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f20airdefproposal.jpg.9e67bc4d3f9f4216486ed28eeca870c6.jpg

 

In part 2 we continue to look at the Northrop F-20A Tigershark and how its story intertwines with other aircraft programs of the 1980s.

 

 

Another F-20 is flown

The second Pre-production F-20 (82-0063 / GI1001) was flown in August 1983. This configuration included a bigger radome, enlarged canopy, and an up-rated 17,000 lb thrust F404 engine. (Note: The first pre-production jet mentioned in part 1 (82-0062) also received the 17,000 lb thrust engine in 1983.)

Also note: “Pre-production” means that Northrop was not going through a Prototype or Full Scale Development (FSD) phase so these aircraft were actually intended to be sold with the F-20 upgrades and changes.

GI1001_1.jpg.8a18379f556a4f597cdcc68fac383445.jpg

 F-20 #2 (Northrop Grumman)

 

 

Let’s get some people on board to really help sell it (F-20 Tigershark Vs F-15)

You remember the Light Weight Fighter Mafia right – well they had mostly since left the Pentagon and had reformed as the err “Reformers” (or “Critics” to the USAF), which included John Boyd, Ex USAF Col Everest Riccioni, Pierre Sprey, Chuck Spinney and James Fallows.

James Fallows was Washington editor for The Atlantic Monthly.( Described as an anti-military liberal journalist) Fallows had cottoned onto the Reformers in 1979 when researching ideas on how to cut military budgets and had interviewed John Boyd who was still smarting over what was done to the F-16. Fallows was able to gain publicity for the Reformers and their ideas, for example through the best-selling book National Defense in 1981.

The Reformers had jumped on the AIMVAL/ACEVAL (Air Intercept Missile Evaluation / Air Combat Evaluation) results in the late 1970s where Red force F-5s had faced off against a blue force of F-15 and F-14s, and the book National Defense was the perfect platform to spin the results. The book took choice cuts from the results carefully omitting information that didn’t fit their agenda and the press went for it, with the Chicago Tribune printing that the F-15 had been “fought to all but a draw” by the F-5 and CBS calling the F-15 a “turkey”.

In National Defense reformer Everest Riccioni claimed F-15s couldn’t fly many sorties and so the Air Force actually had a “Phantom fleet”. He then claimed the Air Force could buy 1000 advanced F-5s (The F-20) for the cost of 250 F-15s and generate 10 times more sorties in wartime (2500 v 250). Did I mention that Northrop had hired Everest Riccioni and Pierre Sprey at the time and Riccioni was working on the F-20 program.

In reality what had happened in AIMVAL/ACEVAL was that tactics used were not entirely realistic and a lot of it was skewed in favour of the F-5. Despite this the F-15 still had a 2.5 Kill ratio in favour and the AIM-7 (another Reformers target) was responsible of the majority of the simulated kills.

From the USAF point of view neither Pierre Sprey or Everest Riccioni had any credibility compared to John Boyd (who had taken a back seat at this stage) and the scraping nails account of this episode suggests this did more harm than good to the F-20 program regarding US support.

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F-15C - Can you say “it’s a Turkey” in a Pierre Sprey accent? (Airliners.net)

 

 

 

 

What else could have upset the USAF

Although a typical sales tactic, Northrop had no real data to back up any claims they were making for the F-20 such as cost, reliability and sortie rate. For example, as RAND point out………. Northrop claims of reliability on the F-20 were pretty much irrelevant. Only 1500 flights in a “test” environment with hand-picked engineers cannot be compared to years of “operational” experience the F-16 had around the world maintained by guys with varied experience in different environments.

True cost and sortie rate could never be known as none ever went operational. Some of Northrop’s claims also seemed to stay the same despite airframe and avionics changes that would increase cost.

 

 

 

F-20 goes to Top Gun

Back in the mid-1970s the USAF were allocated F-5s that never made it to South Vietnam that were wanted because they were very similar in performance and some other aspects to the MiG-21 and so were perfect to use as aggressors at Red Flag.

