Author Topic: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!  (Read 3420 times)

Offline M.A.D

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Who on this forum had a loathing, contempt, low admiration for a given military aircraft, only to have that type redeem itself as you got older, wiser or personally exposed to that type?

As for me, as life goes by, and as increasingly more and more information through books, documentaries and the web become available, I have learnt that my childhood perception and bias of given type of military aircraft were with hindsight wrong and unjust.
To start this forum off, and to give the forum an idea of where I’m going, Ill give my personal example and hopeful spur this topic on:
Without question my biased perception/assumption was the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, English Electric Lightning and Vought-Chance F8U-1 Crusader, just too name a few:

- The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, my perception of this ‘lightweight’ fighter/interceptor was undoubtedly the USAF’s prejudice and loathing of such a simple, small sized, lightweight and cost effectiveness design, when compared to the then growing trend of ‘bigger, heavier and more complex’ designs then in developed or envisaged brainwashed me into conformity as a kid.
On top of this was the endless USAF criticism of the Starfighter’s short range; and of course, there was the unquestionable high accident/fatality rate - predominantly within the Luftwaffe. But in truth, as I was to discover, the little ‘missile with a man in it’ was in fact able to meet most of the challenges thrown at it by both the USAF and numerous world air forces. (saying this, I still would have liked to have seen a bigger wing, to improve air-to-air manoeuvrability!)

- The English Electric Lightning, its principle short comings which stuck to me like glue was its short range and minimalistic weapons carrying capability. But as time has gone on, I’ve come to appreciate that the Lightning’s short comings was predominantly attributed by it’s combat development from a high-speed research aircraft, the notorious British political distain and ignorance for manned fighters/interceptors and the drip-feeding and or restricting English Electric in fully developing and exploiting the Lightning’s design and potential over its some 25 years of operational service in the RAF – and hence the effects on it’s limited export potential. And of course, there was the irrefutable fact that at the end of the day, the Lightning was an interceptor, as intended, so asking it to be a fighter!, a fighter-bomber was a long draw of the bow!
(saying this, I’ve always liked the idea of a Pratt & Whitney J75 powered Lightning, with the room saved by the replacement of the two Avon engine arrangement being used for greater internal fuel and sensors, and more use of over-wing pylons for weapons… 😉)

- The Vought-Chance F8U-1/F-8 Crusader  always appeared to be a 'poor man’s' fighter, when compared to the F-4 Phantom II, F-14 Tomcat, what with its seemingly pathetic weapons carrying capability – usually four 20mm cannons and two Aim-9 Sidewinder's.
It probably also didn’t help psychologically that most of my books as a kid seemed to only have a snippet of information/write-up in relation to the Crusader, when compared to other bigger, flashier and more advanced carrier-based aircraft designs.
But this was before I really appreciated the fundamental principles of a air superiority and maneuverability, and before my later life more in-depth study of the Crusader to discover that the Crusader was in fact one of America’s best and most capable dogfighters till the advent of the General Dynamics F-16.
This is all somewhat ironic, as I became an ardent supporter and believer in the lightweight fighter concept.
I can’t help wonder how effective the proposed land-based development of the F-8 Crusader the V-1000 might have fared internationally, had it won (as advocated by the USAF) the 'Advanced International Fighter’ (AIF) (latter becoming the International Fighter Aircraft’ (IFA), which was won by the Northrop (N-156F / F-5A-21) F-5E Tiger II.

I look forward to your reflections!

 M.A.D
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 03:32:29 PM by M.A.D »

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2019, 11:25:51 AM »
No takers 😮😞😢

M.A.D

Offline kerick

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2019, 02:41:25 PM »
It’s too bad Lockheed’s Lancer version of the F-104 never got a chance. It had a bigger wing and more range. It fixed much of the Starfighters short comings.

The Crusader was a victim of its times. The whole idea of dogfighting was supposed to be dead. That’s how we ended up with Phantoms with lots of missiles but no gun. By 1968 we had learned the hard way that wasn’t true. Of course it took ten years to design fighters with dogfighting in mind. I hope we are not headed that way again using stealth technology.

There was always the Brewster Buffalo. It had a terrible record in US hands but did very well for the Finnish Air Force. It didn’t help that it looked like a flying buffalo.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2019, 07:40:07 PM »
Airbus Helicopters Tiger  ;)

Agree on the EE Lightning and Crusader.

F-4 Phantom.

Hawker Hunter.

Supermarine Spitfire.

Offline dy031101

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2019, 04:31:55 AM »
MiG-23 - it sounds to me like the only factor against it is money- more expensive than MiG-21, sold to clients who couldn't afford much training, etc.
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2019, 02:21:39 PM »
Airbus Helicopters Tiger  ;)

Agree on the EE Lightning and Crusader.

F-4 Phantom.

Hawker Hunter.

Supermarine Spitfire.

Thank's for your participation Volkodav
Interesting re the Airbus Helicopters Tiger
I had high hopes and expectations for it when it entered Australian Army Service (eventually when it did) 😩

M.A.D

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2019, 02:33:52 PM »
It’s too bad Lockheed’s Lancer version of the F-104 never got a chance. It had a bigger wing and more range. It fixed much of the Starfighters short comings.

Thank's for your participation kerick, the possibilities of the Lancer becoming the ultimate derivative of the Starfighter was apparently not without great effort by Kelly Johnson - especially the unsolicited proposal given to the USAF by Lockheed/Kelly! I guess trends and technology of its more modern competitors..........

