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How could the RAF have used the Hawker P1121?

uk 75

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One of the most popular British designs with What-iffers is the Hawker P1121. Although it is outside my usual RAF in the 70s beat, I have been impressed by the enthusiasm this plane arouses. It is certainly a looker, in the best Camm traditions.

However, it does not seem to fit into the RAF's operational line up. As an export plane for Hunter and later Mirage customers it might have been a winner, but how might the RAF have been persuaded to take it on? (I realise that this usually sparks discussion of the Sandys 1957 decisions, but as these are well covered elsewhere, could I ask for focus on the 1121?)
 

JFC Fuller

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Within the force structure that was adopted, it has to be instead of the RAF Phantom order. If you get more imaginative and abandon VSTOL then it could also be a Hunter FGA9 replacement, obviously with appropriate avionics and weapons (for the "instead of Phantom" version this is a big deal). The idea of the UK acquiring P.1121 is actually not that absurd, it would just require the dumping of the Phantom, P.1154 or both and the resultant shift in capabilities that would entail.


And finally; Sandys, Sandys, Sandys, Sandys, Sandys, Sandys, Sandys...
 

zen

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Well the first and obvious line is for Fighter operations with a secondary Attack role. That seems the bent of Hawkers work on this, though of course they did Strike variants as well.
RAF could perhaps have opted for this instead of a further purchase of Lightnings around I seem to reccal reading 1960, which was the time expected for Hawkers to fly the prototype. In this a twin seater with a 30 inch dish AI.23 with room for the illuminator provides a more FAW type machine than the Lightning, though even a single seater so configured would be of use.
In fact my gut instinct says the costs of even a machine fitted with the same systems as the Lightning bar the engine is likely to still be easier and cheaper to maintain.
Longer term the option of using 'blow' over the wing and the carridge of a strike store would, if the RAF relaxed the V/STOL requirement to a modest degree of STOL allow a variant to perform the MRI mission instead of the P.1154. In fact the earlier OR.339 offering(s) get to the 600nm ROA. Clearly superior to the Jaguar in terms of straightline speed, and likely cheaper to run than a Phantom II.
So one could see a something alone the lines of :-
160 FAW, starting with an initial order for say 70. As such an unofficial successor the Javeline.
150 FGR. This as an alternative to the P1154 'Harrier', the Phantom II and Jaguar.
And we could go further and even speculate on the number for the main TSR.2 role. But that depends on the costings and the numbers bought for the other roles.
A naval option is possible, but it does pose a number of problems. One is simply length as even with a nosefold its too long to fit down the lifts on RN CVs (though not the future CVA-01). A change of lifts to get the required length is one option, a more complex one to fold the machine behind the cockpit (though do-able due to the location of the 'nosegear' under the inlet).
Big question there is costings and in what enviroment do they exist, alone, or with the RAF purchasing large numbers of it?
Sandys as such did'nt kill this, RAF sources had actualy encouraged Hawkers to continue the development of the P1103 from which the P1121 was derived. But after Sandys the hostility to the P.1121 seems to increase among some sections, who correctly viewed as a less superlative performer than the P1103 which was'nt upto F155T (are they still fixated on that I wonder?), so in 1958 Hawkers board cuts the funding of the prototype. They still try to interest the RAF in 1960 with an offering to GOR.339 as a cheaper option and a purely Hawkers one to parallel their collaborative and more substantial work with Avro.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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The OR department privately felt P.1121 was far short of what they needed, which was a dedicated interceptor (to shoot down supersonic Soviet bombers armed with nuclear weapons) or a tactical bomber with nuclear weapons to drop on the Soviets. The P.1121 was aimed at a limited regional war multi-purpose fighter requirement that Sir Thomas Pike was in favour of, but which never materialised - it simply came second to the stuff designed for imminent nuclear war and the avoidance thereof.


They did not share their feelings with Camm, as they were very concerned that budget cuts would end both F155T and Canberra replacement programs, and P.1121 was a potential fallback being developed at no cost to the government.


Essentially Hawker were being strung along. Camm felt he was on the right track, while privately OR were lambasting the P.1121 for being a jack-of-all-trades and master of none in internal memos.


It would take a major policy shift to see P.1121 in service. Perhaps if Lightning had been a total failure at an early stage, it could have been built instead. The time it was viable (1956-1959) was too focused on other defence priorities. Where is the role of P.1121 under MAD? By the mid/late 50s the idea of defending the UK airspace had been largely abandoned - the only purpose of air defence was to protect the V bomber bases. P.1121 would not have been any greater deterrent to Soviet aggression than the Lightning - better to invest the money in SAGW or more nukes.


By the time NATO strategies changed to where flexible fighters looked useful, P.1121 was obsolete. If it had been built instead of Lightning, I imagine there could have been a Mark II with better radar/missiles instead of the Phantom, and dedicated strike versions, but it would more likely have shared the fate of the Century fighters with a brief heyday soon eclipsed by the superlative F-4 Phantom.
 

