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Cold Warriors: The Essex Class in the Cold War

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November 1, 1957
Over Ambon, Indonesia


Allen Pope pulled his Havoc out of its shallow dive. He had just dropped his bomb load on Liang Airfield and strafed the flight line. He was flying just above the tops of the trees as ground based anti-aircraft fire sought him out. Ground fire was more intense today than it had been on his previous runs. For the last week, the CIA had been having him strike targets on Ambon to soften it up for the Permesta rebels to land on the island and seize it.

He had just turned for home when tracers snapped past his cockpit and he felt his aircraft shudder as the right wing was hit. Turning as hard as he could to the left, he spared half a second to look at his instrument panel and make sure his engines were still running. They were. Calling his radio operator over the intercom, Allen asked if he was alright and if the man could see any damage. The answer he got back was yes to the first question and no to the second. Twisting his head around like it was mounted on a swivel, Allen tried desperately to see who was engaging him.

Skidding his light attack craft back and forth to try and spoil the aim of whoever was shooting him, Allen felt his blood run cold in his veins. There was a MiG curving around behind him. In a desperate bid to escape, Allen pulled every trick in or out of the book that he could think of. But he was flying a World War Two cast-off. And that was a brand new MiG on his six, matching each and every move he made. Firewalling his engines, he put the Havoc into a climb. Short of a miracle, he and his radio operator would need the altitude to bail out safely.

As he passed through five thousand feet, the control column was ripped violently out of his hands as 23mm cannon shells ripped into his elevators. Ordering his radio operator to bail out, Allen struggled out of the cockpit, made it to the door and jumped into the sky over Ambon just seconds behind his radioman. It was just in time too. Not three seconds after jumping from his doomed bomber, the A-20 Havoc, a veteran of many battles in the war, exploded.

Looking down as he swung from his parachute, Allen could already see Indonesian ground troops assembling to capture him. Sighing heavily, the former Air Force Officer consigned himself to his fate. Crashing to the ground, he was surrounded by soldiers before he could even get out of his risers. Lifting his hands in the air, he surrendered to the Indonesian Army.

Above him, Shang wei Zhao had just scored his tenth kill.
 
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November 2, 1957
Over Sulawesi, Indonesia


The flight of four Beagle light bombers made their bombing run in a perfect attack formation. This was the combat debut of the bomber in Indonesian service. Each bomber had four 250kg bombs in their bomb bays. This was far less than their maximum payload of 6,000 kilograms, but it did give them their maximum range. And the four bombers should be more than up to the task at hand.

Ahead, their target was visible rising up out of the forest. The transmitter tower of the CIA funded radio station was just ahead. With their bomb bay doors open, the four aircraft streaked in at 2,000 meters. Making a formation drop, the sixteen bombs fell onto the target. Of the sixteen bombs, fourteen fell into the jungle surrounding the radio station. Two of them however, slammed into the structure and detonated. The radio station that had been broadcasting anti-Sukarno propaganda ceased to exist.

On board the four bombers, the crews were jubilant. They had just completed their first mission. Even more remarkable, every member of the flight crews but one was Indonesian. There would be celebrations in the barracks tonight.
 

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November 2, 1957
Over Sumatra, Indonesia


The flight of four Beagle light bombers made their bombing run in a perfect attack formation. This was the combat debut of the bomber in Indonesian service. Each bomber had four 250kg bombs in their bomb bays. This was far less than their maximum payload of 6,000 kilograms, but it did give them their maximum range. And the four bombers should be more than up to the task at hand.

Ahead, their target was visible rising up out of the forest. The transmitter tower of the CIA funded radio station was just ahead. With their bomb bay doors open, the four aircraft streaked in at 2,000 meters. Making a formation drop, the sixteen bombs fell onto the target. Of the sixteen bombs, thirteen fell into the jungle surrounding the radio station. Three of them however, slammed into the structure and detonated. The radio station that had been broadcasting anti-Sukarno propaganda ceased to exist.

On board the four bombers, the crews were jubilant. They had just completed their first mission. Even more remarkable, every member of the flight crews but one was Indonesian. There would be celebrations in the barracks tonight.
 
