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Skylancers for the Marine Corps; Super Tigers for... the CIA (U-2 cover)

Archibald

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As said in the tin. I just can't stand these two flying wonders going to the ash heap of aviation history, the way they did OTL in 1957-60 OTL.

Unfortunately the US Navy didn't wanted them - there was no room between the Crusader and the Phantom. Plus too many J79 types on the decks.

So I wondered if the Marine Corps could takeover the Skylancer program, perhaps throwing away the Sparrow II unworkable missile and fire control system. They had Skyrays, and OTL they got Crusaders in 1957. Screw the later.

As for the Super Tiger... it is even trickier. There are rumours the CIA used... the 4 Skylancer prototypes to fly cover for its U-2s flying out of Japan. ITTL the Skylancer have the USMC so the CIA takes the Super Tiger instead.
Now, OTL the JASDF came a hairbreadth from ordering the Super Tiger, alas Lockheed bribery decided the matter. I was wondering if the Super Tiger flying air cover for U-2s could tip the scales...

Could PRC MiGs become more agressive against the U-2s than OTL ?

In turn, having the JASDF ordering the Super Tiger might led more air forces ordering it.

...then in 1965, air war over Vietnam becomes even more interesting than OTL when the Century fighters, plus Phantoms, run into their limits... OTL the Crusader did wonders. Now, if USMC Skylancers enter the fray... and some Super Tigers coming out of nowhere (Skoshi Tiger ? muhahaha !)

Thoughts ?
 
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Artie Bob

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What I have is probably not what you wanted, but reading your item brought back a few memories. When in flight training 1959-60, one of my favorite instructors was a Marine who had flown Fords. He claimed to have photos of MiGs taken with a hand held camera during chases over PRC in 57 or 8. Another indelible memory is pulling up #2 for TO behind a pair of Marine Fords, who were holding on the active runway at Forrest Sherman NAS. They were at full throttle with brakes locked and went into burner when cleared for TO. For a second or two before the brakes were released, both aircraft were sliding down the runway, and then were gone in a instant of thunder and flame! Total sensory overload for a few seconds.
Best Regards,
Artie Bob
 

SSgtC

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I think Grumman really missed the mark on the Super Tiger, tbh. They did the bare minimum needed to get it to Mach 2 (and even that was a surprise, they were only expecting mach 1.4). They should have developed it more. Give it the same radar as the F8U-2N so it could have a limited all weather capability. Give it an enlarged wing and BLC system. Extend the nose wheel to increase AOA during launch. And voila! You now have a mach 2 fighter that can fly off the British light fleet carriers and the American CVS ships.
 

Archibald

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I recently learned that there nearly was 4 Super Tiger build in two different variants. All of them Model 98.
- F11F-1F as flown was very much "Tiger with J79, period".
- F-12F with some of the goodies you mention.
USN cancelled the contract for the two F-12F early 1955 or 1956, because Crusader. The other two become "J79 testbeds for the coming Phantom".

There is an excellent blog that shoots dead the F-12F myth of a Phantom-class aircraft called "Lion". It was only a paper project: Model 112.
 
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ReprobateJoeshmoe

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I recently learned that there nearly was 4 Super Tiger build in two different variants. All of them Model 98.
- F11F-1F as flown was very much "Tiger with J79, period".
- F-12F with some of the goodies you mention.
USN cancelled the contract for the two F-12F early 1955 or 1956, because Crusader. The other two become "J79 testbeds for the coming Phantom".

There is an excellent blog that shoots dead the F-12F myth of a Phantom-class aircraft called "Lion". It was only a paper project: Model 112.
Do you guys have any pictures of the f-12f. What would it have looked like?
 

isayyo2

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How crazy and political pork-filled would it have been for all three designs, F8U/F5D/F11F-2, to be ordered? F5Ds could be an easy order for the USMC since they operated the F4Ds, should be an easy conversion like the current F-15C to F-15EX transfer. Could the production Super Tiger be rebuilt from existing airframes?
 

ReprobateJoeshmoe

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How crazy and political pork-filled would it have been for all three designs, F8U/F5D/F11F-2, to be ordered? F5Ds could be an easy order for the USMC since they operated the F4Ds, should be an easy conversion like the current F-15C to F-15EX transfer. Could the production Super Tiger be rebuilt from existing airframes?
All three being ordered would be viewed as unnecessary. If you wanted to order all three I would assume you would need the complacence of politicians and of the military. It would be cool though to have all three flying. By the way how many interceptor and supersonic bomber studies or programs were there before the f-14?
 
