• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

F14 for the UK scenario

Michel Van

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Messages
4,509
Reaction score
490
Biggest Problems of F-14UK

To expensive and they needed Multi Role Combat Aircraft
means to use it as Bomber i can't imagine the F-14 in that role

Next to that the issue that UK want to use there Missile on F-14,
what means overwork on US combat electronic for compatibility (if it possible)

They even proposed F-14 to Germans
But they work on own Project the Multi Role Aircraft what became in the end the Panavia Tornado.
 

_Del_

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
485
Reaction score
125
Well, as others have noted, in my opinion also, there seems to be some insurmountable (mostly financial, partly politcal) hurdles to seeing either the super carrier or F-14 in RN service without some heavy revisionism.

Having said that, ... I can see a couple ways to somewhat plausibly get there, depending on how liberal we are with our "alternate" history.

First, perhaps a more aggressive Soviet Union with a larger and/or more advanced bomber fleet regularly menacing the approaches would have made made the prospect of procuring the F-14 more palatable to those writing the checks (or cheques, as it were). More emphasis on the navy and air defense and less on small numbers of expensive bombers. Maybe a world where the Soviets never leave Porkkala and who annexes Finland into their bloc -- maybe at the same time (1968) as the Czech occupation makes the Cold War seem less cold. 1968 would see the annexation of the Czechs and the Finns, the Tet offensive, violent protests in the UK over Vietnam, the assassinations in the US, France becoming a nuclear power and the general strikes there under CdG, Spanish blockade of Gibraltar, Hong Kong Flu. Doesn't take much to ratchet things up in that environment, perhaps putting the UK on the path to later procure the Tomcat (whose development started in earnest two years earlier in 1966 and is only two years away from taking to the skies) instead of starting down the Tornado ADV road alone (also started in 1968 shortly after the AFVG dies in 1967).

Also, i could possibly envision (somewhat perversely and counter -intuitively) a large economic contraction or crisis leaves the UK unable to continue to fund advanced aircraft development. Defense dollars are concentrated on ship building, and the UK is forced to import or license build foreign aircraft. Maybe the US is concerned enough to dramatically subsidize UK military procurement (especially if the hyper-aggressive Soviet scenario also holds true). Surely procuring aircraft for the UK to operate is cheaper for the US than operating a larger military themselves, and this reasoning continues to hold with US foreign aid practices.

But again, without taking some large liberties to our alternative history, it's hard to imagine an F-14 in service with the RN or RAF because the desire for "designed here, built here" is a real (and very legitimate) concern.
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,324
Reaction score
970
Thw basic problem is that the UK and Germany have Aeropace Industries.
A VG fighter/attacker aircraft is actively developed in France, Germany and UK during the 60s at the same time as F111 and F14.
The resulting Mirage 2000,(non VG) and Tornado programmes arw much more closely tailored to national programmes than the US aircraft. Furthermore, the F4 serves in the Luftwaffe and RAF in the fighter role.
Horse, dead flogging.
The RN version is pure fantasy, but it does at least correspond to what the RN could have asked for IF CVA01 had somehow been built. But then only if a UK or European VG was not available. But we know tbat AFVG designed for both RAF and RN use before 1966. If the UK had still had carriers after 1966, Tornado would have been a different plane. The German Navy had a land based maritime strike/recce version.
So it is this design that would have replaced F4s and Bucs on CVA01 in 1984.
The idea that the RN could get a Forrestal or build one never ran in real life. Unicorn land I am afraid.
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,806
Reaction score
560
I am completely baffled as to how Sea Phoenix would fit on Type 42s without the sort of elaborate midlife conversion in the 80s which had been ruled out for ships expected at that time to be replaced in the 90s by a UK variant of what became the NATO frigate 90.
There is a growing tendency in these posts to plonk weapons liked by posters into service without any realistic background to the decision.
No.
Sea Phoenix as NAAWS/FAMS alternative, as system easy to fit on something like NF-90....opposed by USN for fear it lures Congress away from Aegis.
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,806
Reaction score
560
If the UK had still had carriers after 1966, Tornado would have been a different plane.
True, and potentially a MRCA busting level of difference. Germany and Italy wouldn't want the weight/cost penalties of navalisation.
Only France and USN would be interested.....
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,324
Reaction score
970
Not clear to me who pays for Sea Phoenix and why we ditch a UK or Euripean solution..If we do that we might as well do what Spain and Norway did and have AEGIS.
Apart from undercart and more powerful engines and tailhook cant see a naval MRCA being any odder than Tornado ADV. AFVG might have come back after France gives up the G.
 

