What if Germany did not go for the F-104

SSgtC

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Would a split buy be possible? A Spey powered F-8 was offered to the UK around this time, Germany could go for a Spey F-8 for its fighter requirement and buy Buccaneers for low level strike, seems like an ideal and more capable option while also being more realistic than the orphaned Super Tiger getting bought.
That was a different plane from the one above. That was a version of the F-8E that swapped out the J57 for a Spey. If they want a plane that can flat out move, you want the F8U-3. Mach 2.39 and still accelerating when they pulled the throttles back to keep the windscreen from melting. Problem is, that plane uses the much larger and more powerful J75. The Spey wasn't big enough. But there are British engines that would work. The Gyron was a almost perfect match and the Medway and Bristol would also work.
 

Archibald

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Would a split buy be possible? A Spey powered F-8 was offered to the UK around this time, Germany could go for a Spey F-8 for its fighter requirement and buy Buccaneers for low level strike, seems like an ideal and more capable option while also being more realistic than the orphaned Super Tiger getting bought.
That was a different plane from the one above. That was a version of the F-8E that swapped out the J57 for a Spey. If they want a plane that can flat out move, you want the F8U-3. Mach 2.39 and still accelerating when they pulled the throttles back to keep the windscreen from melting. Problem is, that plane uses the much larger and more powerful J75. The Spey wasn't big enough. But there are British engines that would work. The Gyron was a almost perfect match and the Medway and Bristol would also work.

How about Olympus, TSR-2 / Concorde style ? that one had nearly enough thrust to send a Crusader III in orbit LMAO. There was the Conway, too - if it ever got a reheated and supersonic variant, can't remember.

funnily enough, it would be possible to get
- Crusader III with Medway
- Crusader II with Spey
- earlier A-7F "Strikefighter" with a F-4K Phantom engine, that is: a mix of RB.168 Spey and Allison TF41

In a few words: The Crusader / Crusader III / A-7F extended family had tons of whatif potential all the way from 1955 to 1995.
 

zen

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Hmmm...
A fixed wing F8 with Spey would start blurring the boundary with the later A7....
But then effectively that's roughly where the A7 begins as a concept.

However.....had a German order for F8 in a multirole configuration been successful in the late 50's to early 60’s. This imparts a potential for the RN and RAF to simply opt for this same solution.
Would not the pressure, economic and political have been immense if this multirole Crusader had swept the board instead of the Starfighter?
If anything Vought could have swept the board across Europe even more than Lockheed.

Alternatively....had Vought been successful with it's F8U-III variant to the UK. Which was clearly a strike system.......
Then pressure on the adoption of the F8U-III for fighter roles is significant.
But also a stronger contender for German nuclear strike as well.
But timing for that would be critical.and the Thunderchief would become it's significant rival.

But.....what about German domestic efforts?
 

Archibald

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What is somewhat ironic with 100% hindsight is that Vought triumphed with the Crusader yet never put a J79 in that bird. By contrast Douglas and Grumman with the Skylancer and Super Tiger had plans to do so (the former) or very much did it; yet these aircraft ended orphans and went nowhere.

Another irony is related to vietnam. When the MiGs started making Phantom lives a misery, the USN was more than happy to have the Crusader guns and agility and smaller carrier abilities; to the point of remanufacturing hundreds of them;
- while USAF not so lucky not only struggled with the Phantoms
but also threw everything but the kitchen sink at air combat:
- F-111A and F-105 were for strike
- F-102 and F-104 were tried but found to be ill-suited
- F-101A /C /R were for reconnaissance, strike
- F-101B and F-106 were too few and for ADC in CONUS

It is pretty unnerving to think USAF couldn't find a decent fighter in its immense inventory to efficient tackle those freakkin' MIG-21 in A2A combat. In the end Phantoms did the job, TBH.

What else ?

Can't help thinking of Crusader III, Skylancer and Super Tiger fighting their way in Vietnam - some in place of Crusaders, some in place of Phantom.
 

