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

von hitchofen

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MB5 - killed by early jets and preponderance of Spits and Tempests

Hawker P.1052 - Sabre/FJ Fury competitor?

Hawker P1121 - nuff said

Vickers V1000

Original specs de Havilland Trident - scrap Concorde, build that.

AFVG - better than TSR-2, F-111K, Tonka by all accounts. Perfidious French!

BAe P106 - pre-Gripen Gripen.
 

riggerrob

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Scrap the Armstrong Albemarle light bomber, not so much because it was a bad airplane. On paper the Albemarle worked as well as the North American B-25 Mitchell bombers that replaced them. Mind you Mark 1 Albemarles competed directly with NAA B-25 Mitchel bombers Mark III. Pretty tough to beat anyone's Mark 3 with only your mark 1.

The few Albemarles that made it into service were relegated to towing gliders or dropping paratrooper pathfinders. Pathfinders only operate in small groups, marking drop zones just before the main force jump. British paratroopers were priority-last for most of WW2 when it came to airplane production. Only gliders were purpose-built for air assault.

Yes! North Americans' B-25 Mitchell bomber was one of the Great War-winners.
B-25s also suffered comparatively low casualties. Based on those numbers, would it have caused fewer WALLIE casualties if RAF Bomber Command and the USAAF had switched to medium bombers?
 

MaxLegroom

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elmayerle said:
*chuckle* Pioneer, you might appreciate this quote that appears in David Halberstam's "The Reckoning", it's attributed to a high ranking Ford executive just after Kennedy picked McNamara for SecDef, "A great day for Ford, a rotten day for the country but a great day for Ford." He wasn't too well liked/respected there, either.
It might just be that McNamara knew numbers, but definitely not cars, either, for that matter. Let's consider the better know cars that came out during his tenure at Ford: the Ford Falcon and the Lincoln Continental.
thr
Building the Falcon was a no-brainer, with the increasing sales of cars like the Volkswagen. They also tried to build a smaller car for sale in America, named Cardinal, that ended up as the German Ford Taunus 12-M. This car would have pinched pennies until Lincoln screamed, or there was enough wire to build the car's wiring harness. Two-ply tires? Please.

The iconic Lincoln Continental of 1961 was basically the result of McNamara's threat to shutter Lincoln (lawsuits, here we come!) over the 1958 models. As well as it did, it could have done better had it not been pared to two models, if it hadn't taken 5 years for a two door to appear as well.

I'm sure that there are more examples of why they were happy to see him go, but let's run with these.

Now, back to the affairs at hand. At the end of Phase I of the American SST program, the report indicated that with the information at hand, Delta and Eastern could not make a decision on which aircraft they preferred, and would like to see prototypes of all three. If we were to have spent the money on this, perhaps we would not have had to wait for Boeing (and the powers at the committee) to get over swing wings. I think the NAC-60 might have worked, and well, and the L-2000 was also simpler than what Boeing had in mind. To maintain an advantage that was making money for American industry, by reducing the number of airframe builders and engine builders, we left avenues unexplored that we shouldn't have.
 

Kat Tsun

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B-70 seemed well suited for its job in light of the Vietnam War. High altitude high supersonic aircraft have an unfortunately undeserved reputation in popular discourse, given the cumulative effects of speed, altitude, ECM, maneuvering, and RCS are better understood now, and speed tends to be similar to stealth in that both greatly reduce launch windows at high altitude. Though, by the time the electronics had caught up to the needs of aircraft (about the 1980s I suppose?), VLO had already had lots of resources expended on it. B-2 was being developed, F-117 had been done and did, and high supersonics still had unsolved questions like skin heating that would need to be addressed from the start before serious development could begin. Compounding that, I guess you'd also have to develop new weapons designed for release at high Mach and high altitude, and it is overall a more high risk development compared to the pretty staid ATB, without much advantages beyond being baller.

It certainly wouldn't be subtle, though, but the reliance on radar for interception (between the high Mach needed at sea level and the aerodynamic heating of the target, making an infrared transparent window that could survive without being destroyed and a seeker which could discriminate the B-70's hot airframe from the surrounding supersonic air would be a feat; I think this is what ultimately killed Pye Wacket). The aircraft could probably plot and avoid optimal missile engagement windows being detected/calculated on-the-fly. I believe similar avionics exist for the F-22 and B-2, although it is geared towards avoiding detection altogether.

