publications

Advanced Tactical Fighter to F-22 Raptor: Origins of the 21st Century Air Dominance Fighter, by David C. Aronstein, Michael J. Hirschberg, & Albert C. Piccirillo, AIAA 1998
This book I would suggest is the single most authoritative publicly available source for information on the ATF programme because one of the co-authors is none other than Col Albert Piccirillo, the head of the ATF Systems Program Office at the time. Unlike many authors, he is an insider so he knows what he is talking about. The book gives the most thorough explanation of the development of the ATF concept that is readily available to the public and answers a few questions that remain unanswered in other sources. Information specifically on the YF-23 is limited but accurate and informative. This book confirms the rumour that a single instrumented inert AIM-120 round was carried by PAV-1 for weapons bay acoustic trials.
   
Aerospace Projects Review, Vol 3 No 2, by Scott Lowther, 2011
This and the Addendum make the single most comprehensive publication available on the Northrop YF-23. Scott has first hand access to a wealth of official engineering drawings allowing him to publish information to a very high level of accuracy. This downloadable PDF file includes diagrams and drawings of every single variant of the Northrop ATF known to exist, including later spin-offs. Full drawing documentation for the YF-23, F-23A/B, and NATF-23A/B variants are included, as are crisp clear colour renderings by Ken Scott. The 2 award-winning PDF files are available from a nominal fee from his website. The Addendum contains a key to obtain high resolution images of the F-23A/B and NATF-23A/B official technical drawings. A truly superb and long-awaited effort, this publication is by far the most authoritative and detailed on the YF-23.
   
YF-22 and YF-23 Advanced Tactical Fighters: Stealth, Speed and Agility for Air Superiority, by Bill Sweetman, Motorbooks International 1991, ISBN 0879385057
This was the first book that came out describing the programme in detail and it is still one of the best sources available on the ATF programme itself. Bill Sweetman reveals his knowledge in a very readable and enthusiatic style, and his coverage is very thorough. Most of the illustrations are in black and white, but there are pictures not published elsewhere. He goes into the history, the philosophy of combat at the time, and talks extensively about the avionics. He also discusses a couple of budget alternatives to the ATF that were being considered at the time. He gives equal weight to the YF-22 and YF-23 since the final decision had not been made at the time of its publication. Apart from AIAA material and the book above, this is the best single source of information on the ATF programme before the EMD phase.
   
The ATF Contenders: YF-22 & YF-23, Air Superiority into the 21st Century, by Andy Sun, Concord Publications 1991, ISBN 962-361-020-3
This was the first glossie published relating to this subject. It came out quickly, and it showed. Information was scant, very basic. Lots of the pictures were black and white which was quite disappointing for what was essentially a picture book. Time has shown it to be a credible source of colour pictures of the YF-23 though, as there has been no other devoted specifically to this aircraft. It had some crude rushed technical drawings but these were innaccurate. There was only a couple of closeup detail shots, not particularly revealing.
   
America's Stealth Fighters and Bombers: B-2, F-117, YF-22 and YF-23, by James C Goodall, Motorbooks International 1992, ISBN 0-87938-609-6
A credible effort considering the amount of information at the time. James managed to obtain some exclusive photographs, including the only known photograph of the instrument panel of PAV-1, taken by Tony Landis. For a long time, this book was the only source of useful photographic information available to scale modellers. It had a tantalising shot of PAV-1 parked on the tarmac with the canopy and weapons bay doors open, but the angle only offered a hint of what was inside.
   
