What if Dassault/France gave up on Naval aircraft?

helmutkohl

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In this alternate scenario, the Super Entendard is the last naval aircraft built domestically.
However they still intend to keep a naval aviation wing, but instead, opt for foreign types.
This is due to get things cheaper and reduce development costs of making naval variants of land based aircraft.

How would this change everything.. assuming this decision was made in the late 70s after the SE entered service
as Dassault Breguet's last carrier aircraft?

Would France stay in Eurofighter?
What aircraft would the French Navy acquire later on?
Would Dassault keep pressing with delta winged designs?
Would France go to the harrier carriers that were popular across Europe?
How would it affect French contributions in various wars such as Desert Storm
 

CV12Hornet

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Would France stay in Eurofighter?
No. France's withdrawal from Eurofighter was more to do with workshare over capabilities, and in the capability side more over strike versus air superiority than carrier capability.

What aircraft would the French Navy acquire later on?
From what I've pieced together in past discussions, the Hornet could technically be flown off of Foch and Clemenceau but using it to its full capabilities was beyond them. As such, most likely they stick with Crusaders and Super Etendards until De Gaulle is ready and they can buy Super Hornets. The F-35C may also be on the table later.

Would Dassault keep pressing with delta winged designs?
The Mirage 2000/4000, AFAIR, predate this decision, at least in design. The Rafale, meanwhile, would probably remain a delta-canard machine for maximum agility, and the Armee de l'Air seems to have appreciated the short-field capability.

Would France go to the harrier carriers that were popular across Europe?
I seriously doubt it. The French like having serious CATOBAR carriers for all the small naval operations (well, small by American standards) they do.
 

Archibald

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Something is needed to replace the Crouzes and the only option is the Hornet. Although I wonder about SHARs...
Hornets nearly happened late 1988 but Dassault fought it teeth and nails. The bitting debate went beyond the minister of defense: to the PM and even to Pdt Mitterrand ! And the Hornet faction lost. Even for 15 second hand used Hornets: NO WAY.

So you would need to change the President in 1981 (Giscard) or 1988 ( Chirac) but the latter was even more friendly to Dassault. Giscard 1975 decision with the 2000 is more interesting: here's one Dassault didn't liked much...

Or you need to nip the SE in the bud in 1972 and buy Skyhawks or SLUFFs for this to happen.
 
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Archibald

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Navalizing together with nuclear strike certainly drove a wedge between Rafale and Typhoon.

A bigger roadblock however was SNECMA M88 vs RR EJ200. And there, nobody would budge.

- A public and strategic company, SNECMA's M88 could not be ditched.
They had stuck way too long with the Atar, and while the M53 was a major improvement, it still sucked (a bit) compared to a F100 / F101 / F110.
Somewhat ironically, it was the CFM56, being derived from a F101 core, that helped SNECMA filling his knowldge gaps, improve the M53 but the real deal was the M88. There was a french equivalent to the F404/414, RB199/EJ200. Top notch middle-size turbofan. Ditch the M88, and SNECMA painfully earned place in the sun is destroyed. And since that was seen as "strategic investment" for Dassault and France... you get the point.

-Yet as a derivate of the Tornado engine, neither could the EJ200 be ditched.

As for navalization, Dassault often has a bad rep related to international cooperations; fair enough, but in the peculiar case of the Typhoon, Great Britain and Germany deliberately pushed its mass over 20 000 pounds so that navalization became impossible - and screw the French.

It was a game of fools on both sides. The train had left the station sometimes between 1977 and 1981 (ECA / ECF) and atempts to heal the rift were doomed from the beginning.

Proof on the pudding: the ACX vs EAP decision of 1983 that led to the two demonstrators flying a month apart in the summer 1986 (early July for Rafale, early August for Typhoon)

The rift happened in 1985, but it was already underway from the moment they decided to build and fly those different demonstrators...
 
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Archibald

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What aircraft would the French Navy acquire later on?
Hornet, and Super Hornet - not many other options, even with CdG replacing Foch.

"Hornet and the French" is a multi-faceted story
- French pilots testing the YF-17 at Edwards AFB in 1978... for the Armée de l'Air
- 1989 vicious debate to get some second hand Hornets to replace the Crouzes
- in the 2000's, Hornets landing onboard CdG (off Afghanistan)

Would Dassault keep pressing with delta winged designs?
Yes
Would France go to the harrier carriers that were popular across Europe?
Nope, PH75 had morphed into PA75... in 1980; Pdt Giscard decision was September 23, 1980.
 

