HMS EAGLE in the Falklands

E2C is too tall, if I remember correctly it could be launched but could not fit into the hanger. The Tracer would barley fit.
Wessex was 15' 10" tall - Hawkeye was 18' 4" tall - Tracer was 16' 10" tall

As you can see Wessex only just fit!



I think unless the British went with an improved Gannet AEW 7 it would have to be a Seaking AEW



 
To heavy and to tall to fit in her hangers the Hawkeye is a big Bird the E-1 tracer would be more likely if there are any left since there based on the S 2 which could operated off of the majestic class light fleet carriers
Perhaps in storage at Davis Motham storage facility.
 
Great thread by flashheart!

One thing that comes to mind is that why would the RN not convert virtually all the fast jets on the Eagle to Phantoms after the bombing of Stanley airfield and the destruction of the Argentine Navy?
This surely would have taken maybe 2-3 days at most with the vast refuelling tanker fleet that the British had at Ascension Island.

If the Eagle could take 14 Phantoms and 16 Bucanneers, then I would have then changed the composition to 24 Phantoms and 6 Buccaneers. The Buccaneers would then be composed of 6 refuellers.

With 24 Phantoms and the Sea Harriers working together with the ships defences, this would then have made sure that virtually no British ship need even suffer bombing. Sea Harriers could also provide
any necessity to bomb on the ground while the RN FAA totally destroys the Argentine airforce on the 21st of May landings.
 
Great thread by flashheart!

One thing that comes to mind is that why would the RN not convert virtually all the fast jets on the Eagle to Phantoms after the bombing of Stanley airfield and the destruction of the Argentine Navy?
This surely would have taken maybe 2-3 days at most with the vast refuelling tankers that the British had at Ascension Island.

If the Eagle could take 14 Phantoms and 16 Bucanneers, then I would have then changed the composition to 24 Phantoms and 6 Buccaneers. The Buccaneers would then be composed of 6 refuellers.

With 24 Phantoms and the Sea Harriers working together with the ships defences, this would then have made sure that virtually no British ship need even suffer bombing. Sea Harriers could also provide
any necessity to bomb on the ground while the RN FAA totally destroys the Argentine airforce on the 21st of May landings.
OTL the FAA I believe started with 28 x Spey Phantoms - IIRC they were down to 20 (???) by 1978 and if ops continued till 1982 that number might have reduced further both through accidents and airframe life issues

In this TL she is capable of conducting strikes vs the mainland if necessary and the Buccs are still necessary to support the land ops

The Argentine Air Force and FAA are both Spent (OTL they had about 100 Fast Jets - including the Mirage III - I think about 80s are gone ITTL?) the ability to strike the British ships is likely to be realistically limited to a handful of Exocet MM38 (kit bashed land based launcher in or around Port Stanley) and Exocet AM39 (Air launched) missiles.
 
OTL the FAA I believe started with 28 x Spey Phantoms - IIRC they were down to 20 (???) by 1978 and if ops continued till 1982 that number might have reduced further both through accidents and airframe life issues

In this TL she is capable of conducting strikes vs the mainland if necessary and the Buccs are still necessary to support the land ops

The Argentine Air Force and FAA are both Spent (OTL they had about 100 Fast Jets - including the Mirage III - I think about 80s are gone ITTL?) the ability to strike the British ships is likely to be realistically limited to a handful of Exocet MM38 (kit bashed land based launcher in or around Port Stanley) and Exocet AM39 (Air launched) missiles.
After the total obliteration of the Argentine airforce on the 21st of May, then of course the Eagle could then start heading towards Ascension Island say for 1 day while the Invincible stays with it's Sea Harriers to deal with the handful of Argentine aircraft left on either Falklands and the mainland. The 10 extra Phantoms fly off to Ascension while the 10 Buccaneers fly back to Eagle. Again this would take 2-3 days at most. By the time the Eagle is back on-station with it's full complement of Buccaneers again the landing force is fully landed and ready to commence land operations.

