HMS EAGLE in the Falklands

Wasn’t the F-14 an absolute cast iron bitch to maintain, and expensive to boot? Can’t see why the RN would go for them.
Also very big and heavy and could only operate from the supercarriers. Any hypothetical new carrier is unlikely to be more than 60-70,000 tonnes so probably to small for effective tomcat operations.
 
If the British go for a direct replacement for Eagle in the 30,000 t (Eagle, Essex) to 45,000 t (Midway, Malta) range, they're going to have the same options as the French had with Charles de Gaulle. AFAIK, CdG is the smallest it can be and still be able to operate Super Hornets and especially Hawkeyes. An Eagle-sized replacement might be limited to Hornets and might need some other AEWC solution. Both the Typhoon and the Rafale are about the same size as a Baby Bug so they might work on a smaller carrier.
 
If the British go for a direct replacement for Eagle in the 30,000 t (Eagle, Essex) to 45,000 t (Midway, Malta) range, they're going to have the same options as the French had with Charles de Gaulle. AFAIK, CdG is the smallest it can be and still be able to operate Super Hornets and especially Hawkeyes. An Eagle-sized replacement might be limited to Hornets and might need some other AEWC solution. Both the Typhoon and the Rafale are about the same size as a Baby Bug so they might work on a smaller carrier.
Given I suspect any new carrier would start as a collaboration I'd say a CdG sized ship is most likely, that gives some flexibility but is about as big as 80's UK is likely prepared to go.
 
Since CdG carrier has been mentioned multiple times already, has anyone considered what effects (if any) would use of Eagle have on CdG design. Other then reasons of national pride there is little need for it to be nuclear powered, and with succesful performance of conventionaly powered carrier by British, French may take notice. Especially considering that action took place at Falklands, so there is proof that even relatively small (in comparison to US supercarriers) conventionaly powered carrier is enough to do the job, without the need for expensive and complicated nuclear reactor.
 
Well if I could have chosen the Aircraft to be the ADV of the UK I would choose the F15 - same for the RAAF instead of the F18!

But its not cheap - it's the most expensive fighter of it generation both in terms of aircraft cost and operating costs by a significant margin - and with regards to performance your F15 pilot would say the same thing of any other fighter of that period. It took the F22 to wrest the crown from it after all.

The F15 was the big bad wolf for a very good reason. The ADV was a long range, long endurance missile truck intended to snuff Russian bombers over the North Sea.

The whole purpose of the Tornado platform was to keep the lifetime costs as low as possible - the 'underpowered' RB 199s where designed to be economical and compact while still delivering the desired thrust etc - while allowing for a sustainable European based production.
From a land based interceptor perspective that makes perfect sense. However, by trying to navalize the Tornado you end up with a more expensive aircraft because modifying it will cost money and you it will have less capability than its land based brother because you've added weight to a fighter that is already underpowered. To a certain extent you are making a 4th generation jet version of the Brewster Buffalo - a decent land based fighter for when it was designed (just ask the Finns) that lost whatever good attributes it had when the USN navalized it.
 
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Wasn’t the F-14 an absolute cast iron bitch to maintain, and expensive to boot? Can’t see why the RN would go for them.
Yes but part of that is because it is a swing wing aircraft, you add a lot of moving parts with that mechanism. That's part of the problem with the B-1 in the USAF. I assume there are similar issues with the Tornado.
 
This is something I was thinking about as well. If the UK is retaining CATOBAR capability, it could well be interested in Tomcats. This is around the time that the -14D was being developed and that would give the UK a credible strike-fighter, allowing them to replace both the Phantoms and Buccaneers with a single airframe. With a larger user base, the USN may elect to develop the Super Tomcat instead of the Super Hornet (fingers crossed).
The F-14D was in development but it did not join the fleet until 1991 after Desert Storm (a couple of squadrons of F-14A+/B did see service in ODS) and I imagine they will want something sooner than that. Also, the F-14D was not designed with the idea that it would be a multi-role strike fighter. The airframe always had the potential to drop bombs but it was never explored until the early 1990s when a combination of factors drove the USN toward exploring the capability. Namely, the A-6s getting old, the A-12 crapping out, and the Tomcat needing a new mission because fleet air defense wasn't much of a thing at that point. The capability then took a few years to develop. They could drop dumb bombs and they dropped a few laser guided bombs in Bosnia in 1995 with Hornets doing buddy lasing but the airframe's capability as a strike fighter wasn't truly realized until the later part of the 1990s when it was married up with the LANTIRN pod. So in this case I don't see the RN in the 1980s viewing the F-14 (assuming their carriers could operate them) as a replacement for the Phantom and the Buccaneer because the capability didn't exist at the time and the USN had no interest in pursuing it.
 