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lordroel

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November 2, 1957
Over Sulawesi, Indonesia


The flight of four Beagle light bombers made their bombing run in a perfect attack formation. This was the combat debut of the bomber in Indonesian service. Each bomber had four 250kg bombs in their bomb bays. This was far less than their maximum payload of 6,000 kilograms, but it did give them their maximum range. And the four bombers should be more than up to the task at hand.

Ahead, their target was visible rising up out of the forest. The transmitter tower of the CIA funded radio station was just ahead. With their bomb bay doors open, the four aircraft streaked in at 2,000 meters. Making a formation drop, the sixteen bombs fell onto the target. Of the sixteen bombs, fourteen fell into the jungle surrounding the radio station. Two of them however, slammed into the structure and detonated. The radio station that had been broadcasting anti-Sukarno propaganda ceased to exist.

On board the four bombers, the crews were jubilant. They had just completed their first mission. Even more remarkable, every member of the flight crews but one was Indonesian. There would be celebrations in the barracks tonight.
If this strike killed CIA agents it will cost Indonesia a lot.

also is this the first ever use by Beagle light bombers in actual combat.
 

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November 2, 1957
Over Sulawesi, Indonesia


The flight of four Beagle light bombers made their bombing run in a perfect attack formation. This was the combat debut of the bomber in Indonesian service. Each bomber had four 250kg bombs in their bomb bays. This was far less than their maximum payload of 6,000 kilograms, but it did give them their maximum range. And the four bombers should be more than up to the task at hand.

Ahead, their target was visible rising up out of the forest. The transmitter tower of the CIA funded radio station was just ahead. With their bomb bay doors open, the four aircraft streaked in at 2,000 meters. Making a formation drop, the sixteen bombs fell onto the target. Of the sixteen bombs, fourteen fell into the jungle surrounding the radio station. Two of them however, slammed into the structure and detonated. The radio station that had been broadcasting anti-Sukarno propaganda ceased to exist.

On board the four bombers, the crews were jubilant. They had just completed their first mission. Even more remarkable, every member of the flight crews but one was Indonesian. There would be celebrations in the barracks tonight.
If this strike killed CIA agents it will cost Indonesia a lot.

also is this the first ever use by Beagle light bombers in actual combat.
Only Indonesian personnel were present at the radio stations.

No, this isn't the IL-28's combat debut overall. It was used in the last year of the Korean War and had seen combat in the Middle East in 1955. This was just the first use in combat by Indonesia.
 

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Are we going to be seeing it in the torpedo bomber role during this campaign, I wonder?
 

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Are we going to be seeing it in the torpedo bomber role during this campaign, I wonder?
No. They only bought 12 of the standard IL-28 bombers plus 4 IL-28U unarmed trainers. Indonesia has really neglected their ASW capabilities. But that makes sense considering that the Dutch only have a handful of boats and in 1957 they were all WWII boats (4 British T class boats and 2 American Balao class boats). Indonesia actually has a newer sub fleet, operating Soviet Whiskey class boats.

More worryingly for Indonesia, they've also neglected ECM, ELINT and Recon assets.
 
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It was used in the last year of the Korean War
In this scenario or in the real world?
Real world. They were stationed in China late in the war. Though I will admit that the source i read was vague on whether they actually flew combat missions or if they were just deployed to the theater.
 

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I thought they were there but that there were no actual missions. It was more the threat of such...
 

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Yeah, I was leary of including it as a combat use since there weren't any actual missions listed, but the deployment of the aircraft to China was listed under combat use of the aircraft
 

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November 2, 1957
Iswahyudi Air Base, Jakarta, Indonesia


The Military Policemen had just broken up a fight at the barracks. Strangely, the fight was only between the members of a single squadron. Most such barracks brawls were between different squadrons. To have one within a squadron was quite strange. When questioned as to the cause of the fight, the men nearly came to blows again. It seems that two different groups within the squadron both claimed to have conducted the first combat mission of their new aircraft type.

