Boeing C-5A, Lockheed SST

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Archibald, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Archibald space jockey !

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    As the title implies. Here's how things happened OTL.

    Lockheed won the CX-HLS program in 1965, and this resulted in the C-5A Galaxy. Severe costs overruns plagued the program.

    A year later Boeing bet Lockheed on the SST - the swing wing 2707 was prefered to Lockheed's "Concorde on steroid" L-2000.

    Then what happened ? the SST was cancelled in 1971, while the C-5A entered service with USAF. Lockheed, however, was on the verge of bankrupcy, while Boeing triumphed with the 747, and unexpected byproduct of the C-5A / SST boondoggle.

    Now whatif history had unfolded otherwise ? whatif Boeing had won the C-5A, and Lockheed the SST ?

    The two immediate consequences are
    - the C-5A Galaxy and 747 become one and only aircraft
    - The L-2000 is a more workable design than the swing wing 2707-200

    Comments, thoughts ?
     
  2. modelcitizen note2self, no ranting ninjas

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    if severe cost overruns plague the C5-A -- maybe in part because they tried to make the thing able to land on rough surfaces as well as on intact runways? (this is from potentially faulty memory) -- wouldn't similar problems plague the SST for Lockheed as well?
     
  3. CircusPony Member

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    Aug 25, 2010
    Damn the US Postal Service!

    On the face of it, would it not seem that the letters containing the notification of a "win" in each project went to the wrong addresses?

    “Dear Boeing, please produce a large, jet airlifter. Yours, Uncle Sam”

    “Dear Lockheed, please build an SST. Yours, Uncle Sam”

    The letters were posted in DC and the rest is, sadly, history. :)

    Lockheed, whilst having plenty of experience with the turboprop C-130 programme for military airlifters, was behind Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas in the production of large, jet powered transports whilst Boeing's more recent experience (discounting "fighters" in the 1930s) was with sub-sonic yet large, economical passenger aircraft.

    Lockheed had not only worked on the first US jet fighter in the closing months of WWII but had also produced the F-104 and the YF-12/SR-71 project - both extremely fast, supersonic aircraft and, in the case of project OXCART / SR-71, a relatively large, supersonic aircraft at that.

    I agree with the previous poster that that C-5 Galaxy and B-747 could well have "merged" in to one aircraft or at least could have formed a common starting point for one (example being the cargo version of the B-747 IOT lacks the rear loading ability of a modern military transport but interestingly enough does go for a "front loading" aspect which is strangely missing from current types; C-17, C-130J and A-400M etc but was in the C-5A design).

    Perhaps a "fatter", military "C-747A" for the USAF with commonality in wings, engines and tail assembly to the civilian B-747 and a "stretched" SR-71-type design, devoid of the need to fly as high or as fast as its military sibling and so reducing the need for some of the exotic materials and the brutal engines, but drawing on the aerodynamics of the programme might have seen the US get both designs into service…

    But then again, as an Englishman it always made me smile when I saw Concorde fly over my home in London as I knew how galling it was to our American cousins seeing both Britain AND France land them on a daily basis at their busiest international airport in the heart of their largest most evocative city!

    Regards,

    CP
     
  4. Archibald space jockey !

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    Destiny of the two contractors might be quite different. Boeing has a real jackpot with its 747 - Galaxy hybrid.
    Lockheed future is, by contrast, unpredictible if not gloomy. Depends from L-2000 (SST) future. It was easier to build than Boeing VG monster, maybe ready earlier, before 1970-71 and Proxmire campaign. Maybe it could even survive just like Concorde did, on the transatlantic niche.

    Cancellation of the L-2000 by 1971 (as happened to Boeing) would probably make Lockheed bankrupt (even worse than the L-1011 TriStar maybe ?)

    Here's a picture of Boeing and Lockheed repspective C-5 designs

    Présentation1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  5. perfectgeneral The people's welfare be the law. CMII

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    My Grandad, Alan Carling, worked on the project (C-5A wiring diagrams mostly) and the main problem they had was tires catching fire when touching down. There was a company wide reward out for a solution.

    If another company gets the job, I would be in the butterfly zone. Who knows how things would change for me?
     
  6. TheMann Canuckwanker in Chief

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    Even if the L-2000 is canned, the L-1011 could easily be a success. What delayed the L-1011 more than anything was Rolls Royce going broke due to the costs of developing the RB211 engine for it. When Rolls Royce went bust, one option considered was transferring production to Orenda Engines, which would make engines for the L-1011. With Orenda working with Rolls Royce, the company could probably move faster to make newer variants, allowing the L-1011 to sell more aircraft. One could also have Lockheed not bribe several Japanese officials but still have ANA buy the TriStar, which would add dozens more units to the total. This has the added benefit of giving Lockheed a great big in to the Canadian aerospace industry, which means Air Canada would probably be a bigger buyer of the L-1011.