The best armament for such a plane would probably be some sort of hypersonic or supersonic nuclear missile, similar to SRAM. Something that would allow you to avoid flying directly over targets, basically, to further reduce engagement time/window. I think this was considered for B-70 (not SRAM, but a notional small, supersonic missile), but I don't have a source to back that up at the moment.

SAC's 1980s bomber fleet could have been very different from what it turned out to be, though. More spacesuits and anti-flash paint would be involved, I suppose, and bigger engines. Some sort of evolved high supersonic penetrator would also be an interesting weapon from the perspective of a global policeman, mostly because of its faster response time compared to a VLO subsonic penetrator.

But jeez, now it's starting to sound like TBO or something and no, I've never read any of Stuart Slade's books.
 

Dynoman

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Not having an ATA electronic warfare and attack aircraft such as the A-12 Avenger II (earlier planned as the A-6 and EA-6 replacement aircraft) is what I feel a bit of a mistake. The Growler and now the F-35 will be providing the same roles as the stillborn A-12, however, as a non-dedicated platform the ability to fulfill the role successfully may be a challenge, especially if they were to accompany a strike package driving deep into enemy territory supporting F/A-18's or jointly with the subsonic B-2.

Despite its cost over runs, the A-12 or Northrop-Grumman's ATA, would have been a great compliment to the carrier-borne mix.
 

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Kat Tsun said:
B-70 seemed well suited for its job in light of the Vietnam War. High altitude high supersonic aircraft have an unfortunately undeserved reputation in popular discourse, given the cumulative effects of speed, altitude, ECM, maneuvering, and RCS are better understood now, and speed tends to be similar to stealth in that both greatly reduce launch windows at high altitude. Though, by the time the electronics had caught up to the needs of aircraft (about the 1980s I suppose?), VLO had already had lots of resources expended on it. B-2 was being developed, F-117 had been done and did, and high supersonics still had unsolved questions like skin heating that would need to be addressed from the start before serious development could begin. Compounding that, I guess you'd also have to develop new weapons designed for release at high Mach and high altitude, and it is overall a more high risk development compared to the pretty staid ATB, without much advantages beyond being baller.
I worked out a while ago what you'd need to reliably intercept a B-70. The latest S-300 systems would hold it at risk, roughly analogous to what the S-75 did to the B-52 - tactics would have to evolve, and the bombers would have to expect casualties, but they'd get the job done. To get the effect that the S-200 had on the B-52, you'd need a missile capable of Mach 9 and with a ceiling of 150,000 feet. In kinematic terms, that's comparable to THAAD, except that this thing has to manoeuvre to intercept an air-breathing target. Possible, but a large, expensive and probably immobile weapon.
 

Kat Tsun

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Galosh was mounted on a TEL. So was LGM-118. The radar wouldn't need to be very large because B-70 has a large RCS compared to a very small and conical reentry vehicle. "Immobile" just means you aren't trying hard enough.

Kinematics aren't the only thing to survivability, either. It's just that kinematics can approximate VLO by reducing the available launch window. If you need subtlety, which was required for B-2's mission, it would be completely incompetent at it. An aircraft with B-70's altitude and speed regimes would be difficult to attack, but you'd see it coming from a mile (or a thousand miles) away with any modern search radar and infrared detector, but so what?

A modern EA suite with something like a crosseye jamming ability for self-protection would make getting a firing solution impossible with any existing radar, though, unless you can attack the aircraft from an area that isn't covered by the jammers, like the top of the plane. It's not really apparent if it would be possible to make a towed decoy that could stay with the plane without getting ripped off during maneuvering, but if it is then it's fairly well protected from radar guided missile attack.

This is probably the wrong thread for posting this, though. I'm not Stuart Slade and I don't think that B-70 should have been built IRL, but it's also true that it wasn't particularly vulnerable to missiles or interception when you view the strategic bombing mission holistically (or any mission), and take into account other factors like ECM and evasive maneuvering and routing. It would have been inferior in most every regard to B-2 in strategic bombing role and reconnaissance, aside from being difficult to attack and having a quicker response time, and the latter probably isn't worth it considering making a faster missile is easier and more flexible than making a faster plane.

Considering that the USAF was obsessed more with making undetectable aircraft for plausible deniability overflights of the USSR at the time, B-70 was probably a dead end. With hindsight we know that it would be much harder to improve on B-70/SR-71. The time it would take to develop and field it would sap funding and stunt the growth of VLO by years.