The senior Military Policeman present sighed heavily. "Flyboys," he thought. Fine, if they wanted to all be hotheads tonight, he had cells aplenty to cool them down in. Their squadron commander would have to be sent a full report on this incident of course, and he was sure to be far from pleased. He did not envy these men his wrath for spoiling such a momentous occasion. He would leave it up to the higher authorities to determine who had actually flown the first mission. That was well above his paygrade anyway. But restoring peace and order to the air base? That he could do.
 

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November 3, 1957
Jakarta, Indonesia


Ambassador John Allison was dealing with a firestorm entirely of the CIA's making. They sent one of their mercenary pilots on a bombing mission over Ambon and the man had been shot down. Now, the Government of President Sukarno was trumpeting to the world what the United States was doing in Indonesia. He had warned the State Department that this was going to happen if the CIA went ahead with their plan. But the President had given the operation a green light anyway. Though from he was hearing from Secretary Dulles that President Eisenhower had ordered the CIA not to directly engage in combat operations. Well, they had royally screwed that one up.

The capture of Allen Pope was cast iron proof that the United States was trying to overthrow the legitimate government of Indonesia. If Indonesia was moving closer to the Soviet Union before, this was almost guaranteed to throw them bodily into the arms of the Soviets. Just last week he had recommended to Washington that the United States offer to directly mediate the dispute between Indonesia and the Netherlands to try and keep the Indonesians from out and out joining the USSR. That was out of the question now. He had tried to meet with President Sukarno when the news broke of Pope's capture. Merdeka Palace had refused to even take his calls. If he was any judge of diplomacy, he would say that he was on the verge of being declared persona non grata and the American Embassy closed.

John was hoping for a miracle at this point to try and salvage something out of the United States' relationship with Indonesia. But miracles were few and far between. For the first time since taking up his post earlier in the year, he was honestly afraid of what the future held for the region. Indonesia was rapidly modernizing their military and would soon outclass their regional rivals the Philippines, Japan, New Zealand and even Australia. He prayed that cooler heads would prevail, but began to draft a recommendation that the United States increase military aid to the region to speed the modernization of her allies' military forces.
 

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November 3, 1957
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


Sir Phillip McBride, the Minister for Defense, was receiving a briefing from several of his subordinates in his Ministry. Indonesia's actions over the last few days had rung quite a few alarm bells in the Air Force and Navy. The Navy had just begun receiving de Haviland Sea Venom fighters last year and they were already woefully outclassed by Indonesia's MiG-17s. The MiG was over one hundred miles an hour faster at sea level and one hundred and fifty miles an hour faster at altitude. This was a major problem the Navy and one not easily rectified. There were higher performance naval aircraft available in the form of the de Haviland Sea Vixen from the United Kingdom which would equal the performance of the Fresco and both the Grumman F11F Tiger and Vought F8U Crusader from the United States which were both supersonic and clearly outclassed the MiG-17. But they were all significantly heavier than their existing fighters, with only the Tiger possibly being able to launch from the Melbourne. This presented a significant issue for the Fleet Air Arm, one not easily solved.

The Air Force wasn't in quite as dire straights as the Fleet Air Arm was. Their Sabres were roughly equal to the MiG-17 in performance and, in the professional opinion of Air Marshal Sir Fredrick Scherger, the pilots of the Royal Australian Air Force were vastly better trained than their Indonesian counterparts and would likely win most encounters. But it was still a worrying development as the RAAF would only be equal to a potential enemy instead in terms of equipment instead of clearly superior to them.

In the short term, the possibility of equipping the fighters with American Sidewinder or British Firestreak missiles was suggested as a means of increasing the lethality of Australia's existing fighters. In the long term, both services would need a new fighter. This was a much easier dilemma to solve for the Air Force as they could base fighters at almost every air base in the country. While a new fighter for the Fleet Air Arm would likely also mean buying a new aircraft carrier, despite Melbourne having only entered service two years earlier. Further meetings would need to be held to map out a course for the next several years.

At the end of the meeting, Air Marshal Scherger made the worrying comment that not only would Australia need to investigate new fighters, but their force of Canberra bombers would also be extraordinarily vulnerable in the face of Indonesia's new fighter force. This comment froze several people in their tracks as they were heading to the doors. No one had considered that Australia's primary means of force projection might not be able to successfully conduct their mission. It was a worrying thought to end the meeting on.
 

