No.Harrier alt history

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
The Harrier has become such a crucial part of the Royal Navy and Royal Navy history that I dont think we have yet risked a thread about a world in which it never entered service.
Like all early VSTOL designs the P1127 was not easy to fly..It only existed at all because of US funding and subsequent support from the USMC.
These evaporated after spectacular crashes imvolving all the P1127 prototypes and the death of two senior test pilots.
The Royal Navy barely noticed..It was looking forward to getting the big new CVA01 aircraft carrier and the F4 Phantom.
The RAF had plenty of converted Hunter fighters in the ground attack role..These would be adequate for supporting Britain's dwindling foreign commitments and in any case it had TSR2.
By 1967 this complacency had vanished. The aircraft carrier was to be replaced from 1972 by a combination of helicopter equipped missile cruisers and nuclear submarines with an as yet undesigned missile to take on ships and shore targets.
TSR2 had gone..F111K followed but the RAF inherited the RN's Phantoms and Buccaneers..It was also due to get the Anglo.French Jaguar to replace its Hunters.
By 1980 this new look RN and RAF was on track, sort of. The missile for the SSN still had not been built so US Harpoons were ordered instead. Exercises had shown that RAF Phantoms could not always cover the new RN helicopter carriers and their escorts in the North Atlantic. But the RAF had high hopes for the new air defence variant of Tornado.
Thus when the Argentinians seized the Falklands in 1982 Defence Secretary.Nott told a grim faced Prime Minister that nothing military could be done.
"What about Ark Royal and her Phantoms?" Thatcher asked, thinking she had caught Nott out.
"Prime Minister she was taken out of service in 1972 along with the other aircraft carriers. Successive governments, including yours have agreed that British forces will not atage an amphibious operation against a defended objective without support from NATO. The Falklands are outside that area.". The Admiral spoke before Nott could answer.
"Very well. Peter you had better ask General Haig to come across as you suggested..We will have to accept his mediation." Lord Carrington nodded agreement.
As a footnote, US Marine squadrons in the 1991 arrived in Saudi Arabia with F18s (instead of AV8s).both on land bases and on aircraft carriers. The F18 went on to take part in operations in the Balkans and Enduring Freedom.
The RAF took part in both with Buccaneers Jaguars and Tornados.
In the 1997 Defence Review a paragraph covered replacement of the helicopter carriers which had taken no part in either operation..
"The Merlin helicopters at present based on the three Invincible class cruisers will instead be supported by RFAs and deployed on destroyers and frigates.This will represent a considerable saving."
 
Last edited:

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
Right this has a central problem, either the P1127 is funded as Kestrel and consequently P1154 emerges for NMBR.3...
Which means as per history...

Or some other solution is funded for VTOL, and this would resolve to either a Shorts lift jet solution or Vickers BAC Type 584/585.
Much work was done on lift jet systems.

If Shorts funded, then Anglo-French collaboration is highly probable. Essentially a Spey powered Mirage with some lift jets.....take out the lift jets and....well by then Dassault has the F2 and F1....which are rather attractive solutions for Attack and frankly superior to the Jaguar.

If Type 584 is funded, dropping lift jets produces A very British Flogger and potentially an alternative Anglo-French collaboration with Mirage F2 that produces Mirage G.

To get these scenarios out of the way....you have to ditch the VTOL element of thinking that led to NMBR.3.
Enter the STOL aircraft and both a much more achievable system for NMBR.3 missions, but also one that meshes more effectively with a backup solution to the RN. Albeit for CATOBAR carriers.

You even run the risk of the Brough Solution.

Equally it's 1965 that Brough starts it's studies that resolve into P.141 as a sort of mini-F4/maxi-Jaguar and the later P.146 as a backup to the Harrier.....

As if that wasn't enough, a STOL focus on NMBR.3 in 1960-61 opens up a last gasp of P1121, Gnat mkV and a Shorts F8 Crusader variant. As well as Sweden's System 37 (Viggen), F104 variants, G.91Y, and German options.

