Canada buys the A-4 Skyhawk

Archibald

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Since we're off-topic into transport aircraft, I'm wondering how the impact of the DC-6 on Northstar sales would have effected relations between Canadair and Douglas. In other words, would Canadair have actually wanted to build the Skyhawks?
A very pertinent question indeed.
 

BlackBat242

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OK... three comments on this.

First, Bonaventure had actually just undergone a major refit (from 1967-68) that was intended to see her operate until at least 1978... if the decision had been made in 1964/65 to purchase A-4Es, then the needed changes would have been part of that refit.

Second, the Skyhawk Proposal document linked describes the 8,500 lb.s.t. J52-P-6 engine of the early A-4Es... very shortly they were fitted with 9,300 lb.s.t. J52-P-8 engines... and by 1968 the first A-4Ms were being built with 11,200 lb.s.t. J52-P-408 engines!

Third, the USN operated 4-aircraft units of A-4s from the ASW Essex-class modernized carriers (they still had hydraulic catapults, unlike the steam catapult-equipped Attack Essex-class modernized carriers) for "anti-snooper"/carrier-CAP duties... so that could have been a suitable role for detachments of RCAF A-4Es... easily upgrade-able to a full fighter/attack air wing if necessary.

To improve the situation, there had already been an A-4 tested with an air-air radar in 1965... "Rudolph"!
http://www.ebdir.net/vsf1/boom_powell_part_1.html
Rudolf was an A-4B (BuNo 145002) that had an F-8 air-to-air radar "borrowed" from the China Lake Weapons Center and installed by NARF Alameda sometime in 1965. The unique, longer nose (modified from a F-11 Tiger) was painted red and the name followed soon after.
What was intended as the prototype for future VSF fighters had not been approved by higher authority. Nor was taking Rudolf on the CarQual sessions the pilots of VSF-1 had on Kearsarge and Hornet.
VSF-1 commanding officer CDR Charles E. Waring himself flew Rudolf's first trap. Six pilots and the maintenance crew of the first detachment were ready to go aboard Yorktown when the deployment was cancelled in the spring of 1966.

That radar was likely from an early-model F-8... the radar in the F-8D or F-8E would have been a better choice for a production aircraft... and if fitted with the AIM-9D IR-guided missile and the AIM-9C radar-guided missile could have been very useful!
http://www.designation-systems.info/dusrm/m-9.html
The AAM-N-7 Sidewinder IC was developed in two version: a semi-active radar homing version (called Sidewinder IB in source [1]), designated AIM-9C in 1963, and an IR guided version, later designated as AIM-9D. Improvements common to both IC versions include a new Hercules MK 36 solid-fuel rocket motor for significantly increased speed and 18 km (9.7 nm) range, a larger MK 48 continuous-rod warhead, and slightly larger fins.
The SARH AIM-9C was only used with the Navy'S F8U Crusader fighters to provide these with an all-weather capability without having to fit a Sparrow-compatible radar. However, the AIM-9C was not very successful, and only 1000 were built by Motorola between 1965 and 1967.

So by the time Bonnie came out of her "mid-life refit" she could have had A-A radar-equipped CA-4Es* with 11,200 lb thrust engines and radar-guided A-A missiles!


* Better would have been CA-4Ms with the larger raised cockpit of the A-4M that granted better all-round visibility for the pilot (important for a fighter), as well as my proposed radar & missile outfit.

Aaahhh... what could have been!
 
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GK Dundas

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Sometime back I sat down and realised that in order for any of the above to happen the RCN needed to started on this road much earlier.
I'm thinking just prior to Korea.
Around 1947 as the Navy 's working up it's carrier and the then Chief of Naval Service had revelation...aviation is the way....
Yeah I know slightly less believable the.alien space bats but what are you going to do?
The naval reserves get a really great deal some low mileage late model Corsairs. The regulars get Sea Furies as per. And of course Fireflies .
By the time of Korea the Navy has also solved some of it's recruitment and retention problems( that probably will require alien space bats to solve ) more later....
 

Archibald

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A rather smart trick, the SARH AIM-9.
France did something similar with the R.530: SARH and IR variants, altogether, same airframe. It was applied to the Aéronavale Crusader (although the harsh truth was that both R.530 were not very reliable). Later the IR missile faction won over and Magic 1/2 split out of Super 530D/F.
 

Apophenia

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... for "anti-snooper"/carrier-CAP duties... so that could have been a suitable role for detachments of RCAF A-4Es...

Getting the pre-Unification RCAF to operate off of RCN ships would have been a real challenge!

Since Hellyer came up earlier, we could speculate on what would have happened if that MND hadn't cooled on proposals for Canadian (read: Canadair) production of the Phantom (to supply both the RCAF and the British).

