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Tornado F3 Aerial Ballet

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Tornado F3 Aerial Ballet

Old 16th Nov 2014, 12:31
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Leon said ...

One small snag with mid-flap in the F3 was that if you did not retract it before firing ASRAAM/AIM-9 then you would blow a nice hole in the flap!!!
Blown flaps then
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 12:36
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Coff, quite!
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 13:00
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Presuming you mean 5,000 and 10,000 ft Sabre Dog.
With Low level evasion down to 250 feet, one would very rarely let the aircraft get below 400 kts.
Every aircraft is fought to make best use of its advantages over the enemy type(s).
Since the F3 had low Specific Excess Power relative to other fighters, one did not attempt to turn more than 90 degrees if one had the option. In fast, shoot straight, disappear even faster was preferable.
Because of the risk of unseen enemy, high performance fighters generally adopt the same tactics with larger numbers around.
The aircraft had better performance down low due to engine design, and with low drag also, F3 crews would attempt to drag any fight down to base height (5,000 ft for normal peacetime training).

However, with known small numbers of enemy, or if bounced, the ability to fight the aircraft slow was an essential skill which, due to its difficulty, would be practiced quite often. The aim was either to engineer one of your aircraft to be free of threats, who would then shoot the bad guys; or to pass the bad guys nose-to-nose whence one could then successfully run away (due to the low drag).
Missiles were preferable - you had lots. The F3 gun is best thought of as a sniper's rifle. Highly accurate and destructive if the enemy hadn't seen you (or couldn't manoeuvre much), but not much use in a fight in a telephone box.
2v3 seems unusual for F3s. 2 F3s v 3 Gr1s a lot more likely. 2v4 was probably planned with 1 aircraft going unserviceable before the fight.

Mind you, I have occasionally turned up at a fight with more aircraft than I said I would
Very naughty, very successful. Could have been 2v2 with a 'sneaker'
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 13:03
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Quote

Are there any former F3 pilots out there?
Sadly, yes...1500 miserable hours. Great people and loads of fun times, but like flying the Admiral's Barge.

And the answer to your other question is also: yes, we did it all the time. Even though the platform was decidedly useless at it, that didn't mean that we didn't need to practise ACM/BFM - even if only as a means of surviving a "merge" or demonstrating to youngsters why not to turn...

Technique with 5,000ft minimum training height: try to maintain energy for the first turn (to run away at the first opportunity), then give up and put (very heavy) stick in lap and wait until RHWR aerial fell off (which happened occasionally), unless you turned the SPILS off for marginal performance increase while running the risk of much more exciting stuff happening. And, yes, as pointed out earlier, you could also play with the flaps.

No, it wasn't flying as slow as you thought it was, but given that they were all similar types, relative performance wouldn't have been apparent. I've watched (from a fourth-generation type) fifth-generation aircraft conducting BFM trials at 25,000ft+. Now that was slow! But if you want a rough illustration of the disparity in performance between something that can turn (F-16) v something that can't (F-4), type "F-4 v F-16 turn circle" into Google and check out the image.

And the mere fact that they looked so slow to you (and anyone else out there sneaking around the outside of the fight) explains why Dominator2's comment about "an early grave" and operating it at 2' 6" applies.

Of course, stick a helmet-mounted sight on it with sexy off-boresight weapons and things change, but that's true for all platforms.
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 13:55
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Sabre Dog, yes. It used to happen on occasions. As has been said, doing 2v2 against your own type wasn't/isn't the preferred option, but we'd do it if we had to for (for example) someone's ACL (Air Combat Leader) work-up or similar, pre-deployment prep, various other things. Or even just for stats or currency. 1v1, 1v2, similar and dissimilar ACT was part of our annual training syllabus, so, yes, we did do that. You may not have seen a lot of it because it was normally out over the North Sea.

Another possibility is that it was part of an exercise. Perhaps F-3s escorting a bomber package that had got tied up with the defenders. Lots of possibilities.

Courtney
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 17:02
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A quick glance at the title on a small screen came up as:

F3 Aerial BALLAST


hat, coat, gloves
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 17:42
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PN, I think you mean:


hat, coat, gloves, SPECTACLES!
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 18:01
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Deliverance:

There was between 8-12 F3s converted to carry outboard pylons and stores as a trial, as the F3 wing only had the pylon housing, no control rod or operating arm.

Most of the outboard wing sweep control rods, etc came from the GR1 wings going through 16 FI wing mod program (provided the wings were only fitted to Cottesmore aircraft), the remainder were removed from TTTE aircraft wings as they did not have pylons fitted.

