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Northrop 1993 ATFB Advanced Fighter-Bomber concept

flateric

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Wonder - wasn't Blackbird patented by Lockheed and Kelly/Ben?
 

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Antonio

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It is a clone! :eek:

I also thought this configuration was Lockheed patented because it has been use in several Lockheed projects such as the light fighter series in the 80's, the heavy weight early ATF proposal or the SR-71 follow on projects.

This Northrop concept is very interesting because we have discovered recetly that they were working on a ATF bomber.

My questions are:

1. Is this concept related to the same program?

2. Which is the reason to add fighter capability when USAF already has the ATF?. Or was Northrop offering a Long Range Interceptor instead?

3. Any idea about its Design Number...well in fact which are the Manufacturer Number for B-2, YF-23?
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=406&gTable=mtgpaper&gID=74895

1st page

http://pdf.aiaa.org/preview/1993/PV1993_4010.pdf


It discusses both the development of the specifications for the aircraft, including the geo-political analysis leading to the system, and the development of the. resulting design. The ATFB design reflects the recent major changes in world political conditions. Rather than confronting one very large threat, it is expected that, in the near future, threats to peace will come from widely separated locations. Instead of a defense posture based on forces stationed at widely distributed bases, the ATFB weapon system concept is based on rapid responses, to widely distributed locations...
 

elmayerle

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pometablava said:
...well in fact which are the Manufacturer Number for B-2, YF-23?

Well, I do know the number for the B-2, but I'm not sure I can share it. I'm not at all certain what's been declassified.
 

Antonio

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Well, I do know the number for the B-2, but I'm not sure I can share it. I'm not at all certain what's been declassified.

Oh, then please don't tell it. Thank for the info Evan, its enough for me. I thought the reason to explain why is so hard to find manufacturer numbers, was that people is not interested on this kind of details. In the same way only a minority of aerospace fans are interested on unbuilt projects.

Design development and associated detais (like manufacture numbers ) has to be classified to enemy intelligence in order to hide your aerospace research milestones?

How much time has to be classified an aerospace program: 20-30 years?

Thanks,

Antonio
 

Orionblamblam

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pometablava said:
How much time has to be classified an aerospace program: 20-30 years?

Effectively forever. I've had to work to get reports from 1954 declassified. They do not necessarily automatically get declassified over time.
 

Andreas Parsch

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Orionblamblam said:
I've had to work to get reports from 1954 declassified. They do not necessarily automatically get declassified over time.

My impression is that "eternal classification" is the default, i.e. unless it explicitly says on the file that it is to be declassified (or the classification level downgraded) after a certain time, nothing happens. And if something is classified fot too long, it can become effectively impossible to find someone who even could declassify it.

Early last year, I tried to have two U.S. Army guided missile reports from 1955 and 1960 declassified, but Redstone Arsenal (where the files are located) eventually told me that they can't find someone who has the authority to conduct a declassification review :mad: (techincally, the case is still pending, but I don't think it will go anywhere)! But maybe the statement is just a lame excuse to avoid the trouble of a review in the first place ;).

Andreas
 

flateric

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elmayerle said:
pometablava said:
...well in fact which are the Manufacturer Number for B-2, YF-23?

Well, I do know the number for the B-2, but I'm not sure I can share it. I'm not at all certain what's been declassified.

Internal N-14 designation for B-2 I've met in many sources, including one RAND paper, but it's not match designation lineup, moreover, other sources say that N-14 was XP-79 "Flying Ram" designation. Nevertheless, Northrop's not-so-old document from 80s-90s timeframe, Part Protection Specification No. P-6978 titled "Part Protection for N-14 Fracture and Durability Critical Parts" mentions 'N-14', so it may be true designation.
 

Sundog

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IIRC, that wasn't a Northrop design, per se'. It was more of a design by a senior design class at a college, or possibly post-grad design class. But it was actually designed by students more so than the Northrop engineers, I think. That's why it was in AIAA paper, which in and of itself leads me to believe it's a post grad project. I read another article on it somewhere, I wish I could remember where, that had more info.

Maybe the Northrop Engineer/Professor was looking for a way to get into Northrop's ADP group? ;) That design almost seems old fashioned compared to what is generated by the ADP.
 

flateric

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http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,320.0.html
 

jjnodice

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Thanks for cleaning up that graphic! Much better to look at.

After reading the AIAA paper, I had several questions.

1) There was an emphasis on RCS reductions. Is this design relatively "better" than the SR-71? The vertical tail seems like a big no,no. The canted SR-71 tails seemed better for RCS reduction.

2) Even though advertised to be an interceptor, there is no discussion of the fire control radar. Integrating the radar in the F-12 proved to be a big driver on the shape of the nose chine. Would a 1990's era radar be easier to integrate with less impact on the nose chine?

