HMS EAGLE in the Falklands

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'm not so sure about how much local content it would have. I could see MDD licensing a FAL at British Aerospace though to actually build the aircraft for the RN. Besides, by 1992, the F404 engine had been uprated with 10% more thrust over the original version.

An 18-K in other words but hopefully one with more markets than the Brit Phantoms ever had.
I highly doubt British Aerospace would have any success selling it to foreign customers though. Most countries would just buy stock Hornets directly from MDD like they did IOTL. Hell, any production license would most likely prohibit BA from selling the aircraft abroad. Now, if it was a clean sheet design incorporating a few features other European manufacturers, then you could see the UK grabbing some orders that in OTL went to MDD for Hornets.
 
I suspect they'd be bought as knock down-kits like the RAAF airframes were done. Assembled in the UK with the native systems added during assembly.

Easier to sell it to the UK public when you can bring in the politicians and camera crews to see the airframes being put together by one of the local Aerospace firms.
 
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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.
Why "a pair"? Surelly one is enough. Trying to squeeze a 2nd gun on the F-18 would simply complicate the design, increase costs and, most likely, rob internal fuel... which was allreadt a bit short in the earlier generations.
 
Likely you're right and I was thinking of a twin setup like the 30mm ADENs on the Lightning F.2A. A single 27mm Mauser would do the job easily.
 
The Bear in the room is the cost, we need new Carriers and we need them. Unless millions of pounds are thrown at Eagle when she comes home just to keep her ticking over. Now with the three through deck cruisers I can see HMG saying nope that what you wanted that what you get and keep. After all they take years to plan fund and build. I truly hope in this great story ne ones are ordered. I’d go for the F18s but with an access all technology clause written in to the contract. The Americans are always happy to sell but stitch up buyers saying you can pay you cam pay but you can not do sod all else to them example the Lighting and the argument that’s going on over it.

A quick win would be to move rapidly to the Sea Harrier 2 with a full buy to equipped all three ships. A down and dirty refit for Eagle to keep the Phantoms going and the crews up to speed. Once done move to a fast build of two new large carriers that can handle more planes than Eagle
 
By the mid 90s, this could be the carrier force

Fleet Carriers (Queen Elizabeth-class) - 54,500 tonnes
HMS Queen Elizabeth
HMS Furious
HMS Majestic

Aircraft (usual)
36 F/A-18K Hornets
4 E-2 Hawkeye (I'm not sure about the quantity here)
6 Sea King ASW Helicopters

Aircraft (wartime)
44 F/A-18K Hornets
4 E-2 Hawkeye

Light Carriers (Invincible-class)
HMS Invincible
HMS Illustrious
HMS Ark Royal

Aircraft (Invincible and Illustrious)
12 Sea Harriers
10 Merlins or Sea Kings

Aircraft (Ark Royal)
10 Lynxes
6 Merlins
6 Sea Kings
 
By the mid 90s, this could be the carrier force

Fleet Carriers (Queen Elizabeth-class) - 54,500 tonnes
HMS Queen Elizabeth
HMS Furious
HMS Majestic

Aircraft (usual)
36 F/A-18K Hornets
4 E-2 Hawkeye (I'm not sure about the quantity here)
6 Sea King ASW Helicopters

Aircraft (wartime)
44 F/A-18K Hornets
4 E-2 Hawkeye

Light Carriers (Invincible-class)
HMS Invincible
HMS Illustrious
HMS Ark Royal

Aircraft (Invincible and Illustrious)
12 Sea Harriers
10 Merlins or Sea Kings

Aircraft (Ark Royal)
10 Lynxes
6 Merlins
6 Sea Kings
And do you really think that is all going to survive end of CW budget cuts? Obviously people in 1982 could not predict the collapse of the Soviet Union, heck people in 1988 could not predict it but the real problem here for the RN is that if the Falklands war makes folks realize the RN still needs CATOBAR carriers and the aircraft to match (whether from the US or domestic or a combination) all of these wonderful ships and planes are going to be starting to come on line just as the Berlin Wall is getting ripped apart and David Hasselhoff is standing on top of it singing about freedom (anybody remember that?). Then the accountants are going to start sharpening their knives, just like they did OTL. Some of what you have listed above may survive but a lot of it won't.
 
