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AFVG prospects with roles reversed

Lascaris

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As discussed all too many times, in real life Dassault was not entirely happy with participation in the AFVG program, with British design leadership for the airframe. This would lead to Dassault putting forward its own alternative designs and in the end contribute to the French abandoning the project. Just as famously Dassault was on record to be rather happy of the option of his designs being powered by British engines.

So let's assume that when the agreements for AFVG and ECAT come to being in 1965 the roles are reversed. Dassault is to lead airframe development and Bristol engine development for AFVG while BAC is to lead the trainer development. Is leading the project sufficient to keep Dassault in it?
 

Archibald

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The main issue is that Dassault is going full bore with the G and its massive TF-306 turbofan, plus everybody hates the M-45 that lacks power...
 

Lascaris

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Archibald said:
The main issue is that Dassault is going full bore with the G and its massive TF-306 turbofan, plus everybody hates the M-45 that lacks power...
,


The very idea is that TTL AFVG is derived from G in the first place for every practical purpose. If Dassault are leading development they are not exactly going to try to reinvent the will. As for M45 if Bristol is leading development I'd expect they are basing development on their experiences as well. So some turbofan derived of Pegasus with significantly more thrust?
 

AndrewN

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Bear in mind that the Pegasus was derived from the Orpheus in the first place.
 

Archibald

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If that may helps... France had some experience with the Orpheus, some of the 1955 NATO LWF contenders used it (Breguet Taon, Dassault Etendard...)

Best case in that scenario: if Dassault don't sabotage AFVG, with a little luck it may turns into Tornado, an aircraft that would be very useful to France and may find a role as a successor to the Mirage IV in the nuclear strike role, plus a conventional attack role in place of the Jaguars.

France major issue in the 60's is a multirole fighter to replace the Mirage III. There were many projects in the 1964-1968 era, before the Mirage F1 solved the issue (and later the 2000).
Main problem was the cost of the Jaguar, that sucked all the budget out of the Mirage III successor. now if the AdA has to fund Jaguar and Tornado, this will make things worse. Or maybe the Jaguar never grows into a "poor's man strike aircraft" - it sticks as a supersonic trainer, but an expensive one. At some point it will be cancelled and probably be replaced by an Alpha Jet / Hawk hybrid.

Now the jet engines. If the tornado could have M45 derived engines, SNECMA would be fine, but the M53 would still have to happen to replace the Atar. Yet OTL RB-199 and EJ200 were far more advanced engines than the "leaky turbojet" M53 - and that's the reason why SNECMA went the M88 way.
ITTL thanks to the M45 on AFVG, the M88 and EJ200 could be blended as a M45 successor for the Tornado successor... did I said Typhoon / Rafale story may happen differently ? It would.
The 2000 and 4000 never happens, by the way. Prototypes Mirage F3 test analog and digital FBW in the 70's and 80's.
In 1985 the Rafale split from the Typhoon because of two peculiar missions
- nuclear strike
- aircraft carrier ops
Now if the French navy gets F3 to replace the Crusaders, the second mission is gone. Same for the first if AFVG-Tornado already replaced the Mirage IVs.


then if the Jaguar is canned or stuck at trainer level, France may funds some kind of AFVG / Tornado - in place of the unfortunate serie of G4, G8, ACF and 4000. not a bad thing for France, Dassault and the Armée de l'Air, really.

As for the multirole fighter to replace the Mirage III, it might be the Mirage F3, provided the TF306 can be replaced by a M53 at a later date, circa 1969. Such aircraft could be long lived and replace both OTL Mirage F1 and 2000, selling 1300 just like the Mirage III before it.

The neat thing is, having a turbofan (unlike the F1) and no delta wing (like the 2000) and being available in the early 70's, then the F3 could interest the French Aéronavale to replace both Crusaders and Etendard IVs.

By the early 80's, the AdA and Aéronavale could standardize on the F3 (think Rafale) with a handful of Tornado for deep strike, nuclear missions.

The way I see it
- SNECMA accepts to develop the M45 for the AFVG / tornado, and this put the company on the path of the future EJ200
- still they build the M53 because the AdA needs a more powerful turbofan for single-engine fighters, M45 is too small and too weak
- AFVG become Tornado, hence a 4 country project, France sticks with it and get some to replace their Mirage IV in the nuclear strike role
- the Jaguar remain a trainer, then it is cancelled; OTL Hawk and Alpha Jet are fused / merged
- the Mirage F3 become the Mirage III true successor and replace all the older types as a multirole fighter by the early 80's
- the French Aéronavale picks a navalized F3
- By 1983, SNECMA has no qualms with the EJ200, while OTL Rafale specific missions (navy and nuclear) are gone
- Hence there is no Rafale / Typhoon split.
- While the Mirage 4000 never left the drawing board, the project is used as a basis for the future European aircraft
- the 4000 was larger than both Rafale and Typhoon but that was cancelled by the M53 flaws. there the 4000 got EJ200... and the end result is a terrific aircraft.
 

alertken

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UK+France on Concorde, UK+France+FRG on A300B prove that ego/my way is best! can be dumped and consensus found for what is in the best interests of the Joint Project. Delay, probably, cost premium maybe, but Tornado/Typhoon prove that consensus on best-interests can also be found on crucial military Projects. ESA/ELDO are written up as consensus-centric Cases.

