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Subject: Lets design a 1960s maritime bomber for Australia
Aussiegunneragain    1/16/2010 9:27:39 PM
Its the late 50s and the Australian Government decides that the best way to dominate the sea lanes around Australia is with long range land based air power. We had P-2's so that covers off on the maritime recon/ASW part of the job. But it is slow and not very survivable in the face of air defences there was no "off the shelf" option for maritime attack and is completely unsuitable for attacking land targets. Additionally there are no Western air launched anti-ship missiles which Australia can deploy in the task. The Government puts out an RFT seeking a new or adaption from an existing platform suitable for the task. Additionally it puts out an RFT for a new or adaption from an existing missile system for the anti-shipping strike role off the new platform and perhaps the neptunes too. What are the options, with pro's and cons of each?
 
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DropBear       1/17/2010 1:20:09 AM
I can't go past the Douglas A-3 Skywarrior. It just feels right.
 
It suits your timeline (having been proposed after the 1947 USN requirement) and started to enter service in numbers (in the major production variant) in 1957. This would have given us a few years to observe the USN activities.
 
Used from land bases it would have given us a handy radius of 1690km and max range of 4600+km.
 
Had provision for 12000lb bombload. Not sure whether the wings could have been modded to fire a weapon externally though.
 
I have no comment on the missile / weapon system as yet.
 
Does anyone know if the Falcon/Genie family could be converted to conventional ASM weapons?
 
Imagine a rotary launcher in the bay with several modded missiles in this class. Not sure how big a punch you would need to seriously dissable a destroyer, but surely a few missiles ripple-fired at a frigate/corvette would ruin its day.
 
My other choice is the B-66 Destroyer. It trades range for a few thousand extra pounds of bombload.
 
I also must add that I am partial to the B-47, however, it may be a tad long in the tooth by the 60's considering the lengthy timescale we leave our aircraft in service. Had you gone for an earlier decade, I would have gone down this path.
 
Curious.
 
 
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Volkodav       1/17/2010 3:07:41 AM
Well the A3J Vigilante was ordered in 1958, entered service in 1961 and was actually the RAAF's prefered option to replace the Canberra before Menzies over ruled them and ordered the F-111.
 
The RAAF was after a conventional strike version with extra fuel inplace of the liner bomb bay and wing mounted ordenance.
 
The other option would have to be the Buccaneer, it was specifically designed to kill Sverdlovs.
 
As for the missile Bullpup, Walleye (a glide bomb), AS-20, Standard ARM.
 
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Aussiegunneragain       1/17/2010 5:24:54 AM

Interesting couple of options that hadn't sprung to mind. The options that I was thinking of were more in the line of heavy bombers like the Vulcan, Victor or the B-52 which would result in a major increase in capablity for the RAAF, with the range to deny Australia's entire trade routes to enemy surface forces, the warload to destroy the Indonesian airforce on the ground and the sensors to do it at night. The mods I am thinking of would include as surface search function on the bombers radar (if there wasn't one already) and the aforementioned missiles. It raises the question of whether this, rather than aircraft carriers, would be a better way to boost Australia's capablity if the Government decided that this was needed?

 
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DropBear       1/17/2010 5:33:16 AM
The Bullpup seemed to be a dog when used to smack bridges in Nam. Seemed to bounce off and not detonate more often than not. Would it be much chop in engaging ships?
 
Curious.
 
 
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Aussiegunneragain       1/17/2010 5:44:59 AM

The Bullpup seemed to be a dog when used to smack bridges in Nam. Seemed to bounce off and not detonate more often than not. Would it be much chop in engaging ships?

 

Curious.

 


Just did a Wiki search and I note that the Rb 4 and the Gabrial 1 became available at around that time. Perhaps one of those would work?

 
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DropBear       1/17/2010 5:46:58 AM
It raises the question of whether this, rather than aircraft carriers, would be a better way to boost Australia's capablity if the Government decided that this was needed?
 
I guess it comes down to what costs are we willing to spend and exactly what do we intend to defend.
 