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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.


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.
You should actually be glad the Bombcat program went the way it did. If a strike variant started getting developed in the mid-1980s, it probably gets axed in 1990 for obvious reasons like so many other neat ideas (the A-7K being one of my favorites) just like the F-14D was OTL (only 55 made it to the fleet, 37 new builds and 18 refits). The reason the Bombcat worked is that it ended up being a fairly low risk solution using off the shelf systems - the F-14 a fighter that had been in the fleet for two decades and the LANTIRN pod, a mature system that had been used successfully by the Air Force since the mid-1980s. Even then with modifications it still cost $3M per pod and the USN only acquired 75 for the entire fleet.
 

Zen9

Banned
So had CVA -01 been resurrected, this would permit operation of the F14.
Though I highly doubt that it would be post-Falklands War.

However the more recent French design PA75 Mini-CVN is a possible contender.

Within OTL it might all pile pressure on choosing the P1216
 
By the mid 90s, this could be the carrier force

Fleet Carriers (Queen Elizabeth-class) - 54,500 tonnes
HMS Queen Elizabeth
HMS Furious
HMS Majestic

Aircraft (usual)
36 F/A-18K Hornets
4 E-2 Hawkeye (I'm not sure about the quantity here)
6 Sea King ASW Helicopters

Aircraft (wartime)
44 F/A-18K Hornets
4 E-2 Hawkeye

Light Carriers (Invincible-class)
HMS Invincible
HMS Illustrious
HMS Ark Royal

Aircraft (Invincible and Illustrious)
12 Sea Harriers
10 Merlins or Sea Kings

Aircraft (Ark Royal)
10 Lynxes
6 Merlins
6 Sea Kings

I think there would be no need for the Light Carriers if the Fleet Carriers were there. It would be costly enough just buying and operating the larger ships.

I would say the following in wartime as you would not want to have a carrier that did not have it's own ASW & Search and Rescue Helicopters:

36 F/A-18K Hornets
3 E-2s
4 Sea King ASW Helicopters
2 Sea King Search and Rescue Helicopters

This makes for a total of 45 planes for a 54,500 tonne carrier which is doable as the F/A-18K is not that large a plane.
 
There's no way the UK could afford so many carriers. I'd say 2 CVs and 1-2 heli carriers, specially if these go the way of HMS Ocean, being built to near-comercial stantards. And I agree with with the F-18 as being the cheapest, simplest choice.
 

Zen9

Banned
On a practical level funding the P1216 ensures a supersonic Fighter/Attack type operable from Invincible class carriers.
The main issues this throws up relate to the restrictions of PCB use and the limitations of the ship's storage of fuel and weaponry.
The former can be handled but the latter is unresolvable on extent Invincible class Carriers.
Assuming project is given the go ahead post Falklands this results in firstly no Eurofighter as this machine will perform the tasks replacing the Jaguar and Harrier.
Heseltine will hit the roof over this 'anti-European' act.
Ergo 30-60 for the FAA.
60-120 Harrier successors for the RAF.
150-200 Jaguar successors.
Totalling 240-390 aircraft.

Secondly as the Cold War ends the need to move to two larger CVs is overwhelming. As early as the Major Government this was clear from operations in the Gulf andthe Adriatic off the Yugoslavia.
A knock on effect might be luring the Swedes to a license deal instead of the domestic Grippen.

Ideally the USMC will jump on the bandwagon, even though like the RAF and FAA, they have gotten used to the benign operating characteristics of the Harrier.
 
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Well the Invincible are already under construction, or in commission and are not going anywhere until there is a proper carrier capability to replace them. However if a concerted effort is made to replace Eagle ASAP in the 90s, I could see at least two of them being sold off in the late 90s/ early 2000s. The one in best condition might be kept alongside Ocean as a commando aircraft carrier.

