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Long road to the F-111: TAC, SOR.183, SDR 17, WS-324A, TFX

Pioneer

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Mark Nankivil said:
Last week while spending time in the Vought Archives, I came across a number of black & white and color photos of the Republic-Vought TFX proposal model. Here's the color photos to add to what Scott's posted.

Note the model has a "windowed" section of the fuselage bottom to show the internal carriage of the missiles.

Enjoy the Day! Mark

Very interesting and great find Mark
A few years ago, I contacted the Vought Archives, and was dealing with a very interesting chap there (via e-mail). He (unfortunately and with much regret I can not remember his name!!!) was a retired Vought employee, who had done a little research into Vought/LTV's design responses to USAF/USN Request for Proposals (RfP).
In the case of the ‘TFX’ program, he stated that Vought had not participated!

So again thanks for your research Mark
I am very envious of your ability to be able to be at and be going through the Vought Archives :'(

Regards
Pioneer
 

flateric

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Artwork: "TFX Concept". Artist: Gordon Phillips, US Air Force Art Collection
 

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sferrin

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Matej said:
Nice models of Boeing and Republic proposals.

How'd I miss that pic? :eek: Gotta say, the TFX program certainly produced some interesting concepts.
 

flateric

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Was looking for as I remember that we have it before, just wanted now for us to see it in hi-res
 

KJ_Lesnick

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What kind of missiles were that Republic TFX (Navy Variant) carrying?

KJ Lesnick
 

Skybolt

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I return to this topic to submit members two very probable identifications of model tested at langley during the TFX competition and previously noted as "unknown". It's my fault not having linked the model drawings with some very well known model photos :-[. In my defence I have to remark that no-one seems to having done it... ::) . Except Scott, regarding the Configuration 403. In eAPR V1N2 he correctily singles out the possibile identity, pointing out some difference in the cockpit area. I agree, but I think the rest of the plane is so siliar that probably that derives from some "tuning", either by NASA or Convair; or it could be a sub-configuration.
I'll repost the drawings with the correct (IMHO) identification.
First is General Dynamics/Convair Configuration 430. It is the first from the right in the well known photo of FGD TFX wind-tunnel model. the following three photos are of the model in the tunnel from different angles. And the fourth is a detail from a larger photos with a display model of same configuration. I think that the match is near to perfect, and such to allow certainity. See picture 7 for a slightly different configuration 430-like: slender and with different wingtips.

TFX GD var configurations_small.jpgGD config 430 side .jpgGD configuration 430 bottom.jpgGD config 430 side .jpgGD config 430 display model.jpgGD configuration 430.gifGD config 430-X resinl.jpg
 
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Skybolt

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Second identification of GD Configuration 1000, the penultimate one before the series that led to the submission to the first round of the competition.
The Configuration 1000 is the second from right in the picture of various model that I posted in previous reply. First pcture is a well known photo of the display model. Second is an unpainted version of the same (being worked on ?) from a different viewangle. Now, let me know what you think, expecially more-3D-minded members than me.

GD configuration 1000 display model.jpgGD configuration 1000 resin.jpgGD TFX confguration 1000.gif
 
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Pioneer

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This looks more the size and weight that the TFX design should have been!
Any one want to take a guess as to its weight (as compared to the later winning F-111 design)?
Would have been better suited to carrier ops!

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Pioneer
 

Skybolt

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Configuration 1000 is dated roughly May 1961 (see Kurt Miska, Aircraft Profile no.259, pag. 20, thanks to my friend Lark for sending it to me !). At that time, the TFX specification was still in flux (actually, a very turbulent flux.. ;) ). The SOR-183 specs still were the only official document issued by the Air Force, the companies knew that a lot was boiling at DoD (for example, they knew that the new specs would have called for a side-by-side arrangement) but they hadn't guidance as to weights and maximum lenghts (although the Conf 1000 looks shorter than the preceding Conf 430 family).
 

Pioneer

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Thanks for that insight Skybolt

Regards
Pioneer
 

Skybolt

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A hint (probably very definitive) on the company of origin of the four unattributed configuration tested at Langley and pictured above (they are unknown 1 to 4). A table included in one of documents pointed to by Gregory ( Working Paper, Summary of NACA/NASA variable sweep research and development leading to the F-111 (TFX)) lists the usage of Langley's tunnels and test facilities by company from 1958 to 1962. Apart form the three engine-makers (GE, P&W and Allison) involved, the airframe builders included are Republic, GD, NAA and McDonnel. So, since Republic and GD configuration are known, this leaves NAA and McD. BUT, NAA is explicitly listed for work on the A3J, which we know that was the configuration of choice for the early (1959) CAP exploratory work for the Navy. So, I may be wrong but I m 80 per cent sre that the 4 configurations are from McDonnel.
Comments ?
 

circle-5

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Pictured here are two manufacturer models of the Republic-Vought TFX proposal. As I understand it, the longer one was the USAF variant, while the shorter one was intended for the Navy. There were significant configuration differences between the two variants, though probably enough common parts to satisfy Mr. McNamara.

