CVA-01 F-14

Cjc

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Mainly I was wondering if the cva-01 (or a reasonably close derivative of said design) could use the F-14 effectively (so not like the F-18 on the clemenceau).
 

Opportunistic Minnow

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Probably not. Maybe possibly at light weights, launching and buddy tanking from the Buccaneers but then said Buccs cannot be tasked for strike. Tomcats are not small aircraft. I envisage a likely CVA air wing essentially spiralling into a F-14 support mechanism to the detriment of everything else. Not to mention the sheer expense of procuring/operating any number of the type.

It is also unlikely that the RN would get Phoenix (at least initially) and if/when they do, it could well be a nerfed, Cletus-variant for export. What then, does such a F-14 bring to the table that a F-4K doesn't? The Rhino (with it's likely more favourable fleet size) is quite adequate for Tu-16/142/22/Yak-38 and when the Tu-22M comes along, I don't think it could dismiss the ol' St. Louis product out of hand either. Especially so if the latter gets Skyflash. If standing in close to Norway for example, Su-17s & MiG-23s et al equally come with F-14As, F-4J/S, F-16, Tornado F.3 etc. and then probably Pershing, Minutemen and Poseidons etc. A few extra Tomcats aren't likely to tip the calculus on that one.

The F-4K is good enough (or perhaps rather as good as it is going to get) until either replacement by all-in-one Hornet or jacking the whole lot in (the latter being much more likely).

So tldr the F-14 just isn't worth the effort and expense for the RN.

Shields up.
 
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Opportunistic Minnow

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If Iran got Phoenix, which they did, UK certainly would.
Awfully nice of the Shah to pay for it! What's that? He's paying for Chevaline, BAOR and Tornado too! Wow!

F-14 at all costs: doable.
F-14 as part of a balanced defence budget (in the 70s no less): no, just no.
 
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zen

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Mainly I was wondering if the cva-01 (or a reasonably close derivative of said design) could use the F-14 effectively (so not like the F-18 on the clemenceau).
Yes.
CVA-01 was designed around the projected future multirole fighter-bomber system OR.346.
Essentially something similar to TFX a.k.a the F111
F4 was essentially a quick to service and cheap interim solution.....
 

Archibald

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Probably not. Maybe possibly at light weights, launching and buddy tanking from the Buccaneers but then said Buccs cannot be tasked for strike. Tomcats are not small aircraft. I envisage a likely CVA air wing essentially spiralling into a F-14 support mechanism to the detriment of everything else. Not to mention the sheer expense of procuring/operating any number of the type.

It is also unlikely that the RN would get Phoenix (at least initially) and if/when they do, it could well be a nerfed, Cletus-variant for export. What then, does such a F-14 bring to the table that a F-4K doesn't? The Rhino (with it's likely more favourable fleet size) is quite adequate for Tu-16/142/22/Yak-38 and when the Tu-22M comes along, I don't think it could dismiss the ol' St. Louis product out of hand either. Especially so if the latter gets Skyflash. If standing in close to Norway for example, Su-17s & MiG-23s et al equally come with F-14As, F-4J/S, F-16, Tornado F.3 etc. and then probably Pershing, Minutemen and Poseidons etc. A few extra Tomcats aren't likely to tip the calculus on that one.

The F-4K is good enough (or perhaps rather as good as it is going to get) until either replacement by all-in-one Hornet or jacking the whole lot in (the latter being much more likely).

So tldr the F-14 just isn't worth the effort and expense for the RN.

Shields up.

In the 1990's the Germans got a massive upgrade of their Phantoms (ICE, with aPG-something radar) that was so good, they stuck in service until 2014.
 

Hood

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Originally the forward lift was 32ft wide but widened to 35ft for F-111B, however the F-14 is 33ft wide using the 75 degree oversweep setting so it should fit nicely in the hangar and be fine for the Alaskan Highway too.
The BS6 might need a little upgrading to handle the F-14 at high gross weights over 60,000lb but this should be doable.

The F-111B seems to have been their benchmark 'future' aircraft for sizing and weights, so there doesn't seem to be any showstoppers for F-14.
In terms of economics the F-14 hits a brick wall, but then if the RN was serious about replacing the F-4 and Bucc in the 1970s no option was going to be cheap unless they ran them into the 90s. Which is what I fully expect would have happened, hell they might have even lashed them up to serve until the end of the century as buying Hornets with only ~10 years of ship life left in the 90s would have given the Treasury a collective apoplexy. (The Big LOL scenario would be putting RAF Harrier GR.9s aboard as replacements.)
 

apparition13

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If Iran got Phoenix, which they did, UK certainly would.
Awfully nice of the Shah to pay for it! What's that? He's paying for Chevaline, BAOR and Tornado too! Wow!

F-14 at all costs: doable.
F-14 as part of a balanced defence budget (in the 70s no less): no, just no.
You said nerfed, which implies the US wouldn't share AIM-54 tech. Since the US shared it with Iran, they would absolutely sell them to the UK, a much closer ally. Your claim that the UK would get a nerfed Phoenix is flat wrong.