The F4D was wanted by RAF for Fighter duties, not Attack, and similarly with the RN. This doesn't actually compete well for a STOL NMBR.3 competition. Actually the A4 is strong if we drop the supersonic requirements, though a supersonic A4 is frankly quite achievable.
And if you drop STOL......there is the F105 Thunderchief and Super Sabre variants......
 

riggerrob

I really should change my personal text
Senior Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
2,102
Reaction score
1,539
What if no Harrier means increased emphasis on STOL fighters that can launch from short carriers.
I am thinking about an A-4 Skyhawk with thrust-reversers, blown flaps, etc.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
In fact...
RAF wanted Mirage IIIV or similar in 1961.
Hawkers put forward P.1150.
BAC the P.39 and anglicised Mirage IIIV with a droop snoot like Concord.
Also Fo.147 in variant could be proposed as could the P.45 in VG and fixed wing and HS.1173.
And other options:-
Hawkers P.1141 and various Hunter developments
EE P.33, P.34 Ground Attack Lightnings and VG Lightning developments.
DH.127 and other OR.346 designs such as the reduced load and range Single Medway version of B.123 and the rather attractive HS.1152.
Supermarine Type 576
Saro F.177 and SR.53 variants

Then the NMBR.3 contenders
Vickers Type 584
Shorts PD.56
Hawkers HS.1154
Breuget Br.1115
Dassault Mirage IIIV (with Sud and RR)
Fiat/G.95/6
Focke-Wulf FW.1262
Fokker/Republic D.24
Lockheed/Short CL-704
Nord 4210

By 1963 the Type 583.
 
Last edited:

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
Without going into the details, for the sake of this alt history the five original P1127 aircraft have a bad time similar to certain US designs..All are lost with two pilots killed.
The Kestrel and P1154 are abandoned and Hawkers turn instead to a conventional Hunter replacement which goes up against BAC until 1966 when the Wilson government goes for Jaguar with France instead.

The failure of the P1127 compared with the success of the Shorts SC1 emboldens that route as Zen suggests.

Unfortunately for BAC and Shorts Anglo French collaboration is starting to be the order of the day in Whitehall. BAC go in with Dassault who have won the NATO VSTOL competition.. Germany and Italy ignore this result and go ahead with VAK191.

The Dassault Balzac and MIrage IIIV prove to be as difficult to fly as P1127. BAC already smarting from the work wasted on its P45 strike trainer proposal decides to accept what it can get with Breguet on the Jaguar, which becomes the Hunter replacement.

The Getman VJ101 programme morphs into the US/FRG strike fighter, which in turn leads Germany to MRCA/Tornado.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
The US Marines managed to make the Harrier their own despite all the problems associated with the design. Was there an alternative.

The German/Italian VAK 191 by 1968 is the only VSTOL prototype flying in the West.

A US Marine pilot flies the VAK at the Hannover Air Show. McDD are offering West Germany F4 Phantoms to be built under licence. They offer to go in with the USMC to turn the VAK into a viable aircraft for the Marines. So an alt to my opening para.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
The MOD envisaged a family of missiles replacing Royal Navy fixed wing airpower.
The existence of the P1154RAF in our timeline helped to equip the Invincible class when these missiles did not arrive.
With no P1127 the missiles become more necessary for submarines and surface ships.
Two real world systems could have been bought to join Exocet and Sea Skua.
Otomat had a longer range than Exocet for surface ships. But as actually happened in the 80s Harpoon was the solution.
For land attack the US developed the Tomahawk cruise missile for ship and sub use. This could have been in service earlier if the RN had joined the programme.
But a longer range alternative to Seadart was not available. The Standard ER used by the USN was the only system in service.
The RAF promised F4 later Tornado ADV aircraft would protect the fleet. This was not realistic.
Without P1127 could the RN have found an aircraft to do the same job?
After its carriers left service in the 70s (72 under Labour 79 under the Conservatives) the only flattops would be a class of "Command Cruisers" (The Invincible class) armed with Seadart and Seaking helicopters.
With its small deck and no catapults the cruiser could not operate any variety of A4 Skyhawk. But in the mid 70s the US decided to look at VSTOL to protect its proposed light ASW carriers. With more money than the RN this might lead to a solution like the Convair 200 discussed in another thread.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
Ok here's the problem.
Kestrel is the result of a Tripartite agreement in 1963.
Royal Navy is freed from P.1154 in Feb '64.
Spec F242 was replaced by SR.250D in July 1964 for P.1154.

First flight Kestrel 7 March 1964 and Tripartite Evaluation assessment by mid 1965.

Labour win very late in 1964 and effectively start in '65.
Jan '65 the writing is in the wall for P.1154 and HSA are looking at alternatives.
Feb '65 P1154 is cancelled with prototype 33% complete.

AST.362 supersonic trainer issued June 1963, France issues a similar requirement Feb '64.
5 Nov Naval and Air Staff Requirement 362 endorsed as basis of joint study.
Resumed discussions 5 Feb 1965.
17 May '65 MoU for Anglo-French Supersonic Trainer and Attack Aircraft. Breguet on the French side, BAC on the UK side.