What's interesting here is the shorter (Navy) variant is shown in Air Force markings, with minor departures from the Navy design (more transparencies for the back seater, for example). The full-scale metal mockup - built at the Republic plant in NY - incorporated design attributes from all variants.
Republic TFX A&B Open 01.jpgRepublic TFX A&B Closed 01.jpg
 

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KJ_Lesnick said:
When did the Bendix Eagle get replaced with the Hughes Phoenix?

Eagle (AAM-N-10) was cancelled and Phoenix (then AAM-N-11) was initiated in 1960.
 

Skybolt

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As I understand it, the longer one was the USAF variant, while the shorter one was intended for the Navy.
Nice try, but the shorter one has USAF markings all over, too, and being a display model Republic wouldn't do the PR disaster of marking USAF a plane intended for the Navy.... Moreover, the two aircraft are completely different, apart the general configuration. Look at the wing, the horizontal tail, the cockpit section, etc. BTW, no one really knows to which spec was prepared the mock-up of which only a photo is known and which carries the same decorative numerical code on the tail than the longer model (did you notice?). Other companies (Boeing) prepared full scale mock-ups for TFX-original (GOR-183) and maybe even SDR-17. Alternate interpretation, could be two successive submission, maybe the first one for the original TFX (sans Navy) and the second one for the definitive TFX (with Navy, Vought doing the Navy one). Compare the shorter USAF model with the Vought's archives Navy-markings model.
 

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Skybolt said:
As I understand it, the longer one was the USAF variant, while the shorter one was intended for the Navy.
Nice try, but the shorter one has USAF markings all over, too, and being a display model Republic wouldn't do the PR disaster of marking USAF a plane intended for the Navy.... Moreover, the two aircraft are completely different, apart the general configuration. Look at the wing, the horizontal tail, the cockpit section, etc. BTW, no one really knows to which spec was prepared the mock-up of which only a photo is known and which carries the same decorative numerical code on the tail than the longer model (did you notice?). Other companies (Boeing) prepared full scale mock-ups for TFX-original (GOR-183) and maybe even SDR-17. Alternate interpretation, could be two successive submission, maybe the first one for the original TFX (sans Navy) and the second one for the definitive TFX (with Navy, Vought doing the Navy one). Compare the shorter USAF model with the Vought's archives Navy-markings model.
Marco, thank you for your reply. If my caption was nice, it wasn't a "try": both models (from my collection) share a common display stand, which I am currently restoring. Unfortunately, the nameplate is lost, but it's fairly safe to assume these two USAF submissions were contemporaneous, rather than successive. Of course, without supporting documentation, anything is speculative.

My referring to the shorter variant as the "Navy" version is indeed based (in part) on the Vought archive model photos, submitted earlier in this thread by Mark Nankivil. With the exception of the unusual, short USAF variant, all illustrations and models of the short variant that I have seen show Navy markings.

As I also mentioned, both short variants (USAF and USN) are virtually identical, except for the rear section of the canopy and some detail on the wing glove. I did state there were significant configuration differences between the long and short variants, many of which are immediately apparent, and the reason I photographed both models side-by-side, as intended.

As for the full scale mockup, it has the forward (cockpit) section of the short version, the canopy glass of the short USAF version and everything aft the air intakes is from the long version. I was just making an observation, and agree the information that will clarify any and all of this is still forthcoming. And yes, I did notice the identical tail numbers (1664A) years ago, but here again, I have yet to uncover what significance this carries.
 

Skybolt

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Didn't mean to be dismissive.... Sorry for that if it was the impression I gave.
The fact that the models share the same base is interesting. My proposal of explanation could be amended saying that they are alternative configuration to the USAF submission. But, and I favour this second one, could be as well a coupled display model to show the work that was done on the first submission following the spec revision. In this too there is another example: the presentation for the second TFX (with Navy) GD-Grumman submission is structured in exacly the same way, showing the differences between the two (original and revised) after the critic observations done by the joint selection committee. It is not far fetched to imagine that a similar presentation could have been accompained by models substantiating it (BTW, the shorter model is much more detailed than the longer one, sporting the escape capsule, too).
As for the mock-up, I agree that it is a transitional configuration, like stitching the new cockpit section to the old fuselage. To which phase of the TXF evolution does it refer, who knows ?
 

sferrin

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Any chance of higher res versions of those two pics? The Republic TFX has always been my favorite of the competitors. Nice BTW. :)
 

Mark Nankivil

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Very nice models Circle-5 - any chance you have a model (or info) of any of the McDonnell TFX proposals (Model 156?)?