Also very big and heavy and could only operate from the supercarriers. Any hypothetical new carrier is unlikely to be more than 60-70,000 tonnes so probably to small for effective tomcat operations.
Technically, the Midway class could operate Tomcats as well. However there was an issue in maintaining them in the hangers. Specifically they couldn't remove the ejection seats for maintenance unless the aircraft was positioned exactly so that the cockpit was between the overhead girders. But the ships themselves could operate them if the need was there. Design something about Midway sized with a taller hanger and they would easily fit.

Edit: They also couldn't remove the vertical stabilizers for maintenance in the hangers unless they were between the girders as well. in other words, it was just a gigantic pain in the ass to maintain a Tomcat on a Midway.

The F-14D was in development but it did not join the fleet until 1991 after Desert Storm (a couple of squadrons of F-14A+/B did see service in ODS) and I imagine they will want something sooner than that. Also, the F-14D was not designed with the idea that it would be a multi-role strike fighter. The airframe always had the potential to drop bombs but it was never explored until the early 1990s when a combination of factors drove the USN toward exploring the capability. Namely, the A-6s getting old, the A-12 crapping out, and the Tomcat needing a new mission because fleet air defense wasn't much of a thing at that point. The capability then took a few years to develop. They could drop dumb bombs and they dropped a few laser guided bombs in Bosnia in 1995 with Hornets doing buddy lasing but the airframe's capability as a strike fighter wasn't truly realized until the later part of the 1990s when it was married up with the LANTIRN pod. So in this case I don't see the RN in the 1980s viewing the F-14 (assuming their carriers could operate them) as a replacement for the Phantom and the Buccaneer because the capability didn't exist at the time and the USN had no interest in pursuing it.
Good point. I'd forgotten that the Bombcat was developed over time. Still though. With the first -14Ds entering the fleet in 91, that's right around the time that the new RN carrier would be entering service. I'm figuring it's gonna be 6 months to a year for Parliament to approve the purchase, which brings us to 1983. Then another 3-4 years for detailed design work. So 86/87. And probably 3-5 years for construction (size and propulsion would determine build time, bigger and nuke=longer). So the new carrier would be joining the fleet sometime between 1989 and 1992.

And if the RN wants Tomcats for it's new carrier, they can work with the USN and Grumman to fully develop the Tomcat's strike abilities. Obviously that's just spitballing. And if I'm being honest, what I'd like to see. In all likelihood the RN opts for Hornets or a clean sheet European design.
 
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With the RN looking for a new Strike Fighter to operate from a new carrier, might not this accelerate the development of the Super Hornet? Instead of going for the historical incremental C/D variant, might not the RN requirement push them directly to the E/F sized airframe instead?

I know the Super Hornet was a reaction to Dick Cheney killing the F-14D, but maybe this starts off as the F-4K development redux, with the difference in that the USN gets on the bandwagon seeing value in the increased capability of the bigger airframe?
 
From a land based interceptor perspective that makes perfect sense. However, by trying to navalize the Tornado you end up with a more expensive aircraft because modifying it will cost money and you it will have less capability than its land based brother because you've added weight to a fighter that is already underpowered. To a certain extent you are making a 4th generation jet version of the Brewster Buffalo - a decent land based fighter for when it was designed (just ask the Finns) that lost whatever good attributes it had when the USN navalized it.
Possibly but the UK knew from the early 70s that they would not need a CATOBAR AC beyond Phantom / Buccaneer so it was never something that was going to happen to the Tonka

But had that changed during this time then its possible that a Sea Tornado might have replaced the Buccaneer sometime in the 80s and F14 'K' might have replaced Phantom in the 90s or a Sea Tonka replaces both or more likely Hornet does.

