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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:05 am 
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Fighter question. Lets say your a medium nation in 1955. Your neighbor is a Soviet client state that is recieving Mig-17 and has Mig-19 on the way, aligned with a Soviet style but basic ground control network and presumably some instructors/ loan personnel. They are making agressive noises and you think they want to sieze your common border province using their ground forces, but you think you may have 2-3 years to requip.

You have a good airforce with some ground control radars, efficient pilots and ground crews but aging F-84 fighters in your first line units and Vampires in your reserves. You think air combat will take place 150-400 miles from your bases depending on circumstances. Mission is to defend your own bases and infrastructure, contest air superiority over the ground battle, and ocassionaly escort bombers for raids over the border. You would like to win air superiority, so you can airsupport the hard pressed army to your full capability as soon as possible.

Relationships with the west are highly supportive and there is money, so basically you have carte blanche to order in modern western fighter.

What aircraft do you choose, justified by the scores here, and with any other information that may be relevent?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 3:20 am 
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Obvious candidates are the Hunter and the F-100A. On the basis of the scores, the Hunter is the one to go for, it's a better match for the MiG-19. On the other hand, the Super Sabre is supersonic, which is probably good for public consumption. Either can be made into a useful fighter-bomber.

For what it's worth, I'd get the two to submit bids and go with whoever's cheaper.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:45 pm 
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1955 is a little early for the Hun; the initial export customers seem to have taken delivery in late 1958, which will likely be Too Late given the 2-3 year timeline in the OP. It's right on the money for the Hunter, though you might have to work some kind of deal with the @ customers to jump them in the production queue.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:54 pm 
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It's a period of great instability of fighter designs. By definition, anything bought right now is a mistake and will be out of date by the time it reaches service.

Upgrade the ground warning systems, add SAMs, and more command and control capability. Make a guess as to the best available fighter, and buy one or at most two squadrons worth. Those go to your best pilots as a flying reserve, to shore up the most active bases. Not until the MIG-21 and the F-4 is it worth re-equipping the whole air force.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:18 pm 
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KDahm wrote:
It's a period of great instability of fighter designs. By definition, anything bought right now is a mistake and will be out of date by the time it reaches service. Upgrade the ground warning systems, add SAMs, and more command and control capability. Make a guess as to the best available fighter, and buy one or at most two squadrons worth. Those go to your best pilots as a flying reserve, to shore up the most active bases. Not until the MIG-21 and the F-4 is it worth re-equipping the whole air force.

Very well said. This is why F-80s, F-84s and F-86s hung on so long.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:38 am 
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1955 design competition probably means for advanced in testing stage designs, initial training airframes delivered 1957, and bulk of production deliveries 1958-1960, unless you manage to get early access to pre existing USAF or RAF initial production orders. Less advanced types already coming off the lines probably cuts 12 months off those times.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:55 pm 
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Let's dig into this a bit more. In SE Asia, the distances are a bit shorter, so some of the range is overwater, and leads to being typical of Indonesia, Malaysia, or Sumatra. The other alternative is Africa. For the sake of the story, we will assume that there is a decent coastline.

The competitors are the Mig-17 (score 250, introduced 1952) and the Mig-19 (367, 1955)

The currently or shortly available planes include the US F-100, F-106 (565, 1956), F-104 (443, 1958), the Saab J-29 (206, 1955), Hunter (357, 1954), Javelin (389, 1956) and the Super Mystere (273, 1955). The Saab and French planes are immediately discarded.

Out in the future, the F-4C (512, 1960), the Saab J-35A (578, 1960), Lightning F.1 (548, 1960), and the Mirage IIIC (512, 1961). The Russians are working on the Mig-21 (539, 1959).

At this point, the Chief of Naval Operations comes in with a three-page foldout glossy, pointing to the HMS Hermes, and saying one of these will meet all of the countries needs. When you ask, he says that the escorts you can't afford to buy with it are unneeded, since the carrier is self-escorting if a sonar set is installed, some helicopters are put on the deck, and ASROC is added. After beating the CNO unconscious, SPs are summoned to deliver him to the decompression chamber for cycling tests.

The problem is that the future planes are in development, and are clearly going to be superior to what's available now, considering the changes from 1950 to 1955. The problem is that the current planes need a lot of ground control, since their own air search radar sets are somewhat to the negative side of effectively useless. If they are available, the F-106 looks like the best deal, but they are expensive and need even more expensive missiles. The next best choice is probably the Hunter. Order up 15 or 28 of them for a praetorian air guard, and bury the rest in the air defense warning and SAM systems.

