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Subject: Courtesy of Slylark, What if? The Six Day War Revisited
Maratabc    4/18/2013 1:00:54 PM
Replace French aircraft with Swedish aircraft in the Israeli air force? ------------------------------------ Hmmm... What if Israel developed their jet technology through Sweden instead of France and had the Draken instead of Mirage III in the 6-Day War...? Might make an interesting "Hot-topics" debate on this site. Courtesy of Skylark, whose idea this was. Israeli air order of battle: Data from ACIG. Totals as of 0715hrs of 5 June 1967: - 67 Mirage IIICJ/BJ/CJ(R) - 1 MiG-21F-13 (ex Iraqi) - 35 Super Mystère B.2 - 19 Vautour IIA/N/BR(18 serviceable) - 35 Mystère IVA (33 serviceable) - 51 Ouragan (48 serviceable) - some 15 Meteor F.Mk.8, FR.Mk.9, and T.Mk.7/8 Non-French (Swedish) replacement -70 SAAB J-35 B, C, and D Draken -1 MiG 21F-13 To replace all the Mystere, Super Mystere, and Ouragan aircraft in Israeli service, there are two Swedish aircraft, -70 Saab J 29F Tunnan -70 Saab 32 B, and C Lansen Or more ideally -100 SAAB J-35 B, C, and D Draken -100 SAAB J-32 B, C, and D Lansen -There is nothing that can replace the Vautour. ===================================>
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Maratabc       4/18/2013 1:03:44 PM

Israeli air order of battle:

Data from ACIG.

Totals as of 0715hrs of 5 June 1967:
- 67 Mirage IIICJ/BJ/CJ(R)
- 1 MiG-21F-13 (ex Iraqi)
- 35 Super Mystère B.2
- 19 Vautour IIA/N/BR(18 serviceable)
- 35 Mystère IVA (33 serviceable)
- 51 Ouragan (48 serviceable)
- some 15 Meteor F.Mk.8, FR.Mk.9, and T.Mk.7/8

Non-French (Swedish) ereplacement

-70 SAAB J-35 B, C, and D Draken

-1 MiG 21F-13

To replace all the Mystere, Super Mystere, and Ouragan aircraft in Israeli service, there are two Swedish aircraft,

-70Saab J 29F Tunnan

-70 Saab 32 B, and C Lansen

Or more ideally

-100 SAAB J-35 B, C, and D Draken

-100 SAAB J-32 B, C, and D Lansen

-There is nothing that can replace the Vautour.

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Maratabc       4/18/2013 1:06:27 PM

There are significant operational differences the IAF must confront with the Swedish types.

First the combat range differences are startling. The French aircraft (Except for the Vulture) for the most part were all of a two hour effective combat radius. This made them effective over the Sinai as far as the Suez Canal but almost put Egyptian air bases in the Nile delta out of effective range. The Swedish planes, ALL of them, have the range to reach those bases. There is therefore no need for the Israelis to leapfrog their air force forward to captured Egyptian bases and fighter strips for the third wave bomber strikes to clean out the last of the Egyptian air reserves.

The exception to that range difference is the Vautour. Really as the French plane was designed to hit eastern Europe from France, this puts the Vulture in the strategic bomber category as far as the Israelis are concerned. It was this aircraft as well as drop tank equipped Mirage fighter escorts that hit western Iraqi airbases during the Six Day War. The only Swedish near equivalent is the Lansen, an aircraft with one half the bomb-load at one third the effective air endurance. The Israelis need air refueling to make the Lansen work as their long range strike aircraft.

Technical air combat differences are equally startling. With the primary fighter as the Draken the Israeli pilots, trained to close and kill with the gun in French fighters, as the French pilots were, will find the following changes,

-The Sidewinder RB-24 carried by the Draken and the Lansen is superior to both the Shafir 1 and 2 and the later Matra 550, so missile tactics will enter into Israeli fighter pilots training lexicon much sooner in time for the 1967 war. If the IAF was anything like the USAF, they will not apply those lessons correctly.

-The Draken is more of a pure interceptor than either the Mysteres or the Mirages. It can bomb, but it is not designed to do so.

