The Rockwell XFV-12A was a prototype aircraft from the
1970s. Built for the US Navy, it was conceived as a VTOL
(Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft designed to operate
from small aircraft carriers without the need for steam
catapults, runway or arresting gear.
The Pratt & Whitney F401-PW-400 turbofan generated
up to 30,000 lbs of thrust and featured thrust vectoring
vents which would direct the engines power downward during
takeoff and landing. This allowed for vertical movement
and hovering capabilities.
Unfortunately, due to the fact the XFV-12A was blighted
by budget and technical difficulties, the aircraft only
made tethered flights while suspended from the NASA Lunar
Lander gantry located in Virginia.
By the late 1970s the US Navy declared that it had learned
everything it could from the XFV-12A program. The project
was canceled shortly after.
If the Rockwell XFV-12A had made it through to production
it would not only have been hugely expensive, but also
one of the most radical aircraft in the world.