A-4s for air defence and other oddball ideas

Archibald

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Some words about the French Crusaders, and why did they lasted as long as Foch and Clemenceau - 1997 & 2000 respectively.

a) One has to realize first that the 42 aircraft bought in 1963 were kind of accident of history.
- one big MASURCA ship had to be screwed to pay for them
- Etendard IV were to do the job, even transonic / no radar
- Also T-47 destroyers with Tartar missiles

b) Foch and Clem's were a little too small to assume their own air defense.
Only eight Crusaders carried wouldn't make a big difference in case of war

c) so the plan was
- PEACE TIME
a) Tartar and MASURCA ship for the main defense
b) Crusaders are only secondary (snoopers ?)
c) In Africa (Françafrique) the air threat was minimal, and thus even in the 1980's obsolete Crusaders were good enough
- WAR TIME
The two French carriers would join their larger American counterparts and thus fully benefit from the E-2 / Tomcat umbrella

d) The mystery of 1972: why wren't the Crusaders replaced as were the Etendard IV, by a multirole type ?
- could have been Mirage G
- could have been a naval F1, but it needed a larger wing and M53... or more (Spey, J79, whatever)

And in the end it was the Jaguar M, then the Super Etendard.
After close examination of
- A-7E (too heavy and fast: 120 kt and 19 mt when the BS-5 catapults could do barely 20 mt at 110 kt)
- A-4M Skyhawk: very nearly happened
- but Dassault proposed a J52 Etendard IV, modernized
- became the Super Etendard with an Atar 8, the irony.

The reason ? the cash-strapped Aéronavale decided that what mattered was STRIKE: the Clemenceaus air defense capability was too marginal, and there were next to none successor to the Crusader (Hornet, cough, 1989 was too little, too late, and too big)

STRIKE was all important, and would mostly happen against African countries with next to zero supersonic interceptors... or MiG-21s the Crusaders would easily handle.

Case in point: May 7, 1977 : two Crusaders under way to brawl with two F-100s from the Armée de l'Air in Djibouti found thmeselves in air combat with... two Yemen MiG-21s.

Bottom line: as long as African countries south of Marocco - Tunisia - Lybia - Egypt would have nothing but MiG-21s, Crusaders would be good enough to fly air cover for (Super) Etendard strikes.

That's the key reason the Crusaders were left in service all along the 1980's, despite Lebanon (oops, that wasn't part of the plan !). Later Hornets were considered, but even 15 second-hand airframes were too much for Foch, and also for Dassault...
 

CJGibson

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I red that in Vietnam air protection of smaller carrier was assumed by Skyhawks with AIM-9 ???
You (or anybody else) wouldn't happen to have a reference for that?

Chris
 

Archibald

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... and now of course I can't find where I red that, so I'll try to explain what I had exactly in mind when typing this.

It was related to the varied SBC upgrades of the Essex-class carriers. And their roles afterwards.

Somewhere-I-can't-remember I red that, where Crusaders and Phantoms could no longer land (the older Essex, the ones that ended as submarine hunters with helicopters and Trackers) some limited air defense capability was provided by Skyhawks with AIM-9s. Anti-snoopers really, a bit like SHARs FRS.1.

Now I have no idea if that ever happened in Vietnam, because CVS Essex were of no use there - only the SBC-125 & CVA ones.
 

aim9xray

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Working from memory - a small number of A-4Cs were grouped into VSF squadrons which sent detatchments out to the smaller CVS (anti-submarine warfare) carriers which were primarily equipped with S-2 Trackers and SH-3s. The Dets were to provide some small measure of self protection to the CVS air wing.

This went by the the wayside quite quickly when the CVS hulls were retired and the forces were relocated to the "big" carriers which wre redesignated to CV/CVN, losing their former "attack (CVA/CVAN)" distinction.
 

GTX

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Bingo, that's what I had in mind.
Thanks lads, A-4s with AIM-9s for air defence came up in something I've been working on, so it's good to see that there is a precedent.

Chris
A-4B_VA-22_AIM-9B_NAN3-68.jpg


Douglas A-4B Skyhawk from detachment R of attack squadron VA-22 Fighting Redcocks armed with an AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missile, in 1963. The VA-22 Det. R was assigned to Anti-Submarine Carrier Air Group 53 (CVSG-53) for a deployment to the Western Pacific from 4 June to 3 December 1963 aboard the U.S. anti-submarine aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge (CVS-33).
 