The Israelis would have to be technically innovative to create a new family of cluster bombs and rockets to hit Egyptian airfield targets. The Swedish air armaments industry had Russian tanks and ships on their brain, so most of their air to ground rockets were anti-tank or anti-ship capable. Attacking reinforced hangers, revetments and buried ammunition and fuel bunkers was not their main concern. Killing Russian tanks and landing barges was.

The IAF when they bought their French built air force bought a well thought out French designed counter-air mission package that went with it. The French had runway cratering bombs and other munitions designed to destroy Russian airfields matched to the aircraft they had. The Swedes did not.

General purpose American bombs (Mark 80s) were not available and were unusable to either French or Swedish aircraft.

The Israelis would have to design and make their own bombs to fit their needs.

Presumably they could do this by adapting Swedish free-flight 7.5 and 15,5 cm air to ground rockets to carry blast fragmentation warheads and by using Swedish free fall bombs up to 500 kg size.

However the Draken was not intended to carry bombs, it was designed to kill aircraft air to air.

This would put the burden on the Tunnans and the Lansens to kill airfields which is what the IAF did for the most part during the Six Day War. The Lansen would have to do most of the bombing and strafing since the Tunnan was not really designed as an attack interdiction aircraft. In fact, the Tunnan would be almost useless as a striker unless the Israelis used it the way the Swedes intended as a second line strafer and napalm bomber to support their army.

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Maratabc       4/18/2013 1:09:26 PM

So on reflection, the Israelis would have to fight a much different air campaign then the one they fought if they used Swedish aircraft.

First the sortie packages would have to consist of a bomber group of Lansens, and a fighter group of Drakens.

Typically the Drakens should be half air to air configured with RB-24s and half with air to ground rocket pods (Borfors 13.5 cm rockets)

Those Draken aircraft not engaged air to air would strafe parked aircraft and soft targets with rockets and cannon.

The Lansens would need to use 1x2 0r 2x2 RB04 air to ground missiles for aircraft shelters or 4 x 250 or 4 x 500 kg retarded fall bombs to make their runway attacks. Note that this was half the usable drop load from a typical Ouragan but delivered at twice the combat radius?

The trade off of greater endurance in Swedish aircraft for lesser lofted loads would mean about twice the sortie rates expected from the Israelis in their air campaign to achieve the same airfield suppression results- a serious drawback for a surprise attack strategy employed by a small air force attacking enemies three times its size.

However there are benefits from the Swedish mix.

One is that the Swedish planes are mechanically more reliable and better built and with a design view toward semi-skilled operators and maintainers. Their turnaround time is incredibly fast, even by modern American or British standards.

Two is that except for the BAE Lightning, I seriously doubt there was a was a Western or Eastern fighter of that early era that could go vertical with a Draken (or a Lansen) and win-in theory. The Mig 21(later) could come close as could the Mig 19(contemporary). The Phantom II could (sheer power), but it was a later design. However as is the rule of many local narrow defined cases this was a niche advantage that could be offset by; for example, the Mystere's better corner speed or the Mig 19's better tail control and tighter turning circle below 700 km/h at mid altitude. It just depended on where the aircraft was and who flew it.

The Swedish planes did have missile armament that was extreme for the era, even by American standards. Again this was attributable to the Swedish defensive mind set, where they wished their pilots to attack from standoff and under ground controlled intercept. It was not the French, nor the Israeli way. If the Israelis had adopted Swedish methods, this would have probably backfired on them. With French style sneak attack methodology used the Swedish air to ground rocket pod weapons would have made the low level Israeli cannon runs they made on Egyptian airfields more anti-personnel effective than they were. More dead Egyptian pilots? Certainly more dead RUSSIAN aircraft maintainers as a rocketed barracks produces more corpses than random cannon fire.

Then again the western Iraqi airfields would require Lansens to use drop tanks and accept reduced bomb loads.

When all factors are considered, the Israelis would need twice the sorties, twice the time and would have more air to air engagements with more aces as a result with the Swedish mix, than the French mix. It would likely have been a twelve day war with more Israeli air and ground casualties.

