Audacious Class Trio

uk 75

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Ikara on RN ships was originally intended to kill deep diving Soviet subs with a nuclear warhead. Once Seaking was available in sufficient numbers Ikara Leanders were retired.
I would have done what the Canadians did and put Seakings on frigates instead of Wasps or Ikara.
However, others here disagree and I yield happily to their detailed knowledge.
My ideal AA/ASW combo would have been a Type 42 with Seadart aft and gun and Harpoon forward and a Type 22 Batch3.
 

EwenS

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Once Seaking was available in sufficient numbers Ikara Leanders were retired.

Not true.

The first of the 8 Ikara Leanders entered its Ikara modernisation in 1970 completing in June 1972, and the last completed its conversion in 1978. They were taken out of service between mid-1985 and mid-1989.

ASW Sea King entered front line service in Feb 1970 and built up to 5 squadrons by March 1973 with a sixth being added in 1983, a force level maintained until 1989/90 when the peace dividend drawdowns began. The last left service in 2003.

So the two very much served in parallel for most of their lives, even after sufficient numbers of Sea Kings became available.
 

uk 75

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Sorry, I was being lazy. What changed was that the last four Batch 2 Type 22 and the 4 Batch 3s could and did carry a Seaking instead of 2 Lynx.
The Leanders leave between 83 and 89 as these 22s become available
 

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Even the early Type 22 had a flight deck large enough for a Sea King. The last 4 batch 2 and the batch 3 Type 22 were given an enlarged flight deck and a Sea King compatible hangar and did indeed deploy with them at times. But this was by no means standard and a Sea King flight never deployed to Sheffield. For most of their lives while ASW Sea King remained in service they operated a single Lynx.

AIUI that was mostly due to helicopter availability in the RN.
 

uk 75

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My prejudice against Ikara is based on two grounds, which may also be wrong.
The size of the system meant tbat 8 frigates became single role platforms which was a lot in a fleet short of hulls. Seaking ships could have carried non aswweapons too.
As far as I can gather Ikara needed a nuclear warhead to be effective against Sov subs.
I would welcome a good source.. Seaslug put me right on his namesake.
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

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Ikara at least had the benefit of still being available even in weather that precludes the flying-off of Helicopters.

Resources allowing, the best solution would be to design and build a GP Frigate equipped with Ikara such as DS381. That said, the Ikara frigates were no great loss, as it meant the removal of 4.5 inch guns that were useless in a Hot War, and were not required for any other purposes after the withdrawal from East of Suez.
 

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I go into Ikara in The Admiralty and the Helicopter, basically it was a replacement for MATCH.
NSR.7668 called for a weapon able to deal with a 350-4,500 ton sub at speeds of 0-40kt (later toned down to 0-35kt) down to 2,000ft and handling a 30ft/sec change of depth on the target.
It is true that Ikara was ultimately at the whims of the US Mk.46 torpedoes, but then so were the helicopters. The Mk.46 gave a 50% deep-water acquisition probability, so for deep targets WE.177 was the preferred option.
Plus points were, Ikara could react in 30 seconds, a Wasp took 8 minutes from scramble to weapons release. And you had up to 23 shots in the magazine, Wasp could only really drop its Mk.44s in singles as pairs suffered from mutual interference. Even a Sea King could only prosecute a couple of targets.
Had they not cancelled the Ikara M6 in 1976 which was adapted for Stingray, it could have been more potent.

At least the Leanders had a double-ended ASW fit with helicopters and Ikara in tandem. I would liked to have seen the Lynx HAS.2 get a dipping sonar which would have made it less like MATCH reborn, but then it did have more anti-ship punch. Sea King was more of a screener than that a reactive asset, so was SKR. An SKR, Ikara M6 and Lynx HAS.2 combo sounds pretty sweet to me.
 

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In the early days the Ikara Leanders retained Limbo as there were question marks over the Mk.44 torpedo’s ability to deal with targets in shallow coastal waters. This seems to have passed when the Mk.46 arrived.

Before the programme was begun a study of which ships to convert was undertaken. An option of converting the last 5 broad beam Leanders, which were still building, was considered. That would have allowed for a single 4.5” forward with the Ikara moved to the stern, Australian fashion. The downside would have been an inability to carry a VDS.
 

uk 75

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Thanks for the lesson. It is a while since I browsed my copy of The Admiralty and the Helo. I need a re-read.
How were Ikara Leanders deployed in a North Atlantic Task Group. Were they used as individual ships or more than one in a TG?
Without Stingray or a nuke head was Ikara any use against a Sov sub? I didnt realise it had 23 rounds.
A Type 22 with Hood's suggested weapons fit would have been an interesting looking ship. One for Shipbucket?
 

JFC Fuller

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I always thought DS.381 with the following changes would make for a very handsome and very powerful alternative history RN GP/ASW ship:
  1. Limbo removed to allow for a larger hangar and flight deck to accommodate a Westland WG.7
  2. A second Sea Wolf launcher installed between the Ikara launcher and the bridge (Type 22 style)
  3. Olympus/Tyne machinery (associated uptakes and enlarged funnel)
Especially as DS.381 was probably designed for the fully nuclear capable, complete with deep storage for the warheads, Ikara system that Bristol was designed for but never received. Bristol got a simplified system instead.
 
