F-19

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F-19 is a designation for a hypothetical United States fighter aircraft that has never been officially acknowledged, and has engendered much speculation that it might refer to a type of aircraft whose existence is still classified.

History[edit]

Since the unification of the numbering system in 1962, U.S. fighters have been designated by consecutive numbers, beginning with the F-1 Fury. F-13 was never assigned to a fighter due to superstition, though the designation had previously been used for a reconnaissance version of the B-29. After the F/A-18 Hornet, the next announced aircraft was the F-20 Tigershark. The USAF proposed the F-19 designation for the fighter, but Northrop requested the "F-20" instead. The USAF finally approved the F-20 designation in 1982.[1] There have been a number of theories put forth to explain this omission, but none have ever been confirmed.

The most prevalent theory in the 1980s was that "F-19" was the designation of the stealth fighter whose development was an open secret in the aerospace community. When the actual aircraft was publicly revealed in 1988, it was called the F-117 Nighthawk. There seems to be no evidence that "F-19" was ever used to designate the Nighthawk, although the National Museum of the United States Air Force website does include the entry "Lockheed F-19 CSIRS (see F-117)" as of 2011.[2] Another theory suggests that F-19 was the designation applied to the Have Blue technology demonstrator which led to the development of the F-117.

Notable appearances in media[edit]

The Monogram model "F-19A Specter".
  • In his 1986 novel Red Storm Rising, Tom Clancy featured the "F-19A Ghostrider" (nicknamed "Frisbee" by the pilots and crew) as a secret weapon used to combat a Soviet invasion of Germany. This vehicle was considerably more capable than the F-117, being a supersonic fighter rather than a subsonic precision bomber. The F-19A as described in the book featured underwing hardpoints for various ordnance, including air-to-air missiles and BLU-107 Durandal runway-cratering bombs. The aircraft also has circular wings instead of angular ones, hence the nickname.[citation needed]
  • Jane's Information Group published an incorrect entry on the F-19 in their aviation reference, Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1986-1987. In addition to the fictitious artwork, the 1987-1988 and 1988-89 editions lists the aircraft as the "Lockheed 'RF-19'" and "'XST'".[6]
  • The 1990 videogame Air Diver featured an "F-119D Stealth Fighter" that strongly resembled the Monogram F-19 model.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Related lists

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frey, Lieutenant Colonel William. "The F-20, Saga of an FX." Air University Review, May–June 1986.
  2. ^ National Museum of the USAF Fighter Index Accessed February 28, 2011.
  3. ^ "Lockheed F-19 Stealth Fighter (1986)". Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  4. ^ Trenner, Patricia (2008). "A Short (Very Short) History of the F-19". Air & Space magazine. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  5. ^ "F-19A Specter (1987)". Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  6. ^ Taylor, JWR (Editor) (1988). Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1988-1989. Jane's Information Group. p. 411. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.