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Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built?

Johnbr

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The biggest mistake to me is the germans not making Arado Ar 440.
 

marcd30319

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I would say the biggest mistake was the cancellation of the U.S. Navy's A-12 attack bomber because of its long-range, all-weather, stealth capabilities which our carriers haven't had since the retirement of the A-6 Intruder. The F/A-18F Super Hornet is good, but it is inferior to the A-12. The F-35 had stealth, but it lack the range of the A-12 and not optimized as a bombing platform.
 

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pathology_doc

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AAAdrone said:
it might have been a good MiGCAP or TARCAP fighter for Vietnam. With its performance characteristics it would be unstoppable.

And I suspect the F-4's score might have been much higher (and its air-combat loss rate lower) if it could have stood back and used Sparrow the way it was supposed to be used, as a BVR weapon. Expecting the F-12 to operate in a visual-range-only environment when it has next to no dogfight capability just doesn't make sense; and if you change the rules to suit, the F-4 will suddenly find itself operating far more within its original design parameters and you probably don't need a Mach 3 fighter. Besides, the F-4 offers up to six BVR pulls of the trigger if you swap the wing-mounted Sidewinders out and put Sparrows on. The F-12 had... what, three AIM-47s? And unless you can assure me of one-shot one-kill, the F-4 is probably the better bargain all round.

As a Continental air-defence interceptor against high-level supersonic bombers? No argument, the F-12B wins for me hands-down.
 
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AAAdrone

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I'm willing to bet that when F-14D made that statement he was referring to using the dual IRSTs slaved to the radar to get special clearance for BVR kills within the rules of engagement via identifying the bogeys BVR. On the other hand the F-4E eventually received Tiseo in its wing root so I really am at a loss there.
 

uk 75

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I am not sure if this is the right place for this.

The Royal Navy wanted a postwar fighter that could be crossdecked with the the US Navy.
As we all know it tried desperately to get the F4 Phantom to sea on its mixed set of CVs.

If McDonnell Douglas had made the Phantom able to fit RN carriers and US Essexes from the off,
or made it a slightly different design. The US could have kept more cvs in service, the RN would have kept its fixed wing air. Who knows, the Canadians, Australians and Dutch might also have deployed Essex class ships with this plane.
 

famvburg

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The A-6 had stealth capabilities?

marcd30319 said:
I would say the biggest mistake was the cancellation of the U.S. Navy's A-12 attack bomber because of its long-range, all-weather, stealth capabilities which our carriers haven't had since the retirement of the A-6 Intruder. The F/A-18F Super Hornet is good, but it is inferior to the A-12. The F-35 had stealth, but it lack the range of the A-12 and not optimized as a bombing platform.
 

sferrin

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famvburg said:
The A-6 had stealth capabilities?

marcd30319 said:
I would say the biggest mistake was the cancellation of the U.S. Navy's A-12 attack bomber because of its long-range, all-weather, stealth capabilities which our carriers haven't had since the retirement of the A-6 Intruder. The F/A-18F Super Hornet is good, but it is inferior to the A-12. The F-35 had stealth, but it lack the range of the A-12 and not optimized as a bombing platform.

No, I'm sure he just meant the all-weather, long-range strike part.
 
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AAAdrone

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I'm sure what was meant was that the A-12 was the only possible solution that had the range and payload capacity to replace the A-6. I agree with him as the F-35 just doesn't have the mission radius, range, and payload to perfectly fill the shoes the A-12 was supposed to fill. That, and canceling it was unnecessary. They could have gone to a different contractor to work the issues out.
 

Tailspin Turtle

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uk 75 said:
I am not sure if this is the right place for this.

The Royal Navy wanted a postwar fighter that could be crossdecked with the the US Navy.
As we all know it tried desperately to get the F4 Phantom to sea on its mixed set of CVs.

If McDonnell Douglas had made the Phantom able to fit RN carriers and US Essexes from the off,
or made it a slightly different design. The US could have kept more cvs in service, the RN would have kept its fixed wing air. Who knows, the Canadians, Australians and Dutch might also have deployed Essex class ships with this plane.

The F4H was designed to operate from Essex-class carriers and at-sea trials were accomplished aboard Intrepid as part of its BIS evaluation. However, the Navy chose to equip the air wings on Essex-class carriers with F-8s instead and assign the F-4s to air wings flying from the bigger decks.
 

Abraham Gubler

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uk 75 said:
If McDonnell Douglas had made the Phantom able to fit RN carriers and US Essexes from the off,
or made it a slightly different design. The US could have kept more cvs in service, the RN would have kept its fixed wing air. Who knows, the Canadians, Australians and Dutch might also have deployed Essex class ships with this plane.

The issue here is that the Phantom as built was fine for flying from an Essex class carrier but not a RN fleet carrier. The later were appreciably slower than the Essex class which made operating USN aircraft from them difficult. Which is why the RN played much closer attention to lower stall speeds and higher angles of attack on takeoff than the USN did.