BB1984

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So there were two proposals for a J-79 crusader (IF-8 / V-1000) ???

The Crusader is well known for its brilliant performances over Vietnam. At a time, it was the only valuable fighter in the american arsenal (the Phantom has its difficulties, the F-104 was a turkey. what else ?)
The US Feather Duster trials, an early effort at comparing planes in dissimilar aircraft combat, backs up the doc that Hjalli posted. Those trials found the F-104 to be the most effective air to air out of the birds available. This is from an informal write up I ran across awhile back:

"The TAC aircraft of concern were the F-100C/D/F, F-4C, F-105D and F-104C. Opponents included the F-102A and F-106A (MiG-21), F-86H (MiG-17), F-8C/D (MiG-19) and the F-5N . . .

It should come as no surprise that the F-8s did pretty well against the F-100s. It probably won't surprise too many to learn that the F-4s generally beat up on the F-105s. The big shock to most, however, was the fact that the F-104C ended up at the top of the heap. It not only bested all the other aircraft, but it did so regularly and by a surprising margin. Only when dictated to fly high altitude, subsonic turning engagements did the 104 fall short of its opponents.

F-8s were the only a/c that gave the F-104s trouble, at high altitude/subsonic where the F-8's wing loading rules."
 

CJGibson

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Lovely, that's a great help Greg.

Ta

Chris
 

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Archibald

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When you think about it, the F-104C might have been the Starfighter most "balanced" variant.

F-104A had plenty of troubles, quite logical for such a revolutionary aircraft.

F-104G became a troubled animal - reinforced, heavier for nuclear strike and ground attack.

But F-104C ? the matured, single seat air defense variant.
 

Pioneer

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A Sidewinder armed A-4B of VA93 intercepting a Be-6 in 1964.

Of note is the Squadron painted their Skyhawk's noses black, so as to give the illusion that their Skyhawk's were radar equipped.

Regards
Pioneer
 

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RLBH

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The big shock to most, however, was the fact that the F-104C ended up at the top of the heap. It not only bested all the other aircraft, but it did so regularly and by a surprising margin. Only when dictated to fly high altitude, subsonic turning engagements did the 104 fall short of its opponents.
I'm not entirely sure why this should come as a complete surprise: the F-104 was designed as a manoeuvring WVR fighter to succeed the F-86.
 

Archibald

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A Sidewinder armed A-4B of VA93 intercepting a Be-6 in 1964.

Of note is the Squadron painted their Skyhawk's noses black, so as to give the illusion that their Skyhawk's were radar equipped.

Regards
Pioneer

Now you can see why Skyhawks were plenty enough against what you anglophones call "snoopers". Floatplanes, flying boats, ASW planes are slow, lumbering giants. Against them a Skyhawk or a... SHAR FRS.1 is plenty enough, with guns and Sidewinders. Note that there were plans to put Phantom radars and Sparrows into a CL-84, again for the same mission. Pushing that to the extreme logical end, an helicopter with an APG radar and Sparrows could kill the same "snoopers" (and I think there were Cheyenne variants like that, or perhaps Cobra or Apache, can't remember exactly.).
 

Archibald

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The big shock to most, however, was the fact that the F-104C ended up at the top of the heap. It not only bested all the other aircraft, but it did so regularly and by a surprising margin. Only when dictated to fly high altitude, subsonic turning engagements did the 104 fall short of its opponents.
I'm not entirely sure why this should come as a complete surprise: the F-104 was designed as a manoeuvring WVR fighter to succeed the F-86.

In a sense, Lockheed reasonning when creating the F-104 in 1952-53 was the same as the fighter mafia 15 years later. And from the same starting point: F-86s over Korea versus Phantoms over Vietnam (except Phantoms were having bad times, unlike the F-86s before them).

"History doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes"
 

BlackBat242

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A Sidewinder armed A-4B of VA93 intercepting a Be-6 in 1964.

Of note is the Squadron painted their Skyhawk's noses black, so as to give the illusion that their Skyhawk's were radar equipped.

Regards
Pioneer
Of course, there WAS that one A-4B that was equipped with an air-air radar in 1966..... http://www.ebdir.net/vsf1/boom_powell_part_1.html

Eager to develop the fighter mission, Charlie Waring arranged weapons detachments to NAAS Fallon and MCAS Yuma, set up ACM practice, fired AIM-9 Sidewinders and had "Rudolf' built.