SSgtC

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Alternatively....had Vought been successful with it's F8U-III variant to the UK. Which was clearly a strike system.......
Then pressure on the adoption of the F8U-III for fighter roles is significant.
Just to clarify something. The Crusader III was in no way, shape or form a strike system. It was designed as a fleet defense interceptor that also happened to be an outstanding dogfighter. To interest the Germans and the RAF, Vought would have had to do some very intensive design work to add hardpoints and ground attack avionics.
 

zen

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Alternatively....had Vought been successful with it's F8U-III variant to the UK. Which was clearly a strike system.......
Then pressure on the adoption of the F8U-III for fighter roles is significant.
Just to clarify something. The Crusader III was in no way, shape or form a strike system. It was designed as a fleet defense interceptor that also happened to be an outstanding dogfighter. To interest the Germans and the RAF, Vought would have had to do some very intensive design work to add hardpoints and ground attack avionics.
To be clear there was a Vought proposal to the UK based on the F8U-III using Conway and remarkably Thunderchief style inlets. This apparently had a recess for a large bomb ventrally.
 

SSgtC

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Alternatively....had Vought been successful with it's F8U-III variant to the UK. Which was clearly a strike system.......
Then pressure on the adoption of the F8U-III for fighter roles is significant.
Just to clarify something. The Crusader III was in no way, shape or form a strike system. It was designed as a fleet defense interceptor that also happened to be an outstanding dogfighter. To interest the Germans and the RAF, Vought would have had to do some very intensive design work to add hardpoints and ground attack avionics.
To be clear there was a Vought proposal to the UK based on the F8U-III using Conway and remarkably Thunderchief style inlets. This apparently had a recess for a large bomb ventrally.
I'm familiar with that proposal. The drawings that show it with F-105 style inlets were not from Vought but from a third party who misunderstood the design description. Vought was referring to the forward sweep of the inlet when they referenced the Thud. The proposal was to modify the airframe to carry a single 2,000 bomb in a semisubmerged well between the main landing gear. You could add wing hardpoints as well, but that only allows for a maximum of 6,000 pounds of bombs, far short of the Phantom's 18,000 capacity. Though in practice, probably not far off of what would be actually be carried to maintain range.
 

helmutkohl

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What is somewhat ironic with 100% hindsight is that Vought triumphed with the Crusader yet never put a J79 in that bird. By contrast Douglas and Grumman with the Skylancer and Super Tiger had plans to do so (the former) or very much did it; yet these aircraft ended orphans and went nowhere.

Another irony is related to vietnam. When the MiGs started making Phantom lives a misery, the USN was more than happy to have the Crusader guns and agility and smaller carrier abilities; to the point of remanufacturing hundreds of them;
- while USAF not so lucky not only struggled with the Phantoms
but also threw everything but the kitchen sink at air combat:
- F-111A and F-105 were for strike
- F-102 and F-104 were tried but found to be ill-suited
- F-101A /C /R were for reconnaissance, strike
- F-101B and F-106 were too few and for ADC in CONUS

It is pretty unnerving to think USAF couldn't find a decent fighter in its immense inventory to efficient tackle those freakkin' MIG-21 in A2A combat. In the end Phantoms did the job, TBH.

What else ?

Can't help thinking of Crusader III, Skylancer and Super Tiger fighting their way in Vietnam - some in place of Crusaders, some in place of Phantom.
I think the Crusader was a great aircraft, and an F-8, A-7 pair would have been sufficient for many air forces. I wonder if the best 2nd gen (or do you consider htis a 3rd gen) aircraft. but you still need that A-7 for dedicated ground attack.
 

SSgtC

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What is somewhat ironic with 100% hindsight is that Vought triumphed with the Crusader yet never put a J79 in that bird. By contrast Douglas and Grumman with the Skylancer and Super Tiger had plans to do so (the former) or very much did it; yet these aircraft ended orphans and went nowhere.

Another irony is related to vietnam. When the MiGs started making Phantom lives a misery, the USN was more than happy to have the Crusader guns and agility and smaller carrier abilities; to the point of remanufacturing hundreds of them;
- while USAF not so lucky not only struggled with the Phantoms
but also threw everything but the kitchen sink at air combat:
- F-111A and F-105 were for strike
- F-102 and F-104 were tried but found to be ill-suited
- F-101A /C /R were for reconnaissance, strike
- F-101B and F-106 were too few and for ADC in CONUS

It is pretty unnerving to think USAF couldn't find a decent fighter in its immense inventory to efficient tackle those freakkin' MIG-21 in A2A combat. In the end Phantoms did the job, TBH.