Your point about cost is irrelevant. This is an alt-history thread where CVA-01 is affordable and the question is whether or not Tomcats could operate from them, not a budget analysis. On that note,

While I think F-14s could take off from and land on CVA-01, they are 20' wider than a Buccaneer when their wings are swept forward, and CVA-01 is narrower than US supercarriers. The need for extra landing room might reduce available space for deck park too much to make carrying F-14s practical. Tomcats would make the carriers more useful as a fleet screen protecting transatlantic shipping from Soviet bombers, but for that they would need E-2s as well, and those have even longer wingspans.

There are still F-4 options though. There were AIM-54 armed proposals, proposals for turbofan engines, and Boeing's conformal weapons and fuel pack. Put it all together and you'd end up with something with longer range than an F-18 that was also Phoenix capable, and therefore a threat to both the F-14 and the F-18 even if it wouldn't be as good a dogfighter as either, so there would be US political resistance even if the UK expressed an interest in something like that. A turbofan and conformal pack teamed with Skyflash might fly though.

Even more interesting would be a naval Tornado. There is the potential for replacing both Phantoms and Buccaneers with a multi-role naval Tornado based on the ADV (more fuel, so more range). The French might be interested as well. In which case UK and France cooperating on Rafale for the naval versions (M and possibly N if both countries are involved) as a future Tornado replacement would be attractive, which might kill off Eurofighter. So the timeline could be Buccs and Phantoms until the early 80s, then Tornados until Rafale in 2005-2010, maybe supplemented with F-35Cs starting around now.

But RN Tomcats would be cool. :)
 

apparition13

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The F-111B seems to have been their benchmark 'future' aircraft for sizing and weights, so there doesn't seem to be any showstoppers for F-14.
Was the landing area sized for the F-111B wingspan as well? If that is the case, then my above point regarding the suitability of the F-14 and E-2 is moot.
 

Hood

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The F-111B seems to have been their benchmark 'future' aircraft for sizing and weights, so there doesn't seem to be any showstoppers for F-14.
Was the landing area sized for the F-111B wingspan as well? If that is the case, then my above point regarding the suitability of the F-14 and E-2 is moot.
Yes by my calculations, even swept at 64ft it should be able to land on the centreline of the angled deck and would not encroach on helicopter landing spots 8 and 9 near the fantail.
The DAG might need upgrading though, it seems to have been designed with a 40,000lb upper limit at 125kt, an F-14 weighs 3,000lb more completely empty so some beefing up would be needed.
The shore-based trials system could handle 50,000lb at 130kt but had a 600ft run out, CVA-01 was designed with a 270ft run out (in contrast Ark Royal's DA.2 had 228ft) which allowed what has been described as a "small amount of stretch for future aircraft". Of course there is finite limit to how much longer the water tubes can be made too provide the necessary retarding action.

CVA-01 is quoted as being capable of operating 70,000lb class aircraft but certainly the catapult limit of 60,000lb and the arrester limits of 40,000lb seem to be major qualifications to that statement without future refit.
 

Cjc

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The F-111B seems to have been their benchmark 'future' aircraft for sizing and weights, so there doesn't seem to be any showstoppers for F-14.
Was the landing area sized for the F-111B wingspan as well? If that is the case, then my above point regarding the suitability of the F-14 and E-2 is moot.
Yes by my calculations, even swept at 64ft it should be able to land on the centreline of the angled deck and would not encroach on helicopter landing spots 8 and 9 near the fantail.
The DAG might need upgrading though, it seems to have been designed with a 40,000lb upper limit at 125kt, an F-14 weighs 3,000lb more completely empty so some beefing up would be needed.
The shore-based trials system could handle 50,000lb at 130kt but had a 600ft run out, CVA-01 was designed with a 270ft run out (in contrast Ark Royal's DA.2 had 228ft) which allowed what has been described as a "small amount of stretch for future aircraft". Of course there is finite limit to how much longer the water tubes can be made too provide the necessary retarding action.

CVA-01 is quoted as being capable of operating 70,000lb class aircraft but certainly the catapult limit of 60,000lb and the arrester limits of 40,000lb seem to be major qualifications to that statement without future refit.
Can one upgrade a catapult or arrester gear without increasing there leanght?
 

JFC Fuller

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The F-4 for the RN appeared very late in the CVA-01 design process, well after the CVA-01 staff requirement had been firmed up. As such CVA-01 was conceived to accommodate the quasi-hypothetical OR.346 (essentially the Vickers Type 581) aircraft which lead to an assumption of the following dimensions:

Span: 70ft (30ft folded)
Length: 70ft (64ft folded)
Height: 23ft (19.5ft folded)
Weight: Initially 60-65,000lbs, ultimately 70,000lbs

The F-14 and CVA-01 were not contemporaneous so nobody will ever find a document saying that CVA-01 could operate the type but the ship was being designed to operate aircraft of essentially the same size and weight envelope of the largest aircraft in the USN inventory at the time (A-5 Vigilante) or planned (F-111B). In short, even if there were some challenges at the edge of the weight envelope its highly unlikely to have been anything that couldn't be rectified with a reasonable refit to the catapults and arresting gear.

