Author Topic: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!  (Read 3366 times)

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2019, 12:54:25 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.

I'm hearing you Volkodav 110% 😠😞

The Tiger helicopter is undoubtedly one of the biggest flops as far as procurement and inability to operationally perform IMO
M.A.D

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2019, 10:30:24 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.

I'm hearing you Volkodav 110% 😠😞

The Tiger helicopter is undoubtedly one of the biggest flops as far as procurement and inability to operationally perform IMO
M.A.D

That's the thing, it wasn't a flop.  The platform its self was good, great even, its just the government didn't factor in the support needs of a capability like the tiger verses the Kiowa.  They simply didn't order the required spares, tools, facilities, not even appropriate work platforms or test equipment.  Personnel weren't trained adequately and they assumed it was MOTS when it was obviously still developmental.  By not spending and planning upfront they caused avoidable delays and extra costs.  IMO the same thing would have happened no matter the platform they selected, they would have found a way to screw up a Cobra Whisky or Apache buy as well.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2019, 05:14:26 PM »
Of course we're talking Australian Military Bureaucrats, here, who like to buy things they don't understand & then make them do something they were never designed to do, then whinge about the lack of performance & cost over-runs.
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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2019, 01:09:43 PM »
The problems with the Tiger logistics support largely stem from the Defence Minister at the time of the acquisition.  I speak from direct experience.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2019, 07:28:43 AM »
I think I have a lot of aircraft that could go in this category. When I was younger, I generally had two considerations: appearance and top-end performance. Basically, did it sell posters and calendars and could it win a game of Top Trumps? If the answer to both of those was no, then it probably wasn't worth my affection. Since then, my interest is far broader and more nuanced.

To echo a few of the earlier comments, a whole category would be all the USAAF fighters that weren't the P-51. Yes, I still think the P-51 was the best, but I've since developed a much greater appreciation for the P-38, P-40, P-47, and even the P-39. Similarly, The F4F Wildcat, Hawker Hurricane, and Bf 109 all lived in the shadow of the Hellcat, Spitfire, and Fw 190, respectively, in my juvenile mind.

Here's a couple of more modern ones that I don't think I ever loathed, but I definitely didn't appreciate enough.

Douglas A-4 Skyhawk: Accidentally, one of the best fighters of the Cold War.
Even though it was designed by Ed Heinemann as very much a light attack aircraft (and employed quite successfully by its users as such), its inherent qualities made it a formidable fighter when tasked for such. I have loved the A-4 for years (I have a picture of the venerable Skyhawk on my bedroom wall, in fact), but even a few days ago I gained even more of an appreciation for it. I was recently watching interviews of US Navy F-14, F-16, and F/A-18 pilots who all said you could bully F-5s around once you figured out how to fight your plane and that you didn't really fear them that much. The A-4s, however,  remained deadly even to the "teen series" long after the F-5 stopped being much of a threat, because the A-4 would happily kill anything that was dumb enough to get in a fight in a phone booth with it.


https://youtu.be/3TdvGZqIuZU?t=536

I'd have guessed that the F-5E was a more dangerous opponent in most cases than the A-4F, but that does not seem to be the case according to the pilots that fought them. My respect for the Skyhawk only seems to increase as time goes on. It seems to get dismissed almost exclusively on account of its designation and role.

Take this, for example: Top ten fighters of 1969 | Hush-Kit

Scrolling all the way to the bottom, we find...
Quote
The A-4 was disqualified on role allocation, likewise the F-105, despite 27.5 kills.

By the way, it's still serving in that aggressor role today. There's a great video of one being chased down by an F-22.


https://youtu.be/SmutFmfB0q4

Even more underappreciated, I think, is the Tupolev Tu-16 "Badger". How many other combat aircraft can you think of that have been in near-continuous production for 67 years?
I'm guilty of forgetting about it on many occasions, but here's some things to keep in perspective. The Tu-88 prototype first flew less than two weeks after the B-52, but the last B-52 was delivered in 1962, while China is still building Tu-16 variants today. Not counting airliner derivatives, nearly 1,700 Tu-16s have been built by the Soviet Union and China, more than double the number of B-52s built. If we include the airliner direct descendants (Tu-104, Tu-124, and Tu-134), then the total number is closer to 3,000. By comparison, that's nearly the combined production of the B-47, B-52, and all three of Britain's V-bombers.

