Panavia Tornado Without the UK

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Simon, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Lascaris Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    I doubt Germany plus Italy and he Netherlands lack the technical capacity to build a plane on their own and certainly given the projects they were running (AVS, VJ101, VAK191, Fiat G95) the governments in question didn't really think so. Still if it fails to work out the logical candidate is probably not F/A-18 but Northrop's F-18L. Regarding 1 or 2 engines the NKF design was certainly single engined. I suppose its possible that you go to something like Panavia 100 instead but wouldn't take it for granted.

    Having Marcel Dassault happy with the project is I suspect the key component... but the proper POD here is SNECMA in 1959 teaming up with Bristol instead of P&W. Instead of TF306 they are building an engine that start from the core of the Pegasus together with Bristol which is what ends up powering ACF/AFVG... and the Mirage F3/F3M that goes to complement it.
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  2. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    Battle Flight by Chris Gibson

    The term your looking for is UK AIR (airborn intercept radar) and is the way they talked about the FMICW sets MEASL worked on. AI.24 would be the designation of either set.

    Five options looked at mostly around F4K or F4J.
  3. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    Of course had the P1154 gone ahead this would obviously attract German and Dutch interest just as it did from Sweden.

    Though the Type 584/585 and Mirage G are ideal Starfighter replacements.
  4. MancFrank Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2010
    No, no - that isn't the term I'm looking for at all... UK AD is the shortform of 'UK Air Defence' with ADGE being, of course, 'Air Defence Ground Environment'. Both being individual elements of the whole, broad aerial defence network of the United Kingdom with UK AD also encompassing the policies & procurement strategies for same, too.

    Furthermore, airborne interception radar was always, from specifications & official documentation downwards, referred to as AI - NEVER as AIR.

    At least, that's the nomenclature used by the MoD, the service, contractors & the AD community themselves...

    As I said, at no time - once the Phantom was in UK service - was the iteration of AI.24 which became Foxhunter seriously or officially considered for retrofit to either FG.1 or FGR.2 fleets. Indeed, ongoing support for AWG-12 to the original planned FGR.2 OSD was formalised with Ferranti's South Gyle offices quite early in the process - with the only other set to (briefly) receive formal consideration being APG-66.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  5. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    I'll quote from the book.

    Director of Air Engineering (RAF) compiled a report on the fatigue life of F4M fleet and concluded the fleet would begin to run out of fatigue life from 1983 (dial control FGR.2 in particular) and the rest of the FGR.2 fleet br largely time-expired by 1995.

    Dunphy briefly described the five Phantom variants on offer : F4M/Spey/UK AIR, F4J/J79, F4J/Spey, F4J/J79/UK AIR and F4J/Spey/UK AIR. Cost-wise, of the five versions, a straight buy of the F4J/J79 was cheapest with it's estimated unit cost at £1.9M whereas the most expensive would have been the F4J/Spey/ UK AIR at £2.85M each. When the same cost analysis was applied to the MRCA(AD) it was estimated to be £3.13M a copy.
    Dunphy's analysis included the F15 unit cost of £3.35M and the F15 at £2.9M.

    It goes on to the retrofitting of UK AIR looked at in '74 for F4/AD. About £9M less if applied to F4 compared to MRCA AD.

    Seems at one point they briefly looked at buying the production licence and having HSA build new Phantoms with UK AIR.
  6. James Ricker Own your mistakes

    Oct 29, 2016
    Boston Massachusetts
    Totally different wings. The wings were direct copies from a canceled British design. I would expect possibly a French delta wing design. Which would have decreased maneuverability but increased range. With a marked decrease in low altitude performance.
    If they went for a standard wing design there would be weight savings resulting in greater payload probably with decreased low altitude performance but definitely decrease high altitude performance.
  7. MancFrank Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2010
    So, no mention of AI.24 at all, then? Hardly surprising since this report seems to date to the early - mid seventies & the specification and contract award for AI.24 / Foxhunter dates to 1976...

    It seems the (erroneous), generic term AIR is used, though - which could mean anything. Radar development in the UK had been ongoing continuously, with the first developmental inverse cassegrain FMiCW (known by my father's generation as 'Fuck Me, it Can't Work!') sets appearing around 1965 from both Ferranti & Marconi - but none of these are AI.24...

    Also noteworthy are the estimates for fatigue life on the FGR.2 fleet - this became an issue a little earlier than this report suggests & spanwise doublers (and other mods) started to appear from 1981 onwards as part of the 100FI programme.
  8. Nicola Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    the Tornado was never designed or intended to be a dogfighter

    UK air defence policy and practice saw the role of the interceptor , especially once they had F-4s to be to go and kill Bears etc at realtively long range out in the G-I-Uk gap ...
  9. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Monthly Donor

    May 18, 2016
    Leafy Southern Blighty
    Which part of my statement did you read as promoting the F2/3 as a dogfighter?

    In fact I stressed that the Air Display Variant was an Interdictor as opposed to an Interceptor.
  10. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    So AI.24 is just a designation in a sequence. Whatever the set's nature either a continuation of the earlier effort or the later that became Foxhunter, if it was the next AI set it would be No.24...
    Though I did read once online about an AI.25, which if true suggests at one point there might have been an alternative....

