McAir/General Dynamics A-12 Avenger II (Flying Dorito)

Experimental aircraft including -but not limited to- X-planes, from the Bell X-1 to the Su-47
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habu2

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Unread post07 Aug 2007, 04:07

This next pic is of the "boneyard" west of the runway, it is in the top left corner of the previous pic
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habu2

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Unread post07 Aug 2007, 04:12

Last pic - in the center of this image is the A-12 Full Scale Mockup. The FSM is pointing southwest (north is up) and the wingtips have been removed at the hinge line and are piled underneath the fuselage. At one time the FSM was fully restored and headed for a North Texas aviation museum at Alliance Field, but when the museum deal fell apart Lockheed couldn't justify hangar space to protect the FSM. So now, and for the past 18 months (or more) it has been sitting outside, ravaged by the elements. Sorry, I don't have any ground-level photos, taking a camera on site would land me in jail.
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elp

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Unread post07 Aug 2007, 14:59

My first assignment back in the good old days of SAC :lol: Saw a lot of F-16 demos too including a few XL's.

That is neat that you found a A-12 mock up.

You can always ask the Public Relations people for permission/clearance to take photos if you can convince them: a historical write up etc. They can only say no.
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Lightndattic

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Unread post07 Aug 2007, 20:10

That's where I was born. I've only ever been back once after that.

BTW... when were those satellite pics taken? I looked on Google Maps and it doesn't show it there anymore. It looks like there's an old F-16 there now.
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habu2

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Unread post08 Aug 2007, 02:18

The pics were taken before early 2006, and I know it (FSM) was still there in May 2007. I'm basing the early 2006 date on the fact that, if you pan around, you can see LM hasn't broken ground on the new JSF F-35 final assembly building, which is where the parking lot immediately north of the main assembly line building is. I'm pretty sure they broke ground in late '05 or early '06, can't remember.

I would venture that the google pics are older than these I snagged from live.com
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Unread post07 Dec 2008, 06:32

Still there on Google earth, just to the right of the old house.
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johnwill

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Unread post07 Dec 2008, 08:06

The real reason the Navy A-12 was cancelled was that we (GD and Mc) never could figure out how to build such massive composite spars for the wing/fuselage center section. Successful bonding such thick flanges and webs was never achieved reliably. Then, GD, Mc, and the Navy compounded the problem by lying to SecDef Dick Cheney. He then unwittingly repeated the lies to Congress and was more than pi$$ed when he found out the truth. You don't mess with Dick Cheney.

I was leader of the structural flight test team for A-12 and was well along toward planning the program when it waa cancelled. The flight test program would have been great fun, but was never to be. My number 2 transferred to Marietta and ran the F-22 structural flight test and is now back in Fort Worth running th F-35 structural flight test. Lucky bastard!

Habu2, the building you referred to is not an assembly building, but is the F-35 paint facility. F-35 assembly is in the main assembly building. F-16 assembly has been moved out of the main assembly building into another smaller building. The F-35 line is located where many thousands of planes have been built, including B-24, B-32, B-36, B-58, F-111, and F-16. Quite a heriatge to live up to.
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Unread post07 Dec 2008, 14:35

Just to add to John's post and the posts above; the A-12 mockup is still sitting outside with all the other mockups at the north side of the plant. The wings are off and sitting right next to her and she looks pretty good for being beat up over the years by being outside.
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sferrin

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Unread post07 Dec 2008, 17:03

johnwill wrote:The real reason the Navy A-12 was cancelled was that we (GD and Mc) never could figure out how to build such massive composite spars for the wing/fuselage center section. Successful bonding such thick flanges and webs was never achieved reliably.


How many plys?
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Unread post07 Dec 2008, 22:50

Couldn't even guess, but they were at least an inch thick.
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Unread post10 Dec 2008, 02:03

Salute!

Never did see the Northrop-Grumman entry, but as I stated, did all the weapon control algorithms and cockpit displays.

Some dweebs from our parent contractor got to see the mockup, but I never did.

With all the work that Northrop had done for the B-2, I don't think they were going to have many problems with the composites.

Looks to me that GD-McAir "bought" their way in, then couldn't come thru.

A few years later, worked on Lockheed's P-7 to replace the Orion. They did the same thing, then got canned by the Navy.

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Unread post07 Jun 2013, 20:19

Granny,

If anyone knows it's speed, weapons payload, and things like that I would appreciate it.


This varied throughout the program from early concept formulation (in which there were three variants: a strike wing, a multirole wing and a VG Tomcat clone) through to the last of DemVal when the fat vs. thin wing choices were made and on into the FSED contract where other changes were done to accommodate weight blooms associated with LO and sensors.

It is important to note that the USN was as crooked as a Virginia fence in constantly mandating an optimum solution while paying for a lesser aircraft spec and that they began this process of breaking from fiduciary responsibility for the public fisk early on as a function of failing to tell the Contractors that their weight estimates were all off by some 2,631lbs and making them 'compete' with a phantom after Northrop essentially pulled out of the program.

