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The Lockheed Orion alternative

uk 75

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I remember thinking when the Germans replaced their Breguet Atlantiques with P3 Orions that this aircraft could easily have become the West's only maritime patrol aircraft. France and the UK had both used the Neptune.
Using Orions from the huge production run for the USN would have spared the taxpayer in Britain the AEW and Nimrod 2000 fiascos.It might also have allowed the P7 variant to replace it at the end of the Cold War.
I am not sure the Atlantique would have been much of a loss either.
 

riggerrob

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Major defence purchases are always serious cash drains. Politicians find them easier to "sell" if they can convince voters that major defense contracts produce local jobs. Few licensed production lines are less expensive than a single, central production line. The only difference is where the tax dollars are spent.
That is why the British government decided to re-furnish old Nimrod/Comet airframes. By the time they zero-timed and re-configured old Nimrod airframes, it would have been less expensive to build entirely new airframes. The difference was that refurbishment contracts employed Brits in ridings where British politicians needed re-election.
 

Archibald

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On the French side Breguet was in serious hardships after the death of Louis Breguet in May 1955. They were also stuck between a rock (the public SNCA-) and a hard place (Dassault, the only other major private company having survived the SNCAs and WWII and Vichy).
 

riggerrob

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Which raises the question about how many maritime nations really needed - and could afford - huge, four-engined LRMPA like P-3 Orion or Nimrod?

How many smaller nations would have been better served by medium-sized twins like P-2 Neptune, Atlantique 1, etc.?
Certainly Fokker (F-27 Friendship), CASA 212, ATR 42, Grumman E-2 Hawkeye, etc. sold reasonable numbers of airliners converted for mid-range maritime patrol.
???
Heck! Even Beechcraft sold a bunch of King Airs configured for fisheries patrols!
 

kaiserd

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This is a classic example of that interaction between different countries having legitimately different requirements, there own industrial/ economic policies and concerns, and likely efficiencies and savings if they have put some of them to one side.
We can all bemoan unnecessary duplication and waste while sticking with our own requirements and insisting on protecting our own industry while wondering why the other country isn’t sensible enough to compromise/ sacrifice theirs. One sees a version of this with some UK-centric fantasies of the US buying UK aircraft that there was zero chance of them ever doing so (TSR-2?).
And for example the “classic” ASW Nimrod (faster, longer legged, but more expensive than the Orion or the Atlantique to buy and operate) suited the RAF’s needs better than these alternatives and was a success in service. And it was the same the same story for the Atlantique with its users (primarily France and Germany). The Atlantique 2 is still serving with France and the only reasons Germany replaced it’s extremely well used Atlantique 1’s with the just-refurbished and updated Dutch Orions was they were immediately available and at a much lower cost than alternatives like re-starting Atlantique production. Hence no one got a bad aircraft or unnecessarily wasted that much money from how things actually worked out.
 
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uk 75

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Nimrod was fortunate in its timing. Had the massive TSR2/1154/681 bundle been working through as planned, Coastal Command would have either had to have Atlantique or run its Shackletons on.
The US did build the Canberra as the Martin RB57. Given the poor initial service record of the F111 a less V bomber and more Canberra-sized TSR2 might have met the Raaf and USAF need. But that is fantasy..
 

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Clearly it made no sense for UK to do 49 Nimrods, France+FRG+Italy+Neths. to do 115 Atlantic 1/2, US to build 650 (Japan+107) P-3s. Wasteful duplication.

Clearly, on each decision day it would have been culpable for Ministers to buy-in what could have been home-built - and MR airframes are within the scope of all those industries.
The kit they carry is not. As soon as Ministers were briefed on sensors and weapons, on inter-operability, on scale economies, cost of ownership...they could/should have bought P-3.

But C-130-sized transports are ditto likewise. And Main Battle Tanks. And...and...

So Euro-Ministers tried hard on all those things and more to collaborate. Only Tornado, Typhoon and some GW came out smelling of roses. Speak not of A400M, of TRIGAT, of...

Be glad you are not a Public Procurement Minister. Hiding to nothing, damned if you do, damned if you don't.
 

uk 75

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The Nimrod was based on the RAF requirements which it argued P3 and Atlantque did not meet. It would probably have liked a VC 10 based system but the Comet airframes were available and HS having just lost P1154 and AW681needed the work. BAC had still got Concord after TSR2.
Fast forward to the present day and it still insisted on a jet, hence the Boeing.
 

alertken

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Jet was not core to 9/2/65 selection of an MR Comet 4: Ministers made it clear to industry that a UK-solo MR would be bought, P-3/Atlantic simply disbarred, if a real fixed price was bid. CJG/Nimrod's Genesis gives us various C-130s/Vanguards/Britannias. Roy Jenkins, MoA, had secured access in Long Term Costings to the 1965-75 money liberated by the 10 year dwell before payments for the $ package (offered inc P-3C). Bids must fit into that slot, no later yelping for more. No constraint was to interfere with this money issue - so alms for Shorts would be nice, but not if that impacted price/time. RR, Spey variant, agreed with HSAL (Comet MR) to take a punt on a package fixed price. No other scheme was so offered, by RR, HSAL, or BAC. Basta! Fixed price contract 19/1/66, R&D+2 prototypes+38 Nimrod MR.1.

Jet was very core to 12/96 £2.2Bn. for BAe. to fit a GEC-Marconi suite in 21x(ex-MR2) Nimrod as MRA4. LORAL/Marshalls retread P-3A/B, v. new P-7 (Prime Contractor: GEC-Marconi) (and an Atlantique 2.5). The logic was accepted by Ministers that 21 retread Nimrods could be extracted from the existing fleet, such a happy fit with the fact that only with jet-fast transit to patrol station could "only" 21 provide Continuous Cover of the Gap, 1 a/c forward way up North, 1 closer to Kinloss, 24/7. The higher inventory of any turboprop platform would create higher long term cost of ownership: in 1996 people were learning to spell Integrated Logistics Management - Nimrod Majors at Kinloss had been civilianised 1/6/95 to FR SERCO: Long Term Partnership Agreements, Contracts for Availability were being brewed up by the Consultants.

Maybe that point of jet transit later influenced deletion of P-7 Super-Orion, insertion of P-8 for USN.
 
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