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UK F-4 DISPOSITIONS

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UK F-4 DISPOSITIONS

Old 16th Dec 2019, 14:38
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UK F-4 DISPOSITIONS

Hereís a query thatís intrigued me for many years, that the Phantom Phaction may be able to answer:

While I was at Leuchars, 43 Sqn was equipped with the FG1 variant of the F-4 and was joined by 111 Sqn using the FGR2, the first FGR2 interceptor sqn. When 892 NAS was disbanded, their redundant FG1s were used to re-equip 111, standardising the FG1 at Leuchars. Reasonable decision on first look.

However, I always wondered why the FG1s were consolidated at Leuchars? I would have thought that, with the INS fit of the FGR2, this would have been the preferred variant for use over the GIUK gap (yes, Iím aware that the INS wasnít THAT brilliant); surely this would have been of better utility over the North Atlantic/North Sea wastes than the FG1ís single TACAN (where there was no ground based TACANs to use), and which the FGR2 had as well.

Wouldnít it have been a more rational disposition to have converted 43 to FGR2s and consolidated all the FG1s at, say Wattisham (with its extensive TACAN ground infrastructure in SE England and Europe), or was there a more overriding operational reason?

Any inputs?
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 15:20
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Did INS alignment slow down QRA response time?
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 16:30
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Possibly problems with INS drift - the earlier INS weren't very good by modern standards - I was involved in a NAV project in '74 and got a look at the Nimrod R1 installation - IIRC it was a drift of around 1nm per hour from a triplex system - and that was BIG
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 17:26
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Could it be that the Decision was made by senior officer pilots (probably ex Lightning) who had no idea what happened in the back seat???
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 18:19
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The FG1 was purchased by the RN for fleet defence, so when Eagle was decommissioned in the late 1960s, it made sense to base the 20 available airframes at Leuchars with 43 Sqn as a SACLANT assigned squadron for fleet defence. Whilst the fit might seem poor by modern standards, it was far superior that of the Lightnings it replaced. Similarly when Ark Royal was decommissioned it made sense to allocate her FG1s to 111 Sqn in the same role and spread the released FGR2s amongst the more numerous other southern and RAFG squadrons where the fit, including special weapons wiring, was designed for the ground attack role until they all transferred over to AD.

The simulator story is more complicated.
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 19:10
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Downwind

A good question, not sure what the MOD answer would be. I flew the FGR2 for 2500 hrs but never the FG1. From my friends, pilot and navigator, yes the FGR2 would have been a better jet for Northern QRA.

INAS align times were never a problem when on RS10. In RAFG on RS05 it was all the more of a challenge.

I flew in the RCP for over 300 sorties and a well maintained and well aligned INAS was pretty good. 1mile drift/hour was average. Not great for dropping a bomb but OK for finding home after 7hrs in the IFG.

The fact that the FG1s stayed at Leuchars was, most probably, due to a lack of understanding at HQ11 Gp band MOD. ( By the way, we didn't want those rusty old Navy jets at EGXC or EGXW, and they were not suited to RAFG where only the best was acceptable).

Answers welcome.
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 21:01
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Twin Delco Carousel, both with DME update, via twin Hoffman TACAN. Allowable drift rate was greater than you suggest. I can’t remember the formula, and in practice it was usually well within limits.

Note that DME update was not always used when actually on task.

S-D
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 22:18
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Remember the FGR2 OCU was set up at Coningsby to supply mud crews to RAFG. We were in 38 Gp, Air Support Command and not 11 Gp, Strike Command.
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 02:14
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Re F4 INAS performance, it really was not all that bad. Sometimes you got a real rogue set but it was easily identified as such.
When we went to the Falklands on the first F4 deployment from Ascension, we checked in early (well, for us as on AD normal practice) and I got a real shock when the INAS refused to align. With 12 Victors taxiing around to take us there and starting to panic as the lead crew (of 2), I eventually realised that the wing magnetic sensor was not sending the correct signals to the INAS for a coarse align. I found the checklist details for a wing folded align, which I had never done before and went through it. That seemed to do the trick (I hoped) and we set off for Stanley. Being an ex Canberra nav of old fashioned training, I decided not to integrate the various feeds I was getting re position info from the INAS, Victor updates and my trusty manual airplot. However, I did note that they all seemed to agree vaguely. Anyway, I turned on the Radar at an estimated 180 miles to go and there was the Falklands painting beautifully after 6000nm. When we landed, no updates to the INAS remember, and after a very dodgy align sequence, the INAS was about 20nm out. This after 8.5 hours flying through some severe turbulence and easily enough performance to find an area the size of Wales.
No, the F4 INAS was pretty good for its day.
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 08:07
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IIRC the Vulcan attack on Stanley used 3 INS systems in a single aircraft "loaned" from BA and they were pretty large but at least a generation or two more advanced than the systems I saw in the Nimrod R1.