Naturally in 1984 when the US Navy wanted a MiG-29 simulator / aggressor for Top Gun, Northrop seeing a way in offered the F-20A at a low price with its promise of lower operating costs. Senator Pete Wilson had managed to get money through congress in the hope the F-20 was selected.  

General Dynamics also offered the F-16N (F-16C Block 30 with gun replaced by ballast) for a very low £11m each which was the same unit price as the F-20.  The USN went with the F-16 which they believed to be a better simulator for 4th Gen threats…and it probably was being a bit larger with superior performance, also high-tech avionics were not required, in fact they stuck in the basic APG-66 radar from the A model.

The USN literally got steal of the century on unit cost here…………. or they would have done if someone at the Navy hadn’t specified titanium wing attachment brackets without testing them (another story).

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F-16N (Lockheed Martin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another F-20A flies

The third pre-production F-20 (82-0064 / GI1002) first flew on May 12 1984 and was similar to 82-0063 / GI1001 in configuration it seems.

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F-20 Pre-production figures from Flight Manual

 

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 F-20 #3 (Northrop Grumman)

 

 

 

 

Tragedy befalls Northrop and the program

On the 10th October 1984 the first pre-production F-20 (82-0062) crashed at Suwon Air Base in Korea killing pilot Darrell Cornell.

Cornell had apparently succumbed to G-LOC after a 9G pull up as part of practicing an established demonstration routine with the aircraft appearing unresponsive after the maneuver.

 

 

 

The Northrop F-18L and McAir

All this time Northrop had been having a handbag face slapping argument with McDonnell Douglas (McAir). In October 1979, Northrop filled a $700 million antitrust suit against McAir.

Northrop had developed the YF-17 for the Light Weight Fighter (LWF) competition in 1974 and this was later developed into the FA-18 carrier-based fighter under some kind of teaming agreement. Under this agreement McAir as prime contractor would build 60% of the carrier capable FA-18 and Northrop would build 40%. For the land-based F-18L Northrop were prime contractor building 60% and McAir building 40%.

The Northrop F-18L was what might have been if the YF-17 had won in 74. Without all the extra weight needed for carrier ops and a totally different 9G structure it was over 2500 lbs lighter with a top end of M2.0 and was initially specified with a hard wing losing 3000 lbs of fuel reducing its range.

Northrop basically had accused McAir of trying to monopolize the business and basically interfering with the F-18Ls chances of success in the export market by launching active sales efforts for the FA-18 to potential customers when they showed interest in the F-18L. Another suit also claimed McAir was unfairly using Northrop technology from the F-18L to sell its own FA-18.

McAir then counter-sued against Northrop, claiming that the Northrop F-20 avionics had been taken from the McAir FA-18…….

 

The suit was finally settled by April 1985……. which meant McDonnell Douglas would pay Northrop $50 million and become the prime/sole contractor for all FA-18s including export sales, and thus the F-18L was never heard from again…………..

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The F-18L - another unloved Light Weight Fighter devoid of orders (Northrop Grumman)

 

 

 

F-16C v F-20A merge head on

In April 1985 to try and finally get some sales from the US Government, Northrop offered 396 F-20s to replace current F-16C production at a fixed price of $15 million, undercutting the F-16C fixed price of $18 million. General Dynamics hit back with a 720-plane proposal for stripped down F-16s at $13.5 million each with cheaper avionics. These were apparently jokingly referred to as the “F-16C-minus”. This clearly came to nothing.

 

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F-20 #3 again (Northrop Grumman)

 

 

Another Tragedy

On the 14th May 1985 at Goose Bay, Canada the second pre-production F-20 (82-0063 / GI1001) crashed in a similar manner to the first killing Dave Barnes. Barnes was incapacitated during or after a 9G pull up as part of the demonstration being practised for the Paris air show. With no flight recorder on board the enquiry attributed this again to G-LOC and possibly a result of reduced G tolerance after flying four high G demonstration flights that day.