Archibald

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One thing is sure: unlike the Armée de l'Air, the French Navy had no problem buying US aircraft. No ill-suited patriotism there, no qualms. For example, the Super Etendard nearly got a Skyhawk (J52) engine, as they considered it better than the Atar. Took a lot of pressure to ram the Atar 8 into the Super Etendard.

And of course the two competitors were the A4M (lighter for the Foch & Clems catapults) and SLUFF (much better than a Skyhawk, but also much heavier, sophisticated - and thus expensive...)

Same for the Rafale M: they did not wanted it early on. They would have been fine with, say, 60 F/A-18C Hornets. Or even with 15 F/A-18A, used and taken out of storage. But Dassault did not budged, played all his political cards, and carried the day.
 

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Why was Dassault so obsessed with getting the naval market?
It seems like it was pretty niche and apart from the Etendard they had little naval experience. Yet they killed Breuget's attempts to market the Jaguar M (which wasn't well suited anyway) and then killed Hornet.
But why saddle the ACX programme with a carrier-version? There can't have been many advantages for the basic airframe in doing so and with such a small requirement for airframes it doesn't make much economical sense. Even if you factor in nearly 40 years later India might buy some Rafale Ms it seems a very poor return.

Was it sheer bloody mindedness that the French military must fly French or sheer bloody mindedness that the French fighter jockeys must fly Dassaults?
To some extent the same thinking seems evident in SCAF, an all or nothing approach that in the long-term might be detrimental (or null-null).

A naval fighter was never in the scope for EFA, the RN was wedded to Harriers and future V/STOL concepts and the idea a CTOL carrier might replace the Invincibles was unthinkable until the mid-90s and not on the cards. Of course in true AU world fashion we might say "what if CVA was still in service etc." but the answer would still most likely be Hornets - indeed it's possible in this scenario that the Hornet might have killed EFA in the late 70s had the RAF/RN agreed on a Hornet buy to replace all their Jaguars and F-4s as it was already a frontrunner for AST.396. Then perhaps we might have seen a Franco-German-Italian ACX.
 

zen

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Logically the AN (AeroNaval) had preference for either Mirage G, with their eyes on strike and fighter variants.
Or the A7 Due to the avionics.

In cost terms the A4 was the strongest case and behind that was the Jaguar. Which at least had degrees of commonalities with AdA (Armé de la Air).
But there was no money to make the alterations necessary to turn Jaguar into a viable platform for the AN.

SEM only stood a chance because Etendard was already in service and there was little barrier to integrate French avionics. Particularly for Exocet.

The A4 route with French avionics could have been a game changer. And French companies could offer a package to A4 users.

Had Mirage G been funded, this would sweep off the decks both Etendard and Crusader.....if the money was there.

Had Jaguar received the funds for proper navalisation, this too could have swept off the other types.

The wildcard is adopting the Sea Harrier, but as with the above it's all in the late 60's and early 70's.
 

Archibald

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Why was Dassault so obsessed with getting the naval market?
It seems like it was pretty niche and apart from the Etendard they had little naval experience. Yet they killed Breuget's attempts to market the Jaguar M (which wasn't well suited anyway) and then killed Hornet.
But why saddle the ACX programme with a carrier-version? There can't have been many advantages for the basic airframe in doing so and with such a small requirement for airframes it doesn't make much economical sense. Even if you factor in nearly 40 years later India might buy some Rafale Ms it seems a very poor return.

Because Dassault randomly put their foot on the naval fighter business with the Etendard IV back in 1958, and would not let that go.

In the case of the Rafale, they desperately needed the Navy 100 or 71 or 60 airframes to round the numbers on top of the Armée de l'air 260 or something (315 Mirage 2000 before them, and 246 Mirage F1s - and 450 something Mirage III. Same for the SMB-2, Mystere IV, Mystere II and Ouragan before them: 200 - 400 is the average number bought by the AdA).

Still have a neswpaper scrap from 1993 "320 Rafales confirmés" (320 Rafales have been confirmed).

Was it sheer bloody mindedness that the French military must fly French or sheer bloody mindedness that the French fighter jockeys must fly Dassaults?
To some extent the same thinking seems evident in SCAF, an all or nothing approach that in the long-term might be detrimental (or null-null).

