MANUFACTURER(S): Nothrop Aviation - USA
OPERATORS: United States (cancelled)
LENGTH: 55.77 feet (17 meters)
WIDTH: 114.83 feet (35 meters)
HEIGHT: 16.40 feet (5 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 17,196 pounds (7,800 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 34,348 pounds (15,580 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x General Electric YJ101-100 afterburning turbojet engines developing 14,400lb thrust each.
SPEED (MAX): 1,496 miles-per-hour (2407 kilometers-per-hour; 1,300 knots)
RANGE: 2,989 miles (4,811 kilometers; 2,598 nautical miles)
CEILING: 49,213 feet (15,000 meters; 9.32 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 50,000 feet-per-minute (15,240 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Northrop YF-17 (Cobra) Technology Demonstrator Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 10/23/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The YF-17 Cobra was a Northrop Aviation creation through NASA to support further testing and research of aircraft at transonic speeds (meaning just underneath the speed of sound, or 700-780mph / 1,127-1,255kph). The YF-17 Cobra was, itself, born from the United States Air Force's Lightweight Fighter Program.
The Lightweight Fighter Program called for a prototype that was small and low cost / maintenance, with the capabilities of an air superiority day fighter. Though losing out to the General Dynamics YF-16 (later to become the F-16 Fighting Falcon), the YF-17 would see bluer skies in the form of the later F/A-18 Hornet aboard the carrier of the United States Navy.
After the failed LWF fly-off competition for the YF-17 Cobra, tests began with NASA over a seven week period that included in-flight pressure data recorded through sensors from all over the aircraft airframe, studies in transonic maneuverability, and stability and control factors in controlled forty-five minute long flights.
In the end, the YF-17 Cobra would set the stage for the first prototypes and production models of the highly successful F/A-18 series of aircraft, leading up to the "Super Hornet" design and the eventual successor to the much regarded F-14 Tomcat series of carrier-based interceptors.
Where applicable, the appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Russian Ministry of Defense, Chinese Ministry of Defense or British Ministry of Defence visual information does not imply or constitute endorsement of this website (www.MilitaryFactory.com). Images marked with "www.MilitaryFactory.com" or featuring the Military Factory logo are copyrighted works exclusive to this site and not for reuse in any form.
Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (1,496mph).
Graph average of 1125 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Northrop YF-17A (Cobra)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units