From it's humble beginnings as ND08-9, the plane has seen some turbulent times at best.
The 1st Wyvern, seen among its SPARCmates
Back in the first quarter of 2008, SPARC was struck with a plethora of new ideas. They immediately proceeded to put most of those to flyable designs. As with all new ideas, there were a few that should've stayed on the drawing board. A couple were stillborn. But one that DID fare quite well was ND08-9. Seen here in the back center surrounded by its' SPARC-mates, ND08-9 had humble beginnings; only one was built, it wasn't extensively flown, the expectations weren't high. But the airframe was sound and unique and the flights were good. So good in fact, that it was one of the group that progressed onto Testing. At the time, this was exclusive because so many of these planes (there were 15 in this batch) did not show enough promise in most of the aspects needed to accept them. Almost immediately the trouble started, however. This was mostly due to two, more promising designs, ND08-12 (to become affectionately known as the Concord) and -15. These two were really unique and had enormous potential. Or so it seemed. 'Concord' was one of the first designs to suffer from over development; so many variants rolled out that the what made the initial design special was lost. ND08-15 looked SO good, but couldn't fly right for nothing due to a version of NoRF (No Rear Fuselage) it gained during construction. NoRF sounded promising and looked promising before Development. Had wind tunnel testing been available, months of time wasted on its Testing could also have been saved, for NoRF truly does not work on almost any paper aircraft. The wind needs a place to follow along where the fuselage should be or else it fights itself in eddys under the rear wing and stalls the flight after speed is bled off. In any case, these two aircraft are crucial to this story because they were the primary ones responsible for lost time in development. It took 14 months of test flights of these two before concentration was beginning to be focused on ND08-9. Sure, there were a couple of other flights by the first prototype, and they were indeed good. And the tech was there; the plane uses two really cool technologies inherent to its design, DALE (Dual Angle Leading Edge) and RIFLE (ReInForced Leading Edge). But for some reason these singular flights weren't enough. Then IVPAF's op headquarters left North Carolina and moved back to Wisconsin. SIL was feeling heavy about losing the design of Venom - there just wasn't anything to fall back on to redevelop the plane. But an attack aircraft was sorely needed without it in the core. So R&D began to look heavily into ideas for a replacement. Of course SPARC still kept cranking out new ideas and designs to use them on. It found a couple of real good candidates in a flock of new builds that year. ND09-6 looked very promising, and so got some premier flight time. But finally attention was turned to some existing developments looking for the attacker. Well, ND08-9 looked real good. In short time it was narrowed down to these two and thus began the NAP (Next Attack Plane) Flyoff.
Team Triangle over Team Diamond - did this reflect the results of the NAP?
Colloquially they became known has Team Diamond (ND09-6) and Team Triangle (ND08-9) to reflect how their airframes looked in planform. The flying for NAP was well-documented, and interestingly was found to go heavily in favor of Team Diamond. The plane had better flight characteristics for an attacker, a true attacker. Team Triangle's plane was just so long ranged. It essentially flew itself out of the attack thinking and more into strike range. The one thing that majorly negated any lead Team Diamond held was the maintenance (and therefore expense) of the design. It was found that nothing seemed to keep the wings held together for any prolonged period of time, and this design needs the wings held in order for it to accomplish its' mission. This in itself lengthened the flyoff and subsequent further testing on both models as they both sought to find solutions with different variants. Some of Triangle's variants were found to actually hurt the Teams' chances as they were found to be too common (SIL likes having more unique designs), so those were quickly dumped in favor of the more unique versions. But frustration was mounting in the Triangle camp. You've got to understand, time was moving on. And this was a design that had been with SIL for two years now. 2010 progressed right through with more flights out of both teams and no clear winner to show for it mostly due to the aforementioned reasons. 2011 was coming, and coming fast. Drawing boards were actually remade to show how other ideas could gain any advantage needed. And ironically, Triangle looked as if it needed to take a step or two backward to lessen the range so it could even qualify for the role! Diamond wasn't finding answers quick enough though. The flights each airframe had were so great for attack, but the fact that the wings had to be checked for their adhesives every three flights was taking a severe toll. 2011 was rolling right along and no solution seemed to be in sight for either team. Then came 2012 and new blood. New blood brings new ideas. Testing began in 2012 in earnest and during the first Fly-In, they both got to strut their stuff. While both were drawing praise, it was obvious that Triangle was garnering more kudos thanks to its' range. Range does get more praise - it's a fact of paper airplane flight. But Diamond was no slouch and made a good account of itself. The Fly-In gave a great time to hold a sort of Symposium as well, and SIL's troubles with the two designs came to light to all attending. Opinions were offered and some of those were taken to heart. It didn't offer any change to the aircraft themselves, but did offer an option FOR the aircraft. Osprey was once the attacker supreme - it held all the support and attack roles under its wings. But the future gave opportunities for new planes to show their worth. The roles were split. Could SILs little slice of IVPAF withstand another split of roles?
A Wyvern about to be finished on the production line.
Yes, it could. Studies were held and papers were written. Some were rewritten. Some that had been in IVPAF for a decade or longer. Not only could the roles be split, but there could be more roles. After all, this is a paper air force. Do we have to follow ALL the guidelines laid out by real air forces everywhere? So plans were written up to split the roles further to broaden the scope of aircraft. This got the designs involved, faults or not. But still hesitation was there because all the available roles were still too short-ranged for what TTDAs were capable of. This led to even more delays in acceptance. By now SIL wanted the plane in the Force, the plane was ready for the Force, but there was nothing in the Force it could technically do. Then finally, after a few more months the case broke. SIL had researched enough, thought through attack profiles and came up with another role paper planes could use and do. Based off of the Strike role, DEAD gives the enemy something more to think about by doubling any strike package while keeping both strike types out of imminent danger. Which is a primary concern - the Deception of Enemy Air Defenses makes it sound as if whatever fills the role is bearing the brunt of a defensive assault and incur the lions' share of losses during an attack. But it should be noted this is not so; the role is not seen to be as expendable as that. In any case, after 4 and a half years, eight different variants, four roles (three of which it couldn't fill), ND08-9/Team Triangle/Wyvern found acceptance and got delivered. So much for keeping bureaucracy at bay in IVPAF.