The same problem as resurfaced today with the RN’s plan to acquire F-35Cs. These aircraft are designed to fly from a carrier that can make over 30 knots for launch and recover evolutions while the CVF maxes out at 27 knots.

This issue has nothing to do with sustaining carrier operations in other navies. The RAN actually requested an Essex class with Phantoms in the 1960s but were knocked back by the Government because of cost. Nothing to do with an assessment that the Phantom couldn’t fly from the Essex. The Dutch decommissioned their carrier force after Kennedy forced them to hand over West Papua to the Indonesians. Without West Papua to defend the Dutch navy no longer needed a carrier. The Canadians abolished their carrier after amalgamating their forces and the unification of former RCAF and RCN ASW air wings.
 

Pioneer

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AAAdrone said:
I'm sure what was meant was that the A-12 was the only possible solution that had the range and payload capacity to replace the A-6. I agree with him as the F-35 just doesn't have the mission radius, range, and payload to perfectly fill the shoes the A-12 was supposed to fill. That, and canceling it was unnecessary. They could have gone to a different contractor to work the issues out.

Agree on the matter of the A-12 being the correct replacement for the A-6 Intruder!!
But
That, and cancelling it was unecessary. They could have gone to a different contractor to work the issues out.
I don't know about this simplistic outlook!
The fact of the matter (from what I can tell) is that the USN was just as much to blame as that of McDonnell Douglas/General Dynamics, what with poor management of the project as a whole!!
I personally believe that the USN was overly ambitious in attempting to match it's primary opposition - the USAF, with the fad of obtaining a stealth design strike platform.

Saying this I too would have loved to have seen the A-12 successful and operational. Like I have already said before, the United States be left the only superpower at the end of the war made it very complacent and overconfident of itself - which lead it to believe it did not need the A-6 Intruder any more (let alone the A-6F Intruder it should have purchased until the A-12 could be developed and then fielded!).

To this day I do not get the USN's obsession with the F/A-18E/F/G series :eek:

Regards
Pioneer
 

JFC Fuller

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Abraham Gubler said:
The issue here is that the Phantom as built was fine for flying from an Essex class carrier but not a RN fleet carrier. The later were appreciably slower than the Essex class which made operating USN aircraft from them difficult. Which is why the RN played much closer attention to lower stall speeds and higher angles of attack on takeoff than the USN did.

The same problem as resurfaced today with the RN’s plan to acquire F-35Cs. These aircraft are designed to fly from a carrier that can make over 30 knots for launch and recover evolutions while the CVF maxes out at 27 knots.

This issue has nothing to do with sustaining carrier operations in other navies. The RAN actually requested an Essex class with Phantoms in the 1960s but were knocked back by the Government because of cost. Nothing to do with an assessment that the Phantom couldn’t fly from the Essex. The Dutch decommissioned their carrier force after Kennedy forced them to hand over West Papua to the Indonesians. Without West Papua to defend the Dutch navy no longer needed a carrier. The Canadians abolished their carrier after amalgamating their forces and the unification of former RCAF and RCN ASW air wings.


Could you provide some sources for this? Eagle and Ark Royal were both quoted with top speeds of 31.5-32knots, HMS Victorious post-reconstruction was also reported as being capable of 31 knots. The SCB-27 conversion to the Essex class took their speed down to 31 knots. In reality the two (three including the Victorious) classes, following their post-war conversions, made approximately the same maximum speed. The only area where there was an appreciable difference that I can see is in the Centaur class (including Hermes) which *only* made 28 knots. Indeed, the Essex class seem to have had similar issues to the Audacious class, whilst they were technically big enough to operate a Phantom (and one of the design requirements for the type was that the length be under 59ft so it would fit an Essex class elevator) they were less than ideal and the Phantom (along with the A6) was never actually deployed on an Essex class as part of its air wing although trials launches/landings were undertaken.

I am aware that concerns have been raised (most notably to the House of Commons Defence Committee) about a lack of speed in the QE class limiting recovery (though I am not aware of any concerns related to launch), however the QE class was designed from the outset to be highly adaptable to new requirements (including space reserved for additional MT30s) and the programme to convert one ship to CTOL has really only just begun so it is far too early to say to what extent any concern over recovery will be rectified.
 

uk 75

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Abraham

Thanks for your detailed replies. Like Manuel in Fawlty Towers, I learn, I learn

I have started a new thread on a similar vein.
 

F-14D

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pathology_doc said:
AAAdrone said:
it might have been a good MiGCAP or TARCAP fighter for Vietnam. With its performance characteristics it would be unstoppable.

And I suspect the F-4's score might have been much higher (and its air-combat loss rate lower) if it could have stood back and used Sparrow the way it was supposed to be used, as a BVR weapon. Expecting the F-12 to operate in a visual-range-only environment when it has next to no dogfight capability just doesn't make sense; and if you change the rules to suit, the F-4 will suddenly find itself operating far more within its original design parameters and you probably don't need a Mach 3 fighter. Besides, the F-4 offers up to six BVR pulls of the trigger if you swap the wing-mounted Sidewinders out and put Sparrows on. The F-12 had... what, three AIM-47s? And unless you can assure me of one-shot one-kill, the F-4 is probably the better bargain all round.

