The F-4 Phantom II - any alternatives?

Desertfox

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The 3 main options I see as replacements in a no F-4 scenario are:

Export Saab Viggen with non-US engine
Bigger Dassault F variants
Lockheed X-27/CL-1200 Lancer

The Viggen was about as multi-role as it gets, the Dassault F1 had a pretty successful export market and was multi-role, and the F-104 was also an export success (with some bribery money to grease the skids).

Other ramifications could have included the TSR2 surviving, SEPECAT Jaguar and Panavia Tornado never happening, and a different set of RFP for the teen fighters.
 

kaiserd

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I suppose, although it does not enter the time period, the European Phantom was the Tornado, also known in UK as the Fin.
I was never keen on the MRCA in its red and white prototype scheme as it waddled into the air. My TSR2 was still etched on my heart (stop this Ed)
But with the benefit of hindsight the Tornado was remarkable and was the F4 for the 80s on.

Cough... F-16... Cough...
Meant in good humor :)
 

kaiserd

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The 3 main options I see as replacements in a no F-4 scenario are:

Export Saab Viggen with non-US engine
Bigger Dassault F variants
Lockheed X-27/CL-1200 Lancer

The Viggen was about as multi-role as it gets, the Dassault F1 had a pretty successful export market and was multi-role, and the F-104 was also an export success (with some bribery money to grease the skids).

Other ramifications could have included the TSR2 surviving, SEPECAT Jaguar and Panavia Tornado never happening, and a different set of RFP for the teen fighters.

No F-4 would have such a major impact (for a start Crusader 3’s on US carrier decks, then spirals out from there) on the US and then the rest of the World it’s almost impossible to remotely realistically model all the consequences.

For example would Russian fighter design stick closer to the ultra light weight MIG-21 formula (and go for a different combo then lead to “our” MIG-23) if there wasn’t F-4s to fight and missile/ radar capability to envy.

Literally the mind boggles.....
 
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uk 75

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The 3 main options I see as replacements in a no F-4 scenario are:

Export Saab Viggen with non-US engine
Bigger Dassault F variants
Lockheed X-27/CL-1200 Lancer

The Viggen was about as multi-role as it gets, the Dassault F1 had a pretty successful export market and was multi-role, and the F-104 was also an export success (with some bribery money to grease the skids).

Other ramifications could have included the TSR2 surviving, SEPECAT Jaguar and Panavia Tornado never happening, and a different set of RFP for the teen fighters.

No F-4 would have such a major impact (for a start Crusader 3’s on US carrier decks, then spirals out from there) on the US and then the rest of the World it’s almost impossible to remotely realistically model all the consequences.

For example would Russian fighter design stick closer to the ultra light weight MIG-21 formula (and go for a different combo then lead to “our” MIG-23) if there wasn’t F-4s to fight and missile/ radar capability to envy.

Literally the mind boggles.....
[/QUOTE
I suppose, although it does not enter the time period, the European Phantom was the Tornado, also known in UK as the Fin.
I was never keen on the MRCA in its red and white prototype scheme as it waddled into the air. My TSR2 was still etched on my heart (stop this Ed)
But with the benefit of hindsight the Tornado was remarkable and was the F4 for the 80s on.

Cough... F-16... Cough...
Meant in good humor :)
Kaiserd I am being too Eurocentric. The F16 did replace some F4s in USAF, Egyptian, Israeli, Korean, Greek and Turkish service. But not in UK, German, Spanish and USN/Marine service.
 

Keyboard Commando

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No F-4 would have such a major impact (for a start Crusader 3’s on US carrier decks, then spirals out from there) on the US and then the rest of the World it’s almost impossible to remotely realistically model all the consequences.

For example would Russian fighter design stick closer to the ultra light weight MIG-21 formula (and go for a different combo then lead to “our” MIG-23) if there wasn’t F-4s to fight and missile/ radar capability to envy.

Literally the mind boggles.....

