The ex-Ukraine Thread Bucc' Love-in...

Yokel

LE
RN Buccs carried AIM-9B and the RAF aircraft had -9G and then -9L. The -9L was a standard fit on the Granby Buccs when they first arrived, but the total lack of an air-to-air threat meant they were left behind and a Paveway II fitted instead.

I don't think it was me who suggested that the Bucc wasn't a good idea for a fighter - it was looked at as a possibility by Blackburn (or HSA) and as more of an interceptor than a pure fighter; would've had four Red Top or similar, although Roy Boot complained that there was no suitable UK-built radar for the design had it come to fruition. The problem was that it was a fighter derived from an attack aircraft at a time when the Phantom had appeared - the end result was that the fighter Buccaneer didn't have much going for it in terms of export purposes and the RN wasn't that interested.

Thank you for a very detailed reply. I did wonder if it was a question of aerodynamics and limited manoeuvrability.

I was thinking out loud. What if Hermes had kept her catapults and arrestor gear into the 1970s and beyond? What if a single jet type (and ASW helicopters) aboard a smaller carrier had been offered as an alternative to CVA-01? The Buccaneer was more suited to carrier landing than the Sea Vixen.

The staff officers in the Admiralty screwed up and the policy regarding carriers was all over the place. The loss of the big carriers was down to a number of reasons, but a major reason was the carrier related staff work used minor wars in the Far East as justification for building new carriers. At the time NATO was our main commitment, including carriers. This was a massive screw up which should be a salutatory lesson. The larger American carriers deployed in the Atlantic were there primarily to launch fighters to deal with the air threat from Soviet Naval Aviation.

..the primary mission for the CV/CVN in the North Atlantic was not ASW (it was an additional role) but rather AAW to prevent the Backfire/Bears from attacking the convoys. The A-6/A-7s were the organic tankers to push the F-4/F-14 CAP stations out to a range to shoot the archer, not the arrows. Obviously, those roles swapped a bit when you started facing a surface threat or got close enough to land to start contemplating strikes against those Soviet Naval Air Arm airfields.

From the first page of: Late 1970s US Congress Report - The US Sea Control Mission (carriers needed in the Atlantic for Air Defence and ASW - both then and today)

As other have said, the Bucc did carry Sidewinders for a period, but then so did Nimrod so exactly what use they would have been is anyones guess...

Blue Parrot used the AIRPASS magnetron technology, using the same technology as an airborne intercept radar did not mean it could do the same things. Thats like asking why your car can't do Formula 1....

As for performance against other radars, I don't believe it would have been easy to compare, it;s a bit apples and oranges as Sea harrier and Hornet were designed for different tasks. As part of the package, the radar was there to detect a target and provide range and bearing data to the missile. The effectiveness of the radar would determine how far away you could detect the target and how accurate the data was, by the time Sea Eagle came in Blue parrot had been updated to something that didn't need valves everywhere...

With a big enough target you could get the same information throwing ping pong balls and using a stop watch.....

I meant performance in terms of the ability to detect a certain sized target at a certain range. I similarly wonder about the radar fitted to the Sea Vixen compared with the Blue Fox fitted to the Sea Harrier FRS1 for its Cold War role.
 
I meant performance in terms of the ability to detect a certain sized target at a certain range. I similarly wonder about the radar fitted to the Sea Vixen compared with the Blue Fox fitted to the Sea Harrier FRS1 for its Cold War role.
The ability to detect a target at a certain range will be a function of pulse width, pulse repetition frequency and to an extent transmitter power. Radars designed for anti ship operations expect to find big flat sided targets that reflect a lot of energy back, radars designed for airborne targets are looking for smaller targets that don't reflect as much energy back.

Sea Vixen was an air defence fighter, s the radar would have been optimised for smaller airborne targets possibly using doppler shift to aid detection (ships move a lot slower than aircraft, therefore doppler detection is not as effective). The Blue Fox radar on the Sea Harrier was multi-mode so would allow both types of scenarios to be selected. Add to that the fact that Blue Fox was designed in the 70's, and Blue Parrot was based on a design from the 50's, I would suspect that Blue Fox had a better performance.
 

Yokel

LE
The ability to detect a target at a certain range will be a function of pulse width, pulse repetition frequency and to an extent transmitter power. Radars designed for anti ship operations expect to find big flat sided targets that reflect a lot of energy back, radars designed for airborne targets are looking for smaller targets that don't reflect as much energy back.

