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Tornado F2

Old 10th Dec 2015, 22:32
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Tornado F2

Following on from a previous thread about the F3 I'm curious about this forgotten aircraft.
Were they just trainers or actually capable jets?

I know a little potted history and the repair saga but want to know about their time in service that Wiki doesn't tell you.
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Old 10th Dec 2015, 22:49
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They weren't 'just trainers', then again, they weren't very capable either!

Apart from the backend and engines, there were numerous avionic differences (single IN etc)

Anyway, they served a purpose...well ish.

There was a quite well developed plan to make the F2s into weasels with ALARM, then came Airworks.
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Old 10th Dec 2015, 22:56
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Only 18 of the gutless things were built and they were (fortunately) soon taken out of service. No working AI radar, unable to carry 8 missiles and with countless other faults, they were some of 't bungling Baron Waste o' Space's worst ever aircraft.

I recall an AAR trial with one carrying 4 tanks - we had to descend to around 10000 ft and turn with no more than about 20 AoB in order that the F2 could remain in contact in the turn...
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Old 10th Dec 2015, 23:05
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Just to be clear, Shaft109, the airframes damaged in the Airwork saga were all F3, not F2, although F2 fuselages were used to replace the damaged ones.

As for the F2 itself, it was a bit of a donkey in my opinion. Why it was even bought into service before it was ready and fit for purpose has always been a very sore point - one that still leads to a great deal of scepticism regarding new aircraft being fielded, a specially as it seems to be the norm for the full, promised capability only seems to arrive shortly before end of service.
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Old 10th Dec 2015, 23:14
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F2

Sorry yes I knew the F2 were cannibalised to repair the damaged F3, was it easier than fitting the F3 gear into the F2 airframe if that makes sense?
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Old 10th Dec 2015, 23:17
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Well, that's pretty much what they did, Shaft. It was the F2 airframe they used. Or have I misunderstood?
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Old 10th Dec 2015, 23:18
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'Hippo' fit was not just restricted to the F2. It did give you the ferry capability to reach Cyprus (F3), or cross the Pond (E to W), without your truly wonderful services. The fit gave you an additional 7500ltrs of gas...that's about...well a lot! (Yes, there is a drag factor).
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Old 10th Dec 2015, 23:25
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Repair

Sorry will clarify - the way I understand it a number (12?) of F3 were damaged by incorrect repairs and so the stored F2 airframes were 'cut up' to get the required new structure centre section, patched in like a cut and shut to the F3.

Or did they gut the F2, bin the bits and engines and then take the F3 engines and kit and retro fit it to the earlier but largely untouched airframe?
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Old 10th Dec 2015, 23:44
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Ah, I'm with you now. It was only the centre section of the fuselage so it was an easier job than completely dismantling the entire aircraft and effectively rebuilding it. As it was, the centre sections required a fair amount of internal modification to make them compatible.
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 00:29
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Tornado F2 Parts To Repair Tornado F3

Hansard extract below from here:

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 11 Mar 1997 (pt 18)

" Airwork Ltd.

Mr. Sweeney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's claim for compensation for damage caused to Tornado F3 aircraft by Airwork Ltd. [20069]

Mr. Arbuthnot: A negotiated settlement has been reached in respect of my Department's claim for structural damage to Tornado F3 aircraft while being modified by Airwork Ltd. during 1992-93. I am pleased to report that, of the 16 aircraft involved, 11 have been repaired and delivered back to the RAF and the remainder will be delivered progressively over the next few weeks, with the last due for delivery in May this year. One aircraft was lost in the crash off Blackpool in September 1996, the cause of which was not related to the modification programme on which Airwork had been engaged. The F3 aircraft were repaired by replacing the damaged centre fuselages with those from surplus F2 aircraft which had been earmarked for disposal. This was to ensure that the aircraft were returned to operational service as soon as possible.

In choosing to replace the centre fuselage, the aircraft have been given valuable additional fatigue life. The overall cost of this work has been around 20 million. Taking this improvement into account, together with the costs which might have been incurred had arbitration been pursued, we have agreed that the Bricom Group, which owned Airwork at the time of the damage, will pay 5 million to the Ministry of Defence in settlement of our claim. "
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 00:52
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Going off at a tangent, am I imagining that the GR5 fleet was grounded at the start of the 90s for similar rectification work?
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 08:11
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As for the F2 itself, it was a bit of a donkey in my opinion. Why it was even bought into service before it was ready and fit for purpose has always been a very sore point - one that still leads to a great deal of scepticism regarding new aircraft being fielded, a specially as it seems to be the norm for the full, promised capability only seems to arrive shortly before end of service.
One might say it re-invented the Gloster Javelin, now there was never quite ready Fighter! Right through its operational service from FAW1 to FAW9R.

FB
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 08:34
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
Only 18 of the gutless things were built and they were (fortunately) soon taken out of service. No working AI radar, unable to carry 8 missiles and with countless other faults, they were some of 't bungling Baron Waste o' Space's worst ever aircraft.
Attending ATC camp at Coningsby in '89, we were told the F2s didn't have ANY AI radar, just a lump of concrete to keep the CG correct. There were some USAF F15s there at the time and I watched an F2 try to emulate an F15 departure; he levelled off at about 2,000ft.
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 08:50
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Attending ATC camp at Coningsby in '89, we were told the F2s didn't have ANY AI radar, just a lump of concrete to keep the CG correct.
Technically known as the BLUE CIRCLE radar......
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 10:57
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
...I watched an F2 try to emulate an F15 departure; he levelled off at about 2,000ft.
Must've been an F.3 you watched, the F.2's were all gone from 229 OCU during 1987. I had a base visit in June of 1987 with my local ATC Sqn, 228 OCU had recently relocated to Leuchars (bugger, said I...), and we had a tour of the OCU hangar and it was full of newly delivered F.3's having post delivery inspections, along with those already on the OCU. We also had a tour of the 29 Sqn HAS site and they were all F.3's as well, although to be fair, 29 never operated the F.2 anyway, I don't recall seeing an F.2 on base at all...

-RP

Last edited by Rhino power; 11th Dec 2015 at 11:47.
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 13:12
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The flying ballast for the radar was never (at least from my experience) concrete. It was a thick metal disc that was both blue and circular - hence the Blue Circle epithet.
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 15:11
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By way of a comparison here's one of my holiday snaps from that treasure in the med.
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 17:41
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One quick question...

I'm no engineer but why wouldn't you park them with their wings folded to save space? Was it too much of a faff to power up and move the services?

Honest question, not a wind up.

BV
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 17:48
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BV not sure but I don't think they did, at least iirc the wings weren't swept when they were jammed in the hangar on a Friday afternoon - 56(R) - despite the aircraft being pushed in like they'd been playing a giant game of twister.
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 17:50
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I was operating a desk when the Tornado entered service, but I would suggest that the CoG may have been a bit marginal on the ground with the wings fully swept.
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