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uk 75

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For reference. Three different Ikara ships featured in the 1966 Fleet Working Party study described in Rebuilding the Royal Navy by Brown/Moore
 

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uk 75

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Fitting Ikara to the Type 22 would have needed the removal of the forward Seawolf launcher on Batch 1 and 2 ships. The Batch 3 would replacr the 4.5gun.
 

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zen

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I'm not sure having three Audacious makes much positive difference.
Hermes is unlikely to complete to the standard that she did as there would be no need to try and shoehorn Buccaneer onto her.
Errr Why would you bother with Hermes if we have 3 Audacious?
Would'nt the stronger case be to Bring all 3 Audacious upto A standard?

Manpower post 1967 becomes an issue, also Healey's post 1966 removal from EoS means the RN doesn't really need 3 carriers as the bases east of Gib slowly close down. One of them is bound to get the chop, in RL it was Victorious after her fire gave a convenient excuse.
Even is you get past, the 1973-74 Defence Review has its own axes to wield.
Errr...would'nt you just cannibalise one of the 3 Audaciouses to keep 2 running?
CVA-01 and CVA-02 are killed outright.
It would die in '67, but it wouldn't be such a hasty priority anyway.

With CVA dead the innovative Direct-Acting (Water Spray) Arrester Gear (DAAG) is likely dead too.
DAX (I think it was called) was trialled on Ark Royal, why wouldn't you apply this to the 2 surviving Audaciouses?
So that removes the ability to grow future aircraft weights beyond 40,000lb at 125kt (the Mk.14 fitted to Ark Royal, older Mk.13 was 30,000lb). DAAG was the same rating but of course had more growth being a new design whereas Mk.14 was a super-beefed up Mk.13).
I reccal reading the limits were something like 56,000lb on Ark Royal.
So its more than likely that the FAA keeps on with Phantom and Bucc until the 1990s. With Skyflash and Sea Eagle that's no bad thing.
Indeed but then the higher performance Spey's might actually be funded and potentially Blue Vixen for AMRAAM.....
Giving BAe a viable upgrade package for F4s.
Means the RAF post-TSR fiasco is worse unless they pony up for more new-build Buccs and of course no extra Phantoms to boost the air-defence squadrons.
New Build Buccaneers? maybe a mk3 and delay MRCA...again.
No F4s for the RAF? No money for Jaguars might result in more F4.

Would the Thatcher government fund replacements? Who knows, its a 50/50 gamble, they might but on the other hand Nott might just stick with a 2 or 3 CVS and would probably sell one of the surplus Audaciouses to the Argies to boot!
Replacement likely studied in 1970's, hit's buffers in new Thatcher Government and Nott's Review. Possible resurrection post Falklands. Anglo-French cooperation highly likely.
 

zen

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I always thought DS.381 with the following changes would make for a very handsome and very powerful alternative history RN GP/ASW ship:
  1. Limbo removed to allow for a larger hangar and flight deck to accommodate a Westland WG.7
  2. A second Sea Wolf launcher installed between the Ikara launcher and the bridge (Type 22 style)
  3. Olympus/Tyne machinery (associated uptakes and enlarged funnel)
Especially as DS.381 was probably designed for the fully nuclear capable, complete with deep storage for the warheads, Ikara system that Bristol was designed for but never received. Bristol got a simplified system instead.
If Sea Wolf was VLS this might help.
Ikara with a anti-ship option would greatly assist.
But the beating heart is the isolated acoustic processing room as per Type 22.
 

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According to Geoffrey Cooper’s “Farnborough and the Fleet Air Arm” Appendices 6 and 14 the capability of the Direct Acting Arrester Gear ranged from 15,000lb at 110kts and 4.2g max to 40,000lb at 125kts with a deck pull out of 270ft.

One experimental unit, DAX.2 for a single arrester wire was fitted in Eagle as part of her 1967/69 refit. It was used for some 600 landings.

From 1970 Ark Royal was fully equipped with 4 DA.2 units. It is noted as being the only equipment capable of accepting the Phantom.

The limits for the arrester units planned for CVA01 were also to be as noted above. Ian Sturton’s article on CVA01 in Warship 2014 uses those same figures, and notes that if future aircraft required a longer pullout, No 4 wire would have to be deleted or the flight deck extended aft over the quarterdeck and modifications made around the hangar as it could not accommodate longer DAG tubes.
 

EwenS

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Thanks for the lesson. It is a while since I browsed my copy of The Admiralty and the Helo. I need a re-read.
How were Ikara Leanders deployed in a North Atlantic Task Group. Were they used as individual ships or more than one in a TG?
Without Stingray or a nuke head was Ikara any use against a Sov sub? I didnt realise it had 23 rounds.
A Type 22 with Hood's suggested weapons fit would have been an interesting looking ship. One for Shipbucket?


Well it seems to me that it was much better than the unguided ASROC deployed by the USN and some other countries at the same time. Nearly double the range for starters (10 miles v 6). Perhaps more importantly it could be guided in flight, so a greater likelihood of the torpedo actually ending up entering the water in a spot where it could detect said Soviet sub which was probably maneuvering to escape.

By the early 1970s the USN was losing all those AS Essex class carriers with their AS Trackers and helos and having to rely on frigates with ASROC and Seasprite LAMPS1 and many fewer ASW aircraft on the CVA/CVN.

