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The plane Hawker Siddeley should have designed

uk 75

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As we all know, the 1957 UK Defence White Paper killed off fixed wing combat aircraft development leaving only the TSR2 programme.
But there was also the weird world of VSTOL. Hawkers and other British firms threw themselves into an orgy of increasingly supersonic and all swinging all dancing designs culminating in P1154 and narrowly surviving as P1127RAF.
The RAF, however, took the Hunters released from Fighter duty and gave itself the ground attack aircraft it needed both for NATO and East of Suez.
What if instead of VSTOL, Hawker had worked on a genuine two engined single seat ground attack fighter? An all British more elegant better engined Jaguar but available in1968 instead of those F4s?
Such an aircraft might well have found export orders in Europe and the Middle East as well as S America.
With no VSTOL aircraft for the Invincible cruisers in 1970, the new Conservative Government looks again at building replacements for Ark Royal and Eagle to carry a Maritime version of MRCA. Eagle's Sea Vixens are replaced by Crusaders leased from the USN.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Roy Braybrook, who worked at Hawker, said in his opinion what they should have built was a single-Avon-engined equivalent to the J-35 as a fighter-bomber. Kind of a true successor to the Hunter, which could have gone up against F-104 and Mirage III in the export market. The Swedes made a damn fine fighter around a single Avon.
 

zen

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As we all know, the 1957 UK Defence White Paper killed off fixed wing combat aircraft development leaving only the TSR2 programme.
But there was also the weird world of VSTOL. Hawkers and other British firms threw themselves into an orgy of increasingly supersonic and all swinging all dancing designs culminating in P1154 and narrowly surviving as P1127RAF.
The RAF, however, took the Hunters released from Fighter duty and gave itself the ground attack aircraft it needed both for NATO and East of Suez.
What if instead of VSTOL, Hawker had worked on a genuine two engined single seat ground attack fighter? An all British more elegant better engined Jaguar but available in1968 instead of those F4s?
Such an aircraft might well have found export orders in Europe and the Middle East as well as S America.
With no VSTOL aircraft for the Invincible cruisers in 1970, the new Conservative Government looks again at building replacements for Ark Royal and Eagle to carry a Maritime version of MRCA. Eagle's Sea Vixens are replaced by Crusaders leased from the USN.
I've toyed with such a post myself years ago. But I'm torn between it being Alternative History and Theoretical.....

P1125 gets closest but having been burnt over P1121, there was zero chance of company funding. Though with reuse of P1121 parts and twin Avons it's almost ideal.

Brough did turn out later designs that effectively are a STOL backup for the P1127 and the NGTA. But the latter wouldn't be ready until too late. Though the former......using well understood blow, high wing, single Spey......scale it up to a Medway and this would match the P1154 performance.
Now if they'd come up with this earlier, and they could have.....say a STOL backup for the P1154......
If HSA board had run the design in parallel with the P1154, they could have offered to switch. Being cheaper to produce and run....

Just near the end in '57 Saro did ask for last minute submissions to F155 stating that relaxing requirements could allow them to design a twin engined or single large engined aircraft for the RAF.

And Folland for all their smallness turned out quite nice concept in the Gnat mkV and the VG trainer/fighter.

There's more but I'm out of time at the moment.
 

CNH

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The Saunders Roe proposal for F155 was a beast of an aircraft, and there was no way it could have been scaled back to something relatively cheap and effective.
 

zen

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The Saunders Roe proposal for F155 was a beast of an aircraft, and there was no way it could have been scaled back to something relatively cheap and effective.
They where clearly grasping that, which is why they were asking for a relaxing of requirements.
 

CNH

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The trouble with all the Saunders Roe proposals was that they were built around rocket motors, and that concept became obsolete very quickly.
 

royabulgaf

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Dare we whisper that maybe Kingston was too obsessed with replicating the success of the Hunter?
Not that there is anything wrong with that. Dassault exported 470 Mirage F1s, Northrop exported hundreds of F-5s and got royalties for many more. The market was there, something a little smaller and less expensive would have been quite competitive.
 
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Archibald

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Roy Braybrook, who worked at Hawker, said in his opinion what they should have built was a single-Avon-engined equivalent to the J-35 as a fighter-bomber. Kind of a true successor to the Hunter, which could have gone up against F-104 and Mirage III in the export market. The Swedes made a damn fine fighter around a single Avon.
Ideally - a British MiG-21 lookalike, with an Avon.
Compared to F-104: not a killer
Compared to the Mirage: tailed delta make it more agile
Compared to Draken: no Swedish neutrality

End result: a world beater, just like the Hunter before it.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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From Hawker, it would likely have had a somewhat swept wing and tail, kind of a mini P.1121. Hawker persisted even into the 1970s with a mid sweep wing as their go-to.

For primary ground attack role, perhaps it would have looked like a smaller P.1116. There were P.1103 studies with 14,000lb engines (Sapphire or Avon) - they would likely have moved to ventral inlet like the big P.1103 and P.1121 did.

