We just reported on what appears to be an exotic stealth Super Hornet test article stored at the USAF’s Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group’s boneyard in Arizona. Due to limited photographic evidence we could only theorize that article in question was a fully formed concept, not a much more conventionally configured testbed with a missing nose section as reported by Aviation Week. With new oblique images brought to our attention from a Foxtrot Alpha reader, our original conclusions appear to be spot-on. This Hornet concept was more exotic than anything we have seen before, with a fully formed low-observable frontal fascia lacking a traditional Hornet’s “barrel and cone” nose entirely.
Make sure to read the first post for full analysis and background:
As you can see in the images posted above and below, the front of aircraft is complete, with a fully formed, flowing nose section ending in a sharp point, with the Hornet’s Leading Edge Root Extensions (LERXs) coming together at the tip to form a chine-line found on virtually all stealth aircraft. As such, this was indeed a very aggressive stealth concept using the basic Super Hornet fuselage and tails alone as a surrogate for an entirely new aircraft configuration. One which appears to be unmanned, although we still cannot say that is so definitely.
These new images come to us from Pima Maps, a county government mapping site for Pima County, Arizona, where AMARG is located.
The confirmation of this exotic Super Hornet configuration adds an entirely new facet to the history of the Hornet program. Now the big question is, why didn’t it succeed past what appears to be a very elaborate mock-up stage?
Contact the Author at Tyler@Jalopnik.com
Aerial photos via https://pimamaps.pima.gov
Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.