What If? game - the F11F-2 and F8U-3 replace the F-104 and F-4 in history.

apparition13

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I really like the F11F-2 Super Tiger and the F8U-3 Crusader III (especially the Advanced Crusader design with Eagle missile equivalents), but I wonder what the effects of both being adopted in the place of the F-8 and F-104 for the Super Tiger and the F-4 for the Crusader III would be. So I've decided to crowd source it here as a what if game.

Here's the scenario;

The F11F-2 Super Tiger (later F-11B) takes the place of the F-8 in USN service and the F-104 in NATO and Japan.

The F8u-3 takes the place of the F-4 in USN service.

Rolls Royce and Orenda find US partners for the RB106 and Iroquois. The RB106 goes into the F11F-2, the growth Iroquois with 33,000 lbs of thrust wet goes into the F8U-3.

Grumman addresses the USN's concern about the landing weight of the Super Tiger by increasing wing area to 300 sq. ft. (they had proposals to do this) reducing the landing speed, and thus the force of the landing.

This puts both aircraft in the neighborhood of 70lbs per square foot wing loading and thrust to weights at combat weight of just over 1, making Boyd happy.

Plot twist: when MacNamara says combine the F6D and F-111 programs the Navy says no thanks and cancels the missileer, but not the Eagle missile, since Vought has an Advanced Crusader variant of the F8U-3 designed that can carry a couple of Eagle missiles. USAF breathes a sigh of relief, and buys the Boeing design, which is late and over budget, but not nearly as much as the GD F-111 was, so all better there.

When Viet Nam rolls around the Navy fighters kick the crap out of the NV Migs. In desperation, the USAF is forced to buy both aircraft, the Crusder III for air superiority and the Super Tiger as a multi-role and F-100 replacement. At which point it also kicks the crap out of the NV Migs. It later develops both aircraft into USAF specific designs.

The end result is something like the F-15/F-16 hi-lo mix in both the USN and USAF a decade and a half earlier.

That's the set up. I'm not interested in how it's implausible, or why it wouldn't happen, I want to explore what would happen next if all of the above is true.

******

Both US aircraft are single engine. Would two engine designs proliferate as they did, or would single engine aircraft continue to be the preferred design for air superiority fighters? What might those look like?

Would a cheaper and earlier Boeing F-111 be more appealing to the UK? If so, does MRCA happen?

With the success of the US fighters in air combat, the impetus for the teen fighters is gone. Does this mean the F-15 program remains as a 60,000 pound class swing wing strike fighter (personally I like the Republic design)? Is that even necessary if the Boeing F-111 is a success?

The Super Tiger and Crusader III have dominated the Migs, how do the Soviets respond? Still with the Mig-23? Something more like the Su-27 and MiG-29? Still dual engine?

The teens were a quantum leap over Soviet designs, which led to the Su-27 and MiG-29 as their counter to the teens. In this scenario, the Soviets need to counter the Super Tiger and Crusader III. Which means that rather than the Soviets responding to the teens with their counter, the U.S. and its allies will be countering the Soviet response to the F11F-2 and F8U-3. What would a teen series developed in the late 70s and early 80s look like? What does this mean for the ATF and Stealth? Would pushing the ATF/NATF/MRF etc. designs back a few years help or hinder stealth? And would the ATF be single engine, with a 50,000+ class engine?

Do Top Gun and related programs develop if the U.S. is more successful in air combat than it was historically?

I'm assuming that without the F-4, a multi-role F8U-3 would be developed. But I also think more A-6s would wind up in USN service, and more F-111s in the USAF. When would a replacement for the A-6 happen, and what would it be like? Another pure attack aircraft, or a strike-fighter? Same for the F-111. Or do you think I'm wrong, in which case what do you think would fill the F-4 attack void?

Would the A-7 happen, or would F11-2s take on the role? Grumman was making them attack capable for the F-104 strike missions, and they could self-escort (and I suspect would replace the A-4 barring and A-4 Spey with much longer range), but the A-7 has more range and carrying capacity. Although a sufficiently powerful and compact turbofan engine might do the trick for the Super Tiger where range is concerned.

Does the A-10 still get put into service? I don't really see this scenario impacting the A-10, but maybe you do.

Without the teens, the Northrop P530 might look awfully appealing as a Super Tiger replacement. Would Northrop have a winner? How about the AJ-37? Or an RB106 Mirage, or one of the big two engine Mirages (ACF or 4000)? At least until the new teens come around in the 80s.

What haven't I mentioned? Impact on the Yom Kippur War? Total production numbers of the two aircraft compared to the F-4 and F-104? Impact on industry? Would McDonnell or Lockheed survive without their fighters? Could they move in a different direction? What happens to Douglas if McDonnell isn't there to merge with? What else? Respond to one of more of the questions, or to something I didn't list here. Basically, just take the scenario and run with it.
 

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There something I don't understand about the Eagle. How do you make it work without the huge APQ-81 and its monster 5 feet antenna ? what kind of range then ?

