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Anglo-French RR Spey timeline

Archibald

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Somewhere in an alternate universe, in 1959 SNECMA picked RR RB.142 Medway for the Mirage IVB (in place of selling their soul to P&W to get J75s) and even if this one was later canned, RR and SNECMA stayed in touch.

Concorde's Olympus in 1962 happened as per OTL.

In 1963 SNECMA OTL TF-306 program was replaced by the RB.168 Spey. This included british two-seat Crusaders for the French Navy, far more capable than OTL "Crouzes".
All the experience gathered on the Spey-Crusader then poured into the Mirage III-T, F2, F3, Mirage G.
In passing, the Spey-Crusader cooperative program destroyed both Jaguar and AFVG as "the cooperative Anglo-French combat aircraft program."
With the Spey proving extremely satisfactory, SNECMA interest and project of smaller turbofans (M45 and Adour) were strangled in infancy. But the Spey proved too big for any twin-jet fighter or light bomber.
France and Great Britain, later joined by Germany, managed to build a modest subsonic trainer, the AlphaHawk (a truly ackward name, really). Per lack of Adour in Jaguar and Hawk, it was Turbomeca that took the helm with their Larzac, two of them powering the AlphaHawk.

After TSR-2 death the Spey Mirage IV* become a go. This sunk the F-111K and Tornado, but also Dassault G, G4 and G8 - no need for VG naval fighters or bombers with the Twosader and Spey Mirage IV doing a fine job. The lone Mirage G prototype proved outstanding but went nowhere.

So the Mirage IV production, which seemed to be stopped at 62 machines in 1968, actually continued into the 70's. The reason was simple: the Mirage IV was, quite simply, the only twin-jet airframe France and Great Britain could afford.
Anything else - a never ending list including the Phantom, AFVG, Tornado, TSR-2, F-111, G4, G8, G8A - were just insanely expensive. When this become painfully obvious in 1968, Great Britain went for a Spey-Mirage but De Gaulle prefered an M53 bird, less expensive, with french engines that were true heirs of the Atar, size of the engine bays included. Fact is that the Spey was hard to shoehorn into the old Mirage airframe, being 30 cm wider than the M53. Yet the two aircraft were evenly matched in performances: the Spey Mirage IV ruled at low level, when the M53 gave the French bird better performance at altitude. Both were fortunate: the British had no stand off cruise missile past the Blue Steel, so low-level speed was key for survival. By contrast the French could afford medium or high height dashes... because they fired ASMPs.

By 1968 the AdA decided to procure a handful of uprated Mirage IVs with the coming M53 rather than the Spey. In turn, this and the massive F3 procurement program sunk any false hope of a heavy twin-jet fighter - the G4 and G8 and a fixed wing G8A never got out of the drawing board. Neither did a revamped Mirage III with FBW. Instead analog and later digital FBW were flown on F3 demonstrators.

Meanwhile as per OTL the Mirage F2 was dumped as unnecessary, too, while the OTL F1 and F3 blended into a one and only multirole fighter, first powered by a Spey and later to be upgraded with the M53.

There were many variants of the F3 - single and two seater, land and carrier based, Spey and M53, interceptor and ground pounders. Production lasted well into the 90's and broke the old Mirage III record of 1400 aircraft, reaching as far as 2000.

Without the "Jaguar heavy financial burden" of the late 60's the AdA could procure a boatload of them, soon joined by the RAF (Lightning replacement, no Phantoms) and also the RN.

Indeed the hopeless CVA-01 was canned as per OTL, then the cranky Ark Royal was scrapped. In their place would be an uprated Eagle, plus a bunch of Centaurs.
They would remain the mainstay of the RN carrier fleet until the end of Cold War.
While Thatcher decided to retire the Eagle in 1980, (a decision that triggered the Falkland ATL war , of course ! :p ) luckily enough for the RN the smaller and cheaper Centaur (three of them) proved surprisingly sturdy, and durable.
They thoroughly kicked the ass of Galtieri Argentina, sinking General Belgrano and 25 de Mayo in a hail of Exocet missiles.
The last two Centaurs (the third was retired at the end of Cold War) lasted into the early 2000's (!), long enough for the Anglo-French carriers to replace them.
This program started in 1972 as a "joint helicopter carrier" blending the now unuseful "Through Deck Cruiser" with "PH75". Exploratory talks with the Spanish and Italian navies unfortunately led nowhere. Which was not a bad thing after all when, in the 80's as both Clemenceaus and Centaurs urgently needed replacement. After the Falklands the join Helicopter Carrier morphed into a 50 000 tons CATOBAR ship that barely managed to survive the end of Cold War and entered service by 2001.