So a poor result for Kestrel would already be feeding back by mid '64 to early '65.
This would effect decisions across the board from then, prior to formal declaration of poor results in mid '65.

Consequently this would feed into the view on alternatives.
In fact if this is feeding in mid to late 1964, the summer assessment of AST.362 proposals was underway and reviewed 24 September '64. This would favour P.45 in fixed wing configuration and HS.1173. Being so fresh in government minds, the option to shift to either would be strong.

This means the poor results have to feedback after September '64 and only become clear by March 1965.

As an aside to these dates consider the following.
P.1121 declared unacceptable 30 May 1957. So focused on what became P.1127
Sept SHAPE Colonel Chapman commented that RoA increase to 250nm and that VTO wasn't necessary. STOL would do.
Oct SHAPE required more avionics, ranging radar, and doppler navigation system.
MWDP funded more barebones VTO.....

A cynic at the time might think that US funding was speculative and expected to come to little. Likely based on their domestic analysis.
That focusing potential rival providers on something less tactically useful couldn't harm US interests.....
But had HSA focused on STOL and fitted the equipment needed....

Furthermore August '58 Americans were more interested in P.1121! Which was considered z more practical proposition than P.1127 (not supersonic or well equipped) and OR.339 (TSR.2 )
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
Without P1127 could the RN have found an aircraft to do the same job?
Yes.

Fleetfoot was when?

During the process that led to Invincible and Sea Harrier. The use of even a catapult was examined.
So it's not beyond the times.
In fact the presence of a light fighter attack option for CATOBAR would exert influence on processes for a 'through-deck Cruiser' under those circumstances.

But Carriers officially are slated to retire from 1966, and yet Wilson was still wanting to run them on beyond '72. Which is much more likely a Treasury imposition.

Sea Dart could....frankly should have gotten more funding for greater performance developments.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
If the P1127s all crash and for some reason the vectored thrust is inadequate to control the aircraft I cant see Kestrel and P1154 going ahead.
I am giving P1127 the same fate as Balzac and Mirage IIIV for this scenario.
The VAK 191 with its hybrid lift and vector did work well and safely..Not sure how true this is, but it made for a good story.
Not sure if VG prototypes had similar problems so cant see a read across to BAC giving up swing wing designs because P1127 fails.
BAC got Jaguar to keep them going after TSR2 until AFVG later MRCA. Unlike Hawker they had fielded a supersonic fighter (Lightning).
Without P1127 Hawker tries to optimise its experience with Hunter. As in our timeline this comes good with Hawk.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
The design of the Command Cruiser was fixed a long time before the first vessel was ordered.
I suppose a single catapult could have been fitted but how would it be powered?
The Sea Harrier role was to counter Soviet Bear and other snoopers in a build up to war with the USSR. Noone expected it to fight as a carrier defence fighter since Invincible was assumed to be within range of either US/French carriers or RAF fighter cover.
Cant see limited funds in a non P1127 world the 70s were still a lean period for UK budgets.
Either Comvair 200 or VAK 191 might have been looked at after the Invinciblex entered service.
 

CV12Hornet

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
207
Reaction score
405
The key with the VAK 191B as a Harrier alternative, I think, is the withdrawal of the Italians in 1967 over escalating costs. If the British and USMC are in a position to step in and provide the funding the Italians were originally supposed to provide, they can probably roll it out only a couple of years behind the original Harrier - and they may still be able to keep the Italians on board, which certainly can't hurt the program's viability.

On the debit side is the fact that the VAK 191B ended up getting its development stretched out long enough to start competing with first the American-German VAS and then the Tornado, both of which were significantly higher-performance machines. There's a not-small chance that the Brits end up with an orphan they have to pay for.

The Convair 200 is an interesting possibility, but IMO comes too late (development during the 1970s instead of 1960s), and OTL lost out to the highly unsuccessful XFV-12. With the Tornado program well underway at the time I don't think the Brits are in a position to further develop it themselves. A dedicated Convair 200 timeline would be a fascinating one, but for this scenario I don't think it's the right aircraft.
 

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
3,169
Reaction score
4,254
The only downside I can see is that every airshow in the UK from 1970 onwards will be lame... and grass airfield maintenance costs go through the roof as they have to buy more grass mowers.

