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RAF with TSR2 etc: But what Fighters?

zen

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Perhaps ken should also have stated that the RN did not want the Phantom in 1940? or 2010? or 1805?
Flippancy, those dates are outside the context of this thread.

Thorvic is correct, in the context of the RN expecting CVA-01 they where looking well beyond the F4. It was an 'interim' solution, though that seems a common thread in their decision making.
But understandable in the context of how rapidly things had progressed since 1945.
 

JFC Fuller

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zen said:
Flippancy, those dates are outside the context of this thread.

Thorvic is correct, in the context of the RN expecting CVA-01 they where looking well beyond the F4. It was an 'interim' solution, though that seems a common thread in their decision making.
But understandable in the context of how rapidly things had progressed since 1945.
Most certainly not flippancy.

And I am still not seeing any evidence of the RN not wanting the F4, and perhaps we could also see some evidence of the RN planning to replace it with the AFVG? Let us not forget that AFVG was not expected in RAF service until at least 1974, a decade after the RN Phantom purchase, and the programmes existence only overlapped the CVA-01 project by 8 months.

And what does interim actually mean? the direction of history effectively makes all types interim to their replacement.
 

harrier

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One problem with this discussion is that it is based on the idea of there being some monolith called the Royal Navy that decides what it buys.

In reality there were various views within the Service, and wider views in the overall government/procurement 'system'.

These can be seen in the files at Kew, e.g. ADM1/29154 - 29156 show that in 1962 Director of Naval Air Division wanted the Vickers 583, but agreed to keep looking to see what the P.1154 could do. Then the Admiralty Board looked at the Sea Vixen with 'AI.25' radar to allow time to get the full OR.346 aircraft in the early 1970s. It was felt (1962) that the Sea VIxen with Red Top could do until the early 1970s - what really mattered was what replaced the Buccaneer!

The saga of the RN P.1154 is well known, but what kept it alive (the idea, it was never very 'substantial' as a design) were the possible cost savings. When these appeared to evaporate then the F-4 became attractive as it seemed to offer the same cost savings. In June/July 1963 the F-4 was discussed (nothing decided) by the Air Ministry as a possible Lightning replacement too, which would spread R&D with the RAF. But at the same time the Defence Research Policy Committee did a big review of all the options, with the work undertaken by RAE and MoA supply staffs, which decided the best option for the RN's needs was the Vickers 584 (not the 583 as above, but this is mentioned too).

By January 1964 another round of studies see F-4 with Spey as the most cost effective to meet the RN needs until 1975ish, especially if the US buys the Spey too. What came in 1975ish was left open - would depend on what ships were around then. But the perceived high/fast Soviet threat that drove the RN fighter requirements was not met by the P.1154/F-4, and it was not clear what could meet it (much discussion in other files of 'jump up' missiles - 70,000 feet). Interestingly, TFX/F-111B is never mentioned (while every other thing is).

This is the tip of the iceberg - there are many more files with many more discussions that excited various factions (e.g. the 'Off Shore Support Ship' which would allow P.1154RAF aircraft to operate at sea). What ultimately decided the RN on the F-4? Getting CVA.01, but not the four or five of them the navy wanted, rather a couple or three, meaning they needed older carriers to run on. Then, as now, getting the big carrier was what mattered to the Admiralty (not all of the FAA though) - the specific aircraft to fly from it came second. The Phantom was the best fit with this, and apparently as cheap as chips, and with Speys it limited the balance of payments damage (which mattered a lot back then). That it didn't turn out like that is another story...
 

JFC Fuller

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harrier said:
One problem with this discussion is that it is based on the idea of there being some monolith called the Royal Navy that decides what it buys.
Not just an RN issue but defence wide. It forces one to look at the 'prevailing winds', ie who thought what and of those people who held most influence over the decision making process.

I would dispute that the F4 decision was driven by the desire to get CVA01 though, I have never seen either evidence or truly viable argument to suggest that. F4 was acquired because of a confluence of events/motivations (like all aircraft)- in combination it met the cost limitation, did not put pressure on the already stumbling industry, could get off the carrier decks and could enter service within the desired time frame.
 

harrier

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I would dispute that the F4 decision was driven by the desire to get CVA01 though, I have never seen either evidence or truly viable argument to suggest that.
See Eric Grove's excellent article 'Partnership Spurned: the Royal Navy's Search for a Joint Maritime-Air Strategy East of Suez, 1961-63', in N.A.M. Rodger, Naval Power in the Twentieth Century, (1996) pp.227-41.

And also DEFE13/621 which contains Thorneycroft's almost tearful review of the P.1154 RN/RAF saga.

It also makes clear (as do recent decisions) that it is the minister who ultimately decides. Thorneycroft took the Services' advice on board regarding P.1154/F-4, but did not like doing so.