It depends on the Politics of the day

As for a 4th Gen Brewster - only if they showed the AC as is and then sold it with a worse engine than promised with 20% less power (including reconditioned engines god rot their war profiteering black souls) which with the increased weight of equipment and armament turned it into a pig and not even a painted one

If anything the Sea Tonka would get an improved version of the RB199 and later an RJ200 (Engine in the Typhoon) so probably double the dry thrust of the early RB199s by the late 90s and more powerful than the GE414 series found in the Super Hornet!

Edit: I would likely choose the Super Hornet.....with the RJ200 Engine just because it would be the British thing to do...;)
 

Nick P

Donor
In all likelihood the RN opts for Hornets or a clean sheet European design.
British Aerospace were working on various projects in the early 1980s with a longterm view to the European Fighter Aircraft (EFA) project.
I quite like the P.110 scheme which is rather Hornet like. As it was only at an early stage developing a carrier version was not impossible.


Here's a few more from BAe at the time. The ACA Agile Combat Aircraft (bottom right) was worked eventually into the Eurofighter Typhoon.
 
British Aerospace were working on various projects in the early 1980s with a longterm view to the European Fighter Aircraft (EFA) project.
I quite like the P.110 scheme which is rather Hornet like. As it was only at an early stage developing a carrier version was not impossible.
Damn thats a good looker.
 
With the RN looking for a new Strike Fighter to operate from a new carrier, might not this accelerate the development of the Super Hornet? Instead of going for the historical incremental C/D variant, might not the RN requirement push them directly to the E/F sized airframe instead?

I know the Super Hornet was a reaction to Dick Cheney killing the F-14D, but maybe this starts off as the F-4K development redux, with the difference in that the USN gets on the bandwagon seeing value in the increased capability of the bigger airframe?
Probably not. The first F/A-18As didn't go to sea operationally until 1987. There's no way that McDonnell Douglas designs an almost entirely new aircraft just for the RN (who is only going to order a relative handful compared to the OTL orders for the Hornet). The F-4K was a special case because the RN needed to upgrade their fighters and realistically, nothing else was available. Unfortunately, standard Phantoms couldn't operate from the RN's carriers. And they ended paying out the ass for the modifications needed. A stock Hornet however, can operate from their existing (and any planned) carriers.
 
British Aerospace were working on various projects in the early 1980s with a longterm view to the European Fighter Aircraft (EFA) project.
I quite like the P.110 scheme which is rather Hornet like. As it was only at an early stage developing a carrier version was not impossible.
I could definitely see the RN going for something like this. Especially if it keeps the industrial knowledge base intact in the UK. Of course, costs may end up forcing the RN to "buy off the shelf." Which realistically means it's either Hornets or Tomcats at the time they'll be looking.
 
I suspect the most likely aircraft would be the F/A-18D with a lot of local content, probably a scaled up derivative of the three shaft RB199 engine, which would likely be very similar to the EJ200, which would significantly improve the fuel efficiency and thrust to weight ratio of the engine and offset the extra weight of the backseater.
 
I suspect the most likely aircraft would be the F/A-18D with a lot of local content, probably a scaled up derivative of the three shaft RB199 engine, which would likely be very similar to the EJ200, which would significantly improve the fuel efficiency and thrust to weight ratio of the engine and offset the extra weight of the backseater.
An 18-K in other words but hopefully one with more markets than the Brit Phantoms ever had.
 
The other thing that would probably change, because you know that the UK wouldn't be able to stop themselves is to change out the M61 for a different gun armament. Not sure if a pair of Mauser BK-27 would fit in there or not because of the barrel length, but I suspect it could be done with some rearranging of the internals.

Would be a better performer in the air to air role as well due to the lack of spool up of the weapon and heavier 27mm shell.
 
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