What if no Vietnam War?

Desertfox

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
270
Reaction score
120
We know how much influence the Vietnam War had on US (and other countries) aircraft developments. But what if the Vietnam War had never happened? How would aircraft programs been affected in that scenario?

Let's assume in this scenario the Geneva Accords of 1954 end up in a single united Vietnam (under Ho Chi Min).
 

Orionblamblam

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
8,978
Reaction score
3,509
Website
www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com
We know how much influence the Vietnam War had on US (and other countries) aircraft developments. But what if the Vietnam War had never happened? How would aircraft programs been affected in that scenario?

Let's assume in this scenario the Geneva Accords of 1954 end up in a single united Vietnam (under Ho Chi Min).
Aircraft development programs all cease after the global thermonuclear war of 1970. When the US bailed on South Vietnam, the communists realized that the US was a paper tiger and began pushes around the world... South Vietnam in 1965, South Korea in 1968, West Germany in 1969...

Eventually aircraft development began again in 2047 as the Feather Tribe of the Cascadia Confederation attempts to build a hang glider from some found aluminum tubing and the tanned skins of their mortal enemies, the Canuckamounties. Project is not entirely successful, resulting in the ritual consumption of the chief engineer.
 

apparition13

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
239
Reaction score
385
If Vietnam is re-unified in 1954 the U.S. wouldn't have had an opportunity to get involved in the first place, let alone bail on it.

Without the distraction of Vietnam, LBJ's Great Society program goes forward; US has single payer healthcare by 1970. And since there is no war, there are no anti-war demonstrations. I suspect there would still be something counterculturey happening, but perhaps more culture and less demonstration. It might also mean the social sciences wouldn't get invaded by activists stringing out their college careers with grad school in order to avoid the draft. Social Sciences focused on science rather than activism would be a plus.

LBJ runs again in 1968 and wins, so maybe four more years of McNamara? Yay? But hey, maybe the full run of 265 FB-111s, perhaps even some of them of the FB-111B/C variety. Maybe even more F-111Fs. I don't know if the F-14 would happen, but I suspect maybe. B-1 might be dead since apparently McNamara didn't care for it, so upgraded B-52s and FB-111H might be the way to go while waiting for the B-2.

No Vietnam means the fighter mafia can't get a foothold. F-15 program is more like 60,000 pound strike eagle than air superiority. LWF probably doesn't happen, which Mirage F-1E wins the deal of the century, 70s version. Between that and no F-15 "fighter", more sales for the F-14 and maybe room for the Mirage 4000. But no F-16 also means the Northrop P-530 is more likely. I can see that taking F-16s sales as well, so Dassault and Northrop split the pie.

I'd also expect a new U.S. fighter generation, likely supercruisers but not stealth, in the 80s, with stealth fighters perhaps a decade later.

No Vietnam also means a lot less F-4s. The Phantom may not become the must have aircraft it was. Perhaps the Mirage G series, or F-2 and F-3, could find a sales niche for a larger multi-role aircraft.

It also means that without a need for an A-1 replacement being demonstrated in Vietnam, the A-10 program never gets off the ground in the first place.

I really don't know what the Soviets would be up to. Su-24, yes. Su-25, 27, and MiG 29? I don't know to what extent those were reactions to U.S. developments and experiences, and to what extent they were independent. MiG-25 would still be around though, so the USAF might wind up having the F-14/Aim-54 forced on it. Unless F-12 tooling is still around.
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
7,346
Reaction score
6,341
Massive consequences, everywhere. De Gaulle for obvious reasons (Dien Bien Phu and Khe San are barely 20 miles apart, if you wanna know) did warned LBJ to stay some lightyears away from any Vietnam involvement... and wasn't heard, unfortunately.
Whatever, yes, it's a huge swarm of butterflies.