So it is more than sad that UK+France have not found a basis for a Future Offensive Aircraft System, such that now France+FRG are exploring such a thing. Why did we not find a way?

While CDG was there, history/personalities probably built too high a hurdle: but he retired (4/69). The outset (3/68) of discussion on (to be Tornado) included France, excluded UK. France was ejected 4/68 and UK inserted. Then during the Definition Phase Canada/Neths./Belgium left: UK+FRG would have welcomed France coming on board. Italy+FRG could have leaned on UK to give SNECMA/PW a real chance for the engine; French avionics competence exceeded (licence-based) FRG/Italy's (EMD was imposed by FRG as a bidder for TFR/GMR, won by TI, imposed by FRG as a qualified bidder: UK was able to disqualify EMD on fairly flimsy grounds of inadequate work-sharing). I have no knowledge of any attempt at Tornado rapport, UK-France through 1969-74, when US tried very hard to kill it.

Much the same story, 1978-84 on (to be) Typhoon+Rafale. And now the various BAES+Dassault UCAV schemes seem to be floundering.

It's more than sad: duplication of effort is a calamity, squandering our taxes and exporting jobs.
 

zen

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In terms of avionics I think the UK had a slight lead over France.
Two options for TFR sets were developed.
Tackling the computer issue was at least a live process and much gained from the effort.
The AI effort is not as bad as some used to claim. Though the AAM effort is constantly undermined.

But it's certainly true that in airframes the French didn't lack anything.
And similar for undercarriage.

So it seems a lot more feasible to split things that way.
And that might make the AFVG more probable.

But Dassault is the answer and the problem.
Only an expert in that firm and it's leadership could give us an answer there.
 

Archibald

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Indeed France lagged in avionics, until the late 80's. Early Mirage 2000s had downrated RDM radars unable to guide medium range AAM, only Magics. Main problem was that Mirage III, Mirage F1 and Mirage 2000 were all "accidents" in history, more exactly not the combat aircraft the AdA wanted in the first place. Because they were "transitional" fighters only, the up-to-date radar had to wait for larger aircrafts - that never come. Pulse doppler radar, notably, could have happened in the early 70's but the Mirage F1 being a "stopgap" it had to do with the Cyrano family of radars. Pulse doppler was to be on the AFVG, G4, G8, ACF, 4000 - and each time one of these was cancelled, the radar was pushed back. Same for terrain following radar, the Antilope. Early variants were tested in the mid-60's but not before the 2000D/N in 1983-88 did the Antilope V entered service.
 

zen

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So a Anglo-French project 'the right way around', would have say the French do the airframe and undercarriage, and the UK do the engines and the avionics.
Such as one of the twin deep strike designs (yes I got the book for Christmas) and the F2.
F2 and F3 would utterly transform matters.
This would meet the OR for MRI (P1154 to Jaguar) and deliver a Fighter to replace the Lightning and Delta Mirages. That would be many hundreds maybe over a thousand aircraft produced.

Navalisation would either be direct or a later VG system.
 

Archibald

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zen said:
So a Anglo-French project 'the right way around', would have say the French do the airframe and undercarriage, and the UK do the engines and the avionics.
Such as one of the twin deep strike designs (yes I got the book for Christmas) and the F2.
F2 and F3 would utterly transform matters.
This would meet the OR for MRI (P1154 to Jaguar) and deliver a Fighter to replace the Lightning and Delta Mirages. That would be many hundreds maybe over a thousand aircraft produced.

Navalisation would either be direct or a later VG system.
bonus: if done from 1962 SNECMA would be more than happy to licence build Speys rather than the troublesome TF30 which was a piece of junk.
A Spey Mirage F3 would be a mini Phantom - much better for Clems and Ark and Eagle. The right size for a2a combat interception naval and medium strike. 700 Mirage F1 were build with the old Atar, passable range and payload. But the F3, exactly similar with the sole difference being "a little bigger with a Spey = 20% more range" would sell even better against the Phantom, even more with british avionics, RN and RAF onboard. In fact it would be a look alike Mirage F1 M53 except five years ahead of the F-16, right from 1970. And the Spey still better than the M53.

Few people realize that the F1 as build is a miniature clone of the never flown F3 - Dassault simply build a 80% scale model of the F3 the Atar could handle, really !
 

zen

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Not only all that but it's a strong contender to late model Starfighters, I'm thinking Germany here. As this is a better platform for nuclear strike.
Suck in Belgium, Netherlands and Italy and....bingo!

Also the big twin is assured of reasonable numbers for FdF and RAF. Possibly drawing in RAAF orders.
 

Archibald

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Well it has Rafale-level of "multirole" missions. Reconnaissance, nuclear strike, naval fighter, interceptor, dogfighter, for a start. Starfighter, you said it. Well, a bit like the F-1 OTL, it would come at a time when there was a gap between F-4 and F-5, only eight year later filled by the F-16. As far as performance goes, it would be closer from the Viggen, but without the political roadblocks of the Swedish aircraft.
 

