Author Topic: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968  (Read 4100 times)

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #45 on: January 13, 2018, 06:14:55 AM »
Ok, given the new scenario information my selection options would be the following:

Saab Draken - probably something based upon the B or D variant
Dassault Mirage III - probably something based on the IIIE variant
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II - probably C or D variant
Convair F-106 Delta Dart

Rational is:

Given said country already has a fighter in service in the class of a F-86/MiG-15, one could probably get by with a new fighter entering service in the early - mid 1960s.  If more capability was deemed necessary earlier, then maybe add missiles to the existing as an interim upgrade.  Either way, this allows one to consider one of the 2nd gen supersonic platforms (treating MiG-19/F-100 as first gen supersonic here).  This largely puts all the listed contenders on the same basic level in terms of max aerodynamic performance.  It also gives a reason to possibly eliminate the F-8.

Next, I looked at the range since having more endurance would be of benefit both in terms of endurance but also in that it does allow more options if you later want to take the fight to the enemy..  This eliminated such contenders as EE. Lightning and MiG-21 since these are more of point defence interceptors at this stage and even if they aren't, the listed ones supposedly have more range.

Concurrent to this, I also looked at weapons load out.  Again, here I believe all the listed have a slight advantage in terms of quantity of weapons able to be carried.  That said, in most cases the quality of the missiles in this period often left a lot to be desired, even systems such as the AIM-9.  In this regard, the Draken and the Mirage benefit from already having cannon built in - twin 30mm cannon in both cases.  Yes, both the F-4 and the F-106 received guns later on in their service but at this stage they didn't have them.  Similarly, whilst the F-4 would have the maximum missile compliment and carry the most BVR missiles with its AIM-7s, unless the RoE allowed these weren't going to be of much use.  Even if RoE wasn't a factor, missile performance as well as likely engagement ranges (which factor in coming velocities of both forces, radar performance and missile range amongst other things) would probably see more than 1 or 2 BVR shots unlikely anyway.  Most likely there might be a chance or a single shot (with understanding that it may not result in a kill but would potentially turn the opposing force onto the defensive) before a merge and more traditional dogfight with WVR weapons.  In this regard I don't believe that either the Draken or Mirage are really hindered by having less BVR missiles.

Both Draken and Mirage also have the advantage of having a reasonable (for the time) ground attack capability with bombs and/or unguided rockets.

Finally, if said nation was also able to introduce something akin to the Swedish STRIL 60 system, possibly as part of a package deal from the Swedes, than that might give a slight advantage to the Draken.  That said though, aspects such as cost and potential logistic support etc may come into play in the final selection.  Interestingly enough, I also believe cost would be something that rule the F-4 out in comparison for most countries - both the up front and ongoing support costs for the Draken/Mirage would be better than the F-4.

Overall, if I had to choose, I would possibly go for a Saab Draken fleet based upon the J-35D with more powerful Rolls-Royce Avon 300 (RM6C) and slightly more capable PS-03 radar.  In addition to the internal 30mm cannon I would plan on using AIM-9 missiles and possibly either an AIM-9C SARH variant or something similar to give a SARH BVR weapon.  Ideally, I would also try to integrate such a platform with something such as the STRIL 60 system to give the best possible use of the weapons system in that timeframe.

« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 06:40:31 AM by GTX_Admin »
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Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #46 on: January 13, 2018, 10:15:07 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...

Of course there is, Greg, there always is.  You have Ming the Mercilless's ego, you have the British playing on that with some clever marketing (naming the aircraft after the Australian capital certainly helped), the promise of Australia getting it's own nukes, and so on and so on.   The purchase was ultimately a good idea but there were plenty of shenanigans around it which helped it along it's way.   The fact that there was no real American equivalent to the Canberra also helped.  The B-45 was no where as good which is why the USAF adopted the B-57 - a Canberra.  Ultimately, however, the reason was because the British were terrified that the UK as going to get wiped out in any nuclear exchange between the US and the fUSSR, so the Empire needed to fight on from the "periphery" - Australia, New Zealand, South Africa...   