Oh, and Nott might have to stump up some readies and keep HMS Antique Royal going for a few more years until.... something turns up.
The ski jump never gets invented (maybe the Soviets get there first or maybe Su-33 pilots need to cross their fingers and clench their buttcheeks and hop they might get airborne in time).
Everyone laughs at the Yak-38 and Yak-41 (lolz those stupid Commies thought VSTOL was a thing).
Armchair air marshalls never have to worry about arguments over VIFFing instead after the Falklands the glory of the F-4 is so great that all other postwar fighters are officially declared wussy.
The USMC goes on with A-4s, A-7s, A-6s, F/A-18s, more F/A-18s... replacing them with F/A-18s... getting some F/A-35s... and F/A-18s. They even decide that an amphibious assault ship should carry amphibious assault helicopters rather than fighters.
F-35 is just a conventional fighter, armchair air marshals cry "it's not an F-4 boohoo!"
More nations sob as their carrier ambitions mean splashing out hefty cash and the Eurofighter Sea Typhoon, Rafale M and F/A-18 make huge sales as a result, the UK makes a packet of dosh selling carrier designs to every mid-power naval nation enabling them to buy Typhoons for the Red Arrows with special go faster decals to make British airshows GREAT again!
 

alertken

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
740
Reaction score
483
May I mini-hijack into: why so little Land (fixed wing) VTOL?

UK vendor Dowty, 1964 was scheming kit for 24 FRG VTOLs. Do.31, VK191B, VJ101C flew: NATO, 1961-65, had many Interested Parties for NBMR.3 (and its replenishment transport, NBMR.4): none was deployed. Why? Italy dumped its 40%/VAK191B, 8/67; France ditto Mirage IIIV 11/66; US ditto A400S, 1/68. RAF, alone, though dumping P.1154 and HS681, 2/65, deployed Land combat VTOL: Harrier GR1, 7/69. Only SHAR (+some ineffectual Yakery) were deployed before F-35B. Runwaylessness is so obvious a USP...why so little VTOL?

Received wisdom A is: cost, complexity, eroding availability/readiness. (USMC did not endorse Harrier until US Kestrel trials showed it would be within the scope of "average" folk - though USMC spell that distinctively). Well, no. See F-111A, Tornado, F-15A, Mirage 2000, which changed the spelling of complexity and moved Unit prices from 6 to 8 figures. Funders are not fanboys. They buy what they believe they need. They all (inc WarPac) decided they did not need runwaylessness. Tell that, I hear you say, to Israel's enemies.

It was all to do with tactical AW on FRG territory, so flexible response, looking East, please.

Berlin Wall, 7/61. Heidelberg Agts (e.g.: US Army/UK SoS/War, 30/8/61): Service-to-Service Technical Arrangement...for Atomic Warhead Support of (UK) Atomic Delivery Units. SSMs, howitzers, ADMs. USA Arty Det munitions custodials embedded and under opnl Command of host Units, all under SACEUR. All, fighting soldiers. Prime Sov target, D-Hour+0. BAOR/RAFG was Tasked to stop the Central Central Front thrust over Luneburger Heide. Gutersloh/P.1154 (/WE177A, 10kt,: R&D funded 2/62 for TSR.2). UK-sovereign WE177A needed no US custodials, so AW/Harrier could be dispersed to hides behind the RAF Regt. (Mirage IIIV/French AW in the Black Forest would be French-guarded so that was chopped when France left SACEUR/FRG). So a Wing (60 procured) of (to be) Harrier GR.1 was funded by reduction of RAF's F-4D buy. Healey's scepticism of any one sortie, VTO, subsonic in, supersonic out (which dished P.1154/RAF {so...F-35B/RAF?}) did not dish Harrier. But, I hear you cry, WE177A trials on Harrier ceased 2/68: no AW Land Harrier, ever. Why not? WE177A was only 600lb.

NATO Nuclear Planning Group 2/4/67 authorised planning “flexible & controlled response” P.Nitze, From Hiroshima to Glasnost, W'feld, 89, Pp203/213. Healey-Schröder Report to NPG, 29/5/69 led to 3/12/69 “Provisional Political Guidelines for the Initial Defensive Tactical Use of (NATO/AW)". Close-up small AW: Army. Air: use good payload/range to interdict in DDR/Poland &tc. So WE177C, 190kt, on RAFG Bucc/Jag/Tornado. That, plus the effort of repelling Spetsnaz from hides so close to DDR, plus NATO+WarPac choosing to presume runways quickly repaired, deleted Harrier/AW and substituted iron. RAF's further payload/range enhancements through GR9 would utilise S- more than V-TOL, prepared strips, not copsed hides.

So: to OP's Whiff: no Harrier...no sweat. On Land. We are allowed to ponder for how long a losing side would forego AW-on-enemy-runways.

