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The F-35 Concept was originally tested in the 1970s..........

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Here's one for you guys............................(or not) :beach:


The F-35 concept originally started out as a secret project started in the late 1960s at Mcdonnell Douglas. It was vastly rumoured that Robert Macnamara had approved the project along with the F-111 in the late 60s, and in his tenure at the World Bank it seems that he may have also had some financial influence in the defence industry still that allowed this secret project to unfold.

Given a temporary designation of X-19 the project was set up as a counter to the Lightweight Fighter program. Several high ranking USAF officers in the Pentagon were most annoyed with some of the radical thinking being proposed in fighter design at the time and they wanted something could carry a lot of fuel and its weapons internally.

The design was released in 1971 but there was concern from the designers that a powerplant could be found to overcome the drag and weight such a design would bring.

A full scale prototype was ready in 1974, by then it would hope the design would cancel the need for the YF-16 and YF-17 that were also being readied.

It was to use the same avionics and Engine as the YF-16, these being the best available at the time.


Unfortunately the best available engine only produced around 14,000lbs of thrust in Mil and 23,000 lbs of thrust Max, and yet the empty weight of the X-19 was already over 29,000lbs. This meant the jet was woefully underpowered and in Mil power was vastly inferior to even the A-7D.

It could carry nearly 3 times the fuel of the lightweight fighters, but its wide body gave it a much larger cross section and more drag. The angles on the body were supposed to provide RCS reduction, but manufacturing techniques and RAM coatings were no where near sufficient to achieve anything like this.   


Other problems began to crop up:

It would need a cradle in the bomb bay to ready missiles like the AIM-9 to achieve lockon, but in doing so meant there was no space for anything else. This idea was eventually shelved so it was decided to carry A-A missiles externally.  

The AIM-7 was originally due to go in the bay but a design problem meant the bay was not big enough for this. Also electronics for the laser designator was not advanced enough to carried internally and thus would need to go in a pod.


Many months of flight testing only produced a top speed of M1.4 leading to accusations that the fuselage was not area ruled properly. Since the project was declassified in 2011 one of the former test pilots made several comments including - "I couldn't see anything behind me and the visibility was terrible", "I didn't think the thing would get off the ground - I nearly ran out of runway!" and  "The thing was slower than a turd stuck to a tortoise, and in an environment where you merged 99% of the time it was truly a clay pigeon against everything we flew against including the A-7D".


Needless to say the whole thing was quickly swept under the carpet and not revived until the 1990s.............

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um - Its the What If Forum


If proof were needed this stuff was convincing!

Edited by MigBuster

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Sorry... didn't notice it was in the "What If" section... picked it up from the front page.


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