So against that background is Ikara really so bad?
 

uk 75

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The removal of the pressure for CVA 01 to be designed in the early 60s and the availability of 1 or 2 Audacious class in service with F4/Buccaneer pushes the carrier replacement question into the 70s or later.
Assuming the Centaurs are available as LPH/CVS their replacements get designed first. A gas turbine powered Centaur style (rather than Invincible/Command Cruiser/Escort Cruiser) is ordered in the early 70s. If the troubles of the 70s delay them, the lead ship is not available until 1979. They might not survive the defence cuts in 74 to 77 though NATO would have lobbied hard to keep them. The first replaces Bulwark . Albion or Centaur are likely victims of the withdrawal from EoS and Malta. Hermes stays as her early 70s mod.
The RAF gets P1127RAF but it is unloved and unless the US Marine order comes along, the small RAF force dies with the arrival of Tornado or equivalent.
The surviving Audacious (either Eagle or the namesake) needs replacing in about 1983/4.
Ark as spares hulk is replaced by the other ship.
The decision has to be taken in the mid to late 70s
Frankly, given the poor condition of the UK in this period, I think the carrier force would be onborrowed time. NATO would press to keep theexisting force.
When (or if) the Thatcher government arrives in 1979 matters get worse. Trident was MT's pet defence project. As in 1962 other RN work gets sacrificed for the nuclear deterrent.
The only design of this period is the US conventional alternate to the Nimitz.
Such a ship would be able to operate F18 in due course.
 

Hood

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Errr Why would you bother with Hermes if we have 3 Audacious?
Would'nt the stronger case be to Bring all 3 Audacious upto A standard?

True, there might be a case to sell off her uncompleted hull in 1952-53, maybe the scrap man or even to another nation to complete. I'd love to see what Wilton Fjienoord could have done with her hull given what they did to Karel Doorman.

Errr...would'nt you just cannibalise one of the 3 Audaciouses to keep 2 running?

Yes. My point is that while you might have three shiny Class A carriers sitting in the dock in 1955 you probably won't have three by 1967, let alone 1975 or 1980. Having a third ship does not materially alter the decline of the carrier force. There might not have even been sufficient manpower to keep two running in the 1970s.

DAX (I think it was called) was trialled on Ark Royal, why wouldn't you apply this to the 2 surviving Audaciouses?
Yes you could but nothing is developed in a vacuum, without CVA there might not have been as much incentive to experiment with something new. Some serious installation work would have been required, probably at the expense of hangar height.

I reccal reading the limits were something like 56,000lb on Ark Royal.
EwenS has already kindly posted my source; Cooper, Farnborough and the Fleet Air Arm.

Indeed but then the higher performance Spey's might actually be funded and potentially Blue Vixen for AMRAAM.....
Giving BAe a viable upgrade package for F4s.
Agreed some interesting things could have been done. Not sure if the F-4 order would have avoided the cuts it did, so you might still to beg for F-4Js off the Yanks as attrition replacements.

Means the RAF post-TSR fiasco is worse unless they pony up for more new-build Buccs and of course no extra Phantoms to boost the air-defence squadrons.
I was referring to the aircraft that transferred in 1979 on the demise of Ark Royal. The RAF would not have had a boost in Phantom numbers or extra Buccs at this time, they would have had to wait for Tornado GR.1 and F.2 to come along or get more ex-US F-4s.

Replacement likely studied in 1970's, hit's buffers in new Thatcher Government and Nott's Review. Possible resurrection post Falklands. Anglo-French cooperation highly likely.
All are maybes, which is the essence of AUs. The more times I see Anglo-French carrier cooperation mentioned, the more sceptical I get about it (for many reasons).
 

JFC Fuller

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Before the programme was begun a study of which ships to convert was undertaken. An option of converting the last 5 broad beam Leanders, which were still building, was considered. That would have allowed for a single 4.5” forward with the Ikara moved to the stern, Australian fashion. The downside would have been an inability to carry a VDS.

Have you seen original documents confirming this?

The relevant passage in Friedman looks to be his own speculation. He states that it might have been possible to have Ikara and a single 4.5" gun on the broad beam ships and references a 1963 proposal. However, when we cross check this with the relevant section earlier in the book we find the reference must be to the DS.356 design of July 1963 which mounted Ikara forward and replaced the hangar with a single 4.5 inch gun, I assume the Mk.5* as used on the Type 81 class. Apparently this design proved for DGS that such an installation was not practicable. Following that suggestion Friedman starts talking about the Australian installation, referencing the Australian archives, but provides no evidence that the RN ever reconsidered the Australian installation having rejected it some years before. At no point does he talk about placing the Ikara system aft in a broad beam Leander.

There was absolutely a cost comparison study undertaken that compared the relative cost of completing five broad beam ships with Ikara versus converting the first five ships due for their long refits. It found that the conversions would be more expensive but allowed the system to be deployed earlier. This is from Rebuilding the Royal Navy but that book also has an inconsistency about sacrificing the last planned Leander to pay for it. FSA.41-45 are mentioned as the last planned Leanders, in reality FSA.41-42 were built (as Apollo and Ariadne) and FSA.43-45 became the first three Type 21s. Browne does at least include a reference that can be checked.
 
