WI: French Navy go for F-4 Phantoms?

Given that the Clemenceau class were longer then the RN Audacious class (which operated modified F4K Phantoms) is it possible for the French navy to have applied modifications to their Carriers (and their Phantoms as well) to launch and recover Phantoms?
 
Given that the Clemenceau class were longer then the RN Audacious class (which operated modified F4K Phantoms) is it possible for the French navy to have applied modifications to their Carriers (and their Phantoms as well) to launch and recover Phantoms?
No. They were barely able to operate modified Crusaders, which were considerably lighter than the Phantom. They only had 170' catapults. The Essex and Midway class carriers, which were barely capable of operating the type had catapults which were significantly longer, 225'. So without major refits, the Phantom was just too much plane
 
I don't think so, the main limits being the lifts and arrestor gear being unable to handle the weight.

The F&C had British BS5 catapults and were pretty fast so could likely launch light Spey Phantoms.
 
No. They were barely able to operate modified Crusaders, which were considerably lighter than the Phantom. They only had 170' catapults. The Essex and Midway class carriers, which were barely capable of operating the type had catapults which were significantly longer, 225'. So without major refits, the Phantom was just too much plane
What about the Audacious class Carriers? How different were their BS5 catapults (in terms of length) compared to the French ones. Also could the French refit their carriers?
 
What about the Audacious class Carriers? How different were their BS5 catapults (in terms of length) compared to the French ones. Also could the French refit their carriers?
From what i can find, the bow catapult had a 151' power stroke, while the waist catapult had a 199' power stroke. And I would assume that they couldrefit them, but it's not just the catapults. It's how much weight can the deck support, how big the lift is, how much weight the lift can handle, how much weight the arresting gear can stop. So any refit to allow them to operate Phantoms would quickly reach the "major rebuild" stage and I'm not sure how willing the French would be to pay for that.
 
There's also limits on air wing size. Phantoms replace Crusaders, space-wise, on about a 2-for-3 basis. So they'd be replacing 8-10 Crusaders with at best only 6 Phantoms.
 

This is a long thread about the Essex class, it has a lot of technical detail about catapults and how to operate a big Phantom on small carriers.
 

Nick P

Donor
What about the Audacious class Carriers? How different were their BS5 catapults (in terms of length) compared to the French ones. Also could the French refit their carriers?
It is not impossible for all 4 of the Audacious class to be part-built, put on hold and completed later instead of cancelling 2 at an early stage. It probably means cancelling a couple of the Majestic or Centaur class on the slips in 1945. This then means that France gets a carrier capable of upgrading to handle F-4 Phantoms but it means that they do not build the Clemenceau or Foch.

HMS Eagle and Ark Royal are finished as OTL, the other two sit around in harbour half -done like the Leviathan. Come 1956 and the Suez Crisis and the UK thanks France by offering them a cheap deal on the floating hulks.
Before the new French carriers are delivered they get a full upgrade that allows them to handle F-4s or F-8 Crusaders.
 
Who says the Phantoms have to be carrier-based?
The only reason the French would buy a non French aircraft would be because they have nothing available to fill the need. Carrier based high performance fighter is about the only type that the French could not source from a French manufacturer.
 
The only reason the French would buy a non French aircraft would be because they have nothing available to fill the need. Carrier based high performance fighter is about the only type that the French could not source from a French manufacturer.
What would be the French equivalent of the Phantom, anyway?
 
Mirage IV, F2/3 or G.
The French may be chauvanistic but they are not crazy. They would not want to operate something the size and wing platform of the Mirage IV off of a carrier. The F2/3 is a remote possibility. The G is better. It has variable sweep wings. The reason why the French have bought American for carrier aviation has been because American produced planes were cheaper.
 
The French may be chauvanistic but they are not crazy. They would not want to operate something the size and wing platform of the Mirage IV off of a carrier. The F2/3 is a remote possibility. The G is better. It has variable sweep wings. The reason why the French have bought American for carrier aviation has been because American produced planes were cheaper.
I know, the M-IV is only a Phantom equivalent in terms of long range strikes which is what most countries did with theirs. As for the rest, yes I agree.
 
While the B1120 Sirocco is a supersonic carrier fighter it is not in the class of the Phantom, it is more akin to a small Crusader in terms of capability.
 
AFAIK the closest French aircraft to the Phantom was a "paper aeroplane" called the Breguet Br.120.

This was a twin-Spey naval fighter that the firm designed to meet the French Navy's DAFNE programme for an aircraft to replace the Crusader, which began in 1964.
Two versions were proposed the Br.120D with fixed wings and the variable geometry Br.120G.

However, the rival Mirage G was built instead. AIUI the prototype met the specification, but it didn't go into service because the production run of 40 to 50 aircraft was too small to be economic.

The DAFNE had to be able to operate from Clemenceau and Foch. Therefore, Br.120 and Mirage G aught to have been able to operate from the aircraft carriers that the Royal Navy had in service in the early 1960s. That is the pre-Phantomisation Ark Royal, Centaur, Eagle after her 1959-64 rebuild, Hermes and Victorious.

The French DAFNE project began in 1964, which was about the time that the P.1154RN was abandoned in favour of the F-4K Phantom. What if the British Government decided to buy the Br.120D instead? It would probably be done as a joint project between BAC and Breguet via SEPECAT.

Breguet Br.120D wouldn't be as good as the F-4K Phantom. However, it might have allowed the Royal Navy to keep Eagle and Victorious in service until the end of the 1970s.
 
The French equivalent of the F-4 Phantom II would be the Breguet Br.1120 Sirocco. The Sirocco was to be a Mach 2.2 carrier capable fighter-bomber for the Marine Nationale.
While the B1120 Sirocco is a supersonic carrier fighter it is not in the class of the Phantom, it is more akin to a small Crusader in terms of capability.
Above is a link to an Alternative French Aviation website, which includes a page on an Avon-powered Sirocco, which was used by the British and French navies.
 
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