Register here

Author Topic: FLIGHTS OF FANTASY: What if the Spey-powered Mirage IVK went into production?  (Read 22545 times)

Offline Sentinel Chicken

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 576
  • American 71 Heavy, contact departure 126.47
    • TAILS THROUGH TIME: Short Trips on the Long Road of Aviation History


One of the more interesting aircraft for me has always been the Dassault Mirage IV, long the mainstay of France's airborne nuclear deterrent. Basically a 50% scale up of the Mirage III/V series of fighters and given twin engines, it was one of the few supersonic delta wing jet bombers to enter service (the other as far as I know off hand being the Convair B-58 Hustler).

When the British government cancelled the very promising BAC TSR.2 strike aircraft in 1965, Dassault offered an "Anglicized" version of the Mirage IV which would have had British avionics planned for the TSR.2 as well as Rolls-Royce Spey engines instead of the SNECMA Atar engines. License production was even offered to the British- however, political realities what they were in those days and the French not ranking high on the esteem list with NATO following Charles de Gaulle's unilateral withdrawal of the French armed forces from NATO in 1966, it was a stillborn idea- the British wanted the F-111, that went nowhere with the delays and cost escalation in the F-111 program, so they ended up with a land based version of the Blackburn Buccaneer and it wasn't until the arrival of the Panavia Tornado in the early 1980s that the RAF finally had an outstanding tactical attack bomber.

At any rate, suppose the Brits cancelled the TSR.2 earlier and took up Dassault's offer for a British Mirage IV? Based on new information that Thorvic sent me on the specifics of the Mirage IVK:

1. Fuselage stretch in the region of the intakes to counterbalance the heavier weight of the Spey engines.

2. Increased depth of the aft fuselage by bulging the upper countours to accomodate the Spey engines.

3. Increased intake size to accomodate the higher air mass flow of the Spey engines.

I'm not exactly sure where the SLAR would have been fitted, but it seems that the nav/attack radar would have been in the belly radome.

For this one, I've decided to stick with the anti-flash white even though I believe by this point (1967) the switch to low-level camouflage was taking place as well as the first IVKs, if built, wouldn't have been delivered until 1969. But it's a WHAT IF!!!:D

I decided to go with a slightly recessed weapons/fuel pod centerline, a sort of smaller version of what the Hustler used. I figure there'd be some fuel in there as well as one or two WE177 bombs. Use up the fuel, drop the bombs, and ditch the pod and haul ass home.

Colors are standard for the RAF's 1960s nuclear bomber fleet- anti-flash white all over with pale colored roundels and markings. I've always thought planes looked pretty sharp in the RAF's nuclear anti-flash white scheme. The tail markings are accurate for what was used by the No. 617 Squadron at that time on their Vulcan bombers. No. 617 is most famous as "The Dambusters" and in 1966 was based at RAF Scampton on the east coast of England.

Next up, a more realistic camouflaged version........stay tuned!

Offline Jemiba

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 7896
Well, it really looks great !
And, if the camouflaged Mirage IVK is finished, what's your next project ?
Why not a Dassault Rafale in RN colours  ? I always liked the FAA colour schemes,
and maybe it's even more realistic than the RAF Mirage.   ;D
It takes a long time, before all mistakes are made ...

Offline Sentinel Chicken

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 576
  • American 71 Heavy, contact departure 126.47
    • TAILS THROUGH TIME: Short Trips on the Long Road of Aviation History


Here's how the IVK would have most likely looked like at service entry in 1969, wearing the gray/green camouflage on the uppersurfaces with light gray undersurfaces. I think I got the markings on this one right, echoing No. 14 Squadron's blue diamond markings that were worn on their Hawker Hunters before they transitioned to the Canberra.

Offline Deino

  • Our China Correspondent
  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 2441
Well, it really looks great !
And, if the camouflaged Mirage IVK is finished, what's your next project ?
Why not a Dassault Rafale in RN colours  ? I always liked the FAA colour schemes,
and maybe it's even more realistic than the RAF Mirage.   ;D

Just take a look here:

http://www.whatifmodelers.com/forum//index.php?showtopic=8600&hl=mirage+ivk

... and esp. here:

http://www.whatifmodelers.com/forum//index.php?showtopic=10068&st=0      ;D

Cheers, Deino
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong.
...
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
-------------------------------------------------
W.H.Auden (1945)

Offline Sentinel Chicken

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 576
  • American 71 Heavy, contact departure 126.47
    • TAILS THROUGH TIME: Short Trips on the Long Road of Aviation History


Here's another 1969 bird- this one in the markings of No. 16 Squadron which at the time was winding up use of Canberras with RAF Germany in the interdiction role. Markings are more along the lines with the vertical black/yellow band throught the roundel that were used on the Canberras. I had started out with the black/yellow arrowhead as was used on No. 16's Buccaneers, but that seemed to more appropriate for something in the 1970s. Tail marking also echoes the squadron badge of No. 16 Squadron. For this one I added some 1000 lb GP iron bombs on my interpretation of where some additional pylons would have been- the IVK would have had four hardpoints on each wing and in addition to the two already there, two more would have likely been under the wing roots in tandem.