The RN came very close to buying a batch of E-2s in 1959-60.
 

zen

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F14 essentially delivers what the RN desired for the future. A CAP fighter able to endure upto 4 hours and engage simultaneously 4 aircraft.
This would allow a reduction to 12 Fighters from earlier systems numbered at 16 per CV and 32 per Tactical Air Unit on two carriers.
RN would be very interested in standardisation if a Bombcat version was also made available.
 
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Archibald

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Would RB.199 fits inside Phantom engine bays ? can't be worse than the Spey bloated conversion...
 

1635yankee

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If I recall from my readings (mostly USNI Proceedings in the 1980s), the F-14 had a lower approach speed than the F-18 and was, nominally, able to operate on the Midways and surviving Essexes.
 

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Can one upgrade a catapult or arrester gear without increasing there leanght?
Theoretically, yes. The USN was designing an internal combustion catapult to replace their steam cats in the 1950s. It actually got to the point that it was designated as the C14, launched aircraft from a land based test site and was originally planned to be installed in Enterprise and some of the equipment to support it was actually installed. The C14 was stronger than existing steam catapults, including the C13 that the USN still uses today, and was able to be retrofitted to all existing steam cats including the C7 and C11 that were fitted on the Midway and Essex class. As a bonus, in addition to their greater throw weight, they didn't use steam, so the ships wouldn't have to divert steam from propulsion to the cats during flight operations. What that means in real terms is the any ship fitted with C14s could make their full flank speed of 30+ knots verses the 19-23 knots they could manage while delivering full power car shots with a steam cat. In practical terms, the Navy's problems with launching fully laden aircraft in hot and humid conditions are a thing of the past when you combine the stronger cat with the increased wind over the deck.

If I recall from my readings (mostly USNI Proceedings in the 1980s), the F-14 had a lower approach speed than the F-18 and was, nominally, able to operate on the Midways and surviving Essexes.
From the Midway class, certainly. Tomcats flew off of both Midway and Coral Sea at different times. And the Essex class had the same C11 cats. But they also could only manage 19 knots of WOD during flight ops vs the 23 that the Midway class could give you. So I wouldn't want to fly -14s off the Essex class except in a dire emergency (or with a test pilot for a photo/video shoot).

But you still couldn't fly Tomcats regularly off either class. With their 17.5" hangers, you couldn't perform either ejection seat maintenance or landing gear drop checks. Not to mention their absolutely prodigious appetite for fuel and ordinance.
 
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zen

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I think there was supposed to be a area where the ceiling in hanger was to be higher than the 18ft figure CVA-01 ended up with.
 

Opportunistic Minnow

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Your point about cost is irrelevant.
Well I think it is the single most fundamental point. Cost is irrelevant to defence procurement? That's a bold new take.

Now if you want to talk about procuring F-14s in a vacuum and handwave the fiscal realities to further discussion, that's well and good. If I want to discuss the F-14 (and CVA-01 - a massive change in of itself) within the actual 1970s UK defence context and it's frankly catastrophic would-be effects on many other projects, in parallel, then that's well and good too! An appraisal of the UK's economic position 1973-1982 wouldn't be amiss either. The Great Inflation was right smack in the middle of any likely F-14A procurement window.....doh!

Surely there is enough room here for both conversations? A word to the wise though. If you caveat and dismiss enough away, of course anything can find use by anyone. Do that enough and the UK is fielding X-302s by the Munich Agreement!
 

zen

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Certainly had economic woes not befallen the UK, then it's likely the carrier program would have proceeded. But it does depend on the precise performance to gage how far and to what level things would progress.

But if that was the case.....
Then the OR.346 program would proceed. Essentially this would achieve a more analogue FMICW system with monopulse seeker equipped SARH AAM by the early 70's. Installed into a VG aircraft somewhat between F111 to Tornado in scale and performance.

And here's where it all gets problematic.
What RN and RAF wanted most is the AWG.9 /AIM-54 combination. The actual F14 isn't their focus so much as this system.
But that system is what made F14 such an expensive aircraft.
They did look at fitting the system to F4s or Tornados in comparison with the domestic FMICW/Monopulse AAM system.....and domestic was much more affordable....In theory.

So even if the UK economy had done well enough to afford CVA-01 and fund the joint RAF FAA fighter-bomber. Then F14 would be off the cards.

Worse if the UK ties up with the US earlier then it's F111s all the way. Which once the USN calls the F111B out as not good enough for their needs....

Would the UK stay in lockstep with the USN?
 

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Worse if the UK ties up with the US earlier then it's F111s all the way. Which once the USN calls the F111B out as not good enough for their needs....

