Author Topic: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel  (Read 1640 times)

Offline Aeroplanedriver

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USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« on: January 14, 2019, 03:08:15 AM »
The Tornado was considered twice by the USAF, one in the early 80s to meet the requirement eventually filled by the Strike Eagle, and again in the late 80s to replace the F-4G in the SEAD role.  The SEAD version was much more promising, with Rockwell chosen to assemble the aircraft at its Palmdale plant (with approximately 50% US built content) to keep it operating following closure of the B-1 line.  The USAF wanted a fuselage stretch to accommodate more fuel, so the F-24 would have been longer than a standard IDS Tornado. 

The competition was seen to be between the Tornado, and SEAD versions of the F-15 and F-16.  Desert Storm came along and a planned fly-off was cancelled, and as history shows the F-16 was eventually chosen without much consideration to other platforms. 

A few more details here...

https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1989/1989%20-%202321.PDF


My F-24 is based on the ADV airframe instead of the IDS.  The F.3 EW suite was already well suited to a SEAD role, as indicated by the RAF modifying the 11 San aircraft to carry ALARM as the (unofficial) EF.3, though it was short lived, and never performed the role in combat.

The kit is the Revell 1/48 F.3, which I must say is a little disappointing.  Detail is nice, but there is a TON of flash on the parts and to be honest it seems a bit over engineered.  The fuselage assembly takes about a million pieces and they all have to be lined up perfectly.  Seats are a bit inaccurate too, though not an issue here as resin ACES II seats are being used for the F-24. 

All artists impressions of the proposed F-24 have an ECM fairing on the top of the fin like the EF-111 and EA-6, but smaller.  This has been built up from Evergreen stock, final shape is still a work in progress though. 

The build so far...



Rear panel decal is a bit too low, so not aligned with the instrument outlines.  I swear it was right when I left it to dry, but it was late so apparently I was wrong.  Regardless, I'm not losing sleep over it. 



Intake ducting for the Allison TF-44 engines (license built RB.199s) sits on top of a flat fuselage base, along with the gear bays and cockpit. 



Weapons fit will be two AGM-88s, some mix of AMRAAM/Sidewinders and an ECM pod, either on an outboard pylon or in one of the F.3 Skyflash recesses, the same way the Phantom carried a pod in a Sparrow bay.

Offline LemonJello

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2019, 03:21:02 AM »
I've always liked the Tornado - I'll be watching this develop.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2019, 04:17:04 AM »
Looking good - here are some more images of the proposed bird:



All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Aeroplanedriver

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2019, 04:21:13 AM »
The top image is also in the 1989 Flight International article I posted a link to. 

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2019, 08:56:38 AM »
I've got a 1/144 Tornado fuselage in the pile that will become some poor starship's secondary hull.

Your Tornado is bound to come out heaps better.

Always enjoy your work!

Brian da Basher

Offline Aeroplanedriver

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2019, 12:16:29 PM »
Fin-top ECM fairing is done.  It's just Evergreen styrene stock, Tamiya putty, and a lot of sanding.  It's not exactly the same shape as the marketing materials, but that is intentional.  Final products are always a bit different.  I gave it a bit of a swoop shape. 



To update on the overall build.  This is a very frustrating kit.  Incredibly over engineered.  Getting good model out of it relies on many, many pieces being fitted EXACTLY right.  Following the instructions step by step is a recipe for heartache.  No glue should be involved in the fuselage assembly unti all of the various sub assemblies are dry fitted.  It's taking a lot of work for a modern, expensive kit.  I can't wait to see my F-24 vision sitting on the shelf, but I think it will be a while before I tackle another Revell 1/48 Tornado. 

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2019, 02:25:23 AM »
Looking good.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Aeroplanedriver

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2019, 06:07:24 AM »
Some progress on this pig of a kit over the past few weeks.  The way this thing is ridiculously over engineered is very frustrating.  I can't see myself being in a hurry for another Revell 1/48 Tornado.  I'll be ready for a nice shake-n-bake Tamiya Corsair or something after this! 

Anyhoo...

Various RWR/EW bits n bobs fitted around the nose.  The right front Skyflash/AMRAAM bay has been replaced with an ECM fairing, with the fairing and missile bay containing the internal components of the AN/ALQ-131 pod. 

I was torn on the paint scheme, leaning from the start towards multi-tone grays for a late 90s example during the NATO Kosovo Campaign.  After toying with some of the F-4G and F-16 schemes, I went with my own three tone of Light Ghost Gray, Dark Ghost Gray, and Gunship Gray.  I wasn't too sure as I was spraying it, but the more I look at it, the more it's growing on me.  Still need to do some touchup on the horizontal tail, and paint the radome. 






Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2019, 06:19:24 AM »
I like that scheme a lot, AD and I'm glad you've overcome all the obstacles this kit has thrown at you.

Brian da Basher

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2019, 05:41:01 PM »
The Twisting Ferret's looking good! :smiley: ;)
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline buzzbomb

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2019, 07:15:03 PM »
Yes and another yes.
Nicely done

Offline Aeroplanedriver

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2019, 05:03:32 AM »
Getting closer to finished.  The original plan was for a Spangdahlem Wild Weasel, but my lack of foresight means that the F-16 kit decals I'm using don't work too well on the Gunship Gray tail...so change of plan to something a little closer to home...using the Shaw based Tiger Meet scheme from the F-16 for a little more color. 

Still needs weathering and the flaps/slats, gear, weapons, tanks, reverser buckets, and various fiddly bits attached, but I see light at the end of the tunnel.