This would be quite interesting a scenario and could completely change the makeup of the aerospace industry. If we assume the Crusader 3 is chosen and perhaps no McNamara, at minimum we see the USAF staying with the F-105 and F-106 until the "FX" comes to fruition. I think at least we could see Japan and/or Canada using them and potentially France for the Aeronavale as Vought had good relations with French aerospace industries. The UK is an interesting possibility as well, there was a proposal for an afterburning Conway powered Crusader 3. It lacks the payload of the Phantom for ground pounding but the Intruder and later Corsair 2 cover this fairly well, and the Crusader 3 would carry bombs anyway much like the original did.

I like to consider the knock on effects on programs like TFX, FX and VFX as well. Without the Phantom and no McNamara I doubt the Navy even bothers with TFX and looks directly towards a VFX type aircraft sooner to carry the Phoenix, but the more maneuverable Crusader 3's performance over Vietnam may well influence them towards a less dedicated interceptor for something more multirole, maybe something in the vein of the V-484. TFX could progress more smoothly as a dedicated air force platform and maybe enter service sooner. Without them having to consider commonality with the Navy it's doubtful GD gets the contract, but at the same time I have my doubts wrt Boeing's proposal with top mounted intakes. With the F-106 being a fairly maneuverable platform it could have performed well enough in Vietnam and this could influence the Air Force towards a multirole aircraft because the concept hasn't been soiled yet in the eyes of the AF brass. Without the success of the Phantom I doubt McDonnell would have the influence they did and I think the Fairchild-Republic FX has a fair chance of being selected.

This would have a big impact on the eventual LWF if it even happens at all. Without the Phantom and it's early struggles in air combat I have a hard time believing that Boyd and the Fighter Mafia would even see the time of day. There will be an eventual complement to whatever FX enters service as like the Eagle was too expensive to replace the Phantom one-for-one, the FX can't replace all the century series aircraft. Without the obsession with light weight and minimum electronics I think something in the vein of Northrop's P.530 could enter service, a medium weight fighter with built in A2G and BVR capability.
 

Archibald

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The Crusader III was terrific but no way it could land on a Clemenceau-class carrier.
 

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This would have a big impact on the eventual LWF if it even happens at all.

On the basis that it is probably easier to "ground-ify" a naval aircraft than navalise a land-based one, one can perceive an alternative reality in which the F/A-18 fills the role for both services, just as the F-4 did.
 

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On the basis that it is probably easier to "ground-ify" a naval aircraft than navalise a land-based one, one can perceive an alternative reality in which the F/A-18 fills the role for both services, just as the F-4 did.

Northrop built F-18L's for the Air Force while McDD build the navalised variant for the Navy and Marines.
 

kaiserd

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On the basis that it is probably easier to "ground-ify" a naval aircraft than navalise a land-based one, one can perceive an alternative reality in which the F/A-18 fills the role for both services, just as the F-4 did.

Northrop built F-18L's for the Air Force while McDD build the navalised variant for the Navy and Marines.
The F-18L proved ill fated and was never bought (court case alleging skullduggery by McDD was settled out of court if I recall right).
And both F-18 variants a bit late to be F-4 alternatives :)
 

sferrin

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On the basis that it is probably easier to "ground-ify" a naval aircraft than navalise a land-based one, one can perceive an alternative reality in which the F/A-18 fills the role for both services, just as the F-4 did.

Northrop built F-18L's for the Air Force while McDD build the navalised variant for the Navy and Marines.

Imagine a lighter version of this in the 80s. That would be the F-18L

 

Siberia

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In fact Britain did have some equivalents to Phantom. Jaguar replaced it in strike role before Tornado, albeit with some debate about whether it did.
Well there's no denying that the Jaguar replaced the Phantom in the strike role, just at a cost in capability. That's not to knock the Jaguar – it's one of my favourite aircraft – it did exactly what it was designed for and pretty well, just reality.


