F4 blast from the past

Discussion in 'Royal Air Force' started by PE4rocks, Jan 12, 2011.

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  1. While we appear to be throwing all our toys away the Luftwaffe are either:-
    a)Getting maximum use from their assets
    b) Scraping the barrel.

    Source: Flight Global

    I suspect the former, I'm sure MM or someone will know.

    Anyhoo, nice to see the F4's still about.
  2. Hi PE,

    A little bit of both really.

    The Luftwaffe F-4Fs (a Teutonic version of the widely used E model) were updated under the Improved Combat Efficiency (ICE) Programme from about 20 years ago.

    The principal ICE elements were replacement of the original APQ-120 radar with the APG-65 from early model FA-18s, AMRAAM and some cockpit upgrades. This means that (with AMRAAM in particular) it remains a useful asset for basic Defensive Counter Air tasks. Greece also upgraded their F-4Es with ICE and several other nations (notably Israel, Turkey and Japan) conducted similar upgrades, albeit mostly for A-G roles (Luftwaffe jets are used purely for A-A). Ironically, RAFG Phantom FGR2s were to have received a similar upgrade but this was cancelled when the Cold War ended.

    Overall, a suitably upgraded variant of the venerable F-4 remains a credible strike/recce asset but it is not really competitive in air-air other than in such Air Policing tasks. The Luftwaffe have kept them going whilst they waited for Typhoon but the final ones should be gone soon.

  3. What happened to the Migs/SU they inherited from the old East Germany? How the hell did they intergrate them with the Western kit they have?
  4. Mostly they didn't and the vast majority was binned soon after reunification.

    The Fulcrums lasted a fair while, primarily because they were useful aggressor assets. However, the last were given to the Poles some years ago where they were mainly used as a source of spares.

  5. Sorry to De-rail PE4.

    MM - Going on from above, some of the old eastern block are in/with NATO, and I assume still using Ruski aircraft, is it a problem with linking east to west kit?
  6. I'm obliged M'Lud.
  7. Yes, they're not really compatible in most cases. However, it 'just' requires investment. All of the following available open source: most of the FSU aircraft and other systems in NATO have been fitted with Western IFF and comms but few if any are compatible with the more sexy stuff like data links.

    The most impressive implementation is arguably the Indians who've taken Su-30MK (itself a very capable aircraft) and upgraded it with Western avionics to make it a very useful asset indeed.

  8. Cheers MM - which get me to my point with the UK. I am aware that if we look west we get an aircraft that will work with all the western kit.

    But there must come a point when the cost of the US kit will exceed the cost of a Ruski kite that has been adapted?

    Are we being a little blind by discounting Ruski aircraft, I'm sure we would find the manufacturer more than accommodating in our kit requirements at production stage? Or do we still buy kit with a cold war mentality?
  9. Bit of an aside but I remember about 15 years ago getting to sit in an ex-East German Su-22 in a hangar at Scampton. I think it had been bought by a private company/individual for some reason and looked very agricultural - the cockpit was resplendent in a completely hideous mental hospital blue colour. There were a few Hunters in there too which kept the old man happy as he used to fly them in the good ole days.
  10. I wouldn’t say it’s quite as easy as that. India had not insignificant problems integrating Western kit into their Su-30s. Similarly, several nations (notably Hungary, Poland and Algeria) have prematurely retired or rejected Russian kit (notably FULCRUM variants) because of how expensive they are to maintain.

    It’s all down to a mindset really and the Russians/Soviets have always approached aircraft design from a different perspective. That is true whether you wish to compare a Yak-3 with a P-51 or a Su-27 with an F-15.

    Personally, I admire Russian ingenuity regarding aerodynamics and innovative approaches hugely. I also in no way discount Russian sensor or other technology; we do that all too often. However, I’d take Western integrated systems and situational awareness over a force of low tech MiGs which out number me by a factor of 5 every time.

    Where I do think there is scope for greater consideration of buying Russian is in rotary and multi engine types. I’d loved to have seen a Western mission system placed in a Beriev A-40 MERMAID (as effectively had been suggested by Shorts) as an option to meet the Replacement MPA requirement which ultimately led to the MRA4.

    Allegedly that colour was developed by Soviet psychologists specifically for its ‘calming’ qualities! Pretty much most Sov/Russian military and civil types had it from the late 60s.

    Incidentally, I believe those Sukhois are still at Scampton.

  11. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Whoa there, intriguing. Tell me more, were Shorts proposing licensing building/adapting an A-40 airframe for the role or had they designed their own version?
  12. I recall that they were proposing license production of an A-40 with Western engines, avionics and ASW mission system.

    It was discounted very early on but it all struck me as a fantastic aircraft, not least due to the implications for the long range SAR role. Although typical sea states would have dictated that water landings would have been very rare, it would have provided a fascinating option.