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Who Wants to Buy an A-12 Canopy?

by John Reed on December 28, 2011

Check out this collection of images of the A-12 Avenger II canopy that ended up for sale on eBay. You know, the McDonnell Douglas-designed A-12 was the Navy’s effort to build a carrier-launched stealth bomber that would replace the sea service’s A-6 Intruders and A-7 Corsairs. The project was cancelled in the early 1990s due to the post-Cold War draw-down. Rather than field a brand new generation of attack jet, the Navy opted to retire its A-7s, A-6s and F-14 Tomcat air superiority fighters and replace them with a mix of F/A-18 Hornets and their updated cousin, the souped-up F/A-19E/F Super Hornet. The conditions of the cancellation led to a very long lawsuit on Boeing’s behalf.

Anyway, the canopy is still up for sale on and it’s going for about $620,000.

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

ABC December 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Note to the author: I believe that you are referring to the F/A-18 Super Hornet, not an F/A-19.

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@4FingrsOfBurbon December 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I'll go $100 bucks…

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adsadwq December 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

$101

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Billy December 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm
J4rh34d December 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Dick Cheney is the one who canceled this. It was meant to be a mini-B-2, carrier launched. The price tag wasn't so mini and much more like the B-2, due to extremely long development time.

Now the similar mission can be given to the X-47 UCAS. Similar shape, but smaller, cheaper and less meatware.

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Taggert December 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm

It'll make a nice fish tank but at 620k a little steep

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geewhiz December 29, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I dunno. Depends on the fish.

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Lance December 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm

See why the Navy screwed up replace front line fighter like the Tomcat with crappy Hornets. The F-18 was a A-7 replacement not meant to replace Tomcats. With the navy not developing any new planes looks like carriers will be much easier targets for Chinese or Russian forces to sink.

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Tom December 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm

The F-14's have been replaced by Super Hornets, while the Super Hornet may not be the best fighter around, I have little doubt it is far superior to the F-14. Unless you believe the movie Top Gun, the F-14 was not a good fighter. The Super Hornet has a better radar, better agility, more stealth, and the latest AMRAAM's are better weapons than the Phoenix.

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IronV December 29, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I think you might want to double check your facts… All things being equal, the F-14 is a superior air to air platform. As you point out, the Hornet has advanced systems. But the F-14 could have been similarly upgraded while retaining its inherent advantages. The decision to dump the F-14 was not a simple one and one with which many do not agree to this day.

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Galane December 30, 2011 at 2:01 am

What I disliked most about Top Gun was the totally impossible scene of the co-pilot ejecting into the canopy. The Tomcat was in a flat spin and the canopy goes up and back, not straight up, when the pilots eject. Even if it did pop straight up and managed to stay perfectly level while moving at hundreds of MPH, the plane would have rotated out from under the canopy. In such a situation the canopy would be tumbling a long way away before the seats popped out.

It's a bloody stupid impossible scene, ruins the rest of the movie just to kill one of the characters. Would've been better to have him die from a far more realistic and *actually possible* way like getting tangled in his parachute lines or like how Chuck Yeager nearly got killed when his ejection seat tangled in his parachute.

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tiger December 30, 2011 at 2:55 am

Uh, I think not.

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Kirk January 29, 2012 at 12:31 am

The Navy will receive a carrier version of the F-35. I doubt, no, I know the Navy, the Chiefs, the Secretary, and the House and Senate Armed Services Committees will not sit idly by and allow carriers to become willingly more vulnerable.

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Jeff December 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Substantially, what Tom said. While the F-18E/F is not superior in every way to the F-14, it is superior in most ways, especially in regards to operability. F-14's were terribly maintenance-heavy, with lots of them down for extended periods, and expensive to maintain and operate. The F-18E/F is far far superior in that regard. While the F-14 is faster and more powerful with a longer range, if it's down for maintenance, the F-18 is infinitely more capable. And of course, Tom is right; it's also got a better electronics and agility. I don't think either one is stealthy enough for it to matter though.

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William C. December 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm

What many in Navy leadership wanted was continued development of the F-14D. You would have probably seen something like the proposed Super Tomcat 21 featuring an AESA radar and all of the nice avionics the Super Hornet has.