Advanced Avons are a bit long in the tooth. Olympus, a bit large for twin engines, a little small for one. Later on, Spey might have worked OK with a properly designed intake and airframe to go with it. HSA Brough (ex-Blackburn) did the P.141 in 1967 which was basically an F-4.
Spey as you write would be a possibility as shown by its use in the F-4K and M, would the RB.106 'Thames' be an option? I know it's an unbuilt engine so we're at the mercy of the estimates but IIRC it was planned to generate roughly similar levels of thrust to the J79.
 

zen

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In fact Britain did have some equivalents to Phantom. Jaguar replaced it in strike role before Tornado, albeit with some debate about whether it did.
Well there's no denying that the Jaguar replaced the Phantom in the strike role, just at a cost in capability. That's not to knock the Jaguar – it's one of my favourite aircraft – it did exactly what it was designed for and pretty well, just reality.


Advanced Avons are a bit long in the tooth. Olympus, a bit large for twin engines, a little small for one. Later on, Spey might have worked OK with a properly designed intake and airframe to go with it. HSA Brough (ex-Blackburn) did the P.141 in 1967 which was basically an F-4.
Spey as you write would be a possibility as shown by its use in the F-4K and M, would the RB.106 'Thames' be an option? I know it's an unbuilt engine so we're at the mercy of the estimates but IIRC it was planned to generate roughly similar levels of thrust to the J79.
No the Thames was aimed at higher thrust.
An F4 with two RB.106 would have some 6,000lb more static thrust in dry military power than a Spey with water injection and slightly more than a Spey in reheat...but only slightly.
However it would logically be less constrained in performance at altitude both in dry and reheated power.
In essence this Thames powered F4 would climb faster, go higher and cruise faster and be more responsive for air-to-air combat.
 

fdb-1

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If you goes for "I need good interceptor"

Dassault Mirage III
Saab 35 Draken
English Electric Lightning
Lockheed F-104 (if you Know how to use them right)

If you goes for "I need flying Killer with Twin engine for mach 2.2, and up to 6× AGM-65 Maverick rockets and a Vulcan Gun"
There was only F-4 Phantom...
Whoa, you totally missed the F106. Forty year career.
 

Pioneer

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The UK could have built an F-4 equivalent (admittedly with more risk around the weapon system and armament than would have been ideal thanks to the post-1957 hangover and preceding issues).
But they didn’t and there certainly wasn’t one waiting on-the-peg to be picked up when the decision was made not to go with the P.1154.
And then the “...and if...”’s start piling up were we have to imagine a world without the F-4 and the UK also making a long series of different decisions.
I’d also query if this topic was intended to only cover the UK as it has been very UK-centric up to this point.

Oh absolutely the answer to the original topic is, there wasn't any obvious alternative. There's a reason why the F-4 was a bestseller :) Roy Braybrook thought Hawker should have built something in the J-35 Draken class, based on an advanced Avon, as a Hunter replacement.
I think it would have been cool if Ed Heinemann had of been approached and asked to design his take on the F-4 Phantom II's capabilities and wants by the USN and USAF. I'm sure he would have come up with a smaller, lighter and cheaper aircraft that delivered the same qualities....

Regards
Pioneer
 
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fdb-1

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If you goes for "I need good interceptor"

Dassault Mirage III
Saab 35 Draken
English Electric Lightning
Lockheed F-104 (if you Know how to use them right)

If you goes for "I need flying Killer with Twin engine for mach 2.2, and up to 6× AGM-65 Maverick rockets and a Vulcan Gun"
There was only F-4 Phantom...
F106
 

Archibald

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Funny thing with the Mirage F/G family
- Mirage F2: two seat / swept wings / strike
- Mirage F3: same airframe again, swept wing, single seat interceptor
- Mirage G: same airframe as F2 again, except for VG (so two seat for strike, eventually naval interceptor: Tomkitten !)
- Mirage F1: 0.80 subscale F3, adapted to the Atar 9K50

So all four are close siblings. Pick one, two or the four, and there is a complete family of 15 mt jets with a big TF306E, 11 tons thrust. They were half- MiG-23, half-Phantom.