World Air Power Journal, Vol 7, Autumn/Winter 1991, p32-41, 'Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23: The Fighter They Didn't Want', by Bill Sweetman
Bill Sweetman's reprise: in this article he hints at how he truly feels about the YF-23. World Air Power Journal was a truly outstanding publication in its day, completely unrivalled for its comprehensive and diverse coverage, the prime watering hole for scale modellers. This article features the erroneous cutaway diagram by Mike Badrocke, a source of endless confusion and controversy for enthusiasts and scale modellers alike in relation to the weapons bay configuration. Because scant information on interior details was available at the time, Mike had to improvise. He mistakenly drew what he thought was the configuration of the PAVs, but the tandem bay concept has since been shown to only apply to the EMD version. The PAVs only had one bay each, and no gun. His depiction of the launching mechanism for the AMRAAMS is not technically feasible, and was probably based on a misinterpretation of the EMD handout accidentally distributed at the time of PAV-1's rollout which was reproduced by Koku Fan. Bill does the YF-23 proud in this article and the photographs are excellent. There is also a 3 view colour impression of PAV1 drawn by Chris Davey? which is incredibly detailed considering the amount of information available at the time. Although he misread some of the contours, his powers of observation are very strong: he has depicted markings, stencilling, and weathering barely discernable in photographs.
   
World Air Power Journal, Vol 38, Autumn/Fall 1999, p54-87, 'Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor', by Bill Sweetman
One of the first comprehensive coverages of the F-22A EMD variant with original concept art and a colour cutaway by Mike Badrocke. Bill writes in detail about the ATF programme and there are good clear illustrations of some of the contenders from other companies. Bill mentions the YF-23 again, devoting 2 pages of the article to it, and calling it the 'greatest fighter never built'. He states that 'in terms of futuristic looks the YF-23 had the YF-22 beaten hands down' and gave his ideas on the reasons why Northrop lost.
   
NTM 1F-23(Y)A-1 Utility Flight Manual, Northrop Corporation, Aircraft Division, June 1990, reprinted by Ross & Perry, Inc
This is a sanitised declassified reproduction of the YF-23 flight manual. I bought this because I was hoping for some tidbits of information that could be used towards making a detailed scale model. There is some: a diagram of the instrument panel and side consoles, and a brief verbal description of the weapons bay and its operation, but that is all. There is a few bits and pieces on some of the systems not mentioned elsewhere but there are no graphs nor tables of performance parameters or the flight envelope whatsoever. There is an extensive section on emergency procedures. This publication does not represent value for money if you are a scale modeller, only if you are a die-hard flight manual collector or plan to steal one of the planes and fly it Firefox style. To add insult to injury, Ross & Perry charged me an exorbitant amount for international freight, more than twice the price of the publication, even though I specifically told them not to use a courier in my order. They completely ignored me when I protested and requested an explanation. I would never buy anything from them again. If you order this publication direct from them, be careful.
   
Aerofax: Lockheed Martin F/A-22 Raptor, by Jay Miller, Midland Publishing 2005, ISBN 185780158X
This is quite simply the last word on the F-22A Raptor for scale modellers. Jay has done an excellent and very thorough job. Nothing is missed and it was completely up to date at the time it was published. The only criticism would be that there are no really accurate and detailed drawings of the F-22A with cross sections. The drawings of the YF-22 are excellent, but printed too small to be of practical use to scale modellers. Because this is a monograph on the F-22A, there is only a small amount of information on the YF-23. Jay repeats Piccirillo's assertion that PAV-1 had a weapons bay capable of carrying and launching AMRAAMS and that an inert round was actually carried for acoustic tests.
   
NBF 91-1 F-23 Advanced Tactical Fighter and Navy Advanced Tactical Fighter, Northrop EMD Proposal, January 1991
This is the Big Deal, but not available to the general public for obvious reasons... just included here because I happened to find a pic of the cover on the internet, and because drawings of the EMD F-23A that would have been in this proposal were recently released via the Secret Projects Forum which is the equivalent of the Second Coming for enthusiasts and scale modellers alike. We can all now rest in peace. If you happen to have access to a copy of this proposal and if there happens to be a detailed diagram of the EMD weapons bay in there, please contact me...
   
