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F-14 pilot talks about his exchange tour on Tornado F3

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F-14 pilot talks about his exchange tour on Tornado F3

Old 18th Nov 2020, 08:23
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
IIRC the auto wing sweep was disabled because, once they started fatigue testing, they found it spiked if the wing was moving in the turn under G.
Moving the wings above 4G was prohibited on the GR to reduce stress on the pivot bearings, so this sounds reasonable.

Another issue (and potential difference from F-14) was that the already-poor turning performance was reduced even further if there was any delay in getting the wings forward as speed reduced during a hard turn. The lag between control input, changing turn rate and air data, smoothing the data to avoid continual wing movement, and finally the time for the wings and manoeuvre flaps to travel was such that better overall performance was said to be obtained by the pilot moving the wings manually in anticipation of each manoeuvre. That was the theory anyway; how the benefits tallied up against all the performance given away by pilots forgetting to make appropriate selections is probably an easy one to guess!
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 08:45
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Love it!

"GR4s?"

"No, they were the fighting ones."
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 12:20
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I stumbled across this vid the other day. Purely by accident. Fascinating stuff. He did say it was damn quick low down though, something I have heard mention before on these forums. (Fora? Whatever)
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 15:40
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Originally Posted by TURIN View Post
I stumbled across this vid the other day. Purely by accident. Fascinating stuff. He did say it was damn quick low down though, something I have heard mention before on these forums. (Fora? Whatever)
Yes, the enduring positive comment about the F3 was its speed at low level. Even a dark blue exchange pilot I used to know had good things to say about that.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 22:52
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The only good thing about the F3 Tornado was that you could get 2 RAF holdalls in the empty ammunition container and with 2 tanks on it went a long way for a land away. Other than that they should have shoved every single one of them off Skegness Pier and bought 150 F15Cís in about 1986.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 23:16
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Originally Posted by BusterHot View Post
The only good thing about the F3 Tornado was that you could get 2 RAF holdalls in the empty ammunition container and with 2 tanks on it went a long way for a land away. Other than that they should have shoved every single one of them off Skegness Pier and bought 150 F15Cís in about 1986.

Of course not building the F3 in the first place would have been a winner.
An Air/Air only F-15E (with backseater and conformal tanks) would have been the job. Then again there would have been less need for Typhoon.

Always thought we should have built Viggens under license in the 70s - to replace Lightnings and prevent the need to buy Jags or Harriers

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Old 19th Nov 2020, 09:50
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Originally Posted by unmanned_droid View Post
Yes, the enduring positive comment about the F3 was its speed at low level. Even a dark blue exchange pilot I used to know had good things to say about that.
Which bit of the air defence role was employed when going fast down low?

CG
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 10:06
  #28 (permalink)  
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Which bit of the air defence role was employed when going fast down low?
The majority, at least during exercises, when the vast majority of targets were low and fast. Helps the missile in a front shot and essential to chase down the targets and get rear aspect shots with IR and gun.

And in offensive ops essential as an embedded escort or sweep for aircraft such as the GR. Nothing pissed off a low level attack formation than a medium level escort like a big finger in the sky saying "they're over here!!".

In that scenario they could also open the taps and extend ahead of the bomber package to engage an identified fighter threat ahead.

I know the B-1s appreciated them being tasked as escort rather than F-15s.
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 09:24
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As there have been some comments about the Auto Wing Sweep and Manoeuvre Device System (AWSMDS) on Tornado vs the system on the F-14, I thought that I would try to add a little more detail, albeit from memory from a few years ago (30+ for the Toranado, 24 for the F-14D). The F-14 auto wing sweep was infinitely variable and set according to airspeed/Mach number. It could be manually overridden to a further aft position but not overridden further forwards. The F3 AWS set the wings to one of the cleared wing sweep angles (25, 45, 58, 63/67) and the position changed as the Normal Operating CAS/Mach limit was passed. The manoeuvre devices operated on angle of attack and the two systems were, effectively, functionally separate. It all worked as advertised during the Release to Service trials and the F3 OEU conducted their trials on it but initially had some reservations, mainly related to sweeping between 25 and 45 wing at 450 KCAS/0.73M, in particular when 'bugging out' to pitch back in at just under the 25 wing never exceed limit of 0.8M and wishing to remain in 25 wing throughout. However, when you pressed the clutch on the wings weep lever the AWS dropped out and you had normal manual wings weep. To re-engage the AWS all you had to do was press the select button on the left console behind the throttles. I have to say that my opinion was that for low type-experienced pilots the system resulted in a significant reduction in pilot workload.

The reason why the AWSMDS never entered service on the F3 was because by the time that a decision had been made to clear it (and all of the airframes had the system installed at manufacture then inhibited) the programme had slipped by a financial year (or was it 2?) and there was no funding for the maintenance test sets to be purchased so it was never activated. The Saudi ADVs, however, did have it activated. The GR1/GR4/IDS never had AWS although the Saudi IDS did have auto manoeuvres fitted. During the clearance trials an interesting characteristic was highlighted in that if the manoeuvre devices deployed during a high AOA rapid roll then a large g spike occurred which could result in an overstress especially in 45 wing.

