Rockwell NR-356 Sea Control Ship (SCS) V/STOL fighter (XFV-12A)

Mike OTDP

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Well, the big problem is that you also need to fly AEW, ASW, and cargo aircraft. The mini-carriers are restricted to V/STOL aircraft.

The U.S. Navy commissioned several design studies for V/STOL AEW/ASW aircraft in the late 1970s. None were terribly appealing.
 

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Mike OTDP said:
Well, the big problem is that you also need to fly AEW, ASW, and cargo aircraft. The mini-carriers are restricted to V/STOL aircraft.

The U.S. Navy commissioned several design studies for V/STOL AEW/ASW aircraft in the late 1970s. None were terribly appealing.

The eight Sea Control Ships (SCS) were originally intended to operate the Sea Harrier, or a variant thereof, and ASW helicopters. Their mission was to provide escort for Atlantic merchant convoys on their way to England from Soviet submarines and attacks by anti-ship missile equipped aircraft such as long range bombers. To save money, they were originally intended to be built to merchant ship standards as opposed to military standards. They were intended to supplement the existing CVN carrier battle groups and free these ships from merchant shipping escort duty. The aircraft component of these ships was never intended to duel with front-line Soviet fighters.

The concept was rejected by Congress because the ships couldn't do much more than escort and they became larger and more capable. Evolving from the SCS to the V/STOL Support Ship (VSS). Over time, the aircraft intended to operate on these V/STOL carriers became more and more capable. The VSS concept would then grow again into the CVV, a conventional-powered through-deck aviation cruiser that was being sold as a less-expensive and capable alternative to the nuclear-powered CVNs. When this happened, the CVV got in the cross hairs of the nuclear-powered CVN lobby who killed the concept because it was a threat to the building of more Nimitz-class carriers. The V/STOL aircraft required to operate on the smaller flight decks turned out to be more complicated and expensive to develop than the existing aircraft types already operating on the CVNs.
 

flateric

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Tethered-Hover Test of the XFV-12A
In early 1978, a team of NASA, Navy, and North American
Rockwell personnel performed tethered-hover tests of
the full-scale XFV-12A at the IDRF. A photograph of the
XFV-12A during a tethered hover test is shown in Figure
7. Some fairly extensive modifications were made to the
IDRF to allow tethered-hover tests for powered vertical
take-off and landing aircraft. During six months of testing of
the XFV-12A, major deficiencies were apparent in hovering
flight, including marginal thrust augmentation and relatively
poor handling qualities. The findings from this test program
helped influence the Navy's decision to cancel the XFV-12A
program [9].

A History of Full-Scale Aircraft and Rotorcraft Crash Testing and Simulation
at NASA Langley Research Center
http://hdl.handle.net/2060/20040191337
 

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sferrin

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One can't help but wonder how things might have turned out had they selected the Convair 200 to pursue instead of the XFV-12.
 

Archibald

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sferrin said:
One can't help but wonder how things might have turned out had they selected the Convair 200 to pursue instead of the XFV-12.
Well, the Yak 36 and 41 worked - the type 200 certainly looks like workable, at least more than the XVF-12.
http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i24/Archibaldlecter/General%20Dynamics%20200/103_3131.jpg
 

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Were there any solutions proposed for the XFV-12A or did the engineers involved conclude they had hit a dead end?

Was the engined used in testing an actual P&W F401? I had thought only the original F-14B tested that.
 

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Artist's impression in colour, from 'Warplanes of the future' by Bill Gunston, page 116+117.
 

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The Coanda Project

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All,

This is a great thread. I'd like to add something to it that you all may be interested in:

http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oce/appel/ask-academy/issues/volume4/ata_4-8_maciej_zborowski.html

The Coanda Project is coming along and now has trades students working on the restoration team. As this is the most extensive forum regarding the XFV12A that I have come across, I will post updates here.
 

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A worthy project - it might not have succeeded but its an interesting bit of aviation heritage.
 

sferrin

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overscan said:
A worthy project - it might not have succeeded but its an interesting bit of aviation heritage.
For years as a kid it's image stuck in my head as the wave of the future.
 

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hesham

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hesham said:
Hi,

in old magazine,I remember that I saw an artist drawing to a project
developed from XFV-12,but with inverted wing position,the canard
wing was high and the rear one was low.

