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The F4 Phantom any alternatives?

uk 75

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The F4 Phantom dominates the West's Air Forces as one of the great military aircraft. Only France's Mirage family seemed to offer an alternative. Have I missed some real and proposed alternatives?
 

zen

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Real......not really.
Proposed.... Yes you have.
 

kaiserd

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The F4 Phantom dominates the West's Air Forces as one of the great military aircraft. Only France's Mirage family seemed to offer an alternative. Have I missed some real and proposed alternatives?
Well the Crusader III was the F-4’s first and most critical alternative and may have proved an attractive air defense aircraft for some of the F-4s users if it had killed the F-4 at birth.

And more later century series fighters (principally F-105s and F-106s) may have been bought by the US Air Force (and eventual F-4 export users) if the F-4 had its own “It’s a Wonderful Life” wishing-it-hadn’t-been-born experience.
 

Michel Van

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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...
 

sferrin

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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...

My favorite alternate to the F-4:

 

overscan

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Questions to answer

1) Why did the USAF buy the Phantom?

They were forced by the McNamara OSD to look at flexible multi-role aircraft, and found the F-4 was superior to the F-105 as a fighter but largely equal in fighter/bomber / attack missions.

2) How could things have gone differently?

They could have bought a more flexible aircraft instead of F-105. However F-107 really isn't it. F-8 (or F-8U3) could be at a pinch, but its another Navy aircraft so seems unlikely. If McNamara didn't happen its likely the USAF would have entered Vietnam with just more F-105s.

If the F-4 just straight out never existed, and the Navy built the F-8U3 instead, its possible the USAF might have been forced to buy F-8U3s to supplement the F-105.

3) If the USAF didn't buy the F-4, then what would take its foreign sales?

Maybe bigger wing F-104 derivatives might have happened? Land-based F-8?
 

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Dassault had a Mirage IVC project, right between the Mirage III and the Mirage IV. Twin Atar 9K-50, delta-wing. Could have been the Rafale of its time, but there was no room for it between massive procurement of Mirage III and the force de Frappe.

Other possible alternatives:

Haker P.1121, perhaps with a Medway.

Viggen if Sweden had been less "neutral".

A better MiG-23, perhaps with no VG wing.

A Mirage G / F2 / F3 / F1 hybrid. Single seat, either one big turbofan or a pair of M45.
A slightly larger F1 with a more modern engine, turbofan, M53, Spey, whatever.

BAC Brought P.141.

...and of course, the Avro Arrow (cry). The large delta wing is not a low-altitude killer: the Mirage IV switched to low altitude without any issue. I always felt the Arrow huge internal weapon bay could be an advantage when carrying boatloads of A2G weapons.
Had the RCAF been less stupid and not dropped the F-106 MX-1179 / MA-1 in 1955 to re-introduce it in September 1958, the Arrow might have survived for a simple reason. By the late 50's had started a trend that today had become dominant. That is, when building a combat aircraft, 70-80% of the development cost is the avionics / radar / weapons. Airframe and engines costs, in comparison, have shrunk to next to nothing. In the case of the Arrow, Orenda and Avro did some outstanding job on the engines and airframe. Alas, RCA Canada screwed the pooch with their ASTRA-1 system. Damn it, Sparrow II = AMRAAM in 1960. No way they achieved that. By 09/1958 with the writting on the wall they dropped the radar and missile for the F-106's, alas it was to late.

I always felt that, had the Arrow stick to the F-106 system, not only it would have saved a boatload of development costs, but the common radar and missiles... would have greatly helped in NORAD / SAGE integration beside the F-101, F-104, F-102 & F-106. what's more, that's EXACTLY what Canada did with the CF-100 MG-3 !

Really a saddening mistake.
 
