RN with F8 instead of F4

uk 75

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The arrival of a new book on the F8 Crusader got me thinking of the old chestnut of giving the RN a fighter
for Ark, Eagle, Victorious and Hermes

I have always felt that if we had done what France did and purchased the F8 we could have kept a carrier force
as long as the French did. We could have run on two carriers (Eagle and Hermes) into the 80s without CVA01
and decided in the late 70s what should replace them
 

zen

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Do-able and close to history.
The twin seater was offered.
A Spey actually solves some issues.
Pile in AI.23 and Red Top for compatibility.
Operable from Hermes.

Of course a massive downgrade for their ambitions

Successor. ....Mirage G if early 70's or ......later on a a Canard FBW CCV type wrapped around a scaled up XG40 engine.
Think Typhoon but with just one big engine.
 

Archibald

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One of my all time favorite movies. Harold Ramis and Bill Murray at their best.

Considering how many cooperative aeropace projects France and Great Britain got inthe 60's a joint Crusader with a Spey would make a ton of sense. Not only France did consider both F-4 and F-8 for the Clemenceaus, but circa 1968 SNECMA and Dassault also shown lot of interest in the Spey as an alternative to both TF-306 and M53.
 

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The flipside of this is that the FAA would need more Tankers to support CAP and this would eat into available aircraft on the CV.
Another more subtle point is that the wingfold needs to move inward or else the folded Span eats into available width in the hangers to the point it could cut hangered aircraft by a third.
The single engine is likely to increase the numbers of lost aircraft.
And it would be viewed as a 'interim' solution until the projected wonder planes are canceled along with the new carrier. So monies would not be forthcoming as it would be viewed as "only a few years from being replaced".
 

Thorvic

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After picking up the Naval Fighters F8 Crusader by the late Steve Pace he mentioned the V-466 as being a two seater but with the 2nd seat set level with front rather than stepped higher and the airframe being longer.
Thus the artist impressions based on the Twosader are just that impressions, we really need to see if the brochure has more accurate drawings or CAs in the Bought Archive.
 

Hood

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Why did the RN need a two-seater F-8 anyway? The single-seat did a sound enough job for the USN and the FN.
I note the period artist's impression has a hefty attack load, was this really supposed to be an interim Buccaneer replacement?
 

Thorvic

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Hood said:
Why did the RN need a two-seater F-8 anyway? The single-seat did a sound enough job for the USN and the FN.
I note the period artist's impression has a hefty attack load, was this really supposed to be an interim Buccaneer replacement?
Sea Vixen replacement, so looking for all weather Day and Night interception so a Navigator to do the radar work for the Pilot i suspect. The P1154 at this time was still seen to be two man as was the Phantom the RN were wanting. They were possibly looking at Radar Guided missiles as well as IR ones and the secondary strike role may have meant what became Martel.

The brochure may answer some of those questions as all we have to date are period magazine snippets and mentions in books without a great deal of fact, figures and illustrations.!
 

Volkodav

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Something I noticed a while ago is that both the F11F Tiger and the FJ-4 Fury have a low enough folded height to fit in the standard Implacable Class 14' high hanger. Both types could potentially have operated from a minimally modernised Implacable class, i.e. interim angled decks and steam cats.
 

zen

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Where this could be interesting is if say Shorts produced a new variable inlet design that allows for mach 2+ flight.
Then the type could be sold as a cheaper alternative to the Lightning.

Another thought is that Vought did produce a twin engined A7 design and doing that to the F8 opens up a host of possibilities.
 

zen

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Let's pile in the projected cost.....0.5million
Compared to the F4 at 1.2 million
And the P1154 at 1.5 million

So you could have 2 F8 for the price of one F4.