Because of national prestige, and also because arms deals are quite lucrative stuff. A matter of industrial might (AFAIK)

As for Dassault being the one and only - yes, that's uncomfortable. Has been since 1960 or 1970. Yet no politician managed to either nationalize the thing, or break it down. Left (Mitterrand) right (Chirac) center-right (Giscard) all tried and failed.

A choice was made circa 1970 to have two aerospace giants
- private / combat aircraft: Dassault + Breguet
- public companies: everything else except the proverbial kitchen sink: rockets, helicopters, airliners, missiles...

The few times Dassault and Aerospatiale overlapped - Corvette vs Falcon, Mercure vs Airbus - it ended in financial disaster for one side.
 
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CV12Hornet

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Why was Dassault so obsessed with getting the naval market?
It seems like it was pretty niche and apart from the Etendard they had little naval experience. Yet they killed Breuget's attempts to market the Jaguar M (which wasn't well suited anyway) and then killed Hornet.
But why saddle the ACX programme with a carrier-version? There can't have been many advantages for the basic airframe in doing so and with such a small requirement for airframes it doesn't make much economical sense. Even if you factor in nearly 40 years later India might buy some Rafale Ms it seems a very poor return.

Was it sheer bloody mindedness that the French military must fly French or sheer bloody mindedness that the French fighter jockeys must fly Dassaults?
To some extent the same thinking seems evident in SCAF, an all or nothing approach that in the long-term might be detrimental (or null-null).

A naval fighter was never in the scope for EFA, the RN was wedded to Harriers and future V/STOL concepts and the idea a CTOL carrier might replace the Invincibles was unthinkable until the mid-90s and not on the cards. Of course in true AU world fashion we might say "what if CVA was still in service etc." but the answer would still most likely be Hornets - indeed it's possible in this scenario that the Hornet might have killed EFA in the late 70s had the RAF/RN agreed on a Hornet buy to replace all their Jaguars and F-4s as it was already a frontrunner for AST.396. Then perhaps we might have seen a Franco-German-Italian ACX.
I'm 95% sure it was the government, not Dassault, pushing the navalization angle. Yes, the government was Dassault-friendly, but the French Navy and Air Force also had pretty similar requirements and as McNamara shows you don't need nationalist industrial concerns to think having the Navy and Air Force run the same plane be a good idea.
 

Archibald

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I'm 95% sure it was the government, not Dassault, pushing the navalization angle.
Nah. It was a mix of both.

The Navy would gladly have bought Hornets, since their Crusaders were falling apart and Hornets would be cheaper than any Rafale (F-18C or even second-hand F-18A, they did not cared)

They clearly did not wanted to be dragged into the Rafale or a naval Typhoon because they knew the Crusaders would start falling apart right from 1989 - when IOC of the new fighters was 1996 at best - and May 2001 it was in the end, with that shitty F1 standard inferior to even a Mirage 2000-5.

And so Hornets they wanted. Clemenceau would not make it, it was in the poorest shape of the twins. Foch could, if barely, until 2004 at the latest (we got a glimpse of that through Brazil, and that was rather ugly); then CdG and then its sibling. That was the plan.

Dassault needed the Navy airframes - 71 Etendard IV or 71 Super Etendard + 42 Crusaders is 113 aircraft; initial plans for Jaguar-M and Super Etendard also were for 100 airframes, later cut to 71. Rafale M ended at 60.

So Dassault played its political cards and carried the day.

But the political fight between J.P Chevènement (Defense minister) Michel Roccard (PM) and Mitterrand (Président) was rather ugly.

The Rafale was essentially created as a French Hornet after the Phantom, F-111 and F-15 options all proved unaffordable since 1958 and until 1978 - Mirage IVC, AFVG, G4, G8, ACF, Mirage 4000.

But even as a Hornet, twin engine remained a luxury, so the Armée de l'Air had to make a deal: every single fast jet combat aircraft in the inventory by 1992 would be replaced by Rafales, Rafales, and only Rafales
- last Mirage IIIs
- Mirage V
- Jaguars
- F1
- 2000B/C/D/N/-5
- Mirage IV
And then it was realized the Navy could add two more types and moar airframes
- Super Etendard
- Crusader

Took 25 years, but we are getting closer now: all the above types are now gone, except for Mirage 2000-5 and D.

Mirage III & V gone by 1997.
Crusaders gone by 1999
Mirage IV retired in 2005
F1 and S.E retired in 2014
Mirage 2000N retired in 2018
Mirage 2000 B/C gradual retirement

Imagine the prospect back in 1986 when the first Rafale flew. Back then the AdA staunchly refused to get below 450 combat aircraft, even if partially obsoletes.
And the Navy added 100 airframes to the tally.