As for the 'stumbling industry' (a generalisation for which I have seen no evidence/views in the files - it was well understood that different firms had different abilities), the reheat Spey added to the load, and in an area RR were known to be weak, and with a technology (reheat on a turbofan, rather than a turbojet) that was known to be risky (as P&W and others found out).
 

JFC Fuller

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harrier said:
See Eric Grove's excellent article 'Partnership Spurned: the Royal Navy's Search for a Joint Maritime-Air Strategy East of Suez, 1961-63', in N.A.M. Rodger, Naval Power in the Twentieth Century, (1996) pp.227-41.
Have seen it and I dont think i provides anywhere enough for a definitive statement that CVA01 drove the Phantom requirement. Indeed I would suggest the evidence against such a theory is extremely strong- not least the overwhelming absence of anything else that met the requirement.

It also makes clear (as do recent decisions) that it is the minister who ultimately decides. Thorneycroft took the Services' advice on board regarding P.1154, but did not like doing so.
The Minister is the decision maker but not the opinion former- his decision is the product of the evidence and opinion with which he is presented from the civil service and the services- he then makes his own judgement on such evidence and opinion but it comes from him.

As for the 'stumbling industry' (a generalisation for which I have seen no evidence/views in the files - it was well understood that different firms had different abilities), the reheat Spey added to the load, and in an area RR were known to be weak.
It is called TSR-2, not to mention Concorde, skills were not so much an issue as the sheer amount of resources, both industry and cash, that they were absorbing- industry lacked capacity to be able to realistically take on the challenge of developing something as complex as a fully operational Type 583 in addition to its other commitments.
 

harrier

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sealordlawrence said:
harrier said:
See Eric Grove's excellent article 'Partnership Spurned: the Royal Navy's Search for a Joint Maritime-Air Strategy East of Suez, 1961-63', in N.A.M. Rodger, Naval Power in the Twentieth Century, (1996) pp.227-41.
Have seen it and I dont think i provides anywhere enough for a definitive statement that CVA01 drove the Phantom requirement. Indeed I would suggest the evidence against such a theory is extremely strong- not least the overwhelming absence of anything else that met the requirement.

Well, Grove shows how the need for CVA.01 drove the RN's requirements, and how joint aircraft were seen as a possible threat. However, as you may want to see it boldly stated, try AIR 20/11425 where a Defence Board meeting of 1 January 1964 (not a bank holiday back then) spells it out - need to save money to pay for CVA.01, and either a joint P.1154 or Phantom would do this - latter without Spey would save even more at a cost of making Hermes unable to operate them.

It also makes clear (as do recent decisions) that it is the minister who ultimately decides. Thorneycroft took the Services' advice on board regarding P.1154, but did not like doing so.
The Minister is the decision maker but not the opinion former- his decision is the product of the evidence and opinion with which he is presented from the civil service and the services- he then makes his own judgement on such evidence and opinion but it comes from him.

Thorneycroft was well informed and had strong opinions of his own - sure, he took advice, but as the files make clear he could think, and act, for himself too.

As for the 'stumbling industry' (a generalisation for which I have seen no evidence/views in the files - it was well understood that different firms had different abilities), the reheat Spey added to the load, and in an area RR were known to be weak.
It is called TSR-2, not to mention Concorde, skills were not so much an issue as the sheer amount of resources, both industry and cash, that they were absorbing- industry lacked capacity to be able to realistically take on the challenge of developing something as complex as a fully operational Type 583 in addition to its other commitments.

Sure, 583 was possibly too much (but then it was meant to come later), but much of industry was under-employed at the time - e.g. Gloster closing down etc. The issue may well have been the poor deployment of resources, but not the lack of them.
 

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harrier said:
Well, Grove shows how the need for CVA.01 drove the RN's requirements, and how joint aircraft were seen as a possible threat. However, as you may want to see it boldly stated, try AIR 20/11425 where a Defence Board meeting of 1 January 1964 (not a bank holiday back then) spells it out - need to save money to pay for CVA.01, and either a joint P.1154 or Phantom would do this - latter without Spey would save even more at a cost of making Hermes unable to operate them.
And? As stated earlier in this thread, costs aligned, as did a multitude of other factors- as demonstrated by the fact that joint P.1154 was also considered acceptable within the context of cost. That does not make CVA01 the primary or singular driving force for Phantom.

Thorneycroft was well informed and had strong opinions of his own - sure, he took advice, but as the files make clear he could think, and act, for himself too.
It was never stated that he could not or did not think or act himself. The point is that he would have been heavily influenced by both the services and the civil service and the wider discourse with which he was entangled.