Among the Missileer contenders were: an A2F Intruder variant; a J79 Skywarrior; AND a Vigilante variant - necessarily with smaller antenna. On a Crusader III it would be even smaller.
...
Curtiss Wright had the licence for both Olympus (= J67) and Iroquois so they should play an important role here.
GE had the J93 and Pratt the J58 so the field of mega powerful advanced jet engines is quite packed already, if CW wants to push a J130 Iroquois...
 
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Archibald

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I like this scenario. McNamara after all managed to force USAF buying USN Phantom and A-7 OTL. There they would at least get Crusader III in place of Phantom, for a start.Super Tiger I'm not really sure.

Vought would be super busy churning out Crusader III. Without the earlier Crusader would the A-7 exists ? or maybe the Crusader I happens but the II is screwed by the Super Tiger circa 1957 and Vought in turn focuse more on the III and screws the Phantom. The A-7 still happens for VAL.

Northrop P-530 still happens circa 1968 as the ultimate N-156F derivative and now it has a boulevard, no fighter mafia to put the F-16 on its way, even less with GD history in shambles, no
F-111.

Fleet defence: Crusader III with Eagle is NOT the F6D Missileer / F-111B / Tomcat the USN badly wants. Maybe the APQ-81 is allowed to happen on that big-nose Skywarrior test bed in 1961; but then what ? I'm tempted by a J79 Skywarrior (because of the test bed) or "Intruder Missileer", perhaps the latter as a EA-6B variant ? how awesome would that be ! FA-6B Missiler... Bendix Eagle was no worse than a HARM or Standard ARM missile.

Boeing would return to fighters at least. Kind of: after BOMARC, the F-111. TSR-2 wouldn't be different and yes F-111K may screw Tornado, no AFVG deal with Dassault no UKVG either.

British Crusader III for the RN is very intriguing.
As far as Centaurs go Crusader III might be better than Spey Phantom.

In turns the French have no Crusader II since your scenario screwed it. So the French gets Super Tiger, and the lower landing weight come in handy on Clemenceaus.

Incidentally you solved Essex air defence problem until they retire: Super Tiger in place of OTL Crusader / Skyhawk mix.

Note that, unlike Crusader II and its small nose bullet, Super Tiger would bring Sparrow III capability on top of Sidewinders. Including on Essex. And Centaurs. On the Clems it would be far easier to upgrade the Super Tigers first to Mirage IIIC / R530 / Cyrano II - and later to F1 / Super 530F / Cyrano IV. Something impossible with OTL Crouzes.

Lockheed would be in a curious position. The F-104 was obviously a double edged sword for them.
In Germany a good hundred pilots should live another day although the root causes were also related to pilot training.
 
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The Soviets: thanksfully, ding dong the Mig-23 "Flunker" is dead. No F-111 to start the VG craze and no Phantom either for the general look.

The alternative is probably some kind of solid-nose Mig-21 with a bigger engine and agility... think a J7 / J8 like type. Or smaller Ye-150 series. Or the Eurocanard look alike, can't remember if Ye-8 or Ye-50. It was lovely looking.
No big break with the MiG 15/17/19/21 series.

Although it won't change Israeli pilot goodness compared to Arab pilots crapiness.

MiG-25 don't change by an inch it was an interceptor just like Su-15 and Tu-128. By 1967 it is revealed to the world. So at some point the F-15 to tackle it will have to happen, screw VG wings.
 
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Dilandu

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really like the F11F-2 Super Tiger and the F8U-3 Crusader III (especially the Advanced Crusader design with Eagle missile equivalents), but I wonder what the effects of both being adopted in the place of the F-8 and F-104 for the Super Tiger and the F-4 for the Crusader III would be. So I've decided to crowd source it here as a what if game.
Well, for something like that to happens, both USAF and USN must be much more convinced that maneuvering air battle - old school dogfight - is not completely gone. Problem is, they thought otherwise. USAF essentially viewed fighters only in context of inrerceptors, protecting territory from enemy bombers: they were completely disinterested in dominating the airspace over battlefield, arguing that air dominance should be established by strikes against enemy airbases. Navy wasn't that radical, but they needed missile-armed interceptor, capable of stopping enemy bombers on standoff distance from carriers.

Both F11 and F8 did not fit into such paradigms. To replace F-104 and F-4, some major change in US aviation doctrine required.
 

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, but not the Eagle missile, since Vought has an Advanced Crusader variant of the F8U-3 designed that can carry a couple of Eagle missiles.
Er...how? F8U could not carry radar powerful enough to gave Eagle targeting on long-range shots.

I wondered about this peculiar point, too. From what I could gather (XF8U-3 Super Crusader Ginter book) , Vought was a competitor in the Bendix-Eagle AAM competition - the Eagle airframe went to Grumman. So I suppose Vought was competiting for the airframe design. Vought was designing its own eagle missile so it was logical they tried to adapt it to their Crusader III.
I can see some major issues with that proposal

- the Crusader III lone pilot already would have been overworked handling Sparrow III SARH and that's why the Phantom with a RIO carried the day
(then again, Eagle was ARH, so autonomous, so perhaps no need for RIO there)

- as you say - radar problem. It boils down to a simple question: can Eagle works with another radar than APQ-81 ? even then, range would take a huge penalty. with its 5 feet antenna the APQ-81 could watch for targets for the Eagles 100 to 200 miles ahead.
 