As a Continental air-defence interceptor against high-level supersonic bombers? No argument, the F-12B wins for me hands-down.

Popping back on this for a moment...

The way you would have used the F-12B is that it would come in just ahead of the strike group. At this point, everything it was looking at would be a hostile. Essentially invulnerable to anything the MiGs could do and not at particular risk to SAMs, it would essentially clear the skies and or keep the MiGs on the ground. I mean, why go up against something that you have no chance of engaging but has a very good chance of killing you? If the MiGs don't launch, then the F-12 wins, even if it never fires a shot.

No, the F-12B couldn't dogfight, but so what? That is an extension of the old complaint against the F-4 and missiles of the time (which, BTW, still did better than guns--another topic): "It's like bringing a rifle to a knife fight in a phone booth". If you have a rifle, why would you get into the phone booth? Just stand across the street and blast the guy in the phone booth. Remember, there was no way for the MiGs to close with an F-12B at speed and altitude.

I can't remember at this moment whether the production F-12 would carry three AIM-47s or whether the AN/ASG-18 would be repackaged (which eventually happened when it became the AWG-9) to permit carriage of four. In any case, with AIM-7 you could only shoot one at a time at a single target. If you launched a 2nd Sparrow, you lost guidance capability on the first. The F-12 could guide multiple missiles in flight, although not as many as the AWG-9.

The issue with the F-4 was not just the visual ID requirement although that was a big part. AIM-7 was not as fast as AIM-47, and wouldn't have the advantage of coming "downhill". The Fire control originally had not been designed with extreme maneuvering in mind and could "tumble" at the wrong time. There were also reliability problems. An enormous factor was that our pilots, especially USAF, did not develop the optimum tactics for a missile fight, although the USN eventually did at the tail end of the war.

If you're talking versatility and flexibility, then of course the F-4 wins, but in this particular case we're talking about a particular scenario which is made to order for the F-12.

In response to another post, the F-12B was not canceled. What happened was that USAF wanted it and Congress funded it. Secretary of Defense McNamara, still trying to push the F-111 as a do-all Wonderplane, wanted USAF to use the F-111 as an interceptor. USAF rightly saw this a s a crazy idea. So what McNamara did was to sequester the money and ordered the Blackbird production line and tooling destroyed so it couldn't possibly threaten his brainchild. This also, of course killed any possibility of further SR-71 production , including the planed final attrition buy.
 

F-14D

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AAAdrone said:
I'm sure what was meant was that the A-12 was the only possible solution that had the range and payload capacity to replace the A-6. I agree with him as the F-35 just doesn't have the mission radius, range, and payload to perfectly fill the shoes the A-12 was supposed to fill. That, and canceling it was unnecessary. They could have gone to a different contractor to work the issues out.

There was no other contractor to go to. Lockheed wanted no part of the ATA program, and Northrop and Grumman essentially walked away from the competition before the selection ("The only thing worse than losing this competition would be winning it").

Canceling the A-12 was the right thing to do, although they did it at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. Where the mistake was in my mind was to cancel the A/FX, a much more logical plane, to preserve the Super Hornet. USN would have been far, far better off with that plane, and because it was a more logical, more achievable aircraft, everybody was interested in bidding on it.
 

F-14D

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Pioneer said:
Have we mentioned the Grumman A-6F Intruder?

This would have offered a capability the USN still lacks to this day (even after the A-12 Avenger II cancellation decision)

The F/A-18E/F still lacks the A-6F's range and offensive payload capability :mad:


Regards
Pioneer

This was a case of the wrong decision being made for the right reasons. A-6F was canceled because under the original schedule, A-12 (ATA) would have entered service only a few years after it. The A-12, if it had worked, would have been a much more effective aircraft so it didn't make sense to develop them both.

"The best laid plans of mice and men..."
 

F-14D

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AAAdrone said:
I'm pretty sure my choices have all been said several times before but here are my $0.02

The Vought XF8U-3 Crusader III: It was single purposed and had only one crew member which gave it a large workload per crew member but it was more capable in the interceptor role than anything else. It had a track while scan capable radar AFAIK and considering it ate Phantoms for breakfast I consider it a waste how the US simply scrapped the thing without finding some role for it to fill.

F-23: Needs no introduction. An incredible aircraft and with a well upgraded and perfected F-120 engine along with the improved weapons bay demonstrated in the EMD images this fighter would have been amazing for the USAF if a lot riskier in design.

I would like to put in a plug here for Tommy Thomason's excellent, excellent tome on the XF8U-3:

http://www.ginterbooks.com/NAVAL/NF87.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Vought-F8U-3-Crusader-Super-Fighters/dp/0984611401/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327004375&sr=1-4 .

