Alternate orders of Battle for Post War Luftwaffe

uk 75

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One of my favourite what-ifs is what the Luftwaffe might have looked like in the 70s if the projects planned in the early 60s had worked. Whereas we have a lot of material on what the RAF might have looked like, German what-iffery is much less common.

Two basic types were planned for service in the 70s

A Starfighter replacement, originally the VJ 101 programme and later the AVS US FRG swing winger

A G91 replacement, originally the VAK 191 programme.

Had these aircraft worked out they would have entered service in the 70s instead of the Alpha Jet/Phantom/ Tornado. Germany also developed a light trasnport aircraft programme to support this force, originally the Do 131 later the 132
 

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An interesting scenario.

It would look very different had the Saro P.177 entered German service in the early 1960s. Actually that acquistion would have changed things quite a bit, the P.177 was no multi-role fighter, ground attack might have been left to the G.91 fleet and so the VAK 191 might have become more pressing given the Luftwaffe would have been relying on a 1950s subsonic dsign for the 1970s. P.177 would still probably have been replaced by a VJ 101 programme but it might have looked a little different (ZEL P.177 anyone?).

It would have been good to see perhaps Scimitar or even the Buccaneer taking over from the Marineflieger Sea Hawks, certaintly the P.177 might have served with that air arm as a fighter but could not have been an effective anti-ship strike platform lacking a multi-mode radar and basically being optimised for pure interception. We've bemoaned Lockheed many times for corruption and the lack of British savvy to clinch the deal, but really Lockheed did well to repackage the F-104 as a multi-role type, it probably was a better all-rounder for the German needs than the P.177, which even if you remove the rocket, would have remained little better than a Lighning in terms of avionics capablity.

Personally I feel the VTOL fleet idea, which the RAF briefly embraced, to have been a folly even with 1960s technology. Even so its mystified me why, after the tri-nation Kestrel trials, the Luftwaffe didn't buy the Harrier to fulfill the VAK 191 programme? The Harrier might well have been a better solution and really would have offered a good ground-attack platform to replace the G.91 and serve alongside the Mach 2 interceptor fleet. We could go further and imagine a German P.1154!
A little what-if of the P.1154 I've drawn before;

HawkerP1154AU2.png
 

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Hood

Thanks for coming back on this one with some fascinating material. Your artwork on the P1154 is brilliant and I know that you have other gems on excellent Shipbucket site.

I have always been fascinated by the West Germans ever since I got my hands on the World Air Power guide published in 1964 or so (I forget the exact title) which has black and white side views of the VAK 191 and VJ 101 D. I also have an Air International article devoted to the later VSTOL Do 231 transport.

I think the Harrier would have fitted in well with the Luftwaffe's concepts and they had been in the Trilateral sqn (great P1154). However, by the late 60s they seem to have moved in the opposite direction going for the cheap and cheerful Alpha Jet rather than the Jaguar which they could also have used.

Unlike the RAF, the Luftwaffe was able to purchase US engined Phantoms of a more advanced kind and this solved the Starfighter replacement problem. I think there were many in the Luftwaffe who wanted more Phantoms rather than the Tornado (the Germans called it the Egg laying milk giving pig because they thought it tried too many different roles). An all Phantom Luftwaffe with Harriers instead of Alpha Jets would have been a top notch outfit in the 80s.

In the realm of what-iffery however the P1154, VJ 101/VAK 191/AVS and Mirage IIIVs look very smart and thanks to you and John Maverick we can see how smart they would have looked in 70s and 80s camo.
 

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