    The airframe issue was a prediction in '74. So I think we can give a little latitude to them. After all other airframe issues on other aircraft would crop up and cause the RAF a number of problems later on.

    What is interesting is the cost estimates.
  11. MancFrank Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2010
    Yes, the 'next set up' would have been designated AI.24, regardless of design. Foxhunter is AI.24, yet AI.24 need not have been Foxhunter.

    Yet, your reply to Zheng He's original question is singularly explicit in regard to Foxhunter being considered for retrofit / incorporation on the UK Phantom fleet, which it was not - never mind being deemed 'quite applicable'.

    The cost estimates are extraordinarily optimistic - and would later be proven wildly so, in all regards.

    AI.25 is a red herring, btw - it was neither an alternative, nor the oft - postulated lightweight AI.18 variant. More than that, I cannot say.
  12. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    Out of molehills come mountains.

    In context had they decided on the F4/AD, then it's quite reasonable to assume that a variant of what became Foxhunter would be forthcoming in a package that would fit some variation of F4 nose. Of which there was some degree of flexibility.

    I am intrigued by your statement on AI.25. My only memory of reading something is of some kind of upgrade or replacement of AI.18.
  13. MancFrank Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2010
    It seems to me that the mountain here has grown out of your own unequivocal and persistent attempts - despite even your own 'sources' not reflecting your explicit claims - to pursue a point supported by neither evidence nor fact.

    Let me be clear - anything using the technologies developed for Foxhunter and cut down & repackaged to fit any existing F-4, regardless of nose profile, will no longer be Foxhunter and will certainly not have the same level of performance, such as was sought and desired. Attempting to package the whole lot, as released for service, for F-4 use (and ignoring the fact the Tornado's entire electronic / electrical architecture was specifically designed for the Foxhunter) creates problems of design, weight, CofG and christ knows what else. And all in a package which cannot provide the desired range / loiter characteristics, to boot!

    I have nothing further to add on AI.25. the evidence (or lack thereof) suggests no such designation ever existed. Much research has brought me to the conclusion that it's likely a typo or misreading of AI.23.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  14. Zheng He Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2013
    In this case it is probably better to just fit the APG-65 into the Phantom like the Germans and Greeks eventually did.
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  15. NOMISYRRUC He isn't the best, but he is in the top one...

    Nov 7, 2014
    I agree with the first sentence.

    However, I think if the UK hadn't joined what became Panavia and the RAF was allowed to buy an all British aircraft it would be an all-new aircraft rather than a rehash of TSR.2 with new avionics. I think it would be an enlarged AFVG to accommodate the extra internal fuel, more powerful engines than the OTL RB.199 and Tornado IDS standard avionics, which would probably be compared to the F-111 after its 1980s avionics modernisation.

    Would this "Big AFVG" be significantly more expensive to develop and build than the OTL Tornado IDS? It's the armament and electronics that make up most of the R&D and production costs of modern warships, not the hull and machinery, hence the phrase, "Steel is cheap." Is there a corresponding, "Aluminium is cheap," phrase for modern combat aircraft. That's is are the airframe and engine relatively cheap in comparison to the cost of the avionics and weapons?
  16. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    Considering the VG studies of the period upto and after the TSR.2 cancellation and even beyond the F111 cancellation, I'd say you're right.
    It's even arguable, that had the RAF settled for an interim capability to GOR.339 (such as Buccaneer) then the outcome would've been a VG design. Likely around a pair of Spey turbofans.
    And crucially the delay would allow the option of the Elliot computer used in the A7 that was actually up to the task.
    As was, Verdan with (shudder) virtual (tape based) memory was the not so sane solution.
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  17. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    If using the UK domestic radar sets available, UK domestic engines available and the right computer system, then not much more expensive and possibly even cheaper despite the increase in metal used.

    The bigger beast might even be more applicable to modification for the AD role.
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  18. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    Radar sets those from TSR.2 program. FLR strike radar for TFR function based on Ferranti AI.23 with TCC. With ground mapping, beacon homing and obviously terrain following.
    Q-band strike radar from Elliot. This for AFVG.
    TFR functionality, ground mapping, target ID.
    The two in combination were proposed for MRCA.
    However Q-band Side scan system SLAR with MTI function is an option.
    INAS FE541 for P1154 used in Harrier and F4K.
    LRMTS used on Jaguar.
    NAVWASS used on Jaguar.

    Possibly IR MLDS by HSD
    Possibly OLS/IRLS by EMI
    SAR might become available.

    Integral EW/ECM and chaff flare dispensers are also possible on such a machine.

    Spey is the existing power plant, but there was RR scaled up RB.199 option for about 24,000lb reheated thrust per engine.

    Key issue is wing pivot and MRCA licenced US solution used on F111.

    Uk can either look to gain this (Germany got it through AVS work) or find own patent.

    Main reference is Black Box Canberras.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  19. Riain Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    What's TCC?

    The AI23 was also the basis for the Blue Parrot in the Buccaneer. This repurposing is common in British radar development, the Blue Fox in the Sea Harrier is a development of the Seaspray in the Lynx.
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  20. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    TCC terrain contour computer I think but I'll have to recheck the book.
    It seems quite a lot of changes were done to so it's more a development from AI.23 than being just a variant of it.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019