Offline KiwiZac

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2019, 08:40:20 AM »
I like it a lot. Very smart!
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

Zac Yates

Offline kerick

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2019, 09:09:17 AM »
Very sharp! 😍

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2019, 09:22:11 AM »
That's a crackerjack scheme that!
 :smiley:
Brian da Basher

Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2019, 05:39:04 PM »
Love it  :-*

Offline Aeroplanedriver

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2019, 12:17:52 PM »
Well this pig of a kit is finally done.  I generally knock a build out in 2-3 weeks.  This one took over a month.  I honestly cannot say it was a fun build.  I was excited about the subject, but Revell's kit sucked every ounce of joy out if the build. 

From the awful end-opening box, to misnumbered parts, more flash than actual parts, incorrect instructions, and the absolutely ridiculous level of over engineering and poor fitting parts this is a kit that I am glad to see the back of. 

Having said that I'm fairly happy with how it turned out overall.  I was a little unsure of the scheme at first, but after the construction nightmare I was not in the mood to tackle my original idea of a Euro I scheme.  However the somewhat Hill Gray style camo has grown on me and I'm fairly happy with it.  Better planning while spraying would have let the tail decals stand out a little better, but overall, I'm happy. 

But anyway....

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-91 delayed plans for a 1991 competition between the F-16, F-15, and Tornado to replace the USAF's fleet of aging F-4G Phantoms in the "Wild Weasel" SEAD role.  Peace Dividend budget pressures and the costs of the Gulf War also put pressure on the program, but the war did highlight the value of a dedicated SEAD platform, while at the same time showing that the F-4G was nearing the end of its career. 

In an effort to save costs, and in part because of the Tornado's performance and to thank the UK for their significant contribution to the war, the Pentagon decided to place an order in mid 1991 for 124 Wild Weasel Tornadoes.  Designated the F-24A in US service the first "American" Tornado flew a remarkably short 6 months later in December 1991. 

In fact this first US Tornado was a heavily modified RAF Tornado F.2 taken from storage.  For budgetary reasons it flew as a "proof of concept" aircraft in December receiving a USAF 1991 serial number, but shortly was sent to Rockwell's Palmdale, CA plant for complete conversion and modification.  When it flew as a production aircraft in June 1993 the aircraft had been modified for the SEAD role. 

Since budget was a large driving force in the program, the original plan for a heavily modified Tornado IDS was shelved in favor for a less modified ADV airframe.   The Longer fuselage of the ADV allowed for greater fuel carriage, and the additional fuselage length made the addition of a boom refueling receptacle along the spine easier.  Other modifications included US specific avionics (though a great deal of the F.3s excellent EW suite was retained).  US avionics included systems for carriage of the AGM-88 HARM missile, and classified avionics carried in a fairing at the top of the vertical fin.   US United Technologies ACES II ejection seats replaced the Martin Baker seats in the F.3, and a modified AN/ALQ-131 system was fitted semi-internally with some components taking up the space of the forward left MRAAM bay.  The other three semi-recessed missile bay were retained, though AMRAAMs were rarely carried by F-24s outside of missile training, as carriage interfered with the IDS belly pylons fitted to carry two AGM-88 HARM missiles.  The IDS outer pylons were also carried frequently, carrying a further two HARM missiles.  Inboard pylons were RAF standard and normally carried Sidewinder and/or AMRAAM missiles, or a combination of both.  Consideration was given to fitting the US M61 Vulcan or GAU-12 Equalizer cannons, but in the end budgetary issues, and the expected limited cannon usage in the assigned role lead to the F-24 retaining the Tornado's Mauser 27mm cannon. 

Following the first two modified F.2s, BAe supplied 22 complete "green" F.3 airframes to Rockwell for conversion, before Rockwell assumed production of some components,  After the first 24 aircraft US Tornadoes had approximately 60% US content, with the Panavia partners providing some completed components for final assembly.  The F-24's engines were license built by Allison as the TF-44, based on the Turbo Union RB.199-104. 

This build represents a 79th Fighter Squadron F-24A in early 2002, still wearing the special markings it wore during the Tiger Meet of the Americas at Buckley AFB in August 2001.  By early 2002 the squadron had deployed as part of Operation Southern Watch, patrolling the skies of Iraq as part of the effort to contain the regime of Saddam Hussein.  It carries two AGM-88 HARM missiles (the only offensive air-to-ground ordnance carried during Southern Watch) as well as a pair of AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles and a single AIM-9M.  It is also equipped with the tail fairing mounted towed decoy system added in early 2000. 





I'll post a few more pics in the next few days. 
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 12:29:44 PM by Aeroplanedriver »

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2019, 01:19:57 PM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline kitnut617

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Offline Some Duck with an Ultimax

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Offline LemonJello

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2019, 09:21:34 PM »
Shame to hear about all the shortfalls in this kit, but you turned out a gorgeous finished product! 

Offline elmayerle

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2019, 12:31:32 AM »
Clearly an example of producing a silk purse from a sow's ear.  Beautiful model as a result of a lot of hard work.  Bravo!!

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2019, 05:15:00 AM »
That's a real stunner, AD and you've got an artist's eye for that camo/marking scheme!

Most excellent!

Brian da Basher

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2019, 08:29:15 AM »
Brilliant job, AD, especially as she fought you all the way! :smiley: :smiley: 8)

Still not my favourite scheme but you've got the Tornado to wear it well! :smiley: ;)
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Alvis 3.1

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2019, 04:59:30 PM »
Fantastic build from a monster kit!

Offline ed s

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2019, 09:25:08 PM »
Well done. Looks good in those colors and markings.

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2019, 12:28:28 PM »
Phenomenal. The idea was interesting, but the end result blew all my expectations away. Bravo!
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

Zac Yates

Offline Aeroplanedriver

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Re: USAF Rockwell/Panavia F-24A Tornado Wild Weasel
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2019, 03:34:32 AM »
As promised a few more pics now that I have a day off...