The Advanced Fighter Technology Integration (AFTI) program was conceived to provide the mechanism for orderly transfer of Air Force technology programs into operational systems. This paper presents the results of the McDonnell Aircraft Phase I AFTI study, which involved identification of high-payoff, mature technologies, the integration of these technologies into effective operational configurations, the design of manned demonstrator aircraft, and the validation of a selected concept through wind tunnel tests and manned simulation.
The Phase I study verified the program premise that fighter/attack aircraft with greatly improved effectiveness are achievable with recently emerged technologies, if these technologies are integrated during the conceptual phase so that they literally shape the vehicle.
The Vectored Lift Fighter (VLF) is such a concept, employing new flight and control modes. In the air-to-ground role, this advanced technology fighter/attack aircraft, when compared in sophisticated manned simulation with a baseline representative of the best current technology, killed one-and-a-half times as many targets while sustaining only one-fourth as many losses. In air-to-air engagements, it killed twice as many targets while sustaining only one-sixth as many losses.
Perhaps the most significant finding was that the effectiveness of fighter/attack aircraft employing these new flight and control modes cannot be properly assessed by traditional performance parameters.