(art by Rob Parthoens / BAROBA)
 

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zen

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The plane Hawkers could have designed, they could not build.
Because government wasn't going to buy it. Preferring other things.

Ideally twin engined but government never funded the ideal size. Choosing the Gyron Junior instead.

And without a UK order no one was interested.
 

Hood

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Actually Hawker did build their Hunter successor and it became the most exportable British military aircraft ever.
In 1968 Kingston was so worried about Britain losing its share of the world market gained with Vampires and Hunters that it designed a basic trainer/strike aircraft for export. That study gave birth to the Hawk and the rest is history, 1,000+ built and more export users than the Hunter picked up (I discount second hand Hunter refurb sales). It even still has the Kingston curves on its wings and tail.
Sometimes you just have to change tack to get what you want. So some good came out of the endless P.112X variations on a theme. I don't believe the P.112X aircraft would ever of sold over 1,000 airframes with so many users.

Sadly even today a late-mark Hunter is more cost effective than a Hawk to run, buy hey a good classic never dies easily.
 

pathology_doc

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a Maritime version of MRCA.
Was that even possible?

I always thought the Invincibles were able to get British fixed-wing carrier aviation out of the grave ONLY because of the Harriers' STO/VL/VTOL capability and small size making them operable as carriers but able to sneak through budgetary oversight as large helo-carrying guided missile cruisers (with Sea Dart for their own area-defence). Even then, it took giving the first one a cruiser name to make it happen and it took the Falklands war to make the UK Govt. realise how badly they needed them (they'd almost sold Invincible to Australia).
 

uk 75

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PD A bit of whimsy on my part to go with a no v/stol UK. The 1970 Tory government orders 2 proper carriers instead of the Invincibles. Updated Eagles. They could have operated MRCA.
 

Grey Havoc

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There were studies done on a naval variant, IIRC.
 

zen

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PD A bit of whimsy on my part to go with a no v/stol UK. The 1970 Tory government orders 2 proper carriers instead of the Invincibles. Updated Eagles. They could have operated MRCA.
If the plan was to keep the RN CV on station in the north Atlantic and not pass the burden on to the USN.....perhaps?
 

Archibald

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a Maritime version of MRCA.
Was that even possible?

I always thought the Invincibles were able to get British fixed-wing carrier aviation out of the grave ONLY because of the Harriers' STO/VL/VTOL capability and small size making them operable as carriers but able to sneak through budgetary oversight as large helo-carrying guided missile cruisers (with Sea Dart for their own area-defence).

Even then, it took giving the first one a cruiser name to make it happen and it took the Falklands war to make the UK Govt. realise how badly they needed them (they'd almost sold Invincible to Australia).
Note that "big naval SAM + helicopters" was the recipe of
a) Moskva-class and Kiev-class
b) Vittorio Veneto / Andrea Doria (they had US Terrier)
c) Jeanne d'Arc (although it never got its MASURCA in the end - Colbert stole it)

So it is hardly surprising the RN went this way after CVA-01 died. Of course it was no carrier but even then it was a pretty clever trick if only because of the bolded.
 

Archibald

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As for a naval MRCA...

- AFVG before it, had a naval variant
- Mirage G managed a landing at 108 kt and weighed 16 mt.
- all this to say that VG wings, for all their flaws, can do wonders on carriers - see the Tomcat.

what's the weight of a Tornado IDS with only the gun - no weapons nor drop tanks, but full internal fuel ? 20 mt ? 22 mt ? on a carrier as big as CVA-01 (55000 tons ?) it might be doable. On less than 20 000 tons Invincible ? forget it. No room for catapults or arrestor gear, or perhaps for 5 aircraft.
 

zen

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I have raised the matter of Mirage G and Type 584/585 previously.
And one has started a thread about the potential choosing of STOL capability Type 584/585 as a very British Flogger.

Strictly this would do the MRI mission and the QRA mission and provide a reasonable basis for a navalised aircraft.

Mirage G pretty much proves this approach and it was the favourite solution for the MN to replace Etendard, and Crusader if only it was affordable. It wasn't.
But had this been the basis of collaborative efforts by the UK and France, then a Euro-Flogger would result.
 

uk 75

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Of course if HS had built and delivered a single seater fighter ground attack to the RAF in 1968 or so, and the new Tory Goverbment in 1970 decided to build two new proper carriers instead of the through deck cruisers(Invincible) HS might have proposed a derivative as a Sea Vixen replacement
 

zen

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Well the simpler options are P.45 fixed wing and HS1173.
As these deliver the capabilities desired.
 

Volkodav

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The VG options would be very interesting on a smaller carrier, i.e. Vic, Hermes, Clemenceau. A modernised Majestic or Colossus would likely be too great a stretch, although they could operate Skyhawks, just.

That aside we are probably talking something of a size it could be fitted with Blue Fox and later Blue Vixen, assuming a 60s gestation and 70s introduction into service.
 

zen

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It's possible
Blue Fox might even get more funding and deliver more capability. I understand this was possible at the time but not funded.
Attack variants would get the Jaguar fit, be the Jaguar in fact in systems and role.
With full scale RB.172 instead of the scaled down Adour.
Likely P1154/Jaguar numbers result.
175 GR mkI, and 25 T mkI.
QRA might get 60 FR mkI, and FAA 30 to 60.