It is a superb "warts and all" on this spectacular aircraft. It shows where it excelled but also shows where the problems were, and it does address the Crusader III vs. the Phantom II. Although you come away with even more appreciation for this superb machine, you also realize that if they only could have one, the Navy made absolutely the right choice in picking the Phabulous Phantom.
 
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AAAdrone

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I completely forgot about how the F-12B was "canceled." Thanks for the correction F-14D. Still, if only McNamoron wasn't SecDef, then the F-12B wouldn't have been "canceled" at a whopping 3 airframes. If, say 200 were built, the unit cost would drop and Lockheed's industrial base would have been more adapted to building and maintaining these wonderful fighters. It may have not have been as necessary in hindsight but something like that was bound to insight fear into the Russians!

Also on the XF8U-3, if Congress weren't idiots, then wouldn't it have been easier for the Navy to just have both fighters? It would have made the Navy's lives so much better in Vietnam when they actually had an interceptor that even the VPAF MiG-21 could not dare stand against without incurring heavy losses. Maybe the air force could have gotten a version without the variable incidence wing and other sorts of weight reduction features if the DoD and Congress were so hell-bent on saving money. I know the USAF weren't going to like it but with something that had the sustained-turn performance of the Crusader III as well as the effective speed and other kinematic capabilities, the Crusader III may just be what the doctor ordered for the USAF's air supremacy needs alongside the F-12B.

Also, thanks for the recommendation on XF8U-3 literature. I'll see if I can get my hands on that ASAP.
 

F-14D

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AAAdrone said:
I completely forgot about how the F-12B was "canceled." Thanks for the correction F-14D. Still, if only McNamoron wasn't SecDef, then the F-12B wouldn't have been "canceled" at a whopping 3 airframes. If, say 200 were built, the unit cost would drop and Lockheed's industrial base would have been more adapted to building and maintaining these wonderful fighters. It may have not have been as necessary in hindsight but something like that was bound to insight fear into the Russians!

Also on the XF8U-3, if Congress weren't idiots, then wouldn't it have been easier for the Navy to just have both fighters? It would have made the Navy's lives so much better in Vietnam when they actually had an interceptor that even the VPAF MiG-21 could not dare stand against without incurring heavy losses. Maybe the air force could have gotten a version without the variable incidence wing and other sorts of weight reduction features if the DoD and Congress were so hell-bent on saving money. I know the USAF weren't going to like it but with something that had the sustained-turn performance of the Crusader III as well as the effective speed and other kinematic capabilities, the Crusader III may just be what the doctor ordered for the USAF's air supremacy needs alongside the F-12B.

Also, thanks for the recommendation on XF8U-3 literature. I'll see if I can get my hands on that ASAP.

Actually, no F-12Bs were ever built, only the YF-12As.

Prior to the F-4H/F8U-3 flyoff, the reason USN had different fighter types on deck was that the technology required that most fighters were kind of single purpose (i.e. "day" or "night", etc.). also, the aircraft were all having various problems and so the multiple fighter types were thought necessary. Also, technology was moving so fast in the '50s that by the time a fighter made the Fleet there was already a substantial advance being developed. Thus, the extra cost of many many fighter types was considered justified. By the late '50s it was thought that the various roles could be combined into one a/c and reliability would be enough that they wouldn't need to have a 2nd type as a "hedge". Thus, for operational and cost reasons, it was decided that only one type would be brought to production.

Again, I can't recommend that book highly enough. You'll see that although the XF8U-3 was better than the F-4H in some areas, it wasn't that much better, and the Phantom was much more versatile. And, it would be carrying the same weapons as the Phantom, only less of them so it's not a forgone conclusion that it would have done dramatically better air-to-air. The F-8's best of the war win/loss ratio can probably be most attributed to the fact that F-4 while crews trained for air-to-air, they also had to train and practice for air-to-ground, deep penetration, nuclear strike, etc. F-8 crews for most of the war overwhelmingly trained for and practiced air-to-air and not much else. A similar situation exists today with the F-15C and theoretically the F-22.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sealordlawrence said:
Could you provide some sources for this? Eagle and Ark Royal were both quoted with top speeds of 31.5-32knots, HMS Victorious post-reconstruction was also reported as being capable of 31 knots. The SCB-27 conversion to the Essex class took their speed down to 31 knots. In reality the two (three including the Victorious) classes, following their post-war conversions, made approximately the same maximum speed. The only area where there was an appreciable difference that I can see is in the Centaur class (including Hermes) which *only* made 28 knots.