JFC Fuller

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overscan said:
The OR department privately felt P.1121 was far short of what they needed, which was a dedicated interceptor (to shoot down supersonic Soviet bombers armed with nuclear weapons) or a tactical bomber with nuclear weapons to drop on the Soviets. The P.1121 was aimed at a limited regional war multi-purpose fighter requirement that Sir Thomas Pike was in favour of, but which never materialised - it simply came second to the stuff designed for imminent nuclear war and the avoidance thereof.

Precisely, it simply does not meet the requirements of either F155T or GOR339, a more credible line of thought is that it becomes a Hunter FGA-9 replacement instead of the P.1154 (and ultimately Harrier and Jaguar) and/or is acquired instead of the Phantom. But as you say, the Phantom was superlative.
 

zen

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However, the Phantom is decided for by the RN in what? '63 (I forgetnot having my resources immediately to hand) and for the RAF in '65 with the cancelation of the P1154.
So IF (and we must stress that) Hawkers can get the P1121 selected as the RAF MRI delivery system in place of the more 'advanced' and 'risky' P1154, then its likely the Phantom won't be ordered for that role, nor the Jaguar if the aircraft is any good at it.
That of course means the RAF dropping its V/STOL requirement, or leaving it for the subsonic and shorter ranged P1127. Which is of course what they had to do in the end.
In theory. There maybe a degree of commonality, if the P1121 is powered by the OL.22R and using developments of the AIRPASS AI.23, with the TSR.2 on the one hand, Lightning on another, and Buccaneer on a third.
 

JFC Fuller

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We should consider the Phantom as only ever being an interim type in the FGA9/FR10 replacement role, it was the 1966 defence white paper (only a year after the announcement that the Phantom had been selected) that officially announced that the Phantom would replace the Lightning when the Jaguar replaced the Phantom in the strike role.^ In addition, only 70 of the 118 purchased were ever tasked with the strike role and they were never cleared for WE.177- we also know that the RAF first looked at the Phantom in January 1964 when the P.1154 programme was still very much alive. Healy also stated in Parliament that the original UK requirement for AFVG was for it to be a replacement for the Lightning in the interceptor role with an in service date of 1977 but by May 6th 1966 the UK had changed its mind and decided that instead the AFVG could/would become a strike aircraft to supplement F-111 in the strike role.* In the end the Phantom's spent just 5 years in the strike role and had all assumed the fighter role by 1973/4. Which of course underlines the fact that there was a clear requirement for a Lightning replacement to enter service in the mid-70s and with the (perhaps inevitable) failure of AFVG it seems almost inconceivable that that replacement would not be the Phantom if that timeline was to be met.

Consequently, 9 Lightning Squadrons became 7 Phantom and 2 Lightning Squadrons (it had been planned to raise a third prior to the Nott review) in the fighter role whilst 6 Hunter FGA9 and 2 Hunter FR10 squadrons became 8 Jaguar squadrons at its peak (a ninth was at least considered around 1977 as part of a white paper) and the 4 Harrier (prior to the amalgamation of the 3 RAFG squadrons into 2 RAFG squadrons- still with 36 aircraft total) within an enhanced strike command. Clearly there are two requirements, one to replace the Hunter FGA9/FR10, which was the most immediate, and a second to replace the Lightning in the fighter role. Relatively simple derivatives of the P.1121 could have fulfilled both these requirements, the former if V/STOL is sacrificed and the latter if some measure of A2A capability is sacrificed. On the most optimistic assessment there is a requirement for 3-400 airframes for the RAF across both requirements. However, as stated above, the Phantom was superlative.

*Then there is the requirement for a larger strike platform to replace the Canberra (and provide the all weather independent navigation capability that was originally wanted from the Canberra but never delivered) in both the strike and recce roles that started out as TSR2, then became 110 x F-111, then morphed into 50 x F-111 supplementing 50 surviving Vulcans to 1975 (when AFVG would replace the Vulcans) and finally became Buccaneers (5/6 squadrons), recce Canberras (3, later 2, squadrons) and surviving Vulcans (in 7, and later 6, Squadrons) until Tornado entered service as something of a panacea (11 IDS squadrons)- also killing the 2 remaining Lightning squadrons and 3 of the UK based Phantom squadrons in its ADV form (leaving 2 in RAFG and 2 in the UK for replacement by EFA, with the UK air defence fleet grew to 9 squadrons) but ultimately leaving the Canberra to soldier on until 2006 as the PR.9 was moved into the CASTOR programme which got turned into ASTOR.

^As a Hunter replacement the Phantom was phenomenal, the combination of the Ferranti INAS interfaced with the Ferranti license produced AN/AWG-12 fire-control radar along with the EMI reconnaissance pod (when it worked), the later integration of Skyflash (and possibly the abandoned QC434 and Skyflash Mk 2 programmes) and the planned but never executed integration of the WE.177C made for an outstanding tactical fighter aircraft. If all 150 had been procured, and not been diverted to replace the Lightning, RAF Germany would have had at least 5 Squadrons (there were 5 RAFG Jaguar Squadrons)- potentially 7 if enough aircraft had been procured (the originally desired 200?) to replace the two RAFG Lightning Squadrons that were in reality replaced with the Phantom; such a force would have been a most formidable component of NATO's European presence. Indeed the use of the Jaguar as a replacement for the type was something of a reduction in capability in that a radar was removed from the equation- as was the A2A capability and the recce pod used by the Jaguar was smaller and less capable.
 

uk 75

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Gentlemen

May I begin by thanking you for the usual high quality input which has really given my a
lot of valuable information and opinions.

