Sign up, and you'll be able to customize your font size and more! Sign up
Jan 31, 2023
Emmett Fitz-Hume All-American
The YF-23's issue was that they went beyond some of the requirements of the RFP,

at the cost of not exceeding other requirements by as much as the YF-22. Namely, the YF-23 was faster and stealthier, but the YF-22 still met the minimums of the USAF's RFP, while being more maneuvable, and carrying 1/3 more missiles internally.

Not to mention that although the large "tailerons", helped make the YF-23 extremely maneuverable, the vectored thrust on the YF-22, was a step better - particularly at high AoA/low speed. Now, was it that much better? In reality it wasn't a ton better, probably almost a wash, but you always have to remember that the time period of the competition played a role in the selection of the winner.

At the time, we were seeing Russian Su-27s doing these ridiculous high AoA/low speed maneuvers (like the Cobra) thanks to thrust vectoring. So, at the time of the competition, that small difference in maneuverability was seen as a much bigger selling point for the YF-22, than say the YF-23's small advantage in supercruise speed or stealth. 

The electronics suite and cockpit on the YF-22 was also well ahead of the YF-23. Not sure if it was lack of funds, or what, but Northrop basically installed a similar cockpit to the F-15E in the YF-23 (a trick that Lockheed actually used with the F-117). However, showing up to the competition with a Gen 4 cockpit in a Gen 5 fighter, wasn't the best move. Especially when the YF-22's cockpit had a Star Wars feel to it at the time. It called into question whether Northrop had the resources to take the fighter into full-rate production without encountering enormous cost overruns. That was hugely important, because when the F-22 was ordered, the USAF wanted at least 750 of them to replace the entire F-15A/C fleet as the nation's primary air superiority fighter. Unfortunately, thanks to idiots like Dick Cheney (among other things), we ended up with less than 200 examples.

That said, the YF-23 may be among the best fighters never built, and certainly one of the best looking.

This message has been modified
Originally posted on Jan 31, 2023 at 11:54:43pm
Message parent changed from to by Emmett Fitz-Hume on Jan 31, 2023 at 11:55:05pm
Emmett Fitz-Hume
Previous username
Sugar Mr. Poon
Bio page
Emmett Fitz-Hume
Sep 11, 2013
Last login
Dec 9, 2023
Total posts
3,758 (5 FO)

Posting on CougarBoard

In order to post, you will need to either sign up or log in.