The British fleet carriers could not sustain their maximum speed with catapults in operation. I think maximum speed with both catapults was as low as 25 knots in some hot environments. Add to that the lower power of even the BS-5A catapult on the Phantom commission of the Ark Royal and you have a significant difference. This catapult could only provide a launch speed of 95 knots for a 60,000 pound aircraft (fully loaded Phantom) compared to 115 knots from the C-11 catapults fitted to a SCB-27 Essex class (Oriskany’s C-11-1s were even better). This is where you start to get a 25 knot WOD difference. And the reason why the Royal Navy was specifying aircraft with much lower stall speeds than the Royal Navy which culminated in the Spey Phantom. Even the BS-6 planned for CVA-01 would only slightly improve on the C-11 catapult’s performance and the lower speeds would be continued thanks to cost cutting. While the US Navy was moving

sealordlawrence said:
Indeed, the Essex class seem to have had similar issues to the Audacious class, whilst they were technically big enough to operate a Phantom (and one of the design requirements for the type was that the length be under 59ft so it would fit an Essex class elevator) they were less than ideal and the Phantom (along with the A6) was never actually deployed on an Essex class as part of its air wing although trials launches/landings were undertaken.

The biggest problem the Essex class had with operating Phantoms was the length of the angled landing deck for run out after trapping the fourth wire in a heavy loaded condition. But this is an issue of bring back. Otherwise it was fine.

I think there is a lot of confusion over this because of the way the US Navy operated its carrier air wings in the 50s, 60s and 70s. They had strike wings, attack wings and ASW wings. The strike wings were on the larger carriers and were designed for prosecuting nuclear war against the Soviets and the attack and ASW wings on the Essex class. The role of the attack wings was more tactical and supporting the marines. They also were buying fighters from multiple soruces. They could have flown Phantoms in their attack wings but then what would they do with all those Crusaders coming off the production line? Of course since the super carriers were bigger and the Phantom was better suited to the strike carrier mission (designed to shoot down Soviet bombers) it made infinitely more sense to fly them rather than the Crusaders from the supercarriers.
 

Abraham Gubler

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F-14D said:
The F-8's best of the war win/loss ratio can probably be most attributed to the fact that F-4 while crews trained for air-to-air, they also had to train and practice for air-to-ground, deep penetration, nuclear strike, etc. F-8 crews for most of the war overwhelmingly trained for and practiced air-to-air and not much else. A similar situation exists today with the F-15C and theoretically the F-22.

Can’t say I agree with this. There are plenty fighter forces that are trained for both air to air and air to ground (Israel, Royal Navy) that have performed excellently and even thumped those all air to air trained F-15 pilots in exercises. But what is important is what type of tactics they use. The US Navy Phantom pilots before VietNam spent a lot of time training to shoot down Soviet bombers attacking the fleet in BADGERS and the like. The F-4 weapon system (Sparrow) was designed for this role. All that time and effort invested into mastering a highly complex SARH system that was of little use for them. Meanwhile the Crusader pilots when training for bomber interception were skilled in getting on their tail for a Sidewinder kill which was more than applicable for taking on VPAF fighters. After Top Gun the US Navy were heads and shoulders above USAF in tactics and even when flying very similar aircraft in similar situations (LINEBACKER escorts) outperformed them.
 

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Hmmm....


Centaurs did have speed issues using their catapults, Hermes went down below 25kts deep and dirty using hers. But I'm not aware of such a signifcant drop for the Audacious class or Victorious. So can we have a source for this?
 
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AAAdrone

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D'oh! How could I mix up F-12B and YF-12A?! I rechecked my copy of Jenkins and Landis' Experimental & Prototype US Air Force Jet Fighters only to find out you were right. Ah well, thanks for the clarification. :)
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
F-14D said:
The F-8's best of the war win/loss ratio can probably be most attributed to the fact that F-4 while crews trained for air-to-air, they also had to train and practice for air-to-ground, deep penetration, nuclear strike, etc. F-8 crews for most of the war overwhelmingly trained for and practiced air-to-air and not much else. A similar situation exists today with the F-15C and theoretically the F-22.

Can’t say I agree with this. There are plenty fighter forces that are trained for both air to air and air to ground (Israel, Royal Navy) that have performed excellently and even thumped those all air to air trained F-15 pilots in exercises. But what is important is what type of tactics they use. The US Navy Phantom pilots before VietNam spent a lot of time training to shoot down Soviet bombers attacking the fleet in BADGERS and the like. The F-4 weapon system (Sparrow) was designed for this role. All that time and effort invested into mastering a highly complex SARH system that was of little use for them. Meanwhile the Crusader pilots when training for bomber interception were skilled in getting on their tail for a Sidewinder kill which was more than applicable for taking on VPAF fighters. After Top Gun the US Navy were heads and shoulders above USAF in tactics and even when flying very similar aircraft in similar situations (LINEBACKER escorts) outperformed them.


Abraham,

Before the Ault Report (which led in the USN to the formation of Top Gun), USN pilots were still ding better in their F-4s that USAF was in theirs. Partly I ascribe this to the two crew of USN vs. two pilot of USAF philosophy. Also, the USN, partly because of the mission you state was teaching to fly the missile while USAF was teaching fly the aircraft. In other words, Navy was teaching to concentrate on what the missile needed to be used effectively as opposed to purely getting on the tail, which with a missile that guided on Doppler shift, wasn't always the best place for a shot. It's worthy of note that in the first part of the air war, USAF pilots coming out of ADC seemed to work the Phantom better than those coming out of TAC, I beleive partly because they understood this. Of course, as you state, in the case of the F-8, when all you've got is a tail chase missile, getting on the tail is a Good Thing.