I think I agree that 1121 was probably closer to the Ground Attack requirement than the Fighter role. The RAF had Lightning, and of course also the Javelin, which was its all weather interceptor until the mid 60s.

The Hunter FGA was such an excellent aircraft that it is often argued that it could have served (at least in the Out of NATO area) until the early 70s.

Perhaps the aircraft that should have been built was neither 1121 nor 1154 VSTOL, but a purely STOL version of the 1154, with either Medway or Spey engines? This could have been a flexible platform that could have been developed into the 70s. A sort of Super Jaguar..

I agree with the praise for the Phantom, though the UK could have had the versions used by the Germans and Israelis rather than the Spey engines?

But sticking to 1121, I think it would have been a fine aircraft for the 60s in the roles you describe.
 

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It's because it couldn't that it didn't.

From mid-1956 policy was that Fighter Command was to be reduced to MBF Main Base buy-time, and RAFG interceptors to wave-off/policing: Lightnings. Hordes of RF-overseas Venom mud-movers would not be replaced 1-for-1 (Sandys implemented, more than formed Policy). Evidently no-one told Camm, who took 1121 to mock-up, in part because no other follow-on to Hunter F.6 was in sight, despite prolific schemes. If DH, on Gyron, had been disposed to spend on an installation development exercise, alongside HSAL's Board spending to bring a shell-prototype towards flight, then...the selection of ex-F.6 Hunters to be the mud-mover might not have happened. But only might. Could a Minister have justified selling off the F.6s to buy a wholly new type with merely an incremental capability?

In truth HSAL's Board should have stopped HAL spending on 1121 until/unless a Customer hove into view.
 

JFC Fuller

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uk 75 said:
I think I agree that 1121 was probably closer to the Ground Attack requirement than the Fighter role. The RAF had Lightning, and of course also the Javelin, which was its all weather interceptor until the mid 60s.

Agreed, in fact I retract my earlier suggestion about P.1121 instead of Phantom, in reality it is difficult to see how it could have been competitive for an early-mid 70s fighter requirement. Ken, as always, hit the nail on the head, though we should not forget the RAFG fighter requirement in addition to the UK air defence requirement. P.1121 instead of P.1154 is entirely viable, especially with a Conway or Medway- of course that requires the abandonment of VSTOL amongst other little tweaks to history.

The Hunter FGA was such an excellent aircraft that it is often argued that it could have served (at least in the Out of NATO area) until the early 70s.

Now lets not get carried away, the Hunter did the job, but it had no built in navigation capability (navigation was achieved using the pilots eyes, a paper map on his knee and a stop watch in the cockpit) and virtually no weapons aiming capability beyond the gun sight and ECKO ranging radar. Compare that to the NAVWASS system in the Harrier and Jaguar and the Ferranti INAS in the RAF Phantoms. Or for that matter to the very comprehensive system installed in the much earlier F-105 Thunderchief.
 

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overscan said:
Essentially Hawker were being strung along.
Pretty much the heart of the subject for me - the amount of encouragement they got to keep going at it from people who were privately only mildly interested was astounding. HAL were rather naive to keep it going quite so far but it is understandable why they did so.
 

zen

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Once again its all a matter of the specifics, of which without such we cannot construct a path through history for the P1121. Too many variables.
So until that is nailed down to a specific scenario it would be utterly missleading to pretend there is 'no option' or 'one option'.
 

JFC Fuller

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uk 75 said:
Perhaps the aircraft that should have been built was neither 1121 nor 1154 VSTOL, but a purely STOL version of the 1154, with either Medway or Spey engines? This could have been a flexible platform that could have been developed into the 70s. A sort of Super Jaguar..

I agree with the praise for the Phantom, though the UK could have had the versions used by the Germans and Israelis rather than the Spey engines?

As a Hunter replacement the Phantom F-4M was phenomenal, the combination of the Ferranti INAS interfaced with the Ferranti license produced AN/AWG-12 fire-control radar along with the EMI reconnaissance pod (when it worked), the later integration of Skyflash (and possibly the abandoned QC434 programme) and the planned but never executed integration of the WE.177C made for an outstanding tactical fighter aircraft. If all 150 had been procured, and not been diverted to replace the Lightning, RAF Germany would have had at least 5 Squadrons (there were 5 RAFG Jaguar Squadrons)- potentially 7 if enough aircraft had been procured (the originally desired 200?) to replace the two RAFG Lightning Squadrons as well (they were in reality replaced with the Phantom as a result of the decision to use the phantom to replace the Lightning); such a force would have been a most formidable component of NATO's European presence. Indeed the use of the Jaguar as a replacement for the type was something of a reduction in capability in that a radar was removed from the equation- as was the A2A capability and the recce pod used by the Jaguar was smaller and less capable.
 

zen

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As a Hunter replacement, the F4 was monsterously expensive, heavy and complex.
An improvement in maintenence issues as far as the engines go compared to the Lightning.
 

