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.
To F-18 development program
TECHNICAL NOTES: 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