High supersonic is still a physical barrier in some aspects, with no guarantee that the problems of skin heating and turnaround times could be solved, and no guarantees that developing an even faster and higher altitude aircraft (mesosphere hypersonic bomber [STS], aka "Ultimate Weapon") would be just as easy as making a supersonic one was. VLO was essentially evolutionary from previous subsonic jet aircraft, with almost everything except perhaps RAM being fairly well understood from the start, and the maintenance problems with RAM has been mostly solved since F-117. Composites production was probably the biggest barrier to stealth, but composites research has benefits beyond stealth aircraft, while a high supersonic engine is a purely military product.

B-70 is just appealing from a video game perspective I guess. It's big and fast like a Veyron where B-2 is more like a Prius. You can hear one from the other side of town, but there's not a whole lot you can do about it besides deal with it, while the other is the one you never hear because it's already squished you.
 

Pioneer

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What about -
The British government and RAF settle on freezing the GOR.339 program based on the English Electric P.17A design of Freddie Page and begin testing and development, with the intent for production.
So as to save time and money, the program is expedited in terms of its need for production and operational service, the British government in conjunction with the RAF, agree that the TRS.2, as it would become known, initially use off-the-shelf components where possible, and adding more advanced engines and avionics later.
So it came to pass, that the first batch of TRS.2's are powered by two Rolls Royce RB142 afterburner engines, with engineering and building parameters allowed for the easy installation of the more powerful Olympus turbojet when fully developed and tested!

Question to forum, if I may?
Can anyone give an indication of when the English Electric P.17A design was finalised and the time it took refining the 'actual' BAC 571(TRS.2) design that we know?

Regards
Pioneer
 

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merlin

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Again - I'm going for changes in the thirties -

1) Specification B.9/38 OTL = Albermarle - this was a requirement for a medium bomber that could be made from non-strategic materials - in reality this meant that if suffered because it was too heavy. There is IMHO an alternative ending here in that the spec was given to three firms for their design offerings. These were - Armstrong Whitworth, Bristol, and de Havilland, BSP do not relate what happened with de Havilland, but Bristol dropped out due to other aircraft commitments. Yet, a year later de Havilland were busy with designs for an aircraft of wooden construction - seems to me there is scope here for the Mosquito being born over a year earlier.

2) Specification P.13/36 OTL = Manchester & Halifax. One of the designs put forward for this was by Bristol powered by two Hercules radials, it was the smallest of the designs with a span of only 79'. My thought here, is that the Air Ministry order it as a replacement to its Medium Bombers e.g. Blenheim and Hampden. RAF win with extra range, bomb-load, and versatility - perhaps it could also carry two 18" Torpedoes!
 

airman

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Pioneer said:
airman said:
Cancel of development of Dornier 19 and Junkers 89 ( part of Ural Bomber Program) was a big mistake
Other big mistake was the deveploment of Heinkel 177 with two engines ( DB610) instead four engines as proposed by Heinkel !

I second your sentiments airman!!
Sentiments for those airplanes ! :D
 

merlin

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I disagree - the Do-19 could have been a viable aircraft - better engines would help. It would give the Lw experience in handling large four-engine aircraft. If Dornier were making them instead of the D0-17 (about one for two), it should also dispense with the Fw-200 Condor - which is just built with lower numbers as a transport aircraft.
Using the Do-19, also gives its replacement the He-177 four engines rather then the unreliable two.
 

r16

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and why the Uralbomber failure is a mistake ? Their presence would have given even more support to the idea that the "Democracies" should avoid standing up to Nazi Germany ?
 

r16

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am not that bad a person to have posts retracted , but let's keep harping on this subject . So many authors here , with books and an absolutely tops magazine . So let's say this is an unfulfilled wish . ı know the Ju-88 was a wonder plane on its inception . Clearly faster than a Spitfire , can patrol around the British Isles ( as much as a Condor could . Norway to France and return next week ) Seems possible to strike Iceland , making it probable to reach Greenland for a submarine refuelling to attack New York and back in the same week . Could outclimb a P-38 at altitude . As for accuracy , Hajo Herman threw caution into the wind and deliberately attacked the Pireaus harbour . Have always problems spelling Pire in English , but the explosion of the ammunition ship put that into the Taktik Nükleer Silah category . Can't remember the civilian casualties though . So anyone willing to write a piece on how Goering or Milch was very justified to demand to know where his Ju-88 was in 1943 , as far as stories go ?
 