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Maratabc       4/18/2013 1:09:59 PM

Correspondingly, more dogfights, more nonsense for the internet so-called 'fighter experts' to claim that their favorite plane is best in a one on one encounter, etc,.

The Israelis, upon reflection, given what they needed to do, and given the less best available options, chose the BEST available option to them at the time in Europe. The French had designed an air force and a doctrine to use it, that matched closely what the Israelis had to do, fight a numerically superior enemy whose air force pilots were poorly trained and pierce that incompetent enemy's integrated air defense, the most efficient way possible so as to kill those pilots and their aircraft on the ground in their airbases quickly.

The French were right, Nato (and the Swedes) were wrong. Israel proved it so in battle.

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Maratabc       4/20/2013 1:44:24 AM

Another variation on the theme...
What if the Israelis chose American planes?
To consider again.
Israeli air order of battle.

Data from ACIG.

Totals as of 0715hrs of 5 June 1967:
- 67 Mirage IIICJ/BJ/CJ(R)
- 1 MiG-21F-13 (ex Iraqi)
- 35 Super Mystère B.2
- 19 Vautour IIA/N/BR(18 serviceable)
- 35 Mystère IVA (33 serviceable)
- 51 Ouragan (48 serviceable)
- some 15 Meteor F.Mk.8, FR.Mk.9, and T.Mk.7/8
The problem with the American option is that all the useable equivalent American aircraft are naval aircraft.
-The Mirage IIIs replace with the F-8 Crusaders with in-flight refueling capability.
-The Mig-21 stays the same.
-The Super Mysteres replace with more F-8 Crusaders with in-flight refueling capability.
-The Vautour replace with A-3D Skywarriors.
-The Mystere IV A's replace with the A4 Skyhawk
-Ouragans replace with the F3H Demon
-The Gloster Meteors replace with the F9F Panther.

This gives a close approximation to French capabilities with roughly equivalent American equipment.

Some things to note. The Iraelis will need a tanker fleet to make the Crusaders work. For that reason they would need a dedicated squadron of tanker aircraft. The candidate is the A-4 Skyhawk with buddy pack refueling.

So when worked out to the replacement:
- 100 F-8 Crusaders
- 1 MiG-21F-13 (ex Iraqi)
- 18 A3D Skywarriors with Bullpup missile capability.
- 32 A4D SkyHawks with 8 equipped for air to air refueling
- 48 F3H Demons
- 24 F9F Panthers

The major changes in the weapon delivery methods is that unlike the French aircraft, every American type with the exception of the Skywarrior carries Sidewinder as missile armament-even the Skyhawks. The American types carry more bombs, are shorter enduranced, bomb from higher altitudes and class for class are somewhat less maneuverable than their French counterparts. The major exception is the Crusader that is one of the deadliest angle fighters of the era, and surprisingly the Skyhawk which is equally deadly within its low and slow flight envelope.    

The Bullpup isn't the greatest weapon in the world, but it could hit targets and it was available and useable by virtually any Western aircraft. (Draken carried it a an anti-shipping missile option when the RB04 was not available.)  

And of course the whole panoply of American family of general purpose Mark 80 bombs is available.

The Israelis better learn missile tactics because the American M12 20mm cannon of the era malfunctioned readily. ADEN would be a better fit, but since the British were hostile, maybe the DEFA would have to substitute. Of course if the Israelis were clever they would insist on the American M-39 cannon as a service replacement for the M12s in new delivery aircraft-especially the Crusaders.
With the natural aggressiveness the IAF historically showed and the superb flight capabilities of the Crusader as a fighter and Skyhawk as a light bomber, it is likely that this equipment (Crusader, Skywarrior and Skyhawk would closely approximate the results the Israelis achieved with their French aircraft. Add Bullpup to the mix and the Israelis shut down the Egyptians in two days, not four. 
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Maratabc       4/22/2013 1:26:57 PM
ACIG data

- 124 MiG-15 and Mig-17s
-  80 MiG-19s
- 108 MiG-21s
-  60 Su-7BMKs
-  29 Il-28s
-  30 Tu-16s

-  35 MiG-15s and Mig-17s
-  60 MiG-21F-13s and MiG-21PFs
-   2  Il-28s

-  54 Hawker Hunters of various marks.
-  18 de Havilland Vampire

-  60 Hawker Hunters of various marks.
-  20 Mig-17
-   8 Tu-16
-  20 de Havilland Venoms     

 I can only shake my head at the Arabs who faced the all French Israeli air force on 5 June 1967. These aircraft the Arabs had, exhibited some bizarre mismatched operational characteristic that make no sense at all.