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uk 75

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JFC interesting. Looks as if the first 8 Leanders were the best way of getting Ikara to sea. Losing their 4.5" gun was compensated for by the possibility of using Ikara against surface ships. I think thats in Friedman too..I have not got my copy to hand. I think they also got 2 40mmfor use against smaller stuff.
Did Seacat have a surface capability too?
 
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Siberia

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My prejudice against Ikara is based on two grounds, which may also be wrong. The size of the system meant that 8 frigates became single role platforms which was a lot in a fleet short of hulls.
American guided missile launching systems like the Mark 13 could apparently fire both the Tartar surface-to-air missiles and the Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Looking at the size of Harpoon at least in terms of physical dimensions I don't think it would be an insurmountable problem to build what would effectively be a more in-line Ikara. Assuing that the Mark 22 is similar that would potentially give you the ability to build a frigate with 16 missile slots that could be loaded depending on what the mission was.


Plus points were, Ikara could react in 30 seconds, a Wasp took 8 minutes from scramble to weapons release. And you had up to 23 shots in the magazine, Wasp could only really drop its Mk.44s in singles as pairs suffered from mutual interference.
23 shots? Bugger, for some reason I was remembering a lower number. The gap between 16 shots and 23 shots is large enough to possibly skupper my idea.

Out of interest do you happen to know off hand how many reloads were normally carried per four-round launcher onboard the Type 12 frigates?
 
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Volkodav

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My prejudice against Ikara is based on two grounds, which may also be wrong.
The size of the system meant tbat 8 frigates became single role platforms which was a lot in a fleet short of hulls. Seaking ships could have carried non aswweapons too.
As far as I can gather Ikara needed a nuclear warhead to be effective against Sov subs.
I would welcome a good source.. Seaslug put me right on his namesake.
The RAN spec Ikara installation replaced the exact volume used by a Limbo and replaced such on the RAN Type 12s.
 

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Perhaps the most tantalising what-if for the RN sees it taking a more rational approach to its postwar carrier fleet.
In particular, building three Audacious class ships and scrapping the remaining heavy carriers.
Initially the RN was right to focus on its light fleet carriers, but by building the Audacious class and disposing of Illustrious and co, it would have had the basis of a carrier force that could have operated into the 80s.
By 1964 Audacious, Ark Royal and Eagle would have been the core of the RN, and two ships would have been the basis of the F4/Buccaneer force, with the third in reserve.
A change for the Centaurs would have been their re-rolling as ASW ships in addition to Commandos. Centaur and Hermes would keep a cat so they could operate S3 Vikings provided under a NATO programme in addition to Seakings.
In this alt, the F4 replaces the P1154 in 1963 and there is no P1127RAF.
Oh and no Falklands (though by 1982 replacing the carriers would have become an issue).
Pease clarify.

As I understand it the P.1154 was begun in 1962. However, the RAF wanted P.1150 or an improved P.1127 and the Royal Navy wanted the Phantom. The RN got its way in 1964 when P.1154RN was cancelled in favour of F-4K. The P.1154RAF was cancelled in 1965 in favour of a mix of F-4M Phantoms and an improved P.1127 (Harrier).

Do you mean that the RN is allowed to abandon P.1154RN in favour of F-4K in 1963 and that there's no P.1127RAF because the P.1154RAF isn't cancelled in 1965.

Or do you mean that both versions of P.1154 were cancelled in 1963 and there's no P.1127 RAF because the RAF is allowed to buy more Phantoms in its place?

Whatever you mean please can the Royal Navy be allowed to buy F-4K in 1962. That means it's feasible to "Phantomise" Eagle as part of her 1959-64 refit.
 

uk 75

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Avoiding VSTOL in either its P1127 and P1154 form in favour of an F4/Buccaneer RN and RAF resolved in 1962 (perhaps licence built with Canadair and Hawker Siddeley). TSR 2 would go as well. Buccaneer S3 replaces it and the Vulcans.
F4s and Bucs serve through to the end of the Cold War in 1991.
 

NOMISYRRUC

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Avoiding VSTOL in either its P1127 and P1154 form in favour of an F4/Buccaneer RN and RAF resolved in 1962 (perhaps licence built with Canadair and Hawker Siddeley). TSR 2 would go as well. Buccaneer S3 replaces it and the Vulcans.
F4s and Bucs serve through to the end of the Cold War in 1991.
What's your Point-of-Departure (POD) on the TSR.2? Is it not begun in the first place, still cancelled in 1965 or abandoned somewhere between those dates?
 

uk 75

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Ideally go with Buc straight away. Otherwise cancel in 62/3.
 

zen

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I'll repeat what's relevant from another thread.

"11 Sept 1960 Sir Solly Zuckerman compared TSR.2 to Buccaneer.
Noting full spec performance would only be available from 1968.
But concluded Mach 1.2 confered no greater protection than the Buccaneer's Mach 0.9.

He noted if OR is relaxed then Buccaneer can meet needs and save money."

Arguably '60-'61 then is the moment to cancel TSR.2 in favour of Buccaneer S.3, putting RAF requirement for 150+ as tactical laydown system.
This, in a would of 3 Audacious class carriers, is the moment for the RN to say MRI is best done by with VTOL by 70 ZELL Buccaneer, scrap to be NMBR.3 and flat out state F4K is FAW solution or fund CAP Buccaneer variant.

