Grumman F-17A


With the running down of the US Navy’s F-14 Tomcat fleet in the early 2000’s, a proposal was put forward by ex-Grumman VP of Advanced Programs and Chief Engineer on the F-14, Robert W. Kress and retired USN fighter pilot Adm. Paul Gilchrist suggesting that the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker might make a good replacement.

Following negotiations with the Russian government, Rosboronexport and the Sukhoi design bureau, a licence was granted for the tandem two-seat Su-30 to be built at Grumman’s Bethpage facility in New York.

The baseline Flanker was ‘Amercanized’ - with the Russian AL-31F engine being replaced by the Pratt & Whitney F-119 turbofan, conferring increased thrust and reduced SFC.

It was fitted with the Raytheon AN/APG-71 digital multi-mode radar and Martin-Baker NACES zero-zero ejection seats replaced the Russian K-36 originals.

The first F-17A ‘Flankercat’ entered service with VF-1 aboard the USS Enterprise in 2005 and to date, a total of 237 have been built by Grumman.

The model was inspired by an article in the US magazine 'Flight Journal' dated February 2002 - where a proposal was put forward

by Robert W. Kress and Rear Adm. Paul Gillcrist, US Navy (Retd) suggesting the replacement of the F-14 Tomcat by the Su-27!!

The model is an inaccurate Su-30 by Nakotne. The nosewheel, missiles and markings came from an old Airfix F-14 kit.


Virgin Atlantic A-90

Another 'What If'....

Ken Duffey

October 2009