 

 

 

The Air Defense Fighter (ADF) competition

In 1986 the US Air Force (as ordered by Congress) held a competition for 270 mainland Interceptors for the defense of the Continental US. Both the F-20 and F-16 were contenders, and good point defense fighters despite the reservations of some. Sadly, again the F-20 was not favoured for a few reasons:

·

  • The F-20 was not in production so the costs couldn’t be guaranteed
  • The cost to operate and maintain it would be higher than Northrop had claimed.

 

In the end neither the General Dynamics or the Northrop proposal were selected by the Air Force, instead it was decided to take 270 F-16A Block 15s in service from the Air National Guard (ANG) and modify them to an ADF and OCU (Operational Capability Upgrade) standard, with:

  • A higher thrust F100-PW-220 engine
  • Capability to use bigger 600 US Gal drop tanks
  • An Advanced IFF interrogator
  • An upgraded APG-66 (V) 1 radar with increased range, small target capability and the capability to fire AIM-120 and AIM-7.

 

5aa6a163d169e_F-16ADF80-060481-0682onCAP159FSUSAF.jpg.4563efb0b973e24c93d15b54aac3932a.jpg

F-16 A Air Defense Fighters (USAF)

 

 

 

Making the F-20 better (The fourth Pre-production jet)

Interestingly by the 1986 ADF competition there had been changes to the F-20 to increase range and deal with carriage of AIM-7s with proposals to:

  • Increase internal fuel to 5050 lbs by replacing the fuselage bladder with integral fuel tanks.
  • Increase external drop tank size.
  • Increase thrust of the F404 to 18000 lbs to offset the extra weight and drag.
  • New Electromagnetic Maneuvering flaps.
  • Fly By Wire control system with backup Hydromechanical controls (similar to FA-18)

Northrop & GE were also working on an upgraded APG-67 radar with enhanced range. This was proposed by putting a bigger antenna on it and moving it back in the nose. Luckily, they also intended to replace the obsolete M39s with a single modern gun to make some room for the radar move. This is said to have been planned for the fourth Pre-Production aircraft (82-0065/ GI1003) but was only 25% compete when cancelled. This remained a paper airplane but nonetheless a valiant effort to reduce some of the performance deficiencies.

Of course, the glaring problem here is that by making these changes the cost and complexity increases, reducing its advertised selling points and ending up with a jet that offers nothing significant over the F-16 and FA-18…………and unfortunately the US was still not interested in buying it.

 

 

The end

Northrop closed the F-20 program at the end of 1986 at the cost of around $1.2 billion……… it just was not meant to be with everything against it. However, despite the loss Northrop were still doing okay out of the FA-18, ATF (YF-23) and B-2 programs at that time. No conciliation to them but perhaps an example of how competition can sometimes benefit US services by keeping cost down.

 

 

Summary of the F-5G/F-20A Pre-Production Aircraft

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F-20-scieneMuseum.JPG.dead71ef0e43383e2499d228e14efcae.JPG

F-20A on Display at the California Science Center https://californiasciencecenter.org/exhibits/air-space/air-aircraft/f-20-tigershark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

F-20A Utility Flight Manual (NTM 1F-20A-1) for GI1001 & GI1002, Jan 1984 (Northrop)

Northrop F-5G/F20A Tigershark (Baugher J ) 2000 online at http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_fighters/f5_51.html

A Case study of the F-20 Tigershark (Martin, Schmidt) 1987, RAND Corporation

The Reformers (Correll JT), Feb 2008 Air Force Magazine. P40-44

The Revolt of the Majors How the Air Force changed after Vietnam (Michell III, ML) Auburn University

Sierra Hotel: Flying Air Force fighters in the decade after Vietnam. (Anderegg CR) 2001 Air Force History and Museums Program

