It is now clear that, during the 1980s, the Americans were not the only power working on low-observable stealth aircraft (embodied by their Lockheed F-117 "Nighthawk" bomber). Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) of West Germany began their own work on a separate entry known under the name of Lampyridae ("Firefly"). However, this project did not see the light of day as an operational fighter for whatever reason. Despite this, the work bears mention for its program goals.
This unique European-originated aircraft featured sharp angles and faceted panels about its design. A diamond-like planform was selected which incorporated a single vertical tail fin, extremely pointed nose and its cockpit canopy conforming to the generally sharp shape. The design was not unlike the "Have Blue" product which preceded the F-117 but apparently was not influenced by the American approach in any way - the two designs emerging from different parts of the world independently. A tricycle undercarriage was a conventional feature of the design. The single engine buried within the fuselage was aspirated through an inverted triangular intake opening under the cockpit.
A wind tunnel model was tested by the Germans in 1985. In 1987, United States Air Force personnel were shown the work which, much to their surprise, followed closely their Have Blue / F-117 projects which were conducted under complete secrecy. Likewise, the German endeavor was also of a secretive nature so the two programs should never have crossed paths. In the end, the Lampryridae's appearance was deemed nothing more than coincidental - a reasoning ultimately accepted by the United States.
Beyond the wind tunnel model was a full-sized mockup but little else of the project came to fruition for the program was abandoned.
Presented performance and dimension numbers on this page are estimated.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
47.6 ft (14.50 m)
21.3 ft (6.50 m)
7.5 ft (2.30 m)
8,818 lb (4,000 kg)
12,125 lb (5,500 kg)
+3,307 lb (+1,500 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base MBB Lampyridae (Firefly) production variant)
Not Available. Sole turbofan engine of unknown thrust output assumed.
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