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Posted 11/2/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
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Northrop YF-17
Northrop YF-17 (S/N 72-1569) in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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In 1972 the USAF sought proposals for a new fighter under the Lightweight Fighter (LWF) program. The LWF prototype program called for a small, lightweight, low cost, air superiority day fighter designed for high performance and ease of maintenance. The Northrop YF-17 Cobra was tested against the General Dynamics YF-16 in the LWF fly-off competition. The F-16 won and entered production in 1975.

The U.S. Navy also evaluated the YF-17 and was interested in developing a strengthened version capable of carrier operation. Northrop teamed with McDonnell Douglas to develop this new air combat fighter, which evolved into the F-18.

Type Number built/
YF-17 2 To F-18 development program

Armament: One 20mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon and two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles
Engines: Two General Electric YJ101 afterburning turbojets
Maximum speed: Mach 2+
Range: 2,990 miles (max. ferry range)
Service ceiling: Approx. 50,000 ft.
Span: 35 ft. 0 in.
Length: 56 ft. 0 in.
Height: 16 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 23,000 lbs. maximum takeoff
Crew: One

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