Rudolf was an A-4B (BuNo 145002) that had an F-8 air-to-air radar "borrowed" from the China Lake Weapons Center and installed by NARF Alameda sometime in 1965. The unique, longer nose (modified from a F-11 Tiger) was painted red and the name followed soon after.

What was intended as the prototype for future VSF fighters had not been approved by higher authority. Nor was taking Rudolf on the CarQual sessions the pilots of VSF-1 had on Kearsarge and Hornet.

VSF-1 commanding officer CDR Charles E. Waring himself flew Rudolf's first trap. Six pilots and the maintenance crew of the first detachment were ready to go aboard Yorktown when the deployment was cancelled in the spring of 1966.

powell_pt1_pg3_rudolf2.jpg Rudolph II.jpg Rudolph.jpg
 

Pioneer

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A Sidewinder armed A-4B of VA93 intercepting a Be-6 in 1964.

Of note is the Squadron painted their Skyhawk's noses black, so as to give the illusion that their Skyhawk's were radar equipped.

Regards
Pioneer
Of course, there WAS that one A-4B that was equipped with an air-air radar in 1966..... http://www.ebdir.net/vsf1/boom_powell_part_1.html

Eager to develop the fighter mission, Charlie Waring arranged weapons detachments to NAAS Fallon and MCAS Yuma, set up ACM practice, fired AIM-9 Sidewinders and had "Rudolf' built.

Rudolf was an A-4B (BuNo 145002) that had an F-8 air-to-air radar "borrowed" from the China Lake Weapons Center and installed by NARF Alameda sometime in 1965. The unique, longer nose (modified from a F-11 Tiger) was painted red and the name followed soon after.

What was intended as the prototype for future VSF fighters had not been approved by higher authority. Nor was taking Rudolf on the CarQual sessions the pilots of VSF-1 had on Kearsarge and Hornet.

VSF-1 commanding officer CDR Charles E. Waring himself flew Rudolf's first trap. Six pilots and the maintenance crew of the first detachment were ready to go aboard Yorktown when the deployment was cancelled in the spring of 1966.

View attachment 679295View attachment 679296View attachment 679297
Thanks BlackBat242, I appriciate the link and the information.

The picture I posted of the intercept I had on my hard-drive, but didn't really know it's source....


Regards
Pioneer
 

Manuducati

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A Sidewinder armed A-4B of VA93 intercepting a Be-6 in 1964.

Of note is the Squadron painted their Skyhawk's noses black, so as to give the illusion that their Skyhawk's were radar equipped.

Regards
Pioneer

Now you can see why Skyhawks were plenty enough against what you anglophones call "snoopers". Floatplanes, flying boats, ASW planes are slow, lumbering giants. Against them a Skyhawk or a... SHAR FRS.1 is plenty enough, with guns and Sidewinders. Note that there were plans to put Phantom radars and Sparrows into a CL-84, again for the same mission. Pushing that to the extreme logical end, an helicopter with an APG radar and Sparrows could kill the same "snoopers" (and I think there were Cheyenne variants like that, or perhaps Cobra or Apache, can't remember exactly.).

At least one UH-2C (other sources give it as a NUH-2C at the time) was used for Sparrow III and Sidewinder integration.

"A U.S. Navy Kaman UH-2C Seasprite (BuNo 147981) modified to carry an AIM-7 Sparrow missile pictured during a test flight near Naval Air Station (NAS) Point Mugu, California (USA), in July 1972. This aircraft had been deilvered as an UH-2A. It was converted to an UH-2C, to NUH-2C, to HH-2D, to NHH-2D, and finally to an SH-2F."
 

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TomS

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At least one UH-2C (other sources give it as a NUH-2C at the time) was used for Sparrow III and Sidewinder integration.

"A U.S. Navy Kaman UH-2C Seasprite (BuNo 147981) modified to carry an AIM-7 Sparrow missile pictured during a test flight near Naval Air Station (NAS) Point Mugu, California (USA), in July 1972. This aircraft had been deilvered as an UH-2A. It was converted to an UH-2C, to NUH-2C, to HH-2D, to NHH-2D, and finally to an SH-2F."

These were intended more for ASMD than counter-air tasks.
 