The French Navy stuck with the spey Twosader but conceded the F3 could be interesting later on. They did the swap in the early 80's.

The Spey F3 was pitched to Belgium in 1973 and they bought it, making the later Deal of the Century a three way affair between Denmark, Norway and The Netherlands. Most of OTL air forces that bought F1s bought F3 and found the more powerfuls Speys and M53s quite useful (hint: Iraq against the Iranians).

Germany per lack of a Tornado bought a mix of Phantoms and F-111s. Italy, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States got a join agreement to build uprated Harriers (think AV-8B and Sea Harrier having a one night stand) for the RAF (not the RN of course) USMC, Spanish and Italian navies. Great Britain barely managed to stay in control of the Harrier against assault of MDD. By the 80's Great Britain took leadership of the P.1216, the Harrier successor (Typhoon and F-35 blend together, somewhat).

During the 70's the AdA exploited the full potential of the F3 (450+ were procured) and upgraded it with the M53; by the early 80's the bulk of the French combat fleet was F3s plus upgraded Mirage IVs with either Spey or M53.

The Aéronavale finally bowed to the pressure, replacing its Twosaders with Mirage F3 in the late 70's. By this point the Crusader / Etendard IV split was long gone. Inspired by the USN Crusaders used in the fighter bomber role over Vietnam, in the early 70's the Aéronavale ditched its Etendard IV in favor of giving the Twosader a similar role, greatly helped by the raw power of the Spey at low level and also the two-men crew.
This was only a transitional solution: the Aéronavale turned its Twosader into ground pounders only to "prove" a naval Mirage F3 would assume both roles - interceptor and fighter bomber. The job done, the Aéronavale acepted a multirole, naval F3 - at discount prize from Dassault, since that aircraft was near the end of a massive production run. 42 Crusader and 71 Etendard IV had been procured, and the number of F3M was rounded to 100.

With the P.1216 on one side, and the F3 on the other, sucking all the money; and without the Tornado experience, any hopes for an European combat aircraft (Rafale vs Typhoon OTL sterile knife fight) was DoA.
Europe however had the P.1216 joint program that on the U.S side soon extended to a F-22 low-end companion - a F-16 / F-18 possible successor.

Dassault successive failures pitching the AdA twin-M53 F3 successors (G4, G8, G8A..) make them understood that something was wrong with the concept of a french heavy fighter. The example of SAAB Grippen pushed them in a similar direction, with a much uprated, single M53 delta-canard combat aircraft including digital FBW. That modern-day Mirage III sold like hot cakes, achieving a difficult objective -replacing the F3. It completed the P1216 pretty well.
 
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Archibald

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Some more random thinking about this...

France very unique SNECMA shamelessly flirted with
- Pratt in 1959, for J75 and later for TF30
- Roll Royce for Concorde
- And finally, General Electric to create the CFM56 turbofan !

All this happened within the span of two decades, between 1958 and 1973. SNECMA needed to learn about turbofans to get out of their Atar dead-end. This also applied to civilian airliners.

More random thinking

This bit of alt-history stemmed from an earlier, less ambitious story involving the Mirage F1-M53 that flew in 1973. I realized that the earlier Mirage F3 of 1967 was extremely similar, although the TF30 made it bigger (and probably a little less reliable, hint, tomcat, cough, F-111, cough cough). I wondered if the Spey might have been a better investment for SNECMA, plus Jaguar and Concorde for the love of cooperation with you British...
then I remembered that back in 1959 SNECMA had married Pratt long before the TF30 and Mirage F2 - it was a matter of getting huge and powerful J75s for a French B-58 and Mirage IVA on steroids, the Mirage IVB.

