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Northrop Grumman "Switchblade"

KnightTemplar

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The Northrop design (U.S. patent No. 5,984,231)



I saw this in a Popular Science a while back. Was this ever built or did it only go as far at the patent phase?
 

Triton

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F/A-37 Talon design concept for the motion picture Stealth (2005) by Aldo Spadoni and Peter Barnett. I understand that both Spadoni and Barnett were with Northrop Grumman at the time, confirming that Northrop Grumman had a hand in the design.


This is pre-production artwork I created for the movie “Stealth,” which was released in 2005. This is the F/A-37 Talon manned strike aircraft I designed for the film along with my partner Peter Barnett. After the film was greenlighted, the Sony art department took our concepts and “hollywoodized” them into the final design you see in the film. Digital illustration.

Source:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203302375028155&set=pb.1473537618.-2207520000.1433181176.&type=3&theater
 

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sferrin

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Triton said:
F/A-37 Talon design concept for the motion picture Stealth (2005) by Aldo Spadoni and Peter Barnett. I understand that both Spadoni and Barnett were with Northrop Grumman at the time, confirming that Northrop Grumman had a hand in the design.

I've posted in other places (maybe here too, haven't looked) there was an article in Computer Graphics World from that time and Northrop Grumman was indeed involved in the design of both the Switchblade and the Drone for the movie. They designed the shapes and then Sony put on all the graphical goodies.

"Hynek believes the studio raised the visual effects bar in five areas: allowing for an unself-conscious, freely moving camera, mimicking the aerodynamics of real flight, and creating CG clouds, CG terrain, and CG fire.

To help Cohen sell the idea for the film to Sony, Digital Domain created a 40-second sample shot. Engineers from Northrop Grumman helped design a plane for the test, then worked on aircraft for the movie.

“There were two planes: the Talon, which the hotshot pilots fly, and EDI, the invader,” says Hynek. “The engineers helped us flesh out concepts like where to put the weapons, and then production designer Michael Riva gave them a sexy Hollywood look.”

Once the project was green-lit, the studio modified X-plane, a PC-based flight simulator, to help design camera moves. “We had two monitors, two joysticks, one flying airplane, and one flying camera plane,” says Hynek. “It was good for quickly working out different types of shots, but we ended up doing previz in Maya in a traditional keyframe manner.” "


http://www.cgw.com/Publications/CGW/2005/Volume-28-Issue-9-September-2005-/High-Flying-FX.aspx
 

TomS

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It was probably a useful and enjoyable exercise for the engineers -- similar to the blue-sky designs that pop up from time to time from various companies (Lockheed's CHARC boat for example). Lots of companies do these projects to give the engineers a chance to do something more creative than their regular jobs, and thus retain the top talent. However, I suspect that if the designs in Stealth had been based on actual black programs, Northrop Grumman would not have allowed those shapes to be used.
 

Triton

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It's interesting to compare the Spadoni and Barnett concept design to the final production design by Michael Riva. In my opinion, Hollywood throws physics and engineering out the window when they design fiction vehicles for motion pictures. I find the Spadoni and Barnett a lot more credible.
 

quellish

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"Switchblade" was also in "I Spy"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ePVWDcEWo0
 

Triton

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Perhaps the Moderators will object to my posting this concept artwork for a motion picture in the "Northrop Grumman 'Switchblade'" topic, but you can really see the Northrop Grumman DNA in the design.
 

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I was surfing the web today and found this picture on Erik Simonsen facebook,it has alot of very cool images.
 

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Stargazer2006

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pedrospe said:
I was surfing the web today and found this picture on Erik Simonsen facebook,it has alot of very cool images.

Yeah, Erik is very good!! :)
 

fightingirish

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Some of his illustrations are great, but his latest illustrations of a future bomber and fighter,shown on page 20 in the Air Force Magazine, January 2015 , were not so good. :-\
 

pedrospe

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It is a pity that we don't see more often the work of these great artists,like Erik Simonsen,or Aldo Spadoni and many others,but occasionally it is possible to find some off their great drawings on the internet...


regards


Pedro
 

GeorgeA

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XP67_Moonbat said:
I haven't seen it yet. It can't be that bad?