Lascaris

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Archibald said:
bonus: if done from 1962 SNECMA would be more than happy to licence build Speys rather than the troublesome TF30 which was a piece of junk.
If you want to cheat have SNECMA team up with Bristol in 1959 with Olympus in place of J75...
 

Archibald

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Hurrah ! Good idea. The Concorde marriage, forgot that one.
 

Lascaris

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Lascaris said:
Archibald said:
bonus: if done from 1962 SNECMA would be more than happy to licence build Speys rather than the troublesome TF30 which was a piece of junk.
If you want to cheat have SNECMA team up with Bristol in 1959 with Olympus in place of J75...
From a quick check the projected cost for F3 was at a minimum 2.1 billion francs for 50 planes (from the French secret projects book entry) hence a unit cost around 42 million. At the same time Greece bought F1 at about 17.5 million francs per plane (17.635 million to be exact). That's 2.4 times more. Too costly to see the light of day. Mirage F1E or some short of Mirage 2000 seems more likely... but TTL we have SNECMA/Bristol making the engines. Soo how does "Mirage 2000" look like with a 25,000 lbf engine?
 

Archibald

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I don't know where you got 50 aircraft number. But the AdA would buy far, far more F3 than that, lowering the unit cost. Mirage IIIC alone were 95, Mirage F1C -100 and -200 were 150 or more. The F3 would be barely bigger than a F1 and a clone for everything else bar the turbofan.
50 may be a "first batch" and many more F3 would follow the air defence variant: reco, tactical strike plus nuclear, two seater... and probably a naval variant.
The AdA bought 400+ Mirage III and 400+:F1 later, and 315 Mirage 2000. Rafales were once to be 320 but that shrunk to 180...
 

Lascaris

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As said, from French Secret Projects, volume 1 pages 164-165

To quote

"On top of this the aircraft was deemed by the Armee de lAir as being too costly. The cost estimate for fifty aircraft was given as between 2,100 and 2,400 million francs depending on the avionics fitted"

Total production run was estimated to reach 150 aircraft, so likely unit cost would go down but by how much? If the Greek price is indicative for the remaining 100 aircraft, total price for 150 aircraft would be roughly 3,850 million or 25.7 million per plane.
 

Archibald

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Ok, sorry, didn't saw the source. My respectful excuses. :)

Very interesting. Yes, probably 150 aircrafts, that the standard number for AdA interceptor / air defence role as I said earlier - it matches the numbers of Mirage IIIC, Mirage F1C, Mirage 2000C + the -B two seaters for operational training (and air defence, too, in the later types. The III-B could not, the F1B could a little, the 2000B was fully capable AFAIK).

Going to 300 or 400 aircraft mean covering the entire ground attack role.

In the case of the F3, that would not happen (unfortunately) because the Mirage IIIE fleet was still "fresh" while the Jaguar was coming fast. And later, the ex-Israeli Mirage Vs. Those three were the FATAC (Force Aérienne Tactique = Tactical Strike Command) backbone until the 2000D/N and the F1CT entered service, after 1985.

So ok, we agree about an early batch of 150 Mirage F3 for AD, at the cost you calculated. What we can do to lower the unit cost, and produce more aircraft, is to get the British (RAF) and Aéronavale onboard.

The F3, particularly with a big, powerful Spey, could replace a whole bunch of aircraft in RAF service.

As for the Aéronavale, Etendard IVs & Super Etendards were build in similar numbers: more or less 70 machines. And the Navy bought 42 Crusader.
So 100 aircraft for the French Navy. According to Liébert book on the Mirage, performance-wise F3 with a Spey is exactly what the Aéronavale seeked to replace the Crouze between 1967 and 1974, when they got Super Etendard instead.

A 10 tons thrust Spey + an aircraft a little bigger than the F1 = max power within weight limits of the Clemenceau catapults performance (max 17 tons at 110 kt, from memory, very rough aproximation).

What just occurred to me is that in this peculiar AFVG universe, the Jaguar may abort into the AlphaHawk (you guess, a subsonic Hawk / Alpha Jet build by all thre countries).
If the Jaguar is cancelled, then the F3 can start eating the ground attack role, and get past 150. The Israeli Mirage V are probably sold to someone else (Argentina, only a few years earlier than OTL, and not worn out by intense Israeli use).

Then the Mirage IIIE fleet needs a replacement but only after 1980 - the role taken partially by Jaguar and mostly by the F1CT and 2000D OTL, in the mid-to-late 80's.

There are two slightly different roles - clear weather attack and all-weather attack. On paper, the Mirage IIIE is the all-weather type, with terrain following radar, somewhat a French F-105... with the same default: single pilot work overload.

The clear-weather attack types are the Mirage V, as for the French Jaguars they were somewhat... in-between, as shown in Gulf War One. LGB, a little, but no IR seeker.
Truth is, all-weather / night attack had to wait the Mirage 2000D and F1CT, in the 90's.