Which had a lifespan of exactly six months - March 1959 - September 1959 then RIP, De Gaulle felt US engine on a french nuclear bomber would be unacceptable and threw it under a bus.
They moved the dependance to the KC-135 tankers... the reasonning being, at least if the KC-135 were grounded by Uncle Sam (you never know, ah, those americans !), the Mirage IVA with their Atars could still fly, unlike a Mirage IVB with J75s. One could argue however that the Mirage IVA would not fly very far but hey, that was WWIII and nuclear armaggedon: the Mirages were not supposed to come back !

Where it really gets interesting is that the big Mirage IVB considered in the end six options
- 4*Atar-9 : a miniature Concorde in 1959 !
- 2*Super Atar (but SNECMA did not knew how to build that)
- 2*RB.142 (here we go !)
- 2*J75 (the option taken OTL)
- 2*Olympus (Concorde, again !)
- And finally, icing on the cake, yes, for a brief moment they considered... the Avro Arrow PS-13 Iroquois !!!

Which in turn led to a tenacious legend of France buying Arrows or its engine, whatever.
This would never happen: past 1957 France sunk all its interceptor money into Mirage IIIs and nothing else (no Etendard IV, no Griffon, no Trident, no Durandal, no Leduc, nada, zippo, zilch, and you thought Sandys and Diefenbaker were bad ? France got its own carnage, same year, 1957-58).. no money for the Arrow, unfortunately. Shame, because the Mirage 4000 was its late false twin, lost brother... and equally unsuccessfull, damn it).

Each one of these options is fascinating and would be worth an alt-history of its own. "Miniature Concorde" or " pre-Olympus Mirage", Super Atar, Medway or Iroquois, or even the J75 Mirage IV, all are fascinating whatifs.
 
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Lascaris

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Multiple divergences? But my question for a Mirage F1E/F3 has always been how big are the necessary changes to get one with relaxed stability and FBW for comperable performance with Mirage 2000? After aĺl Dassault I suspect start playing with what became Mirage 2000 for a reason.

The other question is how much out of joint you need to throw the procurement circle for the replacement of a 4th generation F1 to be a 5th generation machine actually.
 

zen

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Hmmmm curious thoughts ..

Where is the F series with twin M45? Call it the F4 say and there you could get a twin engined fighter of reasonable size and weight.
RB.153 is the RR/MTU alternative and draws in the Germans......
While the RB.172 was the pure RR only offering..... less a Jaguar and more a Leopard?
 

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Multiple divergences? But my question for a Mirage F1E/F3 has always been how big are the necessary changes to get one with relaxed stability and FBW for comperable performance with Mirage 2000? After aĺl Dassault I suspect start playing with what became Mirage 2000 for a reason.

The other question is how much out of joint you need to throw the procurement circle for the replacement of a 4th generation F1 to be a 5th generation machine actually.
In the 70's a bunch of conventional aircraft were turned into FBW demonstrators. German F-104, NASA Crusader, Phantom... no reason a F3 or F1 could not do that.
 

Archibald

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Hmmmm curious thoughts ..

Where is the F series with twin M45? Call it the F4 say and there you could get a twin engined fighter of reasonable size and weight.
RB.153 is the RR/MTU alternative and draws in the Germans......
While the RB.172 was the pure RR only offering..... less a Jaguar and more a Leopard?
The M45 is really intriguing. Basically France hated it because it lacked raw thrust even compared to an old Atar (5800 kgp vs 7200 kgp for the 9K-50). France wanted big and powerful turbofans, the M45 (a scaled-up Jaguar's Adour) was anaemic.

I did some calculations however of a M45-powered Mirage IV. A little less thrust for sure (although not much, the IV-A Atar were around 6500 kgp, so 700*2 less). BUT a huge internal volume gain, first thanks to the M45 far lower fuel consumption, but also far smaller size. In the end a M45 powered Mirage IV probably would have a huge gain in range, perhaps +30% or even more.
Same for the G4/G8 with VG.
By contrast the ACF/G8A needed all the thrust it could get, so M53 would be necessary.
The M45 was extremely small and compact in size but lacked thrust - a bit like the RB.199 or M88 later on. Also F404 if compared to F101/F110. It was a whole generation of "compact turbofans" that started with the M45.
 