Do we merely wish to deny enemy shipping into our waters/harbours during this timeframe, or are we talking sea denial and escorting/covering both naval and civil shipping out to vast distances.
 
If we went down the route of using the BUFF, what other forces would we have to offload to pay for them?
 
You can cover a vast zone if you launched pairs from RAAF Amberley, Pearce, Darwin and Butterworth etc. You would get good coverage covering the continent out to several thousand miles in either direction. Perhaps some modified littoral version of SRAM to be launced from a B-52G would do the trick.
 
I think carriers are good for escorting fleets and being used to show the flag, however, I think a dozen BUFFs for instance, would probably give more value than two or so light fleet carriers armed with Grumblies and A-4.
 
Having said all this, would one need to compliment the Neptunes if you were going to use a B-52? Longer ranging, more weapons and the ability to better avoid hostile aircraft etc.
 
Interesting.
 
 
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Volkodav       1/17/2010 5:59:59 AM
Victor, yes that would be a good choice.  It was a very versatile platform that should have been bought in far greater numbers, too bad for the British government starving HP of work to punish them for not joining BAC.
 
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Aussiegunneragain       1/17/2010 6:44:23 AM
I guess it comes down to what costs are we willing to spend and exactly what do we intend to defend.
 
Do we merely wish to deny enemy shipping into our waters/harbours during this timeframe, or are we talking sea denial and escorting/covering both naval and civil shipping out to vast distances.
If we went down the route of using the BUFF, what other forces would we have to offload to pay for them?
 
I'm basically thinking of the BUFFs an alternative to boosting fixed wing carrier airpower with an Essex or whatever, like Volkodav has suggested might have been the case on the other thread. The advantage that I see over fixed-wing carrier airpower is that if the carrier was out of action being maintained its entire airwing is limited to operating from land bases, pretty much just making them a short range addition to the airforce. In contrast most of the BUFFs would always be available and their air bases would be a lot less vulnerable to attack or misshap than carriers. Lets not forget that one Zuni rocket misfire put the USS Forrestall out of action in 1967. The Yanks can afford to lose a major unit like that but we can't.
 
 The B-52's could do pretty much all of the fixed wing roles that the carrier can too, save ASW. They could deal with any surface threat with whatever missile we bought for them and they could deal with any air threat by sneaking in and blowing the bejesus out of the airfield that it operated from. I understand that their EW systems were good enough to protect them against the SAM threat of the day and I'd imagine from fighter radars as well, so a low-level night-time pop-up style mission by a few of these babies would just about neutralise any opposing airforce on day one. If things got a little hotter in terms of the regional air threat over time, then we'd look at stand-off weapons, wing-mounted ARM's for self defence and a couple of extra airframes modified as escort jammers.
 
I'd suggest that we would keep the Melbourne and Sydney in the ASW role with Sea Kings though, we would just save money by avoiding the flight deck modernisation and the A-4/Tracker purchase. 
 You can cover a vast zone if you launched pairs from RAAF Amberley, Pearce, Darwin and Butterworth etc. You would get good coverage covering the continent out to several thousand miles in either direction. Perhaps some modified littoral version of SRAM to be launced from a B-52G would do the trick.
 
The SRAM undoubtedly would but it wasn't available until 1973 and would be an overkill. Blue Steel or Hound Dog's would also be an overkill, even though they were available. I'm thinking an adaption of Volkodav's idea on the Standard (not available until 1968) in an air-launched Terrier ASM might be a good alternative. It was about the same weight has a Harpoon (1360kg), had a 32km range from the ground so presumably a lot further from the air, travelled at Mach 3 making SARH less of an issue than say for the AS-1 as the B-52 wouldn't close much before it hit, and a 200kg warhead which is good enough to nail anything afloat. A B-52 would carry a dozen of them easily. 

I think carriers are good for escorting fleets and being used to show the flag, however, I think a dozen BUFFs for instance, would probably give more value than two or so light fleet carriers armed with Grumblies and A-4.
 
I agree, though I'd still like to see the light carriers kept unmodified as helicopter carriers. 

