With the NGAD, do the American aircraft manufacturers redo the stunt of the F-19 Stealth Fighter

Since the launch of the NGAD program, American aircraft manufacturers have multiplied the publication of visuals showing devices with similar shapes, supposedly to meet future operational requirements. At the same time, although a demonstrator would have already flown several years ago, no real photos of the aircraft have been released. Before taking the aspect broadcast by the Pentagon at face value, it is worth remembering that 40 years ago, a very effective disinformation campaign was orchestrated around the F-19, an aircraft that has not never existed.

At the beginning of the 80s, while Lockheed-Martin was developing the F-117 Nighthawk in great secrecy, American counter-espionage specialists undertook one of the most effective disinformation campaigns of the decade, partly disguised, it is true. , by the extraordinary success of another concurrent campaign of this type, the Star Wars project.

The extraordinary disinformation campaign around the F-19

Indeed, while it became more and more difficult to hide the test flights of the F-117, they began to distill to the specialized press snippets of information on a new device designed for stealth.

To give credibility to this information, they decided to name the aircraft F-19. Until now, American fighters had all experienced an increasing number, while the recent F-20 Tigershark had just been baptized in 1982, and the new F-18 had also been baptized a few years earlier. But no F-19, neither in the form of an operational aircraft nor a prototype, was ever presented.

In fact, for specialists on the subject, the hypothesis of the development of the aircraft was credible, especially since it was then necessary to replace the A7 Corsair IIs of the US Air Force, just like that of the development of an aircraft stealth while the design work of the B2 Spirit was more publicly documented.

does the NGAD program attempt to misinform adversaries as was the case with the F-19?
The F-19 as imagined at the end of the 80s – In the novel “Red Storm”, it is given the nickname “Frisbee” by its curves supposedly designed for stealth.

Unable to deny it, American information specialists therefore undertook to build a body of evidence around this fictitious aircraft, the F-19, so as not to inspire Soviet researchers. This was presented as a rounded device supposed to be the key to its stealth, while the hypothesis could seem credible by observing the B2.

The F-19 in the press, novels and video games

In fact, the F-19 became almost a real device in the minds of aviation fans, the device being the subject several times of documented articles in American and Western specialist magazines, and even of video games and games. an appearance in the well-documented “Red Storm” by Tom Clancy and Larry Bond. It even appeared in the initial repository of the first edition of the famous Harpoon simulation.

The operation was apparently a success, although the Soviets never announced any significant breakthroughs in stealth until the early 90s and the official presentation of the F-177A Nighthawk. during the Gulf War.

Similarities between F-19 and US Air Force NGAD

However, it may well be that a similar strategy is at work regarding the two future fighter programs of the US Air Force and the US Navy, both designated Next-Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD.

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