What else ?

Can't help thinking of Crusader III, Skylancer and Super Tiger fighting their way in Vietnam - some in place of Crusaders, some in place of Phantom.
I think the Crusader was a great aircraft, and an F-8, A-7 pair would have been sufficient for many air forces. I wonder if the best 2nd gen (or do you consider htis a 3rd gen) aircraft. but you still need that A-7 for dedicated ground attack.
The Crusader II kind of straddled the line between second and third generation (side note, this is why I HATE classifying planes into generations because so many of them don't clearly fit into one or the other). While the Crusader III was solidly in the third generation.
 

sferrin

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What is somewhat ironic with 100% hindsight is that Vought triumphed with the Crusader yet never put a J79 in that bird. By contrast Douglas and Grumman with the Skylancer and Super Tiger had plans to do so (the former) or very much did it; yet these aircraft ended orphans and went nowhere.

Another irony is related to vietnam. When the MiGs started making Phantom lives a misery, the USN was more than happy to have the Crusader guns and agility and smaller carrier abilities; to the point of remanufacturing hundreds of them;
- while USAF not so lucky not only struggled with the Phantoms
but also threw everything but the kitchen sink at air combat:
- F-111A and F-105 were for strike
- F-102 and F-104 were tried but found to be ill-suited
- F-101A /C /R were for reconnaissance, strike
- F-101B and F-106 were too few and for ADC in CONUS

It is pretty unnerving to think USAF couldn't find a decent fighter in its immense inventory to efficient tackle those freakkin' MIG-21 in A2A combat. In the end Phantoms did the job, TBH.

What else ?

Can't help thinking of Crusader III, Skylancer and Super Tiger fighting their way in Vietnam - some in place of Crusaders, some in place of Phantom.
I think the Crusader was a great aircraft, and an F-8, A-7 pair would have been sufficient for many air forces. I wonder if the best 2nd gen (or do you consider htis a 3rd gen) aircraft. but you still need that A-7 for dedicated ground attack.
The Crusader II kind of straddled the line between second and third generation (side note, this is why I HATE classifying planes into generations because so many of them don't clearly fit into one or the other). While the Crusader III was solidly in the third generation.
The earlier stuff was particularly difficult to categorize. Was the F-100 the same gen as the F-86D or the F-102? Was the F-106 the same gen as the F-102 or the F-4? (rhetorical questions)
 

zen

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Alternatively....had Vought been successful with it's F8U-III variant to the UK. Which was clearly a strike system.......
Then pressure on the adoption of the F8U-III for fighter roles is significant.
Just to clarify something. The Crusader III was in no way, shape or form a strike system. It was designed as a fleet defense interceptor that also happened to be an outstanding dogfighter. To interest the Germans and the RAF, Vought would have had to do some very intensive design work to add hardpoints and ground attack avionics.
To be clear there was a Vought proposal to the UK based on the F8U-III using Conway and remarkably Thunderchief style inlets. This apparently had a recess for a large bomb ventrally.
I'm familiar with that proposal. The drawings that show it with F-105 style inlets were not from Vought but from a third party who misunderstood the design description. Vought was referring to the forward sweep of the inlet when they referenced the Thud. The proposal was to modify the airframe to carry a single 2,000 bomb in a semisubmerged well between the main landing gear. You could add wing hardpoints as well, but that only allows for a maximum of 6,000 pounds of bombs, far short of the Phantom's 18,000 capacity. Though in practice, probably not far off of what would be actually be carried to maintain range.
Well I didn't know that about the inlet, but it makes more sense.
 

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Well I didn't know that about the inlet, but it makes more sense.
Yeah, and it's an easy mistake to make too. If it was described to you or me as having an "F-105 style inlet" we would probably make the same assumption that they meant side mounted inlets. When what Vought actually meant was a single chin mounted swept forward inlet.
 

zen

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Well I didn't know that about the inlet, but it makes more sense.
Yeah, and it's an easy mistake to make too. If it was described to you or me as having an "F-105 style inlet" we would probably make the same assumption that they meant side mounted inlets. When what Vought actually meant was a single chin mounted swept forward inlet.
I do also think that if say you wanted to fit engines like the J79 or RB.106 or BE.30, such an inlet allows you to more fully exploit the potential increases in power.
Such engines ought to drive the F8 well over Mach 2.
 

