Re: Reflective element about new Skunk Work design and old F19

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Message posted by Peter Merlin (Member since 11/13/2003) on July 04, 2023 at 7:28:19 PST:

That article you cited does not appear to be factually accurate with regard to the "F-19." The F-19 designation and speculation about its characteristics were the result of widespread confusion and assumption rather than a coordinated disinformation campaign.

The first public mention of stealth was in May 1975 by Defense Daily, a trade publication, which reported a design study for a “high Stealth-2 aircraft.”

On July 23, 1976, Aerospace Daily published an article claiming that Lockheed was building "a new 12,000-pound, one-man Stealth aircraft" that would be effectively invisible to radar. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was named as the project's sponsor. This was around the time when the XST (HAVE BLUE) radar 'pole off" competition was going on.

In August 1980, the Carter administrations leaked the existence of plans to develop an "advanced technology stealth bomber" that would be invulnerable to detection by Soviet radar systems. Critics suggested the leak was intended to combat Ronald Reagan's charges that Carter had lowered the nation's guard by, among other things, canceling the proposed B-1 bomber. The "stealth bomber" would eventually come to be known as the B-2.

During the early to mid 1980s, there was much speculation in the aviation press that Lockheed was producing a one-man "stealth fighter" for operational use. The news media dubbed it the F-19 simply because there was a missing designation between F-18 and F-20. It just seemed logical, but to turned out to be wrong.

Aviation experts speculated that the rumored F-19 would have to have blended lines and curved surfaces to reduce radar reflections. Artists created highly speculative illustrations of what it might look like (see attached link). The most exotic of these was used in an advertisement for Loral Electronic Warfare systems. A second concept came from John Andrews of Testors, a company that produced plastic model kits. The Testors F-19 had a nose and cockpit that looked like they were borrowed from an SR-71 and inwardly canted tail fins borrowed from rumored descriptions of HAVE BLUE. When Testors released its model kit in 1986, a lot of congressmen and other officials were shocked and outraged, mostly due to their complete ignorance of what the real "stealth fighter" (F-117A) actually looked like.

After an F-117A crashed in California in July 1986, mainstream and aviation news media were still calling it the F-19 because the true designation had not yet leaked out (though it did, eventually, shortly before the airplane was declassified in 1988). The New York Times reported that "Another crash of the plane is thought to have occurred in the Nevada desert in the spring of 1982." This was true, but it had not received any media attention at the time. Aviation Week & Space Technology reported, accurately, that the airplane was built by Lockheed's "Skunk Works," that more than 50 had been produced, and that they were being operated from the Tonopah Test Range airfield in Nevada.

Attached link: F-19 artist concepts

In Reply to: Re: Reflective element about new Skunk Work design and old F19 posted by frenchboy on July 04, 2023 at 2:20:17 PST:


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