RAF buys F-15Cs. Can they be used in the Falklands War?

This leads me to think an earlier POD may be needed, specifically with the F-111K. Should this order not be cancelled, this should butterfly away the all UK Tornado variants (GRs & Fs), the SPETCAT Jaguar & RAF Buccaneers at the very least, with the TSR-2 & AFVG cancelled as per the OTL too.
FWIW I read a file on the proposed RAF name for the F-111 many years a go during a visit to the National Archives at Kew.

The preferred name was Richmond because they wanted to return to the convention of naming bombers after towns in the UK, British Empire & Commonwealth and all three nations that had bought the F-111 (Australia, UK and USA) had a town called Richmond.
 
There is something else that was cancelled in the 60s that would be much better than the F-111K for providing fighter cover over the Falklands: CVA01.
If CVA.01 isn't cancelled ITTL the F-15 isn't purchased ITTL.

F-14s are purchased for the RN to replace its Phantoms and the RAF is forced to buy Tomcats instead of Tornado ADV. However, the 3 CVA.01 class that I hope would be built by 1980 would still be operating Phantoms ITTL instead of the Tomcat in 1982. I think the CVA.01 class would be operating a similar sized air group to Ark Royal and Eagle towards the end of their careers. That is 12 F-4K Phantoms, 14 Buccaneer S Mk 2, 4 E-2K Hawkeyes, 6 ASW helicopters, 2 SAR helicopters and one cod aircraft.

I know that is a total of 26 Phantoms and Buccaneers when CVA.01 could carry at least 36 however, it's unlikely that enough sailors could be recruited to operate the 10 extra aircraft afloat and in the required second-line units ashore. That is even if the Treasury could find the money.
 
If CVA.01 isn't cancelled ITTL the F-15 isn't purchased ITTL.

F-14s are purchased for the RN to replace its Phantoms and the RAF is forced to buy Tomcats instead of Tornado ADV. However, the 3 CVA.01 class that I hope would be built by 1980 would still be operating Phantoms ITTL instead of the Tomcat in 1982. I think the CVA.01 class would be operating a similar sized air group to Ark Royal and Eagle towards the end of their careers. That is 12 F-4K Phantoms, 14 Buccaneer S Mk 2, 4 E-2K Hawkeyes, 6 ASW helicopters, 2 SAR helicopters and one cod aircraft.

I know that is a total of 26 Phantoms and Buccaneers when CVA.01 could carry at least 36 however, it's unlikely that enough sailors could be recruited to operate the 10 extra aircraft afloat and in the required second-line units ashore. That is even if the Treasury could find the money.
Could the RN afford a escort fleet and trident subs if 3 CVA were obtained?

Most AH.con members fail to realize that the Trident programme was and still is the biggest money grabber in the UK defence budget.
 
Could the RN afford a escort fleet and trident subs if 3 CVA were obtained?

Most AH.con members fail to realize that the Trident programme was and still is the biggest money grabber in the UK defence budget.
Not without a stronger British economy which will be required ITTL anyway. IOTL the Knott Defence Review of 1981 was because the UK couldn't afford to maintain 3 helicopter carriers, 60 destroyers & frigates and replace Polaris.

However, the CVA.01 class would be built in the 1970s and Trident wasn't built until the 1980s, which will help. They'll probably go for two ships in commission and the third in refit/reserve which what they did with the Invincible class IOTL after Invincible herself was reprieved in the wake of the Falklands War.

However, two CVA.01s even with their reduced air group require about twice the personnel afloat and ashore as 2 Invincibles. OTOH some of the RAF's Phantom and Buccaneer squadrons took the place of FAA fighter and strike squadrons. ITTL the 4 extra FAA Phantom and Buccaneer squadrons in the 1980s would be offset by a corresponding reduction in the number of RAF Phantom and Buccaneer squadrons.

There won't be an Invincible class if CVA.01 isn't built which will help too. Although they are roughly in the gap between the CVA.01 class and the Trident submarines they money could be spent on more frigates and destroyers. But my preferred option would be 2 or 3 new commando carriers to replace Albion and Bulwark.
 
