Northrop P700 / N310 / N/D-102 tailless fighter

overscan (PaulMM)

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27 December 2005
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Here are some pics of the Northrop/Dornier ND102


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More on ND-102 - snapshots from Northrop documentary


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extra snapshots


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Another ND-102 picture


Roy Braybrook, Supersonic Fighter Development, Foulis 1987


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Early (1981) configuration of ND-102

Henry Matthews, Prelude to Eurofighter: EAP, X Planes Profile 1, HPM 2000


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Moved to new topic.

According to Henry Matthews in "Prelude to Eurofighter" it was initiated in 1978, when Dornier & Northrop began collaboration and tested a series of tailed and tailless fighter aircraft designs incorporating state of the art aerodynamics, avionics & propulsion systems. The design was finalised in mid 1982. A total of $20 million was invested, and ND102 was shown at Paris Air Show 1983. It was cancelled in 1984.

Uniquely it was decided to use non-afterburning low bypass ratio turbofan engines. Matthews gives a thrust of 16,000lb per engine, with gross weight 25,000lb.

Bill Gunston (Warplanes of the Future) says it used 2 x PW1120s of 13,550lb thrust, and gives rough sizes (length 50ft, span 29ft). Maximum speed was Mach 2 despite the lack of afterburners.
Two questions.

1. Where exactly does the ND-102 fit in with the Eurofighter project?

2. The D intake designs (although they are droopy D intakes, I assume for Mach +2), LERX, and the twin horizontal stabilizers of the early 1981 configuration are very reminiscent of the YF-17 design. Was the ND-102 related to, or a development of, Northrop’s YF-17 cobra design?
Paris 1983

$20 million investment from Northrop & Dornier
1200 hours of windtunnel tests, 34 configurations.
Eliminated canard and tail byuse of thrust vectoring.
Engine thrust: 7265kg - but 6 years of development for powerplant.

Source: Defence & Armament July/August 1983


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Yildirim, to answer your questions;

ND102 was studied by Dornier and Northrop to possibly meet German TKF-90 requirement.

ND102 derived from earlier Northrop work on the YF-17. In some ways it is a bridge from YF-17 to YF-23...
As far as I can find out, the plan was to use new engines derived from the PW1120 but with enhanced thrust - presumably using technology from higher thrust F100 variants. This would confer Mach 2 class speed without afterburners.
If anyone can locate a brochure or even a proper 3 view of this project, I'm willing to pay money for it...
I've always loved the ND-102 design since I first saw it in Bill Gunston's "Warplanes of the Future", and hope one day to unearth a brochure or other information on it. Its one of the few things left on my wishlist from before I started this site actually. I always thought it was a far more interesting approach to TKF-90 than the Eurofighter.

ND-102 3-view, from "Dornier Post" 2/1985.

Best regards,



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overscan said:
Any more info in that Dornier Post issue?
No, unfortunately not. The corresponding article deals with
experiments to understand / resolve issues of in-flight thrust
reversing, but has no info on the ND-102 other than the picture
I posted.


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Superficially, it looks like a F-18 light.

But it appears as if it had super cruise and thrust vectoring maneuverability. It would possibly have been a very fine fighter.
Dornier and Northrop are continuing to work on the ND-102 project as a fall-back position, because, as the vice-president and chief designer of Northrop said: "We think there is enough chance [that the EFA program will fail] that we want to continue to be prepared for the opportunity if it comes." Aviation Week and Space Technology, the leading American magazine, says: "U.S. government officials contemplating the difficulties are convinced the entire program will never get off the ground. The skeptics at this point have a reasonable bet."
Reading the back pages of American Secret Projects I found reference to the Northrop N-310, a twin engine trapezoidal delta wing fighter with single vertical fin and twin 2D nozzles of the early/mid 1970s, also known as P-700, which developed into the N/D-102 (which was possibly designated N-347).

A Realtime Aircraft System Demonstration

(AIAA Article 1989-2701)

A new FADEC system was developed under INTERFACE II program on the basis of the Northrop P-700 aerodynamic data, PW1120 engine and the SCF nozzle.


