Author Topic: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968  (Read 29143 times)

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #75 on: January 12, 2019, 07:16:18 AM »
I'm going to be replacing the Colts on my RAN F-8E & RAM SLUF's with 30mm ADEN cannon ... we did it to the F-86F ;)
Mind, the SLUFs do use the M-61 Vulcan, not the 20mm Colts, so the interior space, etc., may not lend itself to changing over to the Adens. Not sure why you'd want to if you have the Vulcan in place. It's a lot better gun than the 20mm Colt.

Paul

The Vulcan is not as fast reacting, nor is it as accurate and finally, it isn't as hard hitting as the ADEN/DEFA guns.  The Vulcan has to be "spun up" before it can fire, whereas the revolver cannons are ready to fire as soon as they loaded and cocked.   I have to laugh at the fan-boy slavish praise of the GAU-8.  Yes, it's a hard hitting gun but not as hard hitting or as accurate as either the revolver cannons or the Oelikon all of which were trialed against it but rejected because of "not invented here".

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #76 on: January 12, 2019, 01:02:29 PM »
Actually, according to the Specialty Press book on the F-8, LTV offered the second wing pylons to the US Navy but it was not taken up.
Re-checked the book I cited, the LTV proposal with two pylons per wing was the V-458 and a three-view makes the back endpaper of the book.  'Twould be an interesting modeling subject.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #77 on: January 13, 2019, 01:30:40 AM »
The Vulcan has to be "spun up" before it can fire, whereas the revolver cannons are ready to fire as soon as they loaded and cocked.   

The gun takes about 0.3 seconds to wind up to the full rate of fire so hardly an eternity...
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Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #78 on: January 13, 2019, 07:15:28 AM »
The Vulcan has to be "spun up" before it can fire, whereas the revolver cannons are ready to fire as soon as they loaded and cocked.   

The gun takes about 0.3 seconds to wind up to the full rate of fire so hardly an eternity...

Can seem like a long time to a pilot in a dog fight...

Actually, this raises another question.  Was the F-104 ever armed with anything other than a Vulcan internally?

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #79 on: January 13, 2019, 04:56:59 PM »
And the old ADEN / DEFA 30mm is pretty sad compared to more modern 30mm offering and even the 25mm NATO, which was meant to be offered in a rechambered ADEN on the Sea Harrier FRS 2 (F?A-2) and GR5/7/9.  The Tiger helicopter uses the old ADEN 30mm case and it is noticeable smaller than the 25mm used by the Army and Navy.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #80 on: January 14, 2019, 02:20:37 AM »
Was the F-104 ever armed with anything other than a Vulcan internally?


Interesting question.  None that I am aware of though I wouldn't be surprised if there was something at some point. 

The closest I can find is the Model L-242 for the USN.  This was not actually a F-104 though you can see the obvious family lines:





This had 4× 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannons similar to the Vought Crusader.

More info
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #81 on: January 14, 2019, 02:57:59 AM »
Interesting ffind GTX re the Model L-242 and 4× 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannons!😯

M.A.D

Offline Kelmola

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #82 on: January 14, 2019, 06:32:27 AM »
A naval Starfighter derivative with its totally not ludicrous take-off and landing speed, negligible operating radius, and (when the proposal was made) a downward-firing ejection seat? Yeah, I'm totally surprised why the Navy didn't pick that one.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #83 on: January 15, 2019, 01:25:48 AM »
A naval Starfighter derivative with its totally not ludicrous take-off and landing speed, negligible operating radius, and (when the proposal was made) a downward-firing ejection seat? Yeah, I'm totally surprised why the Navy didn't pick that one.

From the Retromechanix article I linked to:

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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #84 on: January 15, 2019, 01:36:36 AM »
BTW, more different cannon options:

  • T-171 - became M61 Vulcan
  • T-182 - twin 30mm cannon (see here)
  • Mk,12 - 20mm x 4



One could easily see a F-104G being fitted with comparable 30mm ADENs or DEFAs.
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Offline Kelmola

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #85 on: January 15, 2019, 11:43:29 PM »
A naval Starfighter derivative with its totally not ludicrous take-off and landing speed
From the Retromechanix article I linked to:
I stand corrected (somehow I missed that figure altogether when reading the article...  :-[ ). Apparently the flight envelope could be radically changed by changes in aerodynamics while still keeping the same basic form. Should have noticed from the decrease in top speed that something major was going on...

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #86 on: January 20, 2019, 05:18:41 AM »
Re-checked the book I cited, the LTV proposal with two pylons per wing was the V-458 and a three-view makes the back endpaper of the book. 

