The Convair Model 200 201/218 TL

Archibald

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We have a whole bunch of threads, alt-history or not. But no full blown TL so far.

The POD: May 1972, common sense prevails: Convair Model 200 carries the day over Rockwell NAR-356. It becomes the XFV-12 interceptor for Zumwalt Sea Control Ship.
Even after that one is canned, two prototypes are built and flown circa 1975 (earlier than OTL: much less technical issues).

This has a whole bunch of ripple all across the USN and beyond (USAF, UK, the Soviets...)

- Two years later when Congress tries to ram NACF in place of VFAX...
- the USN successfully argues that, just like the NACF YF-16 & YF-17, VFAX also had flying prototypes: the twin Convair 200s (or build a third one with no lift jets)
- VFAX survives and this instantly screws the Hornet into oblivion.
- Convair 218 replaces it.
- the Soviets are aghast, as Convair has invented the Yak-41 10 years ahead of them (half joking)
- making the Yak-38 Forger even more pathetic, as if the Harrier wasn't enough
- the Harrier, let's talk about it.
- AV-16S is still a no-go because of the larger Pegasus for supersonic flight
- But anglo-american Big Wing Harrier will happen and screws the AV-8B: another loss for MDD after the Hornet
- The F-14B Tomcat has its F401 saved, or perhaps G.E is asked to accelerate the F110 as the Convair 218 also needs it
- Without the Hornet Northrop is blissfully unaware MDD intended to screw them twice (F-17, F-18L) or even thrice if the F-20 is included
- F-20, let's talk about that one. With the YF-17 legacy nipped in the bud, back to the F-5E square one. An earlier F-20, but with what engine ? YJ-101 ?
- No F404 will have massive ripples over the Grippen and countless other LWF in the next two decades.
- No Hornet in 1989 will have massive effects on Tomcat, A-6, NATF, AF/X
- No F-35 either: what happens to Paul Bevilacqua lift fan smart trick ? He built it from his own (unhappy) XFV-12 experience at Rockwell
- DARPA ASTOVL and Hawker P.1216 may be slightly different if Convair 200 is flying

And countless others consequences...

(Nota bene 1 : I can't see Zumwalt SCS or VSS or CVV being built, since the USN is dead fixed on MOAR NIMITZs and nothing else)

(Nota bene 2 : Convair 200 itself could fly decently, as per Yak-41 experience. Still, hot gas reingestion issues will be very bad: both P.1216 and F-35 solutions are much more refined and practical. So the Convair 200 does not truly solves the supersonic VTOL problem).

General Dynamics Convair Models 200, 201 and 218 Sea Control Ship fighters
Convair 201
VSS - VSTOL Support Ship - exotic air group
A CL-84 & Convair 200 "partnership" for SCS and VSS.
Fate of the British Harrier if the GD Convair Model 200 enters service?
 
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apparition13

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It's perfect for Tarawa and Wasp though, so the Marines would go in on it, which means they would be operating off the super carriers as well.

The biggest change I think is that it's another step on the Navy's 70s era quest for an all vstol air wing, and another example of vstol design to inform a next generation. That's the big impact I think. The more working vstol designs there are, the faster the tech will develop.
 

Archibald

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It's perfect for Tarawa and Wasp though, so the Marines would go in on it, which means they would be operating off the super carriers as well.
Good point about USMC. Maybe the USN could get the 201 / 218 and the Marines, the 200 ?

There is a very annoying issue with the Convair 200 that Bevilacqua and the F-35 solved in a rather smart way.

The hot flux of not one, but THREE jets.

I red somewhere the SCS decks would need some kind of system to help the matter. Not sure the Tarawa and Wasp could have such a thing, or integrate it.

No idea how the Soviets handled the problem with the Yaks (the Forger had no afterburner but the Freestyle had)

Or maybe the issue just vanishes with a STOL run, rather than full VTOL ?

In passing something I'm really curious about is whether a Convair 200 could go STOL with just the swivelling nozzle. Can the F-35B do that - STOL with only the nozzle and the fan closed ?

I wonder if the USN would keep the swivelling nozzle for the 201/218, this for two things
- STOL
- thrust vectoring in A2A combat (in passing, this would make the X-31 unuseful - boom, another one, and another one, another one bite the dust....)
 
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lolek

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No idea how the Soviets handled the problem with the Yaks (the Forger had no afterburner but the Freestyle had)
The landing pads for Yak-141M operations were covered with heat-resistant AK-90F tiles. Six of such pads were placed on the flight deck of SNS Baku. Similar precautions were necessary for the over-land sorties. There were some additional issues with the heat effects e.g. on the main landing gear, generated by the R-79 engine, therefore the afterburner operation was limited to 2.5 minutes. However, in the case of Yak-141M, when compared with Yak-38, much bigger emphasis was put on the STOVL operation, with the rolling starts at engine's nozzle deflection of 65 degrees, and it seems there were no additional limitations in such cases (in terms of deck protection).
 

zen

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A UK license of 201, would see this replacing the Jaguar and presumably the last Lightning squadrons.
Arguably at that point, Harrier could fall to the 200.
What can seing this is not Mach 2 speed, but the rapid acceleration possible from Mach 0.9 to Mach 1.6.
 

Pioneer

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It's perfect for Tarawa and Wasp though, so the Marines would go in on it, which means they would be operating off the super carriers as well.