There is also the possibility of a Mirage F4 with an early M53-2, so that's a fifth member in the extended family.
 

zen

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I tend to reserve the term Mirage F4 for a twin engined multirole fighter.....
Which always strikes me as the missing Mirage ;)
 

zen

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I think it would have been cool if Ed Heinemann had of been approached and asked to design his take on the F-4 Phantom II's capcapabilitis and wants by the USN and USAF. I'm sure he would have come up with a smaller, lighter and cheaper aircraft that delivered the same qualities
Well.... one might start with a supersonic A4. Thinner wing, reheat and Mirage III like inlets.
Which always struck me as a missing variant of the Skyhawk.

And then one might scale up around two engines......
 

Archibald

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Well.... one might start with a supersonic A4. Thinner wing, reheat and Mirage III like inlets.
Or go full Jurassic Park Henry Wu on the Etendards.
- Mirage III DNA to make Etendard IV into a supersonic aircraft
- Mirage F1 DNA to make Super Etendard supersonic
 

Archibald

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I tend to reserve the term Mirage F4 for a twin engined multirole fighter.....
Which always strikes me as the missing Mirage ;)

It is not per lack of trying from the Armée de l'Air... Mirage IVC, AFVG, G4, G8, ACF, 4000...
 

zen

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Well.... one might start with a supersonic A4. Thinner wing, reheat and Mirage III like inlets.
Or go full Jurassic Park Henry Wu on the Etendards.
- Mirage III DNA to make Etendard IV into a supersonic aircraft
- Mirage F1 DNA to make Super Etendard supersonic
Certainly I do wonder why Dassault didn't examine a twin Atar Etendard version.
 

Archibald

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Too big for the carriers, and if land based then it is a Mirage.
 

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Well.... one might start with a supersonic A4. Thinner wing, reheat and Mirage III like inlets.
Which always struck me as a missing variant of the Skyhawk.

The F11F Tiger or Etendard are much better starting points than the A-4, as they were transonic designs.

Problem is… which engine? Atar/Avon/J79/Spey were all *almost* interchangeable with some work. Could work for the F11F (as proven by the Super Tiger). Harder for the Etendard due to engine length/center of gravity changes, plus the need for additional fuel tankage, which would require significant redesign.

Or you need a smaller, lighter engine, which didn’t exist except for the Orpheus 12 (which was a little too small).
 
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zen

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Well there is always the 'evil' Gyron Junior.....
;)
 

H_K

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Well there is always the 'evil' Gyron Junior.....
How about the RB.153-61R (6,850lb dry thrust, 11,750lb AB), which was basically a 2/3rds scale Spey… from the drawings I have, it basically fits into the same size & weight as a non-afterburning Avon or Atar 8.

So… a scaled-up Etendard with twin RB.153s. Now that would be something.

Timeframe might fit the Aeronavale’s DAFNE program (1964), for which the twin Spey proposals seemed just a little too big (Dassault MD800 and Breguet Br 120).

Dassault MD 800
md-800-jpg.291919


Breguet Br. 120 D
br120-jpg.4430
 

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Or RB.172 and AFVG... minus the VG. Good point about DAFNE, note the Clems are small and money was scarce.
 

zen

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Or the M.45

All of which could get you higher performance in range/endurance and speed. But being turbofans, slightly lower operational ceiling.
 

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The M45 was up and running by 1968 but SNECMA did next to nothing of it (except a few German small airliners). It ended squeezed between 9K50, TF306E and M53-2.
 

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How about the RB.153-61R (6,850lb dry thrust, 11,750lb AB), which was basically a 2/3rds scale Spey… from the drawings I have, it basically fits into the same size & weight as a non-afterburning Avon or Atar 8.

So… a scaled-up Etendard with twin RB.153s. Now that would be something.

So I’m running the numbers on a scaled-down Phantom / scaled-up Etendard with RB.153 engines… as above. The main design goal is a multirole fighter that would be carrier-compatible on Centaurs/Clemenceaus, but also with high enough performance for land-based use.

Basically similar to the Vickers 583, but without the VG wing (which was still high risk in the early 60s). Or a more modern/more powerful Spey Twosader.

Target weights are 9t empty, 16t take-off for 2.5hr CAP. Blown wing (scaled-up from Etendard IVB) for ~145 knot catapult end-speed @16t and ~125 knot approach speed @11t.

