Northrop Grumman Low Cost Fighter (?)

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I should start by saying that I only got mention from a thread that used a rather unreliable member as a source, so there's a chance this doesn't actually exist, but I saw pictures of a Northrop Grumman "Low Cost Fighter", which appeared to be very small stealth fighter that clearly gained influence from the F-23. It doesn't help that it doesn't appear to have S-ducts either, which would be rather unlikely for a stealth aircraft. And, of course, I have no idea where to find the topic it was posted.

I guess I should start, then, with "Was the Low Cost Fighter actually a thing, or was it made up?" Then I guess I could move onto actual details regarding it...

Somewhat unrelated, but I do recall hearing at one point that the F-35 was supposed to be a "low cost fighter" too...before, of course, it became the F-35.
 

Colonial-Marine

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If you want all of the goodies like AESA radar, IRST and decent ESM I don't think you're going to ever get a "low cost" fighter. Even the latest F-16 and JAS-39 variants are above $60 million a piece.
 

overscan

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Northrop ALF / MRF in https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1748




Its fairly clear it does have an s-duct - there's some complex shaping in the intake duct. It's a real Post-ATF, pre F-35 study.

Page 251 of Flying Wings and Radical Things by Tony Chong has some nice drawings of MRF studies including this one and a twin engined "baby YF-23"
 

GWrecks

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PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Page 251 of Flying Wings and Radical Things by Tony Chong has some nice drawings of MRF studies including this one and a twin engined "baby YF-23"
I desperately need to get that book. I love Northrop's stuff.
 

Colonial-Marine

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Interesting similarities between those Boeing and Northrop designs. I suppose they both might have their origins in the F-23 design considering Boeing's merger with McDonnell Douglas.

Did the USAF get to a point where they defined which specifications they wanted MRF to meet?

I recall a notable test pilot's book referenced a "YF-24" among the list of aircraft he had flown and many speculated it could be related to that Boeing "Model 24". I've no idea how likely that is though. Why would they keep it classified?
 

Sundog

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Colonial-Marine said:
I recall a notable test pilot's book referenced a "YF-24" among the list of aircraft he had flown and many speculated it could be related to that Boeing "Model 24". I've no idea how likely that is though. Why would they keep it classified?
Because if such an aircraft has flown it probably incorporates some technology that they don't want made public. If you show me what my enemies are up to, I can plan a response. If I know my enemies are up to something, but I don't know precisely what it is, it is much more difficult to formulate a specific response to the threat. The element of surprise in combat is still one of the greatest assets one may possess.
 

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Sundog said:
Because if such an aircraft has flown it probably incorporates some technology that they don't want made public. If you show me what my enemies are up to, I can plan a response. If I know my enemies are up to something, but I don't know precisely what it is, it is much more difficult to formulate a specific response to the threat. The element of surprise in combat is still one of the greatest assets one may possess.
I suppose that's a valid possibility. But what sort of technology could be incorporated into such a light fighter that isn't incorporated into the more advanced F-35?
 

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Colonial-Marine said:
I suppose that's a valid possibility. But what sort of technology could be incorporated into such a light fighter that isn't incorporated into the more advanced F-35?
Tailless, supersonic flight controls. Variable camber wing with a continuously smooth wing. Just to name two. If there was a YF-24, it was designed to a specific set of requirements. Those requirements may have been quite different than the requirements of the F-35. The mission requirements drive the design.
 

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Sundog said:
Tailless, supersonic flight controls. Variable camber wing with a continuously smooth wing. Just to name two. If there was a YF-24, it was designed to a specific set of requirements. Those requirements may have been quite different than the requirements of the F-35. The mission requirements drive the design.
I see, I am making the mistake of assuming that YF-24 is the Model 24 as shown there when it could be something different.
 

overscan

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Colonial-Marine said:
If you want all of the goodies like AESA radar, IRST and decent ESM I don't think you're going to ever get a "low cost" fighter. Even the latest F-16 and JAS-39 variants are above $60 million a piece.
JAS-39 made in F-35 quantities would presumably be cheaper though. The whole point of F-35 was that huge production scale would allow cheap complexity.
 

taildragger

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I'd guess that the day of the light-weight manned fighter may be over. From the earliest examples, light weight fighters have been compromises that attempted to buck the trend of ever-increasing size, weight and cost by accepting limitations in some areas (speed, range, mission equipment) to achieve other gains (generally agility and value). Since no manned aircraft can compete with a comparable UAV on agility or cost, it seems to me they will dominate the lightweight end of the fighter spectrum and that future manned fighters will be more F-15 than F-16.
 

TSARb

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https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1748.msg110973.html#msg110973
 
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