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Tom December 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

Then you would have had a fighter with the same electronics as the Super Hornet that was still less agile than the Super Hornet.

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tiger December 30, 2011 at 2:57 am

I'd rather have the A-6 back.

notasblindasyou December 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Lets all be honest about american defense procurement. We spend multiple hundreds of billions of dollars every decade to simply design and determine how to build new technology/weaponry then simply moth-ball the project and use what we learned the next decade when we do it all again. Can anyone say Comanche! All of sudden we have stealth helos going on active missions in foreign countries!?!…..give me a break. The plan is working and hasn't stopped for 50 years. Nothing but defense research and continual advancement. its sad that most people cannot see this.

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chris bloom December 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Bad defense tech bad syfy got this before you by likr a week.

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Chad December 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm

$620,000 for just a canopy? You got to be kidding! Who would pay that except for some ecentric multimillionaire who is consructing an A12 from spare parts?

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Matt December 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm

China

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carloscardoso December 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I'd love to pay you $650.000, but the market for secret canopies is very slow, and it's marked. Someone tried to restore and did a crappy job. If I buy it I don´t know how long it will stay in my store.

I called a friend, he's an expert in cancelled secret stealth projects, and according to him with a pilot's name it would reach $350.000, but as it is, and without doccumentation, I'm afraid I can't offer you more than US$250,00. But hey, cash.

Chumlee, take care of the paper work.

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Riles December 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

Pawn Stars FTW

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Tom December 29, 2011 at 9:49 am

Notice that it looks like they're storing it at a self-storage, I was thinking you may eventually see this on Storage Wars or Auction Hunters.

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blight December 31, 2011 at 8:23 pm
Tony C December 29, 2011 at 6:36 am

The F-14 was out there for 30 years, barely updated in all that time. Yet, it was a force to be reconned with and even the Iraqi MIG-29's did not want to engage it. The F-18 has better bells and whistles, it has easier maintenance, but has less overall capability. That is why the F-35C is so important to the US Navy at this point. If the X-47B leads to a deployed weapon system, it will do the job of the former A7 and A6.

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Tom December 29, 2011 at 9:44 am

How on earth do you figure the Super Hornet has less overall capability than the F-14? The Super Hornet has better radar, better agility, has stealth features, and in an air-to-air configuration about the same range as the F-14.

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Mastro December 29, 2011 at 9:29 am

Didn't the A-12 get too heavy for the CV elevators?

For that peace activist Dick Cheney to cancel a program- you know something was up.

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blight December 31, 2011 at 8:24 pm

If the Osprey can come back from Cheney's death warrant, the A-12 deserves a second chance!

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Sully December 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I am always disappointed when writers about the Aerospace Industry get their facts wrong. The team that won the A-12 contract was the McDonnell Douglas/General Dynamics team. Boeing only became involved after it purchased MacAir.

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Ems December 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm

maybe someone robbed this place : (note images) http://virtualglobetrotting.com/map/mcdonnell-dou

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blight December 31, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Might've been a spare part for an additional prototype that was never completed.

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Ems December 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm

maybe someone robbed this place : (note the images) http://virtualglobetrotting.com/map/mcdonnell-dou

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John Moore December 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm

? Didn't the US government pay for R&D and the first model like they do for everything else it seems?

And if that is the case why the heck is this considered the companies property and not the property of the USAF?

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Boeing Retiree December 29, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Tanning bed, maybe…

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Galane December 30, 2011 at 1:48 am

This canopy plus a bunch of computer graphics equals the next direct to DVD Sci-Fi "thriller".

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Keith January 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

the guy is trying to unload something he bought at a government surplus sale for $2K…. there was an article in Gizmo magazine about it.

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Jcour January 17, 2012 at 9:19 am

The plot thickens, I am in West Lafayette, and the local paper ran an article about it last Saturday, http://www.jconline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID

He had to pull the auction until NCIS takes a look see at it……

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blight December 31, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Navalizing after the fact is never easy. Even de-navalizing the F/A-18 causes problems when the platform is designed to fly around with a tailhook it'll never use.

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