However I'll say that it seems a far easier task to fit the Spey in the F8 than the F4 so I would not expect a near tripling of the cost. But even if it did it's only going to be 1.5 million. ..... or still about half the real cost per plane of the Spey f4
 

kaiserd

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I think an important aspect to remember is that the RN were very aware of the fact of how obsolescent the Sea Vixen was by the time it entered service.
They wanted the F4 with its advanced radar, Sparrows etc. and did not want to get stuck with another "old" sub-optimal interim aircraft.
And the blunt truth is that the F4 was significantly more advanced than the F8 and was also wanted by and bought for the RAF (who had no interest in the F8).
Apart from being the superior fleet defender the F4 was also so much easier to land on a carrier.
The decision to go for the F4 was also made in the expectation of operating from the follow-on UK aircraft carriers that were subsequently cancelled.
In the actual context of when the decision was made the F4 was a more logical choice.
While I appreciate the F8 as a fine aircraft and how one can be an enthusiast for a particular aircraft I think emotion may be clouding the arguments of some contributors.
 

zen

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kaiserd said:
I think an important aspect to remember is that the RN were very aware of the fact of how obsolescent the Sea Vixen was by the time it entered service.
They wanted the F4 with its advanced radar, Sparrows etc. and did not want to get stuck with another "old" sub-optimal interim aircraft.
And the blunt truth is that the F4 was significantly more advanced than the F8 and was also wanted by and bought for the RAF (who had no interest in the F8).
Apart from being the superior fleet defender the F4 was also so much easier to land on a carrier.
The decision to go for the F4 was also made in the expectation of operating from the follow-on UK aircraft carriers that were subsequently cancelled.
In the actual context of when the decision was made the F4 was a more logical choice.
While I appreciate the F8 as a fine aircraft and how one can be an enthusiast for a particular aircraft I think emotion may be clouding the arguments of some contributors.
So the first point here is if you want to discuss history, you're posting in the wrong section.
Second I agree that the F4 made enormous sense after the '63 Airdisplay by the Soviets showing their new large anti-ship missiles.
Hence not investing in what were thought more modern and superior aircraft to either F8 and the sainted F4.
Time had become critical and the F4 had enough future potential to put back the effort for wonder weapons.

Thirdly
It's actually the other way around as the FAA pushed for the F4 while the RAF stuck with the P1154 'Harrier' until '65.
Even then they afterwards tasked only 72 for MRI until the cheaper to operate Jaguar came into service.
FAA got stuck with the P1154 for the sake of commonality in imitation of the then US TFX concept.
It's not what they originally wanted which was OR.346, think TSR.2 navalised. .....

Fourthly
The context of any decision for the F8 is either:-
A less ambitious CV force. Such as focused on ASW with more limited fighter and offenaive systems.

Or that the F8 might be quicker to service.
 

uk 75

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The problem the F8 could have helped solve, was the small size of the 4 largest RN carriers available in 1962.
Even Ark had a tight time operating the F4.
The answer was intended to be CVA01.
However, even in 1962 the cost of a carrier force was troubling the Treasury.
There were also doubts as to the value of carriers in a full on general war with Russia, there role being primarily East of Suez.
If a coherent carrier policy like that of France with its two Clemenceau ships had emerged, the RN could have used the F8 to keep all or some of its 4 carriers in service until the 70s when a new generation of vstol types like P1154 could have replaced them.
Of course the RN set its sights higher and wanted interoperability with the USN.
 

zen

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If a lower target of CV had been set they'd still have their interoperability but with F8 toting CVs instead such as Essex conversions.

Really interesting is the possibility of the smaller cheaper 40,000ton to 42,000ton CV type such as the civil lord of the Admiralty proposed to operate Sea Vixen initially and the P1154 'Harrier' later on.

Swapping Sea Vixen for F8 would extend the useful life of the initial option and delay the pressure on ISD for the P1154 type aircraft. Likely this 'temporary' solution would gain a greater permanence.

It might also attract greater RAN interest and provide for greater anglo-french cooperation.
 

uk 75

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It is a shame that the US Navy did not carry on building ships of the Essex class size as Anti Submarine and Light Strike carriers. The Royal Australian and Canadian Nvies as well as the Dutch and British Royal Navies could have used these ships with F8s as fighters and Buccaneers as strikers. The S2s would have given way to S3s as aew,asw and cod aircraft. A balanced air group on an efficient class of ship.
 

zen

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More it's the flipside I think, RN by pursing the large and expensive CVA-01 type left Essex conversions as the only other option.

By taming their ambitions they'd achieve more.
 

uk 75

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A single CVA 01 entering service in the early 70s would have filled the same role as Ark Royal with Phantoms and Buccaneers and allowed
Ark and Eagle to go into well deserved retirement.
A second CVA instead of the Invincible Class could have entered service in 1980 or so.
The departure of the Tiger Class and Bulwark would have allowed the manning of one CVA, with the other serving in emergencies like Fearless and Intrepid.
This could have been managed bya sympathetic and less doctrinaire Government.
In that case the F8 would not have been needed.
 

zen

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Why do this?

