at a glance
The YF-23 is a jet fighter aircraft that was designed and produced in the late 1980's by the Northrop Corporation, in response to the US Air Force's request for a replacement for the F-15 Eagle. The Air Force instigated a competition called the Advanced Tactical Fighter programme to which several aerospace manufacturers in the USA responded. The entries were pared down to just two: Northrop's proposal and Lockheed's. Then McDonnell Douglas joined Northrop, while Boeing and General Dynamics joined Lockheed, to make 2 teams. The idea was to produce a jet fighter that had considerable improvements over the F-15: a faster cruise speed, better maintenance costs, and to be more difficult for enemy radars to detect. The YF-23's wierd zig zag shape stems from the effort to make it less detectable to radar using what has been popularly called 'stealth technology'. Lockheed's jet was called the YF-22. Both aircraft flew in 1990. The Air Force Secretary of the time chose the YF-22 as the winner, so the YF-23 was initially put into storage. The winner went on to become the F-22A Raptor and is now the USAF's current fighter, while the 2 YF-23 prototypes have now been restored and put on public display. Even though Northrop's YF-23 didn't win the contest, it has never been forgotten by enthusiasts and those who designed and built it. Many felt that the YF-23 was the coolest jet ever to take to the skies. Because of its radical appearance, it has lived on in the form of toys, scale models, and depictions in computer games. Y stands for prototYpe, F for Fighter, and 23 is the design type number. More...
Footage summary excerpt of the YF-23 taken from the Web of Secrecy DVD.

Last updated May 2015.

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