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Well I didn't know that about the inlet, but it makes more sense.
Yeah, and it's an easy mistake to make too. If it was described to you or me as having an "F-105 style inlet" we would probably make the same assumption that they meant side mounted inlets. When what Vought actually meant was a single chin mounted swept forward inlet.
I do also think that if say you wanted to fit engines like the J79 or RB.106 or BE.30, such an inlet allows you to more fully exploit the potential increases in power.
Such engines ought to drive the F8 well over Mach 2.
Actually, that proposal was for a modified version of the F8U-3, not the F-8E. The Crusader III used a J75 engine that put out almost as much thrust at military power as the J79 did in burner. Vought estimated that the Super Crusader would have a top speed of Mach 2.6 once a new windscreen was fitted.

As for the Crusader I & II, swapping out a J79 for the J57 would likely see a loss of performance. The J57-P-420 used in the F-8H put out 19,600 pounds of thrust, some 2,000 pounds more than the J79 did. Fitting a Spey, though? Yeah, that would almost certainly allow Mach 2-2.1 performance from the Crusader II. Though airframe modifications may be needed to allow that level of performance.
 
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zen

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Well I didn't know that about the inlet, but it makes more sense.
Yeah, and it's an easy mistake to make too. If it was described to you or me as having an "F-105 style inlet" we would probably make the same assumption that they meant side mounted inlets. When what Vought actually meant was a single chin mounted swept forward inlet.
I do also think that if say you wanted to fit engines like the J79 or RB.106 or BE.30, such an inlet allows you to more fully exploit the potential increases in power.
Such engines ought to drive the F8 well over Mach 2.
Actually, that proposal was for a modified version of the F8U-3, not the F-8E. The Crusader III used a J75 engine that put out almost as much thrust at military power as the J79 did in burner. Vought estimated that the Super Crusader would have a top speed of Mach 2.6 once a new windscreen was fitted.

As for the Crusader I & II, swapping out a J79 for the J57 would likely see a loss of performance. The J79-P-420 used in the F-8H put out 19,600 pounds of thrust, some 2,000 pounds more than the J79 did. Fitting a Spey, though? Yeah, that would almost certainly allow Mach 2-2.1 performance from the Crusader II. Though airframe modifications may be needed to allow that level of performance.
Ok we're getting confused here, so clarification.
Fitting of J79, RB.106 or BE.30 is to F8-II.
Reference to F8U-III inlet is for replication at appropriate scale for F8-II to achieve improvement in speeds.
That is to say F8U-III 'like' inlet used on F8-II.
Fitting of engines such as Conway, Medway, Olympus and Gyron is to F8U-III.

Changes of propulsion plant cannot fully exploit increases in thrust of exhaust stream velocity/temperature without both appropriate variable convergent/divergent nozzle AND variable supersonic inlet.
F8 inlet is of fixed type and consequently has a limiting effect beyond Mach 1.8 if not sooner.

Changes to F8U-III 'type' inlet ought to produce a higher sustainable Mach No.
Ergo F8-II fitted with J79, RB.106, or BE.30 ought to achieve with appropriate inlet. Speeds upto thermal limits of the windscreen and fusilage.....presumably Mach 2.2 and with appropriate changes in materials, speeds above Mach 2.3 to limits of fuel or aerodynamics.

F8U-III with Conway or Medway variant ought, due to lower s.f.c, achieve longer duration for given fuel load/mission flight profile.
Similarly F8-II with Spey or alternative Bristol turbofan. Result in similar improvements in duration.

F8U-III with Gyron, Olympus or say RB.128 result in either equal to US turbojet powered results or negligible difference. Though RB.128 ought to achieve a higher figure.....as if that's needed.
 

helmutkohl

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F-8 question.. the crusader III was that huge variant that was meant to compete with the F-4 yes
whats the main difference between Crusader I and II then?

on a related note, US Navy always had awesome aircraft. F-8, A-7, A-6, F-18A/C, F-14, F-4, etc
 

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The style of your posts is always... surprising. Although not always easy to understand for not native english speaking people like myself.