After Top Gun, of course, things got really better because not only were the pilot better train how to use their weapons, but also how to most effectively use their aircraft, taking advantage of going into the vertical and exploiting the strengths of their a/c and weaknesses of the opponent. It's been a while since I looked at this but I recall that one of the things we learned was that although the MiG-21 could turn on a dime, it also bled off a lot of energy doing so that it couldn't get back easily, and if you could press them into maintaining their turn, they couldn't sustain it and became more vulnerable.

Regarding pure fighter training vs multipurpose training, I was talking strictly in the context of Vietnam, not today. We actually know more now, plus it's not as necessary, even WVR, to maneuver as much as we had to then to get a kill. A lot also depends on how much you get to fly, a big plus for the Israelis (I am depressingly aware of the results of USN vs. Israel DACT exercises). I wager, though, that if the RAF (thanks to the retirement of the Harriers, RN pilots go away for a while) and Israeli pilots spent all their practice time in air-to-air they'd do even better.
 

Abraham Gubler

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zen said:
Centaurs did have speed issues using their catapults, Hermes went down below 25kts deep and dirty using hers. But I'm not aware of such a signifcant drop for the Audacious class or Victorious. So can we have a source for this?

"Phoenix Squadron" by Rowland White. In ideal conditions the most HMS Ark Royal in her Phantom commission could make with catapults in operations was 29 knots for only 15 minutes. CVA-01 was designed for 25 knots with catapults charged. There was a reason the RN was looking for aircraft in the 1960s with far lower minimum launch speeds than the USN.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
In ideal conditions the most HMS Ark Royal in her Phantom commission could make with catapults in operations was 29 knots for only 15 minutes. CVA-01 was designed for 25 knots with catapults charged. There was a reason the RN was looking for aircraft in the 1960s with far lower minimum launch speeds than the USN.

Hence the greater F-4K nose gear extension for launch...
 

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Abraham Gubler

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Tailspin Turtle said:
Hence the greater F-4K nose gear extension for launch...

There is an interesting bit in Phoenix Squadron about 892 NAS's F-4Ks cross decking to USS Independence and the higher angle of attack caused by the nose gear causing the engine exhaust to melt the flight deck surfacing. Solution was all F-4K takeoffs from Independence were to be at low weight at lowest AB setting with the pilot selecting full AB during the cat shot. Didn't work very well with the first F-4K dropping below deck level for a change of underwear moment...
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
The British fleet carriers could not sustain their maximum speed with catapults in operation. I think maximum speed with both catapults was as low as 25 knots in some hot environments. Add to that the lower power of even the BS-5A catapult on the Phantom commission of the Ark Royal and you have a significant difference. This catapult could only provide a launch speed of 95 knots for a 60,000 pound aircraft (fully loaded Phantom) compared to 115 knots from the C-11 catapults fitted to a SCB-27 Essex class (Oriskany’s C-11-1s were even better). This is where you start to get a 25 knot WOD difference. And the reason why the Royal Navy was specifying aircraft with much lower stall speeds than the Royal Navy which culminated in the Spey Phantom. Even the BS-6 planned for CVA-01 would only slightly improve on the C-11 catapult’s performance and the lower speeds would be continued thanks to cost cutting. While the US Navy was moving

It is certainly true that USN catapults were more powerful than their UK equivalents, largely by virtue of operating under higher pressure steam conditions, and this clearly caused much of the RN's difficulty. However, speed drain is a problem caused by any catapult that draws its steam from the ships boilers, unless the Essex class had an additional steam plant dedicated to producing steam for the catapults (which to my knowledge they did not?) they would have had the same problem, what was their sustained speed when operating two catapults simultaneously, especially deep and dirty in the tropics which appears to be your reference for 25knots for the RN carriers? 29 knots for 15 minutes for Ark Royal seems fairly reasonable and I do not see why the Essex class (with comparable top speeds as already stated) would have managed any better unless there is a source that states that they did?

I don't think there is any confusion, the USN appears to have decided that whilst it was technically feasible (with some fudging) to operate Phantoms from the Essex class it was not wholly viable (for a whole range of reasons) and that is why it was not done. Multiple authors (including Friedman- 'Carrier Air Power' 1981) have stated that the Phantom could not be operated from the Essex class and submissions to Congressional hearings in late 60s and early 70s stated the same thing. Indeed I understand that McNamara actually told the House Armed Services Committee in 1964 that the F8 would be retained for the Essex class as that group of ships had only a marginal capability for the safe operation of the F4. Of course the RN pursued the solution of modifying the aircraft, the double extending nose-gear shown in Tailspin Turtles excellent picture, the exhaust pipes on the Speys were angled downwards and Spey itself offered more take-off power.
 