JFC Fuller

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zen said:
As a Hunter replacement, the F4 was monsterously expensive, heavy and complex.
Comes with the territory of capability enhancement. As a weapons delivery platform the Hunter FGA9 was barely more advanced than a 1944 Typhoon whilst the Phantom (which was also truly multirole) and Jaguar which followed were a quantum leap, the P.1154 would have been equally so.
 

zen

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Oh indeed so.


But it does come down to cost for capability.
 

zen

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Which presumes the requirement is correct.


One rather gets the impression some think UK requirements are flawed.
 

JFC Fuller

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zen said:
One rather gets the impression some think UK requirements are flawed.

Which ones? There have been many. I think we can all agree that the Hunter FGA9 was not a credible platform for central Europe in the 1970s.
 

zen

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How leading a question is that sealordlawrence?
And where did you get the inference that I was talking of the Hunter?
 

JFC Fuller

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zen said:
How leading a question is that sealordlawrence?
And where did you get the inference that I was talking of the Hunter?

You appear to have misunderstood my comment, perhaps if you were to expand beyond one line we might have a better idea of what you are getting at.
 

uk 75

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Gentlemen

You have added some interesting info. The nub of the problem seems to be to follow the RAF ground attack requirement process.

As I have it, the Hunters were converted from fighter duties to replace Venoms (?). The P1154 was supposed to replace the Hunters in 1970. This seems reasonable, but assumes that the 1154 could be delivered in time. The requirement for 1154 was initially split between UK (2sqns), RAFG (2 sqns), Middle East (2sqns) and Far East ( 2sqns). P1121 could have met these needs?
 

JFC Fuller

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uk75,


The answer is the same as it was before, if the RAF abandoned the V/STOL requirement (and we avoided all the politics-inc international- surrounding VSTOL) and set an OR with the correct range/payload curve, there is absolutely no reason why a variant of the P.1121 could not have been the Hunter FGA-9/FR-10 replacement. I am sure that the airframe could have taken a nav-attack system similar to the one outlined for the P.1154 and the EMI recce pod developed for the Phantom could have been carried too.


If we really want to go back in history and the suggestion that the Olympus be deleted from the military programme after the Mk1 variants of the V-bomber were procured then TSR-2 would have almost certainly ended up with a Medway derivative that could then also have been used in our P.1121 variant. Of course that takes us well off the beaten track.
 
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uk 75

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Sealord

I agree with you but there is an interesting duality in the Hunter replacement process.

Unlike the Hunter, its successor is expected to be able to carry a single nuclear weapon and deliver it. This requirement survives even the move to Flexible Response.

Out of area, the need is much closer to the original Hunter. A cannon equipped close support aircraft with a light rocket or bomb armament to be used in Oman or Malaysia. This is what I had in mind when I said that the Hunter could have survived into the 70s in some roles.

The RAF ends up using a mix of 1127RAFs and F4s and then 1127 Harriers and Jaguars for this job.

As you say the whole VSTOL, NATO nuclear response requirement has to be dropped for 1121 to be reasonable. However, even then is not a conventional 1154 variant (or a UK Jaguar) a better bet?
 

JFC Fuller

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Not really, we are once again over-egging the Hunter and ignoring the size shrinkage of the nuclear weapons available to the RAF. The Hunter replacement aircraft clearly had to have a credible nav-attack system (they are needed for conventional strikes to) and an element of defensive electronic systems- so a radar warning receiver. In addition the aircraft would almost certainly have to be supersonic. From a survivability perspective the assumption appears to have been that the Soviet client states would get 95% of what the WarPac forces would get. Furthermore, carrying a WE177 was considerably less arduous than dragging around Red Beard, in fact WE177 was only about 1,000lbs meaning that its carriage had only a limited effect on the aircrafts design (mostly related to wiring and cockpit layout); see carriage by both the Jaguar and Sea Harrier. The primary driver in the aircrafts complexity and weight would have been unrelated to the nuclear role. Whilst it is of course absolutely true that the Hunter replacement had to carry a small nuclear weapon (in large part to offset the 50% cut in the size of 2nd TAF- RAFG from 1959- that came out of the 1957 White Paper), it is not necessarily the case that this decision became a major driving force behind the aircrafts design.

The RAF, in typical fashion, ended up using whatever was available for the out of Europe role- but the vast majority of both the Harrier and Jaguar fleets were deployed to RAFG (3/2 and 5 squadrons respectively). The Hunter FGA-9 was absolutely developed to replace the Venom, but the relative lack of advancement between the two (The Hunter only really added some marginal range, speed and payload enhancements) meant that obsolescence arrived quite rapidly.
 