Can anybody find this drawing?,I remember that,it from my papers,
but where ?.
 

flateric

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http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oce/appel/ask-academy/issues/volume4/ata_4-8_maciej_zborowski.html


October 28, 2011 — Vol. 4, Issue 8
ASK Magazine
Young Professional Brief

Maciej “Mac” Zborowski is restoring the fuselage of a XFV-12A plane found in the middle of a vacant field so he can share its story with the public.


Mac Zborowski, 33, is an industrial design contractor at Glenn Research Center, who has worked on various projects since 2003. He moved to Ohio in 1986 from Warsaw, Poland. His background in industrial design and engineering has afforded him the opportunity to do everything from working on planes, developing fuel-cell powered cars, to working as a photographer in Chicago. Currently he is working at Glenn’s Power Systems Facility on a power beaming project. In his spare time, he has been dusting off a bit of history and share the story.

ASK The Academy: You’ve been volunteering your time with a cadre of others on a restoration project with the fuselage of a XFV-12A. What is it and how did you get started on it?

Maciej Zborowski: The XFV-12A is an aircraft that was developed here in Ohio by Rockwell International to take off vertically and fly at supersonic speeds. It was developed off a U.S. Navy contract in the '70s and early '80s. It was cancelled in '81 and somehow, part of the fuselage—the cockpit—was found by a friend of mine in the middle of a field at Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, which is part of NASA Glenn Research Center. My buddy was working out there and he sent me a text message with a picture of this mysterious thing. Within two days we figured out that there was only one of these in the world and we have it. The director out at Plum Brook Station, General David L. Stringer, signed it over from scrap status into artifact status. So we got our Indiana Jones whips and hats, and we've been restoring it so we can show off Ohio’s cool aviation research history.

Even though the XFV-12A was not a successful program, it shows you that just because you fail does not mean that you're failing at research. If you want to paraphrase Edison, it's not that you've failed 2000 times at making a light bulb, but you were successful at finding out that there's 2,000 ways of how not to make a light bulb, and just one to make one work!

It's a pretty neat little artifact to have in your portfolio, whether it's Ohio or the United States or NASA. The restoration is a great project. Sometimes research can be very nebulous to nontechnical people. It's one way of introducing someone to what research is and how it works.

ATA: Where is the plane fuselage now?


Zborowski: Right now it is in the old carpenter shop, basically in a small shack out in the middle of a field at Plum Brook Station. We've been ripping stuff out of it and making it kid friendly—removing sharp objects and sprucing it up. I’ve been taking a scrub brush to it and cleaning it. As soon as it gets painted, it will be sent to a museum or to other facility as an interactive exhibit. We're all doing this on a volunteer basis. To kids and people with some imagination, it's going to be the best thing they’ve ever sat in.

ATA: Your portfolio of experience is broad. As a practiced problem solver, how do you typically approach a new challenge or experience?

Zborowski: With a sketchbook! One of my favorite things to do is draw. When you get down to it, drawing to me is imaging the problem. Imaging the solution is fine, but remembering that solution or putting that solution into some kind of coordinate system, whether it is on a piece of paper or on a computer, that is where the magic happens. So I start out with a sketchbook, pencil, paper and lots of tea or coffee. When I have a new challenge given to me, I try to learn from it as much as possible to gain as much knowledge and experiences as I can.

Throughout the process of working on the XFV-12A I’ve learned a lot about different types of paints and surface treatments, and how different metals age. I’ve also learned that you shouldn’t put your face next to a hydraulic hose that potentially has hydraulic fluid still in it from thirty years ago!

I've also talked to some of the guys who were involved with the testing of the plane at Langley Research Center. Some of the modeling and dynamics research was done here at Glenn, and then they shipped the XFV-12A off to Langley to test it on a big A-frame to see if it would hover. They also studied the dynamics of the Coandă effect.

ATA: What is the Coandă effect?

Zborowski: Pretend that you are in a car and you stick your hand out the window with all of your fingers pointing towards the front of the car, like an airplane kind of waving your hand up and down out the window. Just like an airplane wing, but with your fingertips pointing towards the front of the car. The air rushing over the top of your hand naturally creates a low-pressure area above. If you start pointing your fingertips up, so that they're perpendicular to the road, there are eddies that come off your fingertips, and basically your hand stalls. It's the same thing that happens to an airplane if it stalls.

In the Coandă effect, the air going over the top of your hand would stick to your hand, essentially pulling it upwards. So no matter what angle you position your hand, it would not stall.

