A chart of the 19 proposals submitted for the 1982 RFI. What is fascinating is the wide range of thinking revealed in the diversity of configurations. The chart is also telling in that it shows succinctly the culture or emphasis of each company: the most compact designs were submitted by Northrop, whereas the most decadent was Lockheed's. One can also discern how seriously each company took the request: whether they decided to put forward flights of fancy or practical solid concepts. There is also a great deal of diversity in terms of innovation. Grumman's foward swept wing design (Concept 9) could be considered to be the most radical, whereas GD's is easily the most conservative: little more than a twin engine F-16 (Concept 14). Notice also the proliferation of designs with no tailplane; in particular, Rockwell's Concept 6 and all of Northrop's. Although the YF-23 appeared to be a radical configuration when first shown, we see here that the concept of a wing and tailfin with no tailplane was not new or unique; indeed, Boeing's final submission for the later ATF competition would prove to be very similar in layout to Northrop's. Notice the diamond wing of the YF-23 in Concept 2, and how close Concept 3 was to Northrop's eventual YF-23 submission. What is also telling is that almost every single concept featured thrust vectoring. It was an idea whose time had come: the American airframe industry had decided that the next fighter the USAF fielded was going to have this capability. It would appear that Grumman's Concepts 10, 11, and 13 were the most elegant aesthetically. Click on the links below for more detailed information.
Last updated February 2010.
USAF Request For Information RFI Advanced Tactical Fighter concepts ATF concepts US Air Force Request For Information US Air Force RFI ATF RFI 1982 1981 RFI USAF ATF RFI
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