If...no Harrier caused no RN/USMC/IN/It/Sp/Thai combat VTOL...much sweat. But maybe LPHs would have brought $ for TVC variants of 1970s F-XX. RR's losing bid for P.1154 was vectored-thrust Twin Spey.
 
Last edited:

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
8,701
Reaction score
8,229
The Harrier was a very smart VSTOL concept, compared to all the crazy batshit that tried flying in the 1960's - and killed way too many test pilots.

- lift the aircraft rear with the engine exhaust - good. Harrier split it into two smaller mobile exhausts on each sides: the Convair 200 / F-35B swivelling nozzle was too far in the future.

- but how to lift the front of the aircraft ? rather than Yak or VAK stupid lift-jets (fuel hogs and gas re-ingestion horrors) just steal some cold air from a big turbofan compressor: and then do the same as in the rear: small swivelling nozzles.

And the result: an aircraft solidly planted on four jets of gas: two cold and two hot. Like the four legs of a table. And up and away it goes.

The basic Harrier concept wasn't perfect - killed too many pilots, TBH, USMC, cough - but it was good enough to last from 1960 to 2030 at least...

One big flaw: that compressor, having to feed 1*turbofan + 2*nozzles, ended so large, the plane couldn't be made supersonic.

-Except with PCBs, but that ruined the rear fuselage through heat and vibrations.
After 20 years of intense brainstorming, the result was the magnificent P.1216. Shame that one wouldn't be built: it would have made a crowning achievement to the basic Harrier concept.

Instead the F-35B stole its thunder... oh well.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
Buying Scimitar with INS would delay NMBR.3 ISD by 5 years or more, but save a lot more. Hoist RAF by their own anti-Buccaneer rhetoric.
Opting to keep P.1121 going solves MRI and FAW needs.

Forcing Buccaneer (at low weights) with RATOG delivers affordable solution.

Licensing System 37 Viggen as STOL solution while continuing with HS.681 gives a second product for Olympus or Medway....or BS.58. Until '65.
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
8,701
Reaction score
8,229
The only downside I can see is that every airshow in the UK from 1970 onwards will be lame... and grass airfield maintenance costs go through the roof as they have to buy more grass mowers.

Oh, and Nott might have to stump up some readies and keep HMS Antique Royal going for a few more years until.... something turns up.
The ski jump never gets invented (maybe the Soviets get there first or maybe Su-33 pilots need to cross their fingers and clench their buttcheeks and hop they might get airborne in time).
Everyone laughs at the Yak-38 and Yak-41 (lolz those stupid Commies thought VSTOL was a thing).
Armchair air marshalls never have to worry about arguments over VIFFing instead after the Falklands the glory of the F-4 is so great that all other postwar fighters are officially declared wussy.
The USMC goes on with A-4s, A-7s, A-6s, F/A-18s, more F/A-18s... replacing them with F/A-18s... getting some F/A-35s... and F/A-18s. They even decide that an amphibious assault ship should carry amphibious assault helicopters rather than fighters.
F-35 is just a conventional fighter, armchair air marshals cry "it's not an F-4 boohoo!"
More nations sob as their carrier ambitions mean splashing out hefty cash and the Eurofighter Sea Typhoon, Rafale M and F/A-18 make huge sales as a result, the UK makes a packet of dosh selling carrier designs to every mid-power naval nation enabling them to buy Typhoons for the Red Arrows with special go faster decals to make British airshows GREAT again!

ROTFL. VSTOL for sure surely killed way too many test pilots while distracting very serious aerospace companies into chasing a (murderous) wild goose.
Some VSTOL concepts were, and still are, pretty baffling.

"It can't take off vertically !"

"Put more lift jets, you dummy !"

Seriously, some VSTOL projects of the 1960's seems to consider lift-jets as magical antigravity devices.
Fuel consumption ?
Hot gases reingestion ?
Ground erosion ?
Killing the pilot ?
Vibrations ?
... nah, shut up, lift jets are magical devices. We need moaaaar of them.


Dassault test pilot Jean Marie Saget was pretty baffled by that Mirage III-V monstrosity they came with.
"- eight lift jets
- one TF30
- plus the APU
Well, that's only ten engines to start and work together."
 
Last edited:

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
3,169
Reaction score
4,254
I still say that beyond rotary wing, VTOL is a white elephant.
Now we have distributed electric motor VTOL UAVs that might change, but its no surprise even Bell and Sikorsky are thinking novel applications have little commercial value. I still don't think the F-35B has any military value other than for use aboard small carriers - which probably just about makes it worthwhile. I wonder how often the RAF really makes use of the lift fan other than for shipboard operations?
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
8,701
Reaction score
8,229
I wonder how often the RAF really makes use of the lift fan other than for shipboard operations?
Airshows ? :D
:p

Also "True lies" AV-8B.
 