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #47 on: January 13, 2018, 07:08:06 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

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.

Thank you Carlos, you're a gentleman  ;)

M.A.D

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #48 on: January 13, 2018, 07:24:01 PM »
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?

I second that request elmayerle

M.A.D

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #49 on: January 13, 2018, 09:10:00 PM »
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?


Just text references in a book

http://regimental-books.com.au/the-meteor-sabre-and-mirage-in-australian-service-p-2620.html

Offline kitnut617

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #50 on: January 14, 2018, 01:59:24 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?

Would that have been a FJ-4 fuselage with F-86K wings or the other way around Evan.  I had a plan to put the FJ-4 wings on an F-86D/K for a project something like this below. I was going to change the wings from what you can see here.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #51 on: January 14, 2018, 02:55:47 AM »
Probably a modified F-86K nose mated to an FJ-4 fuselage and wings.  The intake would need to be modified to match the airflow of the J65 instead of the airflow required by the J47.  The nose probably would have been positioned so as to give adequate over-the-nose visibility for carrier landings, too.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #52 on: January 14, 2018, 05:38:24 AM »
Actually, taking my last post a little further, one could conceivably have the Saab J-35F improved version be selected under this scenario.  In the real world, this first flew flight in Dec 1961 and entered operational service with the Flygvapnet  in Jun 1964.  Therefore, maybe have an interim use of J-35Ds followed by the definitive J-35F.  This improved version still had the cannon (albeit down to one) and had improved electronics etc.though one could possibly return the second cannon just as Denmark did for their real world Saab 35XD variants which were based upon the J-35F.

On the missile side, one might as well go with a mix of AIM-9 and even GAR-11A/Rb.27 in the SARH/BVR role just as the Swedes did.
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #53 on: January 02, 2019, 04:10:50 AM »
So Logan, can I ask what conclusion you end up with in regards to the Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968?
Very keen to know your conclusion!! :P


M.A.D

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #54 on: January 03, 2019, 09:40:39 AM »
Hey there, M.A.D, I don't know that I'd say I came to a "conclusion" per se. That's partially why I never posted a follow-up.

I think the cheapest, deadliest, no fuss, no muss option is the F8U Crusader. The guns weren't as good as the 30mm DEFAs of its competitors, but the Sidewinder is king during this period and it gets it out of the box on day 1. If you don't care about what happens after the debut of the F-4E in 1968, then it's probably what I'd go with. Also, while I obviously have no empirical evidence to support this, months of reading along these lines lead me to believe that it was probably the most maneuverable of any of the supersonic fighters on this list. Also, it has great endurance for its size and an air to air refueling probe, something most contemporaries lacked, certainly in this timeframe (again, we're talking about out-of-the-box configurations).



The most proven option has got to be the Mirage III. This is the one you pick if you don't want to hear any criticism. It won the skies in '67 and continues to give a good account of itself in Pakistani service today. The guns are great and it eventually can pack a pair of Sidewinders, too. I don't think its limitations are properly appreciated, however. The R.530 in any of its forms is totally useless and should be left in the box it came in. The Atar engine was tough, but guzzled gas horribly when afterburner was on, so range could be limited in practical configurations. Sidewinder integration came later (with the Swiss and Australians, I believe), the Shafrir-1 was awful, and no matter what you're only packing two. The Mirage III is reliable, effective, and proven. I think the same can be said of the MiG-21 in the same period, though it has its own issues.

My secret favorite is the Draken. I love it. I love the looks and the capabilities. I think it may be the best of the three, too. It's just such a wildcard, though. It isn't combat-proven like the others and the early radars had many problems. Still, it can carry 4 Sidewinders with the fewest issues, probably has the best range and endurance, and the highest speed in practical conditions. It should be able to control the fight. It has the good 30mm DEFA cannons, too. It's mostly pluses, but there are a worrying number of question marks, too. I still suspect the F8U could beat it in a knife fight, though, because even a cranked delta is still a delta wing. And, in the early days of radar and AAMs that we're talking about, things are likely to be a knife fight, so once you're in a merge, I'm not convinced it would beat the F8U most of the time.



