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Subject: And now for something completely different...RAAF chooses EE Lightning over Mirage.
Volkodav    5/24/2009 4:55:42 AM
The Lightning was a contender for RAAF how serious a contender I don't know. The main choice always seemed to be between the Mirage and the Lockheed Starfighter with the Phantom and Lightning being only bit players. The Lightning was apparently ruled out due to it's lack of ground attack capability, not that the Mirage was a wiz in the air to ground department either. The RR Avon and Ferranti Airpass radar of the Lightning were actually considered for the baseline Mirage III EO as they would have offered significantly improved performance. Imagine now that the RAAF had selected an evolved derivative of the Lightning. Would we have used it in Vietnam? What modifications and improvements would it have incorporated? What upgrades would it received during its life? What weapons would it have been certified for,i.e. Sidewinder, Paveway? What would the sale to Australia have meant for the program as a whole and then for the British and Austrlaian aviation industries?
 
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Aussiegunneragain       5/24/2009 5:13:16 AM

The Lightning was a contender for RAAF how serious a contender I don't know. The main choice always seemed to be between the Mirage and the Lockheed Starfighter with the Phantom and Lightning being only bit players.

The Lightning was apparently ruled out due to it's lack of ground attack capability, not that the Mirage was a wiz in the air to ground department either. The RR Avon and Ferranti Airpass radar of the Lightning were actually considered for the baseline Mirage III EO as they would have offered significantly improved performance.

Imagine now that the RAAF had selected an evolved derivative of the Lightning.

Would we have used it in Vietnam?
What modifications and improvements would it have incorporated?
What upgrades would it received during its life?
What weapons would it have been certified for,i.e. Sidewinder, Paveway?
What would the sale to Australia have meant for the program as a whole and then for the British and Austrlaian aviation industries?

Would we have used it in Vietnam?
 
Probably because we wouldn't have had the problem with the French threatening to block parts etc but not up north, as it didn't have enough range.

What modifications and improvements would it have incorporated?
 
Hopefully Sidewinder.

What upgrades would it received during its life?
 
Better models of Sidewinder.

What weapons would it have been certified for,i.e. Sidewinder, Paveway?
 
Probably just Sidewinder, we didn't use Ppaveway on the Mirages so why on this?

What would the sale to Australia have meant for the program as a whole and then for the British and Austrlaian aviation industries?
 
Nothing, we wouldn't have bought enough to make a difference and the lack of range/space for sensors mean't that it would have sufferred the built in obsolescence that it eventually did anyway.
 
Basically the type was more expensive than the Mirage and for the purposes of a nation that needed a good all rounder rather than a high altitude point defence interceptor it wasn't the best choice. In my mind since we couldn't afford F-4's the Mirage suited us though the best alternative would have been the F-8 Crusader.

 
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Volkodav       5/24/2009 6:11:43 AM
The Lightning is perhaps one of the most outstanding engine airframe combo's of the time they could even out fly F-15's. The main issues with the Lightning were its low unrefueled range and the fact that comparatively little was done to develop the types potential over its service life.
 
The Ferranti Airpass was also used by the Buccaneer which was fitted with Pave Spike hence my Paveway suggestion, other ideas, Bullpup, Maverick, Shrike.
 
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Aussiegunneragain       5/24/2009 7:08:04 AM

The Lightning is perhaps one of the most outstanding engine airframe combo's of the time they could even out fly F-15's. The main issues with the Lightning were its low unrefueled range and the fact that comparatively little was done to develop the types potential over its service life.

 The Ferranti Airpass was also used by the Buccaneer which was fitted with Pave Spike hence my Paveway suggestion, other ideas, Bullpup, Maverick, Shrike.


I'm not arguing that it was an aerodynamically awesome type as it was. It was just too limited in other ways (lousy range and weapons systems, no room for upgrades) to be of much use to us.
 
BTW, the Buccaneer used the Ferranti Blue Parrot which was a ground mapping and surface search radar, not the Airpass which was a simple air interception radar. The later wouldn't have complemented Paveway even if the Lightenning could carry and operate Pave Spike (which it couldn't).
 
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DropBear       5/24/2009 11:46:29 PM
The Ferranti Airpass was also used by the Buccaneer which was fitted with Pave Spike hence my Paveway suggestion, other ideas, Bullpup, Maverick, Shrike.
 
From all accounts, the Bullpup was a dog. The missile seemed to bounce off targets without detonating. Goodness knows how many were wasted trying to plink Than Hoa and Paul Doumer during Nam. I think for the times, Walleye would have propbably been a weapon of choice over early gen Mavericks and I am not sure the Oz Gov would have even considered Shrike or ARM derivatives. Might be used to hurt the enemy and give them nasty burns. http://www.strategypage.com/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Images/emsmilep.gif" align="absMiddle" border="0" alt="" />
 
As a sidenote, I find it amusing the Miracle was chosen over the F-104G (the two last competitors) as it was thought the Zipper had "engine reliability" as one of the four factors against it. Something tells me that history shows the GE J79 to be one of the better performing early gen turbojet engines, as opposed to the ratsh1t Atar-9C that cost us 16 or so of the 47 Miracle losses we had. In fact, very few of the vast number of Zipper losses worldwide were due to engine performance issues.
 
Back on topic...
 
 
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DropBear       5/25/2009 12:00:32 AM
The Lightning was a contender for RAAF how serious a contender I don't know. The main choice always seemed to be between the Mirage and the Lockheed Starfighter with the Phantom and Lightning being only bit players.