This led to demands for weight reduction which were not part of the fixed price initital contract (concentrated on LO and airframe flying qualities achievement) and these factors also effected configuration level capabilities as GDMD started off behind the 8 ball on things like Stealth Materials weighting.

By the end of the program, the official required 37,327lb empty weight was some 7,900lbs over and this could only have been addressed by shifting much of the anticipated weapons totals into 'overload' (landbased Marine and USAF) restricted carriage along with the fuel to pay for the higher throttle settings to carry them. The USAF was fond of stating that at full load, only 13 runways in the world could operate the A-12.

That said, overall dimensions were roughly 36X70X9ft while general performance level expectations were around 540 knots at initially and 568 knots at the end with the thrust augmented F412. Ceiling was 45,000ft at the beginning and 43,000ft at the end. Instantaneous vs. Sustained G were on the order of 6.5 and 5.5G throughout (Ps 180ft/sec). Combat Radius was roughly 840nm vs. a desired 1,000nm though there were some who believed that drag would pull this down and that the shift to fatter wings for more fuel for would negatively effect this even more as it required higher thrust availability y from the already maxxed out F412 engines to overcome the drag which would have further effected SFCs previously guaranteed to .124 lbs/hr/hr or 4,900lbs per hour. The jet carried some 24,358lbs of fuel with a wingarea of 1,250sqft and a wingloading of 55lbs/sqft so it was not lift compromised but it's T/Wr would have been around .5 empty and under .27 at full load which, in the opinion of many meant it was not safe for bolter or waveoff conditioned go around (JAFE would have supplied 16-19,000lbst engines if the USN had been honest about the program's funding requirements...).

With all of the above modifiers in mind, payload was listed at around 5,500lbs and was the most contentious of all variables as 'official' stores numbers included:

8X2,000lb Mk.84 (internal)
10X1,0000lb Mk.83 (internal)
16X 500lb Mk.82HD (internal)
24X 500lb Mk.82LD (internal)
X2 AGM-84A + X2 AGM-88 (internal)
2X AGM-137 TSSAM (2,200lbs per unit)
10X AIM-120 AMRAAM (internal)
6X SUU-60 Series TMD (internal)
1X 300 gallon tank + 1X D-704 AAR buddy pod (external)

All with a constant of 2X 200lb AIM-9L/M self defense optioning in the outer bays.

Even ignoring munition weights that are on the order of 17,000lbs without racks, there are problems with this in that the Mk.84 for instance is roughly 10.75ft long whereas the length of the airframe is only about 36ft and going from three views, the weapons bay length is between 1/2 and 2/3rds of the latter figure.

.6 X 36 = 21ft which means that the bombs with a 1ft front and rear bay wall clearance have to overlap in tandem by as much as 3ft while resting side by side. This can only mean a vertical staggered displacement (one below the other) and even if the bay was deep enough, it is firm U.S. joint service policy never to allow the failure of one munition to foul another's release in internal weapons bay aircraft applications.

Speakign of which, one thing which most of the models get wrong (Planet Models doesn't because they don't include any weapons bays at all) is that the entire bottom of the aircraft was essentially hollow with just enough skin running over stringers to fair in the huge expanse of doors covering the weapons, landing gear and engine bay enclosures. As a result of this, the main weapons bays were _right_ next door to the MLG bays and had a bifold door which dropped down even as it folded up the bottom third to roughly double the width of the munitions cavity.

To get the kinds of loadouts they were talking about would still have required dedicated module racks, similar to the CWM/CBM on the B-1 and B-2. The AIM-120s would have had to have had some kind of rotary launcher as they are almost thirteen feet long and staggered tandemization probably would not have been practical.

Big Racks add even more weight and are a bear to get into and out of a jet as preloads or to upload in place on a busy flight deck.

These elements of the A-12 must therefore always be treated with some skepticism until further engineering drawings come forward to reveal how capable the aircraft really was.

KPl.
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Unread post07 Jun 2013, 21:05

Holy T-Necro !!

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galoot

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Unread post08 Jun 2013, 17:16

Someone did ask for the specific information I supplied, in both cases.

The point of interest for me is in their response on either of the two key points I raised:

1. What were the actual weapons loading systems to be used to pack so many munitions into such a small (relative to total aircraft size) bay volume in a manner that didn't sacrifice more rack&rail to carriage box than they gave back as multi-carriage enablement.

2. Confirmation that what is shown in the jpegs was indeed what the NGL ATA-12 airframe would have looked like.

The relevance to a more topically current subject is inherent to the similarity of design with the X-47B which is also unique as a big-bay weapons carrier in being the ONLY other jet with an internal bay which has been suggested (actually displayed) as being compatible with the AGM-88 HARM uploaded.