Would the UK stay in lockstep with the USN?
Probably. They're still getting what they actually want: the AWG-9/AIM-54 combo. They're just getting it in a much better package. And if they're a full partner, we might see the UK help with developing the engines for the fighter instead of having to rely on the God awful TF30s for so long
 

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The dates for OR.346 don't really line up for CVA-01 had she been completed, it was dead before the carrier even entered final design.

March 1959 - OR.346 was issued in outline form, which brought about the ER.206 mini-TSRs and Swallow-derived VG designs.
1961- the RN wanted to go with a VG type to replace Sea Vixen and Buccaneer for 1970-72 (about the time when CVA-01 would probably be completed as estimated at that time). Vickers is tinkering with the 58x series of VGs, Brough brings out the B.123 and Hatfield the DH.127
April 1962 - the Sea Vixen replacement for 1969-70 is spun off into AW.406/OR.356 and the RAF joins for a Hunter replacement
August 1962 - the P.1154 is tendered to OR.356
Late 1962 - design studies for CVA-01 begin, at this stage Sea Vixen/Bucc are the design baselines
Jan 1963 - the DRPC says "no way" to funding the OR.346 Type 589 full-scale VG research aircraft.
1963 - OR.356 studies at Vickers/BAC, VG Lightning and the 583 series revived but VSTOL P.1154 wins the day
October 1963 - RN walks away from P.1154 and wants F-4C Phantoms
1964 - F-4J Phantom selected, Spey added etc. for UK workshare, 170 ordered. The four V/STOL take-off positions are removed from CVA-01.
June 1964 - Commando Ship role added to CVA-01.
December 1964 - Ikara deleted from CVA-01 to improve aircraft facilities/hangar space.
April 1965 - AFVG begins for land-air-sea-Anglo-French roles, the AFVG is seen very much as a complement to F-111K.
May 1965 - F-111B first flies
Dec 1965 - CVA-01 design finalised, full compatibility with Phantom, including changes for compatibility with F-111B (lift size etc.) Plan is to lay down in Sept 1967 and sea trials in late 1971 for full operational capability in June 1973.
27 Jan 1966 - CVA-01 Board approval
14 Feb 1966 - review kills CVA-01 just before tender documents issued and all naval interest in AFVG evaporates, F-4K order cut to just 48 plus options for 7
April 1966 - 10 F-111K ordered plus 40 options (firmed in April 1967)
June 1967 - France walks away from AFVG
July 1967 - BAC begins cooking up UKVG and of course there is no naval interest at all given reliance on Phantoms on existing carriers.
Early 1968 - F-111K cancelled
April 1968 - F-4K FGR.1 arrives with 700P NAS
July 1968 - F-111B cancelled, VFX is born

So what would CVA-01 have carried in 1973?
OR.346 had died in 1963 without any hardware authorised for VG wing research.
OR.356 had led to V/STOL P.1154 and very quickly resulted in F-4K off-the-shelf which entered service in 1968.
During 1965 CVA-01 altered for cutting edge F-111B just flown and 70,000lb future ballpark despite design work already begun on UKVG (30-50,000lb) for the 1970s. Perhaps F-111B was just a ballpark advanced type for the 70s - the only future naval fighter then available post F-4 in the West and certainly larger and heavier than anything mooted for OR.346, OR.356, AFVG or UKVG.

I suspect the RN were angling for F-111B, they of course didn't know that the RAF would be forced into F-111K a year later and that it would actually kill their CVA-01. They may well have been considering the same as the RAF, an F-111/AFVG high-lo mix.
So in AH world it's possible had the CVA-01 not been cancelled in 1966 that the RN would have gone for an F-111L based on the F-111B alongside the K, only to be bitterly disappointed when the USN canned it in 1968/devaluation kills those dreams anyway.

This would lead to two diverging paths - piggy back onto VFX with the USN with some R&D cost implications for F-14A in 1974-75 or revive UKVG as an RAF/RN VG platform and thus a naval Tornado-esque aircraft might have resulted for 1979-80.
 

Archibald

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I suspect the RN were angling for F-111B, they of course didn't know that the RAF would be forced into F-111K a year later and that it would actually kill their CVA-01.
This is, altogether: tortured reasoning, silly, absurd, and pathetic (not your comment: the situation described).
 

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The RN werent really angling for the F-111B as such (tto big, and expensive) they just knew they needed to be able to cross deck with the USN and thus their next generation aircraft. Therefore its quite possible F-14s may have been able to cross deck, but possibly in the lightnened modes akin to USN Phantoms on Ark as CVA-01 was that much longer than Eagle and not in the USN Super Carrier league

Naval AFVG would have been seen as the replacement for both Buccanner and Phantom in the 70s.

Given the CVA-01 had gone through to build and delivery in the ealry 70s then with the RN still in the Carrier Game i think the evolution of the Tornado would have led to an ADV style Navalised version to replace Buccanner & Phantomin the eary 80s. The F-18 would have probably be considered as a backup option, however unlike the rerun af AW406 i suspect the homegrown joint project aspect would won through in this case.