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I found another proposal with a drawing entitled "Typical Structural Arrangement Drawing". The Title block designates it as the P700 but all dimensions are metric so it has to be the ND-102. Someone took Walt Fellers' lines and put them into a computer so we finally have a decent ND-102 drawing. I have sent Overscan the rest of the drawing in HiRes so perhaps he can stitch it together for us.


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This is the P-700 drawing parts BillRo sent me stitched together.


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1983 artwork of the Northrop P-700, which was the ND-102, from BillRo.


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Prompted by an email conversation I found this on Google Book Search:

1984 - Interavia
Dornier continues to refine the design of its own ND-102 light fighter, which would now have "mini-burners" rather than un-reheated engines.

Mini-burners presumably being lightweight partial afterburners.
Northrop in-house display model of the ND102, in U.S. Navy colors.


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Wow, thanks for sharing that image. The last paint scheme I expected to see on it was a U.S. Navy paint scheme. It looks good.
Interesting - looks like a Northrop model shop effort but the stand is strange.
BillRo said:
Interesting - looks like a Northrop model shop effort but the stand is strange.

Strange in what way?


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This is a little off topic, but the model stands I would have expected to see out of the Northrop Hawthorne model shop run by Dick G. in the '76-'86 time period looked like the pix below. The stand would fit into the axi-symmetric nozzles and allow the model to be rotated and display the underside if necessary. I am sure F-23 and B-2 would have required more conventional stands due to complex engine exhaust configurations.

They would only do one or two offs for show and tell and large (non-proprietary) runs for employee distributions, retirement gifts or standard VIP visitors were farmed out usually to Toys and Models Corp of Bergenfield, NJ and made in the Philippines. These have characteristic stands that mount the models on two pins


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I like that rotating stand design. I think I'm going to have to make some like that for my models. Thanks for the info.
Actually, BillRo, the stand in question is indeed from the Northrop Display Model Shop. We did use that style of base when I got there in 1984, especially and nearly exclusively for the 1/60th and 1/72nd scale YF-17s, early F/A-18s and F-5s. We were also using the black injected plastic bases for 1/40th scale F/A-18s, F-5s, T-38s and especially F-20s. In the late '80s and early 90s we went to a triangle wood base with curved upright similar to what Toys & Models went to (we think they copied us, btw, but who knows). We also did a broad wood base with straight back and sides and pointed front for the 1/72nd and 1/100th scale B-2s.

As far as farming out work, the 1/60th scale solid plastic models were produced outside and sent to the shop as blanks. We added some small details and then prepped, painted and finished the models. 1/40th scale T-38s and F-5As and Bs were also done outside, originally by Topping, as injected plastic half shells, but eventually Dick Guiselman got the molds back and we had the blanks done by other vendors. We then assembled the two fuselage halves, added various small parts, then prepped, painted and finished the models.

1/40th scale F-5Es and Fs were done in-house as primarily resin-cast fuselages with injected styrene wings and tails surfaces.

1/40th scale F-20s were injected plastic shell vendor blanks similar to the T-38s and F-5As and Bs.

1/200th scale B-2s were vendor finished solid models.

The mid-to-late 1990s saw us try different base styles. By the early 2000s we settled on a pentagon-shaped base for most of our in-house work, with a few odd-ball styles thrown in (including some vendor-made bases) due to time pressures, availability and/or compatibility with existing models in a particular display.

That time frame also saw a sharp decline in models solely produced in-house. We built the master models, but basically nearly all 1/72nd scale YF-23s and 1/48th scale F/A-18s were or are done outside. We now have the YF-23 mold in-house, so those are now internal models, but the demand is so small as the vendor models are so prolific on eBay. We used to finish the PacMin F/A-18C/D/E/F blanks, but now we've gone to getting finished E/F models and just re-painting the canopies with our sky/cloud signature style. Nearly all F-35s are from Toys & Models. We don't even bother with re-painting canopies on them. 1/72nd scale Global Hawks, 1/48th UCAS and 1/24th scale Fire Scout models are nearly all finished vendor models, too, although we do have the capability to do in-house as well. However, no one wants to pay the cost of in-house anymore, except for internal studies, one-offs or special trade-show models.

Oh, well. Change is eternal and Time marches on.

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