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Archibald

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I uprated the TL a little. Pretty fun to write.
 

zen

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These compact turbofans, and the failure to deliver similarly compact turbojets earlier sit in a sweet spot for such aircraft designs.

In essence the decrease in cross sectional area translates to less fusilage cross sectional area and results in less need of high thrust. So you get the options of choosing increased available volume or reduced drag by scaling down the fusilage.
What counts is thrust to weight ratios and lift coefficient.
A critical figure for carrier aircraft is multiplying lift coefficient by wing area and this is a vital figure for calculating take off weight from a given catapult at a given angle of inclination of the fusilage.

So a sort of F2 with two M45 type engines results in a potent aircraft. Eminently carrier compatible.
 

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The TL could develop into many others direction bar France.

Sweden: screw the JT8D, the Viggen (hell of a terrific aircraft) was to have the Medway initially.

Italy-Brazil: hello, AMX. this cute little combat jet has a spey, too.

United States: Allison took a licence to build the Spey, resulting in the TF41. The A-7 Corsair II started its life with the shitty TF30 and happily threw it under a bus for the TF41 - USAF first, then USN.
In an alternate reality, the F-14 Tomcat, too, threw its TF30 under an aircraft carrier and got TF41 as an interim engine that become permanent after the F-14B sunk with its F401s. Commonality with the A7 was welcomed by USN mechanics.
 
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Archibald

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These compact turbofans, and the failure to deliver similarly compact turbojets earlier sit in a sweet spot for such aircraft designs.

In essence the decrease in cross sectional area translates to less fusilage cross sectional area and results in less need of high thrust. So you get the options of choosing increased available volume or reduced drag by scaling down the fusilage.
What counts is thrust to weight ratios and lift coefficient.
A critical figure for carrier aircraft is multiplying lift coefficient by wing area and this is a vital figure for calculating take off weight from a given catapult at a given angle of inclination of the fusilage.

So a sort of F2 with two M45 type engines results in a potent aircraft. Eminently carrier compatible.
I remember from my Tony Butler books, a BAC type with such engines, think it was the P.141. It looked like a Phantom. Might be fun to blend a Mirage F4 with it, in place of both Jaguar and AFVG.
 
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zen

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These compact turbofans, and the failure to deliver similarly compact turbojets earlier sit in a sweet spot for such aircraft designs.

In essence the decrease in cross sectional area translates to less fusilage cross sectional area and results in less need of high thrust. So you get the options of choosing increased available volume or reduced drag by scaling down the fusilage.
What counts is thrust to weight ratios and lift coefficient.
A critical figure for carrier aircraft is multiplying lift coefficient by wing area and this is a vital figure for calculating take off weight from a given catapult at a given angle of inclination of the fusilage.

So a sort of F2 with two M45 type engines results in a potent aircraft. Eminently carrier compatible.
I remember from my Tony Butler books, a BAC type with such engines, think it was the P.141. It looked like a Phantom. Might be fun to blend a Mirage F4 with it, in place of both Jaguar and AFVG.
It's where my thoughts tend to see a reasonable answer.
AVS used RB.153 as well. So there is serious scope for a common solution.
And Mirage F4 type sits in that golden zone.
 

zen

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The TL could develop into many others direction bar France.

Sweden: screw the JT8D, the Viggen (hell of a terrific aircraft) was to have the Medway initially.

Italy-Brazil: hello, AMX. this cute little combat jet has a spey, too.

United States: Allison took a licence to build the Spey, resulting in the TF41. The A-7 Corsair II started its life with the shitty TF30 and happily threw it under a bus for the TF41 - USAF first, then USN.
In an alternate reality, the F-14 Tomcat, too, threw its TF30 under an aircraft carrier and got TF41 as an interim engine that become permanent after the F-14B sunk with its F401s. Commonality with the A7 was welcomed by USN mechanics.
Don’t think I can add much to where you are going. As it does seem a reasonable scenario for the Spey type engine to do better than OTL.
There was also a Spey A4 and nothing stops a Spey F104 ...
Though I really like the idea of the Spey Mirage F2 and F3 as I do the Mirage G.
Just to throw caution to the winds how about a Spey Etendard?
 