I am interested if anyone else here has any further recollections of these systems.
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 09:51
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First, thankyou for that very informative post.
This bit is just astonishing!
The reason why the AWSMDS never entered service on the F3 was because by the time that a decision had been made to clear it (and all of the airframes had the system installed at manufacture then inhibited) the programme had slipped by a financial year (or was it 2?) and there was no funding for the maintenance test sets to be purchased so it was never activated. The Saudi ADVs, however, did have it activated.
Bean counters!!
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 17:47
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LOMCEVAK,

A very detailed post on the F3 AWS/AMDS, your memory serves you well. My first trial under the tuition of Mal G was the AWS/AMDS. Our findings were (I believe) that the system was beneficial in reducing workload in nearly all situations. There were a few areas where manual intervention was recommended to achieve optimum performance, (you can't polish a t**d). I recall that with a rapid onset of AoA the manoeuvre slats were too slow to deploy. This was a function of the slats being deployed by screw jacks rather than 3000psi hydraulic rams.

Your quite correct, the engineers and luddites within the MOD quashed the system and claimed that it was unsupportable.

A shame that in the video there is not a comparison between the F3 and Tomcat Tactical Displays and JTIDS implementation. The F3 was light years ahead of the Tomcat.

Equally, the F3 with AMRAAM and ASRAAM was a formidable weapons system. If the HMS that was developed and functional in 2000 was bought into service it would have enhanced the ac even more. A shame that politics came into play and the F3 was not allowed to outshine the then troubled Typhoon in any way at all!!


Last edited by Dominator2; 21st Nov 2020 at 07:47.
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 18:15
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Having transitioned from F3 to RSAF ADV, I was pleasantly surprised by the reduction in workload with AWSMDS. It certainly saved many speed overstress incidents. It was also pretty well faultless and and snag free in operation. Strange that the RAF never adopted it, though the later 45WG supersonic clearance must have been useful. Did the IAF F3s use AWSMDS?
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 19:11
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Originally Posted by LOMCEVAK View Post
As there have been some comments about the Auto Wing Sweep and Manoeuvre Device System (AWSMDS) on Tornado vs the system on the F-14, I thought that I would try to add a little more detail, albeit from memory from a few years ago (30+ for the Toranado, 24 for the F-14D). The F-14 auto wing sweep was infinitely variable and set according to airspeed/Mach number. It could be manually overridden to a further aft position but not overridden further forwards. The F3 AWS set the wings to one of the cleared wing sweep angles (25, 45, 58, 63/67) and the position changed as the Normal Operating CAS/Mach limit was passed. The manoeuvre devices operated on angle of attack and the two systems were, effectively, functionally separate. It all worked as advertised during the Release to Service trials and the F3 OEU conducted their trials on it but initially had some reservations, mainly related to sweeping between 25 and 45 wing at 450 KCAS/0.73M, in particular when 'bugging out' to pitch back in at just under the 25 wing never exceed limit of 0.8M and wishing to remain in 25 wing throughout. However, when you pressed the clutch on the wings weep lever the AWS dropped out and you had normal manual wings weep. To re-engage the AWS all you had to do was press the select button on the left console behind the throttles. I have to say that my opinion was that for low type-experienced pilots the system resulted in a significant reduction in pilot workload.

The reason why the AWSMDS never entered service on the F3 was because by the time that a decision had been made to clear it (and all of the airframes had the system installed at manufacture then inhibited) the programme had slipped by a financial year (or was it 2?) and there was no funding for the maintenance test sets to be purchased so it was never activated. The Saudi ADVs, however, did have it activated. The GR1/GR4/IDS never had AWS although the Saudi IDS did have auto manoeuvres fitted. During the clearance trials an interesting characteristic was highlighted in that if the manoeuvre devices deployed during a high AOA rapid roll then a large g spike occurred which could result in an overstress especially in 45 wing.

I am interested if anyone else here has any further recollections of these systems.
I was on the F3 OEU at the time and led the tactical trials on AWSMDS. The situation was largely as LOM decribes, but there were additional considerations. As stated, the NO limits meant that the wings always moved sooner than was tactically sound, especially when taking into consideration g limits in the eventual configuration. This was also big factor in the fatigue life of the airframe as limit pulls in 58 and 67-wing were disproportionately big consumers. When the wings started to move then they would have to go to the next stop before returning (unlike the F-14). As an example, if you accelerated through 45 NO speed and then pulled a limit turn (I forget the actual figures, but 45-wing was the "best" g limit and the "best" fatigue-life wing sweep and the best subsonic tactical configuration) the wings would continue all the way to 58 during pitchback and then cycle all the way forwards to 25 (everything always ended up in 25-wing because of the lack of thrust). The wing sweep was so slow as to ensure massive energy loss during the pull as they slowly travelled nearly all the way back and then trundled forward again. So, you had lost everything you had attempted to gain (and more) because of AWS scheduling. Comparing one with and one without, it was always preferable to preset the 45-sweep at NE speed before pitchback, pull to the g limit when engaging/re-engaging and then keep going forward to 25-wing decelerating through 0.8M. What AWSMDS did provide was an increased g limit in 25-wing (slat only - memory fades, but I think above 350 KCAS below .73M) so the configuration we recommended was AWSMDS engaged with AWS manually disengaged, ie MDS, for tactical employment. Post-OCU/FRS/RTU, pilots tended to forget/miss slats more than they forgot wings.

