F-20 Tigershark (Wallpaper 4) aircraft photo gallery | AirSkyBuster

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F-20 Tigershark (Wallpaper 4)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

F-20 Tigershark, Jet Fighter Wallpaper 4
image dimensions : 1200 x 750
F-20 Tigershark (Wallpaper 4)
Four. F-20 Tigershark, widescreen, wallpaper, Northrop, Jet, Fighter, USA, Air Force, Attack, Aircraft, Airplane. Photo, image, picture, review, specification.
Let us say, just for the hell of it, there was this old boy who was not brain damaged so much as he was impetuous and romantic, the sort of fellow who, but for the grace of poor vision and ten thumbs, a trick knee and an unhealthy dependence on bonded bourbon, might have made a fighter pilot. Lately he has been captivated and obsessed by some of the slickest ads in print, the ones depicting the F-20 Tigershark poised on a liquid mirror out in the Mojave Desert. What is it about this bird, he wonders, that has caused it to be acclaimed in the Atlantic, praised by 60 Minutes, touted by ever skeptical Ted Koppel? Not since laying eyes on a '54 T-Bird has the old boy felt such a tingle for a machine. In time, hot, rank desire draws him to Edwards Air Force Base, a copy of Chuck Yeager's autobiography tucked into his kit. He aches to see this needle-nosed supersonic bat in the flesh, touch it. Let us just say that happens. His prosaic commuter craft drops out of a blue-black sky and taxis down the flight line, past Rockwell International, which is testing the B-1B bomber; past General Dynamics and the F-16; past Fairchild Republic and its T-46 trainers; past the Army, testing Black Hawk helicopters; past McDonnell Douglas, at work on the F-15; and just beyond the Air Force and its antisatellite system; and comes to rest outside the Northrop hangar, wherein the Tigershark resides. Our innocent is not met by a sales rep; rather, Roy Martin, a test pilot, blond and angular and wearing a jumpsuit crosshatched by so many zippered pockets that he could carry a disassembled jeep around in his coveralls, takes the shopper in tow. Martin--no American test pilot should be allowed to look dissimilar to Roy Martin--unintentionally flatters his charge by asking him whether he was ever a fighter jock. Martin needs this information to guide his presentation. After all, one should never bore the experienced with a nuts-and-bolts primer. The visitor answers negatively, tugs a forelock and asks how fast the F-20 accelerates from zero to 60. (Two and one-half minutes after a cold start, the Tigershark is flying at 38,000 ft., 13 miles from its base, the plane's radar locked in on an intruder 63 miles away.) The nuts-and-bolts primer it will be. In a conference room, Martin explains that the plane is simplicity itself. "Say there is a penetration ..." "Of what?" "Your airspace." "Oh." "And you want to launch against that guy and find out who it is. The F-20 is tailored so that as soon as you turn the electrical system on, you can hit the air." About here in the pilgrim's education, his mind commences laboring furiously to comprehend the first of hundreds of tight little wads of initials they use in the defense game. In this case it is the INS, or inertial navigation system, whose alignment takes three to ten minutes in planes that fly with conventional navigational rigs, but in the F-20, owing to Honeywell's ring laser gyro, the INS is aligned in 22 seconds flat. The listener, who had once confused the word amenities with the word accessories in a conversation with a car dealer in Manhattan, only to be scolded, "You want amenities, try Eighth Avenue!" keeps his mouth shut. "Now we're airborne," Martin is saying. During the Cold War, the US government had a policy where the US would support anyone who was an enemy of communism. While this helped check the spread of communism, it lead to the US being in bed with some pretty unsavory tyrants. This philosophy was changed with the election of President Jimmy Carter. Carter declared that we should never export our front-line weapons and fighter jets. This declaration lead to the FX fighter jet program lead by Northrop. Northrop believed that they could upgrade the F-5E Tiger II aircraft to be equal to any front-line fighter in the world, yet cost only a fraction of the price. The FX program got the go ahead in 1980, but without any government funding. What emerged was the F-20 Tigershark. Powered by a GE F404-GE-100 low bypass turbofan offering 17,000 pounds of thrust, the 15,000 pound aircraft could hit Mach 2.1 at 36,000 feet. Despite offering excellent performance at modest cost, sales never materialized for the F-20. An early sale to Taiwan was canceled to avoid offending mainland China. Other countries were interested, but they were hesitant to buy into the F-20 unless the USAF or Navy would adopt the aircraft. A small but critical sale to the US Navy for aggressor aircraft was a heartbreaking loss to Northrop when the US Navy purchased the F-16N. You cannot blame the US Navy since the F-16N was offered to them for well under cost just to stiff Northrop. The final nail in the coffin came when President Reagan declared that he was willing to sell anything to anyone as long as they had the cash. This opened the flood gates for export sales of the F-15 and F-16. The few sales that the F-20 had written up were converted to F-5E Tiger II aircraft. The F-20 program was shuttered in late 1986. Four Tigershark aircraft were started by Northrop at their own expense. The first two were used extensively to fly demonstrations for potential customers. Both aircraft were lost in crashes, one in Korea, the other in Canada. Both accidents were pilot error related to the aircraft being able to outperform the humans who fly them. The third aircraft was set up much more closely to the final production configuration. It was used extensively in testing. It survives today in a California museum. The fourth airframe was never completed. In the end, the F-20 Tigershark was reported to use 53% less fuel, required 52% less maintenance, had 63% lower operating costs, was four times more reliable, and had the fastest scramble time of any fighter jet in the world. That made it the finest fighter aircraft that never went into production. And the F-16N sale that doomed the F-20? The F-16N was quietly retired long before its time due to airframe cracks. The F-16N simply could not hold up to the daily use that those Navy fliers expect from an airplane.


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