They were fitted at Coningsby in ASF, there was an issue with one rod that was not adjusted to its null point before doing pylon alignment checks, which rumour has it was a tad embarrassing at the time.
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 18:18
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Slight subject deviation if I may, I 've heard it said, though it must be difficult to draw an accurate comparison, that the Javelin would have held it's own pretty well against the F3 in terms of manoeuvrability. Interestingly, as you step back in time from the F3, the anthology finds a more agile predecessor, F-4 (Just, but I bow to the direct experience of others here) then the Lightning! I have it on good authority and record that the Lightning, nevertheless, was outclipped by the Mirage III.

FB
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 22:07
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I'm pretty sure you'll find the F.3 was more 'agile' than the F-4!

-RP
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 22:31
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I've often wondered that RP, but I do understand that when the arrival of the Tonka was imminent on the F-4 Squadrons there was a sense that a lesser aircraft was taking over. I'm also given to understand tha F-4 certainly had a better performance at altitude.

FB
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 22:35
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I was on an early F3 Squadron and did DACT against Phantoms. I was a 'stunningly average' first tourist, but drew my first DACT against a Phantom flown by 2 QWIs, and won the others.
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 23:07
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F3WMB,

You learn something every day, just goes to show how powerful propaganda can be.

FB
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Old 17th Nov 2014, 06:21
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I've often wondered that RP, but I do understand that when the arrival of the Tonka was imminent on the F-4 Squadrons there was a sense that a lesser aircraft was taking over. I'm also given to understand tha F-4 certainly had a better performance at altitude.
FB

You're right to some degree. As a working weapon system the F4 was far better than the newly acquired F3 until it started getting sorted out around the 1st Gulf War with some defensive aids and a RADAR that worked!

Same thing with Typhoon vs F3 - I can remember dropping back for a Typhoon in the Queen's Birthday Flypast to get the range right for the formation becuase the Typhoon didn't have a RADAR that worked properly. However, these days the Typhoon would run rings around an F3.

LJ
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Old 17th Nov 2014, 13:42
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Many thanks Leon,

By the way, but have you ever read Lewis Page's assessment of the Tornado F3 in his comprehensive "Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs"?

FB
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Old 17th Nov 2014, 14:43
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How ironic, FB how ironic.

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Old 17th Nov 2014, 16:39
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Thanks deliverance, I think most of what you refer to was after my time, so was not aware they were used 'in anger' or more aircraft were 'converted'.

I was on the 16 FI wing change team 91-95 and remember the issues that some F3s had with nib and wing cracking caused by wing fluttering due to having no dampening from outboard pylons and stores, this was found when using the aircraft in a different role than the one it was originally envisaged for (I think some was playing at low level), hence why we were told that it was a trial to confirm this, which it did, apparently.

During my time on the F3 OCU at Coningsby (86-87) was when the problem first appeared, if I remember correctly, and the lower wing nib panels had to have the stringers replaced with better made ones to try and stop the cracking, before sorting out the actual root cause and getting rid of that, which they eventually appeared to do.
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Old 17th Nov 2014, 17:46
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From the point of view of the Phantom Navs' Union (engage them at your Peril, oh worthless scum!!), the early F3 was worse than the Phantom. We struggled mightily to get a decent air picture. A good, experienced ex-Phantom nav could usually get something workable out of the F3 kit; sometimes using exotic radar modes, at other times swearing and thumping seemed to work. All this was at the expense of navigating and system management.
Fortunately, being generally average I got crewed with experienced navs, but happened to be quite good at nav and systems, so it all worked out pretty well for me. The Stage 1 radar was the first step which produced something decent.
Geehovah's our expert here, of course
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Old 17th Nov 2014, 21:17
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Pah! I fart inyour general direction, having flown the glorious F2. This was a brilliant machine for air displays and jollies, as it had no other use; no radar at all at all to start with and when we did get one, the target in the hud was bigger than the td circle. The radar itself was brilliant at tracking weather, but not much else. Then there was the single IN, the MECU engine control system which flashed up more reheat warnings and surges than I care to remember and the standby ADI, which in the trainer rear cockpit was mounted at the base of the stick!
Probably missed some bits, but you get the picture...
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Old 18th Nov 2014, 06:03
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All comments true when comparing jet to jet. But jet + crew to jet + crew. My plan was pretty straight forward:

1. Hit the merge make it a vertical fight because few pilots fight well looking backwards and most wonder jet drivers have been told to use gods G to max perform.
2. Get to 150 kts and keep going, if you ain't cheating you ain't trying!
3. Convert to a death spiral.
4. Watch the mighty F15 - 18s take lead in the vertical.
5. Flatten at base and watch the tent pegs strike the ground!
6. Call "knock it off, knock it off" and head to the bar.

Eh voila!
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