Whether Apollo would survive or not is tricky, I would say NO. Apollo 1 and Apollo 13 only three years apart truly scared the shit out of everybody: from President Nixon to NASA Houston's Bob Gilruth, astronauts included (even the great John Young, damn it).
More generally, Apollo was not a practical / reliable / economical (think: DC-3 - 707 - 747) transportation system to the Moon. More like a pioneer vehicle: Bleriot XI or Spirit of St Louis.

On the aircraft front, if LBJ gets a second term and does not die of heart attack, not sure if McNamara carries on along him. By February 1968 he was worn out by Vietnam which won't happen here but he can still be worn out by 1970-71 just because he has been there for too long.

-F-111B was doomed whatever happened, VFX-1965 led to Tomcat.

-Still missing a low-end to it and successor to Phantoms and Skyhawks. Maybe Vought got more A-7 order, including an aferburning one: had the Hornet never existed, OTL USAF A-7F shows the SLUFF still had enormous growth potential.

On the USAF front... F-X, as mentionned above. And no fighter Mafia. MiG-23 and MiG-25 as they stand at that Domodedovo air show in July 1967 (unrelated to Vietnam in any way, so still happens) will encourage the original F-X - and bury any atempt at a "Fighter mafia" even further.

Only the F-5A and F-5E are still carrying that flame: they are the one and only keeping Boyd ideas in "life support". Basically Northrop N-156 derivatives are the Fighter Mafia only small hope.

In a sense, down the road some kind of alternate F-20 may get an ITTL revenge since the F-16, YF-17, F/A-18 and F-18L never exist in the first place - and never screw Northrop thrice in a row.

If Northrop still tries to improve the F-5E further, by droping the pair of J85s for a decent-size turbofan... no Hornet, no F404 for sure.
But General Electric may still get the earlier YJ101 running and perhaps used as this alternate F-20 engine.

Depends whether Northrop is smart enough to push a beefed-up, much upgraded F-5E as a low end to the very expensive F-X "beast". This applies to export markets as much as the Air Force and its budget.

In passing, the AH-56 Cheyenne may not be canned: all the "substitutes" to it, Army vs USAF, including the Cobra, Apache, and A-10 Whartog may never happen.

The A-7D could take the CAS role as a very low-end to the F-X. At least it wouldn't threatens it in the fighter role. OTL the F-16 filled that role.
 
Last edited:

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
2,695
Reaction score
3,250
Rather than airframes the impacts might have been more on avionics.
No requirements for things like FLIR/LLTV and IR sensors might have retarded all-weather strike and rotary-wing operations.
LGB development would likely have been slower too.
Less aerial combat might have meant slower fixing of the AAMs early unreliability and poor accuracy, though doubtless the Middle East would still provide ample combat experience of some of the latest types.
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
7,346
Reaction score
6,341
Some Vietnam intractable nightmares: Ho Chi Minh trail; Paul Doumer bridge; Khe San.
These three, all by themselves, accelerated development of (indeed) FLIR and SLAR to try and look inside the jungle: LGBs to knock out the damn unbreakable thing; and attack helicopters.

Vietnam was such a weird and absurd war...
 

CV12Hornet

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
107
Reaction score
176
LBJ runs again in 1968 and wins, so maybe four more years of McNamara? Yay? But hey, maybe the full run of 265 FB-111s, perhaps even some of them of the FB-111B/C variety. Maybe even more F-111Fs. I don't know if the F-14 would happen, but I suspect maybe. B-1 might be dead since apparently McNamara didn't care for it, so upgraded B-52s and FB-111H might be the way to go while waiting for the B-2.

No Vietnam means the fighter mafia can't get a foothold. F-15 program is more like 60,000 pound strike eagle than air superiority. LWF probably doesn't happen, which Mirage F-1E wins the deal of the century, 70s version. Between that and no F-15 "fighter", more sales for the F-14 and maybe room for the Mirage 4000. But no F-16 also means the Northrop P-530 is more likely. I can see that taking F-16s sales as well, so Dassault and Northrop split the pie.
Having read up on the Air Force's history of F-15 development, I do think the F-15 will still show up in close to its OTL guise. There was a strong contingent in the Air Force advocating a maneuverable heavy air superiority fighter even before Vietnam, and Boyd's E-M theories also predate the war. Conversely, F-15 development was also significantly influenced by outside developments that are still going to happen even without Vietnam, namely the MiG-25 scare and the Six-Day War.