@zen how does this align with your numbers? And do you have a copy of that 1963 RAE report that looked into 4 options?

Timeline would be a 1962/63 order, either for the RN AW.406 requirement (Sea Vixen replacement) or for the French as an alternative to the Crusader order (or ideally both if run as a joint project). Service entry 1967. Would also meet the French Air Force requirement for a better strike aircraft than the Mirage IIIE.

I know this was somewhat discussed in other threads, however those focused more on the British angle and VG options:


 
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zen

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@zen how does this align with your numbers? And do you have a copy of that 1963 RAE report that looked into 4 options?
Good question, I'll dig out what I can and answer soon.
 

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I often forget some of the early Etendards were twin jets (never reminds which one, between the -II and the VI.)

I may give a try to a upscaled three view... depends what aviastar has in store.

Etendard II - Yes ! Aviastar has a gorgeous 3-view of it. But the high tail is masking the engine exhausts.

 

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Archibald

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And... there it is. A beefed up Etendard II, with some Mirage F1 DNA. And a Kfir nose with small strakes (the top view at least).
 

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H_K

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Nice @Archibald. I might try something similar ;-)

- Forward fuselage: Etendard IV E (2 seater)
- Mid-fuselage: Mirage F3 (w/ large intakes)
- Rear fuselage: Vickers 583 (2x RB-153)
- Wing, tail & landing gear: Etendard IVB (scaled +50%)
 

zen

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Hmmmm....before I dive off the deep end on H_K's request.

Supermarine Type 562.
Project start 1956....
Interceptor and Strike development of Type 544 Scimitar.
As an Interceptor to carry Sparrow II.
Best engine Sapphire 10R.
Alternative Gyron PS.38 required use of rockets as well as reheat.
While Avons were marginal.
System would be capable of defence upto Mach 1.3 bomber at 50,000ft.
Fighter = 2 Blue Jay = 34,799lb
Strike = Red Beard = 40,990lb.
 

zen

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@zen how does this align with your numbers?
9t....tons US or Imperial or tonnes?

1 US ton = 2,000lb. So 9t = 18,000lb
1 Imperial ton 2240lb. So 9t = 20,160lb
1 tonne = 2204.64. So 9t = 19841.6

Assuming Imperial 16t = 35,840lb
So at inclination 15 degrees on a 151ft stroke catapult. 25 degrees C, with 25kts WOD.

With what Lift Coefficient at Take Off?
To get 37,750lb off needs 30,000lb thrust and LC@TO of 0.5
And with 20,000lb of thrust you get 34,700lb off the deck.

However RB.153 is 11,250lb in reheat or 22,500lb as a pair and 6,850lb dry or two for 13,700lb.

So in reheat that equates to 35,462.5 take off.
Or 32,778.5lb with dry thrust.
But the engine only weighs 1,470lb
Compared to Atar 9C weighing in at 3,210lb.
But Atar s.f.c is 1.01 dry and 2.03 reheated.
While RB.153 is I vaguely reccal 0.75 dry and probably 1.8 reheated.

So a pair of RB.153 weigh 2,940lb or 270lb less than Atar 9C.
And burn less fuel.
 

H_K

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@zen I was thinking metric tonnes, but Imperial tons are close enough.

The 650kg weight for the RB.153-61 is most likely the unreheated base engine. I estimate that the -61R with reheat would weigh ~1,000kg, based on scaling down from the Spey (which weighed 1,100-1,200kg dry and 1,850kg with reheat). Specific fuel consumption is also probably similar to the Spey.

I’m basing the launch & approach speeds on the Etendard IVB with blown wing (28.40m2). How can I calculate the lift coefficient from the figures below?

etendard-ivb-carrier-performance-png.651081
 

zen

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Vaguely I reccal something like 770kg (1,649lb) as a figure for the complete RB.153 with reheat. But memory being dodgy and the jotted figure on the back of lost copy of RR engines table.
My equally dodgy paper that has scaled down Speys (it's rigged to favour the Spey VG machine of 50,000lb) says two are 5,050lb.
 

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