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Slartibartfast

What if ?

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As the wondrous people here have recreated that leg-end that never saw service, like it should have done, the TSR-2. It got me to thinking what would the RAF have ended up with instead of the Tornado F-3 as the Tornado program would never have arrived ??? I know that the RAF tested out the F-14 Tomcat which used to do the same job... The F-15 didn't have the 2 man crew that was required. Doesn't leave a right lot to go at really as the F-4 was getting old... The French had no jet capable of doing the long overwater mission that the F-3 was designed for...

 

Anyone got any thoughts on this ???

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The F-15 2-seater was just a trainer at the time, but as events shook out the Beagle came along 15 years later anyway. There's no reason it couldn't have arrived sooner had the UK asked. The F-14 was the most likely because the Phoenix would've helped immeasurably, but there's no way to know if they'd have chosen it.

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As the wondrous people here have recreated that leg-end that never saw service, like it should have done, the TSR-2. It got me to thinking what would the RAF have ended up with instead of the Tornado F-3 as the Tornado program would never have arrived ??? I know that the RAF tested out the F-14 Tomcat which used to do the same job... The F-15 didn't have the 2 man crew that was required. Doesn't leave a right lot to go at really as the F-4 was getting old... The French had no jet capable of doing the long overwater mission that the F-3 was designed for...Anyone got any thoughts on this ???

 

TSR or not, the Tornado would have most likely come up anyway. Besides, I'm pretty certain that the TSR would have looked a lot less fabulous after the mid-70s. It's also worth noting that the Tornado F3 was in fact a stopgap program due to the delay of the next generation fighter program started in the mid-80s. Said program was what is called EF Typhoon today. :wink:

 

I also have the impression that the TSR-2 would not have been as versatile as the Tornado.

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Don't forget the other aircraft the RAF wanted. The F-111K. When it was cancelled, they got Phantoms. Had the 'Vark made it into service, would the Tornado even be fielded?

 

-S

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Well, the UK would've been out of it, hard to say what would've happened then. Germany might have gone it alone or kept going with Italy. If it did go alone, my guess is Italy would've bought a US design instead as well, or whatever Germany made, as their own indigenous industry was already hard pressed to make something on their own at that point and AFAIK Italy has never bought a Dassault.

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The only reason the UK looked at the Vark was because the wonderous labour government at the time scrapped the TSR 2, so the Vark wouldn't have come to Britain. As to the TSR 2 I don't know it was designed with the same mission set as the Tornado GR-1 etc. The projected specs for the TSR 2 are actually better than the Tornado better range roughly the same speed on the deck and the advantage there goes to the TSR 2 as it had an internal bomb bay so was flying clean most of the time... As to the Luftwaffe/Marineflieger they where interested in the TSR 2 as well as a host of other countries Australia being one as well. As to the Technology involved I don't see the problem there as it's easier to replace electronic's than to create a new Aircraft...

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Tornado F3 is a bomber interceptor, so I think high manouverability was'nt very important in its design. With that in mind, what about an interceptor version of the TSR? It may sound a little ludicrous, but I've read about plans for an interceptor B-58, and, of course, there was the Tupolev 128 (bigger than both, TSR and Aardvark if my memory is not fooling me)

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There was talk of the B-1R armed with dozens of AIM-120s!

 

Something with longer range might be needed. I mean, How many AMRAAMs can you really lock and shoot since the targets enter shooting range (40-50 miles) until they reach your position?

Btw, speaking of big interceptors, I forgot YF-12.

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You haven't read the specs on the latest AIM-120D....and unlike fighters, a B-1 can generate a LOT more power for it's radar....

 

FC

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FC,the former BONE driver,speaks words of great wisdom.

Hey FC can you imagine going vertical and ballistic to out maneuver a Mig in the BONE.

Gives the phrase "Check Your Six" a whole new meaning. :yikes:

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Something with longer range might be needed. I mean, How many AMRAAMs can you really lock and shoot since the targets enter shooting range (40-50 miles) until they reach your position?

 

The AWG-9 on the F-14 could track 24 targets, and lock up the 6 most threatening and launch AIM-54s against them, and that's with 1970's technology. Now, add in modern, high speed digital processing, and you could very easily target the threats and ripple fire against them. Plus the range of the AIM-120D is touted as being near that of the AIM-54.

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The only thing that concerns me with long ranged weapons employment is that even today, we don't always know who is out at those ranges. This was something Gen "Boots" Blesse noted back in the 1970's during an interview following the conclusion of ACEVAL/AIMVAL. Unless you're on Blue Water Ops, or in a region where the only planes coming from a certain direction are obviously hostile, you need good communication with an AWACS or an E-2 in the area, hope everyone's IFF is working right, and have ROE that allow such long range engagements.

 

An example, in the book Black Aces High, on Tomcat crew related that on one of their night missions, their IFF failed (neither sending nor receiving), and they were painted by an Air Force bird, who was told by AWACS to VID the bogey aircraft (them) before firing (the Pilot and RIO disagree on whether the aircraft was an F-15 or an F-16). The Tomcat crew, which had heard the information that the "bogey" was in their area had their heads on a swivel, not knowing the "bogey" was them. When they saw a torch in the sky, and their RWR started going off, they called out "Hey! Friendly F-14!" The AF jet broke off.

 

If they hadn't been ID'd visually, there would have been a friendly fire incident. This took place in 1999, with improved IFF systems from those available in the 1970's when "Boots" had made his comment on long range attacks. A B-1R armed with 32 AIM-120D's and a powerful radar certainly could be useful, but if ROE necessitates VID, there's no point; I wouldn't bet my money on a B-1R outmaneuvering a fighter after getting VID, nor getting VID first by a long shot.

 

Now, in a theater where it is obvious only hostile aircraft could be coming from an area, I'd say a B-1R would be an excellent defense interceptor. The problem is that the only time I could see a stand-off scenario is blue-water ops like in the Cold War, or the initial attacks against a large country, before we begin to press into that country, and subsequently put friendly AND enemy A/C within coverage of a long-range radar/weapon system (the IFF problem).

 

BUT! I'm neither a pilot nor strategist, so my opinion on that matter doesn't mean much.

 

With regard to the original question; if Britain hadn't gone with the Tornado, I'd think they'd have stuck with the Phantom. I base this on the fact that the Tomcat was considered, but was too expensive, the Eagle (as has already been noted) wasn't a 2-seater (functionally yet, though the F-15B could have been used), the TSR-2 wasn't available, while the Phantom was.

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If the TSR.2 would have been fielded the Luftwaffe certainly today would not have the Tornado. I think the west germans would have looked for an other european solution, perhaps a cooperation with France, so they perhaps would have a twin engine version of a french bird, maybe a Mirage F-1 clone or a Mirage4000. The intention to build the Tornado was to strenghten the german airplane industry. Dont forget that the Airbus development was in that time frame and today Airbus industries is one of the big players in the civil branch. A licence manufacturing of american planes would not have been so efficient (profit keeping :grin: ) than building an own bird.

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