Sea Vixen was an air defence fighter, s the radar would have been optimised for smaller airborne targets possibly using doppler shift to aid detection (ships move a lot slower than aircraft, therefore doppler detection is not as effective). The Blue Fox radar on the Sea Harrier was multi-mode so would allow both types of scenarios to be selected. Add to that the fact that Blue Fox was designed in the 70's, and Blue Parrot was based on a design from the 50's, I would suspect that Blue Fox had a better performance.

Slightly off topic - perhaps we need an airborne radars thread? I think that you are saying that AIRPASS and Blue Parrot were not that similar?

As for Sea Vixen, there is a possibility that HMS Hermes would have still been operating them in 1982 if she had remained a conventional carrier. Not only would Sea Vixen have had problems operating in the rough South Atlantic weather, but her radar would have been less effective than Blue Fox?
 
Slightly off topic - perhaps we need an airborne radars thread? I think that you are saying that AIRPASS and Blue Parrot were not that similar?
No, what I am saying is that AIRPASS (Airborne Interceptor Radar and Pilots Attack Sight System) was a specific technology that started off with the AI23 radar being developed for the Lightning. Long answer, radar used to continuously scan for targets in a big cone shape, when a target was detected it was roughly in the direction the antenna was pointing at the time.

AIRPASS was a monopulse radar, it sends two slightly different pulses out at the same time, and compares the returned signals. The difference in the returns meant you not only knew that it was "over there" but do a degree you could work out where it was going and how fast it was travelling. This is different from doppler radars that encode the pulse and work out speed from the frequency difference between the transmitted pulse and the received pulse.

AIRPASS II used the same basic design and technology package and was being developed for TSR2 but was going to use it for terrain following (looking out and detecting large lumps of the ground). TSR2 got cancelled, so they thought "lets not let that work go to waste" and lo and behold Blue Parrot was born..
 
the radar was there to detect a target and provide range and bearing data to the missile. The effectiveness of the radar would determine how far away you could detect the target and how accurate the data was
The clue is in the acronym RADAR Radio Detection and Ranging, I am not taking the mick, the only thing that ever holds us back as previously mentioned is speed of procurement.
I have worked on gear designed before I was born with valve amps in, DN181 anyone? designed for a tracker radar for BOFORS. It is mad, the tech is there but the difficulty is getting the treasury to dip in their pockets to equip us properly. I spent a few days down at Stevenage once looking at Rapier upgrades, before FSC, the ideas were fantastic. Millimetric radar, get rid of klystrons and magnetrons, go for travelling waveguides. How many years to see come into fruition. I left in 97. Still not in service then.

ETA had done final field trials Nov 96
 
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At the risk of a massive thread diversion, I wonder how things would have panned out if the Falklands War had happened in 1978, just four years earlier? The RN would have had three carriers, ARK ROYAL, HERMES and BULWARK. ARK ROYAL would have had Buccaneers, Phantoms and Gannets. The other two were reduced to ASW-roled helicopter carriers at that time. SHAR was not quite in service, and INVINCIBLE still under construction.

I suppose the Buccaneers would have dispatched the ARG navy, had they come out to play, and the Gannets’ AEW would have been useful. But the ship itself would have been on its last legs. Not sure about Phantom vs SHAR in the roles required.

I expect a similar thing would have happened to what actually did in 1982, and they’d have been checking out EAGLE for spares or even refit (only scrapped in ‘82) and pressing for INVINCIBLE to be completed early, along with as many SHARs as could be produced. I would imagine Harrier GR3 would have been on board too.

I suppose one advantage would be that the Buccaneer could tank, so perhaps that might have changed the range of operations in scope on the ARG mainland. Phantom attacks on their airfields perhaps?

ETA: Thinking about it, no matter the naval situation, the political leadership wasn’t there. I don’t think Callaghan would have committed to the war regardless.
It didn't happen precisely BECAUSE we had 3 carriers etc.
 

Yokel

LE
It didn't happen precisely BECAUSE we had 3 carriers etc.

Only one of which was capable of operating fixed wing aircraft as @Roadster280 points out, although in theory RAF Harrier GR3s would have operated from the other two. I do wonder how HMS Ark Royal (IV) and her Phantoms and Buccaneers would have coped with the South Atlantic weather.

When Argentina made threatening noises in 1977 the response of the Callaghan Government was to demonstrate our commitment by deploying two frigates, one of which was Exocet armed, an SSN (which was a real worry to the Argentines, and two RFAs - one of which carried several ASW Sea Kings. We were also not in the process of getting rid of our amphibious forces and expeditionary capabilities.

Deterrence is a constant endeavour.
 

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