However its all moot as the RN carrier airwing planning went oout the window with CVA-01 and only covered maintaining the existing carrier into the 70s. With them still in the game, you need to consider some variance to the actual events and decisions, but still within reason as the same money just has to go further.
 

apparition13

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Your point about cost is irrelevant.
Well I think it is the single most fundamental point. Cost is irrelevant to defence procurement? That's a bold new take.

Now if you want to talk about procuring F-14s in a vacuum and handwave the fiscal realities to further discussion, that's well and good. If I want to discuss the F-14 (and CVA-01 - a massive change in of itself) within the actual 1970s UK defence context and it's frankly catastrophic would-be effects on many other projects, in parallel, then that's well and good too! An appraisal of the UK's economic position 1973-1982 wouldn't be amiss either. The Great Inflation was right smack in the middle of any likely F-14A procurement window.....doh!

Surely there is enough room here for both conversations? A word to the wise though. If you caveat and dismiss enough away, of course anything can find use by anyone. Do that enough and the UK is fielding X-302s by the Munich Agreement!
My actual post with context rather than your cherry picking: Your point about cost is irrelevant. This is an alt-history thread where CVA-01 is affordable and the question is whether or not Tomcats could operate from them, not a budget analysis.

The OP wasn't looking for cost analysis, they wanted an answer to the question could F-14s operate from CVA-01? If the question was "how could the UK afford CVA-01 with F-14s?" a cost analysis would be relevant. I'd say they couldn't, but since that wasn't the question, "they couldn't" is irrelevant, in this thread, as an answer to the OPs question. "Yes, it could, since it was designed to handle an F-111 like aircraft in the future" seems to be the answer, based on comments in this thread.

 

Hood

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The RN werent really angling for the F-111B as such (tto big, and expensive) they just knew they needed to be able to cross deck with the USN and thus their next generation aircraft.
Possibly, but there was barely six months between the F-111B flying and the design changes, which seems a rather quick turnaround of design, especially when the trade-offs were £45,000 additional cost, 15 tons additional weight and loss of accommodation space for 20 crew. Was all that worth it to cross-deck the F-111B, even assuming their Lordships/MoD felt confident that McNamara's folly would be a roaring success.

The Navy had been stung by home products (Attacker, Scimitar, Sea Vixen) partly due to their own muddled thinking and partly due to design flaws. OR.346 had resulted in nothing and OR.356 had become a V/STOL and faced with compromise - if not outright hubris from industry - they plumped for the Phantom (notably at the same time they chose Chinook over WG.1 and would soon choose Sea King). Even if Marcel Dassault doesn't murder AFVG in the cradle, a torturous acrimonious development programme plus the fact that the Marine Nationale were looking at lighter fighters for their smaller carrier decks would have meant the same kind of compromises that they were forced into for P.1154. At that point (say late 68-1969ish) the Admiralty might have put the knife in and said "AFVG is no bloody use we want F-111B".

Of course by then the F-111B is dead, but its a sure bet that the USN worries over weight would have scared their Lordships, 70,000lb was very much a theoretical limit and as we can see, the catapults and arrester gear were not fully rated up to that spec. So F-111B was probably never a practical choice in that regard.

But we must return to the F-4K. If CVA-01 lives is less of that 170 order is trimmed off? Here were need to consider whether a 1966 cutback would limit the new CVA-01 to just one hull. The 1968 withdrawal from EoS by the early 1970s would almost certainly kill CVA-02. It seems unlikely the full 170 would be delivered.

The intention for the reduced 48+7 order was to form a pair of front-line squadrons (12 a/c each) for the two remaining modernised fleet carriers. The training unit would have the remainder plus a reserve pool. The 1968 cuts removed Eagle's modernisation and the 7 options were never taken up.
Now in this scenario CVA-01 would replace Eagle and so we still have two flattops and no need for more than 48. If CVA-02 is ordered to replace Ark Royal circa 1975-77 that still leaves us with two carriers long term.
Even if Healy is somehow convinced not to abandon EoS or decides a carrier strike fleet is the best option for NATO and keeps on Ark Royal and builds CVA-01 and CVA-02 its unlikely all would be operational at once and 2 Phantom squadrons could rotate on the commissioned vessels. It's really hard to justify more than 50 Phantoms and certainly 170 would have been an embarrassment of riches even for three carriers, 70-75 seems more realistic even for a maximum 3 carrier fleet to get by on.

So returning to F-14....
How many would we need? No more than 48 for like-for-like F-4K replacement. But that assumes that there are two F-14 capable carriers. If CVA-02 is not built it feels highly unlikely that a split-fighter force is likely, 18-20 F-14A would be a token force hardly worth the logistical and training hassles and the F-4Ks would still be young.
If CVA-02 is built then an F-4K handover to the RAF is possible around 1976-77 for re-equipping with F-14A. Given the engine issues etc. I'm not sure its a wise buy though. The dates probably begin to align with early RAF F-14A thoughts for ADV though, so its possible a joint order might succeed and thus MRCA remains a strike platform.