    But if that is done and the L-2000 is even a moderate success, then Lockheed will be fine in the near term, though the longer term is a bigger question.
     
  7. Jonathan Kan Member

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    Found an old disscussion at Airliners.net:

    My 2 cent: this “might have been” made more economic sense. But at the end of the day, Boing might get a better deal. IOTL Lockheed sold 131 C-5 Galaxy. ITTL even Skunk Works work wonder again, created an L-2000 prototype during 1968-9, and able to sale better than Concorde (longer range means more routes like Tran-Pacific or Kangaroo Route), Oil Crisis would limited its sales number (major flag carriers would buy handful of them as “flagships”), sales performance might be only as good as Convair 990, hardly profitable.
     
  8. anon_user anonymous member

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    SST was never really a good deal - and got even worse once the '70s hit. The '70s were a bad time to launch new big airliners, as Lockheed discovered with the L-1011; it didn't help that the projected sales of SST (and L-1011) were, in retrospect, wildly optimistic.

    Had Lockheed had L-2000 and L-1011 eating away at its books, rather than C-5 and L-1011, it would've been in even worse shape. Bailout probably still happens, but a merger with Textron or GD (as was talked about in the mid-'70s) is possible. This thread may be of some interest.
    ***
    Did you know that the Anglo-French Concorde is a major threat to our economic health and our national prestige?
     
  9. Archibald space jockey !

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    Crap, did not thought about that. Wonderful idea !

    Enlisting Clarence Johnson to build a prototype SST in a hurry, the emergency being "we must beat this Concorde, quick !" - how about that ?

    The hidden reason for Mach 2.7 was the number of daily rotations between Europe and the USAs. I dug a French aviation magazine of 2003 (when Concorde was withdrawn) which explained the problem.
    To earn money, an SST should ideally makes two rotations per day -
    Paris > N.Y and back twice everyday.
    To achieve that the machine has to fly at Mach 2.7, with a minimum of 220 passengers.

    The thread was very interesting, and it is the reason why I started mine. I'd like to see Lockheed dismantled, and it space division taken-over by Martin Marietta.

    The real question is Lockheed, and notably the Tristar thing. But, as you says, the chances for Lockheed of ending screwed rose exponentially !
     
  10. anon_user anonymous member

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    One (minor) thing is changed by default - Seattle's basketball team won't be called the SuperSonics without Boeing making the SST.
     
  11. Jonathan Kan Member

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    Seattle Jumbo perhaps.
     
  12. NothingNow Banned

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    They might go for something a bit less impressive or pull a name out of the Boeing back catalog. The Seattle Fortresses maybe?
     
  13. Orville_third Banned

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    If Boeing's C-5 is based on the 747, other variants could be incorporated into military aircraft such as TACAMO, AWACS, ABL and Air Force One. (Of course, it would now be the VC-5 or E-5 depending on the need...)
     
  14. Dave in St. Louis Banned

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    B-52s?

    The BUFFalos?
     
  15. NothingNow Banned

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    I think the C-5 and 747 might share components like the Tail and Wing assemblies, but will probably have different Fuselages and configurations, like the Electra/Orion and the C-130 did IOTL. Commercial Airlines expect a rather different sort of Layout than the Military does.

    I'm thinking that no matter what happens, the 747 is going to remain a popular airliner ITTL, if mainly for High-density Long Distance routes where the L-2000 can't keep up on a cost/benefit comparison.
     
  16. Archibald space jockey !

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    Great !!! :D

    Boeing did their best to sell 747s to USAF. In fact the C-19 and C-33 slots were for military 747s. Plus C-25 of course, best known as VC-25A or Air Force One.

    C-19 were a handful of Panam (and others airlines) 747s to be taken-over by USAF to bolster their fleet of C-5 (how ironic !) and C-141s.
    This Civilian Reserve Aircraft Fleet - CRAF - was used in GW1.
    The Boeing that blewup over Lockherbie in 1988 was such 747.

    C-33 happened in 1995 - when the C-17 was threatened, Boeing gently proposed USAF "why not 747-400s ?"

    So 747s in USAF cargo service nearly happened in some ways !!
     
  17. Orville_third Banned

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    And that doesn't count the E-4 "Nightwatch" and ABL aircraft, both of which are 747-based.
     
  18. anon_user anonymous member

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    Or maybe just go with the Seattle Pilots. Sure, it didn't quite work for baseball, but maybe it'll work for basketball?
     
  19. The Kiat I'm going to Nixonland!

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    Well, duh. Seattle's basketball team is called the Storm.

    The SST is so far in the past, that its basketball team no longer exists.....