Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by flasheart, Jul 14, 2018.
Not if it ends up being another CF the way the F-4K was...
Will it? I am not entirely certain. Eurofighter has just gotten killed at birth. That happened at the time the Germans and MBB in particular were willing to go forward with the then incarnation of what became Rafale with two variants coming into being one with F404 engines and US derived radar for Germany and one with French engines and electronics for France (source is the French secret projects I book), MBB being even willing to fund this as a private venture. If you get a very early Rafale this way, there is a window of opportunity the French 5th generation musings like FACE to get going. Combine these with Replica...
The F404 is a big engine, specially when compared to the M88. The demonstrator Rafale A used two F404 and it was roughly one third bigger than the definitive aircraft. So you might get two really different variants for France and Germany with basically zero commonality between them.
Plus, I won't kill the Eurofighter yet. The RAF still need an interceptor and the UK still have some leverage from the Tornado program. The few years between 83 and 86 will be really interesting to say the least.
On a side note, I don't see how the Rafale can be developed so much quicker than OTL. Sure, the program was delayed in the 90's, but so was the Eurofighter program for the same reasons, peace dividends, and Germany was the biggest force behind those delays.
Plus, I always thought the UK more saw the Replica as the entrance ticket in the F-35 than a real program destined to produce an aircraft for combat.
Agreed, the biggest problem of the F-35 program come from it's B, V/STOL, version. It simply forced too much compromises on the A and C versions and forced the prices up, big time. An alt-F-35 without a V/STOL version would be cheaper, more agile and surely closer to it's full potential now.
So, is it possible that the USMC get a separate program for its V/STOL program? Will this aircraft have stealth features? Will they do it in cooperation with the UK? With other?
C.A.S. doesn't need stealth so the Marines get a further development of the Harrier with better electronics.
I expect that they could end up with something that looks a lot like an X-32, but with only a reduced RCS rather than full-on stealth.
Basically, the customers for the Harrier replacement/life extension are going to be the USMC, Spain, Italy and Australia.
In 2011 OTL, the USMC bought 72 surplus RAF GR.9 airframes to eek out the life of the USMC Harrier fleet, so I wouldn't be surprised if something similar happened ITTL.
That was only done because of how massively delayed the F-35 program was. If the US isn't forced into buying one aircraft for all three branches the program probably isn't nearly as delayed and the USMC will have their new aircraft delivered earlier and won't have to cannibalize old airframes
Is it possible that with the UK committing to the Hornet, that they would then join in as partners on the Super Hornet program in a similar way to the Harrier II joint development?
With Eurofighter now aborted for UK manufacturers, and the Tornado program winding down, there is going to have to be some large contract to keep domestic fighter manufacture going in the UK. Harrier II will sustain them a little while in the 90s, but local production of Super Hornets in the 2000s would be ideally placed to take up the slack. Long term planning would likely have this work being superseded by JSF construction in the late 2010s.
Going Hornet would also signal a much tighter integration of the UK aviation industry with the American one, and given that Harrier, Goshawk, Hornet and Super Hornet will all be Boeing products by the end of the 90s, its possible that we might see a Boeing-BAe merger. With the BAe operations becoming a Boeing-UK subsidiary perhaps?
If Boeing and BAe co-operate on the JSF that might also have strong implications for that program. Boeing would be able to use the REPLICA research data to strengthen their offering, and if the VTOL version is canned it might mean that the Boeing prototype wins the competition. (The X-32's major failing was in VTOL operation after all.) This may also result in increased opportunity for other British defense manufacturers. Rolls Royce for example may succeed in getting their engine selected for the JSF, something possibly supported by a closer relationship with Boeing though the UK subsidiary.
It also has wider aviation implications, in the late 2000s and 2010s Boeing sought to get a part of the short range regional airliner market, and after trying their own efforts, eventually bought into a joint venture with Embraer. However if they had already merged with BAe in the 2000s, there would be a ready made regional airliner division in the team that made the BAe 146/ Avro RJ. In fact with Boeing's backing and support it is possible that the follow on RJX is never cancelled. It is possible that this results in the continued production of passenger aircraft in Britain, with a Bombadier CRJ and Embraer E-Jet competitor aircraft being brought to market in the 2010s.
Who says that BAE are going to be the subsidiary of Boeing, OTL BAE bought General Dynamics, United Defence and Armour Holdings.
It could be the other way around.
(Afterall there is absolutely no precedent for a European Company to buy out a seemingly colossal US Monopoly. Its not as if BP now controls Standard Oil or something)
It's not impossible, I suppose. And as you say, there is precedent. (See also the F-35.)
I think they would definitely want, as part of the deal, some of the Super Hornet manufacturing to happen in the UK. It might not amount to a Boeing-BAE merger, but certainly BAE's role is making part of the Harrier II is instructive here.
The X-32 is fugly tho,even more so then the F-35 They are probably better off with continuing production of the F-22 or going for the proposed F-15 Silent Eagle which is possibly the cheaper of both options.
The X-32 was only a technology demonstrator hence the x name. The actual F-32 would have looked like this. Which IMO is quite cool, kind of like a futr Corsair.
Though with BAe assistance they might use more of the work done for REPLICA and it might end up looking more like the OTL Grumman design, which was developed in collaboration with BAe, and looked like this.
I still find it ugly, specifically that nose and air intake. I do see the Corsair or Crusader look but those planes are more nicer looking then this Boeing abomination. The BAe design is better.
Eh. When it comes to the Military, function over form. Whatever will help me make the other guy deader faster is what I'm picking. The only time I'm gonna care about how something looks is if we're talking about my Chucks or Blues
Whatever comes out of the JSF programme without the VTOL requirement is going to be a lot different to the F-35 or X-32. I'd expect it to be twin-engined for a start, I'm thinking of something along the lines of a cross between the F-35 and Advanced Super Hornet.
Very likely, probably more evolution than revolution and possibly with a bit lower price tag as well.
I doubt it will be twin engine. The entire point was for the JSF to be the f-16 replacement Lo to the f--22's f-15 replacement Hi. And also to be a good replacement for all those f-16s in smaller cash strapped NATO airforces.
Having twin engines defeats this somewhat as it significantly increases lifetime maintenance costs.
True but its preferred by Navies (due to offering greater survival options) and Canada bought Hornets due to that need as well. If a second engine can be fitted and if (as with Hornet) the cost be kept under control they might go for a twin engined bird.
Especially if sheer cost still kills off the Raptor sooner rather than later.
It's also worth remembering that we're getting in to the era of high-performance and reliable engines. Maybe our hypothetical twin-engined F-35 could be powered by a new engine akin to the EJ200.
I'm just curious do have have a source / reference you can share re the Canadian F18 decision ?
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