Equally possible is a naval MRCA version as outlined above, which is tempting.
But equally its impossible to ignore that F-4K is still relatively new, 892 NAS didn't go aboard Ark Royal until 1970, Queen Elizabeth commissions in 1973-74 (74 perhaps more likely given shipyard constraints)and by then all 48 FG.1 would be in service. So with brand-new aircraft any re-equipment during the 70s feels highly unlikely, especially with a high-end F-14A solution and a Buccaneer replacement might feel more pressing given all the fleet would be 10 years old by the mid-70s.
The RN might go for a single-type swing-role fleet for the 1980s, better for logistics, training and costs. This could possibly be MRCAN to enter service around 1980-81. F-14A has no real air-to-ground role at this time so would seem unlikely to fulfil a single-type airwing.
Of course by 1977-79 there is new multirole contender, one being assessed very strongly for AST.396, the F-18.... with potentially huge implications for the entire British aviation industry.
Or we get ECF-N with possibly France atoning for scuppering AFVG back in the summer of love and staying on board or a bespoke expensive Sea Typhoon which is ready in 2000 just as CVA-01 reaches the breaker's yard in Turkey.... to be replaced by a new CVAF (AF = Attack Future) HMS Queen Elizabeth. No joint RAF-RN joint force F-35Bs for the 2010s.

Mind you, RN F-14A operations over the Falklands would probably boost the Tomcat's 1980s pop star popularity beyond all reason, becoming so much of a poster child that all aviation geeks forget the Phantom entirely!
 

Opportunistic Minnow

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My actual post with context rather than your cherry picking: Your point about cost is irrelevant. This is an alt-history thread where CVA-01 is affordable and the question is whether or not Tomcats could operate from them, not a budget analysis.

The OP wasn't looking for cost analysis, they wanted an answer to the question could F-14s operate from CVA-01? If the question was "how could the UK afford CVA-01 with F-14s?" a cost analysis would be relevant. I'd say they couldn't, but since that wasn't the question, "they couldn't" is irrelevant, in this thread, as an answer to the OPs question. "Yes, it could, since it was designed to handle an F-111 like aircraft in the future" seems to be the answer, based on comments in this thread.
Yeah, not sure cherry-picking is what it was. I literally read up to that line and hit reply. Anyway, the OP was "operate the F-14 effectively". Now I freely admit that effectively is open to interpretation. My interpretation was that effectiveness would be determined by, among other things, number of combat-coded (there would need to be an OCU somewhere - Miramar?) birds on deck. That number would have one primary driver, that of cost.

Sortie rates, deck spotting, replenishment schedules, all might be somewhat useful in determining that effectiveness. All would be determined by the number of F-14s on deck. I'm not after an accountant's dream here but an impression, a notion of how many F-14s procured would be useful.

For example, let's say it's four per carrier. Unlikely to maintain a 24hr CAP = not very effective. Not to mention lack of economy of scale and silver bullet issues. Let's say it's 40. Deck spotting is very convoluted, few/no buddy Buccs or AEW/ASW Gannets (Hawkeye defo out), replenishment every 5 minutes, difficult to strike birds below for maintenance etc. = not very effective. Extreme examples to illustrate the point.

So I think the numbers are incredibly important to addressing the OP's question. If cost isn't addressed, then why not say the RN bought a hundred...... no, no a thousand! Great fantasy fulfilment but not very enlightening. Again, I use an extreme to illustrate the point.

As for your point about it not being what the OP wants. I agree, it isn't but I'm not under licence for it to be. "Yeah, that ain't gonna happen. Here's why...." is a perfectly legitimate answer IMO. Why it didn't happen is at least as instructive as let's make it happen and damn the torpedoes. Historical constraints are far too illuminating to be so blithely glossed over. Surely it is better to know what roadblocks your given project will have to surmount?! Just one interpretation, of course.
 

Thorvic

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F-14 is a pipe dream, people are forgetting that the USN didnt deploy them to the Midway class carriers which went from Phantom to Hornet and the Midways were larger than CVA-01.
Trying to use the same logic with F-4k off Ark & Eagle is not taking into account that when the MCDD sell was being made they hadnt made the limitations of the F-4 carrier performance known.
The F-14 VFX was designed for USN supercarriers and thse ships were always out of our league to build, man, support and operate.
 

kaiserd

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If you look at the timelines a F-111B buy appears unlikely simply because the Uk F-4s would still be relatively young (and one way another the F-111B or variant thereof would promise to be a very tight squeeze at the very best for the CVA-01).

The F-14 then appears as the US Navy’s replacement for the F-111B but much of the same issues arise, F-4s that have relatively large service life remaining etc.
And you then go through issues that the F-14 had in this time period (engine issues, cost escalation, potential cancellation, Grumman financial difficulties, etc.) and It’s hard to realistically see the UK putting down the money for new F-14s in that context (that’s assuming the UK had the money to do so, which in this period in reality they didn’t).

