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A-12 Avenger II
An artist's concept of the A-12 Avenger aircraft
Role All-weather naval stealth bomber[1]
Manufacturer McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics
Status Canceled
Primary users United States Navy
United States Marine Corps
Number built 0; mockups only
Unit cost US$165 million (estimated)

The A-12 Avenger II was an American aircraft program from McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics intended to be an all-weather, carrier-based stealth bomber[1] replacement for the A-6 Intruder in the United States Navy and Marines. The A-12 project was canceled in 1991 due to high costs.


Design and development

Artists' conceptions and mockups of the craft revealed a flying wing design in the shape of an isosceles triangle, with the cockpit situated near the apex of the triangle. The aircraft was designed to have two General Electric F412-GE-D5F2 turbofans, each producing about 13,000 lbf (58 kN) thrust, and was equipped to carry up to two AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, two AGM-88 HARMs and a full complement of air-to-ground ordnance, including Mk 82 bombs, or smart bombs, in an internal weapons bay. The A-12 gained the nickname "Flying Dorito".

The aircraft suffered numerous problems throughout its development, especially with the materials, and when the projected cost of each aircraft ballooned to an estimated US$165 million, the project was canceled by then-Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, in January 1991.

The cancellation of the project did not adhere to contract requirements, resulted in years of litigation between McDonnell Douglas/General Dynamics and the Department of Defense for breach of contract. On 1 June 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the U.S. Navy had been justified in canceling the contract.[2] Further, the two contractors are now required to repay the U.S. government more than US$1.35 billion, plus interest charges of US$1.45 billion. Boeing, which merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997, has vowed to appeal the decision, as has General Dynamics.

After the cancellation of the A-12, the Navy elected to buy the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which replaces the A-7, the A-6, and the F-14.

Specifications (A-12 Avenger II)

Various views of the A-12 as designed
Comparison view of A-12 vs. F-14 and a A-6

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 37 ft 10 in (11.5 m)
  • Wingspan:
    • Unfolded: 70 ft 3 in (21.4 m)
    • Folded: 36 ft 3 in (11.0 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 3 in (3.4 m)
  • Wing area: 1,308 ft² (122 m²)
  • Empty weight: 39,000 lb (17,700 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 80,000 lb (36,300 kg)
  • Powerplant:General Electric F412-GE-D5F2 non-afterburning turbofans, 13,000 lbf (58 kN) each


See also

Comparable aircraft

Related lists


  1. ^ a b Stevenson 2001
  2. ^ Borak, Donna. "Court upholds Navy cancellation of A-12 aircraft". Associated Press, 1 June 2009.
  • Stevenson, James P. (September 2001), The $5 Billion Misunderstanding: the Collapse of the Navy's A-12 Stealth Bomber Program, Annapolis, Maryland: US Naval Institute Press, ISBN 978-1557507778 

External links



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