50 min documentary about the aircraft the USAF turned down in favour of the YF-22 (later F/A-22 Raptor).
I remember seeing this back in the day and thinking 'Wow they actually built Firefox!' and now revisiting the plane I cant help but see the similarities with the Russian future fighter, the PAK-FA, which to me looks like a similar, low tech version of the YF-23. Low tech particularly in the nozzles, which on the YF-23 have some of the characteristics of the B2 Spirit, with the heat absorbing tiles, and having them hidden from the ground by the airframe.
Anyway, its a pretty sad story in the end, and maybe a downright tragic one, since I have never heard any really good explanations as to why the F-22 came out on top, while being slower, less stealthy (in IR and Radar), harder to maintain and with an inferior weapon load.
Ive just heard some grumbling that the weapon stations on the Black Widow II stacked its missiles, a bit like a magazine in an automatic rifle, and that this was considered a design flaw (ie if a missile failed to leave the bay, then the rest of the stack was then useless). I also 'heard' that the decision was partly to do with the US Navy being interested in the ATF program, and the F-22 being a more promising carrier based aricraft, but then they of course withdrew any interest after all.
Its a shame they couldnt just build both like they would have in the 50s or 60s, just imagine if the USAF had built 200 Raptors and 200 Black Widow IIs...
Well, if anyone knows much about the ATF program and why the F-22 won, or has any opinions on the two planes, Id be interested to hear them..
|Liveleak on Facebook|