The Scimitar FAW scenario

zen

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This scenario is to work on how to proceed with the Scimitar FAW, Type 556 to NR/A.38 of which one example was ordered in 23 Sept 1954 XH451, canceled in April 1955.

This machine is notable for the following.

29" AI.18B, coupled with dual computer for Firestreak and Red Dean.
twin 30mm ADEN cannon.
Reheated RA.24R Avons.

Length 58.5ft
Span 37.17ft
Wing Area 478sqft
MTOW (carrier?) Long range fighter (two drop tanks, two guns, two Firestreak) 41,852lb.
Climb sea level 43,600ft/min
Speed sea level 690mph
Service ceiling 52,150ft

Obviously this would mean killing off the DH110 - Sea Vixen.
But to draw in required funds and capacity to make sense of this properly I suspect later marks of RAF Javelin would have to be sacrificed, at least the 80 FAW 7 that went straight to storage in 1956 because of being superseeded by FAW.8.
Possibly the mk6 needs to be sacrificed from 1957.
And certainly the 'Thin Wing' development.

Experimentation on a possible mixed powerplant variant, using a rocket motor in the tail would be explored and ultimately abandoned.

To further fund developments and make this a compromise between both RAF and RN, it seems logical the RN would have to give up on NA.39, funding instead a Strike derivative of the Type 556, such as the Type 564, albeit with reheat to make the machine more able to get off a Carrier's deck (though likely at the sacrifice of full fuel and a need to tank before the mission).
We can assume all marks come with a fully blown wing.

We can fairly easily conceive of the mkII comprising RB.106, AI.18C and Red Hebe.
As surely as we can envision an alternative using Spey's and AI.23. The latter element potentially permitting a further development as a true multirole machine.

So...numbers
FAA FAW mkI = 119.
RAF FAW mkI = 33+80-ish so approximately 113.
FAA S mkI = 76 to 100 (Scimitar F1 number and original order number)
RAF S mkI = 70 to 100 (F4 number and a notional figure for MRI).
FAA mkII = (circa 1965-67) 14 from the mkI run end, 15 newbuild, 67 conversions.
FAA S mkII = 84 (Buccaneer number).
RAF S mkII = 150 (P1154 and Jaguar scale number)

alternative path
Having both funded varients of the Scimitar FAW, a 'common' aircraft program is agreed circa 1958-1960 and so something approximate to the two seater Type 576 is set on as the solution, comprising reheated Avon RB.146's, AI.23 and nuclear strike facilities.

Scimitar F(G)R mk II.
RAF = 70 initial, with a further 80 post TSR.2 cancelation, potential further order of a mkIII.
FAA = 140 in total.

Assuming either of these scenario's go forward, several things result.
1. Red Dean is taken to service and likely either improved marks of this or a successor SARH AAM.
2. Sea Vixen, Buccaneer, and later Jaguar are the major casualties. With the addition of later marks of Javelin.
3. common successor program is put back to the later 1970s, though initially this would be the early 1970s. This obviates any rush to OR.346, removes the F4 from both RN and RAF needs.

Beyond this therefore the question is over exports.
Sea Vixen, Javelin, and bar a few to South Africa the Buccaneer did not achieve export success.
But can we say the same of these Scimitars?
I would presume a possible rival bid to the Saudis to EE's Lightning.
 

Hood

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Was actually reminded of this topic this morning over at Shipbucket.com.

I remember we discussed several ideas over at whatifmodellers, back then I was still an active member of that site under the nom de plume of Tornado.
I've always felt the Scimitar had lots of potential that was never realised due to the NA.39 Buccaneer programme and that the concept of a 'strike-fighter' seemed somewhat alien to the RAF and RN. All they wanted was something to lob Red Beard at a Soviet cruiser or harbour.
Also, could Vickers-Supermarine actually be trusted to not to mess up like they did with the Swift? Somehow I doubt they really had a handle on the leading-edge fighter-related research areas that other companies had. Certainly by 1956 Vickers was getting unpopular at the Air Staff and Ministry of Supply, with both Swift and V.1000 proving big sticks the public could use to beat the Whitehall procurement bureaucrats.
http://www.whatifmodellers.com/index.php?topic=16258.0
 

Volkodav

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Interesting concept though I would suggest that without the Buccaneer fall back the RAF would likely have gotten their F-111s and it follows then that the hideous expense of these combined with their early problems would have in turn guaranteed the Jaguar and Tornado development and acquisitions.

