The company recently retrieved the second of the two YF-23A "Black Widow II" prototypes (PAV-2) from the Western Museum of Flight in Hathorne, California, ostensibly for repainting for display at a forthcoming Northrop Grumman-backed air fair in August. However, the restoration is also thought to include several changes, including new cockpit displays and other possible cosmetic modifications.
Northrop Grumman confirms restoration of the General Electric YF120-powered PAV-2 is taking place, but declines to comment on whether the revived YF-23A is linked to any USAF proposal. But sources close to the studies, which were kicked off by the USAF's recently issued request for information, say Northrop Grumman now includes a YF-23-based "regional" bomber concept among its raft of proposals and that the USAF "is interested".
The genesis of the regional bomber requirement was for the USAF to find a post-Cold War mission for the F/A-22, in which considerable investment has already been sunk. OIF and OEF have shown that our current enemy is not well-equipped for air-to-air combat, and the primary value of aircraft is to 1.) find the enemy and 2.)render death from above. New build B-1's would fulfill this requirement adequately, but they are hard to base, and most of the production equipment has been dismantled. A bomber variant of the F/A-22 still has pole position if this requirement comes to fruition (Doubtful in the current spending environment, not-gonna-happen if Ace and Gary are elected) since its production facilities and air base support facilities are already in place.