JFC Fuller

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For me there is one major outstanding question relating to the Hunter FGA-9/FR10 replacement in its P.1154 guise and that is what exactly the fighter capability of the type would have been. Harriers website mentions that the aircraft was to carry Red Top and BSP states that a 21 inch version of the AI23 would have been used. I assume it wouldhave been interfaced with the Ferranti INAS which later made it onto the Phantom and Harrier; according to BAe/McDonnell Douglas Harrier by Andy Evans the INAS was 'one of the major items received' from the P.1154 project. However, 21 inches makes for a diminutive radar, by comparison even the puny variant in the Lightning was 24 inches whilst the Phantom had 32 inches! It is true that in the Lightning some fancy things were done by integrating the radar into the auto-pilot (AI-23B) and even more fancy integration was considered, a fully auto-attack system was apparently test flown though never put into production despite a £1.4 million investment, there was a datalink as well. I am also assuming that the AI-23 variant used would have been the Ferranti AIRPASS Mk2 that Ferranti was marketing in the early 60s and I believe was specified for export Lightnings as well as being offered with some other European aircraft of the time (did it ever make into RAF Lightnings?) as it was designed as a multirole radar (was first shown publicly in 1962).* However, it still seems that for an aircraft entering service in 1970ish the small AI23 and Red Top combination would be dubious (Seeing as this is an alternative history thread we can now see a path to the proposed Mk 2 Red Top mentioned in BSPIV?, possibly even a Blue Dolphin version with the Marconi XJ.521 from Skyflash?).


* http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1960/1960 - 1430.html?search=Ferranti AIRPASS Mk 2
 
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zen

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Swedes did look at AIRPASS for the Drakken if I reccal my reading. Would be interesting to read their opinions on that. 21 inches does seem a retrograde step in diameter, raises questions over why?



Could P1121 have met RAF needs? In theory yes.
In practice the prototype never flew so if there is some basic flaw in the aerodynamics or structure that was never revealed.
There would be a potential issue with FOD, due to the inlet location, but nothing that cannot be overcome, and the location of the 'nosewheel' somewhat helps.


Maingear is more of a problem, and to my mind easiest resolved by a move to podding it on the wing. As is the gear doors conflicted with the inner part of the flaps when lowered. A cutout of the flaps was the simple solution, but must have had consequences for their effectiveness.



There seems the space for the electronics, and if anything it seems theoretically easier to access various components than say in a Lightning.


If one assumes the AIRPASS II developments, and the Olympus engine, as I said previously this represents a degree of commonality with the Lightning, Buccaneer and TSR.2.
One might assume other commonalities, such as the wide band homers used on the Buccaneer.
That is not to be sniffed at as adding a brand new aircraft with completely different systems is a far more costly proposition. Even when its already in production by a friendly state.
 

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zen said:
Swedes did look at AIRPASS for the Drakken if I reccal my reading. Would be interesting to read their opinions on that. 21 inches does seem a retrograde step in diameter, raises questions over why?
AIRPASS MkII was offered for export Drakkens and the Mirage III. The small diameter of the radar antennae being proposed for the RAF version of the P.1154 is what makes question how effective it would have been at the F part of the FGA designation.

That is not to be sniffed at as adding a brand new aircraft with completely different systems is a far more costly proposition. Even when its already in production by a friendly state.
Really? The Phantom was already designed and developed, the Spey was to be used on the Nimrod and Buccaneer anyway and INAS had to be developed irrespective of the chosen platform, the only headline system left then is the radar and the AWG-12 was a relatively simple development of the existing US AWG-10. The Phantom had already been chosen by the RN and if the original totals for the two services are combined (143 and 150) they reach nearly 300 (some say 200 were originally desired by the RAF) making it the largest single type purchase the UK made between the Hunter and the Tornado- some impressive commonality. And as you say, the P.1121 never even flew in prototype form so who knows what development problems it may have hit. Lets also not forget that the Phantom was the outstanding aircraft of its generation.

I must admit that I like the idea of a Medway (entirely plausible, at the time that it was decided to proceed with Vulcan & Victor Mk2 it was also decided to remove the Olympus from the military programme- it was only retained because BS offered a low cost fixed price deal; removal of Olympus would have made Medway de facto for TSR-2), and INAS/AIRPASS Mk2 equipped P.1121 as an all-British Hunter FGA.9 replacement and Mirage III/5/50 competitor but equally such an aircraft would come with some development risk, would most probably (certainly) be less capable than a Phantom and would run the risk of being squeezed out of the export market by the Phantom above and the Mirage below (in cost/capability terms) as much as it may hit a hypothetical market sweet-spot.
 

zen

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Spey in the F4K is not quite the same as the Buccaneer, supersonic components that added weight. These had been omitted in RR's twin Spey offering for the P1154, when that was uncovered the attempt to garner interest in that stopped.


F4 was not chosen by the RN before '63, '64 more like. Long after any projected P1121 prototype flight (which was I seem to reccal reading around 1960).


Decision on NMBR.3 and OR.356 (memory for numbers it might be 355 but I'm away from my books) is earlier still. P1154 foisted on RN was already considered an appropriate solution for the RAF. So at that time, if we remove the V/STOL the move to F4 will be the first not part of a wider joint RN and RAF effort.
Though it might precipitate that, but I feel thats getting outside the context of this thread, if anyone wants a 'More F4s for the UK' thread feel free to start one.


