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I know that radar cross-section (RCS) tests were performed on geometric models of both the YF-22 and YF-23 prototype submitted for the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) competition, but were the same tests performed on the actual YF-22 and YF-23 prototypes when they were in flight?

Both designs had the correct shaping to their outer machine lines in order to minimize radar cross-section, but there is a noticeable difference between those prototypes and, say, the production F 22 in terms of very small details i.e. RAM inlays, putties, tapes around doors etc. A similar phenomenon was observed with the X-35 JSF when compared with the F-35 Lightning II development aircraft. That makes me wonder if such an RCS test was part of the ATF competition.

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  • $\begingroup$ I wonder how useful that would be, since the measurement would be further off from the final product than simulation and ground testing. $\endgroup$ – user3528438 Oct 26 '17 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ Probably not, I would guess. A numerical model would probably more closely predict the F-22's RCS than the pre-production, pre-EMD YF-22/23. I'm fairly certain they tested scaled models on the pole before the YF-22 even flew in 1991(?). And they did later (1999) verify the F-22's RCS with a 'full-scale replica built to production tolerances'. If YF-22 pole testing did happen, Ben Rich might've mentioned it in Skunk Works, but I don't recall. $\endgroup$ – Hephaestus Aetnaean Oct 26 '17 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ Also, here's the YF-23 DEM/VAL presentation by Paul Metz and Jim Sandberg. It's been too long since I've watched it to recall whether they touched on pole testing. $\endgroup$ – Hephaestus Aetnaean Oct 26 '17 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ "production F 22 inch rims" - is this the first American fighter riding on dubs? $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Oct 27 '17 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ Just checking in. Did you ever find an answer? $\endgroup$ – Hephaestus Aetnaean Dec 20 '17 at 20:56

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