Sure, 583 was possibly too much (but then it was meant to come later), but much of industry was under-employed at the time - e.g. Gloster closing down etc. The issue may well have been the poor deployment of resources, but not the lack of them.
But what was left of the Gloster team? Depending on who you believe TSR-2 employed 20,000 people, any effort at Vickers VG aircraft would have required a not too dissimilar work force and would be running up against Concorde. The Vickers VG aircraft are certainly out of the question and I have serious doubts that the Avionics industry would be able to spare the resources to provide a radar for P.1154RN in a timely fashion (without resorting to simple license production). And that is before we get to the complete lack of cash to fund such a development programme which brings us full circle to the first point.
 

harrier

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I was about to post some more 'from the horses mouth' stuff - 'Winkle' Brown's explanation to Hawkers about why DNAD were pro-F4, how it fitted with their plans for a VG follow-up, Zuckermann's discussion of the role of the Spey, none of it in any published source.

And? As stated earlier in this thread,
But I forgot that thread posts trump archive files.....and baseless speculation trumps facts...and abruptness trumps manners.

Silly me.
 

JFC Fuller

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harrier said:
But I forgot that thread posts trump archive files.....and baseless speculation trumps facts...and abruptness trumps manners.

Silly me.
No, you seem to have forgotten the requirement for proper interpretation of archive files, something quite different. If you are prepared to allow others to make judgements, as well as yourself, based on such source material please feel free to post it, direct qoutes not paraphrasing would be most appropriate.

And what baseless speculation? It is common knowledge that TSR2 was absorbing vast quantity's of cash and that the R&D programme was using a disproportional amount of industry resources. Or that Thorneycroft would have had his thought processes crafted by his environment- unless we are to assume that he made his decisions with no civil service or military input?
 

harrier

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No, you seem to have forgotten the requirement for proper interpretation of archive files
Have I? I did say I was silly!

Please illuminate me, and your arguments, with proper archive use, so we may all learn how it's done.

I'm off to burn my three history degree certificates!
 

JFC Fuller

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harrier said:
I'm off to burn my three history degree certificates!
I would save it until winter, then you maybe able to extract useful heat from the process.

Example:

AIR 20/11425 where a Defence Board meeting of 1 January 1964 (not a bank holiday back then) spells it out - need to save money to pay for CVA.01, and either a joint P.1154 or Phantom would do this - latter without Spey would save even more at a cost of making Hermes unable to operate them
does not translate to:

What ultimately decided the RN on the F-4? Getting CVA.01
As demonstrated by the fact that the P.1154 was considered suitable within the bounds of cost and Crusader was viable. That is not to say that cost was not a factor- of course it was, but Phantoms viability stretched much further than that.
 

harrier

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sealordlawrence said:
AIR 20/11425 where a Defence Board meeting of 1 January 1964 (not a bank holiday back then) spells it out - need to save money to pay for CVA.01, and either a joint P.1154 or Phantom would do this - latter without Spey would save even more at a cost of making Hermes unable to operate them
does not translate to:

What ultimately decided the RN on the F-4? Getting CVA.01
As demonstrated by the fact that the P.1154 was considered suitable within the bounds of cost and Crusader was viable. That is not to say that cost was not a factor- of course it was, but Phantoms viability stretched much further than that.
Oh, it does. Anyone who knew the state of the P.1154 in January 1964, and the government, services and industry's view of its likely success at the time would see that means the F-4 is a shoe-in as the only cheap game in town that frees up the requisite money for CVA.01. Oh, historians and their crazy 'interpretation of the files' antics!

would save it until winter, then you maybe able to extract useful heat from the process.
Nah, not enough material in them for that. However, I do have a pile of Jane's magazines to burn.

Not what they used to be, Jane's. Can't get the staff, it seems.
 

JFC Fuller

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harrier said:
Nah, not enough material in them for that. However, I do have a pile of Jane's magazines to burn.

Not what they used to be, Jane's. Can't get the staff, it seems.
Whilst bringing Jane's into the conversation seems like an excessive tangent, even by the standards of this thread, I do find myself in agreement.
 

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Sealordlawrence, do you really want to argue with Mike Pryce about the P1154 program? How much original archival research have you put into this matter?

What are *your* qualifications to talk on this subject?

Be more respectful of the work of others, or face a ban.
 