That's another way to think about it. You're talking about an aircraft that was designed by a company that had only introduced a copy of the B-29 the year before. The prototype was rolled out when they were still building those same B-29 copies. As a reminder, the Tu-88 prototype beat the straight wing Avro Vulcan prototype to first flight by four months, too. Its performance was surprisingly similar to the Vulcan, too. It was at least closer to the Vulcan than the Vulcan was to the B-52 or Tu-95 (which were—in fairness—in another weight class).

Now, imagine if the Vulcan was adopted by India in the '60s, then license-built at a low rate by HAL for the next 50 years and was still coming out with new variants today. Just take a look at some photos of the prototype compared with recently-produced aircraft still in service. It's amazing how little it had changed before the H-6K. The design is still very solid, especially for a combat aircraft. While the much-beloved and—on the face of it—superior Vulcan first flew, entered service, had its moment of glory in the Falklands, served the rest of the Cold War, was retired, flown for the last time, resurrected for the airshow circuit, and put out to pasture again, the Tu-16/H-6 has just been showing up to work every morning, punching in, going to work, and heading home. New variants continue to roll off the line even today. It does not get the appreciation such a long-lived classic combat aircraft deserves. Part of me wonders if the Badger may even out-live the immortal B-52...

Cheers,

Logan

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2019, 05:12:41 PM »
Oh wow, thank's for your indepth reflection, especially the extent of time you've held these thoughts and impressions.......
I completely hear and comprehend your analogy of the Skyhawk!
You know I've always admired the Soviet/Russian manner of not discarding a piece of military hardware, when it's so solid, efficent and purposeful, and the Tu-16 has been all of these things - as testified by its number of variants, roles and physical numbers built. Thank's for reiterating that to me, the Badger usefulness and longevity has always made me wonder if the US could have done that with their B-47's? :-\


M.A.D

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2019, 08:21:04 PM »
The A-7 & the F-8. Now they're two of my favourite aircraft.

The SLUF is my favourite jet, in fact, followed closely by the F-4, a longtime favourite, since I saw them fly over an ANZAC Day parade once when I was a wee lad, probably ca. 1971.
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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2019, 10:02:48 PM »
Now, imagine if the Vulcan was adopted by India in the '60s, then license-built at a low rate by HAL for the next 50 years and was still coming out with new variants today.

Now there’w An idea...  mind you, I have always thought the Tu-16 was more a match for the Vickers Valiant than the Vulcan, so maybe a modern day Indian HAL/Vickers Valiant (maybe derived from the Valiant B.2....which I have a kit/conversion for, so maybe...hmmmm).


Back to the Tu-16, one has to be impressed with its longevity.  It has even been stealthified  ;)

All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2019, 09:26:33 AM »
Thank's for reiterating that to me, the Badger usefulness and longevity has always made me wonder if the US could have done that with their B-47's? :-\

I don't think there's any technical reason why not. By the way, the last flight by any B-47 was in June 1986, over 30 years ago. It's important, though, to remember that the USAF and RAF flew their bombers hard (many more flight hours than their Communist counterparts) and that the Badgers being flown today were built more recently. The design is still very much Andrei Tupolev's however.

Now there’w An idea...  mind you, I have always thought the Tu-16 was more a match for the Vickers Valiant than the Vulcan, so maybe a modern day Indian HAL/Vickers Valiant (maybe derived from the Valiant B.2....which I have a kit/conversion for, so maybe...hmmmm).

In some ways it very much was. I think the British would have been more likely to sell India the license for the Valiant than the Vulcan in the 1960s, that's for sure!