SSgtC

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
130
Reaction score
133
If the UK had still had carriers after 1966, Tornado would have been a different plane.
True, and potentially a MRCA busting level of difference. Germany and Italy wouldn't want the weight/cost penalties of navalisation.
Only France and USN would be interested.....
I doubt the USN would be interested. Not with the Tomcat already in the pipeline. Maybe as a carrier capable aggressor aircraft?
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,806
Reaction score
560
The Mirage G and Type 585 are virtually the ideal VG Fighter/Attack aircraft for French and British carriers for the period.
Though strictly the Type 583 is as close to perfect and superior to the F4 on such carriers. But this is down to the desire for twin engines (=more cost) and strictly the ideal engine never existed.

Ironic in that as a Starfighter successor the Mirage G/Type 585, is also more logical and affordable compared to the Tornado.

It's no surprise that the USSR opted for the Mig23 as a VG system and did seriously consider it for carriers.
 

lordroel

CLEARANCE: Restricted
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
25
All i can say that a F-14 in RN colors would be something to see.
 

The Artist

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2009
Messages
616
Reaction score
218
Just think of how those one-off commemorative Hornet paint schemes might have looked on the Tomcat.
 

lordroel

CLEARANCE: Restricted
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
25
I also heard that both Japan and West Germany where either candidates to buy the F-14, a German F-14 instead of the Tornado would also be cool.
 

apparition13

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
110
Reaction score
130
Biggest Problems of F-14UK

To expensive and they needed Multi Role Combat Aircraft
means to use it as Bomber i can't imagine the F-14 in that role
You can't imagine the "Bombcat"? F-14s did fine as attack and CAS aircraft in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was built into the requirement from the beginning.

The F-14 was meant to take over the light attack (CAS) mission from the A-7. Hence the F-14C. Until the navy got the F-18 shoved down their throat.

I doubt the USN would be interested. Not with the Tomcat already in the pipeline. Maybe as a carrier capable aggressor aircraft?
Not if the F-14C happens, but I can see it as an A-7 replacement in lieu of F-18s. And, since it was in production until the late 90s, something like a Tornado 2000 as an A-6 replacement when A-6F/A-12/A-X/AF-X wind up on the scrap heap. I'd much rather have AST-14s and ASF-14s, but I'd prefer F-14Ds/Supertomcats (with AIM-152s) and a naval Tornado 2K to bugs and superbugs.

There is a growing tendency in these posts to plonk weapons liked by posters into service without any realistic background to the decision.
I'm frustrated by the tendency to attack the premise of these alternative history scenarios rather than engaging with them. It's "no, that's totally unrealistic" right off the bat. Of course it's unrealistic, in an AH scenario. The point is to play around with more or less plausible consequences of the conjectured scenario happening. Pooh-poohing the premise is grabbing the ball and kicking it into the mean neighbor's yard because you don't want to play.
 