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Well,

to illustrate my (very old) answer on this topic : the Mirage IV C fighter proposal from Dassault in 1956 :

-2 x 6000 kgp ATAR engines
-43 m² Wing area
-11 T "Take off" weight
-Mach 2.9

From the book Les avions de combat français 1944-1960 II (Heavy fighters-Bombers), Jean Cuny, Docavia Editions Larivière, 1989. Page 125.

The cheaper Mirage III was preferred (as 30 years later the Mirage 2000 was preferred to the Mirage 4000 for the same reasons...) :'(
 

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kaiserd

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Deltafan said:
Well,

to illustrate my (very old) answer on this topic : the Mirage IV C fighter proposal from Dassault in 1956 :

-2 x 6000 kgp ATAR engines
-43 m² Wing area
-11 T "Take off" weight
-Mach 2.9

From the book Les avions de combat français 1944-1960 II (Heavy fighters-Bombers), Jean Cuny, Docavia Editions Larivière, 1989. Page 125.

The cheaper Mirage III was preferred (as 30 years later the Mirage 2000 was preferred to the Mirage 4000 for the same reasons...) :'(

Considering the great success of the Mirage III (and then the Mirage 2000) going in that direction was hardly a mistake, however much on a fanboy level it would have been great to see the bigger Mirages fielded as well.
Indeed it could be argued that going for the larger more expensive designs would have ended up with expensive failures and French equivalents of the British TSR2.
 

Deltafan

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kaiserd said:
Considering the great success of the Mirage III (and then the Mirage 2000) going in that direction was hardly a mistake, however much on a fanboy level it would have been great to see the bigger Mirages fielded as well.
Indeed it could be argued that going for the larger more expensive designs would have ended up with expensive failures and French equivalents of the British TSR2.
Logically, you are right.

But, if we imagine an optimal context (OK, maybe on a "fanboy" or "what if" level"), this plane (not necessarily built with mach 2.9 speed. Mach 2.2 seems more credible and money saver) :
-could have been used for a lot of missions that needed more Mirage III (and later more Mirage F1 and Jaguar),
-could have made the Mirage F1 and the Jaguar useless for the French Air Force (no money, R&D and new machines to use for these two planes).
-could have been easier to improve with only a little more powerful engines (ATAR 9 B -> ATAR 9 C -> ATAR 9K -> ATAR 9K50 -> M53 -> M53-2 -> M53 P2 -> M53 PX3), canards, etc.
-with number and time it would have been cheaper to build (compared to new planes)
-it could have taken some contracts against the Phantom or other new planes

There is too possible variants with a mix of Mirage III and IV C and no Mirage F1 or/and Jaguar. These options are perhaps more realistic because they allow the success (and the money) of the Mirage III.

I add that the problems of the TSR2 engine (very powerful compared to its british predecessors) would not have existed with the less powerful Mirage IV C engine (even if the ATAR 9 B had problems and was quickly replaced by the ATAR 9 C)

A lot of "could have" and "would have", yes, and, as said before, requiring an optimal context, but nothing impossible or unrealistic.


But, the solution of the Mirage III was, indeed, better with the point of vue of the money (at least at the beginning and nobody can know the future) for De Gaulle...
 

bobbymike

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List from Scout Warrior website

http://www.scout.com/military/warrior/story/1748029-5-killer-weapons-the-us-military-never-built
 

Pioneer

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Just been reading about the BAe Nimrod AEW!
Can't remember if it's already been mentioned, but I'd like to add the Nimrod AEW!

Regards
Pioneer
 
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pathology_doc

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Pioneer said:
What about -
The British government and RAF settle on freezing the GOR.339 program based on the English Electric P.17A design of Freddie Page and begin testing and development, with the intent for production.
So as to save time and money, the program is expedited in terms of its need for production and operational service, the British government in conjunction with the RAF, agree that the TRS.2, as it would become known, initially use off-the-shelf components where possible, and adding more advanced engines and avionics later.
So it came to pass, that the first batch of TRS.2's are powered by two Rolls Royce RB142 afterburner engines, with engineering and building parameters allowed for the easy installation of the more powerful Olympus turbojet when fully developed and tested!

Question to forum, if I may?
Can anyone give an indication of when the English Electric P.17A design was finalised and the time it took refining the 'actual' BAC 571(TRS.2) design that we know?

