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Tornado or something American

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Tornado or something American

Old 9th May 2021, 09:20
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Tornado or something American

Browsing through the Putnam's "The British Fighter since 1912" by Mason I came across the following in the history of Tornado development and the Phantom problems:-

"Several other American fighters were evaluated by British pilots Including the F-14, F--15 and F-16 but none proved to meet the RAF's fighter requirement in the context of NATO Strategy and tactics."

Since the F-15 and F-16 were deployed as part of NATO by the USAF and several European countries bought the F-16 can anyone shed some light on what the RAF requirements were that made the US fighters unacceptable?

Thanks

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Old 9th May 2021, 09:46
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They weren't built by BAe/RR?

CG
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Old 9th May 2021, 10:03
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Asturias56

You need to put it in perspective for the late 1970s when this was being decided:

F14A - very expensive, “A model” engine performance and reliability not very good. RADAR not deemed suitable for overland operations as it was mainly designed for blue-water fleet defence. We also had RAF Aircrew on exchange with the F14 that could give an honest appraisal.

F15A - cracking airframe, but the “A model” RADAR and avionics were poor. Again, we had Aircrew on exchange that could be honest views on the jet. It was only as the “C and E Model” that F15 became the formidable aircraft that we know.

F16A - was AIM 9 Sidewinder only in those days and single engine was unacceptable for the Iceland Faroes gap.

The requirement which Tornado ADV was designed to meet was low level all-weather day/night interception of long range Soviet aircraft in a high ECM/ECCM environment - BEAR, BLACKJACK, BACKFIRE and FENCER. At that time the more agile FULCRUM and FLANKER were not really considered. The Tornado F3 ticked all the boxes and more for the requirement of the time. Sadly, as an airframe it was left behind with the switch to more agile aircraft types in the ‘80s and had to rely on tech advances like TRD, JTIDS, AMRAAM and ASRAAM plus a constant program of RADAR improvements. That enabled it to hold its own on operations, but in close in dog-fights it would be in trouble with most fighter adversaries. But even today it had some unique capabilities over the Typhoon and F35B - low level speed is far higher and it can stay low and fast for far longer, it can fly at Mach 2.2 (unlike M1.8 and M1.6 for the new birds) and it had a 2 person crew which if working well together could do amazing things in high workload and ECM/Night environments that a single brain will struggle with. The latter is often forgotten and why several militaries still operate 2-seat fast jet combat aircraft - France has seen the value of that with Rafale B/DM/DH, the USAF with the latest F15EX and the Airbus FCAS seems to be 2-seat too. Of course the current Harrier, Jaguar and Typhoon mafia at the top end of the RAF would never go back to 2-seat fast jet combat aircraft ops as their egos couldn’t stand it!
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Old 9th May 2021, 10:04
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Chris Gibson covers this in detail his book Battle Flight. I’d suggest Frank Mason’s phrasing about NATO strategy and tactics was one of the wooliest pieces of prose he produced...

From memory, although there were industrial reasons for going with the Tornado ADV (there was particular concern over the US offering aircraft at a relatively knock-down unit cost as a price worth paying for killing off any European rivals), the view was that the ADV met all the requirements for the interception role, whereas the F-16 didn’t meet the spec.

The F-14 was too expensive, too unreliable and didn’t offer any advantages if the cost cutting option of buying the aircraft without AIM-54 were chosen

The F-15 was recognised as an excellent aircraft, but in the interceptor role required two crew to manage the anticipated workload, and there was concern over radar performance, etc.

The F-14 was seen as having sub-optimal engines, and the F100 engine used in the F-15 and F-16 was having trouble at the time of the evaluation, too.

The conclusion was that for the role of knocking down Soviet bombers, the Tornado ADV would meet the spec and had huge industrial advantages. The idea was that a more agile aircraft would arrive in the 1980s (the cunning plan which led eventually to Typhoon, of course)
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Old 9th May 2021, 11:02
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Thanks - I remember the talk at the time (vaguely) - the F-14 was really good but optimised for over-water - tho' when you think of it flying into the Greenland/Iceland Gap to intercept Russian bombers would have been right up its street - but was also known to be eye wateringly expensive to buy and operate . The F-16 was seen as a "toy" aeroplane and an F-5 replacement really for lesser nations. The F-15 always seemed to be deemed "unsuitable" but quite why was never really discussed much in public IIRC - considering we went out and bought a big-ish 2 seater ourselves it always seemed to be a bit political to me.