Hence I can see a ground-attack F3 taking, first, the clear weather attack role with limited avionics (probably the IIIE) and one pilot. This would kick the Jaguar and Mirage V away. LAter a two-seat F3 can be developed with the 2000D Antilope V. Well, Antilope terrain following radars were flight tested from the late 60's on a Vautour and a Dassault Falcon.

n the end I can see the F3 pulling a Rafale, but gradually and mostly "by accident" and not planned from the very beginning. By "pulling a Rafale" I mean "replacing every combat aircraft AdA + MN +/- Mirage IV nuclear bomber" (Rafale did the later, the F3 was too small, although the 2000N... well, maybe).
 

zen

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So the UK can 'ride to the rescue' here a bit, starting with the new AI set and the two options for TFR both of which can be available by the 70's if not earlier.
Much as with the power plant, Medway/Spey.
And in theory an enlarged RN.199
 

Archibald

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And the UK will be welcome to the party ! Mirage F3 rules the air like GB once ruled the waves !

As for carriers...

A naval F3 would fit a surviving CVA-01 like a glove, somewhat 80-85% of Phantom capabilities on a much smaller and lighter airframe.

For the older carriers: no problem for Ark Royal or Eagle either.

Where it gets interesting is all the Centaurs still around. They were more or less equal to Clemenceaus in overal size, and the two shared the same catapults. With its powerful Spey packed into a small airframe, plus its extended STOL capabilities, the F3 should have no isue landing on a Centaur uprated to Hermes level.

Best scenario: in 1967 Great Britain scraps every carrier bar HMS Eagle plus three Centaurs. All three are uprated to HMS Hermes level, except they keep their catapults. After HMS Eagle reach its end of life, at the end of the Cold War it is decomissioned. Two Centaurs are hold in service, a third one in reserve.
 

Lascaris

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So hmm. I think we can take the SNECMA-Bristol marriage in 1959 as an early point of divergence. Then come 1965 when the AGB comes to being, Dassault is to lead the airframe and Rolls/Bristol the engine, actually from the French Secret projects book this was the original proposal of the committee making it all the more plausible. In the meantime you might see Bristol buying off Rolls instead of the other way around but either way Snecma is closely cooperating with its British counterpart. They get their hands on Spey and we can further reasonably postulate similar work with that on TF-306 so a ~23-25,000 lbf Spey variant (like the later Mk205).

Spey Mirage F3 enters service in 1972 in place of Mirage F1 with British avionics in place of the Cyrano IV with an F3M for the navy. If it could also get fly by wire from the get go it would be great, but 1972 looks to me too early for that. By this time Jaguar simply doesn't happen, or rather is the "AlphaHawk" mentioned freeing up money, while AFVG is practically Mirage G8 with oversized RB199 (ie something the size of M53 but as advanced as RB199) and somewhere in the back-burner what became Mirage 2000 is also starting to take shappe (but might or might not see the light of day)

What happens post that needs to take into account the rest of Europe/NATO methinks. There is the Neues Kampflugzeug that ended up becoming Tornado but was still a single engined F-104G replacement with the Netherlands and Canada involved. I'm not certain this can be wrapped into AFVG that easily. The Germans will be asking for a major share of the workload and you still have both France and Britain to accommodate. Italy is at a guess easier to get into the effort. If this proves correct then you get an one engined NKF with Germany, Canada and the Netherlands with Italy either in NKF or AFVG. Of course this means the Dutch are not buying F-16 so no deal of the century. Hence the Belgians buy F3?
 

Archibald

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(impersonating Montgomery Burns voice) Excellent !

The part where the AFVG morphes into the Tornado (or something looking like the Tornado) is the tricky one indeed. If a smooth transition between AFVG and Tornado can be done, by integrating Germany (Italy would be far less difficult) then it would be interesting.

Edit: hell, forgot that Canada and Netherlands were part of original Tornado. Which OTL was called UKVG - and without British leadership however, it won't go anywhere. Canada won't do anything (CF-105). Netherlands too small. Germany alone lacks experience in leadership and building complete aircrafts. Italy is a difficult partner, still building his own F-104, the F-104S with Sparrows.

I can see the project collapse very fast. Canado is free, Netherlands sticks to OTL - F-5A and later... the Deal of the Century. Itally follows Germany... into AFVG.

As noted, the entire line of Mirage G / G4 / G8 / ACF never happens. Neither the Jaguar.

Where it gets interesting is, indeed, the Deal of the Century in 1970-75. With, as its core, the Belgium - Netherlands axis. It boils down to a simple question: can the F3 do better against the F-16 than the unfortunate Mirage F1E ?

There is two sides to this question. Operational service and technology.

On the first one, the F3 compared to the F1E has huge advantages. Bluntly, it is already in service in large numbers by 1972-75, and the weight of the RAF helps the AdA. By contrast the F1E was a lone bird: all the F1s had the old Atar.

Performance wise, the F3 will do much better than the F1E, thanks to three things: the Spey is better than M53, there is more turbofan (M53 was leaky turbojet) and the F3 airframe is slightly larger, by 10-15%. More room for more fuel. Crucially, the F3 has been designed, from the drawing board, for the Spey. The F1 was designed for the Atar and hastily adapted to the M53.