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At least one UH-2C (other sources give it as a NUH-2C at the time) was used for Sparrow III and Sidewinder integration.

"A U.S. Navy Kaman UH-2C Seasprite (BuNo 147981) modified to carry an AIM-7 Sparrow missile pictured during a test flight near Naval Air Station (NAS) Point Mugu, California (USA), in July 1972. This aircraft had been deilvered as an UH-2A. It was converted to an UH-2C, to NUH-2C, to HH-2D, to NHH-2D, and finally to an SH-2F."

These were intended more for ASMD than counter-air tasks.

What's the meaning of ASMD here TomS?
Anti Surface Missile Defense maybe? If so where the AIM-7 and -9 envisioned for antiship strike?

(More pictures of the Seasprite / Sparrow combination:
Post in thread 'Kaman Sealite (LAMPS)' https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/kaman-sealite-lamps.489/post-3429)
 

TomS

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Sorry, Anti-ship Missile Defense. The idea was that the helicopter could shoot down incoming missiles. It never really proved practical compared to ship-launched self-defense missiles.
 

Archibald

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Kaman Seasprite chasing KS-6 Kingfish and killing them with AIM-7 Sparrows. Yowza, imagine Red Storm Rising with such plot twist...
 

Foo Fighter

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In the south Atlantic event, choppers were used for a while as missile decoys. Andy Pandy was one of the pilots flying that role.
 

Archibald

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In 1967 they flew a Sikorsky Jolly Green Giant across the Atlantic, trailing a KC-130. To celebrate Lindbergh flight. Must have been a pretty tedious flight.
 

zen

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In the south Atlantic event, choppers were used for a while as missile decoys. Andy Pandy was one of the pilots flying that role.
Copying earlier Israeli practice.
The helicopter hovered over the ship and as a Anti-ship missile approached the helicopter would rise. This caused the calculated center of the combined radar reflection to rise above the ship and the Anti-ship Missile would fly over the ship.
 

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Either way a gutsy move, no doubt the sensors on new weapons can take this into account.
 

Archibald

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In the south Atlantic event, choppers were used for a while as missile decoys. Andy Pandy was one of the pilots flying that role.
Copying earlier Israeli practice.
The helicopter hovered over the ship and as a Anti-ship missile approached the helicopter would rise. This caused the calculated center of the combined radar reflection to rise above the ship and the Anti-ship Missile would fly over the ship.

So clever indeed ! I vaguely remember something similar being tried in the second half of Red Storm Rising... and working pretty well !
 

RLBH

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Either way a gutsy move, no doubt the sensors on new weapons can take this into account.
IIR is the most obvious, but it can be done with radar as well. Find the thing that looks like the ship in the database, and aim for that, whilst ignoring everything else.
The helicopter hovered over the ship and as a Anti-ship missile approached the helicopter would rise. This caused the calculated center of the combined radar reflection to rise above the ship and the Anti-ship Missile would fly over the ship.
The other way is to have the helicopter fly along the ship's course (either ahead or astern) dropping chaff. 200m of ship, 300m of chaff, missile aims for the midpoint and goes whizzing past. In theory, at least.
 

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If I remember correctly they did have an ECM pod (memory escapes which one sadly).
 

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I have few doubts the F-8 with J-79 wouldn't have given the F-104 a run for the money. It just needed that XF8U nose (but minus those big trailing flaps) to scream aggression. It also would have been smart to run a Vulcan cannon at the time. The F-104 can have that crazy mad straightline speed, but the F-8 would have sported longer legs and the ability to turn in a phonebooth. Maybe drop the hinge on the main wing to reduce weight and simplify maintenance. Basically we'd of had an early predecessor of an F-16. I'm not so sure thinking along those lines didn't create the F-16.

BTW - F-8 did try the Spey (T41), but by then it became the A-7 Corsair. :)
British engines tended to not be popular. The Sapphire powered early F-8 prototypes were a disappointment as it was too small and lacked the power range they wanted. J57 was more power at the time and used an engine bay more compatible with other engines. If J57 was too weak they had room to go alternatives. Bill Spidle talked about engine choices in his F-8 book.
 