This was what made the XFV-12A special. It used moveable flaps in the wings and canard, to direct engine exhaust though the flaps and thereby causing the surrounding air to be directed in a different direction, all the while not separating or stalling from the surface of the flap. This thing looks like something from Battlestar Galactica. It does not look like a regular airplane you’ve seen. There's no vertical surface. It's a pretty weird looking airplane, especially for the 1970's. Fast-forward to today, the F-35 Lighting II is an airplane being developed by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marines, and the U.S. Navy. One of the F-35 models will take off vertically and also be supersonic. Imagine the fact that they were trying to do this in the '70s. They were barking up the right tree, they just didn't know of the ducting losses and airflow issues they would encounter. We're just getting around to solving that problem.

ATA: Why is it important to restore something like the XFV-12A?


Zborowski: I think that it’s a prerequisite for working at NASA. Not only are we the best of the best, but we should take every opportunity that’s sensible for us to interact with the public. If there’s an opportunity that presents itself, we should be cognizant of that, run with it, and see where it goes.

When I found out about this fuselage being out in the middle of a field, waiting to be scrapped, and finding out that it’s a prototype that is basically the definition of research, that’s when a couple of us grabbed it by the horns and decided to go do something with it.

I will admit that it’s been hard work. Plum Brook Station is about an hour away from Glenn. During the summer it was like an oven in the shop and certain parts are hard to come by. It’s been tough work, but I think the end goal is pretty well worth it.

Image courtesy of Maciej Zborowski
 

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The Coanda Project

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Update:

The Coanda Project Student Kickoff took place this past Thursday with 38 students and instructors from EHOVE (Erie Huron Ottawa Vocational Education) in Milan, Ohio, USA.

We have also located cockpit hardware and instruments which is a big plus.

I will update with links in the coming days.
 

James

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It would have been one hell of a machine.
 

Stargazer2006

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This topic has been moved from the "Postwar Aircraft Projects" to the "Aerospace" section since the project reached the prototype stage. And although the aircraft was never flown, it was extensively tested and did take off in tethered mode.

Other SCS-related topics:
  • VFA: V/STOL Fighters for Sea Control Ships (XFV-12 rivals) here. (topic devoted to the whole program, not specific designs)
  • Convair (G.D.) Models 200, 201 and 218 Sea Control Ship (SCS) fighters here.
  • Grumman G-607 Sea Control Ship (SCS) fighter here.
  • Vought (LTV) V-517 and V-520 Sea Control Ship (SCS) fighters here.
  • Fairchild-Republic FR-150 Sea Control Ship (SCS) fighter here.
  • Boeing Model 908-535 Sea Control Ship (SCS) fighter here and here.
  • Bell « Seakat » Sea Control Ship (SCS) sensor carrier proposal here.
  • Sea Control Ship (SCS) and VSTOL Support Ship (VSS) here.
Also see the Advanced Harrier Projects topic here for the Hawker Siddeley/McDonnell Douglas AV-16 contender.

Please post your future contributions regarding the VFA / Sea Control Ship programs in the appropriate topic. Thanks!
 

Rafael

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hesham said:
hesham said:
Hi,

in old magazine,I remember that I saw an artist drawing to a project
developed from XFV-12,but with inverted wing position,the canard
wing was high and the rear one was low.

Can anybody find this drawing?,I remember that,it from my papers,
but where ?.
I believe is this one:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,6564.msg151897.html#msg151897

Rafa
 

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mz said:
Though, if it's a scaling issue, couldn't it be tested with a large rig in a wind tunnel? Why build a whole aircraft?
I can imagine that full-scale wind-tunnel testing of something like this would be difficult and of limited value:
- the fundamental question of whether the principle worked when scaled up could be answered in still air - no need for a wind tunnel. If it worked in still air, it was likely to work in transition.
- the walls of any reasonably-sized wind tunnel would affect the airflow around the full-size rig in the VTOL & transition modes, reducing the results' value
- I'd imagine that operating a full-scale jet-lift rig inside a wind tunnel would threaten the structural integrity of the wind tunnel in unpredictable ways.
Also, remember that the aircraft as built wasn't much more than a test rig. The only major sections designed from scratch were the wing, canard and aft fuselage (ie - the lift system). The center and forward fuselage as well as landing gear were salvaged from other aircraft.
 

Stargazer2006

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taildragger said:
The center and aft fuselage as well as landing gear were salvaged from other aircraft.
Really?!? I didn't know that! And what aircraft types would that be?
 

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*Forward* fuselage and landing gear of an A-4 Skyhawk, also the wing box, air intakes, and fuel tanks of an F-4 Phantom II.