If you told me you had a squadron of F8Us, a squadron of Mirage IIIs, and a squadron of Drakens that we time-traveled to a winner-takes-all fight and I had to bet my life savings on who I thought would be the winner, I'd pick the F8U. As a weapon system (which was the point of this), I trust it the most.

So, with all this discussion and the benefit of hindsight, that's the one to go with, right? Well, no. Despite my misgivings about AAMs, I have really come to respect early AIM-9B Sidewinders, despite their serious issues. You can hang the Shafrir-1, the Sparrow III, the R.530, and the whole Falcon family as far as I'm concerned, but the AIM-9B was a game-changer. If you wanted a squadron of the best air superiority fighters from 1956-1968, I think the US Navy has the right answers. Go with the most advanced F8U Crusaders you can get your hands on until the F-4B Phantom makes its debut, then just load it up with as many AIM-9Bs as it can carry and send it out to dominate the skies.



I think Kelmola has it right. Do you need guns? Yes. Is it worth giving up a radar, an RIO, a J79, 600 miles of range, 300 mph, and four AAMs to get those guns? Hard to say, but probably not.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #55 on: January 08, 2019, 08:24:20 AM »
Yeah nice work Logan , and thanks for your informative and indepth response!!

I must admit, my money was on either the Crusader or the Draken, so I comforted by your analogy and conclusion! (Ironically, as a kid, I ignorantly use to overlook and simply skim past the Vought-Chance F8U entries in my vast collection of military books, so much so and to my detriment, so as to overlooked it's exceptional Vietnam War combat record  :-[ 😞)

I asked for your conclusion for two reason - firstly Id appriciate your analogy and your conclusion; secondly, this topics findings I saw as important and influential on the Air Superiority Fighter I would include in my own Alternative ADF ORBAT backstory for the given time frame; but then CiTrus90 did/is doing me some amazing profiles of Dassault/GAF Avon Mirage IIIO's which I can't reject, and am looking forward in sharing with everyone!! :P


M.A.D

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #56 on: January 09, 2019, 04:12:34 AM »
Now, the F8U has its own issues compared to the Mirage III and Draken. The biggest one, I think, is the ammunition feed problems that the 20mm Colts could encounter, something the Mirage and Draken don't suffer from with their 30mm DEFAs. The second is that it could be theoretically the slowest of the three. Now, the F8U beat the other two into service, so it was faster then, obviously, and some models of the F8U were faster than the Draken until it got the RM6C in 1963-64. I think in practical use, it would be no slower given fuel & afterburner concerns, especially with the Mirage III.

It's important to remember that the F8U only got 4 kills in Vietnam with guns. The rest were with the AIM-9, which shows the importance of that equipment to the weapon system. Speaking of, while the F8U could carry four AIM-9s—something the Mirage could not boast—there were issues with that setup and it was situational. I've not read of any such issues for the Draken.



Another potential issue is the radar. The USN never thought much of the F8U's radar, especially not before the F-8E model. Fortunately, I don't think much of the Cyrano radar or the early Draken radars, either. I think by the time the Draken radar is superior and ready for prime time, the USN has moved on from the Crusader and is all-in on the Phantom II, which has a radar better than anything else on the list by a wide margin.

Finally, for use in outside scenarios, I think the Crusader has the least growth potential. If you still want to be using these into the '80s and '90s, the F-8 will take you there, but you're probably going to wish you had Mirages or Drakens, instead. That conversation returns to the Phantom II, though. If we're talking about the long-term, the F-4B is still the one you want.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #57 on: January 09, 2019, 01:17:57 PM »
I don't know how it would affect upgrades, but how about replacing the F-8's J57 with the smaller and lighter j79?

Offline finsrin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #58 on: January 09, 2019, 01:38:33 PM »
I don't know how it would affect upgrades, but how about replacing the F-8's J57 with the smaller and lighter j79?
F-104, F-4 afterburner vanes in back and bit larger intake otta do it.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #59 on: January 09, 2019, 02:07:56 PM »
Not even sure you'd need the larger intake.