3) The deceleration and descent to 45k feet and Mach 1.5 for weapons release seems to have a high "pucker factor" just when you are likely entering an area defended with SAMs. I would rather have stayed high and fast...

4) Mach 3 supercruise? How feasible is that?

I understand this was a paper condensed from a Master's Thesis from 20 years ago, but it is still fun to critique the design. I'm a sucker for SR-71 material and seeing this "clone" got me going.
 

SOC

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Stargazer2006 said:
I've also redrawn the first picture from this topic for improved lisibility:

One nitpick: the two "windows" you've got on the left-hand fuselage side behind "US Air Force"...those are supposed to be part of the USAF star-and-bar insignia in the drawing from the AIAA report ;D

jjnodice said:
1) There was an emphasis on RCS reductions. Is this design relatively "better" than the SR-71? The vertical tail seems like a big no,no. The canted SR-71 tails seemed better for RCS reduction.

The vertical tail will only matter if it's actually illuminated. Placing it where it is helps to hide it from below when at high altitude. Now, when they drop down to 45K, you run the risk of it being a nice fat corner reflector to anyone operating at co-altitude or above. The Blackbird used twin tails in part to help compensate for the yaw effect of one engine having issues. Don't know if that might be a potential issue here.

Also, using circular inlets isn't very bright either, but they do point this out in the paper.

jjnodice said:
2) Even though advertised to be an interceptor, there is no discussion of the fire control radar. Integrating the radar in the F-12 proved to be a big driver on the shape of the nose chine. Would a 1990's era radar be easier to integrate with less impact on the nose chine?

The production F-12B would've re-added nose chines to eliminate the need for some or all of the ventral fins characteristic to the YF-12A. Currently the Su-34 (FULLBACK) uses a chined nose without problems. The F-23A would've as well.

jjnodice said:
3) The deceleration and descent to 45k feet and Mach 1.5 for weapons release seems to have a high "pucker factor" just when you are likely entering an area defended with SAMs. I would rather have stayed high and fast...

Don't know why they'd want to bother decending. The YF-12A had no issues with Mach 3+/75K+ ft. weapons release. Regardless of how accurate it was or wasn't, the MiG-25RB showed that you can carry and drop bombs from Mach 2+/65K+ ft. as well. Additionally, staying at speed and altitude gives you a much greater launch range for your weapons. Lockheed's SR-71B(x) proposal predicted a launch range for the AGM-69 somewhere around 500 miles when fired at Mach 3+ at cruising altitude.
 

Stargazer2006

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jjnodice said:
Thanks for cleaning up that graphic! Much better to look at.

You're welcome!

SOC said:
One nitpick: the two "windows" you've got on the left-hand fuselage side behind "US Air Force"...those are supposed to be part of the USAF star-and-bar insignia in the drawing from the AIAA report ;D

Thanks for noticing! I made another mistake in the shape of the cockpit.

I will rework the image tonight and repost it.
 

jjnodice

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SOC said:
The production F-12B would've re-added nose chines to eliminate the need for some or all of the ventral fins characteristic to the YF-12A. Currently the Su-34 (FULLBACK) uses a chined nose without problems. The F-23A would've as well.

Yeah, I had remembered the production F-12B would work through the chine issues. The lack of a radar just seemed to be a big thing that got omitted from design detail. It wasn't in the mass properties breakout either.

Has any one seen the full thesis?

SOC said:
Don't know why they'd want to bother decending. The YF-12A had no issues with Mach 3+/75K+ ft. weapons release. Regardless of how accurate it was or wasn't, the MiG-25RB showed that you can carry and drop bombs from Mach 2+/65K+ ft. as well. Additionally, staying at speed and altitude gives you a much greater launch range for your weapons. Lockheed's SR-71B(x) proposal predicted a launch range for the AGM-69 somewhere around 500 miles when fired at Mach 3+ at cruising altitude.

Imagine what a GPS guided munition from this platform could do? That long stand off range at launch is a survivability attribute the author should have considered.

Overall it was an interesting read. I would like to see what a 1990's Skunk Works team would have done if given similar requirements.
 

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Regarding the intake cones, would it be possible to make pyramidal cones work with this type of intake? Maybe requiring a longer inlet to 'sort out' the airflow to the engines. I'd think that a pyramid type structure could be made much stealthier than a cone. But perhaps the aero challenges are insurmountable.
 

Stargazer2006

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Here is the reworked three-view. I've tried to stick to the original as much as possible (thickness of lines, fonts, etc.). If anyone sees something else that could be improved, please let me know.
 

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famvburg

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Wouldn't it most likely have had "USAF" on the right wing as opposed to "U S AIR FORCE"?
 

Stargazer2006

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famvburg said:
Wouldn't it most likely have had "USAF" on the right wing as opposed to "U S AIR FORCE"?

Absolutely. As I said, I tried to stick to the image in the first post as much as I could. If I had done this plan my way, it would have been treated a lot differently! ;)
 
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