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Some words about USN all-weather fighters plans before the Phantom...

The (messy) plan was kind of
-Sidewinder: Crusader II (limited all-weather capability, no Sparrow)
-Sparrow I : Cutlass & Demon (F3H-2N) - beam riding was crap, 1954-1958
-Sparrow II: F5D Skylancer (canned as unworkable, march 1957)
-Sparrow III interim / initial capability (Demon F3H-2, IOC 1958)
-Sparrow III, definite (Crusader III versus Phantom, beyond 1960)

Note that the Super Tiger is nowhere to be seen for a simple reason: the two authorized in 1954 were basically F-11F Tiger stock airframes + J79 : just to try and test that engine at Mach 2 for the Phantom (and Vigilante, perhaps).

Also, why did the Cutlass flying coffin, and not the Skyray, got Sparrow I is beyond me. It was kind of mixing a big waste (Cutlass) with more waste (Sparrow I).

It might be possible to use either the Skylancer or Super Tiger or Crusader III as an "early / interim Sparrow III solution" provided the Phantom is late, one way or another. Maybe the Demon never recovers from its J40 disaster and something else is needed for that "initial Sparrow III capability" circa 1957...
Still, the single-seater versus SARH issue is annoying.
The Demon however WAS a single-seater, so I can't see why it was an issue for the Crusader III !!!

Would make an interesting alt-history in its own right, imagine the fly-off between these three flying wonders...
 

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- the Crusader III lone pilot already would have been overworked handling Sparrow III SARH and that's why the Phantom with a RIO carried the day
(then again, Eagle was ARH, so autonomous, so perhaps no need for RIO there)

While Eagle was active homing, it still required to be somehow guided close enough to the target, so the seeker could actually lock on it. So the launching aircraft must be capable of detecting and tracking target at least on 100+ km range (otherwise there would be no point in Eagle at all - without range advantage, it did not have much other advantages over existing missiles). In 1960s, such function required a very powerful radar, with complex control.

- as you say - radar problem. It boils down to a simple question: can Eagle works with another radar than APQ-81 ? even then, range would take a huge penalty. with its 5 feet antenna the APQ-81 could watch for targets for the Eagles 100 to 200 miles ahead.

It probably could be adapted to work with other radar, but it would be pointless, since radar, capable of fitting on Crusader III - with its narrow nosecone - would not be able to track targets on sufficient range.
 

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And the Eagle was already kind of "miniaturized, air-launched BOMARC-B" (in the sense they had the same DPN-53 seeker) - so it seems difficult to get it even smaller even at the expense of its range.

Just asking in passing, could an even smaller AAM be designed around the DPN-53 ? BOMARC-B had 400 miles range, Eagle, 100 miles - any possibility for, say, a 50 mile range ?
 

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Just asking in passing, could an even smaller AAM be designed around the DPN-53 ? BOMARC-B had 400 miles range, Eagle, 100 miles - any possibility for, say, a 50 mile range ?

The limiting factor are diameter & power... And practical consideration; why do you need short-range active AAM? It would most likely be worse in intended role of head-on interceptor than Sparrow, considering 1960s tech.
 

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Both F11 and F8 did not fit into such paradigms. To replace F-104 and F-4, some major change in US aviation doctrine required.
In fairness, the F8U-3 very much did fit that mold. It was a long range, Sparrow armed Fleet Defense Interceptor that just so happened to also be an outstanding dogfighter. And it could intercept bombers farther from the carrier than the Phantom could. Seriously, the Crusader III had the same combat radius on internal fuel as the Phantom had with a 600 gallon external tank. Oh yeah, it was also a couple hundred miles an hour faster and had a 10,000' higher ceiling
 
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Just asking in passing, could an even smaller AAM be designed around the DPN-53 ? BOMARC-B had 400 miles range, Eagle, 100 miles - any possibility for, say, a 50 mile range ?

The limiting factor are diameter & power... And practical consideration; why do you need short-range active AAM? It would most likely be worse in intended role of head-on interceptor than Sparrow, considering 1960s tech.
Just to point something out, the F8U-3 had a much larger frontal area than the F8U-2 and would use the same radar as fitted to the Phantom.
 

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In fairness, the F8U-3 very much did fit that mold. It was a long range, Sparrow and Fleet Defense Interceptor that just so happened to also be an outstanding dogfighter.

Yes, but it have rather limited payload, not much of radar capabilities (not to mention lack of radar operator), and the major worry for USN were Soviet jet bombers, which does not require great dogfighting abilities for interception. Essentially, the F8U-3 would be the perfect solution if USSR have carriers of its own, and was able to provide bombers with fighter escorts.

Oh yeah, it was also a couple hundred miles an hour faster and a 10,000' higher ceiling

On the other hands, it have worse climbing characteristics, and only one engine.