Another source:

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1979/1979%20-%200177.html

When the programme got under way in 1973, Rockwell designers decided to use the existing A-4 cockpit and landing gear and modified F-4 wing spars and intakes. New propulsion controls were designed, the engine was borrowed from the F-14 Tomcat programme
 

Stargazer2006

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A small picture, but not seen before in this topic (a slightly different angle appeared in the first page but in black and white only):
 

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Graham1973

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From Pages 174 & 175 of the 1974 editon of "The Observers Book of Aircraft"
 

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Stargazer2006

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Keep' em comin', Mark. This is beautiful!
 

Jemiba

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The first time, I see a FV-12 with arrestor hook and catapult gear ! What's that in aid of ?
To allow for take-off with extreme loads and to bring it back onto the deck again ? As an
emergency measure ?
For a VSTOL/STOVL design it still seems to be a waste of weight.
Nevertheless, many thanks for posting !
 

Triton

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Jemiba said:
The first time, I see a FV-12 with arrestor hook and catapult gear ! What's that in aid of ?
To allow for take-off with extreme loads and to bring it back onto the deck again ? As an
emergency measure ?
For a VSTOL/STOVL design it still seems to be a waste of weight.
Nevertheless, many thanks for posting !
Could it have been a CTOL variant of the FV-12A design? We have seen a CTOL variant of the Convair 200 VSTOL in the Convair 201.
 

Sundog

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Jemiba said:
The first time, I see a FV-12 with arrestor hook and catapult gear ! What's that in aid of ?
To allow for take-off with extreme loads and to bring it back onto the deck again ? As an
emergency measure ?
For a VSTOL/STOVL design it still seems to be a waste of weight.
Nevertheless, many thanks for posting !
It looks like it is still using a "STOL" aspect of the VTOL system, so my guess is they are showing it recovering with more weight than it would be able to in pure VTOL mode.
 

Jemiba

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The most heavily armed FV-12 variant I've seen, was the (twin engined) one shown
by circle 5 (#59, 60). This one here looks more or less unarmed, but of course, maybe
it's landing with full tanks. ;) Don't think, that this picture should be taken that seriously,
apart from the fact, that the FV-12A was intended to be CTOL capable. And exactly that's
something, I still don't understand. Cross deck operations between conventional and VSTOL-
carriers ?
 

The Artist

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Or was that picture done to give the Aviators a reason to get excited about the plane? See, it will land on a carrier.
 

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Jemiba said:
The most heavily armed FV-12 variant I've seen, was the (twin engined) one shown
by circle 5 (#59, 60). This one here looks more or less unarmed, but of course, maybe
it's landing with full tanks. ;) Don't think, that this picture should be taken that seriously,
apart from the fact, that the FV-12A was intended to be CTOL capable. And exactly that's
something, I still don't understand. Cross deck operations between conventional and VSTOL-
carriers ?
Apart from cross-decking, long range ferrying would have likely been a consideration.
 

Mark Nankivil

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Good Day!

A few photos of the mock up under construction for your viewing pleasure...

Photos courtesy of the Gerald Balzer Collection.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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Mark Nankivil

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...and a few more plus some odds and ends. The A-4 cockpit was used for the mock up and the flight article as were F-4 Phantom II intakes. You can see the "organ donors" in the background of a few of the images.

I'll post more later after some more scanning.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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Thank you Mark -- good photos!
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
Other SCS-related topics:
  • VFA: V/STOL Fighters for Sea Control Ships (XFV-12 rivals) here. (topic devoted to the whole program, not specific designs)
  • Convair (G.D.) Models 200, 201 and 218 Sea Control Ship (SCS) fighters here.
  • Grumman G-607 Sea Control Ship (SCS) fighter here.
  • Vought (LTV) V-517 and V-520 Sea Control Ship (SCS) fighters here.
  • Fairchild-Republic FR-150 Sea Control Ship (SCS) fighter here.
  • Boeing Model 908-535 Sea Control Ship (SCS) fighter here and here.
  • Bell « Seakat » Sea Control Ship (SCS) sensor carrier proposal here.
  • Sea Control Ship (SCS) and VSTOL Support Ship (VSS) here.
Also see the Advanced Harrier Projects topic here for the Hawker Siddeley/McDonnell Douglas AV-16 contender.
Don't the fairly successful Canadair CL-84 tilt-wing.
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,10291.0.html
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,4267.0.html
 

hesham

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Hi,


here is a report about Rockwell XFV-12.


http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a108354.pdf
 

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