Lubricants... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_jelly

Refers to two sayings in the English language, "set the wheels in motion" i.e. start a process going (usually some kind of official process) and "Oil the wheels" ("Grease the wheels" is more common in the US I think) is a saying for making that process run smoothly by applying lubricant, which in this case is not a mineral based lubricant but money.

I presume both trace their origins to the expansion of the Railways in the mid-19th Century.

Alertken says pretty much nailed this on the head. Lockheed's genius was getting Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy (and Canada too) on board in a much larger industrial programme to compensate for any lack of home user back in the US.
Its perhaps ironic that having tried so hard numerous times to foster joint NATO kit by the use of NBMRs (which as Altertken has raised before were largely paperwork dreams without procurement funds to make them reality), that a few executives (and perhaps a few briefcases of cash) managed to get all the main Central European NATO members to buy the same kit.
de Havilland had attempted this with the Macchi and Sud Est Vampire/Venom production lines and Hawker licensed Hunter to Fairey Avions/SABCA/Fokker/Aviolanda during the 1950s with success but there was no encore for the 1960s. There was probably not the money available to make defence assistance funding payments to NATO nations (the UK was still then a receiver of MDAP funds) and after the 1957 cuts the only game in town was the Lightning and if you didn't like the Lightning then you had to look elsewhere.

It's worth outlining the F-104G plan here:
The original 18 March 1959 licence agreement with Germany was for 210 aircraft built by Messerchmitt, Dornier, Heinkel and Siebel under the Arbeitsgemeinschaft 104 (ARGE 104) consortium.
On 20 April 1960 the Netherlands signed a deal, Belgium signed on 20 June and Italy followed on 2 March 1961. Canada had signed its own deal on 17 September 1959. Japan got hers on 29 January 1960, so after Germany and Canada but before BeNeIt.
So ARGE 104 was recast as ARGE Sud.
A new ARGE Nord was formed by Focke-Wulf, Hamburger Flugzeugbau, Weser Flugzeugbau, Fokker and Aviolanda.
A Western Group comprised SABCA and Avions Fairey.
An Italian Group was formed of Fiat, Aerfer, Macchi, Piaggio, SACA and SIAI-Marchetti.
Between them the F-104G orders in 1964 stood at 947 aircraft plus 149 RF-104G and 48 TF-104G.

Germany got 604 ARGE-built and 96 Lockheed-built F-104s; the Netherlands 120 from ARGE; Belgium 99 from home production and 1 from Lockheed, Italy 124 from home production and 1 from Lockheed. Italy then followed with the F-104S.
Canadair under its own licence agreement took care of other NATO needs: 25 for Denmark, 16 for Norway, 36 for Greece and 38 for Turkey. (I'm not sure why these came from Canadian and not European production, presumably to offset Canada's basing costs in Europe?)

Alertken is probably right, with this level of industrial benefit for a whole swathe of European aircraft industries some political lubricants probably helped the right people sign the right documents but there must have been a lot of industrial pressure too.

So from an AH perspective some factors are clear:
1. You need to kill the West German order by 1959 to avoid the critical mass of the smaller western NATO nations following suit in 1960.
2. There may have been scope to chip away at some of the smaller NATO members, the Belgian and Italian production blocs were not so tied into ARGE and might have been tempted by a good deal.
3. You need the right fighter at the right time.
4. You need financial clout behind you
5. The Germans didn't fully decide until 1959, is it feasible that they would have been able to make a decision sooner? Was a Saro P.177 order in 1957 or early 1958 really feasible or would it have been a hanging-on for 18 months for no benefit?
6. Does Germany, Canada and Japan all going for F-104 within 9 months of each other realistically kill off any other competitors beyond small-scale orders around the fringes?
Vought should have made an offer with the same industrial benefits as Lockheed, and marketed their aircraft as more flexible and relevant for real world combat missions. In a perfect world, the same industrial consortiums would have been manufacturing F-8s instead of Lockheed's dart.
 