Just to point something out, the F8U-3 had a much larger frontal area than the F8U-2 and would use the same radar as fitted to the Phantom.

I was talking about the missile diameter.
 

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Yes, but it have rather limited payload, not much of radar capabilities (not to mention lack of radar operator), and the major worry for USN were Soviet jet bombers, which does not require great dogfighting abilities for interception. Essentially, the F8U-3 would be the perfect solution if USSR have carriers of its own, and was able to provide bombers with fighter escorts.
You could probably manage to get 6-8k pounds of bombs hung on the airframe if needed (and wing hardpoints are added). Which pales in comparison to the Phantom's 18,000 pound bomb load. But in reality that's what you have dedicated attack aircraft for. Hanging bombs on it is really just a bonus.

As for time to climb, yeah, the F-4B has the Crusader III beat by about 80 seconds to 30,000 feet with both aircraft armed only with Sparrows and no external tanks. But seeing as the Phantom almost never operated without a 600 gallon external tank, it drops the Phantom's advantage to only about 20 seconds to reach 30,000. And that number would be likely to change had the Crusader III actually entered service.

And again, the Crusader would have the same radar as the Phantom, so they have identical radar capabilities. I'll grant you that the pilot would have been busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest, but that has never seemed to be a problem for anyone else who flew single seat interceptors. The USAF managed it for decades. There's no reason the Navy couldn't have. Vought repeatedly demonstrated that one pilot could handle both tasks and the Navy fighter community agreed with them! They didn't want a RIO, they wanted a single seat fighter. I'll grant you that having a dedicated radar operator is a huge help, but it's not required.
 

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You could probably manage to get 6-8k pounds of bombs hung on the airframe if needed (and wing hardpoints are added). Which pales in comparison to the Phantom's 18,000 pound bomb load. But in reality that's what you have dedicated attack aircraft for. Hanging bombs on it is really just a bonus.

Well, yes, but again: while the Navy recognized the need for dogfighter, it was not a top priority. Dogfighters were of limited usefulness for Navy; protecting the strike aircraft in enemy airspace and covering the amphibious landings. While this was USEFUL function, it was not exactly irreplaceable.

And again, the Crusader would have the same radar as the Phantom, so they have identical radar capabilities. I'll grant you that the pilot would have been busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest, but that has never seemed to be a problem for anyone else who flew single seat interceptors.
Actually it was a problem.

The USAF managed it for decades.
Er... USAF managed it with the help of SAGE, which took most of function & controls from pilot to land station. And USAF never were supposed to fight against Soviet Maritime Naval Aviation, with its regiments of jet bombers armed with standoff missiles, protected by sophisticated jammers and ECM aircraft.
 

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I enjoy these imaginative "what-ifs" to try an resurrect the unsuccessful designs..
I wonder if there is a board in an Alt universe where the F4, A7, F111, F14 and A10 are getting the same treatment.
 

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And again, the Crusader would have the same radar as the Phantom
It had the same radar fitted as the prototype Phantom (the same as fitted on Fords and I think Demons), but the Phantom got a nose job when they went with the bigger antenna for FRproduction. It increased diameter from two feet to almost three, along with other minor modifications like integrated CW-illuminator. I'm not sure to what degree that is (or is not) feasible with the smaller, lighter Crusader with a Ferri inlet right under the radome.
 

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And again, the Crusader would have the same radar as the Phantom
It had the same radar fitted as the prototype Phantom (the same as fitted on Fords and I think Demons), but the Phantom got a nose job when they went with the bigger antenna for FRproduction. It increased diameter from two feet to almost three, along with other minor modifications like integrated CW-illuminator. I'm not sure to what degree that is (or is not) feasible with the smaller, lighter Crusader.
Looking at the photos of the Crusader, it APPEARS to be a relatively straightforward task to give it the same type of nose job that the Phantom got. But without digging into the guts of the aircraft, I don't know for certain. I'm sure had the Navy selected it, it would have recieved an upgraded version at the least.
 

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Exhaustive list of APQ and APG and the aircraft to carry them.



APQ-50, APQ-64 and APQ-72 were more or less the same Westinghouse set, the major difference being: no Sparrow (Skyray, early Phantoms), Sparrow II (Skylancer), Sparrow III (Phantom, antenna enlarged from 24 to 32 inch)

In my TL a smart Canadair guy send to Point Mugu in 1955 to recover the Sparrow II from the canned Skylancer (for the Arrow) realizes that, not only the Sparrow II, but the APQ-64 to guide it, and the Skylancer to carry both, are all interesting.
Long story short, the Canadians not only salvage
- the Sparrow II as per OTL, but also
- (Canadian) Westinghouse APQ-64 in place of RCA Astra-1 (why re-invent the wheel at horrible cost ?)
- the Skylancer as the Arrow half-brother in place of the Starfighter in Europe, post 1960 and for strike.

-When the Sparrow II proves unworkable, they just switch the radar from APQ-64 to APQ-72, and thus the Arrow jumps into the Phantom bandwagon.