Opportunistic Minnow

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
552
Reaction score
927
Also "True lies" AV-8B.
800px-AV-8B_VMA-513_refueling_from_KC-130_over_Philippines_1990.jpeg


Cut scene.....
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
I think the ability to operate from rough fields and short strips delivers a degree of flexibility otherwise lacking. At low loads it delivers a more immediate response closer to the action.
So no I don't think STOVL is worthless.
VTOL however allows for a theoretical ability to operate even closer and move with the Army's advance. But it come at obvious enhanced risks.

USMC valued Harrier II during the Gulf War because of that level of flexibility. What mattered was not hitting targets at 250-450nm, but a mere 60-120nm and trading long range and high payloads for getting something useful 'there now' was considered worth it.

What undermines this now is the rise of drones and precision guided artillery (both gun and rocket).
But those have their own limitations too.
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
8,701
Reaction score
8,229
The Falklands War boosted sales of Exocet and harpoon anti-ship missiles.

The Exocet in the Falklands was so controversial, at so many levels - a nail bitting controversy that engulfed Argentina, Great Britain, and... France.

Some basic facts

-the British were (rightly) incensed by Sheffield loss, but there are many subtilities with the whole story

a) the Exocet sunk Sheffield not much through it warhead but its flaming rocket engine that set fire to an ill-protected and aluminium-structure ship

b) Ruppert Murdoch, in his classic role of "jingoistic useful idiot" was used to bash the french as traitors having sold Exocets to the ennemy. As if major arm deals were done by teletubbies (Al Yamahmah 1985, cough, cough)

c) conveniently forgoting that Argentina had been sold two Type 42 destroyers, with Exocets

d) similar to the RN Type 42, with Exocets (it hurts, the irony !)

e) part of the smear campaign also insisted on the fact the Exocet was "not so good" as it had killed Sheffield with its engine rather than warhead

f) masking the truth that Sheffield was ill protected by its SAMs and also badly protected against fire, plus that aluminum superstructure that melted...

Overall, it was a game of fools. Make no mistake, Mitterrand was no better than Thatcher: those two hated each others as political opposites; but were equally manipulative, ruthless and machiavellian to their ministers, and population.

Mitterrand / Dassault / Aerospatiale attitude over Argentina's Super Etendard / Exocet systems was ambiguous at best.

- On one side, the French delayed deliveries of aircraft and missiles beyond the 5 already delievered.
- The Aéronavale (S.E) and Armée de l'Air (Mirages) also launched mock attacks on the passing British Task Force off French Brittany: to give British sailors a good taste and training over what awaited them down under.

- Yet at the same time, it seems the S.E & Exocet French support and maintenance crews in Argentina (Comodoro Rivadavia, from memory) stayed there during the war... and helped in the raid(s) that sunk Sheffield and Atlantic Conveyor - and that last ground-launched Exocet that damaged Glamorgan.

If the above point was ever proven, then the British were right to be infuriated.

Overall it was a very ugly controversy.

Note: Mitterrand said of Thatcher "She has Marylin Monroe mouth, but her eyes are those of Caligula." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligula

Not very nice, but still much classier than Chirac open-mic thoughts of the same Thatcher some years later.
 
Last edited:

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
3,169
Reaction score
4,254
Terry the Mk.VIII torpedo to Emile the AM.39 Exocet' "youngsters these days, you think you are so tough melting aluminium, I just snapped a cruiser's steel keel like a twig."

Harold the Sea Harrier FRS.1 sniffs, "I don't lower myself to bothering with sinking ships, I'm a real fighter, like a Spitfire but only better."

Felicia the F-35B retorts, "yeah but I'm super stealthy and cool and the most advanced aircraft humankind could devise by committee..."

Horace the Harrier GR.3 says, "you can't Sneb us Harriers like that. We can take off take off from a ploughed field in a wood, in the middle of winter or get grabbed in mid-air by cranes." [lol geddit, Sneb sounds like snub]

Felicia "noooooo not the grass, I can only operate from hard surfaces, I love concrete and steel.... and climate controlled blister hangars... mmmm cozy."

Harold sighs, "we've been jibbed all those years stuck on tiny ships and standing in all weathers in German rain."

Horace shrugs his outrigger wheels "meh, she can't carry any decent anti-ship weapons yet either for all her bragging."
 

