A-12 Avenger II

The US Navy Advanced Tactical Aircraft (ATA) program began in 1983 as a proposed long range, low observable, high payload medium-attack aircraft to switch the Grumman A-6 in the carrier-based, medium-attack role. On January 13, 1988 the McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics team was selected over a Northrop team to develop the ATA.

Designated the A-12 Avenger II, the unique flying wing design was to be a long-range, subsonic aircraft with an outsized internal weapons load including air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons. Plans for the Navy’s A-12 combat aircraft called for incorporating more advanced stealthy characteristics than were employed in the F-117A, as well as considerably greater payload capabilities.

The A-12 was designed to fly faster and further than the A-6E, and carry a large bomb-load in internal bomb-bays to reduce drag and maintain a low radar cross-section. as with the Advanced Tactial Fighter (ATF), the A-12 was expected to possess greater reliability than current aircraft (double that of the A-6E), and require half the maintenance manhours.

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