- Just like the Phantom which enlarged the APQ antenna to 32-inch, the Arrow gets an enlarged 40-inch-dish for the same APQ-72.

- Icing on the cake: from the unworkable Sparrow II, Canadair salvage the airframe and put the canned Velvet Glove SARH seeker into it. Creating a 100% Canadian Sparrow III / Velvet Glove hybrid, SARH medium range AAM.

- later the Canadians realize that Diefenbaker beloved BOMARC-B has the same pulse-doppler-ARH seeker as Bendix Eagle on the F6D missileer (DPN-53).
Canadair (and Canadian Westinghouse) steps in to help Boeing building BOMARC-B (as per OTL) and gets the seeker. The Canadians try their own atempt at a Bendix Eagle (smaller and with shorter range) using the DPN-53.

- even later the same DPN-53 is used by (Canadian...) Westinghouse to create the AWG-10 / APG-59 for the Phantom: making it the first look-down / shoot down (albeit limited) fighter in the world circa 1966. Once again, Canadair is part of that, and so is the Arrow...
 
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Dilandu

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Looking at the photos of the Crusader, it APPEARS to be a relatively straightforward task to give it the same type of nose job that the Phantom got. But without digging into the guts of the aircraft, I don't know for certain. I'm sure had the Navy selected it, it would have recieved an upgraded version at the least.
Again, the problem is the purpose. Single-seat, radar- and payload-limited Crusader III clearly would not be as efficient fleet defense long-range interceptor as Phantom II was. And dogfight was - even for Navy - not a great priority, since it's kinda pointless to dogfight with a Tupolev bomber.
 

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Looking at the photos of the Crusader, it APPEARS to be a relatively straightforward task to give it the same type of nose job that the Phantom got.
Looking at photos, it APPEARS to me that an modification of the radome/nose, is going to alter airflow into the inlet.


Increasing the diameter of the radome by 33% is going to seriously degrade sightlines, as well. Notice where the radome is in the pictures.

You're looking at a whole new forward fuselage, not just a bulbous nose.

125182-117741a8fc7014cab3063afd320e69c8.jpg



The F-4 overcame this by seriously drooping the entire nose structure to more or less preserve the original countours as seen from the cockpit even with the bulbous radome.

avf4_1_02.jpg

To
origin.jpg


That doesn't seem possible on the Crusader without some serious work on the nose and inlet (and interaction inbetween).


Nothing is impossible if you throw enough time and money at it, but it might do weird things to the final product.
 

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Looking at the photos of the Crusader, it APPEARS to be a relatively straightforward task to give it the same type of nose job that the Phantom got.
Looking at photos, it APPEARS to me that an modification of the radome/nose, is going to alter airflow into the inlet.


Increasing the diameter of the radome by 33% is going to seriously degrade sightlines, as well. Notice where the radome is in the pictures.

You're looking at a whole new forward fuselage, not just a bulbous nose.

125182-117741a8fc7014cab3063afd320e69c8.jpg



The F-4 overcame this by seriously drooping the entire nose structure to more or less preserve the original countours as seen from the cockpit even with the bulbous radome.

avf4_1_02.jpg

To
origin.jpg


That doesn't seem possible on the Crusader without some serious work on the nose and inlet (and interaction inbetween).


Nothing is impossible if you throw enough time and money at it, but it might do weird things to the final product.
I was only stressing the appears part because it looked somewhat doable from photos. But you are right. It would take a lot of work to fit the AN/APQ-72 into the Crusader III. Is it doable? Probably, if the Navy wants it bad enough. But they would need a very strong incentive to put enough money into it.
 

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About the radar, from Tommy Thomason Crusader III book, page 59. AN/APQ-74 with a 32 inch dish, fit by moving the avionics behind the pilot and sliding the dish back in the nose to a position much closer to the pilot.

The Advanced F8U-3 configuration I mentioned also had a 32" radar dish, but with AN/PQ-75 and AWG-7, for use with Vought V-415A LRAAMs (and 4 sidewinders standard) for the Missileer program. It had a new forward fuselage (it looks to me as if they slid the cockpit back a bit to fit the radar electronics in their normal position) and an extended wing leading edge, I presume to deal with the slightly longer fuselage.

Part of the inspiration for this scenario comes from the drawings and text on that and the surrounding pages. I resist the scenario because I really like the F-14 and I don't see the Tomcat happening if there is a Crusader III that can fling Eagles (or Phoenixes) around, so I decided to embrace "no Tomcats" and see what people think would happen in that world.
 

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The Soviets: thanksfully, ding dong the Mig-23 "Flunker" is dead. No F-111 to start the VG craze and no Phantom either for the general look.

The alternative is probably some kind of solid-nose Mig-21 with a bigger engine and agility... think a J7 / J8 like type. Or smaller Ye-150 series. Or the Eurocanard look alike, can't remember if Ye-8 or Ye-50. It was lovely looking.
No big break with the MiG 15/17/19/21 series.

Although it won't change Israeli pilot goodness compared to Arab pilots crapiness.