However P1121 is flying by this time (this being an alternative history in the alternative history and future speculation section, NOT a history 'as is' section) and so it could well garner support for the MRI OR.
Hindsight might be wonderful, but in the early 60's they did'nt know the outcome of later decisions. Indeed the decision on the F4 itself might be on shakier ground if they knew how long and how much it was going to really cost them.


P1121 never flew, so we don't know either way. One can be deeply pessimistic or optimistic about its performance characteristics. Strikes me its a better basis for a dogfighter, whether its as good for Attack is another question. BVR is yet another matter again and more dependant on the radar/missile combination, 'as is' the UK did'nt field any such weapons until the F4.


The machine sits roughly midway between an F4 and a F104 or Mirage III. A lot of nations bought the F4 because there was no such intermediate option available. Mirage F.2 was canceld, and various US concepts stayed stuck on paper or at the prototype stage. Had the RAF chosen a variant of the P1121, its likely it would gain further orders.
Quite how many and to who is a debatable issue.


One should beware the assumption the F4 is 'cheaper', though its probable that it is of lower purchase cost, that is not the same as total costs.
 

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zen said:
Spey in the F4K is not quite the same as the Buccaneer, supersonic components that added weight. These had been omitted in RR's twin Spey offering for the P1154, when that was uncovered the attempt to garner interest in that stopped.
F4 was not chosen by the RN before '63, '64 more like. Long after any projected P1121 prototype flight (which was I seem to reccal reading around 1960).
Decision on NMBR.3 and OR.356 (memory for numbers it might be 355 but I'm away from my books) is earlier still. P1154 foisted on RN was already considered an appropriate solution for the RAF. So at that time, if we remove the V/STOL the move to F4 will be the first not part of a wider joint RN and RAF effort.
Though it might precipitate that, but I feel thats getting outside the context of this thread, if anyone wants a 'More F4s for the UK' thread feel free to start one.
Apologies, you to have misunderstood me; Phantom was a readily developed and proven platform that took engines of only minor modification of a type which were to be used or were in use on other UK types. Its ultimate selection for both services was entirely logical and in my opinion worthy of praise. I am all for more RAF Phantoms and feel that is entirely within the constraints of this thread. We should also not be tied to the notion of the P.1121 having to fly in 1960 just because its design is a derivation of one for an earlier requirement, its resuscitation for the Hunter replacement programme is entirely plausible if V/STOL is removed from the requirement- I would never suggest the P.1121 for the RN. UK Phantom jointness was an accident, but it was still jointness.

P1121 never flew, so we don't know either way. One can be deeply pessimistic or optimistic about its performance characteristics. Strikes me its a better basis for a dogfighter, whether its as good for Attack is another question. BVR is yet another matter again and more dependant on the radar/missile combination, 'as is' the UK did'nt field any such weapons until the F4.
Or we can be rightly sceptical and assume it to be a risky platform compared to the Phantom.

The machine sits roughly midway between an F4 and a F104 or Mirage III. A lot of nations bought the F4 because there was no such intermediate option available. Mirage F.2 was canceld, and various US concepts stayed stuck on paper or at the prototype stage. Had the RAF chosen a variant of the P1121, its likely it would gain further orders.
Quite how many and to who is a debatable issue.
As I mentioned above, there is as much risk of it being squeezed out of the market by the Mirage below and Phantom above as there is of it hitting that sweet spot.

One should beware the assumption the F4 is 'cheaper', though its probable that it is of lower purchase cost, that is not the same as total costs.
One should be even more wary about thinking that an aircraft that never flew, and which would almost certainly have been less capable than the Phantom, represents a cheaper option than the Phantom. So we are clear, I like the idea of the P.1121 in the FGA role as a replacement for Hunter FGA-9/FR-10 and it had the potential to do reasonably well on the export market; but I prefer the Phantom- it was superlative, effectively became a joint programme, was incredibly capable and brought with it some much needed guided weapons. Its RAF career demonstrates its utility, procured as a strike/recce aircraft it was pressed into the interceptor role and would have remained as a frontline fighter in both RAFG and in the UK until the arrival of Typhoon had it not been for the end of the Cold War.
 

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No we could argue over the F4, but it would be hijacking this thread. Its relevence is what it can inform on how the P1121 might have been and what it might not have been.


Hawkers projected first flight was in 1960, this in 1958, which presumably shows they where already going at less than breakneck speed on the project when the decision to slash funding was taken.


Its rather hard therefor to see it being revived around 1964, some 6 years after the project effectively halted and some 4 years after the last proposal of a variant of it. Let alone in 1965, when the P1154 is canceled for the RAF.