It is at the technology level that the F-16 win, hands down, and logically, since OTL F1 was an avatar of the F3, same exact same technology level. As Lascaris noted, FBW is not ready at Dassault, not yet. Although a F3 could be uprated with FBW, as were Jaguars, F-104, Phantoms demonstrators. There is no way that the F3 might be as AGILE as a F-16, of course. Rear vision of the pilot won't be too good either.

Yet the F3 might have a huge advantage over early F-16s up to block 30: medium range AAM, either the Matra Super 530 or Sparrows or Skyflash (OTL Tornado ADV missile). I the world of the F-16, it was the F-15 that was to fire the Sparrows.
By contrast GB had tasted Phantoms with Sparrows while France had developed the shitty R-530 to be vastly improved into the Super 530.

Overall, despite some F3 weaknesses, the fight with the F-16 might be much, much closer than OTL. Great Britain did entered the race OTL with the Jaguar, really a lost cause. Here their entry will be... the F3. Leaving the Viggen as the lone competitor to the duo F3 / F-16.
Dassault frantically tried to get Belgium buying F1E in late 1973- early 1974, to no avail. Then the Netherlands weighted up in the debate, tying their own choice to the ne of Belgium. For Dassault it was bad, there was little love between them and the Netherlands.

In the end both RAF and Armée de l'air gets large numbers of F3s and Tornados, a very complemntary duo. Where it complicates is OTL Tornado ADV (ironically called the Tornado F3 OTL, how confusing, Mk.3 might be preferable !).
The Mirage F3 range is probably not enough for the GIUK gap, plus single engine over the North Sea... not good.

Which brings us to Dassault long range plan post 1967 and obviously, Rafale and Typhoon.

What happens if Dassault build large numbers of F3s from 1972 ? production run probably matches that of Mirage III, which OTL exactly amounted to Mirage F1 (700) + Mirage 2000 (600) at 1300 aircraft.
The Mirage F3 career could be extremely long, the F1 atar were retired in 2014 OTL by the AdA and some F1s are still flying here and there.
Paradoxically Dassault won't be happy. The single-enegine niche is locked by the F3. The twin-engine heavy is now AFVG / Tornado. No room for evolved fighters. Thus the French government must take his responsabilities and fund lots and lots of demonstrators and prototypes, including to test FBW. Dassault has to diversify, something they did with the Falcon bizjets (excellent) and the Mercure airliner (a colossal disaster).

Interestingly enough the late Mercure 200 and very early studies of what become the Airbus A320 overlapped, in 1976-78. Well, Dassault was actually onboard before stupidly wasting their chance by trying to marry MDD on a DC-9 successor... that finally become the MD-80-95 lineage. Without Dassault.

ITTL with the combat aircraft market locked by the F3 and Tornado, Dassault would be even more in trouble with the Mercure disaster. Hopefully, if Airbus give them a way of getting ride of that burden (by turning it into a tentative A320) they won't miss the chance.

Maybe Airbus could throw a bone at Dassault and build an A320 ten years in advance, based on the Mercure with CFM56. Where it gets interesting is that the civilian aircraft could encompass Dassault FBW work which OTL went into the 2000, 4000 and Rafale - analog, then digital.

An A320-Mercure hybrid with CFM56 and the Mirage 2000 analog FBW would be a terrific competitor to the 737. It would greatly help Airbus, too, because by 1976-77 the A300 did not sold. At all. It was Frank Borman, the former Apollo 8 astronauts turned Eastern Airlines CEO, that single handedly saved airbus by giving them a much needed breakthrough in the United States, in 1978. God bless you, Frank.
 

Archibald

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The tricky part of the story is fate of the M53 and SNECMA. Hopefully their work on a Spey is followed by work on RB-199, then CFM56 happens and they diversify into the civilian market, like Dassault. By the late 70's, unlike OTL the M88 / EJ-200 rivalry that split the Rafale from the Typhoon never exists.

OTL De Gaulle cancelled the all powerful TF-306E in favor of the M53 because the american engine was... american, but also unreliable, bulky, and very expensive. Hopefully the Spey, being a far better engine than the TF-30, will not be stopped, although De Gaulle had little love for GB either... but really, a mature Spey flattens the M53-2 or M53-5 anywhere, anytime, in raw performance.

The story of Rafale / Typhoon in that universe will be... hard to guess.

OTL on the European side, the Typhoon is nothing like the Tornado before it. By contrast, Rafale is subscale clone of the 4000 with better air intakes, more agility, and some stealth.

So where would be "Rafale / Typhoon overall shape" come from ? Not from the 4000 obviously, which never exists. Well, delta / canard +/- FBW still exists in Europe, in the shape of the SAAB Viggen, so maybe France and others could get inspiration from there.

The Rafale / Typhoon split probably never exists ITTL, because all three reasons OTL have been flattened
- 1 SNECMA
- 2 Naval aircraft
- 3 nuclear strike

SNECMA is gradually integrated into European combat engines via Spey, RB-199. So no M88 / EJ200 rivalry.

