Lockheed CL-1200 Lancer

Last revised December 13, 1999






The Lockheed CL-1200 Lancer was a late 1960s company-funded proposal for a new and improved Starfighter. It was intended for the export market and was in direct competition with the Northrop F-5E Tiger II.

The CL-1200 retained the basic F-104 fuselage but was fitted with a shoulder-mounted wing of larger area which was moved further aft. The new wing had a span of 29 feet and still featured leading- and trailing-edge flops plus inner strakes. The tailplane was moved from the tip of the vertical fin to the base of the rear fuselage. in order to avoid the downwash effects from the high set wings at high angles of attack and to eliminate the Starfighter's inherent pitch-up problems.

The first version was to be the CL-1200-1, still with the now well- proven J79-GE-19 engine. The more advanced CL-1200-2 was to have had a redesigned rear fuselage that could accommodate a modern turbofan engine rather than the J79 turbojet. This turbofan engine was to be either the Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 or the F100-P-100. These engines offered an increase of 60 percent in thrust at maximum power. The air intakes were located in the same place that they were on the F-104, but they incorporated translating shock cones with four-inch movement in place of the F-104's fixed cones.

The Lancer retained the 20-mm General Electric M-61A1 cannon as its primary built-in armament, although a 30-mm DEFA gun could be fitted as an alternative if the customer so desired. Nine weapons stations were provided, one under the fuselage, three under each wing, and one at each wingtip. Up to 12,000 pounds of ordinance could be carried.

The estimated gross weight was 35,000 pounds and a top speed of 1700 mph at 35,000 feet was envisaged. The takeoff run was 1450 feet in the intercept configuration, only 52 percent of that required for the F-104G. Kelly Johnson projected that the CL-1200-2 would be superior in air-to-air combat to any known fighter.

At one time, the USAF had considered acquiring one or more examples of the Lancer. The USAF planned to buy at least one experimental Lancer under the experimental designation X-27. The X-27 was to be similar in overall configuration to the Lancer but was to feature modified engine air intakes having a rectangular shape. However, the X-27 program was terminated due to lack of funds before anything could be built.

The CL-1200 was entered in the International Fighter Aircraft competition to find a replacement for the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter in the international market. It was projected that CL-1200 deliveries could begin in 1974. However, in November 1970 the Northrop F-5-21 was named the winner of the competition, and the primary market for the Lancer was lost. The project was then terminated.

Another stillborn Starfighter derivative was the CL-704 VTOL strike and reconnaissance aircraft originally proposed in 1962. For VTOL operations, it was to have had seven vertically-mounted Rolls Royce RB.181s in each of the enlarged wingtip pods. The main forward propulsion was to have been provided by a fuselage-mounted Rolls Royce RB.168.

A larger-winged F-104 derivative was proposed as an alternative to the MRCA (Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) then being designed as a multi-national European project. Nothing ever emerged, and the MRCA eventually emerged as the Panavia Tornado.

Specification of the Lockheed CL-1200-2 Lancer:

Engine: One Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 turbofan, rated at 15,000 lb.s.t. dry and 25,000 lb.s.t. with afterburner. Performance: Maximum speed 1700 mph at 35,000 feet (Mach 2.57), 920 mph (Mach 1.21) at sea level. Initial climb rate 60,000+ feet per minute. 420 miles combat radius with 4000-pound bombload. Takeoff run was 1450 feet to liftoff, landing run was 2060 feet. Dimensions: length 57 feet 3 inches, wingspan 29 feet 2 inches, height 17 feet 2 inches, wing area 300 square feet. Weights: 16,640 pounds empty, 24,385 pounds normal loaded, 35,000 pounds maximum takeoff. Armament: One 20-mm General Electric M61A1 cannon with 725 rounds. An external offensive load of up to 12,000 pounds could be carried on nine external weapons hardpoints.

Sources:


  1. Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, Steve Pace, Motorbooks International, 1992.

  2. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1987.

  3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

  4. Lancer, Air Enthusiast, September 1971.

  5. Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, John Fricker, Wings of Fame, Vol 2, Aerospace Publications Ltd, 1996.