JFC Fuller

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Perhaps it would be equally appropriate not to assume that somebody lacks some form of qualification simply because they choose not to identify themselves on the internet? Or to assume that a single individual holds a monopoly on correct opinion or information pertaining to a single subject? And I will happily get into a discussion with anybody if I feel I can contribute, history is the product of discourse not monopolisation by individuals- which is why despite this exchange I maintain a healthy respect for Mr Pryce.
 

zen

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Pull Out Distance for stopping a big heavy and fast landing machine is longer than a lightweight slow landing machine. CVA-01 is clearly designed to operate aircraft bigger, and heavier at reletively high landing speeds. Sure we might talk of trying to stop the two in the same distance, but G-load limits on the airframe (and hook) dictate the reality.
Similarly with the catapults, and if we look at the lifts as well.
Those are the facts and fits the continuation of working towards something of nearer 70,000lb induvidual aircraft weight, the designed limit for CVA-01's flightdeck.
So not the F4, nor the Buccaneer. But closer to TFX, and since the UK version is OR.346, it does'nt take a genius to see the obvious.
The recovery zone is good enough for F14, maybe they never considered the F111B, but they were clearing thinking of something bigger and heavier and of a similarly higher energy landing, than F4.

Marginal flight ops from the Ark Royal and Eagle for F4 with J79 are a fact. Hence the Spey, not a sop to industry but a necessity. You could lengthen the already overlapping with recovery zone catapults. But you'd have to seriously lower the angle of the recovery zone to give enough length to safely recovery standard USN F4s at decent weights. That or push the end of an increased sponsoned width of recovery zone to dangerously low distances from the bow.
With no active stabilisation of the sort Charles De Gaulle has, stability was at serious risk too.

So a CV for operating the F4 is going to be longer than Ark Royal, at the flightdeck and longer in the hull, but its not CVA-01.
Might do it in 450ft of recovery (angled) deck (320ft Pullout, plus two spaces (three wires) of 30ft), add in say 190ft to the bow and your looking at 640ft. Minus 70ft (to locus of minimum ship motions), and you have 3/4 of waterline length of 580 or 770ft waterline length in total and 820 to 830 at the flightdeck. LBP about 720ft.
Ark Royal too short by 30ft in the waterline and thats without the fourth wire.

TSR.2 carried a lot of next genration technology. Applicable to other aircraft, from hydraulic fluids to airframe materials. Aircraft like Type 583, 584, 585, and 589/590 are all using this same tehnical base. Beyond VG and AI radar, theres very little thats 'new' about them, you can see it in their very design. Hell 589 used TSR.2 canopy, and a Scimitar nosehweel along with parts from here and there.

'interim'. Between more defined and desired systems, a stopgap to hold the line while requriements and solutions to them where produced. Recognition of the scale of the task for anything meetiing OR.346-like capabiities means they're looking at rather longer than a finished delivery in 1968. Time is now critical circa 1963, Soviet threat of increasing deployment of new missiles makes SeaVixen invalid. Scale of AI/missile development grasped and is major delay. Minimum time to new AI radar is 1972. Missile... who knows? Signs are not good given past history.
F4/AWG.10/Sparrow covers the gap, valid long enough to handle delays in fielding new AI/missile solution.
Search for AI set, starts with CW set, ends in FICMW.... AI.24 is being born. Search for missile ends in new seeker to Sparrow, but its not what they started out wanting and does'nt handle the sort of threat orriginaly envisioned. not so much the seekers fault as the missile and platform's.
The other answer is GAR.9/AIM-54.... but too expensive!
Any problem with this description?
 

alertken

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(SLL is no doubt not intending to be derogatory; nor is harrier - whose sharing of relevant finds would be most welcome, please.)

OT was "what fighters", and our discussion has VS swingers popping up like bad pennies. The most recent Barnes Wallis biog flatly places on Geo.Edwards "blame" for leaving his pivots out in the cold. During 1964, BAC moved VG scheming from Weybridge to Preston (having earlier dismantled VS' S.Marston team). You have all missed the context of 1964: BAC was in dire business poo.

Thorneycroft had accepted CAS Elworthy's advice to abandon TSR.2 and take fixed-price F-111, just slipping a few onto McNamara's planned >3,000 (!). VC10 had evidently not done what Flight said at its first flight, 29 June,62: it would hold 707 sales (then 550) to just 200 more: “demand has been filled.” In fact 10 went to 3 open Users (+BOAC/RAF). When 707 No.1,010 flew in ’94 only RAF still operated VC10. How many Concordes would actually happen? DC-9 was thrashing 1-11: when would a Baby-Boeing emerge?

CVA-01 was funded 7/63: its task would be Indian Ocean, and on 27/2/64 Minister Throneycroft had defined its Air Group as Buccaneer S.2/WE.177A(N), plus F-4K. Done; next: what to do instead of TSR.2 to replace RAFG Canberra B(I)6/8+free Mk.7. He settled on P.1154(RAF)/WE.177A, and /WE.177B, a new and Bigger Bang.

Wilson got in 16/10/64 and judged his position to be exactly as Cameron would, 5/2010: unaffordable. I.a, AWRE/ROF were overloaded. By 19/2/65 Healey had settled on: a Gutersloh spoiling Wing of dispersed P.1127(RAF)/WE.177A to interdict Red armour (which had a range of 20km: don't try to kill each tank, kill POL). Modest payload-range, no prob: they would be popping up from a copse. Plus lots of F-4M (intake/rear fuselage keeping Preston alive) plus B43 (releasing ROFs to attend to Polaris).

