Mar 232012

In our latest article in a series on the Bell D188A/Model 2000 (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L—both spurious designations invented by the Bell marketing department) supersonic VTOL fighter of the late 1950s, we present this huge, heavily illustrated mock-up report dating from February 6, 1959. By this time, the Air Force had become a significant partner in the program, as can be seen by the numerous illustrations of the fighter in USAF markings distributed throughout the report. The paragraphs below reproduce the opening paragraphs of the document.

On June 28, 1957 Bell Aircraft Corporation started work on the initial design phase for a VTOL fighter under Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) Contract No. NOas 57-836-c. All work performed under this contract was completed and the articles to be furnished were delivered prior to the end of December 1957.

The airplane, designated the Bell Model 2000, was of the horizontal-attitude VTOL arrangement, powered by small turbojet engines of the J85 type. It was in the 25,000-pound gross weight category.

The complete data furnished were described in Bell Aircraft Corporation Report No. D188A-945-020(B), dated May 24, 1957. In addition to the submittal of engineering reports and drawings, preliminary tests were conducted on wind tunnel and special models. A configuration mockup of the airplane was completed during the six-month program, and an informal inspection was held on January 7-8, 1958.

Since January 1, 1958, work was continued in the areas of design and wind tunnel testing. Accomplishments during the first three months of 1958 were summarized in Bell Aircraft Corporation Report D188A-945-238, dated April 1958. On March 28, 1958 Navy BuAer Contract NOas 57-836-c was extended to cover a Phase I program which was to result in the completion of a specification mockup by February 15, 1959.

Design of the Model 2000 was accomplished in accordance with BuAer Specification SD-535-1, “Detail Specification for Bell Model 2000 VTOL/STO-VL Airplane.” Design data requirements for this program were specified in Addendum No. 71 to Specification MIL-D-8706(Aer)-1, “Contract Design Data Requirements for Bell Model 2000 VTOL/STO-VL Airplane – Phase I.”

The report was prepared to serve as a description of the Model 2000 and its systems, for availability at the mock-up inspection. To read the document in depth, please click through the gallery above, which features 165 images, including numerous artist’s impressions and schematics of the aircraft.

All images from NARA Archives II, College Park, MD, RG 72

High Resolution Images

Example of high resolution image (click to enlarge)

To view the images shown above in high resolution, you may purchase a DRM-free PDF download of the entire 165 pp. report for just $2.99 through our shop on

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