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YF-23 Black Widow II

Two YF-23 prototypes were designed and built by the contractor team of Northrop and McDonnell Douglas as part of the demonstration and evaluation phase of the US Air Force's Advanced Tactical Fighter selection program, which concluded in 1990. According to the Air Force, factors in the selection for production of the F-22 were a better designed for maintainability, greater potential for future development, and slightly lower cost. A popular view is that the decision reflected a preference for maneuverability over stealth, and it is universally held that the YF-23 was by far the better looking aircraft.

During the ATF program, one YF-23 was powered by twin Pratt and Whitney YF119 turbofan engines, while two General Electric YF120 turbofan engines were installed in the other prototype. Featuring a diamond-shaped planform, two large, sharply-canted ruddervators, and a serrated aft profile, the high performance aircraft was larger than the F-15 it was designed to replace. The YF-23 employed stealth characteristics and was capable of supersonic cruise flight without afterburner.


Contractor Northrop / McDonnell Douglas
Mission Competitor, along with YF-22, in the ATF competition
Length 67 feet, 5 inches (20.6 meters)
Wing span 43 feet, 7 inches (13.3 meters)
Height 13 feet, 11 inches (4.3 meters)
Maximum takeoff weight 64,000 pounds (29,029 kilograms)
Propulsion 2 Pratt and Whitney YF119 turbofan engines, or
2 General Electric YF120 turbofan engines
Speed Mach 2
Range 865-920 miles (750-800 nautical miles) unrefuelled
-Armament 4 AIM-9 Sidewinder - internal bays in engine intake duct sides
4 AIM-120 AMRAAM - internal bays underneath air intakes
Crew One
Unit Cost Unknown
Inventory Two (in storage a Edwards AFB)

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Friday, March 12, 1999 7:56:18 PM