Phantom wasn't even in the running. Three American platforms were considered. 104, 105 and 106. The last two considered too complex and expensive to maintain. The Lightning was pitted against the Saab Draken, but as it was a point defence interceptor and not a fighter, it was thought that its potential for further development was a disadvantage. The Draken was dropped as it was only sligtly further down the path of prototype stage. It did have an RR engine which was favoured at the time with RAAF selectors. The Miracle was chosen as it complied with requirements (60 000 feet in six minutes from takeoff) for example, and was seen to have greater development growth and an ability to plink ground targets.


 
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DropBear       5/25/2009 12:15:59 AM
Would we have used it in Vietnam?

No. We already had 79SQN Sabres at Ubon, Thailand at the time and it was thought they would be mistaken by the Yanks for Migs. Also, it was prohibited for RAAF crews to knowingly fly north of the DMZ. Oz ground forces were employed in Phuoc Tuy Province and the Rung Sat Special Zone which was within 111 Corps area of Ops. Not much air interceptor action required over the south of Nam that couldn't be handled by USN Dixie Station BARCAP teams.


What modifications and improvements would it have incorporated?

Not sure any would have been all that useful for RAAF. Install HF comms etc. Not sure AIM-9B was much more chop than Red Top at the time.

What upgrades would it received during its life?

Better radar boot. http://www.strategypage.com/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Images/emwink.gif" align="absMiddle" border="0" alt="" />

What weapons would it have been certified for,i.e. Sidewinder, Paveway?

I reckon had they started intergrating Popeye, it may have been ready by the time the Pig was to leave service. http://www.strategypage.com/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Images/emsmileo.gif" align="absMiddle" border="0" alt="" />

What would the sale to Australia have meant for the program as a whole and then for the British and Austrlaian aviation industries?

Duncan Sandys rings a bell. http://www.strategypage.com/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Images/emcry.gif" align="absMiddle" border="0" alt="" />
 

 
 
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Aussiegunneragain       5/25/2009 5:33:55 AM
As a sidenote, I find it amusing the Miracle was chosen over the F-104G (the two last competitors) as it was thought the Zipper had "engine reliability" as one of the four factors against it. Something tells me that history shows the GE J79 to be one of the better performing early gen turbojet engines, as opposed to the ratsh1t Atar-9C that cost us 16 or so of the 47 Miracle losses we had. In fact, very few of the vast number of Zipper losses worldwide were due to engine performance issues.
 
Putting aside the German and Spanish outliers the F-104 had a lousy safety record of its own because of handling difficulties. It had the second highest loss rate of any USAF type during its time after the F-100. More importantly the Paki's proved that is was a dog against the Mig-21 and replaced it with nothing other than the Mirage 111 which was a success. Say's it all really.
 
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Volkodav       5/25/2009 7:34:34 AM
Putting aside the German and Spanish outliers the F-104 had a lousy safety record of its own because of handling difficulties. It had the second highest loss rate of any USAF type during its time after the F-100. More importantly the Paki's proved that is was a dog against the Mig-21 and replaced it with nothing other than the Mirage 111 which was a success. Say's it all really.
 
Not an issue with the G's but the downward ejecting seat in the C's didn't help crew survivability. Apparently a wheels up landing often ended with the trap door scooping up soil and filling the cockpit if the aircraft ran off the runway.
 
I didn't realise the F-105 or F-106 were in the running but think they would have been a great option for the RAAF. Both types served into the 80's with the US ANG and could have easily served the RAAF for as long.
 
How about we change the thread to a mix of Delta Darts and Thuds replacing 3 of the Sabre and all 3 Canberra squadrons during the early 60's while replacing the remaining 2 Sabre squadrons during the early 70's with either F-5E Tigers or Jaguars.
 
The F-106 was fitted with an M61 Vulcan under the Six Shooter program during the 70's and has been recognised as an aircraft with much untapped potential. I wonder what would have happened if it had been the primary fighter of the RAAF instead of just a pure interceptor in the ADC. Interestingly, if I remember correctly, both the F-105 and F-106 (also the B-58) had conceptional studies using the Bristol Olympus. The F-105 served in many variants but what could we have done with the F-106? Replacing the missile bay with extra fuel and a gun comes to mind, with Sidewinder and Sparrow on wing pylons...the F-106, with its substantial internal volume would have lent its self to all sorts or upgrades and mods. Upgraded F-106 serving into the 90's with APG-65 and AMRAAM?
 
Mmmm....Olympus powered F-106, F-105 and B-58 supported by KC-135 with a half dozen C-5, a dozen C-141 complementing 2 dozen C-130 in the RAAF with 3 dozen Buffalo and all support helos operated by the Army and the Neptunes transfered to the Navy....?
 
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DropBear       5/25/2009 9:37:08 PM
 
If it weren't for the SAGE, Falcon/Genie thing, I reckon the 106 would have been fantastic.
 
Great range, amazing engine, quite agile etc. Would have been a good interceptor over Darwin fighting off the hordes. http://www.strategypage.com/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Images/emsmiled.gif" align="absMiddle" border="0" alt="" />
 
Like most Century Series, once the bugs were ironed out it became one of the best interceptors of the period.
 
I wonder what it would have been like had the external hardpoints been wired for Sparrow. Replace the internal bay with a fuel cell and away we go.
 
Not like there would have been vlearance issues, as it was demonstrated under Project Seekbat with the 4750th test Sqn that the Dart could carry the XAIM-97 Standard AAM.
 
The 106 was also a great guns platform often out shooting F-15A's in William Tell meets.
 
After the Zipper, the Dart has to be my favourite jet of all time. Could never get into the 105 though. Not a Thud fan at all. Glad we never looked at it after 1960s.
 
 
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gf0012-aust       5/25/2009 10:11:45 PM
no imagination!

anyone else seen the A-12 and B58 proposals to belly launch Minuteman missiles ?

$120,000 estimated conversion cost and you get rid of the base and make it hard for the ducklings to return home... 
 
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