MRCA gets cancelled

uk 75

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In the early 70s after the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 European countries, especially the UK, were hit by massive inflation and political upheaval.
The MRCA project (Tornado) came close to being cancelled by the UK and Germany.
This would have left the RAF relying on Jaguars and Buccaneers into the 80s. The Germans would probably have ordered more F4s.
 

Fluff

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Maybe even keep 2 sqn of vulcans, for long range maritime strike -pretty please??
 

uk 75

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Maybe even keep 2 sqn of vulcans, for long range maritime strike -pretty please??
The Vulcans might have been kept going in a variety of roles into the 80s.
 

Fluff

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Yeah -ha!!!

Update the bucks with MRCA systems, and your all sorted.
 

alertken

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Life on earth as we know it would have ended.
F-15 under licence in ?UK, ?FRG. Italy would have suffered beyond Defence by not being in MRCA and could easily have gone Communist. It was run by Agnelli and without MRCA FIAT could not have kept Turin fed and fat.

No Eurofighter= no interest by Daimler in Aero investment = no capital to sustain Airbus through white-tail sales dwells, or to raise launch funds beyond A300B.

The owners of BAC (GEC/Vickers) would have shut it after the F-15 run, c. 1980 and developed the land. It would not have been Nationalised in 1977. Why bother?

Tornado was no mere Fin.
 

JohnR

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What about BAC proceeding with Big Wing Jaguar for the tactical air support of Tornado. Then as suggested in Chris Gibson's Battle Flight, we purchase J79 powered F4's for the AD role?
 

zen

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In theory, a revised Buccaneer could do the IDS missions. Since such redesign with modern avionics was done for tactical night attack anyway, this doesn't seem too far fetched.
Re-engine with RB.199 variants, or improved Spey. Avionics would end up the UK option for MRCA.
But to involve international partners isn't so easy.
ADV however is now a choice between F15 or ACF, with the French being at least theoretically open to UK content.
Though.....F15K isn't impossible.

Actually this leaves an improved F4M as a cheaper solution using Spey 205 and a shoehorned Foxhunter set for ADV. McDD might rather favour such an enhanced Phantom II and this could attract German support....along with Israel, Turkey etc.....
 

zen

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What about BAC proceeding with Big Wing Jaguar for the tactical air support of Tornado. Then as suggested in Chris Gibson's Battle Flight, we purchase J79 powered F4's for the AD role?
The only way a big wing Jaguar works is if we're talking about scaling up around RB.199s. I guess Italy might be attracted, but Germany?
 

sferrin

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In the early 70s after the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 European countries, especially the UK, were hit by massive inflation and political upheaval.
The MRCA project (Tornado) came close to being cancelled by the UK and Germany.
This would have left the RAF relying on Jaguars and Buccaneers into the 80s. The Germans would probably have ordered more F4s.
F-111s for everybody.
 

uk 75

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Sferrin
Would be nice for Topping/Precise to add some colour schemes to its models.
Sadly the US had to pick up the roles itself with two F111 wings in UK at Upper Heyford and Lakenheath. I think a further wing in the US was slated to reinforce.
The German ones would have been as controversial as the Luftwaffe Pershings. These were never upgraded to Pershing 2, though a fella called Franz Joseph Strauss tries to get some in a novel called "Last Days of America" by Paul Erdman.
 

Siberia

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The MRCA project (Tornado) came close to being cancelled by the UK and Germany.
Do you have a year for this?


Update the Buccaneer with MRCA systems, and you're all sorted.
The Buccaneer was used as a development aircraft for the various Tornado systems so it should probably be doable. My main concern would be regarding endurance – would the Buccaneer be able to meet those requirements? IIRC the Spey was somewhat thirsty with engine oil so that if using aerial refuelling you could sometimes run out of it first.

The TRAM turret for the A-6 was in development around this time, it might be an attractive addition for both the ADV and IDS aircraft. The most expensive option would be to look at the previous P.150 proposals like the fixed-wing supersonic one again.


Though F-15K isn't impossible.
Again like the Buccaneer my main concern has to be its endurance. The whole point of the ADV is to be able to transit to the G-I-UK gap and then stooge around for hours. With the F-15E over a decade in the future could the F-15 meet the requirements?
 

zen

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My main concern would be regarding endurance – would the Buccaneer be able to meet those requirements?
You're joking right? Buccaneer with Speys and slipper wing tanks had greater range than any Tornado. The oil issue only raised it's head over extreme cases like as an alternative to Vulcans in Black Buck (Falklands War).
 

