F-19 is a designation for a hypothetical United States fighter aircraft that has never been officially acknowledged, and has engendered much speculation that it might refer to a type of aircraft whose existence is still classified.
Since the unification of the numbering system in 1962, U.S. fighters have been designated by consecutive numbers, beginning with the F-1 Fury. F-13 was never assigned to a fighter due to superstition, though the designation had previously been used for a reconnaissance version of the B-29. After the F/A-18 Hornet, the next announced aircraft was the F-20 Tigershark. Northrop had requested the "F-20" designation, but the USAF proposed F-19 instead. The USAF finally gave approval for the F-20 designation in 1982. There have been a number of theories put forth to explain this omission, but none have ever been confirmed.
The most prevalent theory in the 1980s was that "F-19" was the designation of the stealth fighter whose development was an open secret in the aerospace community. When the actual aircraft was publicly revealed in 1988, it was called the F-117 Nighthawk. There seems to be no evidence that "F-19" was ever used to designate the Nighthawk, although the National Museum of the United States Air Force website does include the entry "Lockheed F-19 CSIRS (see F-117)" as of 2011. Another theory suggests that F-19 was the designation applied to the Have Blue technology demonstrator which led to the development of the F-117.
- In 1986, the Testor Corporation released a model aircraft kit, calling it the F-19 Stealth Fighter.
- Like the Testor Corporation, Monogram models also released the F-19A Specter which was based on the design by Loral Inc.
- Jane's Information Group published an incorrect entry on the F-19 in their aviation reference, Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1986-1987. In addition to the fictitious artwork, the 1987-1988 and 1988-89 editions lists the aircraft as the "Lockheed RF-19" and "XST".
- In 1988, Microprose released a computer game entitled F-19 Stealth Fighter, the first computer simulation of stealth air combat.
Source: Wikipedia, "F-19", available under the CC-BY-SA License.