SSgtC

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
130
Reaction score
133
I'm frustrated by the tendency to attack the premise of these alternative history scenarios rather than engaging with them. It's "no, that's totally unrealistic" right off the bat. Of course it's unrealistic, in an AH scenario. The point is to play around with more or less plausible consequences of the conjectured scenario happening. Pooh-poohing the premise is grabbing the ball and kicking it into the mean neighbor's yard because you don't want to play.
See, I'm the exact opposite. I hate timelines that do that. Just because it's AH, that doesn't automatically mean it's unrealistic. The best TLs, in my opinion, are ones that are plausible and believable. The ones that ignore plausibility just because it's AH make me kinda cringe, then check out of the TL.
 

apparition13

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
110
Reaction score
130
See, I'm the exact opposite. I hate timelines that do that. Just because it's AH, that doesn't automatically mean it's unrealistic. The best TLs, in my opinion, are ones that are plausible and believable. The ones that ignore plausibility just because it's AH make me kinda cringe, then check out of the TL.
I'm saying what happens is people immediately jump to "it's unrealistic and I'm going to piss in your chips for four paragraphs telling you why" even when the scenario is plausible. Take this thread. The UK actually considered it as an air defense option. All the OP does is have the decision come down in favor of the F-14. "Sure, it costs a pretty penny, but it meets an urgent need, and we can't wait for an ADV of the Tornado so let's find the money" isn't that crazy an idea, especially if you put Speys in them. So why all the negativity? Has critical theory and deconstruction penetrated society so deeply that destructive criticism, rather than constructive criticism, or better yet constructive engagement, has become the default?

The UK buys F-14s and Tornado goes forward. That means no ADV, so does Saudi Arabia buy Mirage 4000s instead? Oh look, a Mirage 4000 goes into production scenario. What does that mean for Rafale, if M4k is in production? How about Typhoon?

What if, like I posited, MRCA dies on the vine? Would FRG consider CL1200/CL1600 if Lockheed showed up with a retrofit kit? How about Viggen? Similar role to Tornado, plus road basing as well. Would Sweden sell them if the knew they were to carry nukes? How about P530? If Northrop can get an independently designed fighter into production, might that mean we would see other commercially developed fighters rather than just state sponsored ones?

There's plenty of grist to chew on even if one thinks the idea implausible.

Flight, 7 April 1979 ...
Nice. I've read about the Tornado IDS for US and F-15 (or per this thread F-14) for UK "swap" before. It is another way forward for the scenario.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zen

apparition13

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
110
Reaction score
130
Much as the Air Staff (and the Admiralty) admired the F-14, it was Thirsty (required extra tanker support). Needy (more AEW support). Expensive (Phoenix being quoted at [pinkie to lips] ONE MILLION DOLLARS a pop.)

See Battle Flight for that story (and the F-15).

Chris
Thanks, just ordered it. Looking forward to reading it. I liked his bomber book.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zen

_Del_

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
485
Reaction score
125
I think 1968 is the perfect year to deviate because A) it's already a wild year B) AFVG dies in '67 C) same year that the MRA is born and F-111K is cancelled. D) F-14 is contracted and two years away

You need something to happen in 1968 which makes the UK decide they either cannot afford to wait on MRA/ADV development and/or that they cannot afford to develop a new air defense fighter. F-14 went to fleet in '74. ADV isn't going to be available for another decade (or more as it turned out)

Another wrinkle is instead if the F-111K order isn't cancelled in '67 or '68, does the Tornado requirement exist? Germany and Italy would have been happy with a smaller, shorter-range MRCA. UK drove the range requirement. Might Italy and Germany (and perhaps France) have developed a smaller aircraft, while the F-111K fills the interdiction role for the RAF? RAF still needs an interceptor in this scenario.

(And at the same time all this is happening McNamara is trying to shed the B-58's. If some perceived danger exists and a short timeline is necessary, I wonder if Britain might not accept the exceptional operations costs if the acquisition cost was zero under a lend/lease style agreement. They receive 100 airframes, and operate 30-50 while using the other remaining aircraft for as donors and a bank for attrition. Some combination of Aardvarks and/or Hustlers filling the high-speed medium bomber/interdiction/recce role and maybe used to further justify cutting the carriers. Means fewer V-bombers in service, and no Buccs for RAF [that order was another 1968 decision] and no MRCA participation. Offsets some of the operational costs... And as a deterrent, it's a lot more intimidating than the Buccs and Tornado that came later.