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Kind of an aside, not to interrupt the story... But while a less sexy pick than the Tigers, the kinks had all been ironed out in the FJ- series, resulting in the FJ-3 and -4 by this time. Either would be cheaper and available,and has a smaller deck spot than the Sea Vixen or even Tiger. As a bonus, you might be looking at even cheaper replenishment through the 60's as it gets pushed out of USN and USMC active and reserve squadrons.
As an added bonus, you get better performance than the RAAF CAC birds based on the -86F, and you could probably arrange to switch CAC's licensed production to the FJ-3 or -4 for both services...
 

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Kind of an aside, not to interrupt the story... But while a less sexy pick than the Tigers, the kinks had all been ironed out in the FJ- series, resulting in the FJ-3 and -4 by this time. Either would be cheaper and available,and has a smaller deck spot than the Sea Vixen or even Tiger. As a bonus, you might be looking at even cheaper replenishment through the 60's as it gets pushed out of USN and USMC active and reserve squadrons.
As an added bonus, you get better performance than the RAAF CAC birds based on the -86F, and you could probably arrange to switch CAC's licensed production to the FJ-3 or -4 for both services...
Honestly, I completely forgot about the FJ-4. I honestly didn't even realize it was still in production in 57. I thought it had been canceled in 55/56.
 

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The -4 didn't get to the fleet until 56. Still in production until 58 or 59. Can't remember. Like I said, it's definitely not as sexy as a Tiger, but smaller and cheaper-- it's a lot smaller and cheaper than a Sea Vixen, considerably better than a Sea Venom. And it's much cheaper than a new carrier! Comes wired for Sidewinders and the B model was used by the Navy and Marines in a strike role until being phased out of the Reserve units in the late-60s.
Add to that Australia is already license building Sabres, and it seems like a possibility for them to come from CAC. As does eventually siphoning off the older, excess aircraft from the US for cheap or free.
And since Tiger is still a few years from the fleet and undergoing trials, if the need is urgent and size is a constraint, it seems tailor-made to the scenario. Also in hindsight worth noting the production run for the FJ-4 (to say nothing of the more numerous earlier models) was almost twice as large as the Tiger run, and the Tiger took its last cruise a year before the FJ-4 was finally sent to shore and reserve units in 1962.

Perhaps as an emergency measure they get the older USN FJ-3's (production of which is now transitioning to FJ-4 in 56, so the oldest are 2 yrs old, and the newest are fresh off the line!) as they are slowly replaced by Crusaders and FJ-4's, while they wait for CAC to set up a line to produce new license-built FJ-4's. This would appear substantially faster than the Tigers.
Or maybe it's just an interim move with no new production, or perhaps doesn't appear at all-- I don't pretend to know where you're headed. No doubt you already have a plan haha
 

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. While a new fighter for the Fleet Air Arm would likely also mean buying a new aircraft carrier, despite Melbourne having only entered service two years earlier. Further meetings would need to be held to map out a course for the next several years.
A Second aircraft carrier maybe.
 

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. While a new fighter for the Fleet Air Arm would likely also mean buying a new aircraft carrier, despite Melbourne having only entered service two years earlier. Further meetings would need to be held to map out a course for the next several years.
A Second aircraft carrier maybe.
No. Australia doesn't have the manpower to operate two carriers at the same time plus their escorts. As soon as they got Melbourne they transferred Sydney to a training carrier and operated her with reduced manpower until they placed her in reserve before using her as a troop transport in Vietnam, again with reduced manpower. Particularly since a more capable carrier will require more crew than Melbourne will.
 

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Ah, the naval F-86... FJ- Fury. Too often forgotten, a) because F-86 and b) because F-100. More generally, North American soon dropped out of naval fighters. Also, USN has such a profusion of varied types, in the transonic era, it is easy to forgot some of them.
Del proposal makes a ton of sense. An objection could be made, however, than FJ-4 is a dead end when Tiger has the Super Tiger coming, a truly amazing fighter; although of course Melbourne won't be able to handle it, damn.

Couldn't Indonesian pressure get Sidney upgraded to Melbourne level ?

