The F-8 Crusader, "Last of the Gunfighters"

#1
From another forum

Have Guns, Will Dogfight (With Missiles): Myth of the Last Gunfighter - AR15.COM

19 Kills in Combat, 17 with AIM-9 Sidewinders

4 x 20mm Guns that would malfunction under G load in a turn, almost useless unless at 1 G

Tactics from its community were taken for the new Navy Fighter Weapons School after early losses in Vietnam with the F-4B.

Radar was basically worthless other than for night/IFR formation flying to locate the lead.

Used early Semi Active Radar Homing AIM-9C Sidewinders for night and frontal aspect shots, but it rarely worked.

Once they added more avionics with the J model, the front became so heavy, they would carry only 2 AIM-9 missiles to keep its center of lift balanced in warmer weather.

With the additional ECM and other avionics, they cut the ammo count and made afterburner wave-offs the only recoverable wave-off for carrier landings.

What aircraft are we talking about?


The F-8 Crusader, "Last of the Gunfighters"


 
#2
The maneuvering to get the aircraft into position to kill the enemy with guns was the same as that needed to get close behind the target and fire a Sidewinder up his tail pipe. Hence the US Navy ACM school was called TOPGUN.

The French Navy was operating it into the nineties. I am now sure how it would have performed against Yugoslav/Serb jets in the Adriatic.
 
#4
No worse than our Sea Harriet FRS1s...
Yeah, I would have thought that.

I am not sure if the French Crusaders had Sidewinder or an equivalent French weapon, but I imagine the radar they had was similar to that in later USN aircraft, which was then possibly upgraded in service..?

I know the book On Yankee Station was written by a former F-8 driver (Cdr B Nichols) and he does talk about the aicraft getting a radar with greater discrimination/range.
 
#5
Yeah, I would have thought that.

I am not sure if the French Crusaders had Sidewinder or an equivalent French weapon, but I imagine the radar they had was similar to that in later USN aircraft, which was then possibly upgraded in service..?

I know the book On Yankee Station was written by a former F-8 driver (Cdr B Nichols) and he does talk about the aicraft getting a radar with greater discrimination/range.
Neither type would have performed well against a MiG-29 Fulcrum.
 
#6
...I am not sure if the French Crusaders had Sidewinder or an equivalent French weapon, but I imagine the radar they had was similar to that in later USN aircraft, which was then possibly upgraded in service..?....
The French F-8s were equipped with Magic II for their final years of service.

However, I never saw them embarked on French carriers during ops over the Adriatic or Balkans; Etendard IVP and SUE were the normal assets on the ATO.

Regards,
MM
 
#7
Yeah, I would have thought that.

I am not sure if the French Crusaders had Sidewinder or an equivalent French weapon, but I imagine the radar they had was similar to that in later USN aircraft, which was then possibly upgraded in service..?

I know the book On Yankee Station was written by a former F-8 driver (Cdr B Nichols) and he does talk about the aicraft getting a radar with greater discrimination/range.
Answered here

Vought F-8 Crusader - Wikipedia
 
#8
Neither type would have performed well against a MiG-29 Fulcrum.
In fairness that constitutes a quarter of a century of separation.

I doubt Richtofens Fokker Dr1 would have fared well against even a Spit Mk 1 - other than being able to out turn, or use its lower stall speed to stave of destruction.
 
#9
Neither type would have performed well against a MiG-29 Fulcrum.
Luckily the Sea Harriers had the chance to practice against Mig 29’s before their deployment, so they at least had the chance to assess tactics.
 
#10
Luckily the Sea Harriers had the chance to practice against Mig 29’s before their deployment, so they at least had the chance to assess tactics.
Bug out and come back when they had been rebuilt and had Blue Vixen radar and AMRAAM? I have got a copy of Nick Richardson's book and the 'notch' tactic, but the trials against the German MiG 29 was not encouraging.

However I was not thinking of the MiG 29 in my earlier question, more things like the Galebs that got splashed by NATO whilst on attack missions. The Super Eterndards operating from the French carriers did have Magic AAMs, so the French Crusaders might have been left in France.
 
#11
Used early Semi Active Radar Homing AIM-9C Sidewinders for night and frontal aspect shots, but it rarely worked.
"The Sidewinder family has spawned but one radar guided subtype, the US Navy AIM-9C semi-active radar homing missile. This weapon was designed to arm the lightweight F-8 Crusader with an all weather missile, and used a conically scanning semi-active seeker. No records exist as to the missile's combat record and it was all but forgotten until the mid eighties, when stocks of several hundred rounds were resurrected from storage to fulfill a Marine Corps requirement for a lightweight Anti-Radiation Missile for suppression of air defences. "

The Sidewinder Story / The Evolution of the AIM-9 Missile
 
#12
Is that what's known as a trans-sonic fighter aircraft?