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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sferrin said:
Any chance of higher res versions of those two pics? The Republic TFX has always been my favorite of the competitors. Nice BTW. :)
Please send me a PM with an email address and I will gladly send these to you. I intentionally keep my SPF attachments small to discourage publication, or because they have already been published. Thank you.
 

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Mark Nankivil said:
Very nice models Circle-5 - any chance you have a model (or info) of any of the McDonnell TFX proposals (Model 156?)?

Enjoy the Day! Mark

Thank you Mark - sorry, no McDonnell 156 model here! McDonnell presentation models are hard to find and their quality is often sub-standard. This may have to do with Mr. Mac's aversion to spending money on non-essentials (recommended reading: This is Old Mac Calling All the Team, by his son, Sanford McDonnell).
 

Mark Nankivil

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Thanks - had to ask :)

I appreciate your sharing photos of models in your collection!

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

flateric

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Circle-5, thanks for sharing
you quite a rare kind of factory model collector that shares
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Tony Buttler sends the following information regarding these two models:

Former Vought engineer Jesse Santamaria told the author in 2008 that for the TFX competition the rival companies had to have a partner, and Republic chose Vought. Vought sent a team of engineers to Long Island where Republic had its beautiful mock-up of the TFX design all ready. However, this aircraft was not ‘Navy Compatible’ – it could not be landed on a carrier. So Vought redesigned the aircraft to make it more carrier capable, but that stopped it from being such a good aircraft for the Air Force. It had a VG wing and the system was to split the wing down the middle and have part of it swept right back.

The original Republic project was considered a fine aircraft for the Air Force but Vought could see that it was not a good design for the Navy. Vought’s hands were tied because they had not been able to start from scratch, but everyone felt that this project was still better than what became the F-111. Top speed was Mach 2 and the structure was aluminium all through – no stainless steel or anything like that. Jesse Santamaria remembers Kartveli, the Engineering Leader at Republic, walking up and down saying “the Navy has ruined my airplane!”.

Looking at these models, I understand that the longer model is the ‘pure’ Republic effort, which I imagine was not proposed for the Navy. The smaller more ‘conventional’ effort was the result of Vought’s redesign (a model of this is in the Vought archive) and was proposed to both the Air Force and Navy. Until we get original government documents or original brochures, we can never be sure. I understand that a great deal of TFX documentation was destroyed, and even today papers covering nuclear delivery aircraft, even from the mid-1950s, are still under lock and key and are unavailable to the public. The North American NAGPAW is another victim of that policy.
 

Skybolt

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Bingo ! B) ;)
All-aluminium: interesting ! W/o McNamara, there would have probably be a Republic F-111 Thundergod ©... :D
 

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Thank y'all for your kind words and to Tony Buttler for settling this debate. Attached is a high resolution photo of the seldom-seen Vought TFX underside, showing control surfaces, gear and missile bay locations. The pairs of holes indicate (Qty.5) external missile pylons, for a total of (Qty.7) missiles.
Vought TFX Bottom.jpg
 
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Skybolt

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That's a smash... ! Scott, new edition of you notorious article on Republic VG projects, why not. So, essentially Vought shortened the nose, rised the cockpit (to allow for high AOT landing on a carrier) and modified the rest to fit in the spotting size spec of TFX and to redress the COG. I think, for starting, that drag went up.
 

Pioneer

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overscan said:
Boeing TFX model extravaganza, posted by Scott Lowther on his blog.

http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=4183

What a great find!

What a very sad day - the day that the Boeing executive who gave the directive to destroy almost all the Boeing TFX model / data / pics, when they lost the comp!
This type of stuff would be great to see in the likes of the Smithsonian or the likes...................

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Unfortunately, so many programs have ended up in similar ways, some forever forgotten and unknown to later generations... It really saddens me to think of all the material that was scrapped or shredded over the years because of bureaucratic decisions, lack of storage room or fear of competition getting their hands over it. :-[
 

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It's been 35+ years, so I don't know if the material is still there, but I do know where a large wind tunnel model of Boeing's TFX entry, complete with optional stores, ended up. This material was in storage in teh basement of the 7x10' wind tunnel run by Texas A&M University and sitting off campus, sharing a parking lot with Easterwood Field airport.
 

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I'm not quite sure but I think I found this TFX in one of my films I purchased lately. Can someone identify this positively? Is it VFX or TFX? The following is written on the film's head leader: "STOL MOCK-UP ENGINEERING SCENES".

I hope you enjoy the pics!

100_9047_edited.JPG100_9074_edited.JPG100_9078_edited.JPG
 
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