XF-90

The XF-90, like the McDonnell XF-88, was developed to meet a USAF requirement for a long-range "Penetration Fighter."   Two prototype aircraft were built (S/N 48-687 and 48-688).   The first was powered by two Westinghouse J34 turbojets without afterburners, but these proved inadequate.   The second aircraft was adapted for afterburning J34s and had better, but not great, performance.   The outbreak of the Korean Conflict prompted to USAF to seek increased production of currently available aircraft, and the XF-90 never entered production.

The XF-90 had two unusual features.   The first was the location of the cannon ports located below the engine air intakes in a horizontal row, three on each side.   The second was the variable incidence empennage. The vertical stabilizer could be tilted back and forth along the longitudinal axis for horizontal stabilizer adjustment. 
(NMUSAF)

Work on the XF-90 was formally terminated in September of 1950.   In 1952, the second XF-90A (46-688) was deliberately destroyed on the ground during a nuclear test at Frenchman's Flat in Nevada.   The first XF-90A (46-687) was shipped to the NACA laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio in 1953.   By this time it was no longer flyable, and was used for structural testing, exploring the limits of the extremely robust structure of the design. Presumably it was tested to destruction.   In 2003, the hulk of the second XF-90 (46-688) was recovered by the National Museum of the US Air Force from the Nevada nuclear test site.  It is currently stored in the museum restoration area.  (Baugher)

The following pictures show some of the recovery, cleanup and current condition.  

Photos supplied by Mark Young.

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images.

     

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