Northrop N-204


The Northrop N-204 was a high altitude reconnaissance jet aircraft designed in the United States in the 1950s.

Northrop N-204
Role High altitude reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer Northrop Corporation
Status paper project only
Primary user United States Air Force (intended)
Number built none completed


In fall 1957, Northrop submitted a proposal to the United States Air Force for a subsonic high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, having capitalized on their earlier N-165 design study. The concerns by CIA pilots that the Lockheed U-2 was being tracked by radars on spy missions over the Soviet Union prompted Northrop to make low observable technology a part of the N-204 design, as was later done with the Lockheed A-12.[1]

Although Northrop estimated that the N-204 could go into service in 1960, the N-204 project did not proceed to the hardware stage.[1]


The N-204 was similar to the Lockheed U-2 and Yakovlev Yak-25RV in having long, straight wings like an ordinary sailplane, and a v-tail. However, the engines of the aircraft were not buried in the wing roots or podded under the wings, but instead were buried in the outboard end of the wing center-section.[1]

Specifications (estimated)Edit

Data from [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: two, pilot and flight engineer/RSO officer
  • Length: 105 ft 8 in (32.2 m)
  • Wingspan: 273 ft 9 in (83.44 m)
  • Wing area: 5,000 sq ft (464.52 m2)
  • Gross weight: 34,000 lb (15,422 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 75,000 lb (34,019 kg)
  • Powerplant: 8 × Westinghouse J54 turbojets, 6,075 lbf (27.02 kN) thrust each


  • Maximum speed: 480 kn (553 mph, 885 km/h)
  • Range: 3,000 nmi (3,452 mi, 5,556 km)
  • Service ceiling: 85,000 ft (25,908 m)

See alsoEdit

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


  1. ^ a b c d Chong, Tony, 2016. Flying Wings & Radical Things: Northrop’s Secret Aerospace Projects & Concepts 1939-1994. Forest Lake, Minnesota: Specialty Press.