Obviously, that would have given the RCAF a twin Spey-powered fighter/interceptor. But, it would also have made it much more difficult for Hellyer to ignore a Spey-engined CA-4E derivative for the RCAF - especially if the politically-sensitive attack role was toned down by the addition of air-intercept radar. Which is to say, Speys in Canadian service would have made it harder for Hellyer to rationalize his built-in Northrop bias.

-- https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/spey-a-4-project.2144/
 

BlackBat242

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There was a historic Speyed Skyhawk proposal (the J65 of the A-4A/B/C was almost identical in size to the Spey, so all that would have been needed was to use the old fuselage with the improved A-4E wing [among other improvements it had 5 weapons stations instead of 3]).
 

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ngatimozart

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OK... three comments on this.

First, Bonaventure had actually just undergone a major refit (from 1967-68) that was intended to see her operate until at least 1978... if the decision had been made in 1964/65 to purchase A-4Es, then the needed changes would have been part of that refit.

Second, the Skyhawk Proposal document linked describes the 8,500 lb.s.t. J52-P-6 engine of the early A-4Es... very shortly they were fitted with 9,300 lb.s.t. J52-P-8 engines... and by 1968 the first A-4Ms were being built with 11,200 lb.s.t. J52-P-408 engines!

Third, the USN operated 4-aircraft units of A-4s from the ASW Essex-class modernized carriers (they still had hydraulic catapults, unlike the steam catapult-equipped Attack Essex-class modernized carriers) for "anti-snooper"/carrier-CAP duties... so that could have been a suitable role for detachments of RCAF A-4Es... easily upgrade-able to a full fighter/attack air wing if necessary.

To improve the situation, there had already been an A-4 tested with an air-air radar in 1965... "Rudolph"!
http://www.ebdir.net/vsf1/boom_powell_part_1.html
Rudolf was an A-4B (BuNo 145002) that had an F-8 air-to-air radar "borrowed" from the China Lake Weapons Center and installed by NARF Alameda sometime in 1965. The unique, longer nose (modified from a F-11 Tiger) was painted red and the name followed soon after.
What was intended as the prototype for future VSF fighters had not been approved by higher authority. Nor was taking Rudolf on the CarQual sessions the pilots of VSF-1 had on Kearsarge and Hornet.
VSF-1 commanding officer CDR Charles E. Waring himself flew Rudolf's first trap. Six pilots and the maintenance crew of the first detachment were ready to go aboard Yorktown when the deployment was cancelled in the spring of 1966.

That radar was likely from an early-model F-8... the radar in the F-8D or F-8E would have been a better choice for a production aircraft... and if fitted with the AIM-9D IR-guided missile and the AIM-9C radar-guided missile could have been very useful!
http://www.designation-systems.info/dusrm/m-9.html
The AAM-N-7 Sidewinder IC was developed in two version: a semi-active radar homing version (called Sidewinder IB in source [1]), designated AIM-9C in 1963, and an IR guided version, later designated as AIM-9D. Improvements common to both IC versions include a new Hercules MK 36 solid-fuel rocket motor for significantly increased speed and 18 km (9.7 nm) range, a larger MK 48 continuous-rod warhead, and slightly larger fins.
The SARH AIM-9C was only used with the Navy'S F8U Crusader fighters to provide these with an all-weather capability without having to fit a Sparrow-compatible radar. However, the AIM-9C was not very successful, and only 1000 were built by Motorola between 1965 and 1967.

So by the time Bonnie came out of her "mid-life refit" she could have had A-A radar-equipped A-4ECs* with 11,200 lb thrust engines and radar-guided A-A missiles!


* Better would have been A-4MCs with the larger raised cockpit of the A-4M that granted better all-round visibility for the pilot (important for a fighter), as well as my proposed radar & missile outfit.

Aaahhh... what could have been!
Wasn't Bonaventure the same class as the RAN HMAS Melbourne? If so the Aussies were operating A-4G Skyhawks off the Melbourne for about 15 - 20 years. After Melbourne was paid off the Aussie A-4Gs were sold to the RNZAF where they were upgraded to A-4Ks as part of PROJECT KAHU.
 

Archibald

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They all were Colossus / Magestic: France (Arromanches), the Netherlands, Australia (*2), Canada (*2), Brazil, Argentina (same as *2 before), India all got one carrier in that class - between 1960 and 2000, aproximately...
 

Mark Nankivil

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There was a historic Speyed Skyhawk proposal (the J65 of the A-4A/B/C was almost identical in size to the Spey, so all that would have been needed was to use the old fuselage with the improved A-4E wing [among other improvements it had 5 weapons stations instead of 3]).
That would have been impressive! Mark
 

Archibald

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A rather smart trick, the SARH AIM-9.

