In 1955, the US Navy and Air Force approached Bell Aircraft Corporation (BAC) with a bold idea – to design a Mach-2 fighter jet capable of traveling at twice the speed of sound. vertical take-off and landing capabilities. Bell designed the aircraft, which they informally named the XF-109.
18 meters long, XF-109 has 8 powerful J85 jet engines, including 4 afterburners, of which two are separate in the spokes at the wing tips, two are not afterburners in the rear fuselage and one is in the rear. pair of J85 behind the cockpit.
The basic design of the XF-109 is no different from the F-35B supersonic jet that Lockheed Martin designed for the US Marines 40 years later.
But clearly the XF-109 was ahead of its time. Neither the Navy nor the Air Force were interested in the design, and the military canceled Bell’s jet in 1961 before the company built any actual prototypes.
In 1967, the Harrier, the world’s first vertical take-off and landing fighter, made its first flight. Harrier flies at subsonic speed (near the speed of sound)