Naval aircraft: the F3 is doing fine, thanks.

Nuclear strike: no problem either. Tornado took the role of the Mirage 2000N and replaced the Mirage IVs, although some teeth might cringe here and there... alternatively, some Mirage IV can have RB-199 in place of their old Atars, which would extend range terrifically (+50%)
 

kaiserd

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Sorry to be THAT guy but I think it’s important to note that the Sprey was not a particularly good fighter engine - while not as irredeemablely compromised as the F-111’s & F-14A’s Tf30 it did have some of the basic problems of that 1st generation of fighter turbofan engines which (apart from the undoubtedly important fuel consumption - particularly at low altitude - consideration) left them as all round inferior fighter engines than their last highly developed last-generation turbojet fighter engine contemporaries.

Later fighter turbofan engines like the F100, RB199 & F404 where considerably more advanced and better tailored to fighter aircrafts required performance and operating conditions.

Would also note that without the advanced design and advanced solid-state avionics system-miniaturization seen in later aircraft (in limited sense the later Tornado & F-15 but really the that-much later and more advanced F-16 & F-18) the Mirage F-3 could never remotely been the all singing & dancing aircraft you are proposing it could have been.

Instead we are talking about a heavier Mirage F-1 with an inferior thrust-to-weight ratio and a less-fighter aircraft performance optimized engine with systems broadly comparable to the F-4 which would probably have remained the better all round aircraft. A Mirage F-1 without some of its best aspects.
 

zen

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And that is why I say Medway, which if chosen could sweep up Volvo with a license for the Viggen.

This could be superseded by either RB177 or BS.100 derivatives. Either if which could become scaled up RB.199 type Turbofan.

I'd say the transition to Mirage G is still a logical move here and more compatible with German, Canadian and Benelux needs. It also meets AN and FAA needs bar the use of a single large engine.
While not ideal for GIUK Gap coverage due to single engine, it's a reasonable compromise.

Scale of savings/ profits could assist RSS FBW type research.
 

Lascaris

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Essentially we have G4 (strike version) and G8 (air defence version) with scaled up RB.199s from some time after 1975. And what effectively amounts to Mirage F1E with FBW and the uprated RB.199 on offer for the deal of the century (with an early Spey version already in production).

Now I'm not certain how well the Germans can be accommodated in this scheme. Supposedly the French and British together were initially talking about a run of 300 aircraft (125 AdA, 175 RAF). I can easily see these numbers expanding to roughly 200-230 for each, after all the French wanted 200 ACF and RAF got about 230 strike Tornadoes. Thing is the Germans at the same time claimed they wanted to build 600 aircraft and after 1972 324. The initial number is twice what France and Britain had initially committed to build combined. Somehow I doubt France and Britain are willing to give over 60% of the work-share to Germany. Would Germany be willing to accept something around 30% of the work and the existing French and British design arrangements? If not I don't see how a deal can be reached.

Does at the same time the call it Mirage F3E win the deal of the century? I could see it gaining the Belgian order, maybe, particularly if the Dutch were still part of MRCA. The whole order I'd guess not. Which then opens the road for "Mirage 2000" to come to being complementing AFVG instead.
 

Archibald

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the Mirage F-3 could never remotely been the all singing & dancing aircraft you are proposing it could have been.
Phantom and Mirage III were extremely versatile, so why not the F3 ? But I see what you mean and what I mean.

The versatility I described was mostly done by the pilot, most extreme example being Israeli Mirage IIIC being loaded with bombs... a very imperfect attack aircraft, yet they demolished a good part of the Arab air forces. Thanks to the Israeli pilot skills, and clear weather, obviously.

Yet different variants of the Mirage III existed, the B two seater, the E all weather attack, the R for recon, the V for clear weather attack... same for the Phantom, interception, bombing, reconnaissance. That's the versatility I had in mind. Pilot workload was probably heavy.

In your case, the more advanced avionics made the same airframe more multirole. In France that stage was reached by the late Mirage F1s (the Iraqis machines) and the 2000s.

Essentially we have G4 (strike version) and G8 (air defence version) with scaled up RB.199s from some time after 1975. And what effectively amounts to Mirage F1E with FBW and the uprated RB.199 on offer for the deal of the century (with an early Spey version already in production).
The G4 and G8 were markedly heavier than the Tornado, closer from 25 tons than the Tornado 19-20 tons. Partly because the Atar was far bigger and fuel thirsty than an advanced RB-199 turbofan. There is a very real risk of the AFVG (16 tons) weight creeping first to Tornado (20 tons), and then to G8 level (23 tons). G4 was even more heavier, 30 tons from memory.
This begs the interesting question of whether France wants a heavy interceptor to complement the F3s. The Tornado ADV was a rather straightforward development of the Tornado while the ACF and 4000 were insanely expensive brand new aircraft. So maybe the AdA could afford that luxury ITTL.

A F3 with a RB-199, nice. Even more room for internal fuel.
 