Just to get really "alternative" hehe.)
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,806
Reaction score
560
Hmmm.....

OR.346 saw the focus of effort on new AI set, FMICW was the solution. ISD expected at best 1972.
By the time AW.403 cancelled P1154 forced delay in progress but re-energised by AFVG to UKVG. Cancellation forced stop.

Resurrected for ADV MRCA as development tool for new all digital FMICW which became AI.24. Delays imposed by all this and new set resulted in huge delays to IOC for the AI.24 in ADV Tornado. Mid 1980's before operational.
A decade of delay.....
 
Last edited:

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,713
Reaction score
937
MRCA and F-111K dies then the RAF has a serious problem to have any kind of credible strike capability at all beyond the Jaguar for tactical support and tactical nuclear weapons use.
Buccaneer is only a stand in, yes its capable but against the kinds of threats everyone knew was coming in the 1980s it was clear something better was needed and not an airframe and weapons system designed a decade before the RAF brought it.

The seriously urgent need to get something for strike is the real killer to the F-14 scenario, because in 1970-80 the RAF is actually reasonably well equipped for fighters thanks to Phantom. The F-14K only solves some of the air defence problem, presumably some F-4Ms would still be needed to bulk up numbers for air defence, others could have gone back to the strike role, but again that's not a long term strike solution.

AFVG was a con trick, no more and no less, BAC desperately wanted a vehicle to keep its VG dreams alive but it was lip service thanks from the French for letting them drive Jaguar. Had BAC not completely balls up TSR.2 then its possible the government might have trusted them to do UKVG.

Nobody else had the drive to do MRCA. Dassault tinkered with the G series but the French could not afford it and stuck with Mirage IV. Germany and Italy tried V/STOL co-operation but that went nowhere in FW1262 and still needed British engines. You couldn't easily wire up US-nukes to a French airframe and the US industry would have pulled all the stops in making it very difficult for German to buy a French fighter (note the only French military jets they ever got were Magisters and Alpha Jets...). Also the UK and USA have by far the most advanced avionics in the world, France can't really compare. The US would pull out something from the bag, more F-4s, F-18L maybe even a bomb-truck F-15 earlier than F-15E. Buying French left nothing for FRG and Italian industry, they want to build airframes and engines, only a deal with the UK allows that. So really its a binary choice, cosy up to the UK and get a slice of a pie (even if its an aircraft not 100% suited), or buy something off the shelf from America.
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,324
Reaction score
970
The other problem with trying to ignore "real world" is that in the period you are trying to kill Tornado to get F14, both Grumman and the F14 were not too popular with their main customer, the US Government.
And I make no apology for saying again, alternate history is not fantasy. Otherwise you might as well have a thread saying the sale of the century in an alt world could have seen the Belgian, Danish, Dutch and Norwegian Air Forces operating Phoenix equipped F14s.
 

Bruno Anthony

I miss the Cold War
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
223
Reaction score
37
Another way of providing the RN with a Tomcat would be to have Boeing win the TFX contest with the design illustrated.
A successful TFX in the US Navy, whether GD or Boeing, would replace F4s and A6/A7s. This in turn gives the RN the fighter/attacker they wanted for CVA01 with less risk than the UK designs.
A successful TFX depends on what it is being successful at. If you mean it’s role as a Fleet Air Defense Fighter(like Missileer or the far less capable Phantom) that’s one thing, but the VFAX requirement stated that TFX would not be used in the “other fighter roles” or air combat. You would still get a likely replacement for the F-8 along with TFX.
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,806
Reaction score
560
The F14 solves the Bomber Destroyer mission for the RAF. Operating over the North Sea and Norwegian Sea and with the USN in these areas.
So while there might be an argument for it in Norwegian service, not much strength to it for Belgium, Germany and the Dutch. Were the F16 was much more a multirole solution.

