The North American F-107, or company NA-212, was the last USAF fighter to bear this famous manufacturer'sname.
Origins and DesignEdit
Originally designated F-100B, it was an all-weather fighter-bomber version of the F-100 powered by a 10660kg thrust Pratt & Whitney YJ75-P-9 turbojet fed via an air inlet above and behind the cockpit, positioned in a way to create space in the nose for radar. Design work began in June 1953 and a year later the USAF ordered nine aircraft (55-5118/5126), although only three were actually completed.
In 1955, the F-107 lost out to the Republic F-105 in a paper competition even though it had not yet flown and its competitor did not, then, have all-weather capability. Thus, the future of the F-107 was already clouded on 10 September 1956 when Robert Baker made the first flight at Edwards AFB, California, in the first of three service-test YF-107As.
Considering the early difficulties encountered by other 'century series' fighters, the YF-107A was relatively troublefree and might well have played an important role in the Tactical Air Command. But despite good performance, the three YF-107As were soon relegated to permanent test status. Features of the aircraft warranting further evaluation included a flush centre-line fuel tank mounted in the indented fuselage bottom, spoilers on the wing surface instead of ailerons, and a one-piece all-moving rudder, later adopted on the A-5 Vigilante attack bomber. The first YF-107A eventually found itself in a scrap heap, the second is now on display at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, and the third was lost in a crash landing while on loan to NACA.