That said a FAW Scimitar would have possibly made RN carrier decks more productive in that they would embark a larger number of multirole aircraft instead of small numbers of separate strike and FAW types. Alternatively the RN could even have adopted a smaller light attack type to supplement the potential Scimitar FRS/FGA or whatever acronym would be decided on, say an Anglicised Skyhawk, Etendard or even a version of the Jaguar. The types higher performance would hopefully be the death knell of the Spey Phantom as it would be fit for service into the 70s, possibly resulting the RAF adopting something more interesting.
 

zen

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F111k is a possible outcome I agree. But the chief effect is the commonality between FAA and RAF along with the aquisition of sufficient numbers of said common aircraft to achieve a critical mass, such that it's simpler and cheaper to just rill out more.
So I'll add in the possibility of reduced Lightning numbers, as well.
Since with a larger AI.23 or AI.18 set, and potentially upto 4 AAMs, despite it's lower rate of climb, all other factors save perhaps agility, but including endurance and the facility to either have to be upgraded with SARH AAMs will trump the later marks of Lightning.

So I would assume the 16 F.3A and 14 upgraded F.3 to F.3A as well as the 39 F.6 would be canned for the simpler process of extending Scimitar FAW production. Much more the natural successor to the Javelin.
 

zen

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So
FAW mkI total run at least 230

FGR mkII total run at least 340

These are far more substantial numbers than the penny packets of Buccaneer, Sea Vixen and even F4K.
This would logialy extern influence on the next generation systems.
 

pathology_doc

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I'm going to spoil the party here and say that IMO the airframe changes would have been too great. By the time you add a second seat and a decent radar set, you're looking at a redesign rather than a modification. Nothing the British were planning, with the possible exception of P.1154, was as good or as versatile as the Phantom, and P.1154 lacked a SARH missile option (which you really need for fleet air defence). Red Top was good, but couldn't pull off the long range straight-into-the-face shots that Sparrow was capable of, and the Scimitar might have needed to give up internal space (guns) to carry it. For a mixed-role fighter-bomber, this is a no-no.

IIRC that was actually a reason why the Australians turned down Firestreak for the Avon Sabre; the only way to fit the support systems into the airplane was to take out the guns.
 

zen

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So I'm going to wrap your knuckles here and point out that from the start, the twin seater reheated Avon powered AI.18 and Red Dean toting Scimitar FAW was actually ordered as a prototype in 1954. As I said at the start of this thread.

And so it is obviously more a redesign as any examination of the design will show, in BSP.1, right at the last page.

As to the F4.....
Really must we do this again?
USN F4's operated 'just' from Ark and Eagle, launching to immediate refuelling, and landing with precious little ordinence. To get it operable from these two Cv's needed more powerful engines, a higher attitude for the nose at launch, and more blow over the wing.

Yes the Scimitar FAW is not the F4, it's initial radar/missile combination puts it closer to a two seater F8 or Starfighter, it's performance put's it below the F4.

But it gets a UK designed and built platform that is operable from the CVs, it gets the RAF a platform that is frankly better in some regards that the later Jaguar , and Javelin and above all it can deliver the scale of production run to fuel further improvements in powerplant, radars, missiles, ground attack stores, anti-ship missiles etc.....
Instead of penny packets of Scimitar F1's, Sea Vixens, Javelines, Buccaneers, the whole mess of Harrier (kestrel), Harrier / Phantom and Jaguars and a frankly overblown number of Lightning marks.
A consistent production run, from a single factory, from a single provider, covering FAW, and Attack/MRI in scale and numbers that make it more efficient to buy, train, equip and sustain than a disparate set of small fleets of this and that so called wonder machines that mostly never delivered or proved too costly.

As to the P1154.......no, the equal or better than the F4 design is the Vickers Type 583, as they concluded there and then..twice in fact, and but for the willpower to deliver the funds....
 

Kadija_Man

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pathology_doc said:
I'm going to spoil the party here and say that IMO the airframe changes would have been too great. By the time you add a second seat and a decent radar set, you're looking at a redesign rather than a modification. Nothing the British were planning, with the possible exception of P.1154, was as good or as versatile as the Phantom, and P.1154 lacked a SARH missile option (which you really need for fleet air defence). Red Top was good, but couldn't pull off the long range straight-into-the-face shots that Sparrow was capable of, and the Scimitar might have needed to give up internal space (guns) to carry it. For a mixed-role fighter-bomber, this is a no-no.

