Northrop/McDonnell-Douglas YF-23A 'Gray Ghost'

Notes: Prototype SINGLE-SEAT, twin engine, supersonic air superiority fighter.
  Base model:F-23
  Nickname:Gray Ghost
  Designation System:U.S. Tri-Service
  Designation Period:1962-Present
  Basic role:Fighter





Recent comments by our visitors
 , AB
You can learn more about the YF-23 here:

09/06/2011 @ 09:38 [ref: 48744]
 , DC
When it came time for a fly-off between the F-23 and the F-22, only one aircraft was ready, and it wasn't the -22.
You F-18 pilots can say 'thank you' to Sam Nunn, Don Rumsfeld and their cast of cronies for giving you the 3rd best aircraft.
05/06/2008 @ 10:36 [ref: 20809]
 brian donovan
 newington, NH
the northrop/Mcdonnell-douglas y-f23 was a better aircraft. it was more stealthy. had a faster cruise and dash speed. carried more internal fuel for more range. and more internal weapons. according to the requirements the airforce was looking for,that is what the airforce needed. aircraft like the f-22 with vectored thrust has very little significance in air conbat of today. yes. the choice to choose the f-22 was most likely political as with most government decisions.
02/01/2008 @ 03:13 [ref: 19498]
 Huntington Beach, CA
Both planes exceeded requirements so at that point it became a political decision. From what I heard there was a texas connection. Read into to that as you wish based on location of lockheed facilities. For my money, give me the faster plane with the lowest RCS and I can complete my mission with a higher survivability rate. All the talk of thrust vectoring and missile integration is secondary. As in football- speed kills.

09/20/2007 @ 12:50 [ref: 17976]
 Medicine Hat, AL
what does the yf-23 cost?
01/24/2007 @ 09:35 [ref: 15281]
 Guy E. Franklin
 Deastville, AL
If I remember correctly the test were very similar as far as the YF-22 and the YF-23 performance wise (The F-23 was the more stealthy of the two) and the contract basically came down to a coin toss between the two aircraft. I have read several articles on the F-22 was finally chosen. In my personal view, the YF-23 is among one of many top aircraft never chosen;such as the F-20 and upgraded versions of the A-7 and F-4.

The decision probably came down to behind the scenes politics and funding.
10/10/2006 @ 06:18 [ref: 14415]
 , MO
The YF-23 is quite possibly the most advanced and capable figher ever made. The YF-23 utilized an unstable airfoil to increase its maneuverability beyond the need for thrust vectoring (however, low-speed maneuverability dropped). The Widdow II also had more options and multi-role capability with its deep weapons bay, potentially allowing for an Aim-54C Phoenix missile (I have read, but have not been able to confirm that the production-version would have had an extended weapons bay, allowing for more ordinace room). The increased stealth ability of the YF-23 would have given it an increased advantage in the stand-off interception role (the role that the F-14D played - however the F-14 is now phased out of the military *TAPS plays*).

To give you an idea of how well the plane performed - the F-22's performance data is readily available for all to read. The YF-23's performance data is still classified. NASA even conducted research on the aircraft because no other airplane can match its performance.

I sincerely hope Northrop-Grumman is working on an FB-23 design. It would be a worthy successor to the FB-111 and the F-14D. It'd sure beat the pants off of the FB-22 if Northrop-Grumman puts the same quality of effort in as they did the YF-23
12/16/2005 @ 12:16 [ref: 11999]
 , CA
All interesting comments, so here is my 2 cents. The YF-23 lost out to the fat pig because the USAF had more confidence in the Lockheed management team. We (Northrop) were up to our eyeballs managing two extremely difficult programs at the time (B-2 & TSSAM). The AF worried that they couldn't put all their eggs in one basket, even though they were going to be buying second best (but close). Northrop could have laid these worries to rest if we had designated our team mate, McDonnell Douglas as the management lead of our 50-50 effort to enter FSD.

The real culprit for the F-22 coming in heavy and way expensive is the customer. They've mismanaged the program terribly causing delays due to FY funding problems and the inevitable requirement creep.

After the YF-23 was lost the USN jumped in and awarded the losers the F/A-18 E/F contract. Despite what was said to Congress,etc. this was a new airplane from the cockpit aft. And that team (McDonnell Douglas/Northrop/GE/USN) delivered the goods, finished flight test and started production way before the F-22 program. Think about it, start one year later and finish earlier and start production. For once the USN knew what they wanted, laid out the requirements, and then stepped out of the way.
10/05/2005 @ 18:01 [ref: 11409]
 Iron Mountain Man
 , IL
Valid points all!!!
The 40 year old Phoenix missle even w/o thrust vectoring can STILL pull 30+G and there is no way any manned aircraft can evade that kind of manuvering capability. I think the guys at Lockheed-Skunk Works-Martin panicked when they saw the films of Viktor Pugachev doing vertical cobra manuvers in the Sukhoi Su-27D Super Flanker and they said "we gotta have that too!"
Crunch is, Russian aviators since the 1930s have put great emphasis on vertical manevering besides turns and split "S" dives. But the West seems to have overlooked that fact...
Weight and reliability are critical. As it stands now according to the latest issue of Smithsonian Air&Space,
the unit cost of a single F-22 is $285 million!!!!
I'll bet the guys at Northrop are laughing hysterically and roaring "I TOLD you so ours costs less!"
The B-52s flying when I'm in my 90s frightens me. In service from 1955 to 2040???? Yow!!!
Bring out the FB-23!!!!
10/04/2005 @ 16:41 [ref: 11403]
 Lann Bihoue NAS (France), CT
Hi everybody,
I just read that Northrop Grumman has responded to the pentagon's request for proposal for a next generation long range strike aircraft by proposing the F-23 as a contender! A new life for the YF-23?!
05/30/2005 @ 14:50 [ref: 10348]


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