Siberia

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You're joking right? Buccaneer with Speys and slipper wing tanks had greater range than any Tornado.
Range in nautical miles doesn't always equate to endurance in hours, hence my question since I couldn't find the Tornado ADV's cruising speed with a quick search to check.

Anyone able to post what the cruising speed was for the IDS and ADV? Thanks.
 

zen

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Range in nautical miles doesn't always equate to endurance in hours, hence my question since I couldn't find the Tornado ADV's cruising speed with a quick search to check.
True, but I thought you were asking about Buccaneer range/endurance and suggesting it waz less than Tornado.
The IDS Tornado, certainly had less of both to my knowledge, and had it been fixed wing it's endurance would be even less still.
What I was proposing was that for IDS/MRCA missions, a modernised Buccaneer will more than do.
But I did not suggest a Buccaneer would do for ADV missions, for a firmly subsonic aircraft the Vulcan with Sea Dart or Phoenix would have been the better choice.

But on reflection the logical answer in terms of sunk costs and available technologies would be an improved F4M, for ADV missions.
 

Archibald

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On an usual basis, subsonic strike aircraft always have better range than equivalent (size, mass, engine power) supersonic-dash strike machines. Going supersonic is kind of "expensive folly".
A startling example is the A-7 giving the F-18 a big run for its money.
Also Vautour versus Mirage IV, but don't tell that to Dassault nor to the Armée de l'Air... even if they thought of using Vautour as tankers AND Vautours could also carry AN-11 nukes...
The myth of "Supersonic-pointy aircraft is better because it looks better" did a lot of damage...
 

Pioneer

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Yeah -ha!!!

Update the bucks with MRCA systems, and your all sorted.
Revitalise the Blackburn P.150 supersonic Buccaneer, in both a strike interdiction and long-range interceptor derivatives......
Maybe incorporating AWG-9 radar and Aim-54's into the intercepter derivative as both a cost saving and operational effective measure.

Regards
Pioneer
 

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alertken

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Siberia #11 Q to OP was the year of wobble by UK, It. The A is constant, 7/68-7/76 and inc FRG. Factions in US had a Mission to Kill MRCA. Key MRCA dates were: 17/7/68: Concept Phase MoU: FRG (2 Arms: LW, MFG), Canada (for the 4TAF AW role), UK (then only for 2TAF/UK-back-up AW role), Italy, Belg,Neths (AW role). During that Study, as it settled at 2 seats/deep intruder, 11/68 Belg left (unaffordable) and Canada left - PM Trudeau was then sceptical, not only of Canada or anybody's tactical AW, but of NATO itself (RCAF AW ceased 31/12/71).

14/5/69: Definition Phase MoU, FRG/It/UK, Neths Observer to 28/7/69, then out as unaffordable. Those defections were role-driven.
22/7/70: Development Phase MoU, FRG/UK, It from 9/70.
MDC F-15 had been selected by USAF in the superiority role 23/12/69; USAF Lightweight Fighter Prog then brewed, to 1972 fly-off contracts, YF-16, YF-17. DoD bombarded UK/FRG/It with any and every lure and threat, through Elections in all 3 Nations, to:

1/5/75: Long Lead Materials Release, Batch 1, 40 MRCA; 29/7/76: production Contract. Only then did they give up: in part because they had some success in their main aim, which was not to vassalise Euro-industry, but was to extract fair offset for the DM cost of young men lunching in Munchen. MRCA would be FRG's heaviest Defence Budget line item for a decade., so US needed its slice, and got it on TI GM/TFR, Litton INS and Main Computer.

MDC, GD, Northrop of course did want to vassalise Euro-Aero and in part succeeded with 348 Euro-assembled F-16s, and with defeating Panavia sales efforts, except (part of) RSaAF.

To OP's Q: Tornado lost no bid as AW deep penetrator, so the A to the cancellation whiff is: what would the Customer Arms have done:
* RAFG AW: F-4M/B61 would have continued until: Jaguar/WE177C as actual, to continue to later 1980s...then lapse as unaffordable;
* RAFG AD: MOTS F-15K, probably US-built, some UK content, but not engine (cost exceeds benefit);
* Luftwaffe IDS/ECR+MFG+ * ItAF AW: almighty political fracas, Mirages actual and not v.F-15G, and Euro F-16 for part of the roles;
* ItAF AD: F-15 modest local assembly, plus even more MDC civil structures contracts;
* RSaAF: more F-15s plus some Mirage 2000s.
 