The problem I have with the Idea that Britain only buys US aircraft with the exception of the Harrier and the Hawk is that it destroys Britain's ability to ever design and build combat aircraft again. First the design teams have been disbanded and can never be rebuilt and second thousands of jobs have been lost building the aircraft. Once these skills are lost it's almost impossible to regain them. Buying the F15 instead of the Tornado ADV, sure it's a better fighter. Not cancelling the F111K? That's possible. Buying hundreds of F111's in the 1970's? No, where's the money coming from and it's not suited to all of the roles it would need to fill. So the Tornado IDS goes ahead not just for Britain but the other partners, otherwise alternatives would need to be found. Those would be a Buccaneer S3, A6 Intruder or SAAB Vigan.
 
There is something else that was cancelled in the 60s that would be much better than the F-111K for providing fighter cover over the Falklands: CVA01.
And an aircraft that could do the job just as well as the F-111K in that role was the TSR.2. I know that it was cancelled before CVA.01 but it's likely to survive in a TL where CVA.01 isn't cancelled because the UK economy has to be performing better than it did IOTL. There would be a lesser chance of the P.1154 RAF and HS.681 surviving too.
 
The problem I have with the Idea that Britain only buys US aircraft with the exception of the Harrier and the Hawk is that it destroys Britain's ability to ever design and build combat aircraft again. First the design teams have been disbanded and can never be rebuilt and second thousands of jobs have been lost building the aircraft. Once these skills are lost it's almost impossible to regain them.
I think that many Labour politicians of the era couldn't care less if that is what happened and the rest would be quite pleased if it did. Their major complaint would be that the UK was buying military aircraft, not who they were being bought from.
 
Not without a stronger British economy which will be required ITTL anyway. IOTL the Knott Defence Review of 1981 was because the UK couldn't afford to maintain 3 helicopter carriers, 60 destroyers & frigates and replace Polaris.

However, the CVA.01 class would be built in the 1970s and Trident wasn't built until the 1980s, which will help. They'll probably go for two ships in commission and the third in refit/reserve which what they did with the Invincible class IOTL after Invincible herself was reprieved in the wake of the Falklands War.

However, two CVA.01s even with their reduced air group require about twice the personnel afloat and ashore as 2 Invincibles. OTOH some of the RAF's Phantom and Buccaneer squadrons took the place of FAA fighter and strike squadrons. ITTL the 4 extra FAA Phantom and Buccaneer squadrons in the 1980s would be offset by a corresponding reduction in the number of RAF Phantom and Buccaneer squadrons.

There won't be an Invincible class if CVA.01 isn't built which will help too. Although they are roughly in the gap between the CVA.01 class and the Trident submarines they money could be spent on more frigates and destroyers. But my preferred option would be 2 or 3 new commando carriers to replace Albion and Bulwark.
How does one justify such spending on RN when the main threat of the era, the Warsaw Pact, is a land based threat.


When I say "trident", I mean the SSBN and associated infrastructure programmes.
https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8166/


The UK nuclear deterrence is in reality quore expensive, especially if you takes into account of the costs of sites like
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corsham_Computer_Centre
 
I think that many Labour politicians of the era couldn't care less if that is what happened and the rest would be quite pleased if it did. Their major complaint would be that the UK was buying military aircraft, not who they were being bought from.
They'd soon start caring when their seats in Parliament were threatened after half their constituents suddenly lost their jobs.
 
Buying the F15 instead of the Tornado ADV, sure it's a better fighter. Not cancelling the F111K? That's possible. Buying hundreds of F111's in the 1970's? No, where's the money coming from and it's not suited to all of the roles it would need to fill. So the Tornado IDS goes ahead not just for Britain but the other partners, otherwise alternatives would need to be found. Those would be a Buccaneer S3, A6 Intruder or SAAB Viggen.
The Buccaneers the RAF used were effectively cut-price TSR.2s and F-111Ks so I can see an additional batch of 50 F-111Ks being bought instead of the last 50 Buccaneers. The UK economy has to be performing better for the first batch of 50 F-111Ks to be affordable which ipso facto makes a second batch of 50 affordable even if it is more expensive than the last 50 Buccaneers.

