An exercise in altering British and European aerospace


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Nov 15, 2008
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Some older ideas from another timeline greatly influenced by recent threads. So our original pod was not directly British (it is Greece in the early 1920s). It's first effect on Britain is that alternative vote as an electoral system passes in 1931 but this hardly affects the course of the next two decades for practical purposes (OK I have Britain adopting Vickers-Pedersen in 7x51 around 1932 due to a very slightly better economy, influencing McArthur to go for the same cadridge and Carden avoiding his aircraft crash making Challenger a viable product but in the grand scheme of things not much changed, AV did not affect the very one sided results of 1931 and 1935 while WW2 remained very much recognisable )

Fast forward to 1951 when thanks to the different electoral system Labour's majority in votes translates to a majority in parliament as well. This sets the stage for further victories by Labour through the 1950s thanks to the same improving economy that brought Tory victories in OTL.

But in purely Defence terms we see Labour launching a first big set of military cuts err rationalisation as soon as the Korean war is over. Supermarine Swift is gone in favour of Hunter, EE P1 remains a strictly research project and Victor stays a prototype with Vulcan as the standard V-Bomber. Engine and aircraft companies are induced to start consolidating. This leads to *Hawker Shiddeley and *BAC some years early. Come 1957 the RAFs has operational requirement F.155 cancelled on it... with Hawker the big winner as its P.1121 with an Olympus engine is bought as Hawker Lightning as P1B is already cancelled. Some consideration is given to Canadian CF-105s too which goes nowhere for the time being. Which on the other side of the Atlantic has two distinct advantages compared to OTL first in using the Olympus as well thus avoiding the Iroquis development costs and second that George Drew's meningitis got butterflied thus he led the Conservative in one more defeat against the Liberals. On the other hand Vickers VC7 goes into production for civilian use as BOAC is uhm strongly encouraged to buy British.

Come 1958 with cold war paranoia at its height and a Labour government the US fails to sign a nuclear agreement with Britain. This in turn tips Britain towards closer cooperation with France. France having her own reasons to want independence from Washington Snecma next year cooperates with Bristol for Olympus. Come 1960 France detonates its bomb and Britain and France as a means of cutting down costs start cooperating further on nuclear technology. In the meantime as a way of cutting down costs the French cancel PA58 and instead join into the British CVA project. The latter though comes with a twist as the admiralty is forced to accept to 40,000t design proposed at the time.

Fast forward to 1962. The US cancells Skybolt and US-British relations were just that bit cooler since 1958 and Hugh Gaitskell a bit worse negotiator thus the Polaris agreement falls through. The British are back pissed off and with a serious problem in what to do with their detterent. There is an obvious solution. The French are ahead on a viable SLBM, Britain has a naval nuclear reactor of its own in the form of Rolls Royce PWR. Share the two and you can get an SSBN at a lower total development cost for both France and Britain. Strike two at the British-French cooperation.

In January 1963 Gaitskell dies with Wilson replacing him as PM. He cancels TSR-2 and P.1154 money for the deterrent have to come from somewhere. The smaller, CVA-01 involving the French survives. Barely. And Britain needs to replace TSR.2 with something and said something is not going to be F-111 given what took place already. So instead Britain buys 50 Mirage IV* and agrees on development of AFVG. An F-8 variant with Spey is bought in cooperation with France for the navy, 120 CF-105 are bought for air defence (the deal had been on and off for years and Canada had already bought Lightnings on the understanding Britain will sooner or later reciprocate). More Lightnings are bought for ground support by RAF.

AFVG is somewhat different. BAC and Dassault are already cooperating on the Mirage IV* and between the two agree for Dassault to get the design lead while Bristol gets the lead on engine development. The end result is closer to the Mirage G4 and G8 and Dassault has every reason, not least the Mirage IV to stick with it. Jaguar never comes to being but an advanced trainer this time led by Hawker very much does finally leading to *Hawk. In 1969 Germany, Italy and the Netherlands join AFVG and Germany joins *Hawk.

Dassault at the same time is also producing Mirage F1 and Mirage F1E with Bristol-Snecma M53, FBW and British radar is offered as a cheaper lighter alternative to AFVG. Belgium buys it in 1974, Greece and Spain following and the French air force switching to the newer model. AFVG meanwhile is looking rather mediocre in the air superiority role. Dassault can see an opportunity when it presents itself. ACT/TKF et all are already around as concepts at least. He sells the idea of a delta winged fighter with AFVGs engines and as many other common items as practical to enter service in the late 1980s. The OTL Eurocanards are stillborn but a not quite ACT/P.110 are developed for RAF (165 airframes in place of Tornado ADV) and AdA (75 nuclear strike and 100 air superiority) for service in 1987, MBB joins privately with a variant with F404 engines which is finally bought by Germany.

Which just brought us to around 1990. French and British carriers been flying AFVG and just possibly some Mirage F1Ms. AFVG is the primary RAF fighter, AdA been flying a mix of Mirage F1s, AFVGs. The not quite Eurofighter has just entered service with both. Both will need a replacement for AFVG around 2015-20 which can reasonably become an European 5th generation project, the OTL development costs for Typhoon and Rafale in the 1990s and early 2000s paying for it. While the recent 6th generation projects under discussion come a few years earlier to replace by about 2030 the alt-Eurofighter.

Thoughts? Glaring impossibilities?

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