Well the quality of the artwork was not up to his usual standard, which makes me wonder if ES was rushed by the AFM staff to get something finished and submitted. Or possibly, the image processing at the publisher was for crap.

As for content, the sixth-gen was a head-on depiction of the Boeing tailless design in a three-ship formation, and the LRS was an ortho view of an A-12ish (Avenger II) planform with topside inlets. Nothing we haven't seen before.
 

fightingirish

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fightingirish said:
Some of his illustrations are great, but his latest illustrations of a future bomber and fighter,shown on page 20 in the Air Force Magazine, January 2015 , were not so good. :-\
I give Erik Simonsen the benefit of the doubt, that these two illustrations were maybe done quick for the Air Force Magazine or are even early/older ones.
 

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pedrospe

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Cool pictures,thanks for posting,but the fighter concept,looks like a tailless F-35,never the less i like it a lot.


best regards


Pedro
 

DrRansom

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I have a question about the Switchblade concept:

Why was it done, as opposed to regular variable geometry, and did it offer anything useful?
 

Sundog

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DrRansom said:
I have a question about the Switchblade concept:

Why was it done, as opposed to regular variable geometry, and did it offer anything useful?


The main advantage I see would be structural. it would put the main wing pivot box near one of the engine mounting stations which would save weight. Also, from a controls scheme, it keeps the controls for slow flight and high speed flight near the pivot, unlike the older vg designs of which some had a control surface out at the wingtip for when the wings were swept. Also, I'm wondering if they "locked" the wing tip in position with the canard. If so, the canard would act as another load path for the wing in the retracted position. This would greatly reduce the weight that much more. The wing also integrates with the airframe without having to put structural breaks in the airframe like the F-111 or use air bladders on the top like the F-14.


So to sum it up, it seems the "switchblade" type of vg wing is easier to integrate with the airframe and may offer a substantial weight savings over a standard VG wing.


Also, just by looking at it, as I haven't done any calcs, it seems the wing in the retracted position moves the aerodynamic center forward to counter act the rearward shift in ac when going supersonic. So it may also offer less trim drag at supersonic speeds than a classic vg wing.
 

DrRansom

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Sundog - thanks for the response.

From what you're saying, the Switchblade orientation fixes many of the structural problems with the swingwing concept.

I also thought that the design seemed to assume a better delta shape for high Mach flight, compared to a standard swing wing concept. It would be something if a design like this is resurrected for a F - X program, especially if USAF moves towards higher speeds to offset ADN advances.
 

steelpillow

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Forward sweep has an inherent advantage in that wingtip losses are avoided, so the wing can be smaller and lighter.

For a variable-sweep design it has another advantage. As a plane speeds up its centre of lift moves back. Swinging the wing back makes that balance problem worse, but swinging the wing forward counteracts it.

These are both known issues. Of course, forward sweep has equally well-known disadvantages.

Any other suggested advantages, such as relation to the engine mountings, are dependent on the individual design and highly speculative. One might perhaps add to these speculations the way in which the Switchblade wing when fully forward mimics the chines of the Lockheed Blackbirds, however on those types the chines acted in conjunction with the main wing whereas here they are the main wing, so comparisons must be made with care.
 

riggerrob

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Even more amusing would be if Northrop-Grumman "leaked" some of their failed concepts. If a concept failed in the simulator or wind tunnel, "leaked" concepts would side-track forgers for many years.
For example, when I worked at Rigging Innovations (sport parachute harnesses and containers) the boss insisted that I chop up any parts before tossing them in the garbage. He was afraid that a competitor might find our proprietory patterns in the trash and copy them. Since most of the prototype parts - that I trashed - were flawed, I suggested tossing them intact to distract and confuse competitors.
Hah!
Hah!
 

steelpillow

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Oh, woops! This thread has the wrong title! The Northrop Grumman Switchblade was in fact a project for an oblique flying wing. The Northrop patent on which this discussion is based does not mention "Switchblade" at all. I fear that the Internet has in its ignorant way got its wires badly crossed. Nor can I find any other genuine source material on Northrop's patented design, maybe someone else can?
 

Richard N

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"Switchblade" probably works better in a presentation than "5,984,231".
 

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