Regards
Pioneer

TSR.2's problem was always politics - if EE had been permitted to bring Vickers on as merely a component builder and second-source contractor and to use the engines it wanted, the project might at least have come in with lower costs and fewer delays. The big problem as I understood it was the lack of integration because each company was designing half an aircraft and trying to make it fit together, while making terrible compromises on the back end because of the Government's mandate of engine choice.

A lot of the technical challenges would still have cropped up, but the issues of company vs. company and companies vs. Government wouldn't have clouded the issue. This of course leaves out the problem of the RAF not really being sure (IIRC) what it wanted TSR.2 to actually DO, but they would at least have had their strike aircraft at a more affordable unit price and it would have matured just in time to be equipped with the laser and optical guidance systems needed to drop conventional weapons with something approaching precision.
 

steelpillow

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Nice thread this.
My own submission: the British War Office and Admiralty should have bought the Dunne D.8 and its planned Armstrong-Whitworth successor in quantity as a training aircraft. We lost huge numbers of trainee pilots on recycled antiquated death traps, mostly stalling or flying into the ground on the trainee's first few flights, and huge numbers more in their first few days on the front because they could not use their aeroplanes yet. The D.8 was inherently stable, incredibly easy to fly, and would refuse to stall on the landing run. It also had a robust undercarriage designed to take punishment.
Its adoption as a primary trainer would have doubled the number of pilots reaching the front, along with the number of hours' (often minutes) experience for each pilot. Huge numbers of lives and machines would have been saved throughout, more than compensating for the purchase cost.
As a spinoff, its tailless swept aerodynamics would have almost certainly inspired other designers both in Britain and abroad, and we would not have had to wait until the Me 163 Komet for the world's first such production machine.
 

Empire

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The Boeing Bird of Prey to replace the F-117! It had one of the lowest Radar Cross Section (RCS) for its time and supposedly tested day light stealth! Just a few modifications would have been needed to turn it into a stable bombing platform. Well ok maybe not a few modifications thrust vectoring, wing redesign, fly by wire, radar, engine and FLIR. Would be nice if they had a few air frames hidden away at area 51 as a Silver Bullet Force! Much like the F-117 program started out as until congress made them buy 59 Night Hawks. The F-118 Silent Bird.

PS by Dragon 029
 

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pathology_doc

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steelpillow said:
Nice thread this.
My own submission: the British War Office and Admiralty should have bought the Dunne D.8 and its planned Armstrong-Whitworth successor in quantity as a training aircraft. We lost huge numbers of trainee pilots on recycled antiquated death traps, mostly stalling or flying into the ground on the trainee's first few flights, and huge numbers more in their first few days on the front because they could not use their aeroplanes yet.

In which war?
 

uk 75

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I think the decision to not build the RN Malta class and instead
convert Victorious and build Ark Royal and Eagle.
It was already apparent at the end of WW2 that planes were
going to need more space. Ark Royal and Eagle names could
have been given to Malta and Gibraltar.
The two ships would have not come into service until thevlate
50s but would have operated a phantom and buccaneer air
group from 1968 to 1991.
 

uk 75

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Also on the Royal Navy. The Shorts Seacat 2 missile looked so sensible as a
straightforward new missile on existing Seacat launchers. It would have been
similar to Rapier in capability.
 

pathology_doc

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I think the reason we all find this so satisfying to talk about is because of the nature of the British cancellations. Many of the US projects that never made it into production at least got to the prototype stage, where they demonstrated their inadequacy against the eventual winner, or they were killed when they were largely still a paper project.

To be consigned to the dustbin of history when your airplane has barely flown as a prototype (Arrow, TSR.2) - or worse, when it is still an unfinished prototype (P.1121) - or still worse, when it is not only an unbuilt prototype but a small set of partially built pre-production airplanes or tooling sets ready to go (thin wing Javelin, also SR.177 IIRC ) - is not only an injury but an insult. Worst of all is to be canned at this stage in favour of an airplane which is then likewise cancelled (thin wing Javelin, Arrow).

