YF-23 Prototype Air Vehicle No 1 was the first ATF contender to be rolled out, on the 22nd of June 1990, at Edwards Air Force Flight Test Center. It featured a Gunship Grey (FS 36118) paint scheme and Pratt & Whitney YF119 engines. The engines contained the originally specified thrust reversing system but this was not known at the time by the general public. There was discussion amongst Northrop employees about the possibility of naming the aircraft 'Black Widow II', but this was never officially authorised by Northrop management nor encouraged by the Air Force. It remained a nickname only. PAV-1 was also the first ATF contender to fly on the 27th of August 1990 (1 month ahead of Lockheed) with Paul Metz as pilot and hundreds of Northrop employees looking on. The 5-sided 'first flight' lapel pins flew in the weapons bay of PAV-1 on its first flight. On the 18th of September, PAV-1 again became the first ATF contender to supercruise, achieving Mach 1.43. PAV-1 was used to test basic airworthyness, weapons bay acoustics, flight handling with the weapons bay doors open, and sortie turnaround time. The acoustic environment for the airframe while the weapons bay doors were open was tested to Mach 1.5. The aircraft could self-recover from any spin except from when the weapons bay doors were open. Because PAV-1 was the craft used to test weapons bay acoustic stresses, its bay was configured slightly differently to PAV-2.


PAV-1 official rollout.

A rare view of PAV-1 at altitude.
After the decision by the Secretary of the Air Force, PAV-1 was spraylatted and towed to a fenced-off compound at Edwards. There it sat with PAV-2 forlonly for many years. After a while someone noticed it and decided to include it in an Edwards Open Day as part of the static display. By this time the paint scheme was heavily weathered. PAV-1 was stored at Edwards for many years but finally in March 2000 it was transfered to the National Air Force Museum in Ohio for restoration. It sat in storage there for a time until it was reassembled and restored in 2008. After restoration it was 're-rolled out' for a photoshoot and then moved to the R&D Hangar to be exhibited in front of the XB-70 Valkerie. This is where it resides today, along with one of the GE YF120 engines used to power PAV-2.

PAV-1 in hibernation at Edwards. The grey colour has faded to resemble PAV-2.

Last updated May 2015.

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