With respect a lot of the known enthusiasm the Royal Navy had for the F-14 and it’s capabilities dates from when they were already well out of the conventional carrier game and it would have been land based aircraft paid for out of RAF budgets.

The timing for an actual UK carrier based F-4 replacement (and Buccaneer replacement though, assuming the CVA-01 likely is increasingly less of a strike carrier and more air cover and anti-sub warfare focused - in that context the carrier based Buccaneers may go earlier) does line up more with the emergence of the F/A-18. They would also appear to “fit” better with the CVA-01s size and capabilities (and probable role, indeed may bring back more flexibility in roles than an increasingly F-4 focused complement had provided).

However at that stage an expensive major mid-life re-fit/ re-rebuild would be required and decisions about funding priorities could have seen a similar refocus on sub-hunting and Harriers, but using the refitted CVA-01 hull (with Harrier II’s potentially taking place of Harrier FRS1’s given a slightly later timescale - perhaps a slightly earlier Harrier II Plus with the APG-65 prompted by this UK interest?).
 

zen

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People are certainly correct to point out the issues of timings. The Buccaneer mkIII is more likely their focus once F4K is set in motion. Arguably a mkIII sets back the need for MRCA and together F4K and MkIII Buccaneer allow a multirole successor to be delayed.
170 F4K might still be purchased, but jointly with RAF.

F14 could benefit from UK engines, and such developments of the Spey were available as much for F4K as anything else.
Timing seems stronger in the 1980's for replacement of F4K. But this falls afoul of MRCA ADV....which was cheaper and domestic..
Unless .....unless Buccaneer mkIII has delayed MRCA. Which it most likely would.
 

Cjc

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Your point about cost is irrelevant.
Well I think it is the single most fundamental point. Cost is irrelevant to defence procurement? That's a bold new take.

Now if you want to talk about procuring F-14s in a vacuum and handwave the fiscal realities to further discussion, that's well and good. If I want to discuss the F-14 (and CVA-01 - a massive change in of itself) within the actual 1970s UK defence context and it's frankly catastrophic would-be effects on many other projects, in parallel, then that's well and good too! An appraisal of the UK's economic position 1973-1982 wouldn't be amiss either. The Great Inflation was right smack in the middle of any likely F-14A procurement window.....doh!

Surely there is enough room here for both conversations? A word to the wise though. If you caveat and dismiss enough away, of course anything can find use by anyone. Do that enough and the UK is fielding X-302s by the Munich Agreement!
My actual post with context rather than your cherry picking: Your point about cost is irrelevant. This is an alt-history thread where CVA-01 is affordable and the question is whether or not Tomcats could operate from them, not a budget analysis.

The OP wasn't looking for cost analysis, they wanted an answer to the question could F-14s operate from CVA-01? If the question was "how could the UK afford CVA-01 with F-14s?" a cost analysis would be relevant. I'd say they couldn't, but since that wasn't the question, "they couldn't" is irrelevant, in this thread, as an answer to the OPs question. "Yes, it could, since it was designed to handle an F-111 like aircraft in the future" seems to be the answer, based on comments in this thread.

Yes, I have my own ideas about how both could be affordable but really this thread was about wether the cva-01 could handle the f-14 not wether the uk would.
 

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the USN didnt deploy them to the Midway class carriers which went from Phantom to Hornet and the Midways were larger than CVA-01.
The only reason the USN didn't fly Tomcats off of the Midway class was their hanger height. The Midways only had a 17.5' hangar. With such low clearance, it was impossible to perform ejection seat maintenance or landing gear drop checks on Tomcats aboard the class. With taller hangers F-14s could have been operated off the Midway class. In fact, Tomcats did fly off Coral Sea and Midway was able to launch and recover Tomcats when their own carrier was unable to accept them.
 

T. A. Gardner

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the USN didnt deploy them to the Midway class carriers which went from Phantom to Hornet and the Midways were larger than CVA-01.
The only reason the USN didn't fly Tomcats off of the Midway class was their hanger height. The Midways only had a 17.5' hangar. With such low clearance, it was impossible to perform ejection seat maintenance or landing gear drop checks on Tomcats aboard the class. With taller hangers F-14s could have been operated off the Midway class. In fact, Tomcats did fly off Coral Sea and Midway was able to launch and recover Tomcats when their own carrier was unable to accept them.
Not true. Another reason was that class would have had to had upgraded catapults and the larger jet blast deflectors (JBD) installed along with new pumps in the firemain system to handle the 2000 gpm water cooling requirement for those JBD's.
On the few occasions where an F-14 did fly off one of these ships, the area behind the catapult had to be cleared of parked aircraft and the F-14 was restricted in launch weight.
 

isayyo2

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Some F-14 on Midway Class stories, with videos!