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alertken

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But more than all the above: no Typhoon. That wobbled enough with the industrial/management base of Tornado. That absent, only AMD would have the resources to attempt inherently unstable, avionics-driven agility. BAe (if it existed - the BAC bit would have shut after Jaguar) would have nothing to offer SAAB, who must go to AMD. Italy would have settled for structures-for-US; Daimler would never have bothered with Aero. So, like I said at #5: Life on earth as we know it would have ended.
 

Michel Van

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the British wanted Bomber
the Germans wanted two engine Fighter interceptor
Belgium, Netherland, Canada and Italy also fighter
with MRCA death Political meddling

it likely that Germany get F-4 like OTL, but also Heavy long range fighter
Either they buy the F-14 or goes for F-15
(also for Canada they need two engine aircraft)
certain will Belgium and Netherlands not buy those expensive aircrafts
Either they goes for Mirage or F-16
 

uk 75

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I am surprised that no-one has looked at how France might have reacted to the demise of MRCA.
Alertken has sketched out the most likely timeline and programmes.
But France and Germany were very close throughout (Pompidou/Brandt; Giscard/Schmidt; Mitterand/Kohl).
A Franco/German programme to replace MRCA and F104/F4 could have resulted in a different Mirage-based aircraft.
Italy would have been an obvious partner too.
Britain was cash strapped throughout the period. Like the Harrier a new Fighter/Strike aircraft would have been a BAC/BAe McDD coproduction. An F15K especially for the Iceland gap air patrol and Vulcan replacement for SACEUR might have been a formidable programme.
 

zen

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* RAFG AW: F-4M/B61 would have continued until: Jaguar/WE177C as actual, to continue to later 1980s...then lapse as unaffordable;
? Lapse based on IDS.
* RAFG AD: MOTS F-15K, probably US-built, some UK content, but not engine (cost exceeds benefit);
chosen for what role?
IDS?!!! Strike Eagle is decades hence. F111 is still answer, out of production?

What GIUK Gap RAF wanted was F14 with AWG.9 and AIM-54 Phoenix. F15 was ok....with that missile/radar combination.
 
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alertken

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Yes: UK out of RAFG AW end-80s: its the tactical AW side, as much as the a/c, that costs so much, for no evident purpose than sharing pain.
Yes: F-15K as F-15A, not as Strike Eagle. I suggested no UK engine (RR 11/5/71 won a repriced order from Lockheed for 555 RB211s, so did not need/could not handle the work of some dozen oddities), but avionics/weapons might well have been...Anglicised.
 

zen

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End of 80's.
Gorbachev
Perestroika
Glasnost
Early 90's
Coup
Yeltsin
End of USSR
 

Hood

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To stem the howls of laughter from USAF fighter jocks, Regan takes Maggie to one side "how would you like it if we sold you the F-16XL programme to stop my boys laughing at your 1950s relics?"
"Spiffing idea Ron, oh and chuck in a dozen Nighthawks too."
"Yes Ma'am, that will give Gorby some headaches, in return can we base our TR-3 Mantas in the UK?"
 

PMN1

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* RAFG AW: F-4M/B61 would have continued until: Jaguar/WE177C as actual, to continue to later 1980s...then lapse as unaffordable;
? Lapse based on IDS.
* RAFG AD: MOTS F-15K, probably US-built, some UK content, but not engine (cost exceeds benefit);
chosen for what role?
IDS?!!! Strike Eagle is decades hence. F111 is still answer, out of production?

What GIUK Gap RAF wanted was F14 with AWG.9 and AIM-54 Phoenix. F15 was ok....with that missile/radar combination.

Take some of those Iranian F-14's of Grumman's hands........
 

BLACK_MAMBA

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Interesting thread. My take for RAF:
•Jaguar get's more investment.
•Phantom FGR goes the way of the German F-4F upgrades only 15 years earlier with Foxhunter etc. Both F-14 and F-15 were discouraged due to costs and differing requirements.
•Buccaneers also get more investment.

Lufwaffe Phantoms take over most of the roles. Maybe an legacy F-18 buy in the early 80's for the air defence role.

The future is a lot more uncertain though. BAe without the Tornado GR & ADV line will probably be a shadow of the one around that helped produce Typhoon... Do they team with France but now in a weaker position so the French can have it more their way? I see a F-18K with British engines and avionics as a real possibility - probably based on the legacy instead of Super Hornet.
 