Incidentally access to AWG.9 and AIM-54 was not only the chief element of the F14 desired by the RAF, but in SAM form delivers a solution to the MSAM need for Army and Navy without having to fund a completely new SAM.

It is correct to say it's not a strong scenario and it would seem that the recovery of Iranian F14s is strongest for the Canadians.

However it was seriously considering several times by the UK. So this was not completely fictional.
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,324
Reaction score
970
I am sorry Zen this whole Phoenix for the UK is exactly.what I mean by fantasy.
The US didnt bother with the SAM version, despite it being pitched at their CVNs which were already operating Phoenix equipped F14s.
Furthermore the UK has Sparrow equipped F4s and then Skyflash equipped Tornados and Amraam Typhoons..
The USN ditches F14/Phoenix for F18/Amraam as soon as it decently can. The USAF who have a serious CONUS and rest of world air defence role dont touch it with a bargepole
Oh and while we are at it BAC583 becomes AFVG becomes UKVG like the Ford Cortina goes from.Mk1 to Mk2 in the 60s. Noone in 1968 is going to buy it.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,679
Reaction score
1,233
About F-14 for JASDF: Grumman partner for the deal was one of the top ten Japanese kereitsu at that time, with the name of Ataka.


For some reasons I can't explain, that peculiar Japanese company went into some kind of "aeronautics spree"
- Grumman partner for JASDF F-14 Tomcats
- Dassault partner for Falcon 20 in Japan
- Beagle (not the dog, the British light aircraft maker)
And on top of that (fasten your seat belts !)
...
When the Boeing 2707-300 SST was canned by Congress in March 1971, the company made a daring proposal to... take it over ! No kidding. Alas, the offer was not entirely serious.

In the end Ataka was ruined by some ill-placed investments and went under...
 

SSgtC

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
130
Reaction score
133
The other problem with trying to ignore "real world" is that in the period you are trying to kill Tornado to get F14, both Grumman and the F14 were not too popular with their main customer, the US Government.
And I make no apology for saying again, alternate history is not fantasy. Otherwise you might as well have a thread saying the sale of the century in an alt world could have seen the Belgian, Danish, Dutch and Norwegian Air Forces operating Phoenix equipped F14s.
Exactly! Ignoring the real world and the political factors in play makes for bad alt history.
 

Fluff

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Sep 9, 2019
Messages
210
Reaction score
93
The other problem with trying to ignore "real world" is that in the period you are trying to kill Tornado to get F14, both Grumman and the F14 were not too popular with their main customer, the US Government.
And I make no apology for saying again, alternate history is not fantasy. Otherwise you might as well have a thread saying the sale of the century in an alt world could have seen the Belgian, Danish, Dutch and Norwegian Air Forces operating Phoenix equipped F14s.
Exactly! Ignoring the real world and the political factors in play makes for bad alt history.
Ok try this, USA and ussr trade one nuclear strike, call it quits, declare Europe a free zone, the ussr puppet states attack Western Europe, without the soviet army, but soviet kit is loaned to them, so they have bears, badgers etc, and do hunt shipping, bringing lend lease m60 and m113 over, so U.K., Belgium Dutch do get a lend lease on 2 sqn f14 to hunt them Down.

fell free to complain that my AH is too A.
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,324
Reaction score
970
US and Sovs trade one nuc strike: er by accident or because they want to make the N Atlantic glow in the dark.
The USSR puppet states (presumably E Germany, Poland, Czechs etc) attack Western Europe on their own: When BAOR, the Bundeswehr, the Danish Home Guard have finished giving them all soup and handing out blankets they all apply for asylum.
Polish and E German badgers and bears crowd up on runways from Bodo to Lossiemouth while crews get mess tickets.
The US already has enough kit stored in Europe from.the 60s on to equip a Corps with M60s et al
otherwise as sensible as some other alts here. So I like your style.
 