By that time P1154 was the dominant effort of this type, with Brough starting on the NGTA P141. That and various Buccaneers developments still.
Scrapping all that to revive the P1121 looks a bit suspect, its main benefit being a prototype partway completed. But if the Olympus is going to die (saved in much revised form for Concord), with the cancellation of the TSR.2 and the supersonic Medway is stuck on paper, its hard to see how this is a 'cheap' option or a more rapid one to service.
At that juncture, F4 or F8 fit the fighter roles, Lightning is already in service, and F111 is on order. F4 can deliver the store, P1127 can do the dispersed operations and rough field.


Cheapest would be F104, but at a price of other sorts.
A derivative of the Lightning could do it, and thats already operated, making it a very cheap proposition.


There is an argument over the the concept of a scaled up P146, or single engined P141 wrapped around a Medway that makes some sense in this time. In essence as the P.146 was a insurance against the P1127 so this would be an insurance against the P1154.
IF that had been developed and was waiting in the wings for the P1154 cancelation.......
OR one can look across the Channel to the F.2.
Also across to Sweden to the start of the Viggen.


Vickers meanwhile are pushing various VG concepts and some thoughts are not a million miles from the Soviet Flogger.


SO no, the strongest case for the P1121 is if its already flying in the early 60's and strung along as a backup to the P1154. Possibly its also usable for development of the TSR.2.


Really needs an order earlier than 1965 or even 1964. Hence the concept of an alternative to some of the Lightning orders of that periode and just such an order was I think around 1960.


If one was being clever, one might ponder whether the P1121 is ordered for the MRI mission as something to remove the pressure for the P1154. In essence putting back the wondermachine's ISD, and filling it with something more easily achievable in a shorter timeframe. Again needs the 1960 first flight.
But that is more an argument for Scimitar variant, a developed Hunter, or some non-UK option.
Either way once the realities of PCB are experienced, it would result in this V/STOL effort being cut just as the majority of such efforts have.
Then the P1121 or whatever else that was chosen, would have to soldier on.
 

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zen, I feel you are rather over complicating this and bringing in some of the far more "out there" paper designs.


This is all very simple: The RAF had a requirement, that requirement was for a Hunter FGA.9/FR.10 replacement to enter service in about 1968. In reality they pursued a VSTOL platform which of course kills any notion of the P.1121. However, what the earliest studies undertaken show (1959- see Harrier's excellent website) was that the RAF wanted/needed a relatively large, heavy and complex aircraft and the P.1121 fits this. Hawker cancelled the P.1121 programme in September 1959 (around the time that GOR345 was issued) when the prototype (itself to be little more than an airframe with an engine not intended for any production version) was still far from being ready to fly. Design work on the P.1150 (to evolve into P.1154 by January 1962) in early 1961 with the RAF largely following the NATO requirement at the time- the first specification of which was received in August 1961. The way I see this, the answer to the original question of this thread is that what is required is for the RAF to drop the VSTOL requirement (or never have it in the first place) and for the P.1121 tone acquired as a Hunter replacement instead of the P.1154, there is (to my mind) no question of this being a case of a P.1121 versus Phantom but rather P.1121 versus P.1154, conventional versus VSTOL.
 

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The paper efforts are just context of the studies of the period concerned and that they'd all moved on from the P1121.


A decision on the P1121 as a Hunter replacement is once again in the realm of before 1965, indeed by your own admission IF the RAF drop the V/STOL requirement from the 1961
[font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]AC/169, which seems more logical than the initial 1959 issue. They need to sound out what they can do first.[/font]​
[font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Problem is again, IF one assumes they ditch V/STOL in the original '59 issue, it would logically be for getting something quickly to service and again Scimitar is cleared for nuclear delivery and in production already. Hence the retrospective modifications proposed April '59 to bring Scimitars up to nearly Type 576 standard.[/font]​
[font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Hence also the Ground Attack Lightning proposal of 1960.[/font]​
[/size]
This obviously precludes the F4 for that role. IF the RAF buy it, it is for other missions. This aspect leave the RN still able to choose it if they are allowed to.
[/size]
[/size]
Considering the times, the temptation of a minister to combine Sea Vixen and Hunter replacements together is still a possibility however much it maybe as fruitless or not to try such.

[font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][/size]RN had P1154 foisted on them, their eyes are on bigger things and they only saw the P1154 as an Attack machine, but did not want it detracting from their designs on a combined Fighter/Strike machine.[/font]

[font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Its April 1962 for the UK attempts to push the 'joint NMBR.3 winner' forwards and that as a joint service effort, dictated from above.[/font]

[font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]So there is the potential, however flawed for the P1121 to change any decision on the F4 to much later if at all.[size=small][/font]
 

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My own admission?

It is what I have been saying all along, if you read my earlier posts (see reply 9) I actually openly retract my instead of Phantom suggestion. If you remove VSTOL from the equation then the Hunter replacement requirement is the only realistic option for the P.1121 in RAF service and that is instead of the P.1154. Self evidently that precludes the Phantom unless it is either acquired as the Lightning replacement after the cancellation of AFVG or unless the P.1121 gets cancelled as the P.1154 did. I am at a loss as to why you thought I was suggesting otherwise- perhaps the "own admission" statement is revealing here...?
 