The flip side of course is those airplanes which turned out to have been completely unnecessary. For the RAF to cover its bases by ordering both the Vulcan and the Victor was understandable in light of the huge leaps they represented, but in view of their success the Valiant was a waste and the Sperrin a worse one. What might Vickers have built with the Valiant's resources (a functional Red Dean?). What might Shorts have built with those of the Sperrin (teamed with SR and got the SR.177 in metal before the Sandys axe fell?). Chris Gibson argues that with Firestreak never having been shot in anger the Red Top was unnecessary, and in retrospect he is right. But tell that, in 1965, to the crew of a subsonic fleet interceptor who badly need a snap-up in-your-face missile to use against threats for which successful prosecution of a tail chase is impossible - and for whom failure means the nuclear obliteration of their battle group and nowhere to go home to.

Everything is easy with the retrospectoscope.
 

steelpillow

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pathology_doc said:
I think the reason we all find this so satisfying to talk about is because of the nature of the British cancellations.

This forum draws its membership from all over the world and this thread draws its examples likewise. Why should the non-Brits among us be particularly drawn to the British experience?

Oh, and in answer to your own earlier question, FYI Armstrong Whitworth were gearing up to manufacture the Dunne safety aeroplane in 1914, when the First World War broke out. There is some discussion of that in the J W Dunne projects topic.
 

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Pioneer said:
Only down side to that is you'd have all your fighting aircraft powered by TF-30s
:eek:


Point made my friend!

Regards
Pioneer

I was thinking about this, the answer to this problem is clear, as per the topic title Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built? - The Pratt & Whitney TF-30's are simply interim engines (as was intended with the 'real-world' VFX/F-14 Program), with the continuation and operational fielding of the Pratt & Whitney F401 turbofan, which are retrofitted in existing airframe and incorporated into new-build airframe, as they come off the production line.

Regards
Pioneer
 

Pioneer

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*chuckle* Pioneer, you might appreciate this quote that appears in David Halberstam's "The Reckoning", it's attributed to a high ranking Ford executive just after Kennedy picked McNamara for SecDef, "A great day for Ford, a rotten day for the country but a great day for Ford." He wasn't too well liked/respected there, either.
I should probably clarify that I do appropriate where McNamara was coming from and was attempting to do. The US Military Industrial Complex was unquestionably out of control and a seemingly law unto itself. But if I may say, this was undoubtedly feed and supported by the manifested and nurtured psyche of fear of communism, within the U.S. as a society.

Regards
Pioneer
 

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I have noted on other threads the missed opportunity of a Bristol Theseus L-n49 Constellation. As Projects X & Y, 1946/47 this was explored, as firstly Centaurus-on-licenced L-749, then Theseus. It died in UK's parlous finances, mid-47 and Cabinet wish to assign such $ as UK had to timber to rebuild for the homeless.

At the same time Sud was exploring a DC-6 licence, stopped by Red Unions fearing vassalisation by Imperist running dogs. If that had happened a notion of Theseus (or RR Clyde) might have followed.

There were experimental turboprops on both types in US: do we know why none went into production? Surely a turbine Connie would have been sooner, cheaper, better than L.188 Electra? Why did Douglas abandon Tyne DC-7D? Too late?
 

Mirage4000

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IAI Lavi Israel should had built it.

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Su-47 Berkut and SR-10
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F-15 with thrust vectoring
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Su-33KUB

F-16XL

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Mirage 4000 and Mirage G8
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MiG-31M and F-14

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Super Tomcat 21 was a big mistake not to build it.
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Mirage4000

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in Helicopters i guess the S-67
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and aH-56

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and my favorite RAH-66
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and the biggest mistake for big aircraft An-225 and Buran

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and Last not building Mig-29M was the reason MiG went down

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helmutkohl

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Soviet Union
MiG-31M: they really could have used this
original MiG-29M: if people here are correct, it had a better structure than the current MiG-35? but more importantly it was important for MiG as a company
Yak-141: I honestly would have preferred this over the MiG-29K (despite just saying the original MiG-29M), and even the Su-33

Europe - I've always felt that lack of any 5th gen designs from Europe was due to many countries skipping the 4th gen and going 4.5 gen instead, diverting development funding on 5th gen designs, which resulted in the F-35 dominating many European air forces now. Had they developed something earlier, perhaps we'd not see Typhoons, Rafales and Gripens but 5th gen designs. and so..

UK
P.1216: Harrier was already getting old. Imagine if the UK had this in time for the Gulf War

France
Mirage 4000: an M2K and M4K mix makes a lot of sense.
Jaguar M: Entendards were way too old.