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Volkodav

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How crazy and political pork-filled would it have been for all three designs, F8U/F5D/F11F-2, to be ordered? F5Ds could be an easy order for the USMC since they operated the F4Ds, should be an easy conversion like the current F-15C to F-15EX transfer. Could the production Super Tiger be rebuilt from existing airframes?
All three being ordered would be viewed as unnecessary. If you wanted to order all three I would assume you would need the complacence of politicians and of the military. It would be cool though to have all three flying. By the way how many interceptor and supersonic bomber studies or programs were there before the f-14?
The saving grace could have been a US Army order for a battlefield air superiority type, tactical reconnaissance and light attack variants following. Light cheap(er) rugged makes sense for USMC and US Army, just imaging the number of senior USAF officers who would have suffered strokes had this occurred.
 

Archibald

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And I think the author is a member of this forum (tailspin turtle, AFAIK)
 

Archibald

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How crazy and political pork-filled would it have been for all three designs, F8U/F5D/F11F-2, to be ordered? F5Ds could be an easy order for the USMC since they operated the F4Ds, should be an easy conversion like the current F-15C to F-15EX transfer.
All three being ordered would be viewed as unnecessary. If you wanted to order all three I would assume you would need the complacence of politicians and of the military. It would be cool though to have all three flying. By the way how many interceptor and supersonic bomber studies or programs were there before the f-14?

Yep. This is why I suggest USMC as a "reasonable" alternative to salvage the Skylancer.

Now the Super Tiger is quite more difficult. In my opinion, had the two F-12F not been canned but build, it would have tilted the JASDF decision three years later, in 1958.

According to Corky Meyer, it was extremely close, and the Japanese very much picked the F-11F-1F Super Tiger as a winner, in the first round. Before Lockheed "Sales & Bribery" machine turned the table.

Had the JASDF test flown the even better F-12F, Lockheed could not have turned the tide.

There was a Grumman F12F but the designation was assigned to a production variant of the F11F powered by GE's J79. Grumman had proposed its J79-powered Design 98J to the Navy in January 1955 and then its Design 98L, basically the J with increased wing area, in February. The latter appears to be the basis for the purchase order and contract in August 1955 that the Navy created for two F12F prototypes, which were to be assigned BuNos 143401 and 143402.

It is not clear that the contract was ever issued. It probably wasn't. In any event, it was canceled or terminated in January 1956, probably due to the demonstrated performance of the Vought F8U-1 that first flew in March 1955 and the need to fund the development of a competitor to the F4H.

However, the Navy had contracted with Grumman in August 1955 to put the J79 in the last two F11Fs in the first production lot in parallel with their plan to buy the F12F. These were designated F11F-1F and were not canceled, since they would provide the Navy with J79 flight experience desired prior to the beginning of the F4H flight test program.

Could the production Super Tiger be rebuilt from existing airframes?

Now that's an interesting question ! The answer in bold, above. Perhaps this is one possible POD. Tigers are rebuild into Super Tigers. Problem is, the J79 was in enormous demand by the mid-50's. F-104 and B-58, Vigilante and Phantom - for a start.

Another possible Super Tiger POD : the two F-12F are not cancelled and two years later in 1958 despite the USN rejection, they manage to beat the odds and get into JASDF service.

Note that the CIA can still help, flying the 4 aircraft as "cover" for its U-2s out of Atsugi


At the end of the day

- USMC salvages the F5D-1 Skylancer : by swapping some Skyrays, plus their OTL Crusader order in 1956-57

- JASDF salvages the the F-12F (thanks to a CIA tip at Atsugi or, alternatively, a small USN order to convert the last batch of Tigers into J79 machines).
 
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Archibald

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The G-98J study of January 1955 involved the use of the then-new General Electric J79 turbojet, and this project proved to be more promising, so much so that in September of 1955 the Navy authorized the completion of the last two aircraft in the initial F11F-1 contract (BuNos 138646 and 138647) as F11F-2, in which the J65-WE-18 would be replaced by a General Electric YJ79-GE-3 turbojet rated at 9600 lb.s.t. dry and 15,000 lb.s.t. with afterburning. In order to accommodate the increased engine thrust that was now available, the air intakes were extended forward somewhat and were increased in area. This increased engine power promised a significant improvement in performance, so much so that the aircraft came to be known as Super Tiger.