Pointing out Relaxing CVA-01 requirements to 60,000lb 150kt TO max weight relieves size of ship drivers.
 

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Ideally go with Buc straight away. Otherwise cancel in 62/3.
That does save the £195 million spent on TSR.2 to February 1965 and £46.4 million spent on F-111K to January 1968.

However, I think most of it will be spent on Buccaneers for the RAF and anything left after that will be spent on other aircraft for the RAF. There won't be anything left to buy aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.

It probably means no P.1154 by default because BAC would probably develop the Hunter/Sea Vixen replacement and possibly the Hastings/Beverley replacement so no HS.681 either. Otherwise Hawker Siddeley has all the major aircraft projects.

At the end of March 1964 the RAF had a total of 174 tactical bombers and tactical reconnaissance aircraft (24 Valiants and 150 Canberras) in 19 squadrons (3 Valiant and 16 Canberra). Under current plans the TSR.2 was to enter service in the middle of 1967 and build up to a force of 106 aircraft in 11 squadrons by the end of March 1971. Over the same period all the Valiant tactical bomber squadrons and all but one of the Canberra squadrons (a tactical reconnaissance squadron of 10 aircraft) would disband or convert to the TSR.2. So a total force of 174 aircraft in 19 squadrons would be reduced to 116 aircraft in 12 squadrons.

That information comes from Plan P of March 1964. (National Archives document AIR.20/11708/68770.) According to that source a total of 193 TSR.2s would be delivered under the 5 financial years from 1967/68 to 1971/72. 11 of the 193 aircraft were the 11 pre-production aircraft. If the 9 development aircraft that makes a total of 202 TSR.2s. That's nearly one "backing" aircraft for every aircraft in the first line.

My guess is that the RAF would want the Buccaneer to replace the Canberra and Valiant tactical bombers on a one-to-one basis, which if I'm correct would require a total of 320-350 aircraft to support a first line of 174 aircraft.

Note that I'm only including the 24 Valiant tactical bombers. There was also one strategic reconnaissance squadron of 8 Valiants and 2 tanker squadrons with 8 Valiants each. Under current plans the tactical reconnaissance squadron was to convert to the Victor SR Mk 2 in the first half of 1965 and 16 Valiant tankers in 2 squadrons were to be replaced by 22 Victor K Mk 1 in 3 squadrons over the course of 1966.
 
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NOMISYRRUC

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Avoiding VSTOL in either its P1127 and P1154 form in favour of an F4/Buccaneer RN and RAF resolved in 1962 (perhaps licence built with Canadair and Hawker Siddeley). TSR 2 would go as well. Buccaneer S3 replaces it and the Vulcans.
F4s and Bucs serve through to the end of the Cold War in 1991.
In that case may I combine it with your Getting a British Phantom thread?
That is BAC builds a twin-Spey heavy fighter to replace the Lightning in the RAF and Sea Vixen in the RAF. I usually call the British Phantom equivalent the Spectre because that was to have been the USAF's name for the Phantom. The contract is awarded in 1962 and the aircraft enters service with the RN in 1969 and the begins to replace the Lightning in the RAF in the early 1970s.

The money spent on the P.1154 and Spey-Phantom would pay most of if not all of the above aircraft's R&D costs. I think the building costs of 170 Spectres would be about the same as 170 Phantoms.

British naval aircraft could usually be folded into smaller packages than their American equivalents. E.g. the Buccaneer folded into a smaller package than the Intruder and my guess is that the Spectre would fold into a smaller package than the Phantom. The Spectre might have lower take-off and landing speeds than the Spey-Phantom because it's a completely new aircraft rather than an adaptation of an aircraft whose development began in the early 1950s.

I doubt that you'll be able to avoid the P.1127RAF (i.e. the Harrier) because the RAF will still want an aircraft to replace the Hunter. I think that the most likely course of events is that the Harrier is developed from 1962 instead of 1965 and the money spent on the BS.100 between 1962 and 1965 in the real world is spent on developing the Pegasus 6 three years earlier. (I know that this will overlap with the Kestrel because the 6 development Harriers will be flying at the same time as the 9 Kestrels.) The other course of events is that the RAF initially wants the Spectre to replace the Hunter in the late 1960s and Lightning in the early 1970s but changes its mind in the middle 1960s in favour of a mix of Harriers, Jaguars and Spectres.

As there's no BS.100 engine in this timeline the HS.681 has Conway or Medway engines or isn't built at all. In the latter case the RAF has to buy the BAC.222 or the tactical version of the Belfast.

As the preferred POD is to not start the TSR.2 in the first place can BEA not loose its nerve and stick to the Big Trident? (The decisions to buy TSR.2 and buy the "Small Trident" were made at about the same time.) It won't be a panacea, but if Hatfield built 240-360 "Big Tridents" to the late 1970s instead of 117 "Small Tridents" the this timeline version of HS.776 might be the Shackleton replacement instead of the HS.801 Nimrod and might take some orders from the Breguet Atlantique and Lockheed Orion.
 
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MRI reached an available figure of 70 and fleet of 175 with 25 trainers. This is the P1154 RAF numbers and very close to the final Jaguar numbers. Both reaching 200 overall.

70 F4M were tasked with MRI until Jaguar could enter service. Piggybacking on the F4K nuclear delivery integration.

Opting for F4 in '62 for MRI is tantamount to declaring NMBR.3 dead. A highly political move.

F4K Is theoretically possible earlier, a major shift to F4 with Spey at larger scale. Such to sustain 3 Audacious class carriers and the RAF's need for 175 FAW implies more funding for development of the Spey.
But....RAF wanted F4D.

Large scale Buccaneer mkIII production could trigger RAF to pile more requirements on developing variants. P.150 long range heavy strike development for example. More Spey development.

Spectre....
Options
1. BAC Development of Type 58* series VG solutions. If MRI focused then Type 584/585, if FAW focused then Type 583 or 590.
Only 590 could take Spey but is overweight for carriers.
Type 584/585 use Medway
Type 583 use RR-MTU RB.153 or RR RB.172 (original not scaled down Adour).

2. HSA Brough NGTA P.145 based on RR-MTU RB.153 or RR RB.172 OR BS-SNECMA M.45 or BS.194.

3. BAC P.45 developments around fixed wing.
Variant 1 F mark replacement for Lightning
Variant 2 GR mark MRI
Variant 3 T marks of trainer

4. POD induction of major shift in design process for a multirole fighter attack solution. Centered AW.406. CV compatibility for extent Audacious class.
Result........?

Alternatively funding Medway for Big Trident, HS.681, and Type 584/585 results in no Spey, no Spey F4 and so no F4K.
RN have to find another solution for FAW.
RAF can have F4D

Short path out of that for RN is F8 Twosader using Avon or J79. Or licencing a two seater F8U-III around Medway or Conway or Olympus.
 
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3. BAC P.45 developments around fixed wing.
Trouble is the Warton team seemed dead-set on VG wings. The fixed-wing version was a mini-TSR wing, optimised for low-level high-speed strike but not really as a fighter. BAC seemed to think about the fighter versions being VG-winged.
And if we're going for a VG-wing fighter I'd back the Vickers 58* series over the small P.45.

Of course there is nothing saying we don't end up with a BAC Wartbridge Frankenspectre of kitbashed 58* series and P.45 just like TSR.2 ended up being.
 

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I'm not sure having three Audacious makes much positive difference.
Hermes is unlikely to complete to the standard that she did as there would be no need to try and shoehorn Buccaneer onto her.

Manpower post 1967 becomes an issue, also Healey's post 1966 removal from EoS means the RN doesn't really need 3 carriers as the bases east of Gib slowly close down. One of them is bound to get the chop, in RL it was Victorious after her fire gave a convenient excuse.
Even is you get past, the 1973-74 Defence Review has its own axes to wield.

CVA-01 and CVA-02 are killed outright. With CVA dead the innovative Direct-Acting (Water Spray) Arrester Gear (DAAG) is likely dead too. So that removes the ability to grow future aircraft weights beyond 40,000lb at 125kt (the Mk.14 fitted to Ark Royal, older Mk.13 was 30,000lb). DAAG was the same rating but of course had more growth being a new design whereas Mk.14 was a super-beefed up Mk.13).
So its more than likely that the FAA keeps on with Phantom and Bucc until the 1990s. With Skyflash and Sea Eagle that's no bad thing.
Means the RAF post-TSR fiasco is worse unless they pony up for more new-build Buccs and of course no extra Phantoms to boost the air-defence squadrons.

Would the Thatcher government fund replacements? Who knows, its a 50/50 gamble, they might but on the other hand Nott might just stick with a 2 or 3 CVS and would probably sell one of the surplus Audaciouses to the Argies to boot!
With one exception I fear that you are right.

The exception is Hermes. I think she'll still be completed to Standard A-Star in 1959 but she may not have the 1964-66 refit that the reference books say enabled her to operate the Buccaneer.

According to Friedman in British Carrier Aviation Hermes was completed with a pair of 151ft stroke BS.4 steam catapults, which were the same length as the BS.4s that Ark Royal was completed with. However, @Riain on Alternatehistory.com (the site's resident aircraft carrier catapult expert) says Hermes was completed with a pair of BS.4s with strokes of 103ft and one of them was lengthened 151ft to allow it to launch Buccaneers as part of its 1964-66 refit. I disagree with him because the BS.4s fitted to Centaur in its 1956-58 refit had a stroke of 139 feet and as far as I know the deck edge lift that Hermes was completed with meant that there was space in the bow for longer catapults. @Riain replied that the photographic evidence proves that one of her catapults was lengthened, which indeed it does. However, my argument was that while that is obviously true one of the catapults had been lengthened it was increased from 151ft not to 151ft. I tried to work out the lengths of the catapults of all the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers by measuring the line drawings in contemporary editions of Jane's Fighting Ships, but the results were inconclusive because I wasn't sure how accurate the line drawings were and whether I was measuring the total length of the catapult or the "stroke".

If the third Audacious isn't cancelled in 1946 there are two possible timelines.

The first timeline is that construction of the ship continues at the same rate as Ark Royal and Eagle. She's launched around 1950 and at that time completion would be planned for about 1952. However, in common with Ark Royal its decided to complete the ship with an interim angled flight deck and a pair of 151ft stroke BS.4 steam catapults. According to Leo Marriott in Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers 1945-1990 most of the delay was caused by fitting the steam catapults.

The second timeline is that (in common with Hermes) the ship is suspended in 1946 and resumed in 1952. This allows the ship to be completed in the late 1950s to Standard A rather than Standard C. This means that the ship is completed with a fully angled flight deck, one Type 984 radar, a 48-track Comprehensive Display System (CDS) and the Direct Plot Transmission (DPT) data link. She'd also have an AC electrical system rather than the DC systems that Ark Royal and Eagle had. In the real world the Admiralty wanted to replace Eagle's existing armour with new armour that was thinner and lighter during her 1959-64 refit, but it had to be deleted to reduce the cost of the refit. It might be possible to complete the third Audacious with this armour scheme. She might also be completed with the same type of twin 3" gun mountings that were fitted to the rebuilt Victorious rather than the twin 4.5" guns that her sisters were completed with.

I want to say that the second timeline version of the ship would be completed with a pair of BS.5 steam catapults. That is one with a stroke of 151ft in the bow and a one with a stroke of 199ft in the waist. That is the same as Eagle after her 1959-64 refit and Ark Royal after her 1967-70 refit. However, I think that she'd be completed with a pair of 151ft BS.4s in the bow.

I'm not sorry to disappoint the Victorious haters because she still has her "great rebuild" of 1950-58 in both of the above versions of history. The difference is that Centaur is paid off in 1960 instead of 1965 and the third Audacious takes her place in the first half of the 1960s. This allows Albion's conversion to a commando carrier to begin in 1958 instead of 1960 - according to Friedman in British Carrier Aviation her conversion had to be delayed to maintain a force of 5 strike carriers.

So to cut a long story short the strike carrier force in the first half of the 1960s is 5 ships consisting of Ark Royal, Eagle, Hermes, Victorious and the third Audacious rather than 5 ships consisting of Ark Royal, Centaur, Eagle, Hermes and Victorious.
 
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3. BAC P.45 developments around fixed wing.
Trouble is the Warton team seemed dead-set on VG wings. The fixed-wing version was a mini-TSR wing, optimised for low-level high-speed strike but not really as a fighter. BAC seemed to think about the fighter versions being VG-winged.
And if we're going for a VG-wing fighter I'd back the Vickers 58* series over the small P.45.

Of course there is nothing saying we don't end up with a BAC Wartbridge Frankenspectre of kitbashed 58* series and P.45 just like TSR.2 ended up being.
A good point.
P.45 as a fighter with that delta is more like a Lightning-fast Jaguar....

Arguably HSA seeing BAC lured into endless VG concepts and having it's supersonic P115* concepts refuted in the death of NMBR.3.
Means they will be desperate to grasp a future beyond limited P.1127 and variants of Buccaneer.
Brough will be occupied with Buccaneer work.
But Kingston shorn of P115* and with only P.1127 will be looking for work.....

In '62 fast track option is resurrecting P1121 and completing prototype around a bodged in new engine Medway or Olympus. Fly by '64 for real IOC in '69.as they turn late 50's design into 60’s solution.

Longer term....
a) DH.127 cut back from superlative OR.346 to AW.406 implies a single Medway and no clangbox diverter to vectoring nozzles. But keep nose lift jets for RN.

b) P.1125 to 1129 development

c) AVRO OR.339 alternative
 

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4. POD induction of major shift in design process for a multirole fighter attack solution. Centered AW.406. CV compatibility for extent Audacious class.
Result........?

Alternatively funding Medway for Big Trident, HS.681, and Type 584/585 results in no Spey, no Spey F4 and so no F4K.
RN have to find another solution for FAW.
RAF can have F4D
I don't believe that my suggestion to develop the Medway powered Trident instead of the Spey powered version would kill the Spey engine because it's still needed for the Buccaneer S.2 so we can still have the F-4K or a British Phantom substitute with Spey engines.

That's with the caveat that Rolls Royce has the capacity to develop Medway and Spey at the same time. If there's no Spey powered Buccaneer in development for the RN that can also become a less expensive substitute for the TSR.2 we still get the TSR.2. Furthermore, what does the RN do if it hasn't got the Spey-Buccaneer? Does it buy more Gyron-Buccaneers and make do with them until the strike version of the Type 584/585 is ready?

I've got an RAF report from early 1964 about the future size and shape of the RAF from the middle 1960s to 1975-80. According to that the plan at the time was that the Lightning would be replaced by a version of the P.1154RN. (The report was written before the P.1154RN was cancelled in favour of F-4K.) Based on that the RAF's plan in early 1964 would be to replace the Lightning with whatever turned out to be the RN's other solution for the FAW.

The RAF might want the F-4D but I think it will get the either the Phantom substitute that I suggested, or the Type 584/585 or the RN's other solution for the FAW. That is for political and economic reasons. If a "will do" British aircraft is available that will be what is bought because the politicians will want to buy votes in marginal constituencies and the mandarins in the Treasury will want to avoid spending millions of Dollars.

Furthermore, the the British content of F-4K and M included more than the Spey engines. British companies (as far as I know it was mainly HS. Brough) built some of the airframe and British companies (as far as I know mainly Ferranti) built some of the avionics, including the radar. I was transcribing one of the 1960s Defence White Papers recently and one of those claimed that 45% of the F-4K and M was built in Britain.

Therefore, F-4Ds with J79 engines built in American for the RAF would cost less than F-4Ms but they'd cost more than standard F-4Ds. Also the savings in operating costs that might accrue from the RAF and RN operating the same type of aircraft will be lost if the RAF has modified F-4Ds and the RN has a different aircraft.
 
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Large scale Buccaneer mkIII production could trigger RAF to pile more requirements on developing variants. P.150 long range heavy strike development for example. More Spey development.
It could happen, but that's the last thing that I want to happen. It will take longer to develop, cost more to develop, enter service later, cost more produce and have little in common with the RN Buccaneer destroying any R&D, production and operating savings that might accrue from the two services operating what was meant to be the same aircraft. The resulting "Super Buccaneer" may enter in service with the RAF as late as the TSR.2, cost as much as TSR.2 and not be as good as the TSR.2.

What I want to happen and I think what @uk 75 wanted to happen in the OP is that the RAF buys an aircraft that's as close to the RN's Buccaneer S.2 as possible to make it affordable. That is minimum changes to the airframe and some of the avionics that were wanted for the TSR.2. I wrote some because as far as I know the Buccaneer airframe wasn't big enough to take all the TSR.2's avionics. (And I know that a Buccaneer was used as a test-ben for some of the TSR.2s avionics.)

I'm a believer of the theory that for modern warships "steel is cheap and air is free". That is the hull and propulsion of modern warships are a small proportion of the building cost. It's the weapons and electronics that absorb most of the cost.

Does anyone know if there is a similar theory for modern military aircraft, that is "aluminium is cheap and air is free" which means that the weapons systems and avionics cost more than the airframe and engines.

I'm writing that because I was watching some Youtube videos about the TSR.2 earlier in the year and in one of them the presenter said that if the aircraft hadn't been cancelled a "full specification" TSR.2 wouldn't have been in service until the middle 1970s. I think that he said that development of the airframe was complete (and paid for), development of the Olympus engine was well on its way to being completed (and largely paid for) but it would have taken 10 years (and hundreds of millions of Pounds) to complete the development of the TSR.2s avionics.

As far as I know the Buccaneer Mk 3 that's been mentioned was a de-navalised Mk 2 with TSR.2 standard avionics. If I'm right it's likely to be a lot more expensive than the standard Spey-Buccaneer and might be in service years late.
 

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So here's the thing.
P.150 is certainly at high risk of spiralling cost and delays. Making ut no better than the TSR.2.

But mkIII Buccaneer it is not.
MkIII Buccaneer is a standard Buccaneer airframe, standard mkII Spey Engines and a much updated avionics package.

So the two are not to be confused.

Certainly there would be an almighty tussle between factions over these two options.
 

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In '62 fast track option is resurrecting P1121 and completing prototype around a bodged in new engine Medway or Olympus. Fly by '64 for real IOC in '69.as they turn late 50's design into 60’s solution.
Likely as not Camm would want to update the aerodynamics a bit. Might not even have a ventral intake any more, I'm thinking a P.1121/1154 combo, side intakes, improved wing, all those sexy Kingston curves.

Some fool at the MoA or MoD though is bound to prefer an off-the-shelf F-4 but at least we'd have a closer competitor to say "look we can match F-4 on home soil" rather than PCB development nightmares. No matter what the catapult situation or numbers of carriers, full V/STOL was wasted given they had cats and traps anyway.
 

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So here's the thing.
P.150 is certainly at high risk of spiralling cost and delays. Making it no better than the TSR.2.

But Mk III Buccaneer it is not.
Mk III Buccaneer is a standard Buccaneer airframe, standard Mk II Spey Engines and a much updated avionics package.

So the two are not to be confused.

Certainly there would be an almighty tussle between factions over these two options.
Please be assured that I'm not confusing the two.

The Mk III is likely to be more expensive than the Mk II due to the updated avionics package. Having written that its still going to be cheaper and in service earlier than the TSR.2 and P.150. Furthermore, the money spent on the TSR.2 and F-111A should cover the difference between the R&D and production costs of the real world's Buccaneer Mk 2 and this timeline's Buccaneer Mk 3.

I'm also concerned that the government departments that "over managed" the TSR.2 would do the same to the Buccaneer Mk III.
 
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In '62 fast track option is resurrecting P1121 and completing prototype around a bodged in new engine Medway or Olympus. Fly by '64 for real IOC in '69.as they turn late 50's design into 60’s solution.
Is resurrecting the P.1121 in 1962 feasible?

And if it is feasible we don't know that it could be navalised. The only information I have on the P.1121 is that it's dimensions were 66ft 6in long, 37ft wingspan and it doesn't say what it's height was. Blackburn was able to reduce the length of the Buccaneer from 63ft 5in to 51ft 10in so that it would fit the 54ft long lifts of Ark Royal and Eagle, but we don't know whether something similar could be done with the P.1121. And does anyone know how tall it was? Was it less than 17ft 6in which was the height of Ark Royal and Eagle's hangars.

Were its take-off speed, landing speed and weights compatible with "Phantomised" Audacious class aircraft carriers?

I'll be very happy to be told that it could be resurrected, it could be navalised and it could be operated from a "Phantomised" Audacious class aircraft carrier.
 
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