Sea Harrier FA.2 probably doesn't come about, with every available bit of funding being squeezed into getting the new fleet carrier(s?) developed and equipped with new aircraft. In all probability only one carrier is actually procured in this program, with plans for a second, which are dropped in the post cold war budget restriction.
P.1216 might end up being the chosen as the ideal aircraft for the new carrier, but it was only in the very earliest of development in the mid 80s. It probably ends up being rolled into the JSF program in the 90s. At the time they will probably think that the aircraft is just around the corner, and it will be, for the next 20 years. As a stop gap the Royal Navy will probably buy Hornets for the carrier in the 90s.

The machinations of the major US aerospace corporations will mean that P.1216 will only survive in small part as development work for their own designs. The BAE aircraft will only see the light of day if UK participation in the JSF program is derailed.
 
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Ramontxo

Donor
A VSTOL aircraft has several advantages, nor the minor of them being it allows RAF fighters to cross deploy to the carriers with a minimum of training and so making a single aircraft for both the RAF and the FAA possible (a naval aircraft serving in the RAF should by itself be able to do it its pilot will not)
 

Zen9

Banned
Not really I think the key moment is 1985.
But yes the Invincible class could be sold. One to the RAN, another to...?
And yes if the third is built then it's kept as a glorified LPH/CG.

F/A.2 is dead as is GR.5 but Blue Vixen and Zeus ECM will be rolled into P1216.
Eurofighter is dead.
The Germans go for either licensed build of F16 or F18.
The French are unlikely to change and while some might hope for Anglo-French cooperation it's going to founder on previous experience and Dassault's behaviour.

Yes buy Hornets is possible as an alternative with a Conventional CV.
But domestic industry is lobbying hard for work and no fighter means they are doomed.
 

Zen9

Banned
A VSTOL aircraft has several advantages, nor the minor of them being it allows RAF fighters to cross deploy to the carriers with a minimum of training and so making a single aircraft for both the RAF and the FAA possible (a naval aircraft serving in the RAF should by itself be able to do it its pilot will not)
I think I'll agree that, and state that the P1216 would be virtually the same machine for both services even though there would be differences. But none of them are going to significantly make it too hard to fund, maintain, or train for.
Rather like a common helicopter school was increasingly possible with additional elements for naval operations.
 
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.
McDonnell-Douglas did exactly that actually. It was called the Hornet 2000 at the time and currently serves in the USN as a replacement for the F-14 and A-6.



Not really I think the key moment is 1985.
But yes the Invincible class could be sold. One to the RAN, another to...?
And yes if the third is built then it's kept as a glorified LPH/CG.

F/A.2 is dead as is GR.5 but Blue Vixen and Zeus ECM will be rolled into P1216.
Eurofighter is dead.
The Germans go for either licensed build of F16 or F18.
The French are unlikely to change and while some might hope for Anglo-French cooperation it's going to founder on previous experience and Dassault's behaviour.

Yes buy Hornets is possible as an alternative with a Conventional CV.
But domestic industry is lobbying hard for work and no fighter means they are doomed.
The third Invincible-class began construction on December 14th, 1978 actually. It should still be under construction unless stated otherwise by flasheart.
 

Ramontxo

Donor
Also Hornets at the time needs either nuclear or traditional turbines in the carrier (for the catapults). The Super Harrier would not.
 
McDonnell-Douglas did exactly that actually. It was called the Hornet 2000 at the time and currently serves in the USN as a replacement for the F-14 and A-6.
*Groans* yeah, but they didn't do that two years after the Hornet first went operational. That's what some posters are suggesting MDD do here. They designed the Super Hornet over 10 years after the first A models were delivered to the Navy. And after almost 1,500 classic Hornets had been built.
 
Also Hornets at the time needs either nuclear or traditional turbines in the carrier (for the catapults). The Super Harrier would not.
This is not actually true. A steam generation system can be created to utilize other propulsion systems with the existing catapult designs. This was in fact the plan for the CATOBAR CVF designs.
 
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