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Hood

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Funnily enough I was thinking along the lines of this topic the other day after reading all the recurring themes about what could/should have been in RAF service and F-104 alternatives.
The simple fact is, beyond the F-4 there are hardly any fighters of the 1960s stable which are adaptable and capable enough to do every task thrown at them with good performance, good avionics and longevity and without expensive re-engineering or re-engining. The Mirage III family is the only one to come close from the West.
 

kaiserd

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Funnily enough I was thinking along the lines of this topic the other day after reading all the recurring themes about what could/should have been in RAF service and F-104 alternatives.
The simple fact is, beyond the F-4 there are hardly any fighters of the 1960s stable which are adaptable and capable enough to do every task thrown at them with good performance, good avionics and longevity and without expensive re-engineering or re-engining. The Mirage III family is the only one to come close from the West.
I would agree with that but would add that isn’t a criticism of the other designs of the time; they were genuinely running into the technical (and financial) limits of their time which lead to focusing on some specific performance parameters or capabilities or whatever at the cost of others.
Hence why I am deeply skeptical of claims that this or that is unbuilt design could have been a F-16/F-18 or whatever later design equivalent “10 years earlier” (or similar variations on this theme).
Almost certainly they could never have been anything of the kind.
 

pathology_doc

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I would agree with that but would add that isn’t a criticism of the other designs of the time; they were genuinely running into the technical (and financial) limits of their time
You keep on saying this parrot-fashion, to the point where I'm beginning to think you're nothing more than a shill for "Buy American".
 

kaiserd

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I would agree with that but would add that isn’t a criticism of the other designs of the time; they were genuinely running into the technical (and financial) limits of their time
You keep on saying this parrot-fashion, to the point where I'm beginning to think you're nothing more than a shill for "Buy American".
I’d suggest you read my other posts on other topics to understand how utterly absurd that comment is.

Frankly it’s an absurd comment even just based on above.
 

uk 75

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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.
The P1154 in a simpler form, perhaps as a conventional design, might have been a UK Phantom.
However, for me the answerwas the unloved Buccaneer. In its later S2 variants with a suitable radar it could have been the standard RAF RNmulti roletype. Instead of allthepaper swingers and vtols and even MRCA.
 

zen

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So the strongest UK alternative history solutions are.....

The 'Other' Lightning.
Type 556 FAW.
Though only the Type 556 is carrier compatible and a reasonable basis for a multirole type in evolution/upgrade.
But it us haunted by potential tail section issues. We will never know.

However in performance terms the Other Lightning is the more potent and can via a 'Soviet' style process deliver variants for varying roles upto carrier compatible VG versions. It can even hoover up the research requirement Bristol's 188 won and failed to deliver.

Beyond that one has ponder things like the HSA P1125. Not really ideal. Ideally HSA would have mated elements of the P1103 with two 30" diameter turbojets around 1954/55.

What is needed however is something closer to OR.346 with reduced performance (range and internal weapons carriage being sacrificed), and earlier wrapped around something like a pair of the BS.30 or P.151 or RR's scaled down RB.106 variant.

Brough (Blackburn) ought to have something along these lines using a crescent wing.
 

pathology_doc

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I would agree with that but would add that isn’t a criticism of the other designs of the time; they were genuinely running into the technical (and financial) limits of their time
You keep on saying this parrot-fashion, to the point where I'm beginning to think you're nothing more than a shill for "Buy American".
I’d suggest you read my other posts on other topics to understand how utterly absurd that comment is.

Frankly it’s an absurd comment even just based on above.
Except it's not, because it seems you are constantly using "technical and financial barriers" as a reason to justify the abandonment of all national effort in favour of overseas purchases. This is the impression you're giving people, and it's about time you woke up to yourself and asked why this might be the case.
 

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I would agree with that but would add that isn’t a criticism of the other designs of the time; they were genuinely running into the technical (and financial) limits of their time
You keep on saying this parrot-fashion, to the point where I'm beginning to think you're nothing more than a shill for "Buy American".
I’d suggest you read my other posts on other topics to understand how utterly absurd that comment is.

Frankly it’s an absurd comment even just based on above.
Except it's not, because it seems you are constantly using "technical and financial barriers" as a reason to justify the abandonment of all national effort in favour of overseas purchases. This is the impression you're giving people, and it's about time you woke up to yourself and asked why this might be the case.
He really isn't. He's saying everyone (including the Americans) were facing technical and financial limitations. How many F-103 or F-108s did the USAF manage to buy?

