Monday, August 28, 2017

YF-23 vs. F-22...more than 20 years later and many still think the USAF chose wrong...

via National Interest.
Even in 1991, in terms of raw performance, the General Electric-powered YF-23 was acknowledged to have been the best performer even compared to its Pratt & Whitney YF119-powered twin. The YF-23 had much better supersonic cruise performance, stealth and was only slightly less maneuverable at extremely low airspeeds.

“Interestingly the YF-22 and YF-23 had exactly the same trimmed AoA of 60°. The YF-23 could do it without thrust vectoring. Those V-tails were very powerful especially when coupled to an unstable airframe,” said one source who is intimately familiar with both the YF-23 and the Raptor. “The YF-22 probably had an advantage at very, very low airspeeds but neither company had enough time to investigate dynamic low speed, high AOA maneuvering. This was a good example of how a competition needs to consider the PR value of flight test events. Lockheed understood this and did high AOA and shot missiles and pulled 9Gs. All single point, benign condition events but they left an impression.”

The source added that in some ways, it might have cost Northrop the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition—barring the other factors involved in the selection.

“ACC [Air Combat Command] pilots were enamored with dogfighting and Lockheed gave a good visual demonstration of high AOA—albeit a very limited and benign test,” the source said. “Northrop chose not to do high AOA during DemVal and that was a mistake. Both airplanes could do the same exact maneuver—trimmed, high AOA. As it was, the YF-22 ‘appeared better’ because they did something visually exciting and Northrop couldn't—or so it was inferred.”
Story here. 

My view?  The USAF did make a mistake by choosing the F-22 and they fell prey to marketing.  In essence they bought into image over substance.

It's funny.

The old skool Pentagon warriors would never have been swayed by such simplistic, unrealistic propaganda campaigns but the new breed were easily fooled.

Imagine this.

If the USAF had selected the YF-23 then we would not be wringing our hands over range.  The whole course of air supremacy would be different.

In essence we would have maintained air supremacy instead of facing the mind bending reality that it's up for grabs if we ever meet a peer opponent.

The YF23 vs. F-22.  The first hint that our acquisition programs were broken.

Note:  This breaks the old chestnut that the USAF picked the F-22 because it was a better dogfighter.  That was all PR nonsense.  The definitive history on this selection process still waits to be written.  Only after a few more people die will the truth finally come out.

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