The biggest change I think is that it's another step on the Navy's 70s era quest for an all vstol air wing, and another example of vstol design to inform a next generation. That's the big impact I think. The more working vstol designs there are, the faster the tech will develop.
And the stigma of V/STOL combat aircraft within foreign AF and Navies is put to rest with the combat showing of the GR.3 and Sea Harrier performance in the Falklands War (as really happened I guess).....

Regards
Pioneer
 

Archibald

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Presently daydreaming of THIS


... happening in the late 1970's from Tarawas LHAs

And Wasps later (it partly happened with AV-8B OTL)

With Convair 200s, obviously. Even if the lift-jets may be a huge PITA.
 

Lascaris

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I must ask if there is a Convair 200 including the non VSTOVL version... why there is a YF-16 in the first place? It would be making much more sense for GD to tout that for LWF claiming economies of scale on top of everything else?

Which likely makes USAF push for YF-17 but that's a different story.
 

Archibald

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I must ask if there is a Convair 200 including the non VSTOVL version... why there is a YF-16 in the first place? It would be making much more sense for GD to tout that for LWF claiming economies of scale on top of everything else?

Which likely makes USAF push for YF-17 but that's a different story.

No, I don't think USAF choice would be different: F-16 was better and cheaper, altogether, than the F-17. Plus the F-15 was costing USAF an arm, a leg, and a testicle, so F-16 they went.

As for the Convair 201 / 218...

Well you know what ? You hit the nail on the head. Indeed ITTL
- Early 1972 General Dynamics gets a contract for the YF-16
- Early 1972 Convair, part of GD - gets a contract for the Model 200.

And thus the 201 / 218 indeed would collides head-on with the F-16.

Well I could never find a satisfying answer to that bizarre problem...

Except that OTL MDD didn't seemed to be bothered by their F-15 & F-18 being rather similar - particularly over foreign customers.

Funny to think that, when RAAF and the Canadians dropped the F-15 for the F-18, MDD remained a winner.

I suppose GD and Convair could easily find a compromise over this. I would say - as long as the 201 / 218 sticks with the USN and don't bother the F-16 main export orders...

Of course the navalized Vought F-16 would never happens in the first place.

Neither would the 1975 shift to NACF - the USN would hang on to VFAX.

Interestingly enough, General Dynamics entry for VFAX was... Convair Model 218 ! But Congress NACF decision forced the company into that Vought navalized F-16 offer. Just like Northrop teamed with Douglas to navalize the F-17 into the Hornet: and we all know how that ended.

What is really interesting if the Convair 200 is prefered to Rockwell N-356 in May 1972:
two years down the road when Congress says "NACF: let's navalize those existing YF-16 & YF-17 USAF LWF types - to try and save some bucks using EXISTING airframes..."

Then Convair can answer "Well, guess what ? my VFAX entry is a non-lift-jet Model 200. You know, an EXISTING airframe, too."

And thus Congress NACF argument becomes moot - as GD-Convair VFAX plays the same game.

Then GD-Convair can argue "Convair 200 for USMC, Convair 201-218 for USN without the lift jets: with a fuel tank in place of them." (sounds familiar ? F-35B, F-35C - lift fan removed, have a fuel tank instead !)
 
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uk 75

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The Rockwell XFV12 was the latest in a long line of US vstol prototypes not to work as advertised..Is there any way of knowing if the Convair bird would have been luckier?

The next challenge if the prototype gets off the ground is range and load carrying.
The US forces expect to carry loads of ordinance rather than a couple of Sidewinders like contemporary Hariers.

Even if the USN and USMC did get working Convairs I cant see them buying more than trials aircraft to compare operationally with A4, AV8 and F4.

The UK would be even more reluctant. The Tornado programme was in full swing and work was starting toward Eurofighter. Upgrades to the Harrier were the best we could afford.

Hard to see the smaller Stovl Convair competing with the twin engined F18 for the F4/A7 replacement role.

France originally planned a helicopte carrier to replace Jean D'Arc..The Convair always had a Mirage feel to it.

Shipbucket has some nice artwork
 

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Archibald

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.Is there any way of knowing if the Convair bird would have been luckier?
Yes. It is called the Yak-41 "Freestyle" (what a stupid codename !)

Major issue: hot gases re-ingestion by the unfortunate F401 (as if that one wasn't bad enough). It would have eaten his own exhaust gas plus two liftjets', and that's pretty bad: jet engines hate heat, it ruins their performance, and VSTOL needs every single kg of thrust...
They prefer their air cold - and in that regard, the F-35B lift fan is a stroke of genius, because it blows the F135 hot gases away with a mass of "cold" air. Radically solving the hot gas re-ingestion issue.
 

zen

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Is there any way of knowing if the Convair bird would have been luckier?
Well the CTOL version is fairly certain to achieve it's goals.
And in this the CTOL version should offer a supersonic A4 successor, that also can succeed the F8, and F104.
 

Archibald

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I checked - Zumwalt CNO mandate ended in June 1974. With a bit of luck, he will support at least two Convair 200 VSTOL prototypes construction as a way to carry the SCS alive and forward.
After his departure the second Model 200 could be turned into a 201 or 218 by removing the lift jets and replace them by a fuel tank.
The transition between VFAX and NACF happened in the fall of 1974, maybe the USN (with the USMC frustrated by the AV-16S) could use the 201 to avoid NACF ? And keep VFAX afloat against Congress bean counters. At worse, get a flyoff between the Convair 201, YF-16 and YF-17.

OTL the Model 200 refused to die immediately, since future NASA Administrator and Navy undersecretary Robert Frosch had grave doubts related to the XFV-12.
 

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