Offline Sentinel Chicken

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 576
  • American 71 Heavy, contact departure 126.47
    • TAILS THROUGH TIME: Short Trips on the Long Road of Aviation History
More RAF Mirage IVKs (or Spey Mirages as some references call the proposed aircraft)!



^In 1972 the RAF revised the camouflage scheme and markings of its ground attack fleet (primarily the Buccaneers I believe) from gloss paint and red/white/blue roundels to matt paint and Type B roundels (no white) for lower visibility during operations. The above illustration reflects that change in markings- the colors of the camouflage remained very similiar (if not the same), but the markings reflect the new Type B roundels. Markings are for No. 3 Squadron- currently a Harrier operator, but I thought appropriate for the IVK variant as at the time, No. 3 Sqn was a Canberra interdiction squadron assigned to RAF Germany.

Weapons loadout shows BL.755 cluster bombs, which entered RAF service around 1972 and replaced air-to-ground rocket pods (SNEBs, I believe) in the area attack role.



^No. 213 Squadron was another Canberra interdiction squadron assigned to RAF Germany- only the squadron was disbanded having ended its days as a Canberra operator. I extrapolated what No. 213's markings would have looked like- the black/yellow roundel bands came from its days in the 1950s as a Vampire operator and the wasp on the tail came from when it operated the Canberra bomber.

Weapons load out consists of the AJ-168 television-guided Martel missiles with the distinctive spindle-shaped TV Martel data link pod on the left outboard station. It was around 1973 that the TV Martel first entered service.



^Last one for now, this one reflects the temporary Arctic camouflage that RAF Germany's Buccaneers would wear when deployed to Norway for exercises. During the 1977-1978 period the Soviet Union began to increase its naval operations in the seas around Norway and the North Cape area and NATO responded by holding regular maritme attack exercises in Norway. The basic camouflage substituted a temporary white paint over the dark gray.

Markings are the later version of No. 16 Squadron- compare with the other No. 16 Mirage I posted above- the yellow-outlined black arrowhead on the forward fuselage and the squadron emblems on the tail and intake similar to what No. 16 did with their Buccaneers.

Weapons loadout has four AS-37 Martel anti-radar missiles (a further development of the AJ-168 Martel) and an AN/ALQ-101 ECM pod on the left outboard station. Since the anti-radar Martel variant didn't need the data link pod, it's not present on this load out. From what I recall, this version of the Martel had interchangeable seekers that would be preselected on the ground based on expected threats and target characteristics.

RAF martime attack tactics would have had six aircraft, some with AS-37s and some armed with AJ-168s. If a ship turned on its radar to defend against the attack, then the radar homing Martels would find their mark. But if the ship turned off its radars, then it would have been easier for the TV Martel-armed aircraft to press home their attack.

Enjoy this set of illustrations!

Offline Sentinel Chicken

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 576
  • American 71 Heavy, contact departure 126.47
    • TAILS THROUGH TIME: Short Trips on the Long Road of Aviation History


^In 1977 the RAF's No. 208 Squadron sent a contingent of Buccaneers to Red Flag in Nevada. Given the desert landscape of the Nellis AFB ranges, the RAF painted the Buccs in a desert scheme of light stone and dark earth in what was supposed to be a removable paint finish. Problem was, the hot Nevada sun pretty much baked the temporary colors and made them a lot harder to remove than planned!

On No. 208's Buccaneers that got this desert treatment, the aft fuselage was left in the orginal gray/green camoflauge I suspect because this area was subject to a lot of thermal stress from the jet exhausts and likely the temporary paint wasn't expected to hold up in that part of the airframe. I thought about doing as well on these Mirage IVKs, but the exhausts are at the end of the fuselage unlike that on the Buccaneers, so I went and did the whole fuselage in light stone/dark earth colors and left the external tanks the original colors as a bit of a nod to the hybrid camoflauge scheme the real No. 208 Sqn machines flew with at Red Flag 77.

No specific unit markings on this illustration, I suspect that they would have been covered up by the temporary paint.

Offline Sentinel Chicken

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 576
  • American 71 Heavy, contact departure 126.47
    • TAILS THROUGH TIME: Short Trips on the Long Road of Aviation History


^Now here's a No. 208 Squadron bird in the gray/green wrap-around colors introduced to the RAF tactical fleet in the mid to late 1970s. Experience in low-level exercises had shown that the light gray undersides briefly made the aircraft visible in high-angle turns at low-level.

Markings are standard for what No. 208's Buccaneers wore in those days- the "flying shufti" logo on the tail hearkened back to No. 208's history of operating in the Middle East and North Africa during the Second World War. The roundel chevron with blue and yellow also refers to No. 208's heritage of having served in the Middle East (the blue representing the sky and the yellow representing the sand- the squadron crest of No. 208 has the Sphinx on it).