The aforementioned Air Force history: https://media.defense.gov/2012/May/16/2001330012/-1/-1/0/AFD-120516-036.pdf

The F-14 definitely still happens, the USN will not let themselves be stuck with the F-111B and a small air war reminding everyone of the need for fighter escort is IMO fairly likely without Vietnam.

I really don't know what the Soviets would be up to. Su-24, yes. Su-25, 27, and MiG 29? I don't know to what extent those were reactions to U.S. developments and experiences, and to what extent they were independent. MiG-25 would still be around though, so the USAF might wind up having the F-14/Aim-54 forced on it. Unless F-12 tooling is still around.
The Su-25 was partially a response to USAF experience in Vietnam, but it was also a response to their own exercises, so I think it'll go through.

The Su-27 and MiG-29, on the other hand, were direct counters to American developments; the MiG-29 more than the Su-27, as the Su-27 had more specific missions intended, namely long-range intercept (replacing the Tu-28, Su-15, and Yak-28P), escort of Su-24 deep strikes, and as an intruder targeting AWACS aircraft. That said, given I think the F-15 was going to happen regardless I think they'd still be developed.

~o~
As far as the low-end of the USAF, that's a very good question. I do agree that it's likely the A-10 doesn't materialize, and the Air Force is not buying the A-7, either; the A-7 buy was a response to early Vietnam experience. Still, the force needs something to replace the Super Sabre in their lineup with how expensive the F-15 and F-111 both proved, and there was significant push, in addition to the F-X, to acquire an advanced day fighter that could perform strike and air combat.

IOTL the ADF was back-burnered in the Foxbat panic. I'd expect that to happen again, but without the A-7 and with the F-100 aging fast, they need an interim fighter. Enter the F-5, which IOTL was actually considered in competition with the A-7 and preferred by the Air Force until McNamara's drive for commonality got the A-7 over the hump. And from there it's a hop, a skip, and a jump to the Cobra and/or the Tigershark.
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
7,346
Reaction score
6,341
Except the F-5 can't carry any bomb load, anywhere, even more if compared to the A-7 (as the RCAF discovered the hard way... no wait, they were aware of that before the buyout but still made it nonetheless)

USAF Skyhawk, maybe ?

The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II was the result of a May 17, 1963 Navy design competition named VAL, which stood for Light Attack Aircraft. The VAL aircraft was to replace the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, and was to have as its primary mission the delivery of conventional ordnance as opposed to nuclear weapons. The aircraft was to have a single seat, and the requirement specified that the aircraft would have to be in service no later than 1967. The Navy was interested in low cost, and specified that the aircraft would have to be based on an existing design. In addition, in order to save even more money, the requirement did not call for supersonic performance. A maximum bombload of 15,000 pounds was called for.

and the Air Force is not buying the A-7, either; the A-7 buy was a response to early Vietnam experience.

If the USAF ever wants it, the Navy A-7A predated the Vietnam war (if barely).

And McNamara being, well, McNamara...


Maybe they put an afterburner in that alternate A-7 and get an A-7F 20 years ahead ?
This would be the perfect successor to both F-100s and F-105s even if if they are not massively decimated in Vietnam.
And it would never, ever threaten precious F-X, remember the motto NOT A POUND FOR AIR TO GROUND.

An aircraft with the nickname SLUFF can't be any threat to an Eagle - ROTFL :D:D:p

An Air Force made of massive numbers of F-15s and A-7Fs ? I'm buying it, right now.
Even more if the F-15 pass its turbofan to that A-7F.

Note than an A-7F isn't that removed from a Crusader, and this could give Boyd ideas.