NOMISYRRUC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 28, 2008
Messages
571
Reaction score
786
Some excerpts from the Opening Post.
The Royal Navy barely noticed.. It was looking forward to getting the big new CVA01 aircraft carrier and the F4 Phantom.
If I've interpreted this and the rest of the thread correctly development of the F-4K "Spey Phantom" begins in 1962 instead of 1964 because there's no "P.1154RN interlude".

If I have interpreted that correctly the head start of 2 years means the first flight is brought forward by 2 years and the first 800-series squadron would embark on a Royal Navy aircraft carrier 3 years earlier. The latter is because as I understand it 892NAS was ready to go to sea in 1969 but had to train on USS Saratoga because Ark Royal didn't return to service until 1970. However, I think that the earlier decision to adopt the Phantom will result in Eagle being "Phantomized" 1962-64 as part of her 1959-64 refit and I think 899NAS (which was Eagle's Sea Vixen squadron from 1964 until 1972) will convert to Phantoms in time for it to embark on Eagle in 1967.
By 1967 this complacency had vanished. The aircraft carrier was to be replaced from 1972 by a combination of helicopter equipped missile cruisers and nuclear submarines with an as yet un-designed missile to take on ships and shore targets.
If you had written 1968 instead of 1967 I wouldn't have included the following nit pick...

The decision to withdraw from "East of Suez" was taken in 1967 but it was to be completed in 1975. The completion date was brought forward to by the end of 1971 early in 1968. As I understand it (and I'm confident that I'm correct) that was due to the devaluation in Sterling late in 1967 and in turn (as I understand it - I may be wrong on this one) the main reason for the devaluation was the economic crisis created by the closure of the Suez Canal following the Six Day War of June 1967.

Early 1968 is also when Eagles "Phantomisation" was cancelled. I don't know, but my guess is that the time and cost of the refit was no longer worth the benefit because as the ship's withdrawal had been brought forward from 1975 to1972.

I don't know but I suspect that Ark Royal's "Phantomisation" which was already in progress was too far advanced to be abandoned and the Government wanted to keep Plymouth's voters happy. I think that if the decision to withdraw the aircraft carriers in 1972 had really been made in 1967 instead of 1968 there's a good chance that this refit would have been abandoned and Victorious would have been kept in service until early 1972 to cover the gap left by Ark Royal.
"What about Ark Royal and her Phantoms?" Thatcher asked, thinking she had caught Nott out.
"Prime Minister she was taken out of service in 1972 along with the other aircraft carriers. Successive governments, including yours have agreed that British forces will not stage an amphibious operation against a defended objective without support from NATO. The Falklands are outside that area.". The Admiral spoke before Nott could answer.
Ark Royal will still be reprieved if the Conservatives win the 1970 general election and in common with the "real world" remain in service until the end of 1978.

If Eagle was "Phantomized" between 1962 and 1964 as part of her 1959-64 refit (and I think she will) she'll be reprieved too. This may mean that Blake is paid off in 1972 to provide a third of Eagle's crew. It might mean that Tiger's helicopter cruiser conversion is abandoned in 1970 (or she goes into reserve upon its completion in 1972) to provide another third of Eagle's crew.

As an aside Lord Carrington who was Foreign Secretary from May 1979 to April 1982 was also the Defence Secretary from 1970 to 1974 and he made the decision to keep Ark Royal in service to the end of 1978.
 
Last edited:

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
1962....
OR.346
Also Admiralty meeting over comparative study for new carriers.
Civil Lord intersects that UK Government will baulk at funding 55,000ton CV Fleet, but might be persuade able over 40,000tin adaptable design. Starting with Sea Vixen and Buccaneer before transition to P1154.

Insert P.1127 failure, no P.1154 and RAF design for 175 F4D.......

Outcome =?
 

NOMISYRRUC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 28, 2008
Messages
571
Reaction score
786
"Prime Minister she was taken out of service in 1972 along with the other aircraft carriers.
If that had happened BBC1 would transmit Test Card F between 9:25pm and 9:55 every Thursday Night from 5th August 1976 to 7th October 1976 because this wouldn't be on.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgWqsIrWAPM

Rod Stewart's wouldn't have re-released Sailing and Gavin Sutherland who wrote it would have earned less in royalties.

Fortunately, as explained in Post 26, it wouldn't.
 
Last edited:

NOMISYRRUC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 28, 2008
Messages
571
Reaction score
786
1962....
OR.346
Also Admiralty meeting over comparative study for new carriers.
Civil Lord intersects that UK Government will baulk at funding 55,000ton CV Fleet, but might be persuade able over 40,000tin adaptable design. Starting with Sea Vixen and Buccaneer before transition to P1154.