550 aircraft - on paper at least. Guess why Dassault was all excited ? (truth be told, the max number of Rafales ever planned I think was 320, but I may be wrong).
 
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Archibald

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I see that old McNamara trauma is still haunting. F-111B , how we hate you poor thing. :D
In the french case there was no McNamara - but make no mistake, the political - Dassault - Navy - Air Force mix was equally atrocious. Worked differently, but same horror.
Unlike the F-111B the Rafale didn't paid a bloody price to navalization. Except for those wings that don't fold, but it bothers the Indians, not us. Just make elevators large enough, you dummy.
There would be a lot of bad and ugly things to say about Mitterrand and Chirac, but the moderators would tear me a couple more of... ear holes, of course.

Someday I will start a "French politics history" thread at the bar - or maybe it is just an horrible if not suicidal idea.
 

uk 75

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A tantalising aside to this thread is the issue of the carriers themselves.
Until 1979 both Britain and France operated fixed wing carriers of roughly similar size.
It emerged that one in operational service with one being refiited (or raided for spares in the British case).
A dream Euro carrier force could have seen a decade in which Foch, Clemenceau and Ark Royal, Eagle operated Phantoms/AFVG and Buccaneers.
But then what?
Until.1980 it looked as if France was going to follow Britain down the helicopter carrier with the curious PH75. Was this always going into the PA75 in some Clochemerlian plot by the MN?
The Invincible started life as the infamous escort cruiser of 1962, cancelled because design resources were needed for CVA01 and Polaris. Much was made in 1966 of the Command Cruiser, perhaps because the RN and general public thought cruisers like Belfast fine ships (as well as humouring the Labour Party's hostility to aircraft carriers).
Perhaps if the Mirage IIIV had become a Dassault/BAC design that worked?. France might have ordered heirs to Colbert and Jean D'Arc.
While the Netherlands operated an ex RN carrier in the 60s it was Spain that kept the carrier numbers up. First of all using US AV8s on the ancient Dedalo (a Cabot class wartime escort carrier) and then on the Principe D'Asturias (built in Spain to the US Sea Control Ship design). Both ships did a lot with little but the model was not followed by NATO.
Italy had the resources to build at least one aircraft carrier. When the Garibaldi arrived in the 80s she too got the US AV8.
Perhaps the French PH75 if it rather than PA75 had entered service it too would have operated AV8.
Irritatingly a class of 4 Eagle sized aircraft carriers, 2 each for Britain and France, could have been laid down in the 80s to replace Foch and Clem and the Invincibles. Hornet would have served on them.
 

Archibald

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I often dream of a more rationale dispatching of the Colossus / Majestic, Saipan-Wright, and Independence light carrier classes post war. 27 decks altogether. This covers the 1945-1965 period. And then the 24 Essex are dispatched to foreign navies to replace them: 1965-2005.
 

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I have this crazy vision of a Super Etendard « Dash 5 » upgrade. Similar in concept to the Sea Harrier FA2.

Ordered 1990, first deliveries 1996. With scaled down RDY radar, Mica missiles, and M88 engine. Wouldn’t cost that much given the ability to leverage Mirage 2000 avionics and Rafale engine technology.

Yeah baby!

(But sadly would likely lead to the F-35C).
 

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Decades ago, I remember speculating about applying RSS CCV FBW technology to the Etendard. Much as was done to a Jaguar.
Ideally like that, experimenting with carbon fibre body panels and other modern technologies.

Arguably the whole unstable FBW thing ought to cut drag, improve agility and reduce distance needed for Take off and Landing.
While modern materials would cut weight.

And yes something like the M88 which would further increase performance.
 

helmutkohl

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I have this crazy vision of a Super Etendard « Dash 5 » upgrade. Similar in concept to the Sea Harrier FA2.

Ordered 1990, first deliveries 1996. With scaled down RDY radar, Mica missiles, and M88 engine. Wouldn’t cost that much given the ability to leverage Mirage 2000 avionics and Rafale engine technology.

Yeah baby!

(But sadly would likely lead to the F-35C).
if France gave up on domestically built naval aircraft and went down the line of eventually buying the F-35
would they really stick with the C or do the B?
 

1635yankee

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I don't understand Dassault's obsession with deltas, especially considering that the Mirage F1 was better in just about any measurable way.
 

