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Subject: Navy stealth plane
FJV    1/11/2008 12:48:17 PM
Is it just me, or am I the only one that is surprised by the fact that the US navy doesn't have a stealth plane (yet)?
 
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Phaid       1/12/2008 1:27:27 PM
They had every intention of procuring one, but the earlier efforts failed.  The A-12 was the one that came closest to fruition, but it would never have worked -- it grew far too heavy, and the stealth treatments at the time would have fared poorly at sea.  There was also a proposal to navalize the F-117, but that went nowhere.

In general, up until the F-35 design, truly stealthy aircraft were just not a mature enough technology, and were far too maintenance intensive, to be successfully deployed at sea.  Even the F-22 has corrosion issues around some of its panels due to the sealers being used, and it operates from dry land.  These issues could probably have been overcome, but not without the kind of spending that was never going to happen in the 90s with the end of the cold war.
 
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VelocityVector       1/12/2008 7:10:38 PM

Is it just me, or am I the only one that is surprised by the fact that the US navy doesn't have a stealth plane (yet)?

Tomahawk and Prowler were perceived as acceptable substitutes for Navy stealth until recently.  Carrier, escort and submarine funding price tags, plus single-sourced nature of A-12 (hadda maintain Boeing cash flow I guess), ensured a Navy stealth a/c would not be fielded.  Speicher might disagree if available, but events have demonstrated somewhat that Navy stealth wasn't needed around the time of A-12 development.  (cf. the Aries downing)  Now Navy truly needs stealth and I hope that F-35 can hold up to the maritime environment fairly reliably.  'cause we're committed to navalized F-35 unless the Pentagon adopts a bold stance on Navy UCAVs soon and this has contemporary prospects similar to A-12 back then, unfortunately.  Navy is simply being pulled in too many expensive directions and its cost containment strategies are failing in certain respects .  I guess Rafale-N is to be the sole naval "stealth" a/c for the next decade ;>)

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VelocityVector       1/12/2008 7:27:06 PM

Wups.  I said Boeing cash flow when I intended LM cash flow.  With the Aries reference I relied on my speculation that A-12 would have at least tested out with an A2A missile load.  As for Rafale, the tongue in cheek was intended for this decade.  Not that I'm an advocate for proper style or accuracy in any event.  Kudos to fellow anonymous attention-caller.

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