Which book is that?
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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #87 on: January 20, 2019, 11:14:24 PM »
Re-checked the book I cited, the LTV proposal with two pylons per wing was the V-458 and a three-view makes the back endpaper of the book. 

Which book is that?
Specialty Press book on the F-8; a very good read.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #88 on: January 21, 2019, 01:55:27 AM »
Yep, got it already - was just checking in case it was another.
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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #89 on: February 22, 2021, 01:50:39 AM »
Hey Logan Hartke, out of curiosity, did you conclude what the definitive Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968 was mate?🤔

MAD

Err...didn't he already answer you back on Reply #54?
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #90 on: February 22, 2021, 02:35:29 AM »
Hey Logan Hartke, out of curiosity, did you conclude what the definitive Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968 was mate?🤔

MAD

Err...didn't he already answer you back on Reply #54?
Ah yes, well that's embracing. Please disregard my last Logan 😔

MAD
« Last Edit: February 22, 2021, 02:57:05 AM by M.A.D »

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #91 on: October 12, 2021, 02:38:47 PM »
Was the F-104 ever armed with anything other than a Vulcan internally?


Interesting question.  None that I am aware of though I wouldn't be surprised if there was something at some point. 

The closest I can find is the Model L-242 for the USN.  This was not actually a F-104 though you can see the obvious family lines:





This had 4× 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannons similar to the Vought Crusader.

More info


Just reflecting, but if the L-242 was submitted to the USN's 1953 OS-130 competition, didn't the Navy specify the incorporation packs of two-inch folding fin air-to-air rockets as well or was it inplace of the cannons🤔??

MAD

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #92 on: November 13, 2021, 12:07:52 PM »
Interesting find GTX re the Model L-242 and 4× 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannons!😯

M.A.D

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #93 on: November 14, 2021, 07:01:26 AM »
For some reason I keep on getting drawn back to this thread 🤔......

Looking at your original introduction post Logan:
Quote
Air defense/superiority/dominance is really the only thing being evaluated here. Possible threats can be anything from B-47s/Tu-16s to F-4Bs/MiG-21s (and everything in between). Consider how your proposed pick would fare in aerial combat of that era. 1956 Suez, 1958 Taiwan Strait, 1964 Vietnam, 1965 Indo-Pakistan, 1967 Six-Day War, etc.

So there's still the clear recognition of bomber interception.
As well as the identification and agreement in relation to:
Quote
What was stopping the Mirage III from carrying more than two Sidewinders?

We all appear to agree that the Mirage IIIC/E couldn't really operate effectively without the constant employment of drop tanks (whether it was it's two wing drop tanks or its centreline drop tank)

Now I appreciate that we've gone in depth to the notion of other carriage arrangements and other weapons like the incorporation of Aim-7 Sparrow on the Mirage IIIE and the inherent problems of range/endurance, necessitating the use of drop tanks, interference of the main landing gear, etc...at my Alternative ADF ORBAT thread.
But I can't but help visualise the cleverness of the Swiss Mirage IIIS's Aim-4 Falcon AAM carriage (see attached picture)!
Now I fully appreciate the short comings of the Aim-4A/B Falcon AAM, but the question I'd like to put to the forum is whether the Aim-4 Falcon could have been improved? What was the main fault of the Aim-4 - seeker? motor? aerodynamic properties?
Now I appreciate that once the USAF dropped it's obsession of the Aim-4 in favour of the Aim-9 Sidewinder, so too was any real notion or impetuous to either seriously fix or develop the Aim-4, so as to fix it's inherent problem(s). But in truth, the Aim-4 Falcon would still be employed in frontline defence by the USAF (F-106), RCAF (F-101B), Greek and Turkish Air Forces (F-102), Swiss Air Force (Mirage IIIS) and Swedish and Finnish Air Force (J 35 Draken), so realistically there was room and a requirement to improve the Aim-4 Falcon missile, was there not?
I can't but help notice that there was a program to fix the known deficiencies of the Falcon - the XAIM-4H, which had a laser proximity fuze, new warhead, and better maneuverability. It was cancelled the following year without entering service....
On top of this, given the poor reliability of the R530 missile, wouldn't two questionable Aim-4 Falcon's give a better kill probability, whilst also allowing the carriage of the centreline drop tank in the process?🤔

Alas it's only been in the past two years that I've recognised, let alone appreciated this unique modification and application by the Swiss in their Mirage IIIS...

Just some thoughts....😉

MAD
« Last Edit: November 14, 2021, 09:00:35 AM by M.A.D »

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #94 on: November 14, 2021, 12:45:14 PM »
For some reason I keep on getting drawn back to this thread 🤔......

Thanks! Me, too!

