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Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23A Black Widow II

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 in the restoration hangar at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (Photo courtesy of Airshow Traveler)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 in the restoration hangar at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (Photo courtesy of Airshow Traveler)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 in the restoration hangar at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (Photo courtesy of Airshow Traveler)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 in the restoration hangar at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (Photo courtesy of Airshow Traveler)

DAYTON, Ohio (02/2007) -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 in the restoration area of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ben Strasser)

DAYTON, Ohio (02/2007) -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 in the restoration area of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ben Strasser)

DAYTON, Ohio (06/2008) -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 in the restoration hangar at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (06/2008) -- Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 in the restoration hangar at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Restoration staff move the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 7, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 7, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 7, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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Restoration staff move the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 7, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 7, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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Restoration staff move the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 7, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23A in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23A in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Top view of the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Top view of the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The two Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 prototypes in flight. The aircraft on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force is the darker one on the right. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The two Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 prototypes in flight. The aircraft on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force is the darker one on the right. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The YF-23A competed in the late 1980s/early 1990s against the YF-22A in the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program.

During the late 1970s, a new generation of Soviet fighters and Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) prompted the US Air Force to find a replacement for the F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter. In 1986, the USAF awarded demonstration contracts to two competing industry teams—Lockheed-Boeing-General Dynamics (YF-22A) versus Northrop-McDonnell Douglas (YF-23A).

The Northrop YF-23A, unofficially named the Black Widow II, emphasized stealth characteristics. To lessen weight and increase stealth, Northrop decided against using thrust vectoring for aerodynamic control as was used on the Lockheed YF-22A. Northrop built two YF-23A prototypes.

In 1991, after extensive flight testing, the USAF announced that the Lockheed YF-22A won the airframe competition. Northrop ended its ATF program, and the YF-23A on display came to the Museum in 2000.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Crew:
One
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney YF119-PW-100s of approx. 35,000 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: Approx. Mach 2

Click here to return to the Research & Development Gallery.


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