Insert P.1127 failure, no P.1154 and RAF design for 175 F4D.......

Outcome =?
Although a 40,000 ton strike carrier would be 27% smaller than a 55,000 ton ship it wouldn't be 27% cheaper to build because things like the radars and the flagship facilities would be just as expensive. This version of CVA.01 is probably cancelled in February 1966 as well.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
Or maybe not, since certain things would be different.
And 27% cheaper....is still 27% cheaper.
Involving less QT steel and less welding (though that is debatable).

What it wouldn't be is aiming for OR.346 as a successor system......
As F4 and S.2 required less than superlative OR.346 types.

Unless Admiralty imposes the 42,000ton study as the best means to hedge their bets. But to make it work, they will have further compromises.
Logically that could be Sea Dart lifted off as DLI would be available instead......despite them certain institutions denying DLI is needed in the face of BARCAP and Anti-Ship Missiles.
Despite certain officials pointing out the SAM solution is inadequate compared to DLI....
Furthermore abandonment of Type 988 is inevitable. ASWRE didn't want it, had better developments to pursue and the computer side was more important.

Which means the institutional arguments over the TAU for EoS war falls apart earlier due to aircraft limit of 32 Buccaneer sized or 18 OR.346.This resolves into a GP carrier with a Strike North emphasis and ASW.

Edited more thoughts.
But institutionally the favour would be to impose NMBR.3 solution as was history.

If P1127 a failure and P.1154 not proceeded with to NMBR.3....then other option would be chosen. Starting with alternative domestic champion for the process.

Arguably that is either Shorts submission.
Or BAC Vickers Type 584.
Of these Type 584 allows VG research, common Medway development with HS.681 and leaves HSA with Supersonic Trainer....HS.1173

More edited in thoughts.
Vectored thrust BS.53 funding cut on P.1127 failures. Bristol start offering BS.58 straight through BS.53 turbofan variant instead. Trying to capitalise on what has been funded to date.

HSA could negotiate with SAAB on BS.58 powered System 37....and maybe thrown a bone on HS.681?
Otherwise RR is dominant winner with NMBR.3, HS.681 and BS has just Anglo-French Supersonic Transport....

BAC receive funding either for VG research or funds purchase IP from US VG work on funded TFX....much like Germany. Type 584 being funded can cope with shift away from VTOL to STOL....by removal of lift jet and clang box thrust diverter.
Come 1965 choice is Type 584/585 STOL option or cancel for F4K now and AFVG later.
But....SAAB offering of System 37 now comes to the fore.
As is for MRI mission of NMBR.3.
Souped up for LRI mission of TSR.2.

HS.1173 finds possible partner with twin seater Etendard.....?

If Viggen instead of P.1154 ISD about the same. Bristol still a winner. But TSR.2 variant dies for lack of funds....
RN forced to take it, but being lighter and easier to TO&L than Phantom. Cheaper to run.

If Type 584 instead of P.1154, VG solution and licensing to Dassault....RR winner.
But development of twin AFVG still goes ahead....with massive drop tanks.

If F4K, RR winner and HS.1173 slips through in souped up form for MRI Strike rather than Jaguar.
 
Last edited:

NOMISYRRUC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 28, 2008
Messages
571
Reaction score
786
And 27% cheaper....is still 27% cheaper.
I said 27% smaller, not 27% cheaper.

The hull might be 27% cheaper.

However, things like the Type 988 radar, Sea Dart, ADAWS, flagship facilities, steam catapults, arrester gear, lifts and machinery would cost exactly the same or their price wouldn't be reduced in proportion to the reduction in the ship's size.
Logically that could be Sea Dart lifted off as DLI would be available instead......despite them certain institutions denying DLI is needed in the face of BARCAP and Anti-Ship Missiles.
Furthermore abandonment of Type 988 is inevitable.
I think the "real" CVA.01 if built would have been been designed for but not fitted with Sea Dart and the Type 988 radar too.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
Well on then projections I'd say £43 million is not equal to £55 million.....
And £172 million for 4 carriers is not the same as £220 million....In fact 3 such being £170 million suggests otherwise.
 

Foo Fighter

I came, I saw, I drank some tea (and had a bun).
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
2,925
Reaction score
1,785
I reckon standard rotary withSTOL ability for fixed wing ops. Road use has not been uncommon in the past and is just as doable.
 

Nik

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
729
Reaction score
310
"Well, Prime Minister, the Argentine naval base at Bahia Blanca, we could nuke--"
"N-N-N-No !!!"
"How about letting our subs torpedo most of their fleet ??"
 
Top