As for the RAAF Canberra... every single option to replace them is sexy. Vigilante, Mirage IV, V-bombers, TSR-2, Phantoms, and F-111... what's not to like.
With a little luck, and Indonesia becoming a huge threat much faster, ITTL McNamara ugly duck is out: OTL it did not entered RAAF service before 1972, and I don't think Indonesia will gently wait FIFTEEN years, damn.

My bet is on Vigilante or V-bombers, since none of OTL others is available before the mid-60's, waaaaaay too long when Indonesia already has Il-28s with Tu-16s coming on their heels.

For the Sabres: OTL, it was the Mirage III, with, then without, the Avon. RAAF order was a major breakthrough for Dassault, gave them truly international stature against US competition.

ITTL, who knows, Australia could go for early F-104 variants, the -A or the -C (the later is not very well know but OTL fought in vietnam with mixed results).


July 24, 1958: weeks or months ahead of the Mirage III-A (pre-serie of 10) and -C (more like 1960 for this one).

Note that the F-104C got a refueling boom but for ferry flights only. And of course all three V-bombers ended as tankers...
 
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Ah, the naval F-86... FJ- Fury. Too often forgotten, a) because F-86 and b) because F-100. More generally, North American soon dropped out of naval fighters. Also, USN has such a profusion of varied types, in the transonic era, it is easy to forgot some of them.
Del proposal makes a ton of sense. An objection could be made, however, than FJ-4 is a dead end when Tiger has the Super Tiger coming, a truly amazing fighter; although of course Melbourne won't be able to handle it, damn.

Couldn't Indonesian pressure get Sidney upgraded to Melbourne level ?

As for the RAAF Canberra... every single option to replace them is sexy. Vigilante, Mirage IV, V-bombers, TSR-2, Phantoms, and F-111... what's not to like.
With a little luck, and Indonesia becoming a huge threat much faster, ITTL McNamara ugly duck is out: OTL it did not entered RAAF service before 1972, and I don't think Indonesia will gently wait FIFTEEN years, damn.

My bet is on Vigilante or V-bombers, since none of OTL others is available before the mid-60's, waaaaaay too long when Indonesia already has Il-28s with Tu-16s coming on their heels.

For the Sabres: OTL, it was the Mirage III, with, then without, the Avon. RAAF order was a major breakthrough for Dassault, gave them truly international stature against US competition.

ITTL, who knows, Australia could go for early F-104 variants, the -A or the -C (the later is not very well know but OTL fought in vietnam with mixed results).


July 24, 1958: weeks or months ahead of the Mirage III-A (pre-serie of 10) and -C (more like 1960 for this one).

Note that the F-104C got a refueling boom but for ferry flights only. And of course all three V-bombers ended as tankers...
Australia will have a few options. Both for the RAAF and FAA. The biggest decision they'll have to make though is whether to replace Melbourne with a carrier capable of operating the new generation aircraft or not. Because that will drive their decision on choice of aircraft as well. If they buy a bigger carrier, then it makes sense to also buy a carrier capable fighter for both the FAA and RAAF like the F8U-3, F4H or F11F-2 (or F12F depending on how the Navy would ultimately designate the Super Tiger).

If they don't buy a new carrier, then that opens up the field to the F-104, Mirage, Viggen, EE Lightning, etc.
 

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My bet is on Vigilante or V-bombers,
Bucc and Vig even the Thud and Phantom are in advanced development, and seem like good fits depending on budgets. Ignoring costs, Vulcans would be fantastic. Mirage IV is further out, the specs were just written.

Hunters or the Gnat, are possible budget conscious choices to augment the Sabres. Super Sabres, Nings, Drakens, Starfighters, Mirage and Mystares, etc. Are possible upgrades. Phantoms are getting close to flying, but more pricey.

Wasn't Murdoch's post-US and -UK tour's answer in the mid-50's for Vulcan's and Starfighters? Obviously, neither type entered service with the RAAF. There are other cost and political factors at play in this scenario, but it seems unlikely that there would be much different suggestions on the "wish list". Both of these are more capable than most contemporary alternatives, though more expensive.

I wonder if you couldn't get the B-47's that were later offered in the sixties any earlier. And if you did, ... I wonder if you couldn't give CAC work re-engining them with their Avons. I don't know what a used B-47 costs, but I'm sure it's substantially cheaper than a brand new Vulcan!