A-7 ADF vs F-5E as a) F-X low-end and b) export customers
 
Last edited:

Ascot479

ACCESS: Restricted
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
4
I remember reading a book in the early 2000s about how American air superiority in Desert Storm was a result of the lessons it learned in Vietnam. Like some have already said, this resulted in the F-15, F16, conventional B-52 missions, Top Gun, Red Flag etc. etc.

I suggest, therefore, that had Vietnam not happened then the latter days of the Cold War as well as Desert Storm may have had a clunkier, chunkier, slower, and less effective set of tools from which to prosecute their missions.
 

CV12Hornet

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
107
Reaction score
176
Except the F-5 can't carry any bomb load, anywhere, even more if compared to the A-7 (as the RCAF discovered the hard way... no wait, they were aware of that before the buyout but still made it nonetheless)
The USAF was aware of this when examining the F-5 versus the A-7, and valued the F-5's ability to perform air combat over the A-7's payload. Besides, it's an "interim" aircraft and only intended for short-range missions anyway.
 

Opportunistic Minnow

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
271
Reaction score
416
Well Yom Kippur War still happens so you could definitely argue the case for a F-15 by any other name still existing. Biggest effect not already mentioned(?) would be the lack of wild weasel development. Sensors, weapons and tactics would all be arrested quite a bit. That could have quite a knock-on effect by the time of Desert Storm if the F-4Gs are less capable/competent/non-existent.

EO/Laser-guided munitions wouldn't see nearly as much development either (as has been mentioned). Perhaps we could see something in the vein of B-66-led blind bombing by fighter-bombers persisting for longer?

Without B-52 vs SA-2 ala Linebacker, what lessons are lost on SAC?
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
7,346
Reaction score
6,341
Except the F-5 can't carry any bomb load, anywhere, even more if compared to the A-7 (as the RCAF discovered the hard way... no wait, they were aware of that before the buyout but still made it nonetheless)
The USAF was aware of this when examining the F-5 versus the A-7, and valued the F-5's ability to perform air combat over the A-7's payload. Besides, it's an "interim" aircraft and only intended for short-range missions anyway.

It sounds completely stupid, but, well, it's the Air Force after all...
 

Conspirator

CLEARANCE: L5
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
232
Reaction score
86
the AC-130 Gunship probably wouldnt exist or be very limited and new..... the Siege of Khe Sahn wouldnt have happened...... it would have changed everything.

my grandfather was in vietnam. made it out of Khe Sahn 3 days before it was besieged. he had been an infantryman. the things that happened in 'nam or were created there wouldnt exist like the Ho Chi Mihn trail and such..... it would be a very different world
 

DWG

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
1,504
Reaction score
1,716
No one's mentioned USAr, ISTR the army was in a pretty poor state pre-Vietnam and it took Vietnam for them to figure out they had a problem.

Development of SOF would probably be slower as no coastal campaign for the SEALS to make their name and no Montagnards for the Green Berets to advise.

You also need to consider what the change does for Vietnam. Cambodia is still going to get creamed at some point, and the Sino-Vietnamese war is likely to be bloodier. The big question is whether there's any adventurism aimed at Thailand, which is likely to draw in the US.
 

DWG

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
1,504
Reaction score
1,716
As far as the low-end of the USAF, that's a very good question. I do agree that it's likely the A-10 doesn't materialize, and the Air Force is not buying the A-7, either; the A-7 buy was a response to early Vietnam experience. Still, the force needs something to replace the Super Sabre in their lineup with how expensive the F-15 and F-111 both proved, and there was significant push, in addition to the F-X, to acquire an advanced day fighter that could perform strike and air combat.

IOTL the ADF was back-burnered in the Foxbat panic. I'd expect that to happen again, but without the A-7 and with the F-100 aging fast, they need an interim fighter.
The F-105 is there to cover the air-to-ground side at least. Though no Vietnam means no Wild Weasel development.
 

