Military Review

A-12 Avenger II - US Navy carrier attack aircraft

The program of creating completely new deck models aviation for the United States Navy, Enhanced Tactical Aviation (ATA) began in 1983. According to this program, an average attack aircraft was to be created, capable of covering huge distances and at the same time possessing a high carrying capacity in order to replace the decked Grumman A-6. On January 13, 1988, McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics were selected to work on the ATA program. The value of the contract was estimated at $ 4,38 billion, and if necessary, the bar could be raised to a maximum of $ 4.84 billion. The contract included the development and delivery of eight full-scale aircraft models and four test copies.

A-12 Avenger II - US Navy carrier attack aircraft

The Avenger II is a unique flying-wing vehicle, the aerodynamics of which contributes to long flights and at the same time it can carry air-to-air and air-to-air weapons on board. The plans of the naval forces of the United States was the adoption of military aircraft, which in their technical equipment will exceed the used F-117A. According to preliminary calculations, the Avenger II aircraft had to completely replace the types of aircraft that existed before on aircraft carriers by the middle of the 90-s.

But on January 7, 1991, United States Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney canceled the program, which was the largest termination of contracts for history the existence of the American defense industry. The reason for such a decisive step was the price of the project, which reached the sum of the three-year budget of the Air Force and the US Navy.

The naval forces originally planned to buy 620 aircraft manufactured by McDonnell Douglas / General Dynamics to equip deck aircraft, and 238 aircraft were also planned to be purchased to meet the needs of such marines. The US Air Force considered buying 400 aircraft at an average cost, which was initially estimated at $ 100 million each.

On the A-12 it was originally planned to install two F412-GE-D5F2 jet engines with a special afterburner chamber. It was assumed that the average attack aircraft, equipped with a folding wing, can reach a maximum speed of 930 km / h and fly over a distance of 1,5 thousand kilometers. Armament should be placed in the internal bomb bay, for which expanded the inner part of the fuselage. The main armament of the aircraft was to be two AMRAAM AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, two AGM-88 HARM air-to-ground missiles, as well as a whole range of unguided missiles and adjustable bombs. The maximum weight of weapons should not exceed 2,3 tons.

General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas faced a lot of technical difficulties already at the design stage of the aircraft. In particular, the final mass of the aircraft was obtained by 30% more than that previously planned in the project. In addition, unpleasant difficulties arose with the use of composite materials during the construction of the first prototype of the aircraft. In addition, in their report to the command of the US Navy, the developers pointed to technical problems with the creation of the radar.

During the implementation of the A-12 Avenger II project, not a single prototype aircraft was created. The mid-size model of the medium attack aircraft was declassified in 1996 year and put on display in the territory of the former US Navy base Carswell. Financial market experts argue that it was the unsuccessful development of the A-12 Avenger II that was one of the main reasons for the huge losses of McDonnell Douglas and its subsequent economic take-over by the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

In total, McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics jointly spent $ 3,88 billion on the A-12 Avenger II project, receiving only $ 2,68 billion from the government. Immediately after the project was closed, the command of the US Navy made a claim for the return of invested funds in the amount of $ 1,35 billion, which the military lost because of an unfulfilled contract. Without much hesitation, McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics filed their own claim to the US Federal Court of Justice (CFC), demanding $ NNXX billion in penalties from the US Navy for stopping work on the attack aircraft development program.

Their position in the court of the US Navy was based on the fact that both companies failed to implement the requirements of the contract concluded with an indication of a fixed price and a specific period. That is, McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics should have developed the aircraft no more than $ 4,8 billion and put it into the army no later than 1994. Given the fact that these requirements were not met in the end, the Navy said the contract was broken and was broken.

The companies, on the other hand, argued that, according to the terms of the contract, the Department of Defense, the Navy and the United States Air Force had to provide them with access to stealth technology, previously used to work on the F-117 Night Hawk attack aircraft, as well as the B-2 Spirit bomber . According to the companies, these special technologies were not handed over to them, the military indicated that they were imposed a “special secret” stamp. Without full access to classified material, General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas failed to complete the contract in full.

The consideration of the case went on for several years due to the fact that in order to establish the truth, the court needed to familiarize not only with the public materials of the case, but also with the materials on secret technologies. The documentation on special technologies was disclosed by military court judges, but in 1993, the US Federal Court received a notification from Merrill Macpick, the US Secretary of State, that further disclosure of secret information is impossible because it violates the rules of state secrets. The court had to make a final decision, having at its disposal only a minimum set of documents.

Shortly after the completion of work on the A-12 Avenger II project, the US Navy decided to acquire the F / A-18E / F Super Hornet fighter jets, which Boeing developed. Adoption of the new aircraft took place in 1999 year. As part of the US Navy, he was to replace the F-14 Tomcat fighter jets and the A-6 deck fighter planes. It is curious that the F / A-18E / F aircraft uses F414 jet engines, which are the new generation of F404, on the basis of which the ANGX Avenger II A-1983 propulsion system was developed in 12.
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    NOMADE 19 July 2013 07: 41
    An interesting project, more like a "cut" in the American way. Only here the technical characteristics and flight range were not impressed. Although it is difficult to judge without data on the weight and dimensions of the aircraft.
  2. White
    White 19 July 2013 10: 59
    An interesting aircraft could go out, although if they had brought it to the end, it would still have suffered the fate of the Raptor. A stingy article at has a lot more information.
  3. azov
    azov 19 July 2013 14: 19
    so this is it
    1. Mister X
      Mister X 19 July 2013 23: 07
      Many post-war developments were inspired by captured German prototypes, drawings, and even sketches.
      In yesterday's article "Flying Cigar: B-51 Bomber"
      found a family resemblance of B-51 with sketches of Messerschmitt Me P.1102

      Apparently all the projects under development were so classified
      that there were also "namesakes":
      Lockheed A-12 (high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft)
      A-12 from Douglas (all-weather carrier-based bomber)
  4. Alexanderlaskov
    Alexanderlaskov 19 July 2013 15: 17
    It is hard for the USA to bear the burden of the world gendarme.
  5. Starover_Z
    Starover_Z 19 July 2013 17: 03
    Probably a lot of all kinds of weapons could be loaded with good engines.
    But how many such aircraft would fit on an aircraft carrier?
    This "butterfly" has awkward wings.
    It is strange that the project has passed. Is money everything?
    1. Windbreak
      Windbreak 19 July 2013 22: 52
  6. biglow
    biglow 19 July 2013 19: 50
    Here they are the customs of the private military-industrial complex, they hide technologies from each other.
  7. Kir
    Kir 19 July 2013 20: 07
    It seems like an article about him has already been here on the site, if yes, it’s interesting that in those images on any "projections" the nozzle was not "read", I wonder if I’m right, then it’s not on the model, or ... ....
  8. sergey158-29
    sergey158-29 19 July 2013 20: 37
    Campaign "ON" was embodied in the X-47B!
  9. Taidrem
    Taidrem 21 July 2013 10: 40
    Now it’s clear where the UFOs appear in the sky))
  10. samolet il-76
    samolet il-76 12 December 2013 17: 42
    He has no tail !!!