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Before the VAL there was the VAX competition

Skybolt

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Searching infos on the losers competitors in the VAL contest (1963-64) I stumbled in AW&ST issue Aug 12 1963 on a notice regarding the VAX competition, then just cancelled. VAX was started in 1962 and asked for a supersonic all-weather replacement of the A-4. I asked for photocopies and I'll have on Monday but what follows caught my eye: Boeing was in the competition and tendered a scaled down (almost 50 percent) version of its submission for the TFX. Presumably with only one engine. The Navy evaluators weren't impressed and called it the F-55.5 (half an F-111... ::) ) Then I realized that probably other companies did the same: I remember that on the APR site there was (three years ago?) a photo depicting two models: one was a GD F-111, the other seemed a scaled down version with only one engine and narrow cockpit. That mistery aircratf was probably the GD VAX submission, another F-55.5..... Anyone has something on the VAX competitors? (Republic also bid, with a scaled down TFX/D-24).
 

Antonio

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Well done Skybolt ;)

It is a very interesting finding. This morning I was reading Wings of Fame Volume 5 looking for "Advanced Skyhawks" while I found a reference to VAL and VAX.

VAX was the original program for the replacement of the A-4 in the early 60s. But VAX was so ambitious and expensive that a short term solution was required becouse development was expected to be long. The interim A-4 replacement was to be purchased under VAL program (RFP 24 May 1963) and the aircraft should be based on a existing design.

VAL contenders:

Douglas A4D-6 or A-4F (not to be confused with the later A-4F): much improved Skyhawk with TF-30 engine
LTV with a F-8 derivative (the future A-7)
North American FJ-5
Grumman with a stripped version of the A-6

By August 1963 the marketing personnel reported that it seemed the actual numbers required would be 500 to 1000 and that the VAX would be pushed even further into the future.
The Navy intended to rush the A-7A into production and cancel the A-4 production for FY 1965 and 1966 contracts. However, due to Vietnam War and some A-7 production difficulties, the A-4 production was not cancelled.

...and the VAX never left the drawing board.
 

Skybolt

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Thanks ;D ! On Monday I'll post the content of the article. Just a passing notice: USAF and Navy competitions/programs and their contenders of the McNamara era are less than well known (euphemism). The more I read AW&ST of that time period the more I meet with unknowns from other sources. Strange.
 

elmayerle

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pometablava said:
VAL contenders:

Douglas A4D-6 or A-4F (not to be confused with the later A-4F): much improved Skyhawk with TF-30 engine
LTV with a F-8 derivative (the future A-7)
North American FJ-5
Grumman with a stripped version of the A-6
Going by published data, Grumman's proposal was also a single-seat aircraft rather than the two seats of the standard A-6.

This "FJ-5" was, I believe, a re-engined FJ-4 with a TF30 (that would've been as much a redesign as the TF30-powered A4D-6 was). There was an earlier "FJ-5" proposal that competed against the Crusader, it could be described as a navalized F-100/F-107 cross.
 

Archibald

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This "FJ-5" was, I believe, a re-engined FJ-4 with a TF30 (that would've been as much a redesign as the TF30-powered A4D-6 was). There was an earlier "FJ-5" proposal that competed against the Crusader, it could be described as a navalized F-100/F-107 cross.
good point elmayerle, I thought the FJ-5 mentioned was the naval F-107...but it already too late (the Ultra Sabre prototypes flew with NASA until 1959 only).

another upgrade of the Fury (FJ-4) with a TF-30 ? ??? Not too bad , for a design which started life in 1946 with straight wings... :eek:
 

elmayerle

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Well, the FJ-4 had very little in common with the FJ-3; for that matter, the FJ-2 had very, very little in common with the FJ-1. The only aircraft with much in common with the FJ-1 was the original, straight-wing, XP-86 proposal. The FJ-2 and FJ-3 had a fair degree of commonality, save for the deeper inlet of the FJ-3 and the sturctural changes that forced.

From what I've seen, the original FJ-5 is a navalized cross between the F-100 and F-107 with a few tweaks common to NAA-Columbus. Some time back I posted pics of a model of this effort.
 

Antonio

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Elmayerle, you posted it here:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,401.0.html

;)
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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VAX details from RAF Flying Review, August 1962:

Intended to supplant A4D after 1966
Expected to get underway in earnest in 1963
Variant of D24 Alliance to be submitted

VAX will:

Weigh 55,000lb
Speed: Mach 1.0/Mach 2.0
Length: 56ft
 

Skybolt

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Uh, it seems that everybody (or so) used some scaled down version of other proposals. At least this is true for Boeing (TFX derivatiive), Republic (D-24 derivative, in turn TFX derivative), and probably GD (TFX derivative). Any info on Lockheed (I know Bill Slayton discovered it...) ?
 

