Are all-moving rudders more stealthy? If so, how come YF22 which is just as fixated with rear body stealthiness as the YF23 comes with conventional ones?

Also, all-moving rudders have fixed camber, which means they are far more efficient during supersonic flight, right? Another reason for an all-moving design.


As a general rule when you see an all-moving surface vs a fixed fin and control surface it's because you get more control authority per unit of surface area, so the surface itself can be smaller. Better stealth, less drag. You lose the passive weathervaning effect that provides basic yaw stability you get with a fixed fin, but with a fully active artificial stability system, that might be acceptable to the designer (although maybe not to the Air Force).

The 23 went with what amounts to a V tail, on top of all-moving surfaces, with the surfaces providing yaw and pitch authority at same time, and a fully active artificial stability system to make up for the lack of fixed surfaces. This would have had much less drag than the regular horizontal and vertical surfaces, and probably a better radar signature to boot.

Why it lost out to the 22? According to Wikipedia, it was faster and had better stealth, as your would expect from the tail arrangement, but was less agile, so we know what the Air Force's priorities were. And there was probably a range of other factors that made the 22 a better choice overall (it could be that the 23 was just a bit too radical, which may have impacted maintainability, reliability, and cost factors in a way that made the 22 look like a safer bet).

  • $\begingroup$ Sure, but why LM decided to go with a conventional rudder? the f22 relies on a computer to be flyable and has all moving elevators anyway. $\endgroup$ – Meatball Princess Jan 17 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe they decided they wanted the passive yaw stability of a fixed fin. You see very few all moving rudders. The only other ones that spring to mind is the SR71 and the Zenith homebuilts although I'm sure there are others. $\endgroup$ – John K Jan 17 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnK the Sukhoi PAK FA also has all moving rudders; however, the Russians weren't too concerned about stealth. All the hype about it being more maneuverable than the F-22 goes to the wayside when you consider that it's more a turn-fighter with stealth as an afterthought rather than a stealthy fighter with good maneuverability. Point is, you're right. The buyer's priorities in the ATF competition was practicality first, and honestly militaries should all be putting practicality first. i.e. the T-14 sucks even though everybody's crying about how "amazing" it is. $\endgroup$ – Jihyun Jan 18 at 4:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.