December 15, 1954. By then, an additional 388 production fighter aircraft had been ordered (BuNos 141728/141980, 143232/143366)

And also 85 reconnaissance versions (BuNos 140379,140413, 141981/142009, and 143367/143387)

Plenty of possible PODs here. How about putting a J79 into those 85 reconnaissance aircraft ?

This would screw RF-8A Crusader > http://www.joebaugher.com/navy_fighters/f8_3.html


Looks like they swaped the Reconnaissance Super Tiger for more F-9F-8P Cougars - and accelerating the RF-8A. The first F8U-1P flew on December 17, 1956.
 

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Archibald

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folks,
Doing research on USMC and Atsugi U-2s I learned a weird factoid.
One infamous member of the Marine Corps arrived in Atsugi the very day Sputnik flew overhead, October 4 1957. His name ?
...
Lee Harvey Oswald.
...
You guess, conspirationists later had a field day with that...
 

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ReprobateJoeshmoe

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How crazy and political pork-filled would it have been for all three designs, F8U/F5D/F11F-2, to be ordered? F5Ds could be an easy order for the USMC since they operated the F4Ds, should be an easy conversion like the current F-15C to F-15EX transfer.
All three being ordered would be viewed as unnecessary. If you wanted to order all three I would assume you would need the complacence of politicians and of the military. It would be cool though to have all three flying. By the way how many interceptor and supersonic bomber studies or programs were there before the f-14?

Yep. This is why I suggest USMC as a "reasonable" alternative to salvage the Skylancer.

Now the Super Tiger is quite more difficult. In my opinion, had the two F-12F not been canned but build, it would have tilted the JASDF decision three years later, in 1958.

According to Corky Meyer, it was extremely close, and the Japanese very much picked the F-11F-1F Super Tiger as a winner, in the first round. Before Lockheed "Sales & Bribery" machine turned the table.

Had the JASDF test flown the even better F-12F, Lockheed could not have turned the tide.

There was a Grumman F12F but the designation was assigned to a production variant of the F11F powered by GE's J79. Grumman had proposed its J79-powered Design 98J to the Navy in January 1955 and then its Design 98L, basically the J with increased wing area, in February. The latter appears to be the basis for the purchase order and contract in August 1955 that the Navy created for two F12F prototypes, which were to be assigned BuNos 143401 and 143402.

It is not clear that the contract was ever issued. It probably wasn't. In any event, it was canceled or terminated in January 1956, probably due to the demonstrated performance of the Vought F8U-1 that first flew in March 1955 and the need to fund the development of a competitor to the F4H.

However, the Navy had contracted with Grumman in August 1955 to put the J79 in the last two F11Fs in the first production lot in parallel with their plan to buy the F12F. These were designated F11F-1F and were not canceled, since they would provide the Navy with J79 flight experience desired prior to the beginning of the F4H flight test program.

Could the production Super Tiger be rebuilt from existing airframes?

Now that's an interesting question ! The answer in bold, above. Perhaps this is one possible POD. Tigers are rebuild into Super Tigers. Problem is, the J79 was in enormous demand by the mid-50's. F-104 and B-58, Vigilante and Phantom - for a start.

Another possible Super Tiger POD : the two F-12F are not cancelled and two years later in 1958 despite the USN rejection, they manage to beat the odds and get into JASDF service.

Note that the CIA can still help, flying the 4 aircraft as "cover" for its U-2s out of Atsugi


At the end of the day

- USMC salvages the F5D-1 Skylancer : by swapping some Skyrays, plus their OTL Crusader order in 1956-57

- JASDF salvages the the F-12F (thanks to a CIA tip at Atsugi or, alternatively, a small USN order to convert the last batch of Tigers into J79 machines).
This isn’t about the rays, but what were some draw backs of the f-104, and how would you improve them?
 

SSgtC

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This isn’t about the rays, but what were some draw backs of the f-104, and how would you improve them?
The F-104 had a T-tail, which would get blanked by the wing at high angles of attack. Meaning the pilot would lose control as the elevators would become ineffective.
 

Archibald

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The F-104 was a bitch, really. The T-tail, the small wing... it was treacherous to fly.
 

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