RAAF is still flying Lincolns over Malaya in addition to the Canberras. I wonder if you couldn't get B-50's (including KB's) at significant discount, as well. Not sure the expenditure of effort would be worth the return.
 

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The F-105, I had forgotten this one. Terrific aircraft. A pocket bomber, complete with a bomb bay. Mirage IV indeed flew in June 1959 but that was the -01, not the A. Took until October 1964, plus it was politically, a hot potato.

Of course there was an alternative: our own Bucc S.1 (alas) the Vautour. But we dumped them on Israel from 1958, so few if none out of 140 would be available. Aerospatiale however would glady reopen the production line for any foreign customer, if that can piss off Dassault. OTL they tried as late as 1966 (Tsyklon).

Buccaneer, yeeeees, but not the S1 and its junk engines.

Valiants or B-47, I would rather pick the former. The B-47 was somewhat a pig of aircraft: maintenance, flight characteristics... meh.

Whaaaat ? I smell some autocorrect dumbarsery here...
 
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Surprisingly, the B-47 doesn't offer much over the Canberra in a conventional role. It's only real advantage is range and bigger payload. But it's much thirstier than the Canberra and, despite being capable of hauling a 20,000 pound bomb load over 2,000 miles compared to the Canberra's 8,000 pounds over 800 miles, that's only if it's equipped with Nukes. Using conventional bombs, the -47 can only fit 14,000 pounds in it's bomb bay (28x500 pound bombs). Not to mention it was a much more difficult aircraft to fly. At cruise, the aircraft was in the coffin corner. In other words, there was only 5 knots difference between the aircraft's stall speed and its do not exceed speed. I like the B-47, but I think Australia made the right decision when they said thanks, but no thanks despite being offered the aircraft for free
 

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Surprisingly, the B-47 doesn't offer much over the Canberra in a conventional role. It's only real advantage is range and bigger payload. But it's much thirstier than the Canberra and, despite being capable of hauling a 20,000 pound bomb load over 2,000 miles compared to the Canberra's 8,000 pounds over 800 miles, that's only if it's equipped with Nukes. Using conventional bombs, the -47 can only fit 14,000 pounds in it's bomb bay (28x500 pound bombs). Not to mention it was a much more difficult aircraft to fly. At cruise, the aircraft was in the coffin corner. In other words, there was only 5 knots difference between the aircraft's stall speed and its do not exceed speed. I like the B-47, but I think Australia made the right decision when they said thanks, but no thanks despite being offered the aircraft for free
What about Australia getting some British V-bombers.
 

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Surprisingly, the B-47 doesn't offer much over the Canberra in a conventional role...
It's only real advantage is range and bigger payload.
About twice as much, twice as far. Over the Pacific theatre.

That's more than enough for Darwin to Jakarta unrefueled with 14,000 lbs of ordnance.

Not sure how the operational realities of the Canberra touches that.

I'm not suggesting it's the right or wrong choice or criticizing any direction you go; there's a lot more to these decisions than raw capability, but saying it doesn't have much more to offer seems "fantastic" , and not in the good way ;)

It was certainly possible to put the B-47 into coffin corner territory, but it was hardly the bugaboo the internet seems determined to make it. In practice, weight was burnt down well before reaching the sort of density altitudes at high gross weights where this presented. In the event it managed to arrive there, the B-47 had a gentle entrance into tuck, during which there was more than sufficient elevator authority. I'd need to look at a manual, but I believe the real problems started at .92, which wasn't going to be achieved in level flight. You might get to 600mph down low, but the engines are putting up less thrust up high where that's a higher mach number.
Having said that, if you're tooling around at 42,000' or above as the RB-47's often did, you're at the edge of flight simply due to air density. The Mach number doesn't really factor here. It's more that you're at max throttle and barely able to sustain lift with low density air. Any maneuvering or turbulent air flow could lead to a departure. There seems to be a lot of lore about this "problem", and I wonder if there isn't some confusion in the telling.

