Author Topic: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968  (Read 2379 times)

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2018, 03:49:16 AM »
I am always careful where it comes to pilot accounts. Ego is not a dirty word to most of them. I've read two accounts of the RAAF's encounter with the F-5 with the Mirage and it occurred way back in the 1980s. The Mirage pilots claimed they defeated the Aggressors when they came on a tour of Oceania. Now, they may have had a bad day or they may have let the Mirage's win, deliberately. However, the accounts I have read appeared to back up that the superior tactics of the Mirages were what defeated the F-5s, not any inherent flying abilities of the aircraft. They were published in Australian magazines back in the day, so they aren't available any more.

It might have been that the F-5 pilots were just a little cocky and suffered as a consequence? I think one of the problems they had was that they flew like they believed Soviet pilots flew - with limited creative input from the pilots and a lot of GC input? The RAAF flew more creatively than they were used to as well? Who knows?

As I have suggested, the Soviet method of piloting, in those days, didn't allow for much creativity. You took off, you carried out your interception, you fought, you landed (if you survived) and all the time were under ground control direction. After Vietnam, the Soviets realised it wasn't working and started their own "Top Gun" school and loosened up their control of the pilots. Training is always the key which wins the battles. If you train hard you have a better edge than the person who doesn't.  The Mirage was a good interceptor which got turned into a good fighter-bomber. It wasn't a super-plane - no aircraft is. Some are better than others some worse. It is the pilot and their abilities which are the winner.


That's very much in line with my assessment and understanding.

Instead of buying a super-plane, I'd go for a smaller aircraft, such as the F-5 or the Hunter - both cheaper and more easily replaceable. I'd concentrate on the pilot's training. Purchase a trainer version of your fighter and teach your pilots how to fly by the seat of their pants. It might not win you any battles but it will ensure you don't lose many. Build a ground defence radar network and invest in AEW aircraft. Make sure it is nearly impossible for your enemy to attack you without being detected. Train your fighter pilots and use the radars to your advantage.


Totally valid choice, especially if you upgrade the Hunters to use Sidewinders. Otherwise, they may be at a disadvantage against opponents armed with AIM-9Bs or K-13s.

I think the J32B Lansen could also be a nice choice, with its radar, 4 AIM-9 and 4 30mm ADENs. Good range and a second set of eyes in the back as a plus. Unfortunately I have no idea about its maneuverability though I've read somewhere it could outclimb the Hunter and hold its own against it, as long as the fight was kept in the vertical.


All good point, though I'd worry about its deficiencies in speed and agility. I've not read anything outstanding in either category regarding it. I do love the look of it, though, and think it's a good all-weather fighter for the era, as well as a good strike platform, too.

Because of the rapid development in capabilities in this era, I think you really need to consider when said nation acquires.  If it was towards the start (say pre-1960) than the subsonic (Sabre etc) or 1st Gen supersonic (F-100/MiG-19) would have to be the leading candidates.  If however, you want to consider a latter acquisition (post 1960 and especially towards the latter '60s) than platforms such as the F-4 Phantom and others become more viable.  To try to select something for right across this period is too difficult otherwise.

Again, I think some more context is required here.  Are we talking about a nation with a definite threat/competitor at hand or just a run of the mill country.  For instance, a selection for New Zealand would potentially be different than say a Israel.  are they likely to go up against a peer force or not?  Are they likely to be purely defensive or just as likely to go on the offensive.  As alluded to in my last post, a pure defensive role may point you more towards an interceptor whereas an offensive role (or "taking the fight to the enemy") will favour something with more range/weapons compliment.


As for the timeframe, assume that this is a force already equipped with something like the F-86 Sabre or MiG-15 and you're in charge of lining up a replacement that's to serve until about 1968-70. So, you're country is not without a fighter (in other words, it doesn't have to enter service in 1956), but the sooner the better. That's why the F-5A wouldn't be ideal. It means that you'd have to keep the Sabre as your frontline fighter until 1965 and that its replacement would only serve 3-5 years until it was replaced.

As I mentioned earlier, I would say that the scenario favors defense, but not exclusively. If attacked by neighbors, you'd want to be able to take the fight to them, I'd think. I'm evaluating other platforms separately for the strike role, so the multi-role aspect isn't huge, but you're going to want to escort strike packages. I'd say this would be a country like Greece, Iran, or Indonesia in that period, for example. Multiple different threat vectors and profiles. No single enemy, but a variety of opposing equipment types and regions.