Now, from mid-1963 in the context of bouncing back from CDG's 16/1/63 non to UK-in-EEC, UK and France had been flirting variously. Moore/II has JFK reminding Macmillan that UK had few nuclear secrets which it could pass on. The choppers package and Jaguar would emerge from these contacts. Dassault was doing G-Mirages. The obvious UK partner in any such flirting was not ex-VS, not ex-V-A, not ex-EE. Buccaneer S.2 Systems, sounder finances, and VG design experience made HSAL the more credible team. A.W.59 had been bid in 1952; assets bought in ’59 included DH.127 VG/VSTOL scheme, and Folland, in ’60 hiring Weybridge’s VG designer for Fo.147. To late-64 VG HS.1170B/1171 were pursued; BAC VG effort had been in model trials of Wallis’ Wild Geese/Swallow arrows, a superseded shape, now further impugned by the shift North.

But BAC's man Knight was getting towards the end of a >2 years' investment in the sandpit. Magic Carpet would be signed 21/12/65, planning £1.5Bn, to be paid in liquid gold. That is why BAC, not HSAL, was to be sustained (no tender process) on AFVG. To qualify for design leadership Healey had to commit to buy at least as many as CDG asserted he wanted for AdlA and Aeronavale. So on-credit F-4M/free B43 would be rolled over for "AFVG(RAF)"/plus WE.177B (built when, how?); to puff up UK numbers, F-4K would be rolled off and an AFVG(RN) invented.

As soon as CDS Mountbatten retired CVA-01 and "AFVG/RN" died, 2/66. UK obfuscated about its total buy of "AFVG/RAF"; Dassault resolved that for us, 29/6/67, and again came to UK's rescue in Spring,1968. Healey and France had gatecrashed F-104G Users' replacement discussions as soon as W.Germany abandoned V/STOL AVS. France said, anyMirage will do, so were ejected; Healey said "here's AFVG know-how thrown into the common pot at no charge". W.Germany said "ah, but we've already done a licence deal with Grumman for F-111B pivot/wing centrebox". "Let's do that", said Healey and MRCA was conceived; UK would need to find a way of matching Luftwaffe+Bundesmarine's enormous asserted buy, so UK could be "equal", so a downstream fighter variant would replace Lightning. HSAL never got a whiff of any of it.
 

Caravellarella

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I don't like the TSR2......

Terry (Caravellarella)
 

JFC Fuller

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alertken said:
CVA-01 was funded 7/63: its task would be Indian Ocean, and on 27/2/64 Minister Throneycroft had defined its Air Group as Buccaneer S.2/WE.177A(N), plus F-4K. Done; next: what to do instead of TSR.2 to replace RAFG Canberra B(I)6/8+free Mk.7. He settled on P.1154(RAF)/WE.177A, and /WE.177B, a new and Bigger Bang.

Wilson got in 16/10/64 and judged his position to be exactly as Cameron would, 5/2010: unaffordable. I.a, AWRE/ROF were overloaded. By 19/2/65 Healey had settled on: a Gutersloh spoiling Wing of dispersed P.1127(RAF)/WE.177A to interdict Red armour (which had a range of 20km: don't try to kill each tank, kill POL). Modest payload-range, no prob: they would be popping up from a copse. Plus lots of F-4M (intake/rear fuselage keeping Preston alive) plus B43 (releasing ROFs to attend to Polaris).
Which, in a link you your gyros thread, goes some way to explaining the expensive nav-attack systems.
 

zen

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RN don't just pile on changes to P1154 for spite or to scupper the 'commonality', their trying to get enough performance to keep it valid as a fighter.

'63 undefined, 64 defined as F4K tallies with my information. Take '63 as the year they see the threat displayed. They know its comming, even if the missiles they saw are the only ones the USSR actualy has, time will tell and they can see what the future looks like.
They need a machine, as soon as reasonably possible, operable from current CVs.
To hell with CVA-01 thats a longtime in the future as far as their concerned.
P1154 might do it, but risks just pile on as they diverge from RAF, and the radar/missile issue is not satisfactorily resolved.

So we have a view here of what the minister is going to get when he talks to the RN.
P1154? Too risky.
F8? Could be, but theres issues with the missile numbers. Secondary attack is poor.
F4? does the job, and remains valid for longer (as they see it), secondary attack is good.
Wait for a new machine? Time is running out.

French move in '65 if memory serves. They've seen the danger too, and respond with the cheaper 'interim' solution.
If government had known the French would opt for F8........