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I remember from my Tony Butler books, a BAC type with such engines, think it was the P.141. It looked like a Phantom. Might be fun to blend a Mirage F4 with it, in place of both Jaguar and AFVG.
A Brough project. IIRC a good deal of info on it in “From Spitfire to Eurofighter”
 
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Lascaris

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Multiple divergences? But my question for a Mirage F1E/F3 has always been how big are the necessary changes to get one with relaxed stability and FBW for comperable performance with Mirage 2000? After aĺl Dassault I suspect start playing with what became Mirage 2000 for a reason.

The other question is how much out of joint you need to throw the procurement circle for the replacement of a 4th generation F1 to be a 5th generation machine actually.
In the 70's a bunch of conventional aircraft were turned into FBW demonstrators. German F-104, NASA Crusader, Phantom... no reason a F3 or F1 could not do that.
There was at least one Mirage F1E proposal with FBW apparently, so the question would be if Mirage 2000 offers any performance advantage over a FBW Mirage F1E with the same engine and electronics.
 

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AFAIK the F1 was designed stable and without FBW when the 2000 was deliberately made unstable to fully exploit FBW potential. That's the theory at least. Note that Dassault also build the Mirage 3NG, with the 2000 FBW !
 

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Hmm. I have two main problems with what is being descried here I think. Our point of divergence is in 1959 as SNECMA teams up with Rolls Royce and ends up getting the Spey tech to play with. That or Bristol with Olympus but the point is effectively the same. How do we get from there to the Spey Cusader and Mirage IV*. Britain wasn't particularly likely to get Crusader and it is hardly worth it for 42 machines for France. As for Mirage IV* not certain what we've changed for Britain to chose it over F-111K.

On the other hand as discussed in the past in such a scenario you are pretty likely to go with a French led AFVG I think with Britain leading the engine which leads you by the early 1980s to France having a mix of ACF and Mirage F3* with modern engine and avionics the latter taking up the slot of Mirage 2000. At a fair guess I'd also say the M53 is a different beast, more complicated and with higher thrust to weight ratio. Then... no Mirage 2000 or 4000 but the F3E/ACF or only F3E around from roughly the mid 1970s. BUT according to the Frenc secret projects book for a time the Germans were willing to go forth with an F404 powered ACT while France would get the M88 variant... only with the expenditure for Mirage 4000 Dassault could not finance what was supposed to begin as a Dassault-MBB private venture. Since no 4000 is around here the money is there... and you've just got what's more or less Rafale in service by the early 1990s maybe? And either way you'll be needing a replacement for the late model F3s and ACF/AFVG at around 2015-2020. That's an French/European 5th generation bird contemporary to F-35 needed here...
 

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Spey Crusader: alternative to the F-4K with the same engine, hence a two-seater with advanced radar. Unlike the stock USN / France Crusader, which were closer from "clear weather" interceptors. It was a proposal from Short so maybe a little marginal OTL.
ITTL it is much less marginal because France picked the Medway in 1959, did nothing with it (Mirage IVB) yet found itself at the forefront when
a) the Medway morphed into the spey
b) both Aéronavale and FAA considered the Crusader, although very different Crusaders.
OTL French one was an end-of-serie, single-seater, J57 powered Crusader II
OTL the British one was the Spey two-seater
ITTL since the French have a partnership with RR for Medway / Spey, this collides with the Aéronavale Crusader interest... and results in France jumping into the Spey-Crusader bandwagon.
Giving the two countries their first Spey-powered "join aircraft". In turn, that "join aircraft" crushes both Jaguar and AFVG. The former remain a subsonic trainer and an Alphajet-Hawk hybrid. The second one is not needed or pushed aside, since it had a naval variant... now filled by the Spey-Crusader.

Mirage IV*: explained, after all the alternatives crashes and burn as too expensive (mid-1968) the only twin engine airframe bomber of any reasonable cost left standing is the Mirage IV. Which OTL production ceased in november 1968 at 62.
Admittedly, it is a default choice. The F-111 was hardly a bargain.