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Forget the Super Tiger or the Crusader, the real answer to this problem, as the Germans realised a decade later, was the F4 Phantom. It first flew in 1958 and entered service in 1961.
Compared with the tortuous options above, especially the daft SR177, getting the F4 around in the late 50s rather than the early 60s seems a much easier alt Luftwaffe.
Canada is the other F4 should have been.
This would not have killed the Starfighter though the Belgians, Danes, Dutch and Norwegians might have gone with Drakens (Denmark bought some) or Mirages (Belgium later bought Mirage Vs).
They might even have bought Lightnings if the UK had got its act together.
There's also the question of whether the F-4 was even cleared for export at the time Germany bought 104s, the Phantom was a brand new aircraft still in the prototype phase at the time, it didn't enter series production until the early 60s (I think 61) by which time the 104 had already been selected. While I agree that the Phantom ultimately matured into exactly what the Germans were originally looking for in the late 50s, the likelihood that they would have put all their eggs into the basket of a plane that is still only a prototype is slim to none. It's the same reason that Northrop's F-5 wasn't considered seriously. Germany was looking for something already in production, something that could essentially be bought off the shelf. Given the aircraft they were considering, the F-8 probably would have been the best choice.
 

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Given the aircraft they were considering, the F-8 probably would have been the best choice.
Actually, given the time period, it really wasn't. I love the Crusader, but it lacked any kind of serious ground attack capability until the F8U-2NE (F-8E) was developed in 61/62. That was the first production version to have under wing pylons to carry bombs. Before that, the only ground attack capability the Crusader had was its canon and a tray of 32x2.75" unguided rockets that opened from near the airbrake. (That rocket pack was, to the best of my knowledge, never carried operationally and was sealed and replaced with a fuel tank starting with the F8U-2E in 1960.)
 

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Either F-5 or Mirage; Lighting was too specialized as interceptor at this time.
A french fighter for the Germans, would that work, maybe if it is a joint French-West German design maybe like the Alpha jet.
 

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I tend to agree that the F-8 would be the most likely, could it be modified more for the land based role? I'm thinking no variable incidence wing so they can add more hardpoints, lightened structure, J79 or even a Spey, and 30mm ADEN/DEFA cannons to replace the unreliable Mk.12s. Was anything close to this proposed or feasible?
I wonder what Erich Hartmann would have thought of the Crusader given its reputation as a true turn and burn dogfighter. I know that he actually got fired from his position in the Luftwaffe for his outspoken criticism of the F-104. Considering he would probably be one of the most qualified individuals to judge a fighter aircraft, I wonder if he would have supported a West German F-8 buy in place of the Starfighter (assuming Vought would do the same as Lockheed did with giving the Germans production license and assisting them with production as necessary)
 

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Given the aircraft they were considering, the F-8 probably would have been the best choice.
Actually, given the time period, it really wasn't. I love the Crusader, but it lacked any kind of serious ground attack capability until the F8U-2NE (F-8E) was developed in 61/62. That was the first production version to have under wing pylons to carry bombs. Before that, the only ground attack capability the Crusader had was its canon and a tray of 32x2.75" unguided rockets that opened from near the airbrake. (That rocket pack was, to the best of my knowledge, never carried operationally and was sealed and replaced with a fuel tank starting with the F8U-2E in 1960.)
Fair enough. I didn't know the F-8E was the first to include underwing pylons for bombs. I actually only recently learned of the rocket tray- from War Thunder of all places . To be fair, all the aircraft Germany was evaluating were truthfully ill-suited to the mission requirements they put forth. I just think the F-8 would have been a better alternative to Lockheed's dart despite its lack of ability to move mud. It wouldn't be until they got the F-4F that they would really find what they were originally looking for in 1958, the Phantom proved to be a true multirole aircraft.
 

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The event that could have killed the F104 buy did not happen until 1962 but it's such a juicy political moment that you might want to read this
Such an event could well have opened the door to the Mirage as a possible alternative. After all France does use the Mirage in all the roles taken on by the F104.
One issue though raised by Alertken was the carriage of US nuclear weapons. But perhaps embarrassment over Lockheed's public disgrace might force the US to let the Mirage carry them.
Equally a UK proposal to build Lightning and Buccaneer in Germany (especially if the RAF is forced to have it as a Canberra replacement) could have been a solution.
A bit like the F4 it is hard to disinvent the F104. For all its problems it did the job.
 

