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A Lightweight Fighter Attack from the UK in the 1970's

zen

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During the 70's the UK aviation design houses studied at government request for a Ground Attack and Battlefield Support aircraft.
A host of designs were produced and many had quite some serious Light Fighter potential as well.

But a mixture of demanding avionics requirements, political instability and the dire economic situation meant that nothing came our of this.

However what if.....things had been different and something new had resulted?
Which of these designs would have been chosen and which might have gained export success?
 
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overscan

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zen

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It's a good point that there was potential scope for a collaborative programme, and PANAVIA was the obvious first port of call thanks to Tornado.
 

Hood

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BAe spent a lot of time on souped-up fighter Hawks, many of which could have been viable light fighters but was the market ever really there?
Export nations often wanted the best and wanted what the sellers were using, not knock-down price knock-offs. I think had a sizeable market existed it would have been done, well the Hawk 200 was the result but it was hardly a runaway sales success.
 

zen

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Since the UK purchase for the RAF would be evident, this would not be 'as per history'.
 

kaiserd

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In terms of “light-weight” are we talking about something about the size/ weight of the F-5E or something above that, around where the F-16A ended up?
Apart from the Panavia designs noted above (also the very slightly earlier swing-wing lightweights from Folland and then Panavia) there would have been Harrier-related designs around this time.
I’ll check the British secret projects fighter projects book when I have the chance.
 

zen

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In terms of “light-weight” are we talking about something about the size/ weight of the F-5E or something above that, around where the F-16A ended up?
Apart from the Panavia designs noted above (also the very slightly earlier swing-wing lightweights from Folland and then Panavia) there would have been Harrier-related designs around this time.
I’ll check the British secret projects fighter projects book when I have the chance.
Well this is slightly above F5 size and weight, closer to Jaguar and Harrier, which ultimately was simply upgraded.
Another comparison would be the earlier Mig21 and later the Grippen.
As would the nearly contemporary AMX.
 

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BAe spent a lot of time on souped-up fighter Hawks, many of which could have been viable light fighters but was the market ever really there?
Export nations often wanted the best and wanted what the sellers were using, not knock-down price knock-offs. I think had a sizeable market existed it would have been done, well the Hawk 200 was the result but it was hardly a runaway sales success.
I think the problem isn't so much that potential customers wanted the best, as the vast majority of the smaller nations would settle for MRSA - Maybe Refurbish Strikemaster Again. Or Maybe Refurbish MiG-21 Again, depending on whose client they were.
 

Hood

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I think the problem isn't so much that potential customers wanted the best, as the vast majority of the smaller nations would settle for MRSA - Maybe Refurbish Strikemaster Again. Or Maybe Refurbish MiG-21 Again, depending on whose client they were.
That is true, those nations that had supersonic F-5s and MiG-21s wanted to keep them going if they could rather than buying subsonic replacements.
There was the AMX too which fits the same bill, but again beyond the original two nations that funded it it still failed to make a major impact, which you would expect might have been likely given Aermacchi's trainer market penetration.
 

zen

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The reason for not replacing the F5 or the Mig21 was there was not anything in production and service with any supplier.....bar the Mirage F1 and the Jaguar, that filled the needs those aircraft fulfilled.
Hence why the F1 and the Jaguar gained their sales.
This is why when the F16 came along, it gained so much, even if oversized, as it was all that was practically available.
It's also why the F-20 Tigreshark failed. For lack of domestic US orders.

But that world. That version of history. Is not the one this thread is started for.

In this alternative history, the RAF has bought the LWF/A aircraft (or should that be the LWA/F) to complement the Tornado.
As such it is in service and supported and in production from sometime from the late 70's to the early to middle 80's if not beyond.
 

zen

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So some contenders. Either to AST.396, some early AST.403.
Single RB.199 powered Jaguar.
P.66 either with reheated Adour or RB.199
P.95 being not far from a single engine F18-like design using the RB.409 a cropped fan RB.199.
Brough Office had the excellent P.153, P.156, P159 and ultimately P.163.
Kingston's podded engine P1201 and very F16-like studies 1200, 1202.
And then there was the 'base burning' studies under HS.1191.
 

zen

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In musing on this, the strongest contender seems to be P.153 to P.159 series, which really continue the work of the earlier P.146 study.
This is kinda a supersonic AMX type, and a obvious successor to the Hunter. It would seriously challenge some late F5 sales, and tempt India away from the aging Mig21.

The question really is who buys in and when?
Could Italy opt in during the design and build process for the RAF? That would likely end the AMX.

Had this come about the RAF's Jaguar fleet might have been sold off early.
 

kaiserd

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In musing on this, the strongest contender seems to be P.153 to P.159 series, which really continue the work of the earlier P.146 study.
This is kinda a supersonic AMX type, and a obvious successor to the Hunter. It would seriously challenge some late F5 sales, and tempt India away from the aging Mig21.

The question really is who buys in and when?
Could Italy opt in during the design and build process for the RAF? That would likely end the AMX.

Had this come about the RAF's Jaguar fleet might have been sold off early.
The latest edition of the British Secret Projects book for fighters has a lot of additional detail re: designs for these requirements, recommended to you on that basis alone (though loads of other good stuff) :)
 
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zen

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You mean the one my wife got me last year to update the original publication?
;)
 

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I could never understand why the Hawk didn’t see a deeper next level iteration;- add something like MTOW uplift, Blue Vixen, AMRAAM, reheat and a go faster wing.

In effect it was used in its T1 form in the light weight fighter role when two, Aim9L armed were routinely paired to operate with a Tornado F3 in the eighties....it always looked a bit desperate to me.
 

Hood

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I could never understand why the Hawk didn’t see a deeper next level iteration;- add something like MTOW uplift, Blue Vixen, AMRAAM, reheat and a go faster wing.

In effect it was used in its T1 form in the light weight fighter role when two, Aim9L armed were routinely paired to operate with a Tornado F3 in the eighties....it always looked a bit desperate to me.
All these features were studied, but none got off the drawing board.
 
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