The F-4 was a fairly unique beast for its era in being very adaptable, and 'state of the art' without being excessively complex. The J-79 takes some of the credit, but ask why the US Air Force couldn't have come up with the same basic concept but instead had to reluctantly adopt a Navy fighter?
 

zen

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Overseas purchases especially from the US would eat into precious dollar reserves that would be uses for more vital matters.

The UK had the people, had the industrial capacity and the research capability to achieve a great deal. Doing it down is taking self depreciation and believing it to be literal the truth.
It's also taking US sales brochures and believing those to be literal truth.
 

kaiserd

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I would agree with that but would add that isn’t a criticism of the other designs of the time; they were genuinely running into the technical (and financial) limits of their time
You keep on saying this parrot-fashion, to the point where I'm beginning to think you're nothing more than a shill for "Buy American".
I’d suggest you read my other posts on other topics to understand how utterly absurd that comment is.

Frankly it’s an absurd comment even just based on above.
Except it's not, because it seems you are constantly using "technical and financial barriers" as a reason to justify the abandonment of all national effort in favour of overseas purchases. This is the impression you're giving people, and it's about time you woke up to yourself and asked why this might be the case.
He really isn't. He's saying everyone (including the Americans) were facing technical and financial limitations. How many F-103 or F-108s did the USAF manage to buy?

The F-4 was a fairly unique beast for its era in being very adaptable, and 'state of the art' without being excessively complex. The J-79 takes some of the credit, but ask why the US Air Force couldn't have come up with the same basic concept but instead had to reluctantly adopt a Navy fighter?
My points are being misunderstood and/or misrepresented.
My comments equally apply to other non-F-4 US fighters. The F-106 for example suffered in competition with the F-4.
And I’m a big fan of the Mirage series nor would it be correct to say the F-4 was somehow perfect.
Early marks struggled against their MIG opponents in Vietnam; lack of maneuverability, no gun, unreliable missiles etc.
By the end of the 70’s later Mirage F1s and later improved versions of the MIG-23 were arguably better all-round tactical fighters than F-4Es.
It’s an unfortunate fact that the UK lacked a really credible fighter alternative to their F-4 purchase because of the aftermath of 1957 and their subsequent high risk concentration on supersonic V/STOVL (the P.1154).
(Again I’m a fan of the Lightening but it wasn’t at the races at this stage.)
And in fact in the strike element of UK F-4 roles was short-lived and did see full or partially UK more-role focused “F-4 alternatives” taking over that strike role; the Anglo-French Jaguar and the very UK Buccaneer (as mentioned by other posters above).
 

uk 75

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To go back to a point I made above, Buccaneer could have been the UK's Phantom.
Like the F4 it started life as a naval aircraft but was eventually proven to be a good RAFstriker.
Unlike F4 the Buc could fly off and on Hermes. An air defence version with Sparrow/Skyflash would have been within UK capability and could have met the UK requirement into the late 70s
 

kaiserd

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To go back to a point I made above, Buccaneer could have been the UK's Phantom.
Like the F4 it started life as a naval aircraft but was eventually proven to be a good RAFstriker.
Unlike F4 the Buc could fly off and on Hermes. An air defence version with Sparrow/Skyflash would have been within UK capability and could have met the UK requirement into the late 70s
The F-4 was a better interceptor/ fighter than any likely Buccaneer development and the Buccaneer was the better low altitude strike aircraft. Think the UK got the best of both worlds by buying both.

An considering that the RAF has to be dragged kicking and screaming to buy the Buccaneer as a strike aircraft then one can only speculate on their likely reaction if told it was also going to be their future fighter.
 

uk 75

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I agree that the Buc could not have been a fighter like the F4 but the RAF and RN were using the F4 as an intereceptor against Soviet bombers. In this role the Buc could have flown off Hermes as well as Ark and Eagle.
 

kaiserd

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I
I agree that the Buc could not have been a fighter like the F4 but the RAF and RN were using the F4 as an intereceptor against Soviet bombers. In this role the Buc could have flown off Hermes as well as Ark and Eagle.
I can see a theoretical standing patrol/ loitering air defense role (similar to US Navy CAP role) but the UK RAF and Navy roles were more focused around the QRA-type rapid ground (or ship) based scrambles; not sure any Buccaneer was going to be particularly well matched to that.
 