Boyd (Coram R) 2002, Back Bay Books

F-20A Tigershark (Wade, M) 2007 online at http://www.thecid.com/f20a/index.html

F-16.net online at http://www.f-16.net/

Code One Magazine (General Dynamics)

Northrop F-18L (Baugher J), 2000 online at http://www.joebaugher.com/navy_fighters/f18_9.html

Huge Lawsuit settled, ( AP News archive) 1985, online at http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1985/Huge-Lawsuit-Settled/id-cca766d9766ec7f4d1aa29c5ca5db7cb

The Land Based F-18L, Flight International December 1978 p2034-2035

Title Photos for Part 1 and Part 2 from Northrop Grumman

 

 

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Thanks a lot for both reports. F-20 would have been a great airplane for export, but the F-16 was offered so cheap that it simply had no place anymore.

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Are there any concept images of how the fourth larger prototype would have looked like? It's safe to assume it would have been similar to how the F-16 and F-2 are very similar except the wings are larger (along other things), right?

Edited by tonipm99

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Gaaaagghh............really sorry Toni what a screw up...how did I not spot that!!

I have left in that section from an initial draft. I did read that wing area would be increased but it didn't tie in with the better sources and think it might have been confused with another source that states adding the new maneuver flaps may have increased effective wing area by 10% in some situations.

 

 

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I see. Don't worry, we all make mistakes!

So, then the wing would have been very similar if not the same as the standard one except for the flaps. I still wonder how amazing the fourth F-20 would have been to fly if the other three were already as good as some people say.

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If I remember correctly, from his auto biography, Chuck Yeager loved the F-20, and is even seen in a commercial with the F-20 in the background (

 

 

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It would be really cool if some one with SKILLZ would finish out and polish the F-20 for SF/WOX 1 series

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      http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=8478&hilit=Boyd+love&start=15
      Pat “Gums” McAdoo http://www.f-16.net/interviews_article28.html
       
       
      [5]
      Information provided by GD engineer **John G Williams
       
      [6]
      “ I will add that JB was totally against putting a radar in the Viper, as the radars he was familiar with (and that would have fit in the nose) were pretty useless and for the most part was weight he felt the F-16 could do without. I suspect he was surprised with how good the radar turned out to be (although still very weak compared to the Eagle)”. [Roscoe retired USAF Fighter Pilot]
      http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=8478&hilit=Boyd+love&start=15
       
      [7]
      Although the LWF requirement specified only minimal electronics , the design team recognized that an operational aircraft would probably require a heavier and more bulky avionics package. The decision was made to size the aircraft to carry heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles plus an M61 cannon, but to make provisions to allow Sparrow radar-homing missiles to be carried at a later date should this be required.
      F-16 Design Origins, Code One Magazine http://www.codeonemagazine.com/article.html?item_id=131 (Accessed 2015)
       
      [8]
      “ I was a structural engineer on the YF-16 and F-16 flight test teams, so was familiar with weights at the time. Forty years is too long to remember all the numbers, but when the F-16 was in early flight test, I did a weight comparison between the two and was very surprised to find the F-16 empty weight was less than the YF-16. So, the YF-16, designed for 6.5g at 14900 lb was heavier than the F-16, designed for 9g at 22,500 lb. Don't confuse the design weight as the actual weight, two totally different things.
      Here's why the YF-16 was heavier. First, it had a much larger structural margin. meaning it was designed for 25% overload capability, because no 150% static test was performed. Second, it was not a refined structural design, either design loads or stress analysis. If there was any doubt about load or stress, it was made a little heavier. Third, manufacturing processes were not refined. It was built as cheaply as possible.
      Remarkable, when you consider the added g and design weight, larger wing, horizontal tail, and ventral fins, and longer fuselage of the F-16, in addition to an 8,000 hour service life.” [John G Williams**]
      http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=25121&p=266379#p266379
       
      [9]
      (Coram. R, 2004 ) Boyd: the Fighter Pilot that changed the art of war
       
      [13]
      Some of these gems are captured around 36:03 on this video.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HVY6Fdc2CM
       

       
       
      [14]
      (Coram. R, 2004 ) Boyd: the Fighter Pilot that changed the art of war p246.
       