More F-111Ks instead of the Jaguar is problematic as they did different jobs and there is the expense. I wrote as much in an earlier post. However, the 5 Jaguar squadrons in Germany were replaced by 5 squadrons of Tornado IDS in the 1980s which left the 3 squadrons in Strike Command. Therefore, instead of the OTL 202 Jaguars there would be 80 additional Harriers would be built in the 1970s for the 3 Strike Command squadrons and more F-111Ks would be bought instead of the Jaguars destined for RAF Germany.
 
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They'd soon start caring when their seats in Parliament were threatened after half their constituents suddenly lost their jobs.
A lot of voters lost their jobs due to the 1964-65 cancellations. A lot of voters lost their jobs due to the Mason defence review of 1974-75.

Also, they might be a touch of machiavellianism. I wouldn't be surprised if workers in the aircraft industry tended to vote Conservative because the Conservative Party (rightly or wrongly) was perceived as being pro-defence while the Labour Party (rightly or wrongly) was perceived as being pro-disarmament. They'll think that the redundant workers will do what happened after the Sandys defence review. They'll find work in other industries or emigrate and find jobs in the US aircraft industry. Some of the workers that remained in the Uk would find alternative employment in industries where the workers tend to vote Labour.

Having written that my understanding is that Tony Benn only backed Concorde because he was a Bristol MP.

FWIW I think it's a very bad idea too. I'm only trying to find ways to make the OP and Post 28 work.
 
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When I say "trident", I mean the SSBN and associated infrastructure programmes.
https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8166/

The UK nuclear deterrence is in reality quore expensive, especially if you takes into account of the costs of sites like
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corsham_Computer_Centre.
I know you did and that's what I meant too.

The construction of the CVA.01 class and the whole Trident programme wouldn't have overlapped. There wasn't that much overlap between the Invincible class (which won't be built if the CVA.01 class is built) and the whole Trident programme.
 
How does one justify such spending on RN when the main threat of the era, the Warsaw Pact, is a land based threat?
The flippant reply is that General Galtieri provided the answer to your question on 2nd April 1982.

The longer reply is that had 3 CVA.01 class been built in the 1970s they'd have been paid for and wouldn't need replacing until after the Trident programme was completed. That's the whole Trident programme, not just the submarines.

The TTL version of the Knott Defence review would have one difference from the OTL version that is dispose of CVA.01 instead of Invincible. However, that wouldn't have been carried out before April 1982 because CVA.02 was refitting with the result that the OTL Falklands task force was built around CVA.01 and CVA.03. The Falklands would result in CVA.01 being reprieved ITTL in the same way as OTL. However, one of the three ships would have to permanently be in refit/reserve and there could only be 2 air groups because there wasn't enough money for 3 in commission with 3 air groups at all times.

A secondary justification is that 2 CVA.01s joining the US Atlantic Fleet's death ride into the Norwegian Sea would draw off more Soviet air forces from the Central Front.
 
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The problem I have with the Idea that Britain only buys US aircraft with the exception of the Harrier and the Hawk is that it destroys Britain's ability to ever design and build combat aircraft again. First the design teams have been disbanded and can never be rebuilt and second thousands of jobs have been lost building the aircraft. Once these skills are lost it's almost impossible to regain them. Buying the F15 instead of the Tornado ADV, sure it's a better fighter. Not cancelling the F111K? That's possible. Buying hundreds of F111's in the 1970's? No, where's the money coming from and it's not suited to all of the roles it would need to fill. So the Tornado IDS goes ahead not just for Britain but the other partners, otherwise alternatives would need to be found. Those would be a Buccaneer S3, A6 Intruder or SAAB Vigan.
A lot of USA based members go on about pork barrel politics, seemingly unaware it happens everywhere else with a different name!
 