CV12Hornet

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
107
Reaction score
176
The F-105 is there to cover the air-to-ground side at least. Though no Vietnam means no Wild Weasel development.
Its my understanding that the F-111, in this timeline without the hideous losses of Vietnam, would cover the F-105's tactical niche, which still leaves the shorter-range missions open. Though yes, the USAF could certainly reassign F-105 squadrons to shorter-range roles as the F-111 enters service as another interim option.
 
Last edited:

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
3,823
Reaction score
2,868
Hypotheticals are difficult but assuming a Vietnam under Ho emerges after 1954 poses some interesting questions.
Does Vietnam develop close relations with the Soviet Union or does it become a non-aligned country like Yugoslavia under Tito?
Does the US withdraw from the region or remain involved in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand etc?
Without the Vietnam war what happens to Sino-Soviet relations? Does China go to war with Russia in the late 60s.
As for the US, Kennedy still gets shot and Johnson becomes President. Berlin and Cuba remain the focus of US concern unless Korea flares up.
With no Vietnam, the US forces still fly shiny metal planes instead of ugly camoed ones.
Assuming the Six Day War atill happens in 1967, Soviet/US tensions may move to the Middle East in its afermath. Soviet weapons that went to N Vietnam in our time might go to Egypt, Iraq and Syria adding to their arsenals.
With no combat experience since the Korean War, the US military looks very different. It has the money for complicated weapons like the MBT70 and Mauler or Typhon DLGN.
The US forces in Europe still develop social problems (these were made worse by Vietnam but not caused by it) and discipline is poor.
The USAF does not replace its F100, F101 and F105 lineup as quickly unless another regional conflict (Lebanon? Iran?) replaces Vietnam. F111s and F4s come into service slower and subject to competing bids from the Big Society or NASA.
The USN does not use its carrier force so hard which allows Essex class carriers to be extwnded to carry a mixed airgroup of S3 Vilings, F8 Crusaders and helos.
The US Army does not develop the helicopter gunship or airmobile operations unless a similar campaign starts in Thailand or wherever.
The main driver will be the Soviet Union. Assuming Breshnev and Kosygin still replace Kruschev they may develop more stable relations with Johnson after Cuba and with no Vietnam. But Israel might alter that after 1967.
With no Vietnam War anti US sentiment in W Europe might focus on Cuba and Latin America instead. But Soviet repression in Czech. in 1968 might also be more widely opposed.
Nixon does not beat Johnson in 1968 so the Apollo 11 plaque bears the name of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Whether NASA gets its Mars mission depends on how much is needed for Big Society.
 

Desertfox

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
270
Reaction score
120
To expand on the initial question.

One of the main takeaways I'm seeing is that the USAF would need a tactical strike fighter that in OTL was filled by a mix of F-4/A-7 and then F-16. Seeing the USAF attitude towards adopting Navy aircraft and how they liked the F-5, we can assume some version of Northrop's F-5/P-530/YF-17 ends up fulfilling that role going forward. In addition, with significantly fewer F-4s around we can assume the Dassault F-1 family ends up with more export orders.

Based on those two assumptions, how are European and specifically British and German aircraft developments affected? Does a YF-17 in German service end up killing the Tornado and Eurofighter? Does the UK buy the F-14 to fulfill the air defense role?
 

CV12Hornet

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
107
Reaction score
176
The Brits are still going to go for the Phantom, they made that decision as early as 1964. Similarly, I don't see the Germans not going for the Tornado; the predecessor program for the Germans was a twin-engine variable-geometry strike aircraft developed with American assistance, which to my mind pretty solidly pegs them for wanting a pure strike aircraft with more range than the Cobra offers.

The American fighter on tap for the Brits as an interim before the ADV Tornado was the F-15, not the F-14.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
3,823
Reaction score
2,868
Without the air warfare experience of Vietnam the development of the F15 and F16 for the USAF would have been slower and more related to Israel' s experience.
F14 development as a successor to F111B was driven by Soviet long range air power and stand off missiles at sea.
The USAF already had the F106 for this role and might have developed this type as its air defence fighter.
Without Vietnam the F4 might not have loomed so large in US inventories.
 