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My points are being misunderstood and/or misrepresented.
My comments equally apply to other non-F-4 US fighters. The F-106 for example suffered in competition with the F-4.
And I’m a big fan of the Mirage series nor would it be correct to say the F-4 was somehow perfect.
Early marks struggled against their MIG opponents in Vietnam; lack of maneuverability, no gun, unreliable missiles etc.
By the end of the 70’s later Mirage F1s and later improved versions of the MIG-23 were arguably better all-round tactical fighters than F-4Es.
It’s an unfortunate fact that the UK lacked a really credible fighter alternative to their F-4 purchase because of the aftermath of 1957 and their subsequent high risk concentration on supersonic V/STOVL (the P.1154).
(Again I’m a fan of the Lightening but it wasn’t at the races at this stage.)
And in fact in the strike element of UK F-4 roles was short-lived and did see full or partially UK more-role focused “F-4 alternatives” taking over that strike role; the Anglo-French Jaguar and the very UK Buccaneer (as mentioned by other posters above).
The technical elements were available to build an F-4 in the UK in say 1959-1962. Engines and radar roughly at parity. Bit of a gap in radar guided missiles.

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.
 

kaiserd

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I would agree with that but would add that isn’t a criticism of the other designs of the time; they were genuinely running into the technical (and financial) limits of their time
You keep on saying this parrot-fashion, to the point where I'm beginning to think you're nothing more than a shill for "Buy American".
I’d suggest you read my other posts on other topics to understand how utterly absurd that comment is.

Frankly it’s an absurd comment even just based on above.
Except it's not, because it seems you are constantly using "technical and financial barriers" as a reason to justify the abandonment of all national effort in favour of overseas purchases. This is the impression you're giving people, and it's about time you woke up to yourself and asked why this might be the case.
He really isn't. He's saying everyone (including the Americans) were facing technical and financial limitations. How many F-103 or F-108s did the USAF manage to buy?

The F-4 was a fairly unique beast for its era in being very adaptable, and 'state of the art' without being excessively complex. The J-79 takes some of the credit, but ask why the US Air Force couldn't have come up with the same basic concept but instead had to reluctantly adopt a Navy fighter?
My points are being misunderstood and/or misrepresented.
My comments equally apply to other non-F-4 US fighters. The F-106 for example suffered in competition with the F-4.
And I’m a big fan of the Mirage series nor would it be correct to say the F-4 was somehow perfect.
Early marks struggled against their MIG opponents in Vietnam; lack of maneuverability, no gun, unreliable missiles etc.
By the end of the 70’s later Mirage F1s and later improved versions of the MIG-23 were arguably better all-round tactical fighters than F-4Es.
It’s an unfortunate fact that the UK lacked a really credible fighter alternative to their F-4 purchase because of the aftermath of 1957 and their subsequent high risk concentration on supersonic V/STOVL (the P.1154).
(Again I’m a fan of the Lightening but it wasn’t at the races at this stage.)
And in fact in the strike element of UK F-4 roles was short-lived and did see full or partially UK more-role focused “F-4 alternatives” taking over that strike role; the Anglo-French Jaguar and the very UK Buccaneer (as mentioned by other posters above).
The technical elements were available to build an F-4 in the UK. Advanced Avons are a bit long in the tooth, 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.
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.
 

overscan

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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.
 
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sferrin

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Questions to answer

1) Why did the USAF buy the Phantom?

They were forced by the McNamara OSD to look at flexible multi-role aircraft, and found the F-4 was superior to the F-105 as a fighter but largely equal in fighter/bomber / attack missions.
(I'm going to butcher the hell out of this because it was a long time ago.)

I recall a former F-105 & F-4 pilot relating an account of heading out of some target in Vietnam, in an F-4, at low altitude, fast enough that "the fillings were rattling out of my head" (or something to that effect), and watched as a couple F-105s went cruising past him. He'd envied them, because he knew they were experiencing a "Cadillac ride" compared to him, but that overall he preferred the Phantom. It might have been Ed Rasimus, from rec.aviation.military, who also wrote "When Thunder Rolled" about the F-105.
 