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2019, 03:03:25 AM »
As a kid I loved the Vulcan but as I grew older and more knowledgeable I came to appreciate the Valiant and Victor far more, in particular when I discovered the politics and procurement decisions that caused issues for the lesser known V  Bombers.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2019, 03:28:47 AM »
The problems with the Tiger logistics support largely stem from the Defence Minister at the time of the acquisition.  I speak from direct experience.

I try to avoid delving into politics on here too much but I do recall many decisions from the ministers over the years, and even some almost decisions that were circumvented or redirected into less damaging forms.  The very worst were those relating to the exaggeration and even fabrication of problems with legacy projects to politically damage a leader of the opposition who was a former defmin. 

Having created the smoke, they then had to be seen to be fighting the fire they claimed was there and created an entire bureaucracy (DMO) and new procurement process (Kinard two pass system) to demonstrate they had fixed the problems "caused" by the leader of the opposition.  These new arrangements were the source of many of the legacy issues we are dealing with today, made even worse by the fact that we have a generation of 30 something technical military personnel who have only ever experienced the over regulated, risk adverse, overly punitive systems introduced under these regimes.  Also sadly, the general public believe many of our most successful programs and best capabilities have been wasteful failures that must not be repeated, while other projects that were in  reality more problematic, are politically insulated and seen as resounding success's.

These are the filters I see modern procurements through and have now applied to past ones with some interesting changes of opinion.

As I already mentioned the procurement strategy at the time would have screwed up Cobra or Apache as badly or worse than Tiger, a platform that is in many ways superior because it is a more modern and capable design. 

I used to love the F-111 but now realise that's it acquisition was a political stunt that left the ADF with a capability gap that spanned for more than a decade, i.e. the RAAF was flying Canberras and had pretty much no maritime strike capability to speak of, while Indonesia was flying Badgers (acquired specifically as a deterrent / counter to the Dutch carrier, not the RAN but in politics and the White Australia policy of the time what do facts matter).  The opportunity cost of the F-111 was in all probability a timely Canberra replacement, one fighter and one strike squadron, a replacement carrier (and its strike aircraft), a generation of fighter aircraft and a RAAF tanker capability.



Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2019, 09:24:54 AM »
The problems with the Tiger logistics support largely stem from the Defence Minister at the time of the acquisition.  I speak from direct experience.

I try to avoid delving into politics on here too much but I do recall many decisions from the ministers over the years, and even some almost decisions that were circumvented or redirected into less damaging forms.  The very worst were those relating to the exaggeration and even fabrication of problems with legacy projects to politically damage a leader of the opposition who was a former defmin. 

Having created the smoke, they then had to be seen to be fighting the fire they claimed was there and created an entire bureaucracy (DMO) and new procurement process (Kinard two pass system) to demonstrate they had fixed the problems "caused" by the leader of the opposition.  These new arrangements were the source of many of the legacy issues we are dealing with today, made even worse by the fact that we have a generation of 30 something technical military personnel who have only ever experienced the over regulated, risk adverse, overly punitive systems introduced under these regimes.  Also sadly, the general public believe many of our most successful programs and best capabilities have been wasteful failures that must not be repeated, while other projects that were in  reality more problematic, are politically insulated and seen as resounding success's.

These are the filters I see modern procurements through and have now applied to past ones with some interesting changes of opinion.

As I already mentioned the procurement strategy at the time would have screwed up Cobra or Apache as badly or worse than Tiger, a platform that is in many ways superior because it is a more modern and capable design. 

I used to love the F-111 but now realise that's it acquisition was a political stunt that left the ADF with a capability gap that spanned for more than a decade, i.e. the RAAF was flying Canberras and had pretty much no maritime strike capability to speak of, while Indonesia was flying Badgers (acquired specifically as a deterrent / counter to the Dutch carrier, not the RAN but in politics and the White Australia policy of the time what do facts matter).  The opportunity cost of the F-111 was in all probability a timely Canberra replacement, one fighter and one strike squadron, a replacement carrier (and its strike aircraft), a generation of fighter aircraft and a RAAF tanker capability.