The reason this thought experiment started in my head was that I was used to comparing combat aircraft purely as airplanes. In doing this, though, I was looking at combat performance and I realized that the weapons used (20mm Colts, 30mm DEFA, AIM-4 Falcom, AIM-9B Sidewinder, Shafrir-1, K-13, etc.) began to have more of an impact on effectiveness than the airframe that carried them. In short, the concept of "weapon system" really starts to come into its own at this time. I feel like I know enough about modern systems and aircraft to be able to evaluate their capabilities relatively well, but this 12 year period during the years of early jets, early missiles, early radar, and early countermeasures is a bit less clear to me.

Furthermore, during this time, most missile-equipped fighters were designed to down bombers, any yet most aerial combat in this period was actually fighter vs. fighter, further complicating things. So, that led to this thread.

In short, taken as a weapon system, which fighter aircraft was the best practical solution to likely threats in the air-to-air role?

Cheers,

Logan

Offline ysi_maniac

  • I will die understanding not this world
Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2018, 07:00:42 AM »


Bill Gunston had no doubt: for him, Draken was the best.

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2018, 12:29:59 PM »


Bill Gunston had no doubt: for him, Draken was the best.

I would be very interested in Bill Gunston's analogy of why he viewed the Draken "was the best" if you have it Carlos!
If you do,  could you PM it to me please?

M.A.D

Offline finsrin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2018, 01:44:14 PM »
Draken looked so advanced.  Ahead of its time when I discovered it in early 60s.  Like a junior SR-71.

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2018, 05:37:01 PM »
Instead of buying a super-plane, I'd go for a smaller aircraft, such as the F-5 or the Hunter - both cheaper and more easily replaceable. I'd concentrate on the pilot's training. Purchase a trainer version of your fighter and teach your pilots how to fly by the seat of their pants. It might not win you any battles but it will ensure you don't lose many. Build a ground defence radar network and invest in AEW aircraft. Make sure it is nearly impossible for your enemy to attack you without being detected. Train your fighter pilots and use the radars to your advantage.

Totally valid choice, especially if you upgrade the Hunters to use Sidewinders. Otherwise, they may be at a disadvantage against opponents armed with AIM-9Bs or K-13s.

Singapore and the Netherlands did exactly that.   I'd upgrade it further to carrying four Sidewinders, on multiple launchers.   The Indians showed that the Hunter was an excellent dog fighter.   Another alternative has been suggested - the CAC Avon-Sabre.  I am sure Australia would enjoy selling them.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 08:08:40 PM by Rickshaw »

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2018, 06:58:04 PM »
I know you said land based but I have always had a soft spot for the FJ-4 and FJ-4B Fury.  It was fast, agile and very long ranged, with cannon instead of MGs, four or six under wing stores stations it could carry two, four (or even six) sidewinders, drop tanks, buddy refuelling pod etc.  As is it was a very capable aircraft that could have easily provided the sort of long effective service that the Sabre, Hunter, Super Mystere, Mig 17 and 19 did.

A very minor WIFF (outside the scope of the topic sorry) its carrier gear could have been deleted reducing weight providing either improved performance or space and weight for other equipment.  For instance there could have been a Mk33 Avon Sabre based on the FJ-4 with ADEN cannon and a 10,000lb thrust 200 series Avon.

The other thought is the F-86D/K/L but a Wiff would be needed for sidewinder and guns.

Ultimate Wiff, CAC Mk34+, an FJ-4B derived land based airframe with a 200 series Avon, F-86D/K/L style radar nose, Sidewinder and Firestreak and possibly an afterburner to give it a supersonic dash capability.  Yep know its a wiff but its a wiff using off the shelf options by an organisation that had already done just that to produce the original Avon Sabre.

Another thought, a Sea Venom with Sidewinder would have been quite effective throughout the specified time period.

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2018, 08:11:18 PM »
As would a Sea Vixen, Javelin or Scimitar...

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2018, 08:21:20 PM »
As would a Sea Vixen, Javelin or Scimitar...

True

Offline ysi_maniac

  • I will die understanding not this world
Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2018, 04:08:57 AM »


Bill Gunston had no doubt: for him, Draken was the best.

I would be very interested in Bill Gunston's analogy of why he viewed the Draken "was the best" if you have it Carlos!
If you do,  could you PM it to me please?

M.A.D

https://www.amazon.es/Fighters-Fifties-Bill-Gunston/dp/0850594634/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515701218&sr=8-1&keywords=fighters+fifties+gunston

'... one wonders why this amazingly cost/effective family should hardly have been considered by the flood of air forces that instead bought the F-104, F-5, or Mirage. Even today the ability to make automatic all-weather interceptions at Mach 2, drop 9,000 lb of bombs, or fly any kind of electronic-warfare or recon mission, and then vanish into the obscurity of farmland where there is no evident airfield, is not exactly common.'

