Re: Question about the Aurora project

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Message posted by Peter Merlin (Member since 11/13/2003) on April 22, 2023 at 16:24:57 PST:

AURORA was a funding channel for development of the Advanced Technology Bomber (ATB) that eventually became the B-2. Because it was listed in the national defense budget alongside various reconnaissance programs, some people assumed it was a follow-on to the SR-71. It wasn't.

The "F-19" designation was not a cover. There were rumors during the early1980s that the Air Force was secretly developing a "stealth fighter" that would be invisible to radar. At that time, the highest designation numbers for acknowledged US fighter planes were F-18 and F-20. Some people assumed that the missing number had been assigned to the secret stealth plane. In fact, the F-20 was originally designated F-5G because it was based on Northrop's F-5 family of airplanes. Northrop was trying to market the planes to foreign customers, but feared they wouldn't want to buy something with a designation dating back to the 1950s. The F-5G was a thoroughly modern design, so Northrop request that it be re-designated with a modern number. The F-19 designation was available, but Northrop preferred F-20 because it was a round number and sounded even more modern. So, the DoD granted the company's request. That left a missing number in the sequence and the F-19 rumors were born.

In Reply to: Question about the Aurora project posted by Altner on April 22, 2023 at 15:20:10 PST:


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