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pathology_doc

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Unlike F4 the Buc could fly off and on Hermes. An air defence version with Sparrow/Skyflash would have been within UK capability and could have met the UK requirement into the late 70s
I'm not so sure about that. To me, this sounds like the Skua redux - a strike aircraft which was unfortunately asked to be an interceptor. To integrate Sparrow, you also have to integrate a radar that can perform the air search, lock and track, and illuminate functions. To integrate Red Top, you need to integrate the support systems for the missile (seeker cooling/slaving, etc). A case of new wine in old wineskins? Does the Bucc have the performance to fly an intercept profile and kill enemy bombers far enough away from the fleet to cut down the number of ASM launches?

If what you want the Buccaneer to do in interceptor mode is kill ASW helicopters, VTOL Yaks and shadowing recon aircraft, later marks of Sidewinder will probably do, and will be far easier to integrate into the basic Buccaneer airframe. In a "hot" shooting war, though, surely all your Buccaneers are going to be launching in their primary role, which is surface strike/attack; are you even going to have any left over for the interceptor mission?

I thought the idea of an interceptor Buccaneer with Red Top was cool, but look at it from the task analysis and airframe performance perspective. Is it actually going to be good for anything? Unless you are looking at some sort of heavily beefed-up supersonic S.3 variant, of the sort Derek Wood covered in Project Cancelled. And even then, it might have been more appropriate to spend the money on P.1154 or the Vickers aircraft as your interceptor
 

zen

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So in terms of a potential solution Brough did offer a reduced performance system derived from their OR.346 offering but using a single Medway.
If we put to one side the STOL elements, then this is a high Delta wing, low tail, Mirage III inlets and all moving fin. This for the RN.
Too late of course.

The Vickers Type 584/585 was a Flogger-like (Mirage G like) contender to NMBR.3.
But for the V/STOL aspects, which seem removable from the design, this was a sound solution.
But the inclusion of clang box diverter for the main engine and 4 lift jets made it overly complex and expensive.
Shame as this is bang on the performance desired as a CTOL machine.
The Type 585 was the RN offering but later became focused on a pure research machine for VG.

Hand Vickers the NMBR.3 contract and fund the VG prototype without lift jets first and this would meet the conflicting RAF and FAA needs.
Drop the V/STOL and as we know Flogger and Mirage G proved decent STOL machines.
 

uk 75

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Many thanks for the helpful responses on Buccaneer.

We do seem to come back to the F4 as the only actual metal cut. The West was lucky that the US evolved this aircraft into such a good multi role system.
 

zen

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Supersonic Buccaneers for fighter operations were proposed several times by Blackburn. These are in the 50's.
The first is the NA.39 B.103 but with the 11,400lb thrust BE.33 engines.

Generally though they swapped out the Gyron Junior for Avons with reheat.

Had one gone ahead it's choice of AI sets was AI.18 or AI.23.

If anything the increased Diameter 'o' rings in the main spar would increase future options for engine upgrades.
Reheat would greatly enhance rate of climb and most of these supersonic Buccaneers are projected to reach Mach 1.5 to 1.8

One should bear in mind that the Blue Parrot set used in strike Buccaneers is a derivative of the AI.23. In theory additional componentsto the set ought to permit switching from strike functionality to fighter functionality.

But all of this avoids the point that the RN chose the Type 556 and had to ditch it despite thinking it had more potential for the future than DH's 110.
But DH had a machine flying that was close to the final product while Supermarine had only the unreheated single seater Type 525.

However had the Type 556 continued to prototype and service. It's expected performance is not bad and it's potential for upgrades is substantially easier to envision.
As is it's implicit threat to the Buccaneer, as a strike derivative is also easy to envision.
If anything as I've said elsewhere it's also a more logical successor to the Javelin.

But of course this is not what certain people want to hear.
 
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Well France had the SO-4060, the son of the Vautour, swept wing, twin engine, sleeker and faster than the Vautour. One or two were partly build, but it was eaten alive by the Mirages, III and IV. With a conventional swept wing and two Atars, it was the closest thing France ever had from a Phantom, even closer than the Mirage IVC that never left the drawing board.