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zen

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The studies post Jaguar in the 70's include remarkably F18 and F16 like designs. Though I seem to recall they are products of Kingston (formerly HSA) rather than Warton (BAC). The latter started out with single seater Tornado variants and evolved towards P.96 and P.110.

Arguably a failure of the MRCA is a failure for Warton/BAC, who would only have Jaguar work. Leaving Kingston/HSA the stronger in this field with Buccaneer, Hawk and Harrier II work.
Either then this sees a licensed F18 or F16 solution or a fundamental shift in favour of the supersonic STOVL designs.
 

apparition13

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* RAFG AW: F-4M/B61 would have continued until: Jaguar/WE177C as actual, to continue to later 1980s...then lapse as unaffordable;
? Lapse based on IDS.
* RAFG AD: MOTS F-15K, probably US-built, some UK content, but not engine (cost exceeds benefit);
chosen for what role?
IDS?!!! Strike Eagle is decades hence. F111 is still answer, out of production?

What GIUK Gap RAF wanted was F14 with AWG.9 and AIM-54 Phoenix. F15 was ok....with that missile/radar combination.
Last F-111F was 1976. FB -111H proposal was late 70s, so the tooling was around for a while afterwards.
 

uk 75

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The MRCA survived in the real world because it became crucial for the survival of BAC/BAe, MBB and Aeritalia.
The shock period that might have killed it was the aftermath of the October 1973 Arab Oil boycott and the political chaos in the UK between 1973 and 1979.
Sadly if the UK had bailed out of MRCA it would have been for budgetary reasons.
In the short term this would have meant Vulcans, Bucs, Jags, Phantoms and Lightnings rolled on into the 80s.
Assuming the Callaghan or Thatcher government with IMF help gets out of the mess by 1985 off the shelf replacements or improvement programmes would have been needed.
The F4 and Lightning force would have continued much as it did in real life with late model Sidewinders and Skyflash for the F4s. RAFG might have hung on to its two Lightning squadrons freeing F4s up for UK defence. Apart from improvements to F4 along German and Israeli lines I don't see the F15 or F14 being affordable. But F16 might have been pressed on us by NATO to replace Lightnings.
The combination of Jaguars and Buccaneers in Strike Command and RAFG was pretty effective and could have been tweeked with more Bucs and improved engines and weapons for Jags.
The Vulcans might have won a limited reprieve for SACEUR until the Cruise missiles entered service at Greenham Common.
Thatcher got on much better with Mitterand than she did with Kohl. She was more pro Europe than European Community and an Anglo French fighter programme could have emerged with BAe
bringing its experience with Jaguar and Harrier and all its design study expertise.
A two engined Mirage or Rafale for the RAF would have been preferred by the Treasury to US off the shelf buys.
 

BlackBat242

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In theory, a revised Buccaneer could do the IDS missions. Since such redesign with modern avionics was done for tactical night attack anyway, this doesn't seem too far fetched.
Re-engine with RB.199 variants, or improved Spey. Avionics would end up the UK option for MRCA.

Buccaneer with RB.199 should've worked just fine.

So you want to return the Bucc to its gutless Gyron Jr. days?

Spey RB.168-1 (Mk 101, Bucc S.2 etc) 11,030 lb.s.t.; .63 SFC (lb fuel/lb thrust/hour)
Spey RB.168-25 (Mk 201/2/3, UK Phantoms) 12,250 lb.s.t. dry {20,515 lb.s.t. reheat}; .63-.68/1.95 SFC

RB.199-34R 8,800-9,850 lb.s.t. dry {14,840-17,270 lb.s.t. reheat}; .598-.637/2.20-2.50 SFC

That's a significant REDUCTION in thrust!

How about instead you fit in the TF41 that (in the time-frame) has been flying in USAF A-7Ds & USN A-7Es since 1969 - and was an "improved Spey":
TF41-A-1/2 14,500-15,000 lb.s.t.; .633-.647 SFC


I do agree with fitting the avionics being developed for the MRCA into that up-engined Bucc TSR.3 ;)
[OK, Buccaneer S.3]
 

tomo pauk

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So you want to return the Bucc to its gutless Gyron Jr. days?

Spey RB.168-1 (Mk 101, Bucc S.2 etc) 11,030 lb.s.t.; .63 SFC (lb fuel/lb thrust/hour)
Spey RB.168-25 (Mk 201/2/3, UK Phantoms) 12,250 lb.s.t. dry {20,515 lb.s.t. reheat}; .63-.68/1.95 SFC

RB.199-34R 8,800-9,850 lb.s.t. dry {14,840-17,270 lb.s.t. reheat}; .598-.637/2.20-2.50 SFC

That's a significant REDUCTION in thrust!

