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Northrop P600 / YF-17


Based on the company-funded P530 Cobra project, the YF-17 was developed to meet a USAF Request for Proposals for a lightweight day air superiority fighter. Of the companies making submissions for the RFP, Northrop and General Dynamics were each awarded contracts on 13 April 1972 for their contenders as the YF-17 and YF-16 respectively.

The YF-17 Cobra prototype (72-01569), the first of two for competitive evaluation against the General Dynamics YF-16, made its maiden flight on 9 June 1974. The second prototype made its first flight on August 21 1974 from Edwards AFB, California. These were powered by two General Electric YJ101-GE-100 engines rated at 6532kg with afterburning. Proposed armament comprised one 20mm rotary cannon and two AIM-9 Sidewinder AAMs, provision being made for one centreline and four wing stores stations to give the YF-17 multi-mission capability.


Northrop’s YF-17A prototypes failed to win a production contract for the USAFs LWF (lightweight fighter) requirement, losing out to the General Dynamics YF-16A in 1974. Developed later by Northrop and McDonnell Douglas, it is in production for the US Navy as the F/A-18 Hornet single-seat naval strike fighter.

Northrop's YF-17 #1 prototype was flying a number of research missions for NASA at Edwards AFB in California. One of two objectives for the twin-engine fighter was collection of in-flight pressure data around the afterbody of the aircraft and engine nozzles. The data was to be compared with wind tunnel information in an effort to improve wind tunnel prediction techniques which will help de-signers of future fighter aircraft.

Engines: two General Electric YJ101-GE-100, 6532kg with afterburning
Span: 10.67 m (35 ft 0 in)
Length: 16.92 m / 55 ft 6 in
Height: 4.42 m / 14 ft 6 in
Wing area: 32.51 sq.m / 349.93 sq ft
Max take-off weight: 13894 kg / 30631 lb
Loaded weight: 9526 kg / 21001 lb
Maximum speed: Mach 2+ / 2071 km/h / 1287 mph
Range w/max.fuel: 4506 km / 2800 miles


Northrop YF-17



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