Though the earlier 585 would likely be fitted with the FMICW set (not the Tornado ADV set, but an earlier one, that did work), and SARH AAM.
 

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It strikes me we are talking about something similar in size and weight to a Gripen or F-20.
 

zen

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It strikes me we are talking about something similar in size and weight to a Gripen or F-20.
Only earlier.
But really the HS.1173 is that, while the P.45 is larger, almost a F18L without the advanced avionics.
And the 585 is more Flogger sized.

However this is the spectrum of successful supersonic aircraft of the period.
From F5 Tigre to Mig23 Flogger. These aircraft sold and sold well in large numbers. In that spectrum comes the A4 Skyhawk, F8 Crusader, Mig21, Mirage III and Mirage F1.
 

Arjen

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It strikes me we are talking about something similar in size and weight to a Gripen or F-20.
Like Draken, in fact, which fits the period. As PaulMM already noted.
 

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zen

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It strikes me we are talking about something similar in size and weight to a Gripen or F-20.
Like Draken, in fact, which fits the period. As PaulMM already noted.
Hawkers did produce a Drakken-like design at one point......
P.1126, from memory. But it a VTOL kludge packed full with lifjets...
Can't remember but it likely predates P1121. Nor with my books at the moment.
 

uk 75

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If folks want to discuss BAC designs, VG and STOL stuff could you go over to this thread.
Keeping with the HS house of this thread.
Gnat and later Hawk offer routes for lightweight fighter ground attack but I am looking at something meatier which would be similar to 1154/Jaguar in appearance and capability. A British Mirage F1 comes the closest.
 

zen

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If folks want to discuss BAC designs, VG and STOL stuff could you go over to this thread.
Keeping with the HS house of this thread.
Gnat and later Hawk offer routes for lightweight fighter ground attack but I am looking at something meatier which would be similar to 1154/Jaguar in appearance and capability. A British Mirage F1 comes the closest.
I've told you already.
Brough designer as part of HSA group had a backup to the Harrier. I think P.146 or P.147 or P.148 (not with books at the moment).
Single engine reheated Spey, Jaguar-like (or F4-like if you prefer) tail, high wing with leading and trailing edge blow, of moderate sweep. Design evolved into Carrier capable Fighter/Attack design.
Wingtip rails for sidewinder or taildog.
Pair of 30mm ADAN cannons.
Versions with or without AI radar.
 

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Given MRCA could barely get off a long runway, it seems rather fanciful to imagine it could have been adapted to get off, or onto, a carrier.
Thrust is not something anyone associates with a Tonka of any flavour.
A non VSTOL UK CV jet would have had to be tasked in the 60s and in the requirements/design at the outset if ISD for mod-late 70s was wanted. As Zen points out there were VG 585 but that never went anywhere.
As Tonka proved, it was really about the smallest thing you could put VG on, and a little small itself really - just due to the space and weight penalty for the VG equipment.

2 Brit CVs ordered in the 70s would have presumably operated Phantoms and Buccs, with EFA having a multi-role CV capable variant at its core to replace them ala Rafale with F8/Spr Etendard.
 

uk 75

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I think I will drop the 1970 carrier idea. In the words of King Arthur "it is a silly place".
 

zen

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Given that the Buccaneer took a lot of runway to take off, it's not a direct correlation between thrust and TO&L speeds.
Rather the specifics of the wing, it's shape, loading etc along the rest of the aircraft's shape, weight etc... That determines it's performance.

So a navalised Tornado is in fact quite feasible. Though there would be a price in terms of payload and weight.
 

Purpletrouble

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No- navalised Tornado is not possible unless you go back to the start of MRCA and design something different. Thrust is important because you need to (a) get out of the sink post cat launch, (b) be able to respond for the bolter scenario. This is why

Tonka would do neither. There are issues of landing speed (noting the blown flaps approach on Bucc and problems with a high speed optimised F4 airframe as was Tonka) and even vision (which contribute to killing Navalised Typhoon).

Tonkas payload often came at the expense of needing early AAR (the joke for a 4 Storm Shadow fit was the VC10 was visible over the end of the runway waiting!) and even less easy at sea.

Sbut unless you go back to the start and put that in, it wont work, and it’ll diverge from the Tonka we know and love!

What was acceptable for Bucc in the late 50s would not be acceptable for MRCA in the 70s/80s.


Dont drop the carrier idea - as a what if it is a nice one, but air group wise it seems a redundant question given we had Phants and Buccs at sea in the 70s and being taken on for land. So in such a scenario they’d just stay at sea. So the UK cant equal F14, but then on land it had Lightnings and Phants - and strike wise a Bucc is equivalent to an A6.
EFA is the obvious “go maritime” both being in concept at the time of this change/requirement and as we see with Rafale, emminently doable if it is a requirement at the outset. An interesting what if as to whether the EFA/Rafale split would have happened.
 
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