Around 1981 or so was when the Paveway series of laser-guided bombs were integrated on the Buccaneer, so this Mirage IVK has Paveway LGBs on the wing root pylons as well as the obligatory AN/ALQ-101 ECM pod on the left outboard station. There would have been a Pave Spike laser designator pod on the other side had I drawn this Mirage IVK from the other side.

In reality, No. 208 transitioned to the Buccaneer from the Hawker Hunter at RAF Honington in 1974 and operated the Buccaneer until 1994 when the squadron was disbanded with the retirement of the Buccaneer.

McColm

  • Guest
Hi Sentinel Chicken,
I've managed to find an old Heller 1/50 scale plastic kit, but I can't decide on what colour scheme to chose.
Your artwork is brilliant.

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 13244
You might be interested to know that when a RAF crew evaluated the Mirage IVA in 1964, the few hours they flew above Mach 2 in this aircraft were more than the total number of flight hours at Mach 2 accumulated by the whole RAF at that time.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2009, 11:05:48 am by stargazer »

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 13244
« Last Edit: August 12, 2009, 11:07:27 am by stargazer »

Offline Hammer Birchgrove

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 586
This is a very interesting idea and you've done a great job on the images.   B)
To the heroism of the Resistance Fighters -- past, present and future -- this post is respectfully dedicated.

Offline Abraham Gubler

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3559
You might be interested to know that when a RAF crew evaluated the Mirage IVA in 1964, the few hours they flew above Mach 2 in this aircraft were more than the total number of flight hours at Mach 2 accumulated by the whole RAF at that time.

Untrue. In 1964 the RAF had BAC Lightnings in service in multiple fighter squadrons for over 3 years. During that time they had flown to and beyond Mach 2 on many, many occasions.

[minor edit for language -Admin]
« Last Edit: August 24, 2009, 01:40:24 am by overscan »
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 13244
You might be interested to know that when a RAF crew evaluated the Mirage IVA in 1964, the few hours they flew above Mach 2 in this aircraft were more than the total number of flight hours at Mach 2 accumulated by the whole RAF at that time.

Total BS. In 1964 the RAF had BAC Lightnings in service in multiple fighter squadrons for over 3 years. During that time they had flown to and beyond Mach 2 on many, many occasions.
After the TSR2 had been cancelled, on April 6, 1965, BAC and Rolls-Royce approached GAMD with a request for a proposal for an anglicised version of the Mirage IVA. GAMD responded swiftly and BAC and Rolls-Royce presented the project, designated Mirage IV Spey, to the British government on July 16, 1965. There were some substantial changes from the stock Mirage IVA : a new nose with a radome, a relocated FR probe, larger intakes and air ducts to cope with the RR Spey RB-168-25R higher airflow, a redesigned rear fuselage to accommodate the larger engines, modifications for low-altitude missions -that were already under consideration- and a new navigation/attack avionics package including many British equipments that were inherited from the TSR2 programme  (this means that the very nice profiles above, based on the Mirage IVA, are not entirely realistic). Thanks to the Spey's higher thrust and better SFC, performances were good, especially in range (almost equal to those of the  GD F-111K at low altitude and much better at high altitude).
The UK government had already decided in favour of the F-111K, but nevertheless decided to have an evaluation of the Mirage IVA. This evaluation was conducted by a team form Boscombe Down's B Squadron comprised of Wing Commander Fletcher, Squadron Leader Frith and Squadron Leader Smith. The flew the Mirage IVA production aircraft #1, from Istres; between September 13 and September 29, 1965, for a total of 11 flights and 15 hours. Only the first 3 flights were made with a mixed crew  for pilot indoctrination (the navigator being the late Jean Cuny); other flights were all-British.
Their evaluation report was very laudatory (even if the Mirage IV Spey stood no chance to see the light).
The evaluation team also remarked:

"We have flown more hours at Mach2 in this aircraft than the entire RAF on Lightning".

(Mirage IV, Hervé Beaumont, éditions Larivière, pp 155).
Which is not surprising, Mach 2 being the Mirage IVA cruise speed whereas the  BAC Lightning, like all supersonic fighters at that time, only (and relatively rarely in operational service) peaked for a few minutes at Mach 2.

[minor edit - Admin]
« Last Edit: August 24, 2009, 01:41:47 am by overscan »

Offline Abraham Gubler

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3559
Which is not surprising, Mach 2 being the Mirage IVA cruise speed whereas the  BAC Lightning, like all supersonic fighters at that time, only (and relatively rarely in operational service) peaked for a few minutes at Mach 2.

Sure but even if the entire Miro IV eval flight time was at Mach 2 then that's only 15 hours. Compare that to at least 10,000 overall flight hours for the Lightning fleet to date in RAF squadrons (not to mention all the RAF testing and eval flights). Even if only flying over Mach 2 for brief moments during that time the Lightnings would have easily exceeded the 10-15 hours of the Miro IV eval.

On the other hand you have the second hand gossip talk of a bunch of RAF bomber pilots - not known for their like of RAF fighter pilots (and vice versa) - through the lense of a Dassault sales team...

[Minor edit - Admin]
« Last Edit: August 24, 2009, 01:42:57 am by overscan »
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling