALF-MRF-JAST-JSF designs, you will see design/testing charts of various configuration looked at including the cranked arrow wing. The simple fact is, for the given requirements it just wasn't the best choice.

It's also my understanding that the F-16XL had some cg problems and also weapons release problems with the AIM-7's located under the wing roots. Of course, that doesn't mean they weren't correctable, I'm just pointing that out. However, what I thought was silly was having the F-16XL compete with the F-15E for a strike aircraft package. As if we didn't know how that would turn out. Besides, the F-16 is usually used for bombing/attack missions anyway, so I still think the USAF should have just switched over to the XL. Not to mention, it probably would have made a better interceptor for the ANG, since speed and range are more important for that mission than maneuverability.

But it didn't go into production, so now we have F-16's with CFT's to get the range, but with a more brutish aesthetic. OK, we don't have them, but other countries do. ;)
Sundog said:
It had great super-cruise performance, however, there are other factors, such as maneuvering requirements,

Where did you hear it could cruise supersonically dry and was lacking in manueverability?

See attached:


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sferrin said:
Where did you hear it could cruise supersonically dry

That's what it was designed for in the first place: F-16 SCAMP (Supersonic Cruise and Maneuver Prototype) later renamed F-16XL. The cranked delta wing was from all the work that went into supersonic commercial air travel...
Abraham Gubler said:
sferrin said:
Where did you hear it could cruise supersonically dry

That's what it was designed for in the first place: F-16 SCAMP (Supersonic Cruise and Maneuver Prototype) later renamed F-16XL. The cranked delta wing was from all the work that went into supersonic commercial air travel...

The two-seat XL supercruised with the F110 engine during it's time with NASA.

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