 Having said all this, would one need to compliment the Neptunes if you were going to use a B-52? Longer ranging, more weapons and the ability to better avoid hostile aircraft etc.
 
The Neptunes would still be needed for general patrol, ASW and for maritime strike with rockets against smaller targets. Apart from the fact it wouldn't be equipped for ASW work, the B-52 would be too expensive to have doing the other tasks.
 
 
 
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Aussiegunneragain       1/17/2010 6:45:51 AM

Victor, yes that would be a good choice.  It was a very versatile platform that should have been bought in far greater numbers, too bad for the British government starving HP of work to punish them for not joining BAC.

What would be the advantages and disadvantages over the BUFF?
 
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doggtag       1/17/2010 7:52:54 PM


The Government puts out an RFT seeking a new or adaption from an existing platform suitable for the task. Additionally it puts out an RFT for a new or adaption from an existing missile system for the anti-shipping strike role off the new platform and perhaps the neptunes too. What are the options, with pro's and cons of each?

Biggest problem run into here is,
using mid/late 1950s tech, there weren't a lot of credible air-to-surface guided weapons out there.
As had been brought up in previous What If discussions re the ~1960s, the Bullpup was not without fault (IIRC, there were issues with the warhead fuze functioning properly...?).
 
I tried browsing a bit on this part,
a favorite of mine of the day being the Rockwell Condor, but again that program didn't really manifest anything successful until 1970 (which thusly justifies then pursuing Bullpup family and Walleye, even with Bullpup's inherent flaws (which could've been corrected suficiently enough).
 
A good place to explore on US developments along those lines is here and here.
European developments are trickier to dig up without without hard copy info (books),
but for starters, try here and just dig.
 
The benefit in Australia's favor at the time would've been that, without Soviet "intervention" in the region, Australia's neighbors weren't really credible threats,
as far as not having even the least capable of EW warfare abilities, 
nor the more capable SAMs and naval AA artillery capabilities,
so any guided weapons built around 1950s tech wouldn't have met much EW interference and jamming, methinks.
I would think that would be the biggest of determining factors: even P-2s (and Shackletons, perhaps?), if deployed as maritime aircraft and not as overland bombers,
shouldn't have met much credible opposition over the open water (perimeters of Australia's EEZs,..or didn't those exist yet back then?), when the biggest nuisances might have been stray whaling and fishing vessels, rather than any Kyndas or Krestas that just so happened to be transitting the area (any Soviet destroyer designs I've found from that era (1950s designs) weren't really well-equipped with capable SAM systems that could've challenged Australian supremacy that far from the Soviet territories (not without considerably more support),
and by the time SAM-equipped ex-Russian ships funneled their way into the navies of Australia's neighbors, more capable ASMs and EW systems would've been into Australia's hands to counter them, I'd guess...).
 
As a maritime force, a number of prop-powered aircraft, configured via western tech with newer radar/sensor types and weapons, would've been sufficient masters of the region, at sea.
It's only when they'd be foolishly used against land targets versus enemies who could muster capable fighters/interceptors and had any measure of SAMs/integrated AA batteries would the shortcomings of these aircraft finally surface.
 
Consider for instance for how long nations have been operating P-3s and Atlantique-type propellor-driven maritime aircraft...is there really much call why Australia would've really needed B-52s, when even properly-equipped B-47s (retired from USAF SAC?) would've been more than enough platform for the mission? Surely the A-3 Skywarrior/B-66 Destroyer types would've been plenty, with any remaining reserve Neptunes and Shackletons being ideal naval bombtrucks after the first several days of any hostile exchange thinned the ranks of any real threat naval vessels (those equipped with SAMs and capable EW systems)...
 
Now if its going to be land target bombing you planned on doing, then most likely the higher ceilings and speeds offered by the B-47s (or UK V-bombers) would've put them beyond any AA threats your neighbors would've had (I'm considering minimal Soviet "assistance" to a given neighbor, but not to the point regional conflict would've been Australia's equivalent of the US involvement in VietNam)...
(The catch-
 
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