You are right that it all depends on the number of Phantoms that could be available to fly off the Eagle. 10 were lost in crashes and so only 18 were available in 1978 to the RN. I am wondering if it would have been feasible to have a crash programme(4-6 weeks) to have made the 20 F-4K airframes that were diverted to the RAF made operable to fly off the carriers?
 
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After the total obliteration of the Argentine airforce on the 21st of May, then of course the Eagle could then start heading towards Ascension Island say for 1 day while the Invincible stays with it's Sea Harriers to deal with the handful of Argentine aircraft left on either Falklands and the mainland. The 10 extra Phantoms fly off to Ascension while the 10 Buccaneers fly back to Eagle. Again this would take 2-3 days at most. By the time the Eagle is back on-station with it's full complement of Buccaneers again the landing force is fully landed and ready to commence land operations.

You are right that it all depends on the number of Phantoms that could be available to fly off the Eagle. 10 were lost in crashes and so only 18 were available in 1978 to the RN. I am wondering if it would have been feasible to have a crash programme(4-6 weeks) to have made the 20 F-4K airframes that were diverted to the RAF made operable to fly off the carriers?
I don't remember, did the UK forces have prior knowledge that the Argentine Air Force was going to throw everything at them on 21st because if not happening to fill Eagle with Phantoms for that day would be an incredibly fortuitous coincidence.
 
I don't remember, did the UK forces have prior knowledge that the Argentine Air Force was going to throw everything at them on 21st because if not happening to fill Eagle with Phantoms for that day would be an incredibly fortuitous coincidence.

Everyone knew that the Argentines would do everything possible with their Air Force to smash the landing forces on the 21st of May. That was their only chance of success left as they knew their conscript army would be brushed aside
by the UK land forces.

As an example on one of the engagements posted here, a pair or Phantoms deployed near the Bristol group engaged 12 Mirages and destroyed 6 with their full load of Skyflash missiles before running away with afterburners as they did not want
to be outnumbered 3:1 in a dogfight. With my scenario 2 pairs of Phantoms could have taken all 12 out with their Skyflashes, and then also joined in with the Sea Harriers to take down some SkyHawks before going back to Ark Royal and being refuelled and rearmed.
One flight of 4 Phantoms destroys nearly 20 of the Argentine fast jet aircraft in one sortie gives an idea of what would have lay in store for the Argentines with an Eagle of 24 Phantoms.

24 Phantoms, Sea Harriers, Ship SAMs/Guns and Rapier SAMs on land would have meant near certainly of death for the 80 or so fast jet aircraft of the Argentine airforce.
 
The FG.1 Phantom was substantially different from the USN F-4. The new engine required rebuilding the rear fuselage structure. Not done in a few weeks.

You would need decisions to reduce the order from 143 to 50 changed in the mid-60's. I doubt you could get more than the 7 optional jets from the order for 50.The change needs to be in 1966.

Changing RAF FGR.2's for carrier duty is almost as involved, new electronics, arresting equipment, and training pilots.

All this for a requirement, CTOL carrier fighter, which is in the process of retirement.
 
Everyone knew that the Argentines would do everything possible with their Air Force to smash the landing forces on the 21st of May.
Did they? I've re-checked the TL and it seems that there was a few hours notice of the Argentine attack based on Chilean intelligence. How long's that flight from Ascension again?
 
I know this sounds preposterous and far fetched but perhaps instead of more FG1 Phantoms, maybe some Sea Vixens could be sent to reinforce HMS Eagle's air group? Granted they may not be exactly in the best shape, being 10 years past their prime and retirement, but for such a short combat operation time perhaps they could fill in as a rearguard CAP? Although their may be some overlapping in roles with the SHAR's off of Hermes and Invincible?
 