It's now five years later in 1960. The enemy held off from attacking, because your position looked too strong. Except for some probing attacks by both sides, of course. The future fighter development appears stalled, with incremental improvements over the next 5 to 10 years only. The F-84s and Vampires are ready to fall apart, and the design issues with the recently bought planes are becoming all too apparent. It's time to pick a plane to recapitalize.

US - The F-4C looks like a really good plane, and the service provided on the F-106 purchase was good. A strong contender.
Saab - Improved mightily from previous offerings. Less expensive than most of the others, but no history of performance.
GB - The Lightning looks interesting, and the Hunters have held up well. There is a much lower international market for British planes though, and you can't help but wonder about new British planes since your much less complex Austin-Healey 100-6 is plagued by electrical problems (Damn Lucas Electronics to Hell)
French - The Mirage IIIC looks really very good, and the price is much, much better than the others.

The Chief of Naval Operations comes bursting in waving a three-page foldout glossy, exclaiming that a revolutionary large swing-wing fighter will solve all of the countries problems. After being beaten unconscious before he could expand on that further, the SPs are called to load him on one of the four U-Boat Type XXI's (purchased in 1946, only one owner) for some unplanned exercises. With any luck, that one will sink and stay sunk, thus solving two problems at once.

It's a tossup between the US F-4C and the French Mirage IIIC. What will sway the deal is the number needed to be purchased, the price per unit for plane and missiles, the promises of after-sale service (discounted appropriately for each country), and how the plane integrates with the rest of the air defense network.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:10 am 
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Here are the scores plotted against cost, adjusted for inflation, with the aircraft fully loaded with weapons (e.g. for missile-armed fighters, the cost of missiles is included and is significant- in the case of the F-4E it is 12% of the aircraft cost).

Forget the Mirage III and F-106 directly. Way too expensive for the performance. Buy Rhinos or Starfighters instead.

Forget F-100's. Buy Hunters instead. Better performance for just over 1/3 of the cost.

Interesting how there is a pretty clear trend of cost vs effectiveness for American warplanes here isn't it (ignoring the -Six)?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:25 am 
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Here is performance vs IOS date. See the big step up mid -50s when missiles started becoming primary armament?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:42 am 
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Whoops, I just discovered the cost of That Sexy Beast Called LIGHTNING. So here she is.

F-104G still looking a better bet than anything else for the supersonic interceptor role (did I just say that?!?) until the Draken comes along in early '67.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:56 am 
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A slight change in your charts may make them more usable for the scenario. Either two charts, or separate by color, so that the planes with IOC before either 1957 or 1958 are distinguishable. That aids in seeing the near-term and far-term choices.

I did not think that the Mirage IIIC was that expensive. I was under the impression that the French were selling them to everybody, and offering generous terms for them in order to make sales. They then crank up the screws on after-sale service. Or maybe it's a case at times of selling to those the US and Soviets wouldn't sell to, and charging a price to match.

Likewise, the cost number for the Hunter seems abnormally low. Could be a bad data point, incomplete information going into the cost, or just different accounting methods.

Since the plan is to purchase only a few planes in the 1956/57 time frame, the cost of the F-106 may not be as much of a factor. It would come down to all of the other qualities not covered by the model, such as handling, what type of air-to-air it's designed for, maintainability, and the vendor service package. Plus the exact missiles, of course.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:10 am 
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KDahm wrote:
Since the plan is to purchase only a few planes in the 1956/57 time frame, the cost of the F-106 may not be as much of a factor. It would come down to all of the other qualities not covered by the model, such as handling, what type of air-to-air it's designed for, maintainability, and the vendor service package. Plus the exact missiles, of course.

The problem with the F-106 is that its very closely-designed to work within the confines of an automated air defense system and not many people had those in the 1950s. It's possible to determine which non-Soviet countries had them (or were scheduled to get them) by looking at their F-86 inventories. If they got F-86Ds or F-86Ls, they were getting the air defense system and were scheduled to get F-102s and then F-106s. Some nations in that list got to the F-102 but nobody got the final step to the F-106. If the nation got F-86Ks, they weren't scheduled to get a full air defense system.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:09 am 
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KDahm wrote:
A slight change in your charts may make them more usable for the scenario. Either two charts, or separate by color, so that the planes with IOC before either 1957 or 1958 are distinguishable. That aids in seeing the near-term and far-term choices. I'll do this tomorrow.

