Lockheed CL-1200 Lancer


Defence Matrix

7/31/20213 min read

The Lockheed CL-1200 Lancer was a late 1960s company-funded proposal for a fighter aircraft based on the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. The CL-1200 was conceived and marketed mainly for and to non-US military services, as an export product. As such it would have competed with combat-proven designs like the Dassault Mirage III, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21, and Northrop F-5E Tiger II. The CL-1200 competed unsuccessfully against proposed fourth generation designs, under the US government's Lightweight Fighter program, which would eventually result in the General Dynamics F-16 and Northrop F-17 Cobra (precursor of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18).
Intended as a successor to the F-104, the Lancer was another product from Lockheed's Skunk Works. Clarence L "Kelly" Johnson headed the department during this period, while Skunk Works designers carried out all aerodynamic studies and wind tunnel testing on the type.
The CL-1200 would use the basic F-104 fuselage structure, increased in length to provide 46% extra internal fuel capacity. The fuselage extension consisted of a 30 in (76 cm) plug between the standard F-104 front and center fuselage sections. Unlike the F-104, the rear fuselage section was to be constructed using titanium alloy for the frames, longerons and skinning around the jet exhaust. The major revision of the design was a shoulder-mounted wing of 53% larger area which was also moved further aft. The new wing had a span of 29 ft (8.8 m) and still featured leading and trailing edge flaps but gained new leading edge extensions, while the 10° anhedral of the Starfighter was retained. The flap system was designed to be either manual or automatic in operation. The system configured them as required for load factor, airspeed and altitude. The new inner wing panels featured an additional trailing edge flap which doubled the area in comparison to the F-104. This would have improved short-field performance and reduced landing speed. The boundary layer control system of the F-104 was deemed unnecessary due to the increased flap area, and was omitted. The outer wing panels were virtually identical to those of the F-104.
The initial variant of the Lancer was to be the CL-1200-1, powered by a single J79-GE-19 turbojet which was an uprated version of the engine used in the F-104. The second, more advanced variant, the CL-1200-2, was to have redesigned center and rear fuselage sections that could accommodate a modern turbofan engine as an improvement on the J79 turbojet.
The estimated gross weight was 16,000 kg with maximum external load, and a top speed of 1,700 mph 2,720 km/h, Mach 2.5) at 35,000 ft (10,700 m) was envisaged. The takeoff run was estimated to be 440 m in the intercept configuration; only 52% of that required for the F-104G with a similar improvement on landing performance due to the slower approach speed
The Lancer was intended to retain the 20 mm General Electric M61A1 cannon as its primary armament, although a 30 mm DEFA gun could be fitted as an alternative. For the ground-attack role nine weapons stations were provided: one under the fuselage, three under each wing, and one at each wingtip. Two Nord Aviation AS-30 missiles could be carried on the inner underwing pylons, while up to 5,450 kg of ordnance could be carried on short-range ground-attack missions. Air-to-air missiles designed to be carried were AIM-7 Sparrow (maximum of four) and AIM-9 Sidewinder (typically, six to be carried with a maximum of 10 possible). External fuel tanks of the same type and capacity as the F-104 could be carried on the wing tips and on underwing pylons to increase ferry range

Source - Wikipedia