This is just a quote from J35 article of mentioned book.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 06:13:10 PM by ysi_maniac »

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2018, 08:20:36 AM »
I know you said land based but I have always had a soft spot for the FJ-4 and FJ-4B Fury.  It was fast, agile and very long ranged, with cannon instead of MGs, four or six under wing stores stations it could carry two, four (or even six) sidewinders, drop tanks, buddy refuelling pod etc.  As is it was a very capable aircraft that could have easily provided the sort of long effective service that the Sabre, Hunter, Super Mystere, Mig 17 and 19 did.

A very minor WIFF (outside the scope of the topic sorry) its carrier gear could have been deleted reducing weight providing either improved performance or space and weight for other equipment.  For instance there could have been a Mk33 Avon Sabre based on the FJ-4 with ADEN cannon and a 10,000lb thrust 200 series Avon.

The other thought is the F-86D/K/L but a Wiff would be needed for sidewinder and guns.

Ultimate Wiff, CAC Mk34+, an FJ-4B derived land based airframe with a 200 series Avon, F-86D/K/L style radar nose, Sidewinder and Firestreak and possibly an afterburner to give it a supersonic dash capability.  Yep know its a wiff but its a wiff using off the shelf options by an organisation that had already done just that to produce the original Avon Sabre.
Since the FJ-4 and FJ-4B used Curtiss-Wright produced Sapphires (J65s) (indeed, Fj-2 and on did), I would imagine that an Avon-powered one would be reasonably simple to produce.  NAA-Columbus had already studied a FJ-4/F-86K combination as their entry for the Canadian competition won by the F2H Banshee.  Upgrading to a dry 200-series or 300-series Avon would be a minimal problem, if any.  I could see replacing the 4x 20mm cannon with 2x 30mm ADEN but don't think that would be too major a change (Israelis swapped out 20mm cannon for 30mm DEFA cannon on their A-4s).

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #40 on: January 12, 2018, 06:40:15 PM »
Since the FJ-4 and FJ-4B used Curtiss-Wright produced Sapphires (J65s) (indeed, Fj-2 and on did), I would imagine that an Avon-powered one would be reasonably simple to produce.  NAA-Columbus had already studied a FJ-4/F-86K combination as their entry for the Canadian competition won by the F2H Banshee.  Upgrading to a dry 200-series or 300-series Avon would be a minimal problem, if any.  I could see replacing the 4x 20mm cannon with 2x 30mm ADEN but don't think that would be too major a change (Israelis swapped out 20mm cannon for 30mm DEFA cannon on their A-4s).

Very interesting and probably belongs in another thread but I would love to find out more about the FJ-4/F-86K combo concept.

There were CAC plans for a four ADEN evolved Avon Sabre

Offline tahsin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #41 on: January 12, 2018, 07:13:45 PM »
The thing about Aggressors, as already mentioned above, is that they can take defeats in a good way. While the glitter of the movie Top Gun might lead to believe otherwise order one to be a "novice" and the other to be a "pro" and the novice would readily die in any scenario. Which is a big thing too, Taking everybody as a "pro" throughout an engagement might lead to missed kills and whatever that entails. Then 1980s must be the days Australia defended the whole SouthEast Asia against Vietnamese hordes with a single base in Malaysia. Was that Buttersworth? So, the Vietnamese must be "convinced" that those Mirages know their business inside out and their Floggers should not attack "bases" in Thailand, that sort of thing.

Does the scenario suppose the buyer country has the tech know how? If so, MiG-19.

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #42 on: January 12, 2018, 09:48:07 PM »
It was "Butterworth".

As to Australia defending the whole of South-East Asia - forget it.  We were committed to the defence of Malaysia only.   SEATO had died a timely death when the US decided to become involved in South Vietnam.   Our Government lied about our own commitment to South Vietnam being part of SEATO.  SEATO in fact specifically kept South Vietnam out of the agreement.  It was a region of "special interest" but the failure of the UK to become involved in Laos and then Vietnam spelt the death of SEATO.

The Mirages were stationed at Butterworth as part to the Five Powers Defence Agreement (and as a carry on of the original Imperial Defence concept).   It was why the UK allowed Australia to purchase the Canberra bomber way back in 1951 - to allow us to carry UK Atomic Bombs to southern China.   We were the first export customer for the Canberra.   

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2018, 03:16:55 AM »
Very interesting and probably belongs in another thread but I would love to find out more about the FJ-4/F-86K combo concept.

There were CAC plans for a four ADEN evolved Avon Sabre
What I know about it I got from a former co-worker who was at NAA-Columbus from the early 1950's to when they closed.

That CAC four ADEN concept sounds nice.  Got any drawings?

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2018, 05:06:27 AM »
It was why the UK allowed Australia to purchase the Canberra bomber way back in 1951 - to allow us to carry UK Atomic Bombs to southern China.

I think you will find that there was more to it than that...
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