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A Sea Vixen FAW 3 scenario

Archibald

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wasn't a major issue with the sea Vixen that reheat would have ruined the twin boom and horizontal tail ? A crying shame, because it was one hell of an amazing aircraft, minus that stupid cockpit (the dead pit for the RIO)
 

zen

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I imagine that it's solve able by the application of more metal. But of course that adds weight.
Another thought is the heat and vibration issues are mostly connected to low speeds such as at take off.
But up high and fast the effected zone behind the jet pipe is much narrower and the tail wouldn't impinge into it.
 

zen

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So on the engine side the move to Spey should extend range and endurance. As per brochure from 2 to 4 hours on CAP.

We know that work on AI.18 was costed for additional AMTI functionality along with a general improvement in performance. CW injection for a SARH guided version of Red Top was available. This would be vital to intercept Bombers and their large anti-ship missiles of the era.
 

starviking

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zen said:
So on the engine side the move to Spey should extend range and endurance. As per brochure from 2 to 4 hours on CAP.

We know that work on AI.18 was costed for additional AMTI functionality along with a general improvement in performance. CW injection for a SARH guided version of Red Top was available. This would be vital to intercept Bombers and their large anti-ship missiles of the era.
Kinda like a mini-missileer. How would it have compared to Phantoms?
 

kaiserd

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zen said:
I imagine that it's solve able by the application of more metal. But of course that adds weight.
Another thought is the heat and vibration issues are mostly connected to low speeds such as at take off.
But up high and fast the effected zone behind the jet pipe is much narrower and the tail wouldn't impinge into it.
My recollection/ understanding was that the heat and vibration issues could only been resolved by a very comprehensive (resource and time consuming) redesign and restructuring (a lot more titanium and/or steel).

And that super-Sonics Vixen were judged to be a waste of the time and resources and very much second best versus to fresh-sheet designs.
An subsonic Sea Vixen developments beyond the Mark2 never had any real chance of getting made.

There was no Sea Vixen development that wasn’t substantially inferior to the F-4 airframe.
And that’s before you get into the very substantialy inferior UK radars and missiles (shockingly so at this time) versus their US equivalents, as carried by the F-4.
 

zen

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kaiserd said:
zen said:
I imagine that it's solve able by the application of more metal. But of course that adds weight.
Another thought is the heat and vibration issues are mostly connected to low speeds such as at take off.
But up high and fast the effected zone behind the jet pipe is much narrower and the tail wouldn't impinge into it.
My recollection/ understanding was that the heat and vibration issues could only been resolved by a very comprehensive (resource and time consuming) redesign and restructuring (a lot more titanium and/or steel).

And that super-Sonics Vixen were judged to be a waste of the time and resources and very much second best versus to fresh-sheet designs.
An subsonic Sea Vixen developments beyond the Mark2 never had any real chance of getting made.

There was no Sea Vixen development that wasn’t substantially inferior to the F-4 airframe.
And that’s before you get into the very substantialy inferior UK radars and missiles (shockingly so at this time) versus their US equivalents, as carried by the F-4.
This is not an F4 thread. I'm sure I started one once.....

And yes in reality the RN was wanting the OR.346 system with a new AI set and missiles. Which was too high an objective to reach for in short order. In the very early 60's the timescale to get this was clearly the very late 60's to early 70's....

Then the Soviets displayed their new large anti-ship missiles in '63 and the calculus changed.
And faced with the need to get something 'now', the F4 with Sparrow III held the most potential to remain a valid system against the expected threat.
Then they thought switching to the Spey would be quick and easy. .......and cheap.......
It wasn't.

However an improved Sea Vixen could have been driven forward prior to this date. And despite it's 'inferiority', the potential is to achieve the desired CAP endurance is there along with the real world improvements in the AI.18 set which never made it to service.
It's also in this period that the industry seems to solve the illuminator issue with the AI.18.....
 

Archibald

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The Sea vixen was an outstanding machine that could have been operational by 1952-53, RAF included. Yet it lost seven years and was obsolete as it entered service. I remember reading Tony Butler books back in 2004 and being incensed by the RN uter lack of logic on this case (notably that Sea Venom with conventional fuselage to be a stopgap, was it the DH-116 ? can't remember).
 

zen

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Yes the DH116 was a very attractive proposition
Supposedly DH didn't have the design staff to complete it. But they had the already much worked on DH110. ....

Always a suspect matter to my mind. I suspect DH having sunk cost in the DH110 wanted their product to sell rather than have to start again on another machine were the customer might change their mind again.
 

uk 75

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However much we try to avoid it, the F4 dominates the issue.
If the RN had had bigger carriers (Maltas instead of Ark Royal, Eagle, Hermes and Victorious) the F4 would have determined the 1960s fighter force for the RN as it did for the USN.
Trying to operate the bigger 1960s jets from the smaller carriers either led you down the A4 Skyhawk route (Australia and Argentina) or out of the conventional business (Canada and the Netherlands). The RN realised this and wanted as many CVA01s as it could get for the 1970s.
 

zen

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We've done the F4 scenario.
Not that I got any pointers to where the answers to my questions might be found let alone the answers.
No point now and likely for the next 16 years......I can't spare the time or the money.

Anyway in reference to the Sea Vixen yes had it entered service in say '53, we'd all look at it as a reasonable system. Ideally for both RAF and FAA.
And frankly should have been leaving service by '63 anyway. A decent 10 year run.
 

kaiserd

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I suppose the best summary is that there were few if any remotely realistic scenarios where any version of the Sea Vixen Mark3 would really have been a good idea or likely to have been adopted by the Royal Navy or anyone else.