B Sweepers 20 nm drift from a single system after 8 hours is actually pretty good TBH
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 09:19
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I flew in the RCP. . As an ex FG!/FGR2/F4J operator I am curious as to the decode of this RCP acronym. A search gives me the Royal College of Physicians, Regional Car Parks and the Russian Communist Party! Please share
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 10:15
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Rear Cock Pit
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 11:58
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Of course - forgive my FCP naivete
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 13:52
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I see no votes here for the AN/ASN-39A Nav Computer used on the FG1 variant. I know it was dead reckoning in operation, and always knew that PP accuracy was what the Navs always wanted more of. Any input on its accuracy after a few hours operation? I was on 43 Squadron and we only operated the FG1 then. The resolvers were prone to slippage especially at higher latitudes.
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 14:52
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On Q there were usually ADGE, AWACS or the tanker for bullseye updates.
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 16:05
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After refuelling an FG1 from the mighty Vickers FunBus, we would always offer the F-4 mates a Lat/Long update...

I would ask the food-powered universal navigation system in the back left corner of the flight deck to put the figures up on the Carousel, then pass them to the F-4 nav....having added a second decimal place to really p*ss him off They never did find out!
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 18:27
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Remember the FGR2 OCU was set up at Coningsby to supply mud crews to RAFG. We were in 38 Gp, Air Support Command and not 11 Gp, Strike Command. - as were 6, 41 and 54 Sqns
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 19:07
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Originally Posted by Paying Guest View Post
Remember the FGR2 OCU was set up at Coningsby to supply mud crews to RAFG. We were in 38 Gp, Air Support Command and not 11 Gp, Strike Command. - as were 6, 41 and 54 Sqns
Yep, but not quite...

When 228 OCU was set up it was in 38 Group in AIR SUPPORT COMMAND and the first squadrons crews trained were for 6, 41 and 54 Squadrons, also in 38 Group of Air Support Command. Strike Command absorbed Air Support Command in 1972. Only when the 3 No.38 Group squadrons were fully established did the 4 RAFG squadrons re-equip. It all changed when that 'thing' called the Jaguar was introduced to degrade the capability of RAFG and 38 Group overnight and 228 OCU and RAF Coningsby were transferred to 11 Group as the Lightning F2A and F3 squadrons re-equipped with the surplus FGR2's.
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 20:59
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
Yep, but not quite...

When 228 OCU was set up it was in 38 Group in AIR SUPPORT COMMAND and the first squadrons crews trained were for 6, 41 and 54 Squadrons, also in 38 Group of Air Support Command. Strike Command absorbed Air Support Command in 1972. Only when the 3 No.38 Group squadrons were fully established did the 4 RAFG squadrons re-equip. It all changed when that 'thing' called the Jaguar was introduced to degrade the capability of RAFG and 38 Group overnight and 228 OCU and RAF Coningsby were transferred to 11 Group as the Lightning F2A and F3 squadrons re-equipped with the surplus FGR2's.
. All true, but again not quite.....

The RAFG sqns were strike/attack whereas 6 and 54 in the F4 days were not in the strike role. However, 6, 54 and the OCU had to keep a proportion of their airframes strike certified for reinforcing RAFG, which was an absolute pain.
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 21:45
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Smile

Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
On Q there were usually ADGE, AWACS or the tanker for bullseye updates.
...to say nothing about the Shackleton........
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