The MiG 21 was an interceptor as it its useable flight time no more than 45 minutes made it useles for anythimg except defense. Its chief defects aside from rapid speed bleed off in a turning fight and a defective gun sight (a common complaint for all Russian fighters of the MiG stable was its tendency to go into a nose down spin as its center of gravity changed aft. It was a pilot killer worse than the American F-100 Sabre.

The Mig 19 had a defective jet engine that added to the short flight time and misaligned gunsight woes it shared with the Mig-21. Never mind the nose pitch down (reverse sabre dance) troubles of the Mig 21; this plane killed its Arab pilots with a more novel method. The oil lubrication feed pipes of the Tumansky RD-9 jet engines would melt and that would set the plane on fire when the Tumansky went into reheat. This could only help the Israelis who fought it as they could confidently expect this event to occur when they forced their Mig 19 opponent into reheat.

The Mig 17 is a nightmare. Based on USAF and USN studies this aircraft could outpace most western aircraft at up to 235 m/s indicated airspeed in the low altitude bands 0-5000 meters. Where it failed is with the gunsight and with the typical low velocity auto-cannon which is the typical Soviet era armament. An Israeli Mystere could make a firing pass on it, hit it, and escape in a dive. It could not turn with the Russian and win.

This is something that many people do not realize, that the feared Migs did not have good cannons nor good gunsights. The Russians knew this and changed their aerial tactics as well as their aircraft use as soon as they acquired air to air missiles that worked (reverse engineered Sidewinders _Atolls.)

The preferred Russian method as later perfected by the North Vietnam People's Liberation Air Force, and practiced by both the Syrians and the Egytians was to fly either Mig 21 or Mig 19 aircraft at the mid altitude bands using radar assisted ground controlled intercept, to position the planes on a vectored pursuit course that allowed pilots to tailchase enemy intruder aircraft, for a high speed up the tailpipe missile shot. This became the actual Egyptian and Syrian engagement method with Mig 21 and Mig 19 aircraft.

The point being, that these Russian fighters were primarily air defense vehicles, virtually worthless against an air force that could use all of its French aircraft as strike aircraft as well as air superiority fighters.
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Maratabc       4/22/2013 2:58:12 PM

what could have worked-assuming the Egyptians had any brains at all in 1967?
Well the Russian aircraft they adopted were not the best available.

But if the Egyptians had any brains, they would have opted for this kind of force mix;