I did not think that the Mirage IIIC was that expensive. I was under the impression that the French were selling them to everybody, and offering generous terms for them in order to make sales. They then crank up the screws on after-sale service. Or maybe it's a case at times of selling to those the US and Soviets wouldn't sell to, and charging a price to match.i was astonished too. I found one reference to an export sales cost and that is how the number cranks out.

Likewise, the cost number for the Hunter seems abnormally low. Could be a bad data point, incomplete information going into the cost, or just different accounting methods. it may very well be this. Getting an actual sterling or dollar cost for a warplane is really rather difficult. However remember that the Hunter did not have an expensive radar fit and missile armament, it doesn't pay the cost of structure penalties that supersonic aircraft do, and these all add up.

Since the plan is to purchase only a few planes in the 1956/57 time frame, the cost of the F-106 may not be as much of a factor. It would come down to all of the other qualities not covered by the model, such as handling, what type of air-to-air it's designed for, maintainability, and the vendor service package. Plus the exact missiles, of course.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:47 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
KDahm wrote:
Since the plan is to purchase only a few planes in the 1956/57 time frame, the cost of the F-106 may not be as much of a factor. It would come down to all of the other qualities not covered by the model, such as handling, what type of air-to-air it's designed for, maintainability, and the vendor service package. Plus the exact missiles, of course.

The problem with the F-106 is that its very closely-designed to work within the confines of an automated air defense system and not many people had those in the 1950s. It's possible to determine which non-Soviet countries had them (or were scheduled to get them) by looking at their F-86 inventories. If they got F-86Ds or F-86Ls, they were getting the air defense system and were scheduled to get F-102s and then F-106s. Some nations in that list got to the F-102 but nobody got the final step to the F-106. If the nation got F-86Ks, they weren't scheduled to get a full air defense system.

Now, that makes an interesting list, both for who's on it and for who isn't. Quite how the Yugoslavs wound up with 130 F-86Ds I have no idea....

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:11 pm 
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RLBH wrote:
Now, that makes an interesting list, both for who's on it and for who isn't. Quite how the Yugoslavs wound up with 130 F-86Ds I have no idea....

Well, the fact that they got a D-ship not an L-ship tells us they were supposed to get an early version of SAGE. One possibility is based around the concept of regional power centers in which a US ally would be beefed up so it dominated a particular part of the world and kept order there. One might hypothesize that Yugoslavia was tasked to keep order in the Balkans.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:25 pm 
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This actually explains a lot about how Germany ended up with Starfighters instead of Darts or some other bird. Due to the size of the country, they absolutely needed a supersonic plane. They couldn't wait until the early '60's, because the threat was right next door. The Hunter is therefore out, and none of the other planes on offer have anywhere near the capability of the US ones. The logic said Starfighter, since the Dart was more tuned to the Big Boom AAM and the IADS.

They went all-in on the F-104, then lost their shirts when the experience of flying and maintaining them made itself known and the much more capable fighters of 1960 to 1966 came around. I would speculate that the experience caused them to create the Panavia GmbH to make a fighter suited to their needs, without having to buy foreign kit.

For the country posited by the OP, we are using the benefit of hindsight to avoid the 1955 to 1959 fighter trap, and making do until the early 60's. We only lose big if the neighboring country invades.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:37 pm 
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Basically the other choices for the Luftwaffe would have been Draken (not NATO and didn't Sweden for years have a thing where they wouldn't sell to a nation that wasn't as 'officially neutral' as they were?) or something French (HAHAHAHAHA no). Hence, the Mk. 1 Lawn Dart.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:22 pm 
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The Bushranger wrote:
Basically the other choices for the Luftwaffe would have been Draken (not NATO and didn't Sweden for years have a thing where they wouldn't sell to a nation that wasn't as 'officially neutral' as they were?) or something French (HAHAHAHAHA no). Hence, the Mk. 1 Lawn Dart.

The Draken reached IOC around 1960, which puts it in the next generation of the F-4 and the Mirage III.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:29 am 
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This chart misses off the Lightning but includes the Mirage 2000 which shows that raw cost for French aeroplanes is higher than most people assume. Either that or two bad data points from two different sources (these expressly didn't come from Wikipedia!)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:36 am 
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With the benefit of hindsight I'd go for Lawn Darts followed by Viggen. For modern times the Super Bug makes a lot of sense.

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