CV12Hornet

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if France gave up on domestically built naval aircraft and went down the line of eventually buying the F-35
would they really stick with the C or do the B?
Why wouldn't they stick with the C? They've shown a consistent preference for CATOBAR and while the B is a capable aircraft it does lose out in many categories to the C.
 

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if France gave up on domestically built naval aircraft and went down the line of eventually buying the F-35
would they really stick with the C or do the B?
Why wouldn't they stick with the C? They've shown a consistent preference for CATOBAR and while the B is a capable aircraft it does lose out in many categories to the C.
Agreed.
 

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What almost happened in this theme:

Screen_200615_091323.png
 

Archibald

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I have this crazy vision of a Super Etendard « Dash 5 » upgrade. Similar in concept to the Sea Harrier FA2.

Ordered 1990, first deliveries 1996. With scaled down RDY radar, Mica missiles, and M88 engine. Wouldn’t cost that much given the ability to leverage Mirage 2000 avionics and Rafale engine technology.

Yeah baby!

(But sadly would likely lead to the F-35C).

Yesterday I was re-reading some French sources about that vicious debate in 1988-89 to get 15 (only 15 !) second-hand F-18A for the French Navy.

At some point was a vague hint a Super Etendard FA.2 was being considered - you guess, an air defense variant as a stopgap.

On paper at least it could have been done: Agave / Anemone is not that different from the Cyrano, and there come Super 530F capability.
 

Archibald

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Well it seems the plan was to use the Iraqi Mirage F1EQ "Cyrano IV M" radar, thus with Super 530F capability...


Except it was to be retroffited, not inside a Super Etendard, but inside a Crusader airframe.

The (quixotic !) options were
- S.E : modern airframe, but no afterburner and thus subsonic
- Crusader: antiquated, used airframes - but it has an afterburner ! It is supersonic !

Guess what they prefered ? Stuffing a Crusader airframe !

The only neat thing is: it would have been one hell of a swan song for the Crusader.
The one and only with SARH AAMs, that is, a French AIM-7F Sparrow.

Something the basic Crusader never, ever got: only Phantoms had that luxury.

The words "Sea Harriers" and "Falklands" and "FA.2" never seems to have crossed their minds. Hell, no, S.E has no afterburner, thus it is not supersonic, and so it CANNOT BE AN INTERCEPTOR. Even with Super 530 capability.
 

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I don't understand Dassault's obsession with deltas, especially considering that the Mirage F1 was better in just about any measurable way.
Because it's a great wing design for decent dogfighting performance, low drag at speed, lots of fuel space and relatively easy to produce. It has some flaws sure but with the growth in computer power they could be overcome. The F1 was better than the MIII, but the M2000 was better than the F1 again... The F1 only really improved on the low speed manuverability. The MIII remained a strong opponent in the hands of a good pilot.

Looking at the proliferation of delta's I would say Dassault was right on the money!
 

Archibald

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I tried mating some Dassault "noses" to Crusaders. Not exactly fitting, but lots of fun at least, including with the stupid names and puns.

Behold... the hybrids. All three Dassaults had Cyrano variants: II, IV, or Anemone / Agave. Same family of radars.
 

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SSgtC

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I often dream of a more rationale dispatching of the Colossus / Majestic, Saipan-Wright, and Independence light carrier classes post war. 27 decks altogether. This covers the 1945-1965 period. And then the 24 Essex are dispatched to foreign navies to replace them: 1965-2005.
The problem with American light fleets is their size. Those things were small. The Independence class was only 15,000 tons at full load, some 3,000 tons smaller than the Colossus class (and some 70' shorter overall with flight decks even shorter than that). Even the Saipan class were small at only 19,000 tons full load and only 680 feet in length. Past about 1955, they're utterly obsolete (until the advent of the Harrier returned them to at least partial relevance).

Even the Essex class, as much as I love them, could never make it to 2005. By 1996, they're all 50+ years old (Oriskany only commissioned in 1950, but was launched all the way back in 45). And given that the USN tended to ride the class hard and put them away wet, any secondhand users aren't going to get much life out of them. Lexington, by the time she was decommissioned in 1992, was a total shitbox according to the people who served on her. She was quite literally falling apart to the extent that her fresh water tended to taste like jet fuel due to cross contamination. Not to mention the fact that an A-6 actually fell through the fight deck into crew berthing while it was taxing to a cat. That actually led her to get a upgrade where the wooden flight deck was replaced with steel. But it does go to show just how bad her condition was. I can only imagine any Essex class in foreign service would be far worse.
 

