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

The RAF did consider procuring the F-15 in the '70s during the process that led to the Tornado ADV. Chris Gibson writes about it in Battle Flight. The RAF wanted a two-seat aircraft, based on the F-15B. They never seriously considered the A or C model. What interests me is that the proposed RAF version of the F-15B, which would have had a British radar and Skyflash capability, is that it would have needed 30-40% more tanker support than the Tornado ADV. That fact alone told very heavily against buying the Eagle.

Expense and the need for more tankers also soured the RAF on the F-14 as a possibility.

Reminds me, I need to find my copy of Battle Flight to read this particular procurement saga again. After reading it, I came to the conclusion that the RAF made the best choice in the Tornado ADV when it came to the mix of cost and capability.

To answer the OP, the version of the Eagle that the RAF would have bought, would have tied down a significant part of the tanker force while operating in its intended environmnt - the G-I-UK Gap. Never mind trying to operate them over the Falklands from Ascension Island. We'd have to have gotten agreement from Chile to be able to operate RAF fast jets (other than Harrier GR.3s) to get them over the FI.
 
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The RAF did consider procuring the F-15 in the '70s during the process that led to the Tornado ADV. Chris Gibson writes about it in Battle Flight. The RAF wanted a two-seat aircraft, based on the F-15B. They never seriously considered the A or C model. What interests me is that the proposed RAF version of the F-15B, which would have had a British radar and Skyflash capability, is that it would have needed 30-40% more tanker support than the Tornado ADV. That fact alone told very heavily against buying the Eagle.

Expense and the need for more tankers also soured the RAF on the F-14 as a possibility.

Reminds me, I need to find my copy of Battle Flight to read this particular procurement saga again. After reading it, I came to the conclusion that the RAF made the best choice in the Tornado ADV when it came to the mix of cost and capability.
That sounds about right. Correct me if I am wrong but the Tornado ADV was designed to long range patrols and shoot down bombers and when equipped with a proper radar and missiles it did just fine in that role. While the F-15 could do that as well, the F-15 was designed to be the ultimate fighter plane that could anything and everything WRT air to air combat the only critique the pilots had of it being that it was so freaking big. The RAF did not need its new air defense fighter to do everything the F-15 could do so going with a less expensive and domestically produced plane was the right call for them in terms of what they needed.
 
@Zheng He Yes, that's pretty much true. The Tornado ADV was designed to loiter over the G-I-UK Gap or the North Sea for hours, and be capable of operating from airfields in Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles and Faroes. In the 1970s, that sort of job, a pure interceptor, needed two aircrew. It's not really until the '80s that single seat aircraft can do that job at which point everybody is looking at multi-role aircraft anyway and the pure interceptor is dead as a concept.

The potential F-15K/Eagle F.1 (yes, I know that's the @ Slam Eagle for the RoK) would have been compromised. range wise, by the need for a second creman ('Navigator' in RAF speak of the time). For what the RAF needed it to do, it would have been worse than the existing F-4K/M and the Tornado ADV. In theory the Tornado F.3 could intercept targets right off the coast of Estonia, if it wanted to, from bases in the UK. I have my doubts that an F-15K could do that; not that it would actually be done. But it is a demonstration of the F.3's range.

There was also something else important, that very much told against the F-15 - availability. The MoD and RAF were not convinced it would be available in the timescale in which it would be needed.

If we do want an RAF interceptor that can fly from Ascension and loiter over the Falklands, they need to buy the air defence version of the Vulcan. This would have been armed with up to twelve missiles - either AIM-54 or air launched Sea Darts! 😮

The RAF did not need its new air defense fighter to do everything the F-15 could do so going with a less expensive and domestically produced plane was the right call for them in terms of what they needed.
Exactly! In the Cold War context, we don't need an agile fighter like the Eagle. We needed a long-loiter interceptor, that was the Tornado ADV. Come the '80s, the RAF needed an aircraft that could do both the ADV interceptor role and replace the Jaguar. That was the EFA, which eventually became the Typhoon we know and love.
 
Between the full capacities yes, but a single USN sub could replicate the RN in order to disrupt Soviet warning & command systems prior to a full strike in the hope that the retaliation would not be on the US mainland.

And anyway it's not what the US has actually planned it's what the paranoid Kremlin is thinking that matters for committing US to war once UK fires....
Replicating chevaline (or at least something that would appear to be chevaline) while likely possible does seem a bit improbable to me. Still I agree there was likely some possibility that the USSR might have had issues determining if a USN or a RN SSBN had launched.
 
@Zheng He Yes, that's pretty much true. The Tornado ADV was designed to loiter over the G-I-UK Gap or the North Sea for hours, and be capable of operating from airfields in Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles and Faroes. In the 1970s, that sort of job, a pure interceptor, needed two aircrew. It's not really until the '80s that single seat aircraft can do that job at which point everybody is looking at multi-role aircraft anyway and the pure interceptor is dead as a concept.

The potential F-15K/Eagle F.1 (yes, I know that's the @ Slam Eagle for the RoK) would have been compromised. range wise, by the need for a second creman ('Navigator' in RAF speak of the time). For what the RAF needed it to do, it would have been worse than the existing F-4K/M and the Tornado ADV. In theory the Tornado F.3 could intercept targets right off the coast of Estonia, if it wanted to, from bases in the UK. I have my doubts that an F-15K could do that; not that it would actually be done. But it is a demonstration of the F.3's range.

There was also something else important, that very much told against the F-15 - availability. The MoD and RAF were not convinced it would be available in the timescale in which it would be needed.