Keyboard Commando

Haunebu Pilot
Joined
Aug 17, 2015
Messages
43
Reaction score
46
For the Army, studies into airmobility and the use of helicopters were already occurring before Vietnam started, and the armed escort program that leads to the AH-56 (Cobra was an interim type remember) was already in motion before the troop buildup in Vietnam started. I think we see these developments move somewhat slower but eventually reaching the same conclusion, the Cheyenne will enter service thanks to the war not sucking up all the Army's money and a less rushed development cycle. With McNamara still at the DoD and his interest in standardization I think Navy and Marine Cheyenne variants are a strong possibility. MICV-70 is not something I'm very familiar with but again without Vietnam and the focus on European battlefields this should come into service earlier producing a somewhat different vehicle than the Bradley we got much later, my personal favorite would be the adoption of the Marder 1 with American systems and weapons. The MBT-70 would run into weapon system and political problems like OTL with the XM803 not faring any better, neither improved on the M60 enough to be worth the massive cost. I think we would see the XM1 happen on an earlier timeframe, ideally the General Motors version.
 

Lascaris

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Messages
141
Reaction score
132
So the concensus is that without Vietnam in effect you get F-15 perhaps even an early F-15E but LWF is gone so no F-16 in the USAF? At least early? Not certain how economically affordable that is, granted you don't have the Vietnam War costs but I suspect by 1975 you will be getting calls for a cheaper alternative?

Assuming LWF/ACF is gone or significantly delayed what's happening to the Navy's VFAX program without an air force connection? You are getting MDD Model 263, Northrop P630 and and Convair 218 as the main contenders I suppose... with an added question of a supersonic VSTOVL like Convair 200 actually getting into service without the Vietnam money crunch...
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
2,800
Reaction score
1,520
The American fighter on tap for the Brits as an interim before the ADV Tornado was the F-15, not the F-14
Quite specifically the F14 system was ideal for GIUK Gap BARCAP. RAF was clear their ideal would be F15 with the F14 radar missile combination.
Cost is what stopped either becoming reality.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
2,800
Reaction score
1,520
Germany and Italy will still want a Starfighter successor. That in OTL become Tornado.
 

Orionblamblam

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
8,978
Reaction score
3,509
Website
www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com
So the concensus is that without Vietnam in effect you get F-15 perhaps even an early F-15E but LWF is gone so no F-16 in the USAF? At least early? Not certain how economically affordable that is, granted you don't have the Vietnam War costs but I suspect by 1975 you will be getting calls for a cheaper alternative?
Before Vietnam, the USAF seemed pretty convinced that the future of manned air combat was Go Fast In A Straight Line And Shoot Missiles. Then ratty little MiGs starting taking out Thuds and Phantoms and suddenly dogfighting guns and dogfighting shorter-range AAMs started looking a lot better. Without Vietnam, the USAF may have ended up with things like the Lockheed F-12B and descendants of the North American F-108.
 

