Did the United States have a Top Secret Fighter Prototype called the YF-24?

boeing-fa-xx-design (Image: Boeing via YouTube; F/A-XX concept)

Rumours of the existence of a top secret proof-of-concept aircraft called the YF-24 have persisted since the mystery designation appeared in the bio of former test pilot Joseph Lanni. The reference was later redacted, causing speculation that the YF-24 is – or was – a classified technology demonstrator, a stealth prototype, or simply a typo.

The Pentagon has consistently denied the existence of an aircraft called the YF-24, and many black project researchers remain similarly unconvinced. But others have suggested that it could be linked to the ill-fated Advanced Tactical Aircraft (ATA) programme or early Joint Strike Fighter studies.

Lanni himself commanded a classified flight test squadron between 1995 and 1997. During that time his unit evaluated foreign aircraft such as Russian MiGs – another possible explanation for the mysterious YF-24 since the secret testing of foreign jets was (and likely still is) conducted under spurious designations.

boeing-model-24f (Image via Boeing/US Air Force study)

But this interesting article on the DEW Line reignited the debate, referencing a Boeing engineering paper for a Multirole Fighter concept dating back to the 1990s. The design, known as the Model-24F (above), shares common traits with Boeing concepts for the ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter) programme, the defunct X-32 demonstrator, and renderings of the future F/A-XX programme.

The DEW Line suggests that the design reflects a lighter, faster, more agile fighter than Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and “has provisions for two-dimensional thrust vectoring and some other interesting features.”

boeing-mrf-24x (Image via Key Publishing Aviation Forum)

A more recent Boeing study, meanwhile, labelled the MRF-24X, shows a tailless version of the same basic aircraft, devoid of vertical and horizontal stabilizers and with redesigned exhaust nozzles. The outlines suggest that the earlier Model-24F design used 1998 technology, while the MRF-24X study incorporated 2003 tech and resembled Boeing’s more recent F/A-XX sixth generation fighter concept (which was updated in April 2013, below).

boeing-next-generation-air-dominance (Image: Boeing)

Are the mysterious YF-24 and Boeing’s Model-24F one and the same? Was such an aircraft ever built and tested, either as a technology demonstrator or classified prototype? The answer is that we don’t know. And a year after the DEW Line article reignited the YF-24 discussion, we remain none the wiser.

Interested in classified planes? Explore the Top Secret Stealth Aircraft Burial Grounds of Area 51.

 

About the author: Tom

 

Website: https://www.urbanghostsmedia.com

 

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