Thus indicating that 'black missiles' have not been developed to replace the HARM's outsized 36" X 14ft X 800lb size. And that the APG-81 HPM magic modes are not all they are cracked up to be. Since a post IADS reduced threat arena is one where legacy aircraft can fly unbothered with JDAM and Sniper above the trashfire ceiling, this is a critical modifier in the 'what do we buy and in how many numbers?' considerations of force structure as the U.S. heads into a massive second-dip inflationary depression thanks to the stimulus funds only now flooding into the markets,

In an era when people are finally starting to question the 'Look out! I got both bombs on today!' nature of the F-35s own weapons carriage mode and yet no one attempts to do the obvious which is transplant the EWP from the Super Hornet International Roadmap project to enable LO encapsulated external carriage, the availability of big-bay UCAVs as an alternative cannot be ignored.

You may attack or stay your typing hand as you wish but giving up your sanity to refrain from doing so is hardly a mark of your integrity because the USN's fraudulent funding activities with the A-12 program effort and specifically their refusal to make a simple 553 million dollar progress payment so that the program could be sorted out rather than illegally (DFAR regulations) terminated without review is the SOLE reason we are stuck with BOTH F/A-18E/F (4.2 billion R&D + 14 billion acquisition) -and- the F-35 (388 billion and counting) programs.

The A-12 would have priced out at between 91 and 96 million dollars in 1990 FYD. It would have been a superior BOMBER to what the F-35C only pretends to be as a /fighter/ in a 143 million dollar airframe in early lot production costings and 82 million in later blocks (half the jet, 85% of the price...).

We have had all of about seven A2A engagements since Desert Storm yet we have taken dozens of SAM shots, not all of which (F-16C and F-117 over the Balkans) been successfully defeated. We still do not have a loitering, high payload, LO protected, platform to serve the DEAD/SEAD FNOW, kill box BAI/OBAS or post-occupational CAS-stack provider missions.

Our only affordable alternative to the Lightning II may well be the X-47B derived UCLASS which effectively means -another- new program start in a time of severe funding sequestration.

Ignore history only at the cost (literally in this case) of repeating it's mistakes. Reviewing the A-12 at this time makes sense.
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Unread post13 Jun 2013, 01:04

Gums wrote:Salute!

Never did see the Northrop-Grumman entry, but as I stated, did all the weapon control algorithms and cockpit displays.

Some dweebs from our parent contractor got to see the mockup, but I never did.

With all the work that Northrop had done for the B-2, I don't think they were going to have many problems with the composites.

Looks to me that GD-McAir "bought" their way in, then couldn't come thru.

A few years later, worked on Lockheed's P-7 to replace the Orion. They did the same thing, then got canned by the Navy.

Gums sends ...


Granted the above post is over 4 years old, but since the topic as come back up I have some info that might be of interest. Attached is one of the few pics I've been able to find of the Northrop Grumman proposal for the ATA. This is from an out of print book on the A-12 program. Notice the resemblance to the Northrop Grumman LRB of a few years back proposal as well as the X-47B

Because of the court case, we've learned a lot about what happened. It wasn't so much that GD-MDD (McAir had eaten Douglas by this time) were blameless, they did some hinkey stuff and their (apparently) forced marriage for this project was not going well, but there was a bunch of strange gov't stuff going on as well. For one thing, the Northrop Grumman team took a look at the price the gov't wanted to pay for R&D and production and essentially said,, "You can't build this plane for that". Plus on a program as risky on this they were unwilling to make reliability guarantees to the extent USN was demanding before R&D even started. Finally, DoD wanted a firm fixed-price development contract, and those things always go bad on new technologies, plus Grumman had previously been badly burned when they agreed to a lower price to develop their F-14 and accept such a contract. Navy refused to make any changes, so the team submitted a bid that they knew would be labeled as non-compliant, because they refused to bid firm fixed price for development. It's worthy of note that although Lockheed joined all kinds of teams for A/FX, they wanted no part of the ATA program

Their bid was rejected, but GD-MDD were never told the other team walked away and so were willing to negotiate for a lower price, since they still thought they were competing against another team. This is what galoot was talking aobut

Anotherr big factor was that GD-MDD clearly stated that their bid was predicated on being allowed access to exiting stealth data so that they wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel. In the court cases it came out that USAF controlled access. USAF was never that thrilled about buying ATA ("Why not just buy more B-2s"?), and so for some reason the GD-MDD team never quite seemed to have people that would pass muster to access the data. Eventually, they just decided to start from scratch, which drove costs through the roof.

Although these weren't the only causes of what went down (there was a bit of lying by both contractor and Navy folks, they were important. One humorous aspect of the court cases was int he 2000s the remnants of the team were still saying they would have been able to meet the requirements (for one thing, they were not required to meet the weight goals until the 24th aircraft). They said that in order to prove this, they needed to be able to present to the court documents and reports that were classified. The Gov't's response to this was basically"No, you can't present those documents in court, even one that would have the appropriate clearances. But don't worry, trust us; we looked at them and we're right and you're wrong". The courts rejected this argument, saying the Gov't was perfectly within its rights to say no one could see those documents, but then it couldn't also claim those same documents proved their case.

And the story goes on and on and on
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