Interesting to hear of the BAC issues there altertken. Explains the change in VG designs. Partial VG was an easier, less risky route, as with the Lightning variants offered, the change in location produces the more radical fully VG designs. Increases risks.
 

Thorvic

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Plus the F-8 would be envisaged as not much more than a sea going Lightning where as the Phantom is seen as proper interceptor with a two tier missile system of Sparrow & Sidewinder and thus more capable in stopping the soviet bombers before they can get to launch their massive stand off missiles at you !
 

zen

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If you tote both collision course and persuite course weapons, then you have at least two chances at taking down the attacking aircraft. The latter is highly marginal, but if you can force the attacker to manouver and loose speed during the head on engagement, then the stern chase stands a decent chance. Get them down to mach 0.95 and the odds are in favour of the mach 2 fighter.

If you have four of each type of weapon, then it leaves you a fair chance of two such interceptions while in the air, assuming you have enough fuel.

But the critical issue is detection range of the threat. 200nm is not enough for a mach2 turbojet fighter. AEW is the key to solving this.

No wonder they where looking at long range missiles, like mounting CF.299. Extend the ranges, expand the envelope.
 

JFC Fuller

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I reawaken this thread firstly to give a definitive answer to its original question, that is that the fighters for the RAF in the 1970s were to be the Lightning to about 1977 followed by a variable geometry type that became AFVG, from Mr Healeys own mouth:

'M. Messmer, the French Minister for he Armed Forces, the then Minister of Aviation, and I signed the original Memorandum of Understanding to study a variable geometry combat aircraft together on 17th May, 1965, just over two years ago. At this time, the French were Interested only in the strike rôle, and we envisaged the aircraft as a replacement for the Lightnings as an interceptor. The French wanted the aircraft in 1974, we in 1977.'*

This is backed up (to some extent) by Air Marshall Sir Douglas Morris AOC-in-C Fighter Command who stated in 1964 that he expected the lightning to have a lifespan of 7-10 years (the F.3 was then entering service, F.6 was entering service in 1966) and that a study group was already working on the Lightning replacement within the MoA. The Air Marshall himself said that he felt that variable geometry and STOL would be required.^

Now I also have a question to which I have not been able to find an answer, according to ‘Watching the Skies’ by Jack Gough, RAF planning in 1960 was for 12 Lightning squadrons with 8 to be based in the UK and 4 overseas. Obviously, at some point this shrank to 9 squadrons, what I have not been able to establish is when this cut to the fighter fleet plan was made. I have found a tantalizing hint from Mr Healey again:

The major cancellations of aircraft contracts since 1st November, 1964, have been in respect of the TSR2, the P1154 and the HS681. There have also been some reductions in the total number of Lightning aircraft on order.*

Does anybody know when these reductions to Lightning orders or squadron numbers were made?

* http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1967/jul/13/aircraft-industry-and-royal-air-force#S5CV0750P0_19670713_HOC_376
^ http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1964/1964%20-%202055.html
* http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1966/mar/10/aircraft-contracts-cancellations#S5CV0725P0_19660310_CWA_114
 

JFC Fuller

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Just to put the originally planned in-service dates all in place for a bit more context:

1965: TSR-2 (Headed towards 1970 at cancellation)
1968: P.1154 (1970-71 at cancellation)
1968/late 60s: AW.681 (stated in 1963, seems to have slipped to 1970 by 1964)
1973-4: Jaguar Trainer (Entered service in 1974 in the strike role- Hawk, HS.1182, became the trainer entering service in 1976)
1977: Lightning replacement (All except two squadrons replaced by Phantom 1974-77, last two squadrons replaced by Tornado 1987-88)
 

DamienB

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I would be fantastically wary of individual public quotes from politicians regarding defence plans - they are often confused and/or downright wrong. If you can find them saying much the same thing on multiple occasions, then it's worth considering!
 

JFC Fuller

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DamienB said:
I would be fantastically wary of individual public quotes from politicians regarding defence plans - they are often confused and/or downright wrong. If you can find them saying much the same thing on multiple occasions, then it's worth considering!

Agreed. Which is why I like to cross-reference.
 

zen

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Hang on.


Assuming this is correct, when did this change come about?


Because we are told by alertken
What the new Govt. inherited, 10/64, to replace RAFG Lightning F.2A, Akrotiti/Tengah/UK F.6 was a plan for 175 straight J79 F-4D.

Yet now a minister is saying something different, AFVG to replace Lightning in May '65 (5/65).


Air Marshall is saying a 'study group' in '64? VG is favoured?
Well hardly a surprise that latter bit, since it tallies with the RN side of things.


However if the decision was the F4 by Oct '64 can we say if this is the result of that study?