Skybolt

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Time to revive this topic, oldie but goldie...
Been sitting on this info for some time, hoping something more emerged, to no avail. Early '60s projects are very little known. Anyway, here the state of the art regarding VAX (on my part, at least).
Lockheed was one of the original competitors. Lockheed California devoted the TDN CL-706 series to studies intended to suit the Navy VAX requirement for a substitute of the Skyhawk. The VAX program was reoriented at least two times between 1961 until its final demise in 1964, so the Cl-706 series contains very different concepts: subsonics and supersonics, CTOLs, STOLs, and VTOLs, one and two engines, fixed and viariable-sweep wing. Bill Slayton counted some 54 variations in the series. I post here two variations, the first with lift engines (evidently, VTOL, ot at least STOVL), the other probably STOL. It is not known which was the official Lockheed entry in the competion, but since the last iteration of the VAX specs were for a STOL vehicle with a sea-level speed on MACH 0.9 and a max speed at altitude of MACH 2.0 it was probably a VG machine. Additioanly, I can almost surely state that the Boeing entry, dubbed F-55.5 by humorous DOD personnel was Model 837-663, that indeed looked like a Boeing TFX scaled down (not really by half, though).
Now I hope that someone can add something... ;) Vought Heritage ? TT ? NAA, McAir and Douglas are (much) more difficult now. Anyone ?
Uh, maybe higher res of these will appear soon somewhere else...
 

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Tailspin Turtle

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My understanding is that VAX was initiated in 1960 and was a big deal for a short while as a program to replace both the AD and the A4D, with sea level supersonic performance being considered necessary for survivability. All kinds of aircraft types were submitted for consideration. In late 1962, McNamara said he'd fund it if the Navy quantitatively validated the operational requirements. The Sea Based Air Strike Forces Study Group was formed to do this. Among their conclusions: supersonic performance was very expensive and did not materially improve survivability. The VAL program resulted in early 1963. That's Chapter Nine in my carrier-based strike book. However, it doesn't include any VAX illustrations for various reasons, one of which was that I had very few examples of what would appear to be many half-baked propositions.
 

Pioneer

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Hey Skybolt, these may be ‘oldie but goldie...’ as you state
But I have not seen these drawings/ designs before!
Any more?
Please keep them coming :eek:

Regards
Pioneer
 
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Pioneer

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Tailspin Turtle said:
That's Chapter Nine in my carrier-based strike book.

Hey Tailspin Turtle, please forgive my ignorance – but what is the title of your book?
Please PM me with the details

Regards
Pioneer
 
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Tailspin Turtle

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Pioneer said:
Tailspin Turtle said:
That's Chapter Nine in my carrier-based strike book.
Hay Tailspin Turtle
Please forgive my ignorance – but what is the title of your book?
Please PM me with the details

Regards
Pioneer
Strike from the Sea: U.S Navy Attack Aircraft From Skyraider to Super Hornet 1948-Present Sorry for the inadequate reference. I just spent a week going over the proof word-by-word and so it's very familiar to me. It's on schedule to be available in July. Here's the Amazon announcement: http://www.amazon.com/Strike-Sea-Aircraft-Skyraider-1948-present/dp/1580071325/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237117072&sr=1-1
 

AeroFranz

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Skybolt, those are VERY interesting drawings.
I see some curious features of the configurations:

-CL706-13: I can't tell at this resolution, but are those two 20mm cannons on the side of the cabin? i can only read 'guns' and '400 ammo'

-CL706-15's inlets are mounted above the wing glove in a position that makes me at least wonder about high-ish alpha inlet flow distortion. But i'm sure Lockheed would have had a good explanation for that

-The exhaust nozzles on both aircraft look like they have some very pronounced sort of 'sugar spoon' lip that extends out the back, kinda like some versions of the A-4 and U-2. Is that an aerodynamical gimmick to reduce drag or what?
These were supposed to be M2.0 capable aircraft, right? in that case wouldn't they have variable nozzles? Maybe i am interpreting the drawing in the wrong way.

Thanks for posting this stuff, I had never seen it before. Where did you find these gems, if i may ask?
 

Skybolt

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but are those two 20mm cannons on the side of the cabin?
Yep. In the -15-4 drawing the guns are indicated as being "Mk-12"s.
But i'm sure Lockheed would have had a good explanation for that
They were trying to keep the spot space at a minimum (the most succesfull CL-706 designs were less thn 50 feet long), keep GTOW down AND maximize internal fuel. Probably they didn't think the aircraft would have to do high angle-of-attack manouvers (note the Bullpup missiles...).
'sugar spoon'
No, it is a conical exhaust, probably a thrust reverser and variable geometry noozle.
The drawings come ultimately from the late Bill Slayton.
@TT, what about publish here some of that half-baked proposals ? We secret projects gourmands like them in all fashion, even very rear cooked ;)
 

Skybolt

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Another one from Lockheed. In this case it is quite obviously a subsonic STOL. Of notice the dorsal intake, feeding what seems a turbofan (TF-30 ?). All in all, could have competed as VAL had the derivative configuration from existing types not been mandatory.
BTW, in the CL-706-13, the lift engines are noted as "Continental": J-69 (Model 356), derivative from Marborè II ?
 

