A-12 Avenger II

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habu2

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Unread post04 Feb 2004, 17:32

I'm getting a little confused here. Was Northrop-Grumman a competitor on ATA before GD/McDD was selected for the A-12? :?: Or are we talking about Northrop's competitor to Lockheed's Have Blue Hopeless Diamond? :?:
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Habu

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Unread post04 Feb 2004, 17:57

We were talking about Northrop's competitor for Have Blue, briefly...and I think that's what Gums was replying to.
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habu2

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Unread post04 Feb 2004, 18:02

I've seen drawings and a fuzzy RCS pole model of Northrop's Have Blue competitor in one publication, but it's been a long time. I have never seen anything on any other ATA competitors, that would be interesting.
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Habu

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Unread post04 Feb 2004, 18:46

I wonder what can be gained by keeping the pics classified nowadays??!!??
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habu2

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Unread post04 Feb 2004, 19:31

Your job. ;)
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Habu

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Unread post04 Feb 2004, 21:08

eh true...
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Gums

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Unread post05 Feb 2004, 03:46

No! habu!!!!

I am talking about the A-12 entry by Northrop.

That's the one I wanna see.

Have Blue and other black programs at Groom Lake are neat. But I don't think any A-12 prototypes ever got to flying.

BTW, one of the guys in my "C-flight" pic (A-7 topic?) flew Shamu at Groom Lake. Was a Northrop plane with a low probability of intercept radar system. Who knows what else he flew? One of these days he'll be able to talk about it.

later,
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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habu2

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Unread post05 Feb 2004, 03:54

Shamu - my first impression was "an inverted bathtub with wings..." ;)
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Habu

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Unread post05 Feb 2004, 04:13

Gotcha Gums...
I'd like to see pics of all kinds of things, HALSOL, Helios, Amber, GNAT-750, and some more detail on Tacit Blue. Maybe someday....
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Lawman

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Unread post05 Feb 2004, 05:29

Hell, Tacitblue is on display at Wright Patt AFM. They let you get closer to it then alot of stuff, of course the big draw now is the B-2 they put in there.

The A-12 never made it to prototypes. The closest thing they had to a working model was a 1/5 scale mockup but when they kept needing more and more money then they said they would initially it died.
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habu2

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Unread post05 Feb 2004, 14:40

Lawman, there is a full scale A-12 mockup in Ft Worth. I've seen it, touched it, photographed it.

http://www.habu2.net/a12/a_fsm.htm
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habu2

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Unread post05 Feb 2004, 14:41

There are several wind tunnel models too, I would guess they are closer to 1:10 scale though. Seen, touched, snapped them too.
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Unread post05 Feb 2004, 18:09

I'm sure the A-12 has been mistaken for the 'Aurora' many times :roll:
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Unread post06 Feb 2004, 07:05

Well since it has never flown I kinda doubt it. Maybe in pictures but only by the uninformed. Plus I'm pretty sure the (Navy) A-12 was a subsonic design.
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Unread post07 Jun 2013, 15:38

Gums,

To my knowledge, no mockup of the NGL entry was ever made. Thomas V. Jones would not commit to a fixed price program because he knew and understood the risks of LO design and was not sure it could be adapted to the navalization requirements. Hence his demand was for a a 'best efforts' contract worth some 6.6 billion of which only 400 million would he contribute from Northrop's company funds as buy-in on the technology base.

There must have been a pole model because mention is made of the Northrop desire not to have it's design hotsided from above and the Navy's insistence that the signature would be fully characterized because they did not, in fact, believe in Steatlh as more than an adjunct to conventional lolo penetration tactics.

These are the only known images (and a derivative drawing) of the NGL entry-

http://www.hitechweb.genezis.eu/stealth ... age007.jpg

http://th05.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/f/2 ... 4b1z2u.png

Some of our team got to see the mockup or prototype in a hangar someplace, so I am confident that work was well beyond the 'drawing board' stage.

I would be curious to see if the above matches what you knew of the platform or if there was something else afoot. Rumors abound of a flying wing prototype being seen in the Desert SW throughout the early-mid 1980s and the traditional explanation is that these were in fact subscale prototypes of the ATB-2.

Because their planview (shadowlit with nav lights only) profile in existing photos doesn't match the saw-tooth cutout of the Northrop designs but in fact are 'pure' deltoids, I always assumed that they were in fact part of GD's Cold Pigeon/Sneaky Pete preliminaries for the A-12, perhaps to confirm flying qualities in the demanding carrier role.

I also knew of a 'special' building at the Hawthorne Plant ( my TDY base of ops for a few months). I can also state that the Pico site was visited several times by folks I worked with.

There must have been something in the way of a NASTRAN type basic set of drawings because the vehicle had fixed dimensions and weights assigned:

Span: 80ft
Length: 46ft
Wing Area: 1,720ft
Spotting Factor: 1.44
TOW: 69,713lbs
Payload: 5,160lbs
Fuel: 21,322lbs
Wingloading: 41lbs/sqft
LWOD: -2kts
RWOD: +9kts

But among the many problem elements listed with the design are noted 'weak or incomplete' proposals for structure, landing gear, propulsion and avionics layout.

Which tends to indicated to me that NGL got little further than basic Concept Formulation before they simply refused to be monetarily compromised by the Navy's cheap approach to LO engineering (the USAF spent 8,000% more cash on DemVal for the ATF than the USN did for the ATA).

If you have anything to add from your own experience, I wish you would as Northrops non-competitive bid was a large part of the USN's fraud in the inducement forcing action which made GDMD's subsequent efforts untenable and opened the door for the lawyers.

My briefing on the armament system was at a hotel in Dallas, and everybody used first names only (hell, they were prolly aliases). There were at least a few Navy folks there, as the haircuts and questions thay asked me provided a clue.

So I worked on the thing from fall of '85 until the program was cancelled.

There were discussions about range being a problem for the GD-MacAir entry. I also have a suspicion that the N-G entry was really stealthy, as Nortrop's experience seemed very credible.

Oh well, those were the days....


Actually, range was less of an issue than LO thresholds in the GDMD design. With a deliberately underweight (the other part of the USN's inappropriate contract process: creating conditions of likely deficiency by failing to provide fiduciary instruction on a known failure of design estimate, instigated by USN naval counsel Margaret Olsen as a 'chinning bar' threshold for price bargaining in trade for KPP relaxation...).

While range was seen to be an issue, at 825 miles, it was more than a third greater than the A-6E in any equivalent payload configuration and when they went to the fat wing they brought it above 1,000nm which was spec.

The NGL variant was 3,000lbs lighter in fuel and at least 4,000lbs lower in payload so it is unlikely that they would have been more competitive, especially in the lolo environment where the B-2 itself paid a +15% weight penalty to increase structural density with the inefficient 'W' configuration structural pathways.

I believe that the NGL entry was flawed in this respect because it did not and indeed -could not- mount the numbers of control surface equivalents to the ATB design within a much smaller planform and so would have had a hard time dealing with the assymetric and mixed (yaw as pitch) control effector forces inherent to bringing their design aboard.

Clearly the X-47B manages fairly well but the X-47B has a lot more thrust and a lot lower mass within a more reasonable pitch moment arm (it has also yet to board as I write this...).
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