The YF-23 PAV's employed essentially 3 avionics bays: one on either side below the cockpit, and one directly ahead of the foward wheel well accessible from underneath. There were also other access panels designed to facilitate the servicing of nose probes. The PAV's never carried a radar set of any kind; consequently, the nose was made from aluminium.
PAV-1 undergoing restoration at the National Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB. The bays are largely devoid of the equipment used by the aircraft during the Dem/Val period, but still usefully show the airframe bulkhead construction. This is one of the clearest shots of the avionics bays ever taken.
The YF-23 PAVs employed a canopy in 2 parts with a cross-brace, unlike Lockheed's YF-22. The rear section hinged upwards to permit access to the cockpit. The cockpit was furnished with off-the-shelf equipment based on F-15E switchology. The contribution made to the YF-23 community by uscockpits.com has been awarded. Howard Mason takes credit for producing the first clear and complete walkround of PAV-1. He is the first to produce clear complete shots of the main wheel wells.
Cockpit of PAV-1. This picture was taken during the Dem/Val programme. The massive F-15E-style HUD has been obscured by the cover.
The YF-23 PAV's employed many components that were distinctly non-stealthy, such as air data sensors and aerials. The overwhelming majority of the panel lines were non-stealthy as well. The prototypes were simply meant to be proof-of-concept vehicles used to demonstrate flying qualities, so fine detail design in regards to stealth was unnecesary. Stealth performance was demonstrated using the RCS model of the proposed production variant, which was built to a much higher standard in terms of fidelity to stealth performance characteristics.
This is the clearest shot yet published of the YF-23's pitot tubes. Thanks to Sean O'Connor of the Secret Projects forum.
Last updated May 2015.
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