As I recall, the F-8P was retained in service as long as it did in part because the Aeronavale's mutterings that they could have a much better capability if they were allowed to buy the F/A-18 and use it to replace the F-8 and the SUE were ignored lest this have a negative impact upon the Rafale programme.

The Crusaders were meant to be retired in 1993 (10 years later than the French Navy wanted), but the Aeronavale's pleas for a replacement - which was the F/A-18 or... the F/A-18 sufficiently worried Dassault to get supposed interoperability trials which'd have seen USN Hornets operating off Foch and/or Clemenceau delayed and then cancelled completely.

Flight reported in about 1989 that the French Navy in fact rejected upgrading the F-8 because the cost seemed unjustifiable. Unless you were Dassault, in which case the French taxpayer effectively wasting money on the upgrade so as to keep a US-built aircraft out and thus protect the Rafale M project was entirely legitimate.

The Aeronavale was told 'upgrade or nothing' in the early 90s, but by the end of the decade in essence said 'stuff it, we can't run these museum pieces on any longer' and made passive-aggressive remarks about how much they were looking forward to getting Rafale as soon as possible, merci.... To Dassault's dismay, their expectation that the Rafale would go to the air force first and thus give them a possibly significant marketing/PR advantage over Typhoon was dashed when they were told the naval version was going to be the first in service.

However I was not thinking of the MiG 29 in my earlier question, more things like the Galebs that got splashed by NATO whilst on attack missions. The Super Eterndards operating from the French carriers did have Magic AAMs, so the French Crusaders might have been left in France.
Over FRY, the SUE's air-to-air capability would only have been used in a 'Merde! Tout has gone poire-shaped!' scenario. There were far more capable assets available to maintain the NFZ (and yes, the Tornado F3 fits that definition).
 
Last edited:
#14
...The Super Eterndards operating from the French carriers did have Magic AAMs, so the French Crusaders might have been left in France.
They were.

The Etendard IVPs and SUEs very rarely carried AAMs over the Balkans; their ‘Standard Conventional Load’ was normally a couple of LGBs although they were more often used in the recce role iirc. That and creating a flight safety hazard for everyone else in the Adriatic due to the French Navy’s propensity for launching through the transit corridors and towlines without telling anyone!

At least one of the SUE’s also caught an SA-7 up the chuff but managed to recover successfully.

As Archie says, any AAM carried would have been self-Defence only which was and remains common for most attack aircraft. We weren’t exactly short of ‘proper’ fighters over the Balkans.

Regards,
MM
 
#17
That didn't exactly go according to plan...
The Fulcrum and SHAR never met operationally.

During the Balkans, the FRS1 primarily conducted A-G and recce and it was one of these (flown by Nick Richardson) which was lost to a MANPADS. The FA2 was more credible in the A-A role as it's radar was excellent and it had AMRAAM. Unfortunately, it lacked a self-protection jammer so was restricted in what airspace it could penetrate due to the Serb radar SAM threat.

The FA2 was briefly deployed during ALLIED FORCE and conducted Defensive Counter Air on the Southern 'FYROM CAPs' over Macedonia and Albania. On one occasion, they were committed against a Serb Orao launching out of Pristina and gained visual contact (insufficient to VID) but were dragged north by the faster Serb jet and had to disengage.

Regards,
MM
 
#18
The FA2 was briefly deployed during ALLIED FORCE and conducted DCA on the Southern 'FYROM CAPs' over Macedonia and Albania. On one occasion, they were committed against a Serb Orao launching out of Pristina and briefly gained visual but were dragged north by the faster Serb jet and had to disengage.
Please tell that story to the ‘the F-35 is rubbish and we should have kept the Harrier’ brigade. The Orao is hardly sprightly.
 
#19
...The Orao is hardly sprightly.
In fairness, the Orao was relatively fast at low level in a straight line; are you thinking of Galebs and Jastrebs?

However, it's fair to say that a supersonic fighter (with better EW) would've probably nailed the Orao.

Regards,
MM
 
#20
In fairness, the Orao was relatively fast at low level in a straight line; are you thinking of Galebs and Jastrebs?

However, it's fair to say that a supersonic fighter (with better EW) would've probably nailed the Orao.

Regards,
MM
Possibly Galebs. Your second sentence nails it, though.

I just marvel at the continued, hackneyed lines being written about the F-35.
 

Similar threads


New Posts

Latest Threads

Top