Why not just start a thread?
 

uk 75

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I started this thread in the first place to look at the F8 option.
I was making the CVA01 point in connection with the F4
Phantom.
I am thus disagreeing with my own proposition. No need to start another thread.
 

uk 75

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To put it another way, I cannot see who could have persuaded the RN to go with a Hermes/Foch/Essex size carrier and F8 instead of F4. I was comparing this option mentally with the Invincible and Sea Harrier force we ended up with. But of course who in 1962 knew that this would happen.
 

kaiserd

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uk 75 said:
To put it another way, I cannot see who could have persuaded the RN to go with a Hermes/Foch/Essex size carrier and F8 instead of F4. I was comparing this option mentally with the Invincible and Sea Harrier force we ended up with. But of course who in 1962 knew that this would happen.
In the context of 1962 the US had moved onto the F-4 and were eying up Missileer concept (which evolved into the F-111B then the F-14). And no one apart from France bought the F-8 or a directly equivalent naval fighter in terms of weight and capacity for the next decade or more (A-7 and obviously the Super Etendard possible exceptions at a push - very much attack focused). The parallel developments of heavier more capable “conventional” missile armed naval fighters and the emergence of V/STOVL naval fighter concepts sucked up focus and funds.
It a fair point to wonder in retrospect if this rush to these two extremes were perhaps missing what a conventional middle weight option could have delivered. But that doesn’t make the F-8 the answer to what the Royal Navy wanted or thought they needed at the time the decision was made.
And the F-8, for all it’s virtues, was certainly not an F-18 or F-16 before their time (as capable or more so than heavier equivalents due to developments in avionics, design etc.)
The French stuck with it as long as they did due to the lack of a replacement.
 

zen

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A middle weight option was possible but yes the F8 could only survive in circumstances of being viewed as a temporary solution until some wonderweapon was ISD.
That was the MRI system, originally the P1154 and later Jaguar.
As I said earlier Type 585 or Mirage F2 and F3 and later G solve this.
 

Archibald

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uk 75 said:
To put it another way, I cannot see who could have persuaded the RN to go with a Hermes/Foch/Essex size carrier and F8 instead of F4. I was comparing this option mentally with the Invincible and Sea Harrier force we ended up with. But of course who in 1962 knew that this would happen.
And now, the French point of view. The decision to buy 42 Crusaders was taken by De Gaulle himself, whose son Philippe was an Admiral in the French navy. In order to pay for it, one of the Masurca (think Sea Slug) massive air-defence frigate was cut.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masurca
Most of the French Navy, including Admiral Sanguinetti, was dead against the decision. The doctrine was that the French Navy could not afforded Tomcats or Phantoms or a carrier big enough to support them.
As for interceptors onboard Foch and Clemenceau, Sanguinetti noted that Crusaders took too much room from attack aircrafts, for the limited air defence they provided.

Before the Crouze, the French Navy air defence was to be as follow

- the Masurca large ships - six Suffren class were planned with only two build, + Masurca on Colbert, so that's three, but MASURCA was cumbersome, like Terrier and Sea Slug
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffren-class_frigate

- the SM-1 tartar armed ships - four type 47 class.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T_47-class_destroyer

Buying Crusaders threw a wrench into this.

The Masurca system that had lost its frigate was first to go on the Jeanne d'Arc but ended on the Colbert cruiser.

In fact a pair of Tartar systems was transfered to a pair of new air-defence ships in the 80's, the Cassard-class - still in service today !
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassard-class_frigate

One that got the French Navy air defence issue perfectly right was Tom Clancy in Red Storm Rising. Boom goes the Foch, despite the Crusaders...
 

uk 75

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Thanks everyone for making this thread so detailed and interesting. It would be a very helpful to anyone interested in the early 60s carrier and F8 issues.
 

Volkodav

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Interesting that the Missileer was mentioned in this thread as I started thinking about it as I read through from the start. In interim RN wiff could have been a FAW3 Seavixen done up as a sort of semi Missileer, an updated radar and missile combo to keep the type relevant into the 70s.
 
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