I know this sounds preposterous and far fetched but perhaps instead of more FG1 Phantoms, maybe some Sea Vixens could be sent to reinforce HMS Eagle's air group? Granted they may not be exactly in the best shape, being 10 years past their prime and retirement, but for such a short combat operation time perhaps they could fill in as a rearguard CAP? Although their may be some overlapping in roles with the SHAR's off of Hermes and Invincible?
I don't think the Sea Vixens had an AAR capability, which would probably be essential, and their stores and spares wouldn't be aboard in any case.
 
The FG.1 Phantom was substantially different from the USN F-4. The new engine required rebuilding the rear fuselage structure. Not done in a few weeks.

You would need decisions to reduce the order from 143 to 50 changed in the mid-60's. I doubt you could get more than the 7 optional jets from the order for 50.The change needs to be in 1966.

Changing RAF FGR.2's for carrier duty is almost as involved, new electronics, arresting equipment, and training pilots.

All this for a requirement, CTOL carrier fighter, which is in the process of retirement.
Afaik the RN's F4 was also the only model equiped with a longer front landing leg:

 

Zen9

Banned
I think the RN order was 120 aircraft, it came as a bit of a surprise that the first to arrive in the UK, were in RAF colours.
So I'm not sure that it was 20 only for the F4K
 
I think the RN order was 120 aircraft, it came as a bit of a surprise that the first to arrive in the UK, were in RAF colours.
So I'm not sure that it was 20 only for the F4K
AIUI
the initial order was 140 new build FG.1 for the RN
with 20 of these diverted to the RAF when the upgrade to Ark Royal cancelled
(and OTL probably others later.
IIRC 2 whole squadrons of the RAF used basically unmodified FG.1 until they converted to Tornado ADV)

OTL this was later cut to 50 with only 24 + spares planned for deployment afloat, leaving some on land.
iTTL at least that many will remain on order.

PLUS
150 new build FGR.2 ordered for the RAF when the F-111K was cancelled,
however 32 of these themselves cancelled

Aside:
15 F-4J from US mothballs were refurbished to be a F.3 BUT after the Falklands so are not relevant

Losses from accidents etc. for all types were high so not all of these would be available iTTL at the TL date.

In any case, as others have said, a FGR.2 could NOT be swiftly converted to carrier operation

Any FG.1 transferred to the RAF are probably easier but I doubt many would be released immediately.

However any other FG.1 being used from land e.g. in training or testing
plus any still in RN service but in store or mothballed when their carrier was stood down would be easy.

IMHO the FAA would have started a "rush" refit on any such available FG.1 that could be made flyable
as soon as the Task Force was given the go ahead if not sooner.
Not all could be reactivated to full mission capability but a handful certainly could.

Arrangements to fly replacements south would have been in place long before Eagle got into harms way.
 
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Zen9

Banned
Another thought. Sky Shadow EW set could be crash fitted to number of either Buccaneer or F4. This would further make life harder for the Argentinians.
As would Shrike
 
Other possibilities include emergency bodge job on Bucaneer turning them into dumb missileers a la Vulcan interceptor but not quite as involved as that proposed abomination. Maybe even a rather shaky Jaguar job, shaky as thrust is a big issue, the carrier conversion already existed with M variant, pop a Blue Fox and eventually Vixen in and that's a reasonable option.
 
Maybe even a rather shaky Jaguar job, shaky as thrust is a big issue, the carrier conversion already existed with M variant, pop a Blue Fox and eventually Vixen in and that's a reasonable option.
If the timing is right,
simply buy the IM model direct from HAL and get
  • Multi mode Agave radar up-gradable soon
  • 2xsidewinder without losing hardpoints (presumably more at the expense of stores)
  • guns for both air-air & air-mud
  • ~ 10k lb stores
  • sea eagle ASM to add to the existing Martel ARM capability
    and
  • better thrust
immediately.

Not an interceptor but a better multi role than a Bucc
 
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