MiG-25 don't change by an inch it was an interceptor just like Su-15 and Tu-128. By 1967 it is revealed to the world. So at some point the F-15 to tackle it will have to happen, screw VG wings.
Yeah, I really don't see a future for the MiG-23. Did the Soviets have the engine tech to get over 1:1 with a single engine?

I thought about the MiG-25 challenge, but I thought with that much more thrust and some additional modifications for aerodynamic heating beyond a new canopy an F8U-3 that might have been capable of getting close to Mach 3 (Mach 2.8 seems certain with a new canopy). Do you think a program to develop a MiG-25 beater would still have been seen to be necessary?
really like the F11F-2 Super Tiger and the F8U-3 Crusader III (especially the Advanced Crusader design with Eagle missile equivalents), but I wonder what the effects of both being adopted in the place of the F-8 and F-104 for the Super Tiger and the F-4 for the Crusader III would be. So I've decided to crowd source it here as a what if game.
Well, for something like that to happens, both USAF and USN must be much more convinced that maneuvering air battle - old school dogfight - is not completely gone. Problem is, they thought otherwise. USAF essentially viewed fighters only in context of inrerceptors, protecting territory from enemy bombers: they were completely disinterested in dominating the airspace over battlefield, arguing that air dominance should be established by strikes against enemy airbases. Navy wasn't that radical, but they needed missile-armed interceptor, capable of stopping enemy bombers on standoff distance from carriers.

Both F11 and F8 did not fit into such paradigms. To replace F-104 and F-4, some major change in US aviation doctrine required.
Which is why I specified that the USAF turned to the Navy planes during the Vietnam War when it became clear the century series couldn't cut it air to air. They had doctrine change forced on themThey needed something *right now*, and the only US fighters that fit the requirement are the two Navy fighters, so that's what they take. It's a desperation move that works out. But again, it's the what happens next, what does the future look like given this scenario that I'm interested in. The only other U.S. option at the time is the F-5A, and I don't think they'd pick that over either of the Navy planes.

I like this scenario. McNamara after all managed to force USAF buying USN Phantom and A-7 OTL. There they would at least get Crusader III in place of Phantom, for a start.Super Tiger I'm not really sure.

Vought would be super busy churning out Crusader III. Without the earlier Crusader would the A-7 exists ? or maybe the Crusader I happens but the II is screwed by the Super Tiger circa 1957 and Vought in turn focuse more on the III and screws the Phantom. The A-7 still happens for VAL.

Northrop P-530 still happens circa 1968 as the ultimate N-156F derivative and now it has a boulevard, no fighter mafia to put the F-16 on its way, even less with GD history in shambles, no
F-111.

Fleet defence: Crusader III with Eagle is NOT the F6D Missileer / F-111B / Tomcat the USN badly wants. Maybe the APQ-81 is allowed to happen on that big-nose Skywarrior test bed in 1961; but then what ? I'm tempted by a J79 Skywarrior (because of the test bed) or "Intruder Missileer", perhaps the latter as a EA-6B variant ? how awesome would that be ! FA-6B Missiler... Bendix Eagle was no worse than a HARM or Standard ARM missile.

Boeing would return to fighters at least. Kind of: after BOMARC, the F-111. TSR-2 wouldn't be different and yes F-111K may screw Tornado, no AFVG deal with Dassault no UKVG either.

British Crusader III for the RN is very intriguing.
As far as Centaurs go Crusader III might be better than Spey Phantom.

In turns the French have no Crusader II since your scenario screwed it. So the French gets Super Tiger, and the lower landing weight come in handy on Clemenceaus.

Incidentally you solved Essex air defence problem until they retire: Super Tiger in place of OTL Crusader / Skyhawk mix.

Note that, unlike Crusader II and its small nose bullet, Super Tiger would bring Sparrow III capability on top of Sidewinders. Including on Essex. And Centaurs. On the Clems it would be far easier to upgrade the Super Tigers first to Mirage IIIC / R530 / Cyrano II - and later to F1 / Super 530F / Cyrano IV. Something impossible with OTL Crouzes.

Lockheed would be in a curious position. The F-104 was obviously a double edged sword for them.
In Germany a good hundred pilots should live another day although the root causes were also related to pilot training.
This is the kind of thing I was hoping for. I actually imagine the super-carriers wings would be Crusader III and Intruders like the Navy wanted to do with F-14s and A-6s, and the Essexes would be all Super Tigers rather than F-8s and A-4 or A-7s. But I didn't specify that in the scenario since it's incidental and someone else might have a different idea for carrier wings.

I wholly agree on France, but I tend to lean toward F11-2 for the RN as well, as the normal Crusader was a handful on landing. That would be something an F8U-4 might need to work to address. But the RN made the F4U work, so I wouldn't put it past them to make the F8U-3 work as well. Crusader III and Buccaneers, that's a mouthwatering combo, especially on CVA-01, eh?

The Tiger was said to have superb handling, so I don't think it would have wound up with Lawn Dart like nicknames, which is why I asked about whether single engine fighters would have continued to be the norm without the negative experience of the Starfighter losses in allied service.