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I think sealordlawrence is right here on the matter of the Essex class and would add to my knowledge CVA-01 and the previous 1952 efforts were aiming at continuous speeds while'st launching. So 25kts for CVA-01 not just when charged, but while'st recharging is what I understand from my readings.
The 1952 effort aims for 30kts deep and dirty and this apparently equates with roughly 32kts deep and clean at 53,000tons.



To get the F4 operating safely from a modernised Essex would require quite a few changes to the flightdeck and I still have unanswered questions about the modernised layout as it was. Those wires look too far aft. She needs longer catapults for standard F4s and that implies more steam and thus less for propulsion.


Now 29kts for 15 minutes is an interesting figure, but it needs more than just that to actually make sense. We need how long she's been out of dock, where she is operating (temperature and humidity conditions) and we need how deeply loaded she was at the time. Indeed we also need to know the condition of her plants at the time as well.
After all we know Eagle did 30.53kts at 44,250tons displacement in temperate conditions. Considered equal to 29.6kts deep and clean (49,950tons) and corresponding to 24kts at 48,700tons six months out, though I haven't the information on whether thats predicted for the tropics or the temperate zone.


And this still leaves us Victorious.



Hermes was projected to make 25kts deep and dirty, but operation of the catapult reduced this by another 1.5kts to 23.5kts. However she had only half the installed plant of Eagle.
 

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dan_inbox said:
Caravellarella said:
SEPECAT Jaguar M - looks fabulous (why didn't this enter service? I don't know)......
It failed the Aéronavale's carrier trials. One-engine-out handling was unacceptable, among other things.

Yes, the first trials in 1970 used the development Adour Mk 101s that never had the power in dry thrust to allow sucessful approaches with one engine out. Reheat gave too much power. I'm not sure of the the second carrier trials of 1971 if PTR 102s were used or not (doubt it as I don't think the modified engines were not fitted until later, but will try and find out). I know the flap landing angles were changed from the standard design from Bedford trials prior to the Clemenceau deck landings due to roll instability issues and there were major concerns of the effects of the afterburner operation to the flight deck and catapult system found after the first trial. The French Fleet Air Arm website has a section on the Jaguar M with details given by Daniel Pierre, one of the French trial pilots. It was rumoured that overshoots from missed cable engagements were particuly hairy and other rumours that serious consideration was given to redesign the wing to improve the take off and landing charectoristics of the aircraft, prior to it being canned as a naval aircraft in 1973.
 

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Sentinel Chicken said:
I always thought Sukhoi's single-engined multirole S-37 canard fighter would have been very promising and at the least given the Russian Air Forces an affordable and flexible multirole fighter that might well have been a great export success as well.

Agree!!!

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Pioneer
 

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One sometimes suspects the Avro 730 should have been built instead of the Bristol 188, if only to guarantee long soak times and also because the larger airframe would have permitted better instrumentation (also, two heads are better than one). I should also have continued the SR.177 - it would have given the British a completed mid-fifties-vintage design and prevented the breaking of the design-test-build cycle for that generation of aircraft; it was already more or less in-production (or capable thereof) ; and it had very strong foreign-order potential if the RAF and RN had taken some.

Possibly also the thin-wing Javelin, and for much the same reason, possibly minus the foreign order part. IMO if you're going to consider the Arrow over the thin-wing Javelin, you should either shut up and buy the Arrow or build the British fighter, not end up doing neither.
 

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The British and French Governments/military failure to adopt a strategic bomber variant of the Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde! The French needed a replacement for its short-legged Mirage IV. The British needed a replacement for its Vulcan/Victor bomber force! The technology & R&D was there for the taking.


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Pioneer
 

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All writers tracing Concorde's origins in RAE's Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee presumed that MoA was spring-loaded to fund an airliner. No, and the clue is in the name. We had just chopped (Bristol T.188-layout) Mach 3 Avro 730 recce/bomber, partly as high might not be compatible with our own SAMs, so ditto of Sovs'; and partly due to fabrication difficulties evident at Doncasters, AWA and Bristol in forming T.188 from stainless steel. So let's try alloys good for Mach 2.2 - sufficient to deliver long range stand-off bombs, such as Mark 2-and-more Blue Steel. RAE+MoA did not understand or interest themselves in airliners. The item envisaged to be transported supersonically was a pallet carrying ordnance or sensors. The tie-up with France was because CDG hoped the exercise would feed into payload/range/reliability beyond Mirage IV.

UK persevered with Concorde for the same reason as for VC10: to find targets for and to deliver (what we now call) cruise missiles. The reason all lapsed was: bomber: the sweet deal we obtained on SSBN/FBM; recce: the dittos on sharing the take from US satellites. So we pressed on with civil hope, taking the Everest approach to marketing: because it's there.
 

