PHOTOS: Fighter, bomber & trainer concepts unveiled at AFA

Boeing FX thumb.jpg

No one in the US Air Force is publicly talking about replacing the relatively youthful Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor. Neither is there any public commitment by the USAF’s leadership to immediately replace the relatively aging Northrop T-38C Talon.

But those facts haven’t stopped some of the defence industry’s most creative contractors from showing off new concept drawings on the walls of their exhibit booths here at the Air Force Association’s annual convention at National Harbor, Md.

The above “F-X” concept poster shows a twin-jet, single-seat, tailless air superiority fighter on Boeing’s stand.  Nearby at the Northrop Grumman exhibit booth is a concept image of their own F-22 replacement candidate, which is shown below.

NG FX thumb.jpgBoeing also finally revealed its all-new trainer concept. We must note that this blogger actually saw this very image three months ago inside Boeing’s Phantom Works offices. At the time, Boeing’s media relations department vehemently denied that this concept showed the company’s secret T-X drawing. Yet, here it was at AFA, and it is identified as exactly that. And media relations types always seem so offended when I question their sincerity!


Boeing TX thumb.jpgFinally, here’s another image showing Northrop’s high-speed bomber concept. This is not the first time I’ve seen this image, but it’s too interesting to leave out of this post.

NG bomber thumb.jpg


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21 Responses to PHOTOS: Fighter, bomber & trainer concepts unveiled at AFA

  1. ArkadyRenko 20 September, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    Any information about the actual airplanes? Or are they just pictures for now.

    What is interesting is the “back to the future” stealth. Both Northrup and Boeing are going with intakes on the top, like the Bird of Prey. Also, the Boeing design looks much more optimized for speed from its previous designs.

    Finally, surely there is more information about that “high speed bomber.” Replacement for the Valkyrie / B-1b?

  2. So? 20 September, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    Cool. But a fighter with top-mounted intakes?

  3. David 20 September, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    Ok, last image. I’ll bite. What the blazes is that? Minor bumps on the nose outline remind me of an SR nose, albeit with more sweep. Mid mounted cockpit – more like a Colonial Viper than anything else. Fairly small engines – seemingly so. Amazing wing sweep and no vertical surfaces.

    Where else have you seen this? I’m intrigued! ;-)

  4. johnny 20 September, 2011 at 5:28 am #

    Wishful thinking. The country will likely be bankrupt by the time the F-22 retires.

  5. jetcal1 20 September, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Given the current state of our procurement system, coupled with the ability of the major DoD contractors to deliver on time…these rendering amount to not much more than corporate wet dreams.

    Lest anyone think I’m being harsh, come work with Boeing Commerical on a few contracts with me. How ’bout requiring fluids testing with Halon 1301?

  6. Fadl Isa 20 September, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Forgot to add: there are inward canted vertical tails.

  7. BDF 20 September, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    “Cool. But a fighter with top-mounted intakes?”

    You betchya. Although the USAF hasn’t come up with any formal requirements for the next gen Tac-Air (F-X) just yet it is commonly understood that broadband all aspect VLO is going to be a requirement to deal with the proliferation of L band and VHF radars. That means no vertical services, a flat bottom and no vertical tail among other things.

    I suspect that we’ll see something that looks more like the Northrup design than boeings; i.e. a large delta since the NGTA will need a very long range to be useful in the western pacific.

  8. aboriginee 20 September, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    last image…..Greetings from Professor Lippisch….:)

  9. 7K7 20 September, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    “Colonial Viper” It does too and the Grumman replacement for an F-22 look like those fighter thingies out of The Empire Strikes Back :-D

    I think they’re all just pulling our legs.

  10. Taygibay 20 September, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    On that high speed bomber in the last picture/drawing,
    what would be the downward view from that middle of
    fuselage cockpit? The nose would block it to the front,
    the first delta of the blended-wing body would at least
    limit it to the sides except far away from axial line and
    thus the pilot would hardly be able to verify that targets
    were hit.
    Of course target acquisition and bombing would most
    likely be automated especially at higher speeds but then,
    why not simply rely on the CPGS program?

    As a funny side note to Stephen, maybe those media relations
    guys are sincere but tnot trusted with ALL news by their boss?

    Good day all.

  11. sferrin 20 September, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    “”Cool. But a fighter with top-mounted intakes?”

    You betchya. Although the USAF hasn’t come up with any formal requirements for the next gen Tac-Air (F-X) just yet it is commonly understood that broadband all aspect VLO is going to be a requirement to deal with the proliferation of L band and VHF radars.”

    There’s a reason there has only been ONE dorsal mounted intake on a fighter plane that actually got built (YF-107) – they suck. (No pun intended.)

  12. jetcal1 20 September, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Looks almost like an updated dyna-soar.

    Did the F-107 seat eject down?

  13. alloycowboy 21 September, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    I hate to say it but it looks like Boeing is on its way to loosing another fighter contest with its F-X design. Lets list the obvious mistakes:

    1)Going with a twin engine design rather a single engine.
    2)Going with top mounted air intakes.
    3)Going with a rudderless design for a fighter.
    4)Its low volume to drag ratio means there is less room for fuel,weapons,and avionics.

  14. Belkaland 21 September, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    Grumman F-22 Replacement looks alot like EDI from the movie Stealth.

  15. Rapier 21 September, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    Boeing’s X-T concept ….. seemingly a mix of T-38, F-18 and YF-23 …..

  16. Matt 21 September, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Not sure why everyone is calling out Boeing for the top mounted engines, every non-trainer design has engines on the top in these pictures.

  17. David 22 September, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Didn’t notice the tails until you mentioned them. Sure are close together. Odd looking thing – lots of reasons NOT to design anything like this. ;-)

  18. John 23 September, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Again Boeing pushes the envelope on defense development. Always good to see them making the most of the service men/women they find a way to bring on board post service.

  19. dark sidius 23 September, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    Why there is no bomber concept on the Boeing stand its mean that just Northrop is on the new long range strike?

  20. puppethead 25 September, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    The F-X concept looks like they just took the McDD/NG/BAe JSF design and turned it upside-down – see:

  21. DAM 26 September, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    I like them all. My favorite plane ever is the S-71….what a marvel.

    I think we have planes now that would blow our mind. Think about it, how long did it take for the S71, F117, and others to be publicized. I hope that the govt keeps our secret machines secret too. I want to see them too, but security is better than my or anyone else’s curiosity.

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