As mentioned by other contributors this is not a dig at the quality of the Sea Vixen but given it was so late to get into service and was not actually that good basis for development (at least not past the point of the Mark2) then not surprising not really a compelling “what if” re: a theoretical Mark3.
 

zen

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kaiserd said:
I suppose the best summary is that there were few if any remotely realistic scenarios where any version of the Sea Vixen Mark3 would really have been a good idea or likely to have been adopted by the Royal Navy or anyone else.

As mentioned by other contributors this is not a dig at the quality of the Sea Vixen but given it was so late to get into service and was not actually that good basis for development (at least not past the point of the Mark2) then not surprising not really a compelling “what if” re: a theoretical Mark3.
Nothing to disagree with there.
Just thought we should examine the path since others have occasionally mentioned it in other threads and it ought to be tackled head on.
What it shows is yes the thing is late and really it shows why it was not favoured until the alternatives had been killed off for one reason or another.

Hence why the FAA was driving the Scimitar FAW until money became too tight in 55. Why they had chosen the DH116. And why they were more interested in the P.177.
And if we go back further why they preferred Fairey's efforts.
And why they accepted an interim solution before OR346.
Even if that was the P1154....regardless of how that turned out, they wanted something and Sea Vixen Mk III never stood a chance.
Sea Vixen looks more like a short term fix from what is available after Suez that won't break the bank. In fact if I remember correctly it wasn't funded to service until after Sands.
 

starviking

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The scenarios I could see realistically leading to a need for a FAW3 would either be the USN bringing the Douglas Missileer into service, so proving the concept, and/or the Royal Navy seeing the danger of pushing all-or-nothing for new carriers. A FAW3 could easily be operated from Ark Royal, Eagle, Victorious, Hermes and Centaur - pushing a risky procurement decision into the 70s.
 

zen

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starviking said:
The scenarios I could see realistically leading to a need for a FAW3 would either be the USN bringing the Douglas Missileer into service, so proving the concept, and/or the Royal Navy seeing the danger of pushing all-or-nothing for new carriers. A FAW3 could easily be operated from Ark Royal, Eagle, Victorious, Hermes and Centaur - pushing a risky procurement decision into the 70s.
It would have to be well in process before '63 and in the light of some notable progress with radars and missiles.
Had the AMTI functionality with quartz delay circuits been fully funded and the SARH seeker for Red Top also fully funded.
Then it would be the simplest option after '63 in terms of a 'interim' solution.
But to their perspective it would be a short term stopgap until the arrival of the 'ultimate solution'.

So assuming the F4K enters service around '68-'69 as per history really.
 

Hood

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Archibald said:
The Sea vixen was an outstanding machine that could have been operational by 1952-53, RAF included. Yet it lost seven years and was obsolete as it entered service. I remember reading Tony Butler books back in 2004 and being incensed by the RN uter lack of logic on this case (notably that Sea Venom with conventional fuselage to be a stopgap, was it the DH-116 ? can't remember).
Indeed, it should have been in service much sooner.
I've often wondered what would of happened if the RAF had stuck with the DH110 and not gone down the Javelin route.
In a scenario where the RAF and FAA have Vixens in 1953-54 and get some good developments going with AI.18 mods and AAMs in a Mark II (perhaps after the Sandys cull killing off F.155), then it might make a FAW.3 more likely. or perhaps an F-4 replacement for the RAF and RN more likely? Either way it would have opened up some interesting possibilities.
 

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Had the RN been able to secure new build small / medium carriers, i.e. similar in size to Victorious, it is likely they would not have been suitable for Phantom but able to operate an improved Sea Vixen while a VG solution was developed long term.

Small / /medium carriers built in the 50s instead of upgrading Vic and completing Hermes to a new design (perhaps instead of completing the Tigers as well), logically would have been fit to serve out the 80s and into the 90s. My understanding is Mountbatten wanted new build carriers but Churchill signed off the rebuild of Vic and the completion of the Tigers and Hermes instead. The proposed carriers ranged from Hermes size through to a 1000 footer similar in size to Midway and some in between options. Assuming a new build class of intermediate carriers got up you have something that would have served past the service lives of the rebuild carriers and their air groups, but not been big enough to usefully operate Phantom, something that would have needed a long range fleet defence fighter able to engage Soviet missile carriers, this is the FAW 3 Sea Vixen.

Is the FAW 3 a rebuild with better radar, new missiles etc? Or is it a new model with a thin wing and turbofans in addition to new radar and missiles? Is it transonic or mildly supersonic in level flight? Is it a stop gap until a Sea Tornado becomes available in the mid 80s or is it expected to serve out the life of the carriers?
 

zen

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So what seems like a decade or more ago I dealt with the Carrier conundrum for the RN on this forum.

The short of it is that the Medium Fleet CV studies ought to have resulted in new carriers from '56 onwards. Having started around '54 in light of the issues with the 1952 CV effort. But in terms of threading the needle through history, the Medium CV studies ought to have started in '52-'53. Resulting in construction starting by '55.

All this doesn't make a Sea Vixen mkIII the best outcome however. Which is still the Type 556.

In that issue pressing ahead with the DH110 around 53-54 for service would make the Type 556 it's logical successor initially. Though a redesign is quite possible in the period.

As to the questions
Probably a mixture of both depending on parsimony of the Treasury. The cheap option is certainly not changing the structure much. So endurance and climb are likely improved, along with take off with a higher load.
The combination of improved Red Top, radar Red Top and improved AI.18. Would extend it's validity as a system.

It would certainly be viewed as a stop gap or the ultimate version of the Sea Vixen. Initial successor would be the Type 556.
Then OR.346.
Then NMBR.3 'winner' imposed.
Then whatever succeeds that. If not the F4, then either Type 583 or F8 Twosader heavily modified for the UK.
However the SeaVixen mkIII, might delay the successor's entry and this opens up either some cooperation with France or an alternative PANAVIA solution.
 
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