H_K

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The words "Sea Harriers" and "Falklands" and "FA.2" never seems to have crossed their minds. Hell, no, S.E has no afterburner, thus it is not supersonic, and so it CANNOT BE AN INTERCEPTOR. Even with Super 530 capability.

Hence my dream of sticking an M88 engine inside a Super Etendard. On paper the dimensions, mass flow, and center of gravity should be compatible (similar to the Atar 8K50).

Start with Super 530 as the main missile or more likely directly with Mica if you wait until ~1996.

The result would be a fighter with better pure performance than the Mirage F1 so good enough in my book (though limited to ~M1.5-1.6… not a big deal).
 

zen

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Hmmmm....wasn't there a time when Mica was offered for Sea Harrier?

Mad thought I know, but could Blue Fox be mounted on the Super Etendard.
 

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Hence my dream of sticking an M88 engine inside a Super Etendard. On paper the dimensions, mass flow, and center of gravity should be compatible (similar to the Atar 8K50).

Start with Super 530 as the main missile or more likely directly with Mica if you wait until ~1996.

The result would be a fighter with better pure performance than the Mirage F1 so good enough in my book (though limited to ~M1.5-1.6… not a big deal).
My only concern here (I've had similar ideas for various aircraft over the years) is what to do with the afterburner as the engine is very much mid mounted. Is RR Lightning's Avon style extended exhaust and nozzle petals an option on these modern and very complex turbofans? I'm just unsure about that.

But a Super-Super Étendard (not Entendard) sounds awesome!
 
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Archibald

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Etendard (not entendard)
Etendard is "flag".
It is not entendre - "to hear".

I kind of like this mistake, makes me chuckle - because, while entendard definitively not exists - there is a French word close enough: "entendeur" = "the one who hears".

Part of a famous expression "A bon entendeur, salut !"


So it kind of funny. But wait, there is more. The joke in the french navy was to call the plane "étendoir" which exactly means...

(drums rolling)

"drying rack".
 

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My only concern here (I've had similar ideas for various aircraft over the years) is what to do with the afterburner as the engine is very much mid mounted. Is RR Lightning's Avon style extended exhaust and nozzle petals an option on these modern and very complex turbofans?

From what I can tell, this might be a non-issue as the M88 and Atar 8K50 are very similar length wise.

The M88 is 40cm shorter, so assuming the exhaust nozzle is in the same location the M88 would be mounted slightly farther back than the Atar. That should be fine because the M88 is ~200kg lighter so you’d want to move it back anyway to keep a similar center of gravity.

The Super Etendard’s removable tailcone would have to be enlarged slightly to fit the larger diameter rear afterburner section.
 
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BLACK_MAMBA

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From what I can tell, this might be a non-issue as the M88 and Atar 9K50 are very similar length wise.
Do you have any information on the Atar 8k50 as used by the Super Etendard? The weights might be a little different as it has a different compressor stage etc to the supersonic capable Atar 9's. But the fit does seem relatively good depending on the engine CoG. When South Africa reengined a Mirage and Cheetah with the SMR-95 variant of the RD-33 they had to mount the engine 600mm back compared to the Atar 9 even when the engine was only ~500mm shorter in overall length. Of course the longer petals on the modern engines shorten them up a little bit too so significant modification to the tail area will be required. It does seem doable however.
 

H_K

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Do you have any information on the Atar 8k50 as used by the Super Etendard? The weights might be a little different as it has a different compressor stage etc to the supersonic capable Atar 9's. But the fit does seem relatively good depending on the engine CoG.

Here’s a comparison of the M88 vs. Atar installation, keeping the Center of Gravity roughly the same. Seems feasible IMHO.

How I did this:

The 1st drawing is the Atar 8B as fitted to the Etendard IVM. The Atar 8K50 should be similar, just ~70kg heavier and 5cm longer. This also shows the engine’s Center of Mass, which I’ve highlighted in red and added to the Etendard IV blueprint (2nd drawing). I’ve also estimated the Etendard’s center of gravity (~50cm forward of the main landing gear, 2.6m forward of the Atar’s center of mass).

Then I did the same with the M88 engine in lieu of the Atar and calculated the moments to position the M88 at exactly the right place so as to have neutral impact on the Etendard’s CoG. The result is the M88’s center of mass is ~60cm behind the Atar.
 

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