|Role||Prototype fighter aircraft|
|Primary user||United States Air Force|
|Length||56 ft (17.0 m)|
|Wingspan||35 ft (10.5 m)|
|Height||16.6 ft (5.0 m)|
|Loaded weight||23,000 lb (10,430 kg)|
|Maximum speed||1 484 mph (2,388 kph)|
|Range||2,990 mi (4,810 km)|
|Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. |
The Northrop YF-17 Cobra was a prototype lightweight fighter aircraft designed for the United States Air Force's Lightweight Fighter (LWF) technology evaluation program. The LWF was initiated because many in the fighter community believed that aircraft like the F-15 Eagle were too large and expensive for many combat roles. The YF-17 was the culmination of a long line of Northrop designs, beginning with the N-102 Fang in 1956, continuing through the F-5 family.
Although it lost the LWF competition to the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the YF-17 was selected for the new Naval Fighter Attack Experimental (VFAX) program. In enlarged form, the F/A-18 Hornet was adopted by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps to replace the A-7 Corsair II and F-4 Phantom II, complementing the more expensive F-14 Tomcat. This design, conceived as a small and lightweight fighter, was scaled up to the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which is similar in size to the original F-15.