-   90 Mig-17s   
-   90 Mig-19s 
- 180 MiG-21s
- 140 Su-7BMKs
-   50 Yak-28 
-   50 Il-28s
The Egyptians would have to do other things that they did not do.
-provide ground observers to supplement the radar warning for their air bases forward. The Russian radars they used were sited too far back and were of the wrong type to see the Israelis  coming in at them at less than 150 meters off the desert floor. The Israelis canyon danced through the Sinai valleys and were never radar detected until they lined up for their attack runs on the Egyptian bases in the first wave of Operation Focus. The low level French style tactics, the Israelis used, was the same tactics the Egyptians saw the Israelis employ in the Yemen War, so there was no reason to not expect the Israelis to duplicate their Yemeni success.
- Those Egyptian air bases lacked the most rudimentary of integrated flak defenses. Sure the AAA was present, but the Egyptians didn't man a sky watch, nor did they have sector control for their local gun defenses. Not even optical based fire direction and control for Russian 23 mm and 57 mm guns (which the Egyptians had in sufficient numbers) was present.  
- The aircraft were parked out in the open without camouflage or hardened shelters. The Israelis did not have that many earth penetrating bombs. Most of what they had were French-made or French-modified and supplied American general purpose bombs, much of it war surplus, plus what the Israelis could manufacture themselves. Simple earthen revetments at hardstands were lacking as well as berm sheltered weapon arming and refueling pits.   
- The Egyptians further needed to address other infrastructure issues such as on hand materials to restore runway service as soon as runways were cratered, or provide bomb shelters for exposed personnel.
-Simple low cost solutions these were that Russian advisers and Egypt's own junior air force officers told their Supreme coordinating council should be done, before Egypt went looking for a war with a very capable and ruthless enemy.*
*Notably these solutions were in place by the 1973 war and it didn't do Egypt any good then, either, for by then the Israeli air force had American Vietnam experience against Russian SAMs to add to their own, whereas the Egyptians had learned not much from the Vietnamese  as to how air wars were fought. 
In the air, the Egyptians tried the trailing three tactic* the Vietnamese pioneered with the Mig-21 and the Mig-19, but the Iraqis (British trained) showed that the split two was a superior missile/gun ambush formation.
The trail three was the Vietnamese variation of the Russian ground control intercept tactic developed for the use of the Atoll missile/Mig-21 launch system. What worked against the high flying Americans did not work against the low-flying Israelis.
Inevitably wrong air combat tactics did the Egyptians  in during the Attrition War that followed the Six Day War.
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45-Shooter       4/22/2013 11:56:16 PM

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45-Shooter       4/22/2013 11:58:45 PM

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JFKY    Aircraft have almost NOTHING to do with it.   4/23/2013 11:09:59 AM

Had Israel had the Egyptian Inventory and Egypt had either
the extant Israeli inventory or the proposed Swedish Inventory, the outcome
would not have been much different. Probably greater losses on the part of the Israeli Air Forces, but beyond that not much in actual outcome.

From pretty much Top (Nasser) to bottom (Pilots on the flight line); the Egyptians were simply INCAPABLE of professional and constructive action or planning.  Nasser “winged” the whole Six Day War Crisis.  He pushed the Egyptian Military into hurried and unrehearsed actions and deployments.  

The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) was not well-led, and had fallen into predictable patterns of operation. It apparently did not contemplate that war was/is a DYNAMIC interaction
of opponents, and so never seemed to understand that the Israelis would be trying to understand and defeat IT. Instead they seemed to focus on planning, such as it was, on attacking Israel.  

The Egyptians did not seem to understand the Israeli focus on quick turn-around and servicing.  If you look at it, with approximately equal aircraft inventories Tzahal could generate what ~1,200 sorties per day, for a limited period of time.  The Egyptians could generate, at most 450 sorties.  Which FUNCTIONALLY, gave the Israelis an air force almost THREE TIMES the size of the Egyptian Air Force!  Apparently the EAF, just did not bother to study, much  less understand, it’s Israeli opponent! Had they understood the implications of just the focus on turn-around, the Egyptians would have been much more cautious and/or focused and more capable of dealing with Tzahal.  Instead, they seemed completely surprised by the tactics and the numbers of sorties
their opponents generated.

Lastly, Egyptian pilots were sub-standard.  The EAF had fewer qualified pilots than it had aircraft.  And even the term “qualified” is suspect.  Their pilots could start the engines, taxi, take off, perform flight operations and land, that was “qualified.”  But they were not particularly skilled nor well-trained in tactics and weapon delivery. 
In fact, IIRC, the EAF realized that it was never going to produce enough qualified pilots for its force structure given the educational/economic demographics of the Egyptian population! During the attack, Egyptian pilots showed no desire to respond
effectively to the Israelis.  Without superior guidance, they were reluctant to move aircraft from targeted areas or to take off and attempt any combat.  No orders, no actions….and for several hours the Egyptian Military and Air Force were paralyzed as its commanders were airborne, incommunicado, and could not find an airfield to land at to provide any direction.  Not that these commanders were particularly adept, but without them, the Egyptian Military simply would not act!

Bottom-Line: no matter the hardware, the Israelis would have beaten the Egyptian Air Force.  It was “software” dominance and personnel that made all the difference.  Had the EAF had F-4 Phantom II’s or Drakens, the only difference would have been the shape and cost of the wreckage on their airfields.



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