Lascaris

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Archibald said:
The G4 and G8 were markedly heavier than the Tornado, closer from 25 tons than the Tornado 19-20 tons. Partly because the Atar was far bigger and fuel thirsty than an advanced RB-199 turbofan. There is a very real risk of the AFVG (16 tons) weight creeping first to Tornado (20 tons), and then to G8 level (23 tons). G4 was even more heavier, 30 tons from memory.
This begs the interesting question of whether France wants a heavy interceptor to complement the F3s. The Tornado ADV was a rather straightforward development of the Tornado while the ACF and 4000 were insanely expensive brand new aircraft. So maybe the AdA could afford that luxury ITTL.

A F3 with a RB-199, nice. Even more room for internal fuel.
Max weight creeping up to real life Tornado seems about right I think, particularly if you have Mirage F3M for the French carriers (and surviving RN carriers? They have to survive budget cuts first...). After all max take-off weight for ACF and Tornado would be roughly the same at 29 and 28 tons respectively.

And of course the AdA in practice is getting a variable wing ACF here. After all AFVG has become "twin engined Mirage G derivative powered by scaled up RB.199". With the twin engines in the 25,000 lbf range meaning it's having a better thrust to weight ratio than either Tornado F3 or ACF. So an air superiority version seems only logical...
 

Archibald

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Now I'm not certain how well the Germans can be accommodated in this scheme. Supposedly the French and British together were initially talking about a run of 300 aircraft (125 AdA, 175 RAF). I can easily see these numbers expanding to roughly 200-230 for each, after all the French wanted 200 ACF and RAF got about 230 strike Tornadoes. Thing is the Germans at the same time claimed they wanted to build 600 aircraft and after 1972 324. The initial number is twice what France and Britain had initially committed to build combined. Somehow I doubt France and Britain are willing to give over 60% of the work-share to Germany. Would Germany be willing to accept something around 30% of the work and the existing French and British design arrangements? If not I don't see how a deal can be reached.
Very interesting. I thought leaping from AFVG to "something like Tornado" would be easy, but this might be troublesome indeed. Maybe the French, who recounciled with the Germans by that time, could make concessions to Germany... Dassault dreamed to sell combat aircraft to Germany, but never achieved it OTL (F-104G vs Mirage III was very painful in 1958). Building twice more aircraft by having Germany onboard is really a bold opportunity too good to be lost, really.

We need to dig further a peculiar scenario you mentioned varied times. Of Germany finding itself mostly alone at the head of a Tornado coalition orphan of Great Britain (still involved in AFVG, so no UKVG). The only other "major" partner is Italy. Canada and The Netherlands have not much money and may ran away pretty fast if the project balloons in cost and weight.
So what can Germany and Italy do ? OTL they never teamed together without either France or Great Britain, these two being leaders. Italy has a more dynamic aircraft industry with a lot of projects, Germany is barely restarting from zero, through the varied VSTOL projects (VAK-191, VJ-101).
Perhaps something based on a conventional VJ-101, but powerplant is going to be troublesome: in Europe, jets engines are either French or British ! So U.S engines maybe.
I'm not really convinced that Tornado coalition orphan from GB leadership can produce something akin to OTL Tornado.
 

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Germany could have a mixed F-4F Phantom II and F-111 fleet.
F-111 would be the only other strike platform around and I'm sure the Americans would be glad to do a deal. Of course there would be political considerations of blacklash from behind the Iron Curtain for giving the Luftwaffe a nuclear strike platform.
 

Archibald

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brilliant. Australia had such a fleet too. The irony being the F-111K otl...
 

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From pictures here and elsewhere, the German design looked very roughly like an one engined Tornado, with an F100 engine. If it works out...
 

Archibald

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So F-111G (let's call it that way) vs one-F100-Tornado. Performance won't be the same at all... and surely enough, the Netherlands may stick with the single-engine aircraft.
 

Kadija_Man

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Archibald said:
brilliant. Australia had such a fleet too. The irony being the F-111K otl...
The F-111 was effectively forced on the RAAF because of the failure of the TSR2 (and the warning off by Mountbatten who didn't like it) and the unwillingness of the RN to change the Buccaneer to be a more effectively land based strike aircraft. The Mirage IV was interesting never really considered. That left the F-111 as the last plane standing...
 

Archibald

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Kadija_Man said:
Archibald said:
brilliant. Australia had such a fleet too. The irony being the F-111K otl...
The F-111 was effectively forced on the RAAF because of the failure of the TSR2 (and the warning off by Mountbatten who didn't like it) and the unwillingness of the RN to change the Buccaneer to be a more effectively land based strike aircraft. The Mirage IV was interesting never really considered. That left the F-111 as the last plane standing...
note that the Mirage IV production line rolled the 62th and last aircraft in november 1968. But the AFVG would kill it - no way Germany buy Mirage IV if they had missed that train...

How many F-111s would Germany buy ? OTL they bought a boatload of Tornados, 250 or more. The Aardvark is fare more expensive... 150 ? 180 ? Hell of a strike force that would make !
And in this case Netherlands goes into the Deal of the century as per OTL.