Now I fully appreciate the short comings of the Aim-4A/B Falcon AAM, but the question I'd like to put to the forum is whether the Aim-4 Falcon could have been improved? What was the main fault of the Aim-4 - seeker? motor? aerodynamic properties?
Now I appreciate that once the USAF dropped it's obsession of the Aim-4 in favour of the Aim-9 Sidewinder, so too was any real notion or impetuous to either seriously fix or develop the Aim-4, so as to fix it's inherent problem(s). But in truth, the Aim-4 Falcon would still be employed in frontline defence by the USAF (F-106), RCAF (F-101B), Greek and Turkish Air Forces (F-102), Swiss Air Force (Mirage IIIS) and Swedish and Finnish Air Force (J 35 Draken), so realistically there was room and a requirement to improve the Aim-4 Falcon missile, was there not?
I can't but help notice that there was a program to fix the known deficiencies of the Falcon - the XAIM-4H, which had a laser proximity fuze, new warhead, and better maneuverability. It was cancelled the following year without entering service....
On top of this, given the poor reliability of the R530 missile, wouldn't two questionable Aim-4 Falcon's give a better kill probability, whilst also allowing the carriage of the centreline drop tank in the process?🤔


So, it's interesting that you mention this and ask some of these questions, MAD. I'd recommend watching some of the interviews and videos featuring retired F-102 and F-106 pilot Bruce Gordon, who fired live AIM-4 Falcons on numerous occasions.

I'd also recommend Sean O'Connor's excellent article on the AIM-4 Falcon, as well as anything else Sean O'Connor has written, to be honest:
Arming America’s Interceptors: The Hughes Falcon Missile Family by Sean O'Connor, BA, MS (AMU)

Finally, as a preface to what I'm about to say, I do want to say that I've read the Swiss-specific modifications to the Mirage III were far more expensive and took longer than originally intended and never worked as well with the Falcons as it was hoped. I can't remember where, but I think it was in one of my books on the Mirage. I'll post it if I ever come across it again.



All that having been said, I think the AIM-4 Falcon has gotten somewhat of an unfairly bad reputation because it was never used in combat with aircraft it was really designed from the outset for.

The F-4 Phantom II that carried it to combat in Vietnam was originally the Navy F4H-1 and intended only to use the Sidewinder and Sparrow. The F-4C & D jury-rigged Falcons onto the aircraft per USAF requirement, but it was always an afterthought and that's the reason it never worked well. What we don't appreciate about the AIM-4 Falcon is that it was a bit of a dumb missile on its own and required a lot of input from the parent aircraft avionics to work optimally. You could launch it from other aircraft and it would technically work, but relying only on its onboard sensors was never going to yield very good results.

It's like faulting the performance of MiG-21 or MiG-23 interceptors outside of the GCI environment they were designed from the outset to rely upon. Or taking a train and putting it on a concrete road, then complaining about how inefficient it is.



When the AIM-4 was married with the Hughes MA-1 on the F-106 and datalinked into the SAGE network, it worked pretty darn well, often better than the Sidewinder or Sparrow ever could. Part of the reason the F-106 never got Sidewinders and Sparrows is that the Falcon worked just fine for it, thank you very much. And the F-106 community would gladly take whatever Falcons nobody else wanted. It's just that the above combination was (thankfully) never tested in a shooting war. Oh, and all those space-age vacuum tube avionics were insanely expensive. You could get something like 2.5x F-4 Phantom IIs for the cost of one F-106, which is mind-boggling when you think about it.

By comparison, the AIM-9 Sidewinder was relatively dumb and simple. It's performance plateaued quickly compared to an F-106 weapons system. But it was also relatively cheap, reliable, and very easy to integrate on existing aircraft with no loss in efficiency. Choosing that as the development path of the future was unquestionably the right choice for the US, to say nothing of the rest of the world.



All that having been said, I think because the F-106 only ever carried Falcons, we discount its deadliness. I don't think a better interceptor weapon system existed in service prior to the F-14 Tomcat, and I don't think I'd have wanted to meet one in the skies over North America in a Sidewinder/Sparrow-armed F-4, let alone flying anything else.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #95 on: November 14, 2021, 03:00:58 PM »
Thanks Logan for your feedback and the interesting links 👍
I've tentatively listen to Bruce Gordon's description of flying off between F-4's and F-106's, which was very intreging.

Oh well, it was worth a crack with the Aim-4 and Mirage IIIS anyway😉

MAD

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Best Air Superiority Fighter, 1956-1968
« Reply #96 on: November 14, 2021, 06:37:38 PM »
Given the topicTtopiand conversationI thought thise might be appropriate for this thread 😉👍:

MAD
« Last Edit: November 14, 2021, 06:44:42 PM by M.A.D »