 
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zen

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The SO-4060 is a fascinating design, and i like it......but didn't someone call into question it's internal arrangements on this site?
 

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To go back to a point I made above, Buccaneer could have been the UK's Phantom.
Like the F4 it started life as a naval aircraft but was eventually proven to be a good RAFstriker.
Unlike F4 the Buc could fly off and on Hermes. An air defence version with Sparrow/Skyflash would have been within UK capability and could have met the UK requirement into the late 70s
Only problem was it's small wing with an excessively high wing loading. It turned like a barn door and couldn't maneuver worth a damn. It was a beautiful strike aircraft - straight down the line - it used to give the USAF the scares when it went to Red Flag - they simply didn't have anything that fly that fast that low, except the F-111 and that wasn't really a fighter. It was claimed that the Buccaneer wasn't built like an aircraft but laid down like a ship it was that strong. It was not a fighter though.

I had a friend who served in Borneo in the SAS and he told me a story of how he and the squadron were "put on a show" by a visiting RN carrier. There were Buccaneers and Sea Vixens. The Buccaneers were being intercepted by the Sea Vixens in front of them and the Buccs couldn't turn at all to get on the Sea Vixens which were all over them.
 

uk 75

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Many thanks for the Buc answers. The RAF were well served by the F4. The RN lost out because it could only afford and man one F4 capable ship.
However, returning to F4 alternatives. What about the Saab Viggen? It served in a variety of roles.
 

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Bar the issue with where you could put a wingfold, it's a very attractive machine.
As on this forum, one might note the use of an Olympus confers potential for higher performance.

However had Bristol proposed a straight through Pegasus-based engine earlier, this would have beaten both RR and US engines to power the Viggen in Swedish service. It would also be ideal for the RAF and at least a reasonable option for the RN FAA.

The twin engined option 'double barrel' seems a bit too long. But it would certainly give the F4 a run for it's money.

Many thanks for the Buc answers. The RAF were well served by the F4. The RN lost out because it could only afford and man one F4 capable ship.
However, returning to F4 alternatives. What about the Saab Viggen? It served in a variety of roles.
 
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Many thanks for the Buc answers. The RAF were well served by the F4. The RN lost out because it could only afford and man one F4 capable ship.
However, returning to F4 alternatives. What about the Saab Viggen? It served in a variety of roles.
Viggen is interesting indeed but 9 years adrift in first flight. Pretty comparable to the F-4 in general.
 

zen

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Many thanks for the Buc answers. The RAF were well served by the F4. The RN lost out because it could only afford and man one F4 capable ship.
However, returning to F4 alternatives. What about the Saab Viggen? It served in a variety of roles.
Viggen is interesting indeed but 9 years adrift in first flight. Pretty comparable to the F-4 in general.
However wasn't the Viggen delayed by various factors?
 

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Not really, except a 1967 ejection seat issue that killed a test pilot. The accident happening only weeks before the Mirage F1 prototype met a similar fate. 1967, hell of a bad year. A F-111B was lost, the Apollo 1 crew, Komarov... and later Mike Adams and the X-15.

The Viggen was a terrific aircraft but was doomed by Sweden neutral status and its american JT8D engine.
 

zen

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No on balance the answer is still the Type 556. If it comes at the sacrifice of the interim Type 544 that is no loss and frankly an austere Attack version can be fast tracked for the Sverdlov Threat, switching production to full FAW capability later on.
Frankly with rate of climb over 44,000ft/min this is vastly superior to the Sea Vixen.
It's level speed of 690kts is likely a low level figure and at altitude should be well into the supersonic regime.

It justifies continuation of radar guided AAMs, whether that is some iteration of Red Dean or Blue Dolphin or some other weapon.
 
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sferrin

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Many thanks for the Buc answers. The RAF were well served by the F4. The RN lost out because it could only afford and man one F4 capable ship.
However, returning to F4 alternatives. What about the Saab Viggen? It served in a variety of roles.
Viggen is interesting indeed but 9 years adrift in first flight. Pretty comparable to the F-4 in general.

I remember first seeing it in an old C.B. Colby book in elementary school back in the early 70s. It looked like the future.
 
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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.
 
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