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My point is rather obvious, that the P1121 prototype needs to fly around the time it was predicted to, in order to gain an order. As only when its reached that level does it stand any chance against supposedly more modern designs still stuck on the drawing boards and brochures of the time or against the then flying and operational aircraft available both in the UK and abroad.

The fact it stops being proposed to various requirements around 1960 rather shows the matter up. After this point it stood virtually no chance unless it was already flying, even if only in a bare shell form. Reason being it would cost as much as any 'new' paper design but would be over half a decade old before the first prototype gets ordered let alone completed.

So this idea that somehow "We should also not be tied to the notion of the P.1121 having to fly in 1960" is deeply flawed.
 

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Your point is flawed and mine most certainly is not, it does not have to fly by 1960. If a design is not flown within a set period of time it does not simply vanish. The fact it stops being proposed for various requirements is because there is not a requirement for it- after the Hunter replacement goes VSTOL (and then very hurriedly Phantom followed by Jaguar) there is nothing else appropriate until the Lighting replacement targeted at the mid-70s which is far too late and gets tied up in AFVG/UKVG/MRCA, things start moving very quickly once P.1154 is cancelled.


The Hunter replacement programme is originally aimed to produce an aircraft to enter service in 1968- the P.1121 (or some derivation) could have done that if VSTOL and the various political drivers for that did not exist.
 

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P1121. Brochure 12 June 1956. IF start date 1 August, THEN first flight April '58, first delivery December '58.
Air Marshall Satterly informed Hawkers on 2 Oct about the possibility of the type being adapted to suit Canberra replacement OR.
Minister of Supply announces to the House 29 Oct Hawkers private venture.
November, two stage interceptor, initial variant by '61-62.
7 Jan '57 Camm meeting with Reginald Maudling, he is not interested in P1121, but change of Cabinet on his mind instead.


Intial prototype first flight was orriginaly mid 1958


Under ministry suggestion, revised option for OR.339 using Co.11R.


21 Jan podded maingear variant with Conway 31R.
P1121 declared unacceptable on 30 May.


Olympus with intake ran 8 Oct.


25 Sept, 1957 Hawker board agrees to continue at much reduced expenditure.
Two seater Strike variant with Olympus 21R, 1/7/58. Last offering based on the P1121, work peeters out by end of '58.


Steel wing mach.3 variant late 1958.


Export brochures 1959.


Prototype about 50% completed by the end.


So per history, Hawkers seem not to propose the machine to the OR354, at a time when it was still vaguely 'live' (though dying the death) in the company, as some sort of conventional solution until the new V/STOL machines could do the job.
Now where is that proposal for the P1121 to OR.356 issued Jan '62?
In fact where is it proposed as some sort of CTOL interim thing to NBMR.3 issued June '61?


Not there as far as I can see and even when the P1154 is canceled, where is the proposal for a variant of the P1121 in early '65?
 

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Patience is a virtue.
 

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zen said:
So per history, Hawkers seem not to propose the machine to the OR354, at a time when it was still vaguely 'live' (though dying the death) in the company, as some sort of conventional solution until the new V/STOL machines could do the job.
Now where is that proposal for the P1121 to OR.356 issued Jan '62?
In fact where is it proposed as some sort of CTOL interim thing to NBMR.3 issued June '61?


Not there as far as I can see and even when the P1154 is canceled, where is the proposal for a variant of the P1121 in early '65?
Why would HS submit a CTOL design to specifications requiring VSTOL, especially when HS itself was designing VSTOL aircraft and were arguably leaders in the field through the P.1127 programme (NBMR.3/OR.356)? And why would they submit a design that had been perceived as inadequate for TSR-2 to a requirement for a replacement for TSR-2 (OR.354) with a preliminary in-service date of 1975? None of those requirements are relevant so I do not know why you suggested them. The fact that you did suggest them really just demonstrates that you are still not understanding me: My point is, and has been for some time, that if GOR345/NBMR-3/OR356 were NOT for a VSTOL solution but WERE for a CTOL solution the P.1121 would be entirely viable as the Hunter FGA-9/FR-10 replacement. As it was the winds were blowing VSTOL.

A why are you still banging on about 65? I have made it perfectly clear I was not suggesting that and at that point time was very much of the essence.

Including your point when you post is a far more useful virtue.
 

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Zen
Sealord

I forgot to thank both of you for the valuable info and ideas in your response to my 1121 thread.
At the risk of being irksome I think both of you make good points and there is no need to come to a single fixed set of conclusions, as this is the realm of what-if. For me, it is valuable in itself to see various permutations and bits of info.

Happy 2012 and thanks for all your inputs in 2011
 

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The 1121 is outside my period of interest and limited knowlege but it is a beautiful looking plane from the closest the UK had to Marcel Dassault. So I make no apology for bringing this old thread back to life.
At the time 1121 was being toted, NATO still thought in terms of supersonic fighterbombers dumping nukes on the Warsaw Pact. The 1121 looks like a British Thunderchief F105. Perhaps if NATO had not gone over to Flexible Response and if the flaws of VSTOL had been recignised earlier, 1121 could have been an attractive alternative to all those F104s especially with fomer Hunter users.
 
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