Would Jaguar still go ahead? And what about aviation in Europe without a strike optimized MRCA if the UK goes with Boeing's less delayed, overrun and compromised USAF only F-111? The other partners seemed to want a fighter rather than attack aircraft, but without Phantom and with Super Tiger, maybe they would be leaning the other way? Or an opportunity for Northrop and their P530, or Saab and their Viggen?
 

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Part of the inspiration for this scenario comes from the drawings and text on that and the surrounding pages. I resist the scenario because I really like the F-14 and I don't see the Tomcat happening if there is a Crusader III that can fling Eagles (or Phoenixes) around, so I decided to embrace "no Tomcats" and see what people think would happen in that world.
I think you would still something like the OTL Tomcat in TTL. The Crusader III just isn't big enough to haul around more than 2 Eagle or Phoenix missiles while the Tomcat could handle 6 plus Sidewinders.
 

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An earlier and better F-111 for Britain, post TSR-2 death, would have a large impact. Jaguar creep away from a trainer was partly related. And AFVG, too.
The anglo-french agreement happened on May 17, 1965 a month after the TSR-2 death note. Not sure it would happen with a secure supply of F-111s, and if did not, it would have massive consequences down the road on both sides of the Channel. Among them no Tornado and thus something else for Germany. Also something else than Phantoms.
Jaguar massive costs was a led chain around the Armée de l'Air neck post 1968, with the social costs of Mai-68. More Mirages instead, perhaps an earlier attack variant of the F1 or an improved IIIE. Or something M53 powered. TF306 and twin jets remain unaffordable.
 
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Do you think a program to develop a MiG-25 beater would still have been seen to be necessary?

Forgot that the Crusader III was massively fast and powerful, even more than the Phantom. Even if enough to kick a MiG-25 arse, USAF being USAF they will want F-X for the 70's and argue that the Vought is obsolete (and a Navy bird, the horror).
 

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The main obstacle on the British side is the lack of enthusiasm for single engined designs especially in the RN.
F111K was a narrow requirement like TSR2. Something like AFVG/BuccaneerS2/Tornado was always going to be needed.
Jaguar is the aircraft the P1154 should have been, albeit by a strange twist of fate. A purely British Jaguar might have been in service sooner.
Assuming your Crusader and Tiger versions go into US service they might have been bought by the RN instead of the F4. It is also possible that a twin engined UK design might have been prefered. In the absence of the P1154 it could have been a more sensible version of the 582/3 family.
 

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F8U-3 nose is intimately involved in compression for its intake design. That's why Vought's suggestion on housing the larger AN/APQ-72 kept outer mould lines the same and simply moved the radar antenna further back in the nose.

In the 1960s you simply can't fit an APQ-81 type capability to an F8U-3 airframe. In the 1970s the Tomcat comes close in capability but is significantly larger. You are instead looking at something more like AWG-10 (AN/APG-59). AWG-10 had the range to potentially use a longer missile than Sparrow especially against bomber targets. It was a heavy system already even without multiple target tracking.
 

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You are instead looking at something more like AWG-10 (AN/APG-59). AWG-10 had the range to potentially use a longer missile than Sparrow especially against bomber targets. It was a heavy system already even without multiple target tracking.

I linked the paper somewhere in another thread - but BOMARC, Eagle, and APG-59 are all very closely related: Westinghouse, active homing, pulse doppler. For the record BOMARC-B had 400 miles range, although of course it was guided from the ground and it weighed 16 000 pounds. And the 1300 pounds Eagle nearly had 100 miles range. So I'm not surprised AWG-10 had potential at long range. Nor that it was quite heavy !
It comes with the F-4J variant which flew in 1965. I've seen comparison with the earlier APQ-72 and it was a huge improvement in range, indeed. A true paradigm change.
 

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This thread is another example (unintentionally of course) of how one cannot get around the brilliance of the F4 Phantom and its variants.
Its twin engines, powerful armament and radar coupled with its overall design make it the military equivalent of the Boeing 707 in the 1960s.
Had it not been for Dassault and Lockheed, the F4 would have been used by France, Canada and Italy as well. (The Nations that bought the F16 in the 70s might also have ended up with F4s).
 

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Very interesting idea and this is just a preliminary response to the supposed lack of a 2 seat Super Crusader from earlier posts, if it had been selected Vought would have undoubtedly built a 2 seater, most likely the tandem version. This also solves any qualms the RN would have so it's a go for them, with either the Olympus, Conway or Medway and ADEN 30mm guns with British avionics. The RAF already have the Lightning at this point and will keep it in service, but the Treasury may be tempted with a much more advanced fighter that can be common with both services. In a throwback to Canadian Spey Phantom discussions, maybe we have a Commonwealth Super Crusader type program with both the Brits and Canadians (and possibly Australia) buy and build a RR engined version with British avionics. I'm sure the Canucks would appreciate the Super Crusader's longer range and better handling to the CF-104 and CF-5.