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Tailspin Turtle

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Skybolt said:
@TT, what about publish here some of that half-baked proposals ? We secret projects gourmands like them in all fashion, even very rear cooked ;)
At the moment, I can't find any of what little VAX stuff I think I have but I did trip over a Vought V-484 viewgraph, which I've posted in an old thread that was looking for the identification of some Vought display models.
 

AeroFranz

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Skybolt, thanks for posting these gems. You mentioned that the design with the dorsal intake was STOL. Does the drawing mention what high-lift devices were employed?
Thanks!
 

Skybolt

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BTW, from the Vought project number list it doesn't appear that the company tendered a design for VAX, except perhaps for a V-450 (light V/STOL attack aircarft), but I doubt. Or they tendered the various attack version of the Crusader ? The ones before the VAL V-463 ?
 

Skybolt

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Another one, seems a variation of -16 with engines in pods. A subsonic STOL by all measures. Note the very large vertical and horizontal tails. CCV technology was pretty much in the future...
 

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Skybolt

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Two more. -49 was a subsonic V/STOL with apparently a side-by-side arrangement. Could have been more CAS oriented than other configurations (see main engine position). -54 is a rather baroque low-supersonic VG V/STOL with one TF-30 and 8 Continentals. Number of MK-81s carried is impressive. With these ends my reservoir of postable VAX designs. If someone else has something ....
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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A large number of Boeing VAX concepts in the 837 series:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2263.0.html
 

Bruno Anthony

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Tailspin Turtle said:
The Sea Based Air Strike Forces Study Group was formed to do this. Among their conclusions: supersonic performance was very expensive and did not materially improve survivability. The VAL program resulted in early 1963.
Is this report or whatever, accessible online?
 

Bruno Anthony

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I found that link too it but just takes you to a box list.

I thank you in advance if you ever find a copy in your files. That is very nice of you.
 

Steve Pace

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As I recall the VAX competition led to the creation of the LTV A-7 Corsair II. -SP
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Bruno Anthony said:
I found that link too it but just takes you to a box list.
Yes, and if the Heritage Center at the Navy Yard is ever again open for civilian researchers, then it can be examined and copied....
 

Skybolt

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Another topic revived by the Reanimator.
In the recent opus by Bill Spindle on the development of the Crusader, the Author reveal details of V-456, the Attack Crusader that was proposed in June 1962 as an interim solution for a supersonic carrier strike aircraft waiting for the VAX. The single seat V-456 was developed out of the F8U-2NE with an enlarged, thicker and stiffer wing that also was 37 degrees swept instead of the original 42. The rest of the aircraft was externally identical to the 2NE but structurally strenghtened. External load 6.282 pounds on 4 underwing and 2 body stations. The V-456 was developed after the abandonment of the 1961 V-455, that was an attack version of the F8U-2N with two seats, that was found underpowered (PW J57 P-20). I don't publish the drawings and photos due to copyright (and Author) respect. If Bill is here, up to him.

Addition: artist impression and low-speed windtunnel model here https://books.google.it/books?id=4d...nepage&q=vought v-456 attack crusader&f=false
 

Skybolt

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And, if someone is near Dallas, Texas, and has time to spare: http://libarchives.utdallas.edu/repositories/2/archival_objects/7325
 

hesham

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Skybolt said:
And, if someone is near Dallas, Texas, and has time to spare: http://libarchives.utdallas.edu/repositories/2/archival_objects/7325
I hope so.
 

JFC Fuller

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Boeing was in the competition and tendered a scaled down (almost 50 percent) version of its submission for the TFX. Presumably with only one engine. The Navy evaluators weren't impressed and called it the F-55.5 (half an F-111... ::) ) Then I realized that probably other companies did the same: I remember that on the APR site there was (three years ago?) a photo depicting two models: one was a GD F-111, the other seemed a scaled down version with only one engine and narrow cockpit.
This makes a lot of sense on one level; the Director of Defence Research and Engineering (Dr Harold Brown), was staying that the VAX would be half the size and half the cost of the TFX, it was to be a tri-service aircraft to fulfil the following missions:

1) Direct support of ground operations (close support)
2) Interdiction and armed reconnaissance
3) Destruction of designated enemy targets at long distances from base

There was some suggestion that the close support role would be fulfilled by a separate version. Given that TFX was pushing the art of the possible, and the aim was for something half the size and half the cost of TFX, it seems logical that many of the studies would have been single engined/half sized versions of TFX offerings or incorporate ideas developed during the TFX design process. As such, I think all of the following previously posted on the forum are VAX related:

Douglas D852
Boeing swing-wing design
Grumman concept

Equally, this twin-engined A-4 derivative would make a lot of sense as an early concept for the close support role.

The nav-attack system was to be the Integrated Light Attack Avionics System (ILAAS) that would have used a navigation and bombing radar. This program was continued with the aim that it would go in the A-7A. Sperry was awarded a $17.9 million contract in 1965 for the development and production of four prototypes. The system never made it into the A-7A but it was later intended that components developed under the ILAAS programme would go into future A-7 variants.
 
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