Modelling > Scenarios

No F-35 - play nicely!!

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I'd like the idea of previously cancelled or current designs being improved and mass produced.
- A-12 for USMC and USN
- F-16XL, F-15E/F/G for USAF
- maybe even a SLEP to the fare-thee-well F-14E/F/G for USN fleet defense? 
- AV-8C/D with improved VTOL/STOVL technology for USMC

AV-8D "Harrier III" to replace existing Harriers, upgraded engine and electronics along with a one foot stretch of the intakes and forward fuselage and a matching stretch of the rear fuselage plus wingtip Sidewinder rails.  This was already under study and the basic Pegasus still had growth.  This would allow a newer engine with the same envelope to be developed for the AV-8E.  Note that the AV-8C was an upgrade of the AV-8A.

I could see LM-Aero developing a F-16 version with a productionized diverter-less intake since such was trialed on a F-16.

I honestly don't think the A-12 would have been resurrected, at least not without major changes as I've heard some real horror stories on it from folks at LM-Aero/Fort Worth.

SLEP options for the F-14 exist (upgraded engines, ASEA radar, frame-less blown windscreen, et al.) and would definitely extend its life.

Thanks guys, looking a little further at the timeline and some of the options/non-options:

The earliest/latest I see the F-35 being cancelled would be:

* Earliest: November 1996 when, in the real world, Boeing and Lockheed Martin were awarded contracts to produce  their X-32/X-35  concept demonstrator aircraft.  If this did not happen you would have no F-35; or
* Latest:  October 2001 when, in the real world, Lockheed Martin was declared the winner and was awarded the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract for what became the F-35.
So taking these dates and applying against the various contenders/additional options:

* Boeing Super Hornet - as already mentioned, a definite option with its first flight in November 1995 and service introduction 1999.  I can see Boeing strongly pushing this especially given the technology/capability enhancements over other options (this ain't a warmed over Classic Hornet);
* Boeing F-15 developments - definitely an option for new growth.  I can see a stronger push of F-15E variants such as the F110 powered ones;
* Lockheed Martin F-16 developments - again definitely an option with stone pushes of Block 50/52 variants and derivatives;
* Eurofighter Typhoon - I think this would definitely tried to fill the gap competing against the likes of the Super Hornet and Rafale as pushing for the 'new kid' title.  Production contracts were first awarded in January 1998 in they entered initial service August 2003;
* Dassault Rafale - alongside the Typhoon, this would compete with the Super Hornet.  Interestingly, production of the first aircraft started in December 1992, but was suspended in November 1995 due to political and economic uncertainty. Production only resumed in January 1997 after the Ministry of Defence and Dassault agreed on a 48-aircraft production run with delivery recommencing 2002.  A X-32/X-35/F-35 cancellation might have added wealth to that;
* Sukhoi Su-27 developments - unlikely for most Western nations but who knows...;
* Harrier II developments for STOVL - obvious for those wanting STOVL but there might only be so much one could squeeze out of what is basically an old design.  I think you may see upgrades but also, equally a push for some such as the RN to give up on the concept and consider the likes of Super Hornets/Rafales or even Navalised Typhoons (see below);
* Lockheed Martin F-22 - In the real world, proper production commenced September 2000 with service entry December 2005 so it would be an option.  By 1996 the USAF planned to get 648 aircraft and by 2001 this had been further reduced to 339.  Therefore, X-32/X-35/F-35 cancellation could see these numbers revered, at least for the USAF.  Is till think the price might have driven greater reliance on F-15s/F-16s.  Foreign sales only become possible if the Obey Amendment to the 1998 Department of Defense Appropriations Act is either avoided or overturned.  This is obviously easier if there is an earlier cancellation date since it might night happen.  Even then though, it is worth noting that both Japan and Israel did push for the F-22 in the real world but both backed away because of the price.  Australia also looked at it but both price and perceived lack of attack/strike capability deterred it.  Now, if a larger production run was maintained for the USAF, thus spreading out the costs more to get a lower production cost plus the further development of the F/A-22 concept (anyone remember that?), perhaps we could see that change.  Who knows, perhaps even a revisit of the Carrier based F-22N is possible but I highly doubt it since by then the USN is already committed to the Super Hornet;
* Northrop/McDonnell Douglas F-23 - I highly doubt you would see this as it was beaten in 1991 by what becomes the F-22.  Moreover, by 1997, McDonnell Douglas is no more and unless Boeing sees benefit in challenging the F-22, I doubt they would try a Lazarus moment.  More likely to focus on F-15/F/A-18;
* Grumman F-14 - the F-14 might keep going a little longer in USN service beyond the real world 2006 retirement but I still see the Super Hornet being introduced as per the real world.  I also doubt you would see any new production/customers given the F-14 was last produced in 1991 and thus would have already be gone by then.  Moreover, in 1994 Grumman ceased to exist as a separate entity , so even if given a Lazarus moment, you would be talking about a Northrop Grumman F-14;
* McDonnell Douglas/General Dynamics A-12 Avenger II - Cancelled in January 1991 and still tied up in court battles so no-one would have touched that.  Plus it was arguably too specialised;
* F-16XL - beaten by the F-15E back in February 1984 so I doubt it.  Moreover, General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin found that they could keep selling F-16 derivatives without needing to revisit the XL concept; and
* Mitsubishi F-2 Developments - Japan could possible have grown production more than the 98 produced in the real world, but I don't see anyone else buying this over-priced F-16.

A possible contender for the RN FAA:

Not that I am advocating...


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