bloody sky

ACCESS: Restricted
Joined
Sep 3, 2021
Messages
46
Reaction score
51
No Vietnam war?
japs would be very sad,because they lose a chance to improve their economy.
It will be very exciting and interesting that you will see the Second Pacific War between Commie and Yankee,and this war began in Japan.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
3,823
Reaction score
2,868
No Vietnam war?
japs would be very sad,because they lose a chance to improve their economy.
It will be very exciting and interesting that you will see the Second Pacific War between Commie and Yankee,and this war began in Japan
Assuming Japan remains as it is in our timeline, and the Korean War has taken place much will depend on the way the US deals with China.
Without Nixon and Kissinger, Johnson might have been more inclined to let Mao's China and the Soviet Union clash in the late 60s. Also the US might have supported Taiwan if Vietnam stays in the Communist bloc (I personally think a unified Vietnam in the 50s might well have gone it's own way and become a regional power in its own right. Like Tito Ho would want to be his own boss).
With no US war in SE Asia Japan would still become an economic powerhouse but it might be less tolerant of US forces in Okinawa if there was no great threat from China and the USSR.
War between China and the Soviet Union seems to me much more likely.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
3,823
Reaction score
2,868
So the concensus is that without Vietnam in effect you get F-15 perhaps even an early F-15E but LWF is gone so no F-16 in the USAF? At least early? Not certain how economically affordable that is, granted you don't have the Vietnam War costs but I suspect by 1975 you will be getting calls for a cheaper alternative?
Before Vietnam, the USAF seemed pretty convinced that the future of manned air combat was Go Fast In A Straight Line And Shoot Missiles. Then ratty little MiGs starting taking out Thuds and Phantoms and suddenly dogfighting guns and dogfighting shorter-range AAMs started looking a lot better. Without Vietnam, the USAF may have ended up with things like the Lockheed F-12B and descendants of the North American F-108.
This chimes very much with my "silver instead of camo" USAF. Would love to have seen the F12 and F108 as well as mods to B52s and maybe even an AMSA more like the Valkyrie than the B1.
The USN might still have got the F14 for its nuke carriers with an F8 style fighter for its Essex CVS. Though F14 might have been more like a Missileer and not so fast as in otl.
I see the US Army stuck with its Pentomic Divisions and complicated prototypes like XM701, Sheridan, MBT70 and Cheyenne helos which without the backdrop of Vietnam become real turkeys like the post Cold War stuff.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
2,800
Reaction score
1,520
Less threatening that Communists have taken all of Vietnam?
Presumably Cambodia will still endure the delightful Year Zero?

And people think this isn't threatening?
In an era of the domino theory?

Do people think Malaysia feels safe?
Thailand?
Indonesia?
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
3,823
Reaction score
2,868
I took the thread to assume Vietnam was sorted in 1954-5. Ho was a nationalist first and a Communist second. With the hated Chinese next door convulsing under Mao I can see him doing a Tito.
The US under Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson could have lived with that.
Cambodia without the Vietnam War simply remains a corrupt little monarchy under Siahanouk. With no US coup to oust him there is no Khmer Rouge backlash.
Both Laos and Cambodia would probably go the way that Burma did in this period.
With no Vietnam War, Malaysia and Singapore would continue to worry more about Indonesia. Events there were unaffected by Vietnam.
British withdrawal would take place after 1968. No reason for an impoverished UK to keep forces out East. Without Vietnam Australia might have been willing to fill the gap.
 

Ascot479

ACCESS: Restricted
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
4
Almost all of the Lockheed A-12's operational missions were over Vietnam, from which I understand a lot of the SR-71's initial ECM capabilities against the SA-2 and SA-5 were developed.
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
7,346
Reaction score
6,341
Almost all of the Lockheed A-12's operational missions were over Vietnam, from which I understand a lot of the SR-71's initial ECM capabilities against the SA-2 and SA-5 were developed.

Some were flown over NORK because Pueblo crisis.

The A-12 / SR-71 transition in Okinawa happened in March / April 1968.
 

alertken

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
666
Reaction score
338
u75 #32 touches on the truly awful consequences of US defeat in Nam. The worst is pushback by decent folk to any Expedition.

The need for Deterrence at AW level was unaffected by Nam; what was destroyed was the credibility of (what Br. Victorian novelist Kipling called) The white man's burden - the duty to bring sweetness and light to the benighted. (Pls remember that European Colonial Powers believed they were civilising the unfortunate: today's opprobrium as oppressors is not what they then thought they were doing).

Before Nam US had twice extricated Europe from deep ordure, had ejected Spain from Cuba/Philippines and the unwanted from S.Korea.
All: undone by Nam - in the eyes of the Third World, and of the vociferous at home. Nam was a double disaster: going in; and losing.

So, for example, Turkey could be difficult over GW2, France over Gadaffi, UK Parliament over Syria.

If Bad Guys believe we decent folk have no appetite for body bags...we will have body bags.
 
Top