If we do want an RAF interceptor that can fly from Ascension and loiter over the Falklands, they need to buy the air defence version of the Vulcan. This would have been armed with up to twelve missiles - either AIM-54 or air launched Sea Darts! 😮



Exactly! In the Cold War context, we don't need an agile fighter like the Eagle. We needed a long-loiter interceptor, that was the Tornado ADV. Come the '80s, the RAF needed an aircraft that could do both the ADV interceptor role and replace the Jaguar. That was the EFA, which eventually became the Typhoon we know and love.
Getting back to the Falklands.. Did the radar on the Vulcan IOTL have any air to air capability ? Could the Vulcan have been equipped with any form of AAM's quickly enough to have been useful ?

I am thinking perhaps intercepting Argentine aircraft closer to Argentina might have been worth attempting if a suitable aircraft was available. I suspect in reality there was no way the Vulcan IOTL could have been modified in time.

IMHO Shooting down a tanker would likely have been seen as worth the risk if the radar could have been able to differentiate between a KC130 and other aircraft.
 
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Ok i have my big bucket of icy cold water to throw.
I will start with the let's pretend an f15 is capable of flying round trip without refueling and still have a one hour loiter time.
Next we pretend that the RN/RAF instantly knows that an Argentine aircraft is heading to the Falklands as soon as it lifts off the runway.
Then we pretend it takes said attacker 1 hour to reach it's target and 7 hours for the defender to fly down and intercept.See a problem.
So basically if you want to keep a pair of defenders available you need to replace them every hour.So if we say there is 10 hours of daylight you need 10 pairs .That being ten round trips.Now i guess and say that would require 6/8 refuelings per trip .per pair.So that's 60/80 total all spread out thru the day from tankers(maybe 3 or 4 tankers per F15?) that need to be refueled to get there.Do you think even the USAF could handle that and just how big is the fuel supply on Ascension Island.Come to think of it can the airfield on Ascension Island even hold that many aircraft.Might want to get that guy who got the Berlin airlift to work to run the show.

Just my thoughts.And no I didn t even bother to check on ranges and speeds and exact distances it just seems so obviously beyond reality.
 
Ok i have my big bucket of icy cold water to throw.
I will start with the let's pretend an f15 is capable of flying round trip without refueling and still have a one hour loiter time.
Next we pretend that the RN/RAF instantly knows that an Argentine aircraft is heading to the Falklands as soon as it lifts off the runway.
Then we pretend it takes said attacker 1 hour to reach it's target and 7 hours for the defender to fly down and intercept.See a problem.
So basically if you want to keep a pair of defenders available you need to replace them every hour.So if we say there is 10 hours of daylight you need 10 pairs .That being ten round trips.Now i guess and say that would require 6/8 refuelings per trip .per pair.So that's 60/80 total all spread out thru the day from tankers(maybe 3 or 4 tankers per F15?) that need to be refueled to get there.Do you think even the USAF could handle that and just how big is the fuel supply on Ascension Island.Come to think of it can the airfield on Ascension Island even hold that many aircraft.Might want to get that guy who got the Berlin airlift to work to run the show.

Just my thoughts.And no I didn t even bother to check on ranges and speeds and exact distances it just seems so obviously beyond reality.
Yep... I tend to agree keeping air defense aircraft "on station" at those distances would seem to be a non starter..

Maybe with good intelligence about likely flight paths and times, perhaps a few fighter sweep type missions could have been flown (likely in the hopes of catching a high value target such as a tanker air craft..) beyond that I don't see such missions been flown even if the RAF had the ability to fly them (ie. if an ASB magically equipped their Vulcans with state of the art radars, sky flash or phoenix AAM's, gifted the RAF lots of tankers etc..)
 
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The primary bomber as a fighter variant you hear about is the B-1 because it has the same radar as the F-16 so it is theoretically AMRAAM capable although I am sure it is a lot harder than just putting AMRAAMs on its rotary launcher and saying, "Go get 'em boys...."
 
The primary bomber as a fighter variant you hear about is the B-1 because it has the same radar as the F-16 so it is theoretically AMRAAM capable although I am sure it is a lot harder than just putting AMRAAMs on its rotary launcher and saying, "Go get 'em boys...."
Ah, the good old BONER... er, sorry, B-1R. F119 engines for Mach 2 speed, reworked hardpoints to hold the missiles, and an AESA radar. Oh, and 20% less range.
 
They did mount Sidewinders onto Nimrods during the Falklands war, but if they'd ever had to use them they'd have been in deep doo doo.
 
The primary bomber as a fighter variant you hear about is the B-1 because it has the same radar as the F-16 so it is theoretically AMRAAM capable although I am sure it is a lot harder than just putting AMRAAMs on its rotary launcher and saying, "Go get 'em boys...."
I seem to recall reading at least one novel a few decades ago that featured B1's with AAM's as a plot device :)
 
They did mount Sidewinders onto Nimrods during the Falklands war, but if they'd ever had to use them they'd have been in deep doo doo.
Against enemy fighters certainly, against the Boeing 707s the Argentinians were operating to keep an eye on British movements rather less so. IIRC there was an encounter between one of them and a Hawker Siddeley Nimrod but it was prior to air-to-air missiles being installed.
 
The Vulcans flew 16 hour missions, but I assume their transit speed was pretty slow. How long would an F15 mission be given its efficient cruise speed? 15 hours, 12?
 
the f15 has a faster cruise speed listed on wiki as being 3 knots faster....but is that with or without an external load.
 
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I heard that they were for self-defence. Is that true?
Yep, the idea was that if they encountered any Argentinian ASW/Patrol aircraft om their trips down south they would at least have something to defend themselves with. They were retained after the Falklands during the cold war for much the same purpose, it also meant that WARPAC fighters at least had to be circumspect about intercepting them.
 
I know it's outside the scope of the thread coming into service around twelve years after than the original F-15A but does anyone happen to have handy what the F-15E's endurance is? Thanks.
 
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