      [15]
      Source [2] (Michel III) claims 2 tons (4000 lbs) and source [9] (Coram) claims 3000 lbs.
      Simply using the same wingloading value as Boyd wanted at 320sqft but for a 280sqft design gives around 13000 lbs so may as well go with that.
       
      [16]
      F-16A ADF http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article14.html
       
      [17]
      Agile Falcon http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article21.html
      (Camm F) The F-16 Multinational Staged Improvement, RAND N3619.
       
      [18]
      F-16 MATV http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article19.html (Accessed 2016)
      Thrust Vectoring in the real world, Code 1 Magazine http://www.codeonemagazine.com/article.html?item_id=163 (Accessed 2016)
       
      [19]
      Egyptian Block 32 with AIM-7 http://www.f-16.net/f-16_users_article4.html (Accessed 2016)
      Note: this is not for certain because according to General Dynamics (Lockheed Martin) the AIM-7 was only certified on the F-16CD in 1989.
      [20]
      “ I am not sure where the false story of no radar on the YF-16 started, but I guarantee you it was there. It was not a radar like you might expect, with a scanning antenna inside the radome and a glowing, flickering screen in the cockpit, but it was a radar nonetheless. The function of the radar was to provide range-only information for the gun sight. Although I'm not certain, I seem to recall only one of the airplanes had a gun, as a cost saving measure. If so, only one airplane would have had the radar system.”  [John G Williams**]
       
      “Confirming that only the second prototype had a ranging radar installed, the Solid State Range-Only Radar (SSR-1) developed at General Electric, AESD, Utica, New York. “ [http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA041197 ]
      http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=28763&p=312806#p312806 (Accessed 2016)
       
       
      [21]
      The General Dynamics team also studied several different air intake configurations before settling on the final air intake located underneath the nose. The ventral location for the intake was chosen to minimize the sensitivity of airflow into the engine to high angles of attack. At a 20-degree AoA, the local flow direction to a ventral intake was only ten degrees below datum, as compared to 35 degrees in the case of side-mounted inlets.
      The design team had actually started with a chin-mounted Crusader-type intake, but it was gradually pushed further and further back to save weight until the process finally had to be halted to keep the intake ahead of the nosewheel. There are some disadvantages to such an air intake location --- the mounting of the inlet underneath the fuselage is potentially dangerous to ground personnel and appears at first sight to invite foreign object damage (FOD) to the engine by the ingestion of stones and other runway debris into the intake. However, it avoids the gun gas ingestion problem, and since the nosewheel is further back, it avoids nosewheel-induced FOD. In order to save weight and complexity, the geometry of the intake was fixed.
      F-16 LWF http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article4.html (Accessed 2016)
       
      [22]
      (Anderegg C.R, ) SIERRA HOTEL FLYING AIR FORCE FIGHTERS IN THE DECADE AFTER VIETNAM, Chapter 17
       
      [23]
      “Throughout the book I have attributed credit where it is due. However, many statements in the book are my own. For example, in the last chapter I write that the F–16 is a better day, visual dogfighter than the F–15. F–15 pilots who read that statement will howl with anger. Sorry, Eagle pilots, but I flew the F–15 for over ten years, and that’s the way I see it.”
      (Anderegg C.R, ) SIERRA HOTEL FLYING AIR FORCE FIGHTERS IN THE DECADE AFTER VIETNAM
       
      “If my memory serves me right, our pair won the 2v2 training session, but in a 1 v1 scenario, the Baz was no match for the Netz. The latter jet has to be the worlds best WVR fighter platform.“
      [baz [F-15] pilot Yorem Peled ] (Aloni, S, 2006) IDF/AF Israeli F-15 Eagle units in Combat, Osprey
       
