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Rockwell XFV-12

United States (1977)
Picture of Rockwell XFV-12 VTOL Carrier-based Fighter Prototype
Picture of Rockwell XFV-12 VTOL Carrier-based Fighter Prototype

The Rockwell International XFV-12 VTOL system never materialized past the prototype stage.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Rockwell XFV-12 VTOL Carrier-based Fighter Prototype.  Entry last updated on 11/3/2014. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Rockwell XFV-12 aircraft was a proposed design attempting to fulfill a United States Navy (USN) requirement for a VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) supersonic fighter. Though a promising concept, the XFV-12 was tested in extremely limited circumstances and proved to be a failure by the early 1980's. The XFV-12 was later dropped by the United States Navy due to rising developmental costs with its official cancellation ordered in 1981. The program only ever produced a sole prototype with a second under construction at the time of termination.

Externally, the XFV-12 was certainly a futuristic-looking fighter aircraft. To speed up development and keep costs in check, the nose section of a Douglas A-4 "Skyhawk" carried-based, multi-role fighter was used along with the intake work of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 "Phantom II" multi-role fighter. This surprisingly produced a mated design whose parts made up a sound whole. One of the most characteristic design elements became the wing planform which featured a distinct rear-set mainplane assembly coupled to all-moving forward canards. The large wing area was utilized fully for the "thrust augmented" concept to which thrust could be delivered through various openings found throughout the wings and canard foreplanes.

Power was served through a single Pratt & Whitney F401-PW-400 afterburning turbofan engine. Development estimates considered the installation to provide the aircraft with enough direct lift power but the complicated internal workings of extensive ductwork eliminated much of the thrust power resulting in less-than-expected performance. Proposed armament was to consist of a single 20mm internal Gatling-style cannon for close-in work as well as a mix of air-to-air missiles - primarily the AIM-7 "Sparrow" medium-range missile and the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" short-range missile. Because of the nature of the VTOL internal working, armament hardpoints were themselves restricted to a few placements and none could be fitted under the wings - so all missiles were mounted under the fuselage mass. Such a move limited the tactical value of the XFV-12 as a carried-based fighter despite the unique VTOL capability.

With project complexity and cost overruns beginning to take their toll, the XFV-12 was cancelled by the USN. The British Hawker Siddeley remained the VTOL champion of the skies and was even adopted by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in a rare move by an American service branch taking on a foreign frontline aircraft. While a capable attack platform with some fighter qualities, the Harrier remained a subsonic design. The VTOL mantle is expected to be taken by the upcoming Lockheed F-35 "Lightning II" VTOL variant still in development. The product represents a stealthy, 5th Generation Fighter form with advanced, inherent strike capabilities.

The hulk of the XFV-12 may someday still emerge as a preserved museum showpiece.

Any available statistics for the Rockwell XFV-12 VTOL Carrier-based Fighter Prototype are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






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.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 1600mph
Lo: 800mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (1,591mph).

    Graph average of 1200 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era
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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
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: United States
Year: 1977
Type: VTOL Carrier-based Fighter Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Rockwell International - USA
Production: 1
Global Operators:
United States
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Rockwell XFV-12 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
43.96 ft


Meters
13.4 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
28.51 ft


Meters
8.69 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
32.81 ft


Meters
10 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
13,799 lb


Kilograms
6,259 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
24,251 lb


Kilograms
11,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Pratt & Whitney F401-PW-400 augmented turbofan delivering 30,000lbf with afterburning.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
1,591 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
2,560 kph


Knots
1,382 kts


Performance
CEILING


Feet
38,999 ft


Meters
11,887 m


Miles
7.39 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft Gatling-style rotating gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Armament - Hardpoints (4):

PROPOSED STANDARD:
1 x 20mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon

PROPOSED OPTIONAL:
2 x AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles OR 4 x AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles
2 OR 4 x AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles (underfuselage)
Variants: Series Model Variants
• XFV-12 - Base Project Series Designation
• XFV-12A - Sole Prototype Model Designation