US
F-14 Super Tomcat

Japan
Original Mitsubishi F-2, not the enlarged F-16

PRC
the old J-11 that looked like a Mirage F.1. PRC had a huge gap between its largely MiG-21 clones and J-8 fleet before transitioning to the J-10. the old J-11 would have fit that middle spot nicely.


stuff that I wish wasn't cancelled but in the end the right decision was made
F-16XL: its such a nice looking airplane, much nicer looking than the boring Strike Eagle. Its got that exotic new look. But at the end of the day, as a bomb truck, the Eagle is a better and bigger platform
Lavi: if claims are correct, made with a lot of US money, and would have threatened export potential of the F-16. the US was right to pressure Israel to stop it.
 

Justo Miranda

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Early in 1943, the Technisches Amt (RLM Technical Office) asked Messerschmitt if the Bf 109 G could be adapted to take one Jumo 004 turbojet. The answer was negative.

In fact, the firm had all the necessary resources to comply with the RLM requirement: using the wing of the Me 209 and the nosewheel of the Me 309, it would only have been necessary to design a new central wing section so that the attachment points of the undercarriage would not interfere with the jet exhaust. But the Sofortprogramm (interim solution) proposed by the RLM was contrary to the plans of Messerschmitt who at that time had already decided to continue the development of the Me 262. This situation gave the firm Focke-Wulf the opportunity to participate in the supplies of turbojets that until then had only been available for the Me 262 and the Arado Ar 234.

In February1943, the Bad Eilsen design team envisaged the study of several possible fuselage-turbojet-air intake configurations and their integration with different types of wings, tail surfaces and landing gears for the construction of a future single jet fighter. The simplest solution was to replace the BMW 801 radial engine of an Fw 190 by a Jumo turbojet, mounted under the nose to not altering the position of the centre of gravity of the aircraft. Unfortunately for the firm, the new engine turned out to be too long, so the jet nozzle would interfere with the retraction of the main wheels of the Fw 190. It was necessary to design a new type of wings capable of housing the mainwheels of 660 x 160 mm. The greater consumption of J2 heavy kerosene of the turbojet required the installation of two fuel tanks of 390 litres each in the fuselage, making necessary to advance the location of the cockpit 170 cm.

It was planned to mount two Mauser MG 151/20 cannons in the wing roots and two Rheinmetall-Borsig MK 108/30 cannons under the cockpit floor. The Projekt I was introduced to the OKL in March 1943 as a realistic solution that would have allowed the Jagdwaffe to have an interceptor that would be faster than the Mustang, better armed than the Tempest and the Meteor and able to overcome the Thunderbolt in dive. It could have been mas manufactured by late 1944, but the Technisches Amt rejected the project claiming that the position of the turbojet (whose axis was located 86 cm lower than that of the BMW 801) would substantially decrease the rolling properties, and it was feared that the Jumo 004 would suffer serious damage at belly landing. Also taken into consideration was the risk that jet exhaust gases would cause damage to the tailwheel or burn the airfield surface.

In April 1946, the Soviets demonstrated with their Yak-15 that these precautions were unfounded. The new Yakovlev fighter was based on the same formula as the Projekt I and was powered by the same turbojet, being mass-produced and entering into service smoothly in May 1947.

The integration of the turbojet in the airframe of a Yak-3 piston fighter was relatively simple. It was only necessary to modify the wing spar central section, replace the tailwheel with another metal shield, protected by a blast deflector, and to cover the lower part of the fuselage with steel plates. The Soviets successfully used the same formula on the experimental prototypes Lavochkin La-152 (October 1946), La-156 (March 1947) and La-160 (June 1947), all propelled by copies of the Jumo 004. The Italians also used this aerodynamic solution in their prototypes Ambrosini "Saggitario I" (January 1953) and their first supersonic aircraft Aerfer "Saggitario II" (May 1956).
 

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Justo Miranda

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At the beginning of 1943 the OKL had serious doubts about the viability of the Me-163. To the various clashes occurred during flight tests, it has to be added the delay in the availability of the HWK RII-211 rocket engine, which first approved units for flying –still far from being safe- would not arrive at Peenemünde until July.

The Allies offensive of bombers increased everyday. Their escort fighters repelled the Bf 109 and Fw 190 and more devastating incursions were expected with the coming of good weather. The Me 262 did not seem to be the best solution. Its performance in dog fighting was not brilliant, its combat ceiling was insufficient, its engines were not safe and its airframe suffered of compressibility buffeting.