Hold your horses.

Having 2x ~15500 lbs vs. 2x 11030-12250 lbs is improvement in thrust, not a reduction. Then we have the weight reduction, since the RB.199 weighted how much less than the non-A/B Spey, 900 lbs each? Makes 1800l lbs for two engines, as well as reduction in weight and bulk of engine support. Drag reduction due to a much smaller front profile, 2x4.4 sq ft for the RB.199 vs. 2x10.2 sq ft for the Spey? (basically two RB.199 have smaller front area than one Spey)
Amounts to a lot when negotiating through the thick air above the tree tops at 600 mph.

RB.199 was of smaller frontal area and lighter than Gyron Jr. by 950 lbs, on Bucc that means weight is lower by 2x950 lbs + change (like engine bearers, support & nacelle). No afterburner either on the Gyron Jr. to help out during take off and in sticky situations.

How about instead you fit in the TF41 that (in the time-frame) has been flying in USAF A-7Ds & USN A-7Es since 1969 - and was an "improved Spey":
TF41-A-1/2 14,500-15,000 lb.s.t.; .633-.647 SFC

Don't see why not. It certainly improves engine-out situation vs. the 'old' Spey.
 

zen

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Certainly a dry thrust RB.199 weighs much less than a dry thrust Spey and burns less fuel due to greater efficiency.
Incorporating reheated RB.199s is a different proposition.

Then we come to the difficult to process concept of a RB.199 being beefed up in size to directly replace the Spey.......
 

Hood

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Having 2x ~15500 lbs vs. 2x 11030-12250 lbs is improvement in thrust, not a reduction.
He is talking about dry thrust, Buccaneer never had reheat so the reheated thrust is irrelevant.
There are, I think, other unreheated RB.199 options that might give more dry thrust (I'd have to check the RB designations thread to be sure).

A newer Spey or TF41 makes more sense.
 

tomo pauk

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Certainly a dry thrust RB.199 weighs much less than a dry thrust Spey and burns less fuel due to greater efficiency.
Incorporating reheated RB.199s is a different proposition.

Then we come to the difficult to process concept of a RB.199 being beefed up in size to directly replace the Spey.......

My original proposition is the RB.199 as-is, ie. with afterburner.
A RB.199 that grows in size to directly replace the Spey is altogether a new engine. RR might go with the 'straight-through' after-burning derivative of Pegasus, with fan cropped down to about 40 inches?

Having 2x ~15500 lbs vs. 2x 11030-12250 lbs is improvement in thrust, not a reduction.
He is talking about dry thrust, Buccaneer never had reheat so the reheated thrust is irrelevant.
There are, I think, other unreheated RB.199 options that might give more dry thrust (I'd have to check the RB designations thread to be sure).

A newer Spey or TF41 makes more sense.

I've suggested the the historical RB.199, with afterburner. Reheated thrust is relevant for take off.
 

Hood

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But to fit reheat would require new nozzles, reskinning of the aft fuselage and fatigue testing for the vibration effects. Having a larger nozzle, perhaps canted out further outboard might increase drag too. Plus use of reheat costs range.
 

tomo pauk

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But to fit reheat would require new nozzles, reskinning of the aft fuselage and fatigue testing for the vibration effects. Having a larger nozzle, perhaps canted out further outboard might increase drag too. Plus use of reheat costs range.

All new nacelles are needed, since the RB.199 is much smaller the engine than Spey. Reheat is used during the take-off and perhaps in combat on a bomber, so there is 90-95% of flight remaining time to have a much lower fuel usage than what is the case with Spey, mostly due to the NewBucc being less draggy and much lighter.
 

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This is thread is very soon going the way of the recent Jaguar thread... There is no sensible reason to fit a RB199 in a Buccaneer. You are looking at redesigning nearly 50% of the aircraft maybe more when taking the rear fuselage & the afterburners impact on it into account! Add to that the new avionics fit and very soon it is easier to just design an entirely new aircraft from scratch - which was Tornado, the exact thing not possible in the circumstances of this thread!

TF41 is the only sensible engine upgrade solution that doesn't require the entire aircraft being redesigned. Further more RB199 itself would need a partial redesign as the afterburner section & the rest of the engine would need to be seperated by 2-3 meters to fit & work in a Bucc. Again, all this work means it would just be easier to go the clean sheet route.

Good, hope that settles it. RB199 isn't the solution to every AH problem. Okay, my rant is now over.
 
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