Wisely stated my dear Volkodav, greatly appreciate your input!

As a side note to the 'politicsal saga'' of the F-111, I read some time ago, that we committed an additional Infantry Battalion to Vietnam, as a sweetener, so as to curtail development costs we otherwise would have incurred........ I'll attempt to find the source.

I too have grown a little more conscientious of the F-111 purchase by the then Australian government of the day, appreciating as I got older and sourced more in depth 'government' information.....I now feel confident that the RAAF could have/should have purchased North American A-5B (I would have preferred later A-5C) Vigilante's as originally suggested and supported by the 'fact-finding' group,; operating these until the more mature later variants of the F-111E (with the F-111D's TF30-P-9 engines) or the F-111F was developed.......(as I've done in my Alternative ADF ORBAT backstory.



M.A.D
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 09:52:51 AM by M.A.D »

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2019, 10:55:41 AM »
Quote
It's important, though, to remember that the USAF and RAF flew their bombers hard (many more flight hours than their Communist counterparts) and that the Badgers being flown today were built more recently.

Good and valid points Logan!!


M.A.D
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 11:50:26 AM by M.A.D »

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2019, 11:50:55 AM »
Dassault Mirage F1

I guess due to its overshadowing by the debut of the ultra modern, ultra sleek General Dynamics F-16 - in both terms of the 'NATO Fighter Competition', the numbers of airframe produced and the number of air forces that fielded it; as a kid, my impression and interpretation of the Mirage F1 was wrong and and misunderstood from the beginning.
Little did I appreciate or understand that the Mirage F1 was a leap ahead of the Mirage III in terms of performance and capabilities (I'm thinking this false impression of mine may also have been attributed by the fact that many nations/air forces continued to operate and develop the earlier Mirage III, which I think gave me the false notion that the Mirage III must have been just as good as the Mirage F1, if these countries/air force weren't replacing them with actual Mirage F1's!).
I attribute my turn around of opinion (and bias) of the Mirage F1 began to change when many an accounts of Mirage F1 combat episodes by otherwise (then) obscure air force (Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, South Africa, ....), which Western media didn't care to cover, or because of these regimes/nations/air forces sensorship weren't forward in divulging such sensitive information, alluded to the Mirage F1's excellent air to air and air to surface capabilities and strengths....
Quote
"The Iraqi F.1 largely neutralized the air superiority of Iran because it was too potent for either F-4 or F-14 pilots to risk a tangle with. The awg-9 was thwarted by the ecm pod. And the F.1 was too maneuverable for its Iranian counter parts."

Then with the advent of the internet, my access to indepth technical data/specifications not always available from my then limited book/magazine collection - like the Mirage F1 in fact contained 40% more internal fuel than the Mirage III; patrol endurance is trebled at high altitude, as is supersonic dash duration; the swept-back wing of the Mirage F1 gives a 20% decrease in approach speed and a 23% reduction in take-off length at maximum weight compared to the Mirage III; while the Mirage F1 swept-back wing gives it far greater manoverabilty capability and a smoother ride at low level than that of the Mirage III...Then there's the superior sensor/avionics of the THOMSON-CSF Cyrano IV radar over that of the Cyrano II fitted to the Mirage III.

All this said, I've come to the conclusion, that it was a grave pity that Dassault didn't persist with the SNECMA M53-powered Mirage F1E derivative.

So it has come to pass, that I've come to see the Mirage F1 in the following terms articulated by Schorsch [at keypublishing.com]:
Quote
"I guess the Mirage F1 excelled by being the best compromise between capability and cost (at its time)"
M.A.D
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 12:13:09 PM by M.A.D »

Online elmayerle

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Re: Redemption – Military planes you were wrong about in hindsight!
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2019, 12:23:55 PM »
Regarding the RAAF's purchase of F-111s, an interesting perspective is contained in "Politics Over Strategy - Australia's Rejection of the TSR.2" contained in the RAF Historical Society publication TSR2 with Hindsight (a book I very highly recommend and which I believe is available in pdf form - see discussion on Secret Projects forum).