With the RN fighter question solved and it possibly being bought by the RAF, the Crusader's more limited bomb load would leave the RAF lacking a suitable strike fighter and close support aircraft, this potentially makes the P1154 a likely proposition but also leaves open a question of a Canberra replacement. I personally don't believe the AFVG would be workable as major combat aircraft are something the British and French could never reconcile differences over, so either a Boeing F-111 with RR engines or a TSR.2 (maybe sharing the Olympus with the Crusader?). If they're already buying Crusaders they may not want to buy another American aircraft so it may give them the impetus to continue on with it.

Now having the Super Tiger in service certainly shakes things up, giving it the institutional backing to win international orders. At minimum we probably see it enter service with Japan, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and possibly Canada if they don't pick Super Crusaders. Lockheed may well need a bailout or get bought out if the lack of Starfighter orders compounds with C5 issues and L1011 delays. I imagine the USAF would fight a Super Crusader adoption far more than the Phantom simply due to the fact that it's less multi-role and it's superiority over existing USAF aircraft won't be so pronounced. If McNamara is unsuccessful and they've already gotten their way on TFX, they may well adopt multi-role F-106 developments as a stopgap while they formulate FX requirements in light of Vietnam experiences. Northrop is still waiting in the wings with the P530 as an advanced export fighter with the Dutch and Australians as their target, with FX disrupted compared to OTL and LWF not a thing yet they may well capture the Air Forces attention.
 

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This thread is another example (unintentionally of course) of how one cannot get around the brilliance of the F4 Phantom and its variants.
Its twin engines, powerful armament and radar coupled with its overall design make it the military equivalent of the Boeing 707 in the 1960s.
Had it not been for Dassault and Lockheed, the F4 would have been used by France, Canada and Italy as well. (The Nations that bought the F16 in the 70s might also have ended up with F4s).

In France case indeed... for the Navy, had the Clems been a little larger (PA58 Verdun size) the Phantom could have made it on the deck.
Even more with the full length BS-5A catapults - the 65 m long variant of Ark and Eagle rather than the cut down 50 m variant.

On the AdA front, Dassault in 1958 had an "intermediate Mirage IV" (Mirage IVC) not unlike the bastard cross of a contemporary Phantom with the future Rafale.
This Mirage IVC (2*Atar 9) very much grew from Phantom to Vigilante and become the familiar Mirage IVA nuclear strike bomber.

On paper at least, it would be feasible to change back the Mirage IV-A into a fighter.

-First, change the nose and put a Cyrano II (Mirage IIIE) or Cyrano IV (Mirage F1 radar) inside.
-Then remove the doppler radar in the belly radome, no use for it anymore.
-Put a big fuel tank in place of the semi-recessed atomic bomb to boost range.
- put two DEFA 550 guns at their usual Mirage place: below the air intakes.
-Hang four R-530 semi-recessed on the flanks (Phantom-style)
-Keep the huge drop tanks on the wings but add side-pylons for two or four Magic-1.

And boom, here is a French Tu-128... or F-101B. Armed to the teeth.

The 62nd and last Mirage IVA rolled out of Mérignac production line in October 1968.
A following interceptor variant would come right in time to screw the Mirage G4, G8, ACF and Mirage 4000 - failed projects over the next decade.

Growing a little more ambitious:
- replace the Atar 9s with M45 turbofans boosted to 15 000 pounds of thrust - the AFVG engine. This should save a helluva amount of kerosene, plus a lot of internal space for even more kerosene.
- Concorde provides, right from March 1969, the Mirage 2000 analog fly-by-wire except ten years in advance.
 
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In a technical sense, the side-by-side seating keeps existing length, which the RN will be keen on.
Such a solution isn't as bad as some might suppose. Since any bulging at the cockpit is ahead of the wing.
 

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As long as it is not made as it was on the Sea Vixen - a darkened, windowless pit for the unfortunate navigator ! :eek:
Look at the early design concepts (and even the early prototypes) for the F-4. The RIO wasn't even going to have a window in the back seat. Then McDonnell, reluctantly, added two small windows to give them some light before basically being forced to go with a standard canopy. Why was that decision made? Because if the RIO was in a dark cockpit, it would make it easier to see the radar screen. Never mind the crippling claustrophobia it would trigger or the almost guaranteed air sickness from violent maneuvering without being able to see anything. Or the vertigo. Or the fact that the pilot would have zero rearward visibility.
 

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Another thought.....a strike optimised F8U-III would benefit from the side-by-side cockpit for crew cooperation.

I don't think P1154 would go ahead after it's 'joint' win of NMBR.3.
The P1154 was effectively foisted on the services, partly because it fitted RAF needs and partly in hope of NATO export orders.
Rather if the UK is opting for F8U-III, for F and FAW then a Strike/Attack variant is more affordable.
P1154 would be out back and fade away.
A licensed build of F8U-III is more likely.
 

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With Short brothers in Belfast...
Always bugged me that bit.
I mean had Vought achieved a deal with Hawkers, this is a much better CTOL/CATOBAR option as a backup to the P1154......
 
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