PS - If you think that the F-14 Tomcat for the RAF in this situation would work better, feel free to say so. I went for the Eagle due to its longer range & superb combat record.
I think the E-3 Sentry would have been more useful than both because the absence of AEW was a bigger problem than the small number of Sea Harriers.

IIRC the Nimrod AEW was supposed to enter service in 1982 but as we know it didn't. AFAIK the Boeing Sentries ordered by the USAF and NATO were delivered on time. Had the Sentry been ordered in the 1970s instead of Nimrod AEW, would a few have been operational in April 1982? AFAIK the Nimrod AEW order was placed in 1977. It might be necessary to order the Sentries in 1976 to make it work.
 
Another problem is the shortage of tankers. 23 Victor K Mk 2s were available in the Spring of 1982. They equipped Nos. 55 and 57 Squadrons and the Tanker Training Flight.

No. 214 Squadron, the third tanker squadron was a victim of the Mason Defence Review of 1974-75. It disbanded on 28th January 1977. Had No. 214 Squadron survived to the spring of 1982 it's likely that it would have been equipped with the older Victor K Mk 1 and 1A tankers.

34 Victor B Mk 2 were built but 5 had been written off by 1975. The 29 survivors were to be converted to K Mk 2 tankers but the Mason Defence Review cut the number of conversions to 24 and the other 5 aircraft were struck-off-charge between October 1975 and June 1976. One of the 24 aircraft that was converted to a tanker was written off in September 1976 leaving 23 on charge in the Spring of 1982. Had there been no Mason Review there would have been a maximum of 28 Victor K Mk 2 available in the Spring of 1982 which would not have been enough to maintain 3 squadrons of 8 aircraft and the training flight at full strength.

No. 101 Squadron, the first VC.10 tanker unit didn't become operational until May 1984 and No. 216 Squadron, the Tristar unit didn't become operational until November 1984.

However, if there hadn't been a Mason Defence Review the VC.10 conversion programme might have been brought forward a few years.
 
One scheme looked for U.K. air defence, in addition to the F15A which was closely examined was a conversion to the Vulcan mounting an air search radar that would have made Vulcan look like it had the biggest wart!
 
How does one justify such spending on RN when the main threat of the era, the Warsaw Pact, is a land based threat.


When I say "trident", I mean the SSBN and associated infrastructure programmes.
https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8166/


The UK nuclear deterrence is in reality quore expensive, especially if you takes into account of the costs of sites like
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corsham_Computer_Centre
Isn't the SSBN also the only realistic UK defence capability that can stop/deter the entire USSR/Red Army without US/NATO support? It may not be at all flexible but it's relatively powerful....even for it cost v any conventional capability, just look at the cost of say a conscript army to do the same job?
 
Isn't the SSBN also the only realistic UK defence capability that can stop/deter the entire USSR/Red Army without US/NATO support? It may not be at all flexible but it's relatively powerful....even for it cost v any conventional capability, just look at the cost of say a conscript army to do the same job?
SSBN's are great for stopping the other fella launching his nukes at you, they do damn all to stop him parking 2-300 submarines in the Atlantic and starving you into submission.
 
The later Black Buck missions were Wild Weasel, hunting the Argentine radars with Shrike ARMs. This is something that the RN could not do, although there was work going on to fit the G3s with Shrikes but this wasn't finished in time for the war.

The Black Buck missions didn't detract from any other mission, landed a bomb on the runway, caused the Argies to be on alert for the rest of the war, destroyed 1 radar and damaged another. A lot of air campaigns have achieved much less in 6 attack missions.
I asked the question on another forum as to why the RAF didn't ask for Standard ARM from the US, Standard was a much more advanced system than Shrike with better range and the ability to attack a radar that had ceased to radiate. I was told there were two reasons, one was it was thought it would take too long to fit the required boxes on to the Vulcan, the other reason was they had a nightmare vision of a RN unit getting killed by the 220lb Standard warhead if ti went astray.
 
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