The Komet –which first 70 airframes were uselessly expecting their engines at Regensburg factory – was urgently needed in combat. The Abteilung L proposed the construction of two alternative version (Parallelenwürfe) in April. The first project was named Lippisch P.20, on 16 April 1943. Basically, it was a Me 163 with a Jumo 004 turbojet installed under the pilot, 36º swept wing and tricycle type undercarriage. The second project (Lippisch 8-334) never received the RLM official designation. Due to the strong personal disagreement between Lippisch and Messerschmit, Abteilung L was dissolved on 28 April and Lippisch himself left the company on 1 May.

The 8-334 was to be powered by a conventional 12 cylinder piston Daimler Benz DB 603 or 605 engines, located at the nose and driving a pusher propeller through an extension shaft.
 

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Mirage4000

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Soviet Union
MiG-31M: they really could have used this
original MiG-29M: if people here are correct, it had a better structure than the current MiG-35? but more importantly it was important for MiG as a company
Yak-141: I honestly would have preferred this over the MiG-29K (despite just saying the original MiG-29M), and even the Su-33

Europe - I've always felt that lack of any 5th gen designs from Europe was due to many countries skipping the 4th gen and going 4.5 gen instead, diverting development funding on 5th gen designs, which resulted in the F-35 dominating many European air forces now. Had they developed something earlier, perhaps we'd not see Typhoons, Rafales and Gripens but 5th gen designs. and so..

UK
P.1216: Harrier was already getting old. Imagine if the UK had this in time for the Gulf War

France
Mirage 4000: an M2K and M4K mix makes a lot of sense.
Jaguar M: Entendards were way too old.

US
F-14 Super Tomcat

Japan
Original Mitsubishi F-2, not the enlarged F-16

PRC
the old J-11 that looked like a Mirage F.1. PRC had a huge gap between its largely MiG-21 clones and J-8 fleet before transitioning to the J-10. the old J-11 would have fit that middle spot nicely.


stuff that I wish wasn't cancelled but in the end the right decision was made
F-16XL: its such a nice looking airplane, much nicer looking than the boring Strike Eagle. Its got that exotic new look. But at the end of the day, as a bomb truck, the Eagle is a better and bigger platform
Lavi: if claims are correct, made with a lot of US money, and would have threatened export potential of the F-16. the US was right to pressure Israel to stop it.
I agree, what happens at the end is the best for something.


But as anything in life mistakes were made that can help future desicions.

In the case of Lavi i think the USA was going to set some limitations to Lavi in terms of its exportability.

Example Kfir that has an american engine, the Lavi was not going to be marketed as a pure 100% Israeli design, so it had american exportability restrictions.

It had many american subsystems so it was benefiting American companies.

In my opinion it was cancelled due to a political error by the Israeli government and it had to do more with short sight and limited vision.

Lavi was indeed only for the IAF and its export potential limited by US restrictions, so it was not an export item if the USA objected.

It had to do more, in my opinion by lobbies that very likely benefited some politicians regardless of the benefits it was going to give to the IAI company and Israel as a nation.

In the case of MiG-29M i think the mistake was cancel the program and the Russian military thinking the Su-27 was more accord to its needs due to a more limited budget, but I think it was a mistake because according to what I have read, Su-27 is in some ways inferior to MiG-29 in mock combats in the former USSR the MiG-29 beated the Su-27 most of the time.

In real life well Su-27 beated the MiG-29 i think 3 to 0 in favor of the Flanker.

But still I have read reports that say Russia needs a medium size fighter.

The Super tomcat 21 was another example technically a modernized Tomcat can beat an Eagle, like the MiG-29 versus Su-27, but the Tomcat was expensive, but technically was a good design as good as modern F-15s
 
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Archibald

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Not aviation but spaaaaaace - Big Gemini riding a Titan III, in place of freakkin' space shuttle. Half the development cost of OTL castrated shuttle: $ 3 billion instead of $6 billion. No Quixotic quest to launch every single satellite in the Western world. The money saved is invested in modular Skylab followons, no need to wait 1984 or 1998 or 2010 (!) for an ISS.
 

riggerrob

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What if?
During the 1970s, two or more light-weight fighter programs combined their efforts to put one into production.
Yugoslavian Novi Avion, Israeli Lavi, Swiss Pirana, South African early single-engined Carver, etc,
Then more smaller nations could afford to field decent numbers of interceptors with a secondary role of ground attack/scaring citizens into complying with the gov't.
 

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