As for
Quote
the Brewster Buffalo
, I just don't....can't talk about it, without getting angry and sad on moral and ethical grounds 😉😢

M.A.D

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2019, 03:06:12 PM »
MiG-23 - it sounds to me like the only factor against it is money- more expensive than MiG-21, sold to clients who couldn't afford much training, etc.

I hear you in terms of maintenance and running costs dy031101, I guess the MiG-23 was like the F-4 Phantom II, in that in truth, it was beyond many a Western air forces - and hence the US program to develop a modern, but more cost-effective, less advanced high performance fighter-bomber, which was won by Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter.
I'd also make the analogy, if I can, that just like the Phantom II, the MiG-23 was more tailored for the interceptor role, as opposed to the fighter role, and hence many a air force onenew and appriciated that they'd get more practicality out of the MiG-21?

I always liked and appreciated the intelligence of developing the MiG-27 from the MiG-23....that thumping GSh-6-30 rotary
 :P

M.A.D
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 03:27:56 PM by M.A.D »

Offline Robomog

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2019, 04:08:00 PM »
For a long time I used to deride the P-40 Kittyhawk as sub-standard, but on reflection it was a tough little aircraft that had a similar performance to the Hawker Hurricane and was often in similar combat scenarios that showed it in a bad light when in fact it was doing very well considering what it was up against.

There may be others but this is the one that springs to mind immediately.

Mog
>^-.-^<
Mostly Harmless...............

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2019, 06:30:40 PM »
Thank's for your input Mog, I get where you are coming from regarding the P-40 - not as prestegous or as nibble as the Spitfire, Bf109 or Zero for that matter, but as solid as a brick, which took a hell of a lot of battle damage.......Always thought it was somewhat sad that more refined variants never made it into operational service, don't you think?


M.A.D

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2019, 06:39:59 PM »
Re the P-40, it would be interesting to see where it might have ended up had the British Purchasing Commission stuck to their request that North American Aviation build Curtiss P-40 fighters under license for the RAF instead of accepting what went onto become the P-51.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline M.A.D

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  • Wrote a great story about a Christmas Air Battle
Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2019, 07:22:44 PM »
Yes good and interesting point GTX
After all it the P-40 evolved as did the Hurricane, Spitfire, Bf109......then the power, aerodynamic improvements, canopy arrangement, armament might have changed its appearance and performance somewhat for example the P-40Q!

M.A.D

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2019, 07:27:28 PM »
Again as a kid, the Fiat (Aeritalia) G91R, I'd always viewed as too cheap, nasty and impractical for a country/air force that didn't take itself serious, what with my perception of it's pathetic offensive armament and speed.......But this was before I truly understood and appriciated it's principle role/mission and the rough conditions it was designed to operate and be maintained in - before I fully appreciated the significance of simplicity, ruggedness, easy to fly and easy to maintain, and a quick turnaround time from rough-fields (including grass), and of course a real forward of the battlefield armed reconissence aircraft.
Although I still have a little lingering bias against the G91R, I really came to like the evolved twin-engined G91Y! I've always been a fan of two-engine reliability/safety margin for a ground attack/CAS aircraft.

- I always saw the Antonov An-22 Cock as an obsolete old-school hack, with the Soviet's compromising for its poor fuel-efficient jet engine technology for turboprops, as a fallback. But this was before I really appreciated that turboprop-powered aircraft have advantages over turbojets. Before I appreciated the power of the mighty Kuznetsov NK-12 turboprop engine design that surpassed anything the West had, to say nothing of the An-22 gargantuan internal volume and payload capacity, only surpassed in the West, with the advent of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy - oh, and of course, it's incredible rough-field performance for such a large aircraft!

-I have to admit, I fell for West's propaganda as a kid, that the Ilyushin IL-76 Candid was nothing more than a crude Soviet rip-off of the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter; when in truth, the IL-76 is in fact a far superior design and performer than the C-141 ever was in terms of a military transport aircraft - it's rough-field STOL was far superior to anything the C-141 could ever achieve, it's built-in overhead cranes of 10,000kg (22,000 lb) capacity, two 3,000kg (6,500 lb) winches.....No, the IL-76 I've really come to respect and appriciate as an awesome, rugged and respectful piece of kit, which has and continues to keep growing and giving!



M.A.D
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 05:12:36 AM by M.A.D »

Offline Robomog

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2019, 03:51:18 PM »
Always thought it was somewhat sad that more refined variants never made it into operational service, don't you think?

I don't have much in depth knowledge of the P-40, but your right it was a shame development ground to a halt. With a more powerful engine (Gryphon ?) and a couple of cannons it would have been a killer.

Mog
>^-.-^<
Mostly Harmless...............

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2019, 02:34:18 PM »
Airbus Helicopters Tiger  ;)

Agree on the EE Lightning and Crusader.

F-4 Phantom.

Hawker Hunter.

Supermarine Spitfire.

Thank's for your participation Volkodav
Interesting re the Airbus Helicopters Tiger
I had high hopes and expectations for it when it entered Australian Army Service (eventually when it did) 😩

M.A.D

The issues with the Tiger had more to do with the total incompetence of government procurement at the time, i.e. the government ignored the services and public service and followed the advice of their politically affiliated advisors instead, State governments and Department of Foreign Affairs ad Trade had more say than the ADF, Def Dept and established industry.  The errors made from the early / mid 90s onwards are unbelievable in how much time and money they wasted.