Plenty of problems, though. Aileron reversal was a far more likely gremlin to encounter. The long, flat approaches were unique at the time, and the spool time made it hairy. Also prone to porpoising, and overheating brakes. Structural failures. Lost more than a couple with faulty JATO bottles. Plenty of gremlins on a B-47. It always makes me chuckle when I read the coffin corner one.
 

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Surprisingly, the B-47 doesn't offer much over the Canberra in a conventional role...
It's only real advantage is range and bigger payload.
About twice as much, twice as far. Over the Pacific theatre.

That's more than enough for Darwin to Jakarta unrefueled with 14,000 lbs of ordnance.

Not sure how the operational realities of the Canberra touches that.

I'm not suggesting it's the right or wrong choice or criticizing any direction you go; there's a lot more to these decisions than raw capability, but saying it doesn't have much more to offer seems "fantastic" , and not in the good way ;)

It was certainly possible to put the B-47 into coffin corner territory, but it was hardly the bugaboo the internet seems determined to make it. In practice, weight was burnt down well before reaching the sort of density altitudes at high gross weights where this presented. In the event it managed to arrive there, the B-47 had a gentle entrance into tuck, during which there was more than sufficient elevator authority. I'd need to look at a manual, but I believe the real problems started at .92, which wasn't going to be achieved in level flight. You might get to 600mph down low, but the engines are putting up less thrust up high where that's a higher mach number.
Having said that, if you're tooling around at 42,000' or above as the RB-47's often did, you're at the edge of flight simply due to air density. The Mach number doesn't really factor here. It's more that you're at max throttle and barely able to sustain lift with low density air. Any maneuvering or turbulent air flow could lead to a departure. There seems to be a lot of lore about this "problem", and I wonder if there isn't some confusion in the telling.

Plenty of problems, though. Aileron reversal was a far more likely gremlin to encounter. The long, flat approaches were unique at the time, and the spool time made it hairy. Also prone to porpoising, and overheating brakes. Structural failures. Lost more than a couple with faulty JATO bottles. Plenty of gremlins on a B-47. It always makes me chuckle when I read the coffin corner one.
Well, I should admit that it sounds like i bought into some of the more outlandish claims of the difficulties of flying the -47. And I don't think i was very clear when I said it didn't offer much more than the Canberra. Obviously double the payload over double the range is a huge jump in capability. I was trying to say that the jump in capability likely doesn't offset the increased difficulty in operating the aircraft. Or the expense of having to upgrade infrastructure to handle the much larger bomber. The Canberra was 55,000 pounds all up. The B-47 was 221,000 pounds all up. That's a massive jump in size. With all the other needs that Australia has to fill, I'm not sure the increased capability is enough of a jump to justify the costs.
 

SSgtC

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Surprisingly, the B-47 doesn't offer much over the Canberra in a conventional role. It's only real advantage is range and bigger payload. But it's much thirstier than the Canberra and, despite being capable of hauling a 20,000 pound bomb load over 2,000 miles compared to the Canberra's 8,000 pounds over 800 miles, that's only if it's equipped with Nukes. Using conventional bombs, the -47 can only fit 14,000 pounds in it's bomb bay (28x500 pound bombs). Not to mention it was a much more difficult aircraft to fly. At cruise, the aircraft was in the coffin corner. In other words, there was only 5 knots difference between the aircraft's stall speed and its do not exceed speed. I like the B-47, but I think Australia made the right decision when they said thanks, but no thanks despite being offered the aircraft for free
What about Australia getting some British V-bombers.
It's a possibility. Along with several other options.
 

starviking

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It has to be remembered that we have the Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement in the mix - set up Sept 19th, 1957, with Anzac support. Australia and her allies will have bases and forces bracketing both ends of the Indonesian archipelago. And of course, Singapore and its facilities are available.

V-Bombers are a bit new to see being sold, Valiant, Vulcan, and Victor debuting in service in 1955, 56, and 57 respectively. Brought into theatre? Likely, even as a sabre-rattling exercise - the V-Bombers did deploy to Aden, and probably further East in real life.
 

isayyo2

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How about the RAAF gets their free B-47’s and then CAC refits them with 4 TF33s? A bit outlandish, but it could lead to a good partnership with Boeing.
 
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