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(As the military derivation of UK SST is not conventional wisdom I have been called out on it. So) sources:
Minister of Defence (13/1/57) Sandys' remit was to release ½Mn. men for “productive work” by buying quality, not parity quantity. R.Lamb: The Macmillan Years, J.Murray,1995,P238. He ordered 120 Mk.2 V-Craft, 5/3/57 (162 by 30/5/57), funded Bristol Pandora ASM, 4/57 for them and for GOR.339, which he issued 26/3/57 (out to tender 9/9/57, contracted 15/12/58 as TSR.2), and gave drip-funding to Avro and HP for beyond Blue Steel ASMs. On 4/4/57 he curtailed any new interceptor or high altitude, long range penetrator.

MoS/RAE then formed a Supersonic Transport A/c Committee, Chairman, DD/RAE Morien Morgan, aerodynamicist, Father of UK GW, placing the 1949 workload. This boffins' talking shop must not be insubordinate in contesting the necessity of a son-of-Avro 730 ...but neither Victor/Vulcan Mk.2 nor (to be TSR.2) would have payload/range to release heavy long-range stand off weapons, which alone could extend Deterrent credibility after Sov-Bloodhounds became deployed on the tundra. Time effluxed gently.

14/1/58: 35 VC10 were ordered for BOAC, who did not want them (and took only 12). Not until CJ.Gibson's Pofflers work did we know what they were for. During 1958 MoS despaired of Avro, or HP making any ASM work, so issued GOR.177 to be joint with USAF, 22/1/59, ordered 29/3/60 as WS138A Skybolt, UK/US Memorandum of Understanding on industrial/operational issues, 6/6/60. 10 Super VC10 ordered "for BOAC" 23/6/60. These dates are not co-incidental. The Deterrent would be Transported by platforms able to loiter with a load...and were not "new" combat types.

M.Morgan's Supersonic Transport A/c Committee 9/3/59 recommended modest Study-funds (to keep)“our position as a leading aeronautical power.”2 slender-deltas were contracted on an Applied Research budget: thick, Avro, thin Bristol. Minister of Supply A.Jones visited Paris, 6/59 (Mirage IV flew 17/6/59) and “suggested we jointly develop (an SST). I had become weary of Treasury’s cancellation of most a/c projects (They) might find it difficult to cancel a (joint) project (I) believed we had made a mistake holding ourselves aloof from (EEC.)" Mac was so, still, so Cabinet “laughed with derision” at this contact. K.Owen,(Ed),P54,ICBH Concorde Witness Seminar 19/11/98,pub.02. Sandys moved to new Ministry of Aviation 14/10/59. During 1960 Mac changed his mind on EEC and submitted an Application to join it, 10/8/61.

France, too schemed a slender delta. Aubrey Jones' bequest became Collaboration Agreements, SNECMA:BSEL, 28/11/61 from TSR.2's Olympus 22R, and on 25/10/62 Sud: (ex-Bristol) BAC on a thin delta. Cabinet Approved a Memorandum of Understanding (signed 29/11/62:) UK “ought to ‘cater for this profitable modern eccentricity’. He thought (Cabinet) really agreed. No one seriously dissented. It was all over in a few minutes.” J.Bruce-Gardyne/N.Lawson (future Chancellor!),The Power Game, Mac.,76,P28. “Br. leaders, rightly regarding (UK) as more advanced…thought (thus to have) made a gesture (to aid CDG’s) ambitions to construct a potent strike force (hoping he) would be grateful” (re.EEC) . I.Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy & the Special Relationship,OUP,94,P319. But 14/1/63: le Grand Charles said Non!

18-21/12/62 Macmillan had to duck and weave to stay in the Deterrent business, faced with the option of 100% funding (maidenhood-tarnished) Skybolt; that was settled 6/4/63 by the Polaris Sales Agreement. On that day UK had no need for an SST, but had written the MoU with no provision for unilateral Termination at Convenience...to lock in perfidious Charles. So UK pressed on. In the absence of any ASM, 6/64 BOAC, very noisily resiled from (by then 30) Super VC10s and on 20/7/64 were paid large sums to take 17. But not as large as they would later be paid to take 7 Concordes.
 

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elmayerle said:
I'm going to say that one major mistake on Northrop's part was not putting a bigger wing on the F-20 from the get-go. While the existing wing has the advantage of being very similar to that of the F-5E/F, it also makes for a very high wing loading which requires a fair rate of speed in turns; leading to the G-LOC problems that lost 3 F-20s and probably doomed the program.
I though they were to have some kind of new maneuver flap?
 

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"The British and French Governments/military failure to adopt a strategic bomber variant of the Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde! "

I admire your sense of humour.
 

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"UK persevered with Concorde for the same reason as for VC10: to find targets for and to deliver (what we now call) cruise missiles."

We had little choice in proceeding with Concorde, given the nature of the agreement Amery had signed.

The VC10 would have gone ahead anyway, but the military version was to carry Skybolt, not cruise missiles. The argument about that came to a head in the 1962 BNDSG Technical Subcommittee.
 

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