Yet by May next year its thrown out? In favour of the AFVG?
Which will be later, and cost more.
 

starviking

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zen said:
However if the decision was the F4 by Oct '64 can we say if this is the result of that study?

Yet by May next year its thrown out? In favour of the AFVG?
Which will be later, and cost more.
Wasn't the new Labour government enthusiastic about European defense collaboration? Might be all that is needed to explain it.
 

uk 75

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I am grateful to the various contributors to this thread for coming up with so much interesting info.

I was interested to see confirmed that TSR 2 at the change of government was limited to East of Suez rather than the SACEUR operational theatre role mentioned in Peter Hennessy. Also that P1154 was seen as a way of deploying US NATO assigned tactical nukes.

I had also always taken AFVG to be a Buccaneer/Canberra replacement for Europe (F111s were East of Suez only). It is also interesting to speculate on the arm twisting required to get the RAF to give up F4Ds in favour of a paper Anglo French project.

We really need a Prof Eric Grove to give the RAF a through going over in this period.
 

zen

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Does rather raise a what if question about those F4Ds as it would exert quite an influence on other decisions if carried through.


Indeed if one adds in the RN order, it raises other questions. After all you don't really need the F4K for the CVA-01 type carrier.


Do we know for certain the RAF had their arm twisted?
 

JFC Fuller

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JFC Fuller said:
Numbers,

Jack Gough, 'Watching the Skys' has the 1958 review as the year of annihilation for the SAM force. He states,

Bloodhound; original order 800 missiles, cut to 300 by the 1958 review
Thunderbird; 150 missiles approved in June 1957 but cut back to 60 in early 1958

Bloodhound organisation was as follows, the 800 missile order would give 18 fire units, 2 fire units would be deployed to each site. Each fire unit consisted of one launch control post, two yellow river directors, and 18 missiles on launchers. There would be 8 reserve missiles at each site. However, I think Gough actually means 18 sites, not fire units, as the maths just does not work otherwise.

18 x 20 = 360
36 x 20 = 720 and that would give your 700 launchers, give or take

How your numbers tie with Gough I just dont know at this stage.
I increasingly suspect that getting to the bottom of this particular jumble of numbers may well be impossible as it seems like the planned composition of a Bloodhound Squadron changed considerably. The first site at North Coates was built with 48 launch pads, apparently for 3 x 16 launcher squadrons (I suspect the Gough plan is a derivation of this) but later this evolved into 1 squadron consisting of 32 launchers. Using Google Earth, online photos and recollections I have found a range of configurations:

48 Launch pads: North Coates

36 Launch pads: West Raynam

32 Launch pads: Breighton, Marham, Finninley, Woolfox Lodge, Rattlesden, Dunholme Lodge, Watton, Carnaby, Warboys, Butterworth

16 Launch pads: Wyton, Barkston Heath

12 Launch pads: Wattisham, Bawdsley

There were many others, the point is that whilst the majority of sites do seem to conform to the 32 launcher paradigm there are exceptions, I would also caution against taking the 16 and 12 pad sites for granted as it is possible that there were other pads at those sites which have since been lost or that I am too ill-informed to identify.
 

MainJAFAD

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As regards Bloodhound numbers, number of launchers doesn't equal number of missiles as the missiles had to be serviced and if a missile is fired the launcher can be reloaded. Actual number of operational Bloodhound Mk 1 fire units was 22 at 11 sites (North Coates did have 3 fire units but only two were operational at any one time, the third being used for trials work). thus each site had 32 operational launchers which gave a total of 352 ready to fire missiles. On top of this each site held 8 spare missiles and its own missile servicing section that allowed missiles to be swapped over for scheduled and defect servicing. Thus total is now 440. a minimum of 150 missiles was added to this total to allow trials firings for ECM tests and modification work not done during the service acceptance trials in 1958-60 at Woomera and also provide a replacement stock for Squadron missile practice firings at Aberporth. Finally the missiles used for the pre service acceptance trials training firings and the service acceptance trials at Woomera themselves (expected to be anything up to 200 missiles) came out of the initial order for 800 missiles. 440+150+200= 790. (which in fact was the total number of Bloodhound Mk 1 production rounds built). However only 93 missiles out of the acceptance trials batch were actually fired, thus the order was cut to 700 missiles in 1959. The other 90 were sold to Sweden (13) and Australia (40) or used as trials development missiles for the Mk 1 or Mk 2 programmes. The Thunderbird order had co*k all to do with the defense of the deterrent but was to allow a hard core of RAF personnel to get experience with the English Electric weapon before the RAF was going what became Thunderbird Mk 2. when the price of each missile almost doubled over the next year and it was found that there was going to be major differences between the 2 marks of Thunderbird the RAF cut the order to 60 and then cancelled it. 182 RAF Mk 1's were fired between Jul 59 and Nov 63 in service trials and Squadron missile practice.