At least the RAF bought something with decent range built in for once.

Ref Mason's phrasing it sounded like he was repeating the official line - after all he wrote a book on Tornados himself - it's one of the reasons I asked the question as normally he didn't pull many punches...........
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Old 10th May 2021, 07:18
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Never worked in the AD world or with F3 but I do remember doing a Red Flag in 94/95 when I was on Hercs and an F3 Sqn (I think 29?) were operating as Red Air along with an 8 Sqn E3D. I think it was the first time Link16 or JDTIDS had been deployed and they were giving Blue Air quite a few problems.
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Old 10th May 2021, 09:01
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Who would have thunk it:

An underpowered multi engined, multi seat bomber - just the perfect place to start for a fighter design

Just add concrete





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Old 10th May 2021, 11:18
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Thanks - I remember the talk at the time (vaguely) - the F-14 was really good but optimised for over-water - tho' when you think of it flying into the Greenland/Iceland Gap to intercept Russian bombers would have been right up its street - ..........
I don't even think the F-14 was deployed to Keflavik, eventhough it was officially a Naval Air Station they kept F15s there.
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Old 10th May 2021, 13:38
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Browsing through the Putnam's "The British Fighter since 1912" by Mason I came across the following in the history of Tornado development and the Phantom problems:-

"Several other American fighters were evaluated by British pilots Including the F-14, F--15 and F-16 but none proved to meet the RAF's fighter requirement in the context of NATO Strategy and tactics."

Since the F-15 and F-16 were deployed as part of NATO by the USAF and several European countries bought the F-16 can anyone shed some light on what the RAF requirements were that made the US fighters unacceptable?

Thanks
In sum:
Not built at Warton, in addition,
F-14: too expensive.
F-15 & F-16: no probe, so cannot be refueled using UK tankers
F-18: sadly, just too late.
End of.

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Old 10th May 2021, 14:26
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"Just add concrete "


Ooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
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Old 10th May 2021, 15:20
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Originally Posted by Minnie Burner View Post
In sum:
Not built at Warton, in addition,
F-14: too expensive.
From memory twice as expensive as the F3

F-15 & F-16: no probe, so cannot be refueled using UK tankers
F-18: sadly, just too late.
And all three single seaters - the two seaters were primarily training aircraft, whereas the RAF wanted a two seater with pilot and Nav/RIO/WSO with distinct roles and set ups.At least that was the excuse
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Old 10th May 2021, 17:40
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Originally Posted by typerated View Post
Who would have thunk it:

An underpowered multi engined, multi seat bomber - just the perfect place to start for a fighter design

Just add concrete
So underpowered it could do well over 800kts at low level.

Even carrying a concrete payload.
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Old 10th May 2021, 17:59
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Way back in about 2000, I think - I was a relatively senior chap and was in the STC (as it was then) Scottish CinC's Office who had just returned from a visit to the USA, and he was in awe of the folk who had briefed him, especially during his visit to Charleston (I think it was) where he was shown the C-17 that we were about to buy.

He couldn't get over the enthusiasm and dedication of the people - at all ranks - that he had met.

I mentioned to him (I had done 3 years on exchange with the USN, and three with the USAF, so I knew a little bit about how the US Military worked) the access that 22-year veterans had to on-base facilities after retirement (BX/PX/Commissary tax-free buying, plus medical/dental support, plus leisure activities and O'Club/SNCO Club membership etc etc) and suggested he considered what the US does for its retired military folk, compared to the UK who basically abandon their retirees. So the folk who had briefed him were enthusiastic and dedicated not just because of the product they were talking about, but because they also wanted to stay in for the 22 years needed to get the benefits that they wanted and deserved.

We then started to discuss pilot retention..........

I said that if he would get me three squadrons of F-16's and re-open Chivenor, I could make a serious impact on pilot retention - and ground crew retention to make the F-16's all work!!

At that stage, he invited me to leave his office! He just used two words...........

So back to thread - you chose. Tornado F-3 was a great aircraft, but so were/are the F-14, F-15 and F-16. Two are still going, two are not. But if I had to chose between the two that are not, I would go for the F-14 without hesitation. The final version of the F-14 Bombcat was very impressive as a multi-role platform even compared to the the final variant of the F-3 which was a very capable single-role platform.
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Old 10th May 2021, 19:21
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ex-fast-jets
the final variant of the F-3 which was a very capable single-role platform
It had one other role apart from OCA/DCA - and that was SEAD. The EF3 was ready for GW2 but Torpy didn’t want it as he knew it would be the nail in the coffin for some of his beloved GR4s. Also, the F3OEU trialled TIALD on the F3 to give a long range VID capability and also a LGB capability.