Would have been, if it was any good. Indications are that it was not.

TBH, all AAMs before June 1982, Beqaa and Falklands were essentially hopeless.
Funny to think it took two separate air battles on opposite sides of the planet yet essentially the same month to turn the tide.
 

BlackBat242

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Wasn't Bonaventure the same class as the RAN HMAS Melbourne? If so the Aussies were operating A-4G Skyhawks off the Melbourne for about 15 - 20 years. After Melbourne was paid off the Aussie A-4Gs were sold to the RNZAF where they were upgraded to A-4Ks as part of PROJECT KAHU.
They all were Colossus / Magestic: France (Arromanches), the Netherlands, Australia (*2), Canada (*2), Brazil, Argentina (same as *2 before), India all got one carrier in that class - between 1960 and 2000, aproximately...

The Colossus and Majestic ships were separate classes... although both were of the "1942 Design Light Fleet Carrier" type.

The Majestics incorporated a number of improvements (mainly to handle larger/faster/heavier aircraft) - these were incorporated early in their builds, and the official redesignation as a separate class was made in September 1945 (concurrent with the launch of the last of the 6).

The class was basically further split into 2 groups of 3 ships each... one set received few (or no) further modifications before entering service, and the second received angled flight decks and even stronger catapults, arresting gear, and aircraft lifts.

group 1
Terrible was completed in 1948 as HMAS Sydney with a straight flight deck - although Australia had developed plans for modernizing her with an angled flight deck, this was dropped to save money.

Magnificent was completed in 1948 as HMCS Magnificent with a straight flight deck.

Leviathan was never completed, and was retained until 1968 as an incomplete hull... her boilers and turbines were removed and used during major refits on other Colossus-class carriers.

group 2
Majestic was completed in 1955 as HMAS Melbourne with an angled flight deck.

Powerful was completed in 1957 as HMCS Bonaventure with an angled flight deck.

Hercules was completed in 1961 as INS Vikrant with an angled flight deck.
 

GK Dundas

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At first I found myself wondering how many A4's could a Colossus/Majestic carry. And then I realized that it would vary from vessel to vessel. And I suspect that that was due to various design of the decks.
Bonaventure would be X number ,Melbourne Y and Mina Geraris yet another number of SkyHawks..
In short all I have managed to do confuse my self.
so I guess once more I find myself preparing to do battle with google.
 
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Pioneer

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Dear Apophenia,
Thanks for filling in the statistical and political back-story.

I was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec during 1957, so grew up in the whole FLQ era and by 1975, QPP made it clear that I no longer counted as a "white man" in my home town, in front of my grand-mother's house. Most of my generation moved out.

Yes those Canadian Sea King helicopters were bolted together in Longeuil. Supposedly, they were supposed to be the start of a much larger production line, but the RCN was their only customer. I question the profitability of manufacturing parts in Connecticut, crating them, shipping them to Quebec, un-crating them and bolting them together in Quebec. ... but at least it bought Ottawa politicians a few votes.
And can I add, it was only taxpayers money.;)

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Pioneer
 

Pioneer

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Somewhere else I read that A4E could launch a full load with only 10 knots of wind across the flight deck of Bonaventure.
That's an interesting snippet of info thank riggerrob.
So, could one speculate that the likes of the RAN's A-4G's, armed only with four Aim-9 Sidewinder's and two 20mm cannon (no drop tanks with fuel) could almost be launched without catapult, if HMAS Melbourne was making speed into the wind? Or am I pushing shit up hill with the notion?

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Pioneer
 

Pioneer

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Interesting stuff about aircraft evaluated for potential Bonaventure use - especially the A4E and F11F.
Agree, very interesting Apophenia.
It would be very interesting to see the statistical performance analysis of the Grumman F11F operating criteria from Bonaventure (and in my personal interest the RAN's Majestic class HMAS Melbourne).

Regards
Pioneer
 

ngatimozart

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There was a historic Speyed Skyhawk proposal (the J65 of the A-4A/B/C was almost identical in size to the Spey, so all that would have been needed was to use the old fuselage with the improved A-4E wing [among other improvements it had 5 weapons stations instead of 3]).
Just looking at the proposed Spey powered A-4E, if that had gone ahead it may have been attractive to NZ rather than the J57 powered A-4K & TA-4K that we got in 1972. Also it may have allowed for the installation of twin 30mm cannon which would have been far better than the 20mm we had. The Israelis, Brazilians, and Singaporeans did that later. So a Spey powered A-4E/G/K with twin 30mm cannon would've been a mean beasty, especially the K after they went through Kahu in 1987 - 90.
 
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