The thing that killed it stone dead was something to do with - need rigger input here - a fragile follow-up/actuator pin in the HLWSCU (flap/wing sweep lever thingy box) that kept breaking and costing many man hours to fix. That, combined with the test equipment and fatigue issues (perhaps the latter shouldn't be a consideration, but you can only use what you've got) was enough to stop AWSMDS in the RAF.

Finally, I had plenty of bar arguments about those (and many other) recommendations, but the bottom line is you fight as you train. No one who trained hands-off AWSMDS was going to have the muscle memory to go manual "on the day", so we had to ensure that pilots maximized the always very poor energy equation (especially when training realistically and "bombed-up" with concrete AAMs and dummy bullets) while instinctively using the optimum technique. This, combined with the fatigue consideration (you can't train properly on g-limited airframes - ask me how I know after flying Lightnings) nailed the coffin shut. But it was nice for accelerations and decelerations...and navigators flying two-stickers.

PS If the jet had never had to be employed above 5000 ft the energy equation would have been very different; you could go everywhere at not much less than 600 knots for what others were using at 420. Early on, I saw 835 KIAS (M1.3) at 250 ft, still accelerating, before the canopy seal blew. It was quite exciting for about 10 seconds. At least I think that's what the Antipodean Nav said.
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 20:25
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
The majority, at least during exercises, when the vast majority of targets were low and fast. Helps the missile in a front shot and essential to chase down the targets and get rear aspect shots with IR and gun.

And in offensive ops essential as an embedded escort or sweep for aircraft such as the GR. Nothing pissed off a low level attack formation than a medium level escort like a big finger in the sky saying "they're over here!!".

In that scenario they could also open the taps and extend ahead of the bomber package to engage an identified fighter threat ahead.

I know the B-1s appreciated them being tasked as escort rather than F-15s.
Really?

Always thought the F3, or Tornado ADV whichever variant, was developed by the UK to intercept the marauding Soviet bombers somewhere far out over the North Sea!

Oh, it was, but then you know that far better than I do. The fact that it was quick at low level was just incidental.
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 20:54
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Always thought the F3, or Tornado ADV whichever variant, was developed by the UK to intercept the marauding Soviet bombers somewhere far out over the North Sea!
Oh it was - but they didn't play in exercises and all the mud-movers provided the targets - and you train as you intend to fight, so all the CAPS were at FL150 looking low and all the escort missions were at low level.

I can recall, long after the Cold War was over, a report of a senior officer being invited to look around the cockpit of a Backfire and asking where the TFR display was. "We don't have one of those", was the reply, "Our tactic was to come in as fast and high as possible under ECM and launch our ASMs at maximum range"...

Even if the F-3s had been looking up and seen them I doubt the missile would have taken out the height difference in a snap-up....
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 20:56
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I clearly misremembered the loss of controlled flight thing then....this and LOMs post were very interesting, thanks!

Originally Posted by sarn1e View Post
I was on the F3 OEU at the time and led the tactical trials on AWSMDS. SNIP
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 22:12
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Oh it was - but they didn't play in exercises and all the mud-movers provided the targets - and you train as you intend to fight, so all the CAPS were at FL150 looking low and all the escort missions were at low level.

I can recall, long after the Cold War was over, a report of a senior officer being invited to look around the cockpit of a Backfire and asking where the TFR display was. "We don't have one of those", was the reply, "Our tactic was to come in as fast and high as possible under ECM and launch our ASMs at maximum range"...

Even if the F-3s had been looking up and seen them I doubt the missile would have taken out the height difference in a snap-up....
Sorry, what is the point of this blathering on about F3s at low level, aside from the pointless reminiscing?
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 22:18
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Sorry, what is the point of this blathering on about F3s at low level, aside from the pointless reminiscing?
Well, since the last squadron was retired around 10 years ago, what’s the point of the entire thread except reminiscing?????
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 22:27
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Well, since the last squadron was retired around 10 years ago, whatís the point of the entire thread except reminiscing?????
Fair point.

Charlie Golf raised a great point though. And your response to it was utterly irrelevant bollocks!
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 04:27
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What’s wrong with reminiscing?
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