Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23A Black Widow II
Published November 06, 2015
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.
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney YF119-PW-100s of approx. 35,000 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: Approx. Mach 2
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