PapaDolmio
I remember that RF well (and others similarly after JTIDS was fitted). The USAF Brig Gen had to have a ‘closed shop’ debrief with his Blue Air one afternoon - very amusing...
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Old 10th May 2021, 19:28
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Thank you LJ for educating me........

I was unaware - every day is a schoolday..............!!

I liked both the F-14 and F-3 - and would absolutely love to fly either again!!
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Old 11th May 2021, 09:09
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Originally Posted by Minnie Burner View Post
F-18: sadly, just too late.
End of.
Although ultimately it beat the Tornado F2 in to service by over a year.

Last edited by Willard Whyte; 11th May 2021 at 18:31.
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Old 11th May 2021, 09:51
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Originally Posted by ex-fast-jets View Post
Way back in about 2000, I think - I was a relatively senior chap and was in the STC (as it was then) Scottish CinC's Office who had just returned from a visit to the USA, and he was in awe of the folk who had briefed him, especially during his visit to Charleston (I think it was) where he was shown the C-17 that we were about to buy.

He couldn't get over the enthusiasm and dedication of the people - at all ranks - that he had met.

I mentioned to him (I had done 3 years on exchange with the USN, and three with the USAF, so I knew a little bit about how the US Military worked) the access that 22-year veterans had to on-base facilities after retirement (BX/PX/Commissary tax-free buying, plus medical/dental support, plus leisure activities and O'Club/SNCO Club membership etc etc) and suggested he considered what the US does for its retired military folk, compared to the UK who basically abandon their retirees. So the folk who had briefed him were enthusiastic and dedicated not just because of the product they were talking about, but because they also wanted to stay in for the 22 years needed to get the benefits that they wanted and deserved.

We then started to discuss pilot retention..........

I said that if he would get me three squadrons of F-16's and re-open Chivenor, I could make a serious impact on pilot retention - and ground crew retention to make the F-16's all work!!

At that stage, he invited me to leave his office! He just used two words...........

So back to thread - you chose. Tornado F-3 was a great aircraft, but so were/are the F-14, F-15 and F-16. Two are still going, two are not. But if I had to chose between the two that are not, I would go for the F-14 without hesitation. The final version of the F-14 Bombcat was very impressive as a multi-role platform even compared to the the final variant of the F-3 which was a very capable single-role platform.

I noticed that over there the veterans do get better treatment and benefits but some friends who are also vets frowned at their local VA hospitals and institutions. Their concerns are of sans empathy and useful as a wet rag in a rain storm, but beyond that they are happy generally.

Thing is though in 1995 we were offered a lease of dozen or so F-16 but as the obvious stated re AAR, never happened

Kind of begs the question withPoseidon and Wedgetail will we need to rely on the likes of the 100th ARW for support as with the River Joints or will both P-8 and E-7 just stick to circuit bashing over the highlands and North Sea?

What did. you fly on exchange with USN? I take it USAf exchange was more of a Desk posting to some Command?

The Bombcat served quite well for Enduring / Iraqi Freedom as I read. Also with the Russian long range cruise missile and bomber threats, this article talks about whether the Navy is longing for a return of the Legacy F-14.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/bu...4-tomcat-75011

cheers





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Old 11th May 2021, 10:05
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An underpowered multi engined, multi seat bomber - just the perfect place to start for a fighter design
It was a time when large AAM carriers based on multi engine platfirms were under serious considerations as bomber killers - both in the UK and USA.

https://warisboring.com/the-royal-ai...-just-a-dream/
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Old 11th May 2021, 10:37
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
It was a time when large AAM carriers based on multi engine platfirms were under serious considerations as bomber killers - both in the UK and USA.

https://warisboring.com/the-royal-ai...-just-a-dream/
Interesting article especially with the Boeing proposal for B-1B as an air to air platform is exactly what Dale Brown mentions in several of his novels from after Flight of the Old Dog onwards. I created thread on this

B-1B upgraded to include air to air capability


Though his books written in late 80s to mid 90s talks about dedicated ‚battleships‘ be it the EB-52 Old Dog or EB-1 Vampire…

cheers
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Old 11th May 2021, 11:54
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Chopper2004,

Its an idea which re-emerges on a cyclical basis….

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_F6D_Missileer

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