And then there is that single engine Tornado. The closest OTL aircraft would be the Mirage G (the irony !) or... a MIG-23. Manoeurevability would be poor, the Netherlands pilots may regret their otl F-16s... intriguing.
 

starviking

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Kadija_Man said:
Archibald said:
brilliant. Australia had such a fleet too. The irony being the F-111K otl...
The F-111 was effectively forced on the RAAF because of the failure of the TSR2 (and the warning off by Mountbatten who didn't like it) and the unwillingness of the RN to change the Buccaneer to be a more effectively land based strike aircraft. The Mirage IV was interesting never really considered. That left the F-111 as the last plane standing...
This is news to me. Is there any documentation on the RN refusing suggested mods that would have made the Bucc a better land-based strike aircraft?
 

alertken

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In the UK procurement system it was not for RN to interfere in aero-business in any way. All they could do, while Bucc. S.2 and its Spey were in R&D, was to demand priority for their variant. HSAL tried very hard to win favour for enhanced avionics in S.2*, ** schemes and for airframe transonic enhancements. Conventional wisdom now is that RAF opposed anything designed for RN. But any such prejudice would not, alone, have caused Ministers to reject a Good Thing, and that is what an enhanced Bucc. would have been, as its R&D risk was less than any wholly-new type.

Ministers, French and Brit, were tussling, 1964-66 with the Task: what was a nuclear strike type for? Where? You couldn't send them off on an iron sortie in Central Europe - WarPac would assume sunshine on board - and if nuclear's time has come, then SSM/IRBMs. East of Suez the Threat environment would not necessitate the complexity of any precision type. SA took 16 Buccs only because no-one would offer them anything cheaper with the range to reach Cuba/Reds beyond the Kalahari. Why embark on new spend when SecDef McNamara was talking of 3,000 F-111s doing, well everything, land and sea. Clearly it would work and was offered at fixed prices. What's not to like? RAAF took it simply because USN and PACAF would have it in-Theatre, piles of parts, inter-operable. UK was talking vaguely about a dozen or so TSR.2s on some piles of guano.

In 1967 NATO chose to publish flexible response and a Plan to try for some days to drop iron, only. So, oodles of mid-range types, in sufficient quantity credibly to be risked (expended) on iron, before recourse to AW. UK then took Buccs for RAFG, dual tasked, iron+AW.
 

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As ever, thanks for the detailed and informed post Ken.
 

Archibald

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when SecDef was talking of 3,000 F-111s F-35s doing, well everything, land and sea
fixed that... oh no, wrong thread, forget it :p
 

Archibald

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So let's assume that when the agreements for AFVG and ECAT come to being in 1965 the roles are reversed. Dassault is to lead airframe development and Bristol engine development for AFVG while BAC is to lead the trainer development. Is leading the project sufficient to keep Dassault in it?
little reminder of the original

Having the brits work with SNECMA would be a bonanza tothe French engine maker. As suggested earlier, maybe in 1959 SNECMA turns to RR and the britishrather than Pratt. It can be for the Olympus or RB-142: both were options for the supersized Mirage IV, the Mirage IVB of B-58 size. While this one is DOA because Mirage IVA + KC-135, now the British have a minor share in SNECMA (in the 15%) unlike Pratt. Then the Concorde Olympus makes the alliance even stronger.

Fast forward to 1965 and Lascaris whatif. Dassault gets the AFVG airframe and is happy to get into VG territory. The Mirage F2 still flies and goes nowhere, it was from an earlier AdA operational requirement.

OTL the F2 was the father of G and F3, and the F3 led to the F1.

ITTL the F3 flies in 1967, like the F1 (hopefully Rene Bigand does not crash with the first prototypes as per OTL :( )
It solds in very large numbers and multiple variants in many countries 1400 or even more are build.

Can the Mirage G flies as a demonstrator ? it was a cheap modification of a F2 that took only 18 months. And here it is no threat but can rather be integrated into the AFVG program.

The French Navy could then picks either the F3M or the G, but the later, an orphan type, would cost them a lot.

Whatever, the AFVG goes forward and the OTL twin jet Tornado is gone.
Germany find itself alone and torn between a F-111 buy or a single engine Tornado they call the Panther. They go with option 2. Which is on a collision course with the Mirage G !
The Mirage G attracts a lot of interest as a lower end to AFVG... and an instrument to strangle the Panther in infancy. And bring Germany into AFVG (renamed Cyclone a word like Concord/e common to French and English languages). Repeated atempts to blend the Mirage G Panther and AFVG into a single aircraft.

Powered by 1 F100 turbofan the aircraft survives and goes ahead with Germany Italy (no AMX probably) The Netherlands ( no DOFTC) Canada (no Hornets later).

Late 1973 Belgium succumbs to the Mirage F3 although the Panther was a strong contender. Norway and Denmark hesitate, too, between the two types... and the F-16 obviously. The americans quickly screw the Panther through their F100 turbofan... the F-16 wins. Germany is appaled.

Meanwhile GB drags France into the AFVG ADV, a competitor to the Tomcat and Eagle.
 
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