I agree that the most difficult part is the AFVG fate. If separated from the naval requirement, then only the land-based variant remain.
And there I admit I never quite understood what the AFVG was supposed to be. A miniature F-111 bomber or a VG interceptor ?
WTH did GB started the AFVG while it had an order for F-111K ?

The G4/G8 is equally unclear, torn between Mirage IV bomber and heavy fighter. Later ACF and 4000 completely assume the interceptor role first.
 
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zen

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If Shorts was doing the front end, perhaps a deal could be struck and France produce the back end?
At this time they had more experience with hot sections of the airframe.....
Maybe the wing too?

This would make it a Anglo-French product....
 

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How about Breguet, which has the advantage of definitively burying the Jaguar. Breguet knew better about naval aircraft than Dassault, having build the Atlantic, and Alysee vs the Etendard IV.
 

zen

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There is a flipside or should we say darkside to the Spey 202.
Lower velocity jet exhaust compared to a pure turbojet.
Couldn't light reheat above 43,000ft and couldn't sustain reheat already lit about 51,000ft.
Slow to light reheat as well.
RR had issues with turbine blades cracking.
Makes me woder what compromises RR had done to get it all working.
 

kaiserd

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There is a flipside or should we say darkside to the Spey 202.
Lower velocity jet exhaust compared to a pure turbojet.
Couldn't light reheat above 43,000ft and couldn't sustain reheat already lit about 51,000ft.
Slow to light reheat as well.
RR had issues with turbine blades cracking.
Makes me woder what compromises RR had done to get it all working.
That initial generation of turbofans weren’t really great all round fighter engines (TF30 & Spey had issues and limitations, admittedly the Spey’s weren’t as bad).
Apart from fuel consumption (which obviously in some specific scenarios/ roles would be very significant) the likes of latter J-79 and later Atars were probably better all round pure-fighter engines.
And even the next generation of turbofan fighter engines (F100, a number of its Russian contemporaries, etc.) has initial problems to resolve.
 

Michel Van

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Germany per lack of a Tornado bought a mix of Phantoms and F-111s.
The Germans will be piss off that Tornado project end up nowhere.
They wanted VG Fighter and VG Bomber based on same airframe.

interesting Alternative was that Grumman had offer the Luftwaffe the F-14 Tomcat as VG fighter !
and i already see the discussions and polemic in Bundestag about purchase of F-111
what will include package deals for German Aerospace industry (MBB ERNO etc.) and budget issue

replacing the F-104G with Mirage F-1E under package deals for German Aerospace industry would be realistic option,
But the Luftwaffe in OTL not took the F-16 and stick to F-4 Phantom, it was more of budget issue and mistrust in single engine fighters like F-104
 

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Germany per lack of a Tornado bought a mix of Phantoms and F-111s.
The Germans will be piss off that Tornado project end up nowhere.
They wanted VG Fighter and VG Bomber based on same airframe.

interesting Alternative was that Grumman had offer the Luftwaffe the F-14 Tomcat as VG fighter !
and i already see the discussions and polemic in Bundestag about purchase of F-111
what will include package deals for German Aerospace industry (MBB ERNO etc.) and budget issue

replacing the F-104G with Mirage F-1E under package deals for German Aerospace industry would be realistic option,
But the Luftwaffe in OTL not took the F-16 and stick to F-4 Phantom, it was more of budget issue and mistrust in single engine fighters like F-104
hmmmm Tomcat for Germany... perhaps with Spey or TF41 or even RB199... anything but the TF30... solving the Tomcat two major flaws, no A2G and shitty engines, 15 years ahead of F-14D and without Cheney on the way...

incidentally was the TF41 any better than the Spey ?
 
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Michel Van

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anything but the TF30... solving the Tomcat two major flaws
oh yes the TF30 was no right Engine for F-14, Too Weak, major issue of turbine disintegration during flight, Compressor issue
28% of all F-14 crash were thanks to TF30, the TF30 is also engine on F-111, a very nasty surprise for Germans using the F-111G (G for Germany)
Ironic the TF30 ended up at SNECMA as jion venture TF106 for Mirage in OTL
 
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