Jetfighter II, by Velocity
This is was a computer flight simulation game that was released in the early 90's, designed to run on IBM compatible PC's using Windows. It could run on a 80386 CPU. This, along with the DVD by WCI, was the only commercially released product to exclusively feature the YF-23. All other games included the YF-23 as part of the package but not the main attraction. This was a very fun, smooth running game for its time, and kept me aborbed for hours. It would be an excellent candidate for rereleasing for cell phone based entertainment. The illustrations here show the front (right) and back (below right) cover of the box. There was also an advanced mission disk that came out a little while later (below left).

   
Web of Secrecy: YF-23 Black Widow II Declassified, by WCI Productions, 2001
Produced in association with the Southern California Historical Aviation Foundation, this is the only commercially released publication to focus solely on the YF-23. It is not up to the level of comprehensiveness achieved by BBC documentaries but it has footage and interviews of key people involved in the programme not seen elsewhere. Featured are Northrop test pilots Paul Metz and Jim Sandberg, as well as the chief designer Robert Sandusky. It is a very candid look at the people who were involved in the development of this aircraft and it shows their reactions to the AF decision. The content is people focussed and could have used a little more footage of the aircraft, particularly in flight and up close. There are tantalising shots of internal detail that are all too brief for scale modellers. For many years this was the prime source of information on internal detail of the aircraft until very recently. This DVD was adapted for the Japanese market by ICE. This DVD is now available again.

   
Great Fighting Jets Series: Stealth, Time Life Video 1991, VHS video cassette
This was one of the first documentaries to do with stealth technology, and the first video to feature footage of the YF-23. It was a summary of all the aircraft employing stealth. It shows the YF-23 emitting vortex vapor trails while rolling, something not shown elsewhere. This was a generic 'ma n pa' type documentary for the masses, so it didn't go into too much detail.
 
Enthusiast Color Series: F-22 Raptor, by Bill Sweetman, Motorbooks International, 1998, ISBN 0-7603-0484-X
This was the first monograph to be released on the F-22 Raptor EMD phase. It has passing reference to the YF-23 and pictures of some of the ATF proposals put forward in 1986 by a number of companies. There is the odd snippet of value to scale modellers; for example, this book is the only one to feature a photograph of the prototype APG-77 in a form that could have been used in the F-23. Bill makes a small error in mentioning some of the RFI proposals: he misnames Lockheed's Concept 12 as the CL-1980. This is not correct.
 
The Complete Book of Fighters, by William Green and Gordon Swanborough, Salamander 1997, ISBN 0-86101-643-2
This work is of immeasurable value to historians, enthusiasts, and scale modellers alike: a simply superb encyclopaedia of every single fighter aircraft built and flown. Virtually every type is illustrated with a 3 view diagram by Dennis Punnet, in many cases for the first time and the sole source of such information. I have lost count of the number of hours I have spent poring over this book: it is the bible of the fighter enthusiast, and supposedly like the religious version, you find something new every time you open it. The YF-23 is there and Dennis's 3 view is one of several that has been floating around the web for some years. He has a rare talent for resolving precisely the shape of an aircraft with scant information. His rendition of the YF-23 was a credible effort given the relative lack of information at the time. It would be great to see a similar encyclopaedic treatment of bombers, airliners, general aviation, etc...
 
Experimetal & Prototype US Air Force Jet Fighters, by Tony R Landis & Dennis R Jenkins, Specialty Press 2008, ISBN 978-1-58007-111-6
This excellent book devotes 3 pages to the YF-23 and includes previously unpublished photographs of the RCS mockup.
 
USAF Prototype Jet Fighters Photo Scrapbook, by Tony R Landis & Dennis R Jenkins, Specialty Press 2009, ISBN 978-1-58007-137-6
This recent publication is just what the title says it is. 4 pages are devoted to the YF-23 and there are some illustrations published here for the first time anywhere, including a picture of the cockpit, a NASA wind tunnel model, and a small 3-view diagram of the F-23A EMD variant. There is a scrap view of the internal arrangement of the F-23B, which is one of the reasons I bought this book.
 

Last updated April 2015.

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