 

T. A. Gardner

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CV12Hornet

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Anyway, the point being the inability of the Midways to consistently operate Tomcats has more to do with their WW2 origins than their size, and that because the Midways couldn't does not mean we can dismiss the CVA-01's ability to do so out of hand.
 

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Yes, I have my own ideas about how both could be affordable but really this thread was about wether the cva-01 could handle the f-14 not wether the uk would.
Well as fun as exploring a philosophical debate on whether a carrier can exist as an independent entity from it's parent nation would be, that's probably not what you mean. If the F-14s in question aren't British, do you mean as in a cross-decking exercise or permanent detachment? I'm certain CVA-01 could host a 2-ship of USN F-14s for a little photo opportunity, if they don't mind getting zapped.

https://flic.kr/p/x4ajQ2 View: https://www.flickr.com/photos/davids_world_2011/20382828641


If you mean on a Det and expected to perform actual operations for any lengthy period? No, at least not without months of pre-planning and an abysmal tempo. The F-14 was a maintenance hog and CVA-01 wouldn't be able to adequately support a visiting VF, not without compromising her own air wing. Not embarking F-4Ks at all and relying on the visiting F-14s for air defence exclusively would ease this to an extent but only so far and probably wouldn't be palatable. I strongly suspect neither CVA-01 or the F-14s would perform to the satisfaction of either of their crews under such circumstances. Detachments among common types are fraught enough!
 

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To just expand on that point further, I'm thinking about the enormity of even all the mundane little things a deployment of F-14s would have to bring to a "non-native" carrier like CVA-01. Space for spares for the AWG-9 (and it's specialist fitters), spare TF30s (and probably moar TF30s, kept in front of the Speys :)), AIM-54 trolleys, spare racks/pylons if they pickle them, intake blanks, tyres. Are the tie-down points/chain lengths compatible? Are the cockpit ladders common with the F-4? Where do we keep the ejector seat pins? No, no! That's where we put the gash! This bloody great turkey is fouling the deck! Back a bit. A bit more......

Or we'll just plonk some F-14s on the deck. Simple.
 

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Or similarly for the UK to decide to buy F-14s to operate from the theoretically survived CVA-01.
The CVA-01 would need a lot of work, a lot of stuff would be an awkward fit or potentially a bit compromised, and when added together to the cost of the F-14 themselves the comparable cost of, say, a modest up date to the existing F-4s (or even just buying cheap surplus F-4Js “freed up” by US Tomcats replacing then, as was actually done by the UK for additional land based F-4s after the Falklands War) while eying future options like F/A-18s or what emerges re: the Eurofighter/ Rafale programs or shifting to a Harrier II plus-equivalent force, becomes more attractive.
 

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Or similarly for the UK to decide to buy F-14s to operate from the theoretically survived CVA-01.
The CVA-01 would need a lot of work, a lot of stuff would be an awkward fit or potentially a bit compromised, and when added together to the cost of the F-14 themselves the comparable cost of, say, a modest up date to the existing F-4s (or even just buying cheap surplus F-4Js “freed up” by US Tomcats replacing then, as was actually done by the UK for additional land based F-4s after the Falklands War) while eying future options like F/A-18s or what emerges re: the Eurofighter/ Rafale programs or shifting to a Harrier II plus-equivalent force, becomes more attractive.
The only way I can see the UK getting Tomcats for a surviving CVA-01 program is if they go all in with the US Navy on the TFX/F-111B program from the start and only lease F-4s for a short period of time (similar to the RAAF) as a stopgap until the new fighters are ready. The when the F-111B goes belly up, they continue with VFX and get Tomcats
 

T. A. Gardner

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Or similarly for the UK to decide to buy F-14s to operate from the theoretically survived CVA-01.
The CVA-01 would need a lot of work, a lot of stuff would be an awkward fit or potentially a bit compromised, and when added together to the cost of the F-14 themselves the comparable cost of, say, a modest up date to the existing F-4s (or even just buying cheap surplus F-4Js “freed up” by US Tomcats replacing then, as was actually done by the UK for additional land based F-4s after the Falklands War) while eying future options like F/A-18s or what emerges re: the Eurofighter/ Rafale programs or shifting to a Harrier II plus-equivalent force, becomes more attractive.
The only way I can see the UK getting Tomcats for a surviving CVA-01 program is if they go all in with the US Navy on the TFX/F-111B program from the start and only lease F-4s for a short period of time (similar to the RAAF) as a stopgap until the new fighters are ready. The when the F-111B goes belly up, they continue with VFX and get Tomcats
I can't see the UK going that route. The F-14 is too much plane for their needs. The F-4 more than met RN requirements for a carrier fighter. The RN really never pushed the idea of having a missile armed, long-range, multi-target engagement fighter on their carriers like the USN did.

The USN had been pushing toward a long-range missile engagement type fighter since the early 50's. The F3D, F7U, F2H, F3H, and the like were all intended as all-weather fighters that would engage enemy air targets at the greatest range from the carrier possible. The F-14 was the culmination of that development line with the specialized AIM 54 missile and fire control system.
 
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