• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

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

pathology_doc

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,007
Reaction score
293
So I've decided to crowd source it here as a what if game.
I think your what-if just doesn't work. I'm sure we've all seen the quote that the Crusader III was a brilliant aircraft, it just happened to be up against one of aviation's all-time greats at a time when the Government wasn't willing to pay for both.

The F-4 was always going to win if it existed, because it was one of the most versatile airplanes of its era (not least because it could carry EIGHT missiles into combat, a vital asset at a time when the aircraft didn't have a gun and the missiles were badly behaved to say the least). What you need to posit is that either McDonnell-Douglas never built it or somehow failed to make it the success that it was. THEN your scenario works, but not otherwise.

Hang four R-530 semi-recessed on the flanks (Phantom-style)
Is the R-530 even compatible with that? Or is the pylon mounting we see in history merely a function of the aircraft that carried it?
 

apparition13

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
199
Reaction score
288
So I've decided to crowd source it here as a what if game.
I think your what-if just doesn't work. I'm sure we've all seen the quote that the Crusader III was a brilliant aircraft, it just happened to be up against one of aviation's all-time greats at a time when the Government wasn't willing to pay for both.

The F-4 was always going to win if it existed, because it was one of the most versatile airplanes of its era (not least because it could carry EIGHT missiles into combat, a vital asset at a time when the aircraft didn't have a gun and the missiles were badly behaved to say the least). What you need to posit is that either McDonnell-Douglas never built it or somehow failed to make it the success that it was. THEN your scenario works, but not otherwise.
This "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" was in the original post.
 

pathology_doc

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,007
Reaction score
293
So I've decided to crowd source it here as a what if game.
I think your what-if just doesn't work. I'm sure we've all seen the quote that the Crusader III was a brilliant aircraft, it just happened to be up against one of aviation's all-time greats at a time when the Government wasn't willing to pay for both.

The F-4 was always going to win if it existed, because it was one of the most versatile airplanes of its era (not least because it could carry EIGHT missiles into combat, a vital asset at a time when the aircraft didn't have a gun and the missiles were badly behaved to say the least). What you need to posit is that either McDonnell-Douglas never built it or somehow failed to make it the success that it was. THEN your scenario works, but not otherwise.
This "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" was in the original post.
Alright, then: the Americans were fortunate to select the one-plane-does-all platform given the war they ended up fighting. How does the absence of the Phantom change the air war in Vietnam? Not for the better, I would imagine.
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
5,784
Reaction score
4,007
The Phantom lacked agility, for a start. Anything that turn better will help against the goddam MiGs. Crusader III and Super Tiger will do better there (hopefully)
But I agree, range and bomb-load wise, nothing matched the Phantom. Even more with the F-111 troubled childhood. More F-105Ds ?
 

SSgtC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
680
Reaction score
1,070
So I've decided to crowd source it here as a what if game.
I think your what-if just doesn't work. I'm sure we've all seen the quote that the Crusader III was a brilliant aircraft, it just happened to be up against one of aviation's all-time greats at a time when the Government wasn't willing to pay for both.

The F-4 was always going to win if it existed, because it was one of the most versatile airplanes of its era (not least because it could carry EIGHT missiles into combat, a vital asset at a time when the aircraft didn't have a gun and the missiles were badly behaved to say the least). What you need to posit is that either McDonnell-Douglas never built it or somehow failed to make it the success that it was. THEN your scenario works, but not otherwise.
This "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" was in the original post.
Alright, then: the Americans were fortunate to select the one-plane-does-all platform given the war they ended up fighting. How does the absence of the Phantom change the air war in Vietnam? Not for the better, I would imagine.
Actually, the Crusader III probably does better in the air war than the Phantom did. It wasn't until near the end of the war that the Navy finally worked out proper tactics for the F-4 to effectively engage NVAF MiGs. A lot of times, when Sparrows were fired at maneuvering targets like the MiG-17 and -21, the target could break lock and escape simply because the Phantom couldn't turn with them and keep them painted. The Crusader could. So while it may have been more difficult to acquire the initial lock on due to higher pilot workload, once the target was locked up the Crusader could actually maintain that lock and guide the missile all the way to the target.

The Phantom lacked agility, for a start. Anything that turn better will help against the goddam MiGs. Crusader III and Super Tiger will do better there (hopefully)
But I agree, range and bomb-load wise, nothing matched the Phantom. Even more with the F-111 troubled childhood. More F-105Ds ?
See my above comment re the Crusader III's agility. The rest? Jeez, I don't know. Probably the F-105 stays in production longer to fill that hole for the Air Force. For the Navy, maybe the Vigilante actually sees some use as a bomber instead of just a recon plane? The Navy may also land one of the A-4/A-7 squadrons from their carriers and replace it with an additional A-6 squadron.
 

pathology_doc

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,007
Reaction score
293
For the Navy, maybe the Vigilante actually sees some use as a bomber instead of just a recon plane?
While we're talking humongous missile fighters (F-4), was the concept of an ADV Vigilante ever kicked around? Or does the plane, like the non-B F-111's, simply not have the right performance characteristics, even as a pure interceptor?
 

_Del_

I really should change my personal text... Or not.
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
648
Reaction score
435
For the Navy, maybe the Vigilante actually sees some use as a bomber instead of just a recon plane?
While we're talking humongous missile fighters (F-4), was the concept of an ADV Vigilante ever kicked around? Or does the plane, like the non-B F-111's, simply not have the right performance characteristics, even as a pure interceptor?
It was kicked around a lot: proposed rocket booster engines for improved climb/performance. There's even the NR-349-- a three-engined Super Vig with Phoenix missiles!


Edit: quick search found this thread
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
5,784
Reaction score
4,007
It wouldn't be too hard to put a rocket into a Vigilante bomb-tube (or linear bomb bay or whatever it was called). NASA Scout upper stages had the right diameter and length to fits in...
 

1635yankee

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
69
Reaction score
65
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.
From what I read, quite a lot of the development effort on the F-15 was devoted to keeping equal electronic performance to the F-4 while getting rid of the guy in back.
 
Top