Two prototypes of Northrop's Air Combat Fighter design were built in 1973-74. YF-17 "Cobra" Number 1 is at the Western Museum of Flight, Hawthorne, California. YF-17 "Cobra" Number 2 is at the US Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida. The YF-17 "Cobra" made its first flight at Edwards AFB on 9 June 1974 with Northrop Chief Test Pilot Hank Chouteau at the controls. It went supersonic in level flight, without afterburner, on its second flight.
Both YF-17 "Cobra" prototypes were employed as F-18 demonstration vehicles in the 1976-1979 time period. They were flown by pilots from NASA, the US Navy, the USMC, and foreign countries. Between 1980-1985, both the YF-17 "Cobras" remained in a preservative cocoon state at the Northrop Palmdale, California facility.
Nation of Orgin: USA
Manufacturer: Northrop Corporation, Aircraft Division, Hawthorne, California
Type: Prototype for the F/A-18 Hornet
Length: 55 feet, 6 inches
Height: 14 feet, 6 inches
Wing Span: 35 feet
Wing Area: 350 sq. feet
Max. t-o weight: 30,630 lbs.
Engine: two GE YJ101 Turbojets rated at 15,000-lb thrust
Speed (Maximum): Mach 1.95
Ferry Range (W/Tanks): 2,800 miles
Service Ceiling: 60,000 feet
Armament: one 20-mm Gatling gun; two wing tip IR missiles and four underwing hardpoints for external load
Note: The YJ101 was the prototype to the F404 engine installed in the McDonnell Douglas / Northrop F/A-18 Hornet carrier based fighter.