_Del_

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
485
Reaction score
125
The other problem with trying to ignore "real world" is that in the period you are trying to kill Tornado to get F14, both Grumman and the F14 were not too popular with their main customer, the US Government.
In '68 it's all smiles. The only thing I can think of is the E-2 reliability issues at introduction years earlier. But they've got C-2, E-2, A-6, and EA-6 contracts all running pretty smoothly in 1968.
Controversy doesn't really start dogging the Tomcat program until late '71 when the decision to buy more A's and delay the B's -- along with the ballooning unit cost because instead of 700+ B's planned under the 1971 contract plan, it's now less than half that of A's.

Something as simple as deciding to stick with the F-111K, much as Australia did, kills the Tornado. Australia begins receiving F-111's in 1968, right when AFVG dies and the UK starts looking at MRA/ADV with the eventual Panavia partners.


I don't think it's terribly far fetched. UK was content enough to actually order an F-111 with anglicized innards in '66 after it killed the TSR-2. Retiring large numbers of the remaining V-bombers and killing the RAF Bucc buy pays for the F-111's.

You just need an external circumstance to convince them they other can't afford UKVG/MRCA development, or that they need the capability faster than it will become available that route. Something as simple as Germany and Italy deciding they don't need/want something as large and expensive as the Tornado to replace their Starfighters would kill UKVG.
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,324
Reaction score
970
I was thinking of the 70s rather than 1968 so thanks for clarifying that.
Tornado ADV is very much a 70s creation, as has been pointed out above, when the RAF decides it needs a Skyflash carrier and better radar than F4, which until then had been its designated Lightning successor.
Killing off Tornado as an RAF strike programme needs a bigger order than 50 F111K. The US concentrates on "not a pound for air to ground" on F14 and F15. UKVG which is multi role and provides a lifeline for BAC is going to beat F111 from 1968 even without collaboration. In 1970 you get a Tory Government which even flirted with bringing back TSR2 (albeit fleetingly) so UKVG survives the Germans sticking with F4s.
Frankly the only way the RAF gets the F14 is in 1980 if the Reagan administration gives them to us! One problem there arent any going spare.
 

_Del_

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
485
Reaction score
125
TSR-2 fought off the F-111 for awhile, but ultimately succumbed. My understanding (which I freely admit is less than comprehensive on the subject, so by all means, feel free to jump in) is that when the French left AFVG (1967), the resulting UKVG was in dire straights ($) and needed international partners, hence joining MRA (1968). I don't think going it alone with BAC results in a better scenario than TSR-2. Just not enough money, not that BAC was incapable.

The F-111 order was supposed to start phasing out the V-bombers while waiting for AFVG. If UKVG/MRA hits a deadend as did AFVG, and you already have a fleet of F-111's then the logical choice to fill out your strike fleet is going to be more F-111's. And by 1972, it potentially fills an EW role, too.

Still leaves the RAF without an advanced interceptor... VFX and the Phoenix are the hottest things in the pipeline. FX doesn't reach down select to the Eagle until the end of 1969. VFX is set and has a greenlight forward already.
Could lean on additional Phantoms, I guess and hope for another international partner for a semi-indigenous interceptor, but the UK-driven ADV version never found one. Italy was a MRCA partner, but never got involved in ADV until the 90's. Italy and Germany primarily wanted to replace the Starfighter's as a strike/recce platform. You could delay and wait for FX or VFX to produce fruit having watched Australia getting burned by the F-111 shifting timelines. Or jump on the VFX which is about to cut metal with a planned run of 700 airframes.

There's a slim window there where if UKVG dies on the vine, the UK is left with unattractive choices to make. One of which might be piggybacking on the Navy's Tomcat/VFX program.

Once MRCA is started in earnest, I'd agree that the window pretty well closes unless the US drops them in their lap because of some external circumstance(s). 1968 sees a lot of major (related) decisions being made. UKVG decision. MRA decision. VFX go ahead decision. Etc. If there's going to be an RAF Tomcat, that's where the "alternate" history needs to happen.
 