The original planned Mk 2 RAF deployment was 287 missiles on 5 Squadrons with 23 operational missile sections with 148 launchers, 16 Type 87 and 7 Type 86 radars. a further 2 Type 86, single Type 87 and four launchers were at Newton and Aberporth for trials and Tech Training plus there were 87 missiles at Aberporth and the MU's as a reserve for firing trials and replacement of Sqn practice firings.

The full deployment plan was

UK based Trials and operator training squadron - 25 Squadron North Coates Two Type 87 Sections each with 4 launchers and one mobile Type 86 section with 4 Launchers. 15 missiles on strength.

2 Overseas 'Standard' base defence squadrons - 33 Squadron Butterworth / 112 Sqn Cyprus. Four Type 87 Sections with 8 launchers. 64 missiles on strength. (100% reload)

2 'composite' squadrons with both base defence and deployment roles. One in far east and one in UK - 65 Squadron at Seletar on Singapore and 41 Squadron at West Raynham. three Type 87 Sections with 8 launchers and three deployable Type 86 sections with 4 Launchers. 72 missiles on strength.

Then the system was roled out over 1964/65 the results were:

25 Sqn - 3 sections as described but both Type 87 sections had 8 launchers. used Mk 1 site pads, Missile numers unknown but more that 15. Type 86 sections returned from Seletar in 1968 and squadron T 87 radars were removed to leave 4 deployable Type 86 sections with 4 launchers and 60 Missiles.

33 Sqn - as planned but with 72 Missiles on strength. Site built to support four 8 launcher sections.

41 Sqn - as planned - West Raynham site was designed to support three 8 launcher sections and three 4 launcher sections

65 Sqn - as planned but with 82 Missiles on strength. Seletar site was designed to support three 8 launcher sections and three 4 launcher sections. Type 86 sections returned to the UK in 1968. Missiles returned to the UK and rest of equipment transferred to Singapore in 1970 with refurbished missiles from UK (total missiles unknown but were most likely around 30)

112 Sqn - Set up at Woodhall Spa in UK with only 2 operational Type 87 sections with 4 launchers a piece (though one section did have 8 launchers for a while). Third Type 87 section was on site for most of the deployment without an LCP. planned forth section never delivered. 36 Missiles on strength. Non Op in May 67 and moved to Cyprus in the August of that year. Used Mk 1 site pads.

Second UK deployment

West Raynaham 85 Sqn A Flt - 2 Type 87 operational sections with 6 or 8 launchers (original plan was 6), one T87 engineering section with 6 or 8 launchers. C flt stood up at West Raynham and commissioned 2 Type 87 sections with 6 launcherd before moving to Bawdsey in mid 1979. D Flt stood up in 1980 with 2 Type 86 sections and 6 launchers a piece to first go to Watton and the Coltishall. move to Coltishall didn't happen and part of D Flight was absorbed into A Flt in 1989 when 25 Sqn absorbed in 85 Sqn. 100% reload plus reserve missiles due to being location of main missile servicing facilities. useed ex 41 Sqn sit

North Coates - B Flt 85 Sqn Three type 87 Sections with 8 launchers. 48 Missiles (inc reloads), though again had reserve missiles on top due to being location of second missile servicing facilities. Used former Mk 1 / 25 Sqn site

Bawdsey - C Flt 85 Sqn. Two Type 87 sections with 6 launchers. 24 missiles (inc reloads). New build site for that deployment.

Barkston Heath - A Flt 25 Sqn (later D Flt 85) Two Type 86 sections with 8 launchers. 32 missiles (inc reloads). New build site for that deployment.

Wyton - B Flt 25 Sqn (later F Flt 85) Two Type 86 sections with 8 launchers. 32 missiles (inc reloads). Site built for that deployment.

Wattisham - C Flt 25 Sqn (also E flight 85 Sqn in 1981-3 and 89-91). Two Type 86 sections with 6 launchers. 24 missiles (inc reloads). New build site for that deployment.

Around 90-100 Missiles fired at Aberporth between 1966 and 1986 (known total is 88) with four years of records not yet available.

66 Missiles and 6 Type 86 radars bought back of the Swedes in the late 1970.early 1980s. 9 Army AD-10 Radars off Thunderbird 2 transferred from Army and modified to type 86 standard. Type 87 Radars phased out and replaced between 1986 and 88.

294 Missiles on strength when system was canned in 1991.
 

CJGibson

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What does the 'AD' stand for? As in JAFAD, not AD-10.

Chris
 

MainJAFAD

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Chris

Its a term that RAF Regiment gunners used to name the Technicians on Rapier Squadrons, based on he nick name of the Observer in the film Blue Thunder. The AD stands for Air Defence as Electronics Technician Air Defence.
 
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