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Manuducati

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I have few doubts the F-8 with J-79 wouldn't have given the F-104 a run for the money. It just needed that XF8U nose (but minus those big trailing flaps) to scream aggression. It also would have been smart to run a Vulcan cannon at the time. The F-104 can have that crazy mad straightline speed, but the F-8 would have sported longer legs and the ability to turn in a phonebooth. Maybe drop the hinge on the main wing to reduce weight and simplify maintenance. Basically we'd of had an early predecessor of an F-16.

F-8 with J-79 and fixed wing (but without the M61 Vulcan), you've just described the Vought V-1000! Now put a P&W F-100 engine and LERX, and you have the Vought entry to the LWF competition that lead to the F-16. There is a complete thread about them in this forum. ;)
 

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So there were two proposals for a J-79 crusader (IF-8 / V-1000) ???

The Crusader is well known for its brilliant performances over Vietnam. At a time, it was the only valuable fighter in the american arsenal (the Phantom has its difficulties, the F-104 was a turkey. what else ?)
The US Feather Duster trials, an early effort at comparing planes in dissimilar aircraft combat, backs up the doc that Hjalli posted. Those trials found the F-104 to be the most effective air to air out of the birds available. This is from an informal write up I ran across awhile back:

"The TAC aircraft of concern were the F-100C/D/F, F-4C, F-105D and F-104C. Opponents included the F-102A and F-106A (MiG-21), F-86H (MiG-17), F-8C/D (MiG-19) and the F-5N . . .

It should come as no surprise that the F-8s did pretty well against the F-100s. It probably won't surprise too many to learn that the F-4s generally beat up on the F-105s. The big shock to most, however, was the fact that the F-104C ended up at the top of the heap. It not only bested all the other aircraft, but it did so regularly and by a surprising margin. Only when dictated to fly high altitude, subsonic turning engagements did the 104 fall short of its opponents.

F-8s were the only a/c that gave the F-104s trouble, at high altitude/subsonic where the F-8's wing loading rules."

Attached are from the slides made by Colonel Tom Mahan in 2012. He was a F-104C Vietnam veteran and worked at Lockheed's Skunk Works from 1988 to 2000.

https://slideplayer.com/slide/1400624/

2012_F-104C-1.png

2012_F-104C-2.png

1969_F-104.png
 

Archibald

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I just realized that the "ideal" Vietnam war aircraft might have been... a F-104C with Crusader wings. Heck, now I'm tempted about "drawing" that using Aviastar.org standardized 3-views...
 

Mark Nankivil

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So there were two proposals for a J-79 crusader (IF-8 / V-1000) ???

The Crusader is well known for its brilliant performances over Vietnam. At a time, it was the only valuable fighter in the american arsenal (the Phantom has its difficulties, the F-104 was a turkey. what else ?)
The US Feather Duster trials, an early effort at comparing planes in dissimilar aircraft combat, backs up the doc that Hjalli posted. Those trials found the F-104 to be the most effective air to air out of the birds available. This is from an informal write up I ran across awhile back:

"The TAC aircraft of concern were the F-100C/D/F, F-4C, F-105D and F-104C. Opponents included the F-102A and F-106A (MiG-21), F-86H (MiG-17), F-8C/D (MiG-19) and the F-5N . . .

It should come as no surprise that the F-8s did pretty well against the F-100s. It probably won't surprise too many to learn that the F-4s generally beat up on the F-105s. The big shock to most, however, was the fact that the F-104C ended up at the top of the heap. It not only bested all the other aircraft, but it did so regularly and by a surprising margin. Only when dictated to fly high altitude, subsonic turning engagements did the 104 fall short of its opponents.

F-8s were the only a/c that gave the F-104s trouble, at high altitude/subsonic where the F-8's wing loading rules."

Attached are from the slides made by Colonel Tom Mahan in 2012. He was a F-104C Vietnam veteran and worked at Lockheed's Skunk Works from 1988 to 2000.

https://slideplayer.com/slide/1400624/

View attachment 679655

View attachment 679656

View attachment 679657
India-Pakistan War had F-104 vs. MiG-21 combat - anyone have a good reference on the results?

Like any other combat, pilot training and proper tactics (and ROE too, thinking of some of the silliness of Vietnam) are the biggest influence on the end result.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 
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zen

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British engines tended to not be popular.
American licensed built copies of British engines that were americanised with lots of US modifications, tended not to be popular.......
 

Archibald

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... even more when done by those complacent pricks at Curtiss Wright (J65, J67... not good)
 
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