      [24]
      “There was a total re-engineering of block 40 structure following a static test failure of a block 30 airframe. Test failure was at 137% of limit load, well short of the 150% requirement. Patches applied to block 30 airplanes allowed those airplanes to continue flying. Airplane weight had increased with each block from block 1 on and it finally caught up with the true capability. So Block 40 was essentially a new structure, much stronger than previous blocks. The block 40 LANTIRN installation was also a big driver in redesign because it drove the CG forward. That shift required more down tail trim load, increasing fuselage, tail, and wing loads.
      So block 25 structure is not close to the block 40 or 50 structure in static or durability capability.” [John G Williams**]
      http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=27459&p=299748#p299748 (Accessed 2016)
       
      [25]
      F-4A http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_fighters/f4_2.html (Accessed 2016)
       
      [26]
      the Configuration Control Committee ordered it equipped with a small but highly capable pulse Doppler radar, something the Critics had adamantly opposed. (Michel III, M.L, 2006) THE REVOLT OF THE MAJORS: HOW THE AIR FORCE CHANGED AFTER VIETNAM
       
       
      [28]
      Retired General Mike Loh:
      Loh says that each Fighter Mafia member had a different agenda. “Boyd was unquestionably the leader and dominated the crusade. His motivation was to vindicate his EM theory, and he wasn’t concerned about any mission beyond close-in air-to-air combat. He spent hours debating anyone who challenged his views.”
      On the other hand, General Dynamics [Author: Pentagon not GD! ] system analyst Pierre Sprey “was a true Luddite, opposed to any advanced technology,” says Loh. “His agenda was to produce the cheapest fighter for daytime air combat in Europe against Warsaw Pact forces.”
       
      (Bjorkman. E, 2014 ) The Outrageous adolescence of the F-16, Air and Space Magazine  http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/The-Outrageous-Adolescence-of-the-F-16-241533731.html (Accessed 2015)
       
       
       
      **John G Williams was a structural flight test engineer at General Dynamics, and worked on programs including the YF-16, F-16, F-16XL and F-2A.
    • By falcon16fighter
      Turkish Air Force NF-5A
      View File This file does not meet our guidelines for upload.
      a) Removed trash wikipedia copy paste in description
      b) Removed political discussion in comments
      -Erik
      Submitter falcon16fighter Submitted 07/16/2018 Category Removed / Under Review Files  
    • By Gavin1976


      View File Northrop's F-5F Ejection Seat
      Northrop's F-5F Ejection Seat  v1.00   (2018.07.28)
      Northrop's F-5F ejection seat with front and rear seats for finer details
      -----------------------------------------------------------------
      [StudentPilot]
      SystemType=PILOT_COCKPIT
      Position=0.0,3.10,0.620
      PilotModelName=16th_TFS_Pilot_Orange_02
      SeatModelName=NorthropSeat_F-5F_Front
      SeatPosition=0.0,3.11,0.620
      MinExtentPosition=-0.32,3.78,0.75
      MaxExtentPosition= 0.32,2.65,-0.50
      CanopyNodeName=RearCanopyFrame
      CanopyAnimationID=8
      SeatID=1
      [Pilot]
      SystemType=PILOT_COCKPIT
      Position=0.0,1.70,0.820
      PilotModelName=16th_TFS_Pilot_Orange_01
      SeatModelName=NorthropSeat_F-5F_Rear
      SeatPosition=0.0,1.70,0.820
      MinExtentPosition=-0.32,2.18,1.0
      MaxExtentPosition= 0.32,1.07,-0.800
      CanopyNodeName=FrontCanopyFrame
      CanopyAnimationID=9
      SeatID=2
      -----------------------------------------------------------------
      good  flight !
      Taylor Gavin  2018.07.28
       
      Submitter Gavin1976 Submitted 07/28/2018 Category Pilot Mods  
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