IIRC that was actually a reason why the Australians turned down Firestreak for the Avon Sabre; the only way to fit the support systems into the airplane was to take out the guns.


That was more a weight than a space problem with the Sabre. If the RAAF had been willing to sacrifice performance they could have retained both guns and missiles, making the missile control pack larger. Alternatively they could have created a Avon-Sabre-Dingo (F-86D) with radar nose and guns and missiles.



The reality though, was that Sidewinder was light, simpler and easier to operate. It beat the British air-to-air Infra-red missiles hands down.
 

pathology_doc

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LOL @ "Sabre-Dingo".

One of the big what ifs is that Firestreak was never shot in anger AFAIK. We will never know for sure just how good or bad it really was.
 

yellowaster

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pathology_doc said:
LOL @ "Sabre-Dingo".

One of the big what ifs is that Firestreak was never shot in anger AFAIK. We will never know for sure just how good or bad it really was.
Although Firestreak was never fired in anger, a considerable number of them (556) were fired against targets during regular service/evaluation firing exercises, over the service life of the weapon. These firings provided a considerable amount of data (from camera and telemetry records) on reliability, functioning and limitations. Of course, controlled firings are not the same as combat, but I'm pretty sure the firings (some of which were deliberately arranged to test difficult conditions) must have provided enough statistical data to get a pretty good idea of how the missile would perform in the real world. Some years ago I came across (in a public archive) a detailed analysis of the performance of Red Top in the low-level role (based on firing results) which highlighted a number of serious limitations. I'd guess a similar appreciation of Firestreak must exist somewhere, and may even have been released into the public domain. So there is hope yet.
 

pathology_doc

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yellowaster said:
pathology_doc said:
LOL @ "Sabre-Dingo".

One of the big what ifs is that Firestreak was never shot in anger AFAIK. We will never know for sure just how good or bad it really was.
Although Firestreak was never fired in anger, a considerable number of them (556) were fired against targets during regular service/evaluation firing exercises, over the service life of the weapon. These firings provided a considerable amount of data (from camera and telemetry records) on reliability, functioning and limitations. Of course, controlled firings are not the same as combat, but I'm pretty sure the firings (some of which were deliberately arranged to test difficult conditions) must have provided enough statistical data to get a pretty good idea of how the missile would perform in the real world. Some years ago I came across (in a public archive) a detailed analysis of the performance of Red Top in the low-level role (based on firing results) which highlighted a number of serious limitations. I'd guess a similar appreciation of Firestreak must exist somewhere, and may even have been released into the public domain. So there is hope yet.
There is, but one must compare the high hopes held for Sparrow and Sidewinder against the thankfulness Phantom pilots in Vietnam had that they carried four of each!! (Granted, Sparrow was never designed to do what it was asked to do there. Politically motivated ROE treated it badly.) All these missiles were ultimately designed as bomber killers (with the possible exception of Sidewinder), and we don't see too many combat reports filed in that regard (though I'm sure the Israelis probably nailed a few over the years), but I'm sure they would excel in that role.

Fighter vs fighter combat is another matter. I think the only true test of a missile's suitability for that is the real thing.
 

CJGibson

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pathology_doc said:
All these missiles were ultimately designed as bomber killers
As was Firestreak.

Chris
 

GTX

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Folks,

Please note that the Sabre Dingo shown is completely fictional. It originates from my story here.
 

pathology_doc

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CJGibson said:
pathology_doc said:
All these missiles were ultimately designed as bomber killers
As was Firestreak.

Chris
Oh, absolutely - by "all these missiles" I meant Firestreak as well and I'm sorry if that didn't come across clearly. The only one that had any claim to being a dogfight missile was Sidewinder, and that was because it had the simplest wiring and a fairly light weight. IR Falcon was actually smaller and lighter, but IR Falcon needed cooling support from the launch A/C with all the limitations that brought with it. AIM-4H might have solved all of Falcon's issues, but it never got a chance.
 

CJGibson

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If you're looking for info on the Falcon series of AAMs, look no further than Sean O'Connor's Arming America's Interceptors: The Hughes Falcon Missile Family, an excellent work on the weapon and its applications.

Chris
 

pathology_doc

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Pretty sure I have read it, and yes, you are right. Would love to read an insider account on the John Forbat level; Falcon as well as Blue Jay has always held a fascination for me.
 
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