Last edited:

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,324
Reaction score
970
_Del I admire your enthusiasm..But in 1968 the UK only sees the long range interceptor through the prism of work done on AFVG.
MRCA stsrts life as a single seater for FRG and IT. Germany looks at F15 and F14 and then decides F4 is sufficient for its needs and thst two seater is best to replace Luftwaffe and Marineflieger F104s
The UK like Germany decides F4 meets its fighter requirement. Backfires in the 70s change the game.
I suppose if Backfires had come along a decade earlier the RAF might have looked at F14 but BAC had already studied VG designs and would have put foward MRCA ADV earlier.
I always wondered why the Germans didnt go with F15 instead of F4. But by 1968 even W Germany was worried about budgets.
MRCA (the wool bearing egg laying sow) has a storm of critics in Germany but the other options always come out dearer.
 

_Del_

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
485
Reaction score
125
I'm with you on most of this. I'm simply saying that if Italy and Germany decide what they really need and can afford for strike/recce Starfighter-replacement looks more like the Jaguar (already available) and less like the more expensive UKVG, for example, I don't see a way forward for UKVG.
Historically, Germany doesn't buy F-4's until after they are hitched to MRCA because they need an interim type as MRCA is 10-15 years out. Absent that, perhaps they would become interested in the F-15. Just like absent a viable path (multi-national partnerships) for UKVG, maybe UK has interest in an alternative.
Conversely, if the UK decides after receiving the F-111 that it does just fine to fill the strike role, maybe that buy is simply expanded instead of embarking on a multidecade international partnership to get essentially the same capabilities.
Either way, would mean UKVG ends early and the air defense requirement still exists.
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,324
Reaction score
970
Even with all of the above, the F4 buy for the RN/RAF rather than MRCA is the obstacle to an alternative. It meets the fighter requirement until the 80s.
The RAF will have to replace Vulcans, Bucs etc from 1980 whatever type is chosen. MRCA was the cheapest solution. A US option (F111 or?) uses scarce Dollars and trashes BAC.
Tornado ADV is the cheap way of meeting the Backfire threat. F14 has to be a giveaway to beat a UK/Euro solution. But the US production line is tight by then. The Iranian F14s still have to be paid for by someone. Canada has a more urgent need than UK.
 

apparition13

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
110
Reaction score
130
The seriously urgent need to get something for strike is the real killer to the F-14 scenario, because in 1970-80 the RAF is actually reasonably well equipped for fighters thanks to Phantom. The F-14K only solves some of the air defence problem, presumably some F-4Ms would still be needed to bulk up numbers for air defence, others could have gone back to the strike role, but again that's not a long term strike solution.
Why so much resistance to Buccs with TFR and all weather strike avionics? Or if you really don't want the Bucc, F-111F shows up in 1970, and is what the F-111 was meant to be in the first place. All the kinks worked out, 10000 pounds more thrust, what's not to like? As does the A-6E. Both are available a decade before MRCA, and each is the fully mature version of the model.
The US concentrates on "not a pound for air to ground" on F14 and F15.
"Not a pound for air to ground" is USAF and F-15. It is not F-14. Attack was build into the F-14 requirements. It's what the F-14C was meant to do. USN vision for 1980s was an air wing of A-6s and F-14s, and that's it for fighters and attack. The F-14 was going to replace both F-4 and A-7 before F-18 got forced on them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zen

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,324
Reaction score
970
The Fin as Tornado became known in the RAF was simply the right answer to the RAF requirements at the right price. The Germans and Italians seemed happy enough with theirs.
Yes, improved Buccaneers could have been ordered to replace the planned TSR2/P1154 force rather than Jaguars and Harriers. The Buc could probably have been a good MRCA substitute, better in some roles even. But ultimately Tornado gave the RAF a strike and interceptor force in the 80s.
The US types you mention were not designed for the RAF even if you were right about F14. Seems odd thst the USN has been operating an all F18 force for some time (starting with Midway and Coral Sea) and the USAF and Marines both rejected F14.
 
Top