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YA #62 makes the point that Vought should have made a wide licence/co-production offer.

Modern military history has frequent cases of obstruction by Design firms trying to keep production in-house. They forget it was not the Lockheed F-104: it was the US taxpayers' F-104 and it was for (UK:Ministers; US: SecDef) to impose whatever, politically, they might choose.
If Vought doubted any benefit from Big Offset/Little home employment, so dragged their feet, it would be for DoD to put them straight.

F-104G airframe co-production program was a great industrial success. All the European participants took away a perception that it had disappointed, commercially: cost seen as grotesquely greater, both than ex-US off-the-shelf, and than Buyers had expected (Changes...)
Both Euro-F-16 and Tornado benefited from...introduction to, if not mastering the dark art of Project Cost/Time Management.
 

Yankee_Aviator

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You also run into the same issue as the Super Tiger. The plane is an orphan. The Navy needs to buy it for Vought to have any chance of international sales success.
In addition to this, part of the reason it was rejected by the Navy in the first place was that it was too specialized. Even the XF4H-1, the initial prototype, the Phantom was capable of carrying bombs, and a rather ludicrous bomb load for a fighter at the time. The Phantom, in addition to being seen as a superior interceptor due to having a dedicated RIO, and safer for carrier ops due to having two engines, was seen as more versatile by the Navy, being capable of performing both interceptor and strike missions. Considering the Germans were looking for a multirole, the Super Crusader is unfortunately out of the equation altogether.
 

uk 75

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The Mirage III served the French in all the roles that the Starfighter served the Germans (except for naval strike/recce).
The French had the F100 Super Sabre. One could turn this thread on its head and wonder what a French F104 force might have looked like.
 

zen

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The Mirage III served the French in all the roles that the Starfighter served the Germans (except for naval strike/recce).
The French had the F100 Super Sabre. One could turn this thread on its head and wonder what a French F104 force might have looked like.
A license build by a state company perhaps?
 

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and wonder what a French F104 force might have looked like.
49622642887_182d6a10c6_h.jpg
 

1635yankee

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I think the Crusader was a wonderful aircraft. Leaving aside the J-57 vs J-79 issue (by many metrics, the J-57 was a better engine), replacing the Crusader's 20mm cannon would be a very obvious, and comparatively easy, upgrade. I suspect the 20 mm Vulcan wouldn't fit, but either 30mm Adens or DEFAs would.

For low-altitude work, the Crusader's big wing would be a liability, though. Here, the highly loaded, small wing of the F-104 would be better. On the other hand, it's probably harder to down a Crusader by fodding the engine with a dumpling, as happened to an F-104.
 

Archibald

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The Mirage III served the French in all the roles that the Starfighter served the Germans (except for naval strike/recce).
The French had the F100 Super Sabre. One could turn this thread on its head and wonder what a French F104 force might have looked like.
A license build by a state company perhaps?

My bet would be Sud Aviation / Aérospatiale - OTL they proposed licence-build F-5A and A-7E, to no avail.
 

thefrecklepuny

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How about the A-4 Skyhawk? Subsonic, sure. But it was a very useful attack platform, with nearly 3,000 built. The Luftwaffe could have had hundreds of the things! And putting bombs on any supersonic type makes it subsonic anyway!
 

CV12Hornet

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How about the A-4 Skyhawk? Subsonic, sure. But it was a very useful attack platform, with nearly 3,000 built. The Luftwaffe could have had hundreds of the things! And putting bombs on any supersonic type makes it subsonic anyway!
Because it was supposed to be used as an interceptor and air superiority fighter in addition to nuclear strike.
 

SSgtC

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Would it be possible for the A-4 to get bought in place of the G91?
Yes and no? The two aircraft aren't really comparable. The A-4E has an MTOW nearly twice as high, has 3 times the range, can carry almost 6 times the ordinance (1,500 pounds vs 8,500 pounds) and has over 50% more thrust. The Skyhawk was also over 6' longer with a significantly larger wing area (177sq ft vs 260 for the A-4).

Basically, Germany could have bought them (assuming the US was willing to sell), but it may also simply have been too much plane for the Luftwaffe at the time
 
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