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Question: What Was World's First Turbofan Fighter?  
User currently offlineFlagshipAZ From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3419 posts, RR: 14
Posted (6 years 9 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6419 times:

Season's Greetings to One & All...
Recently I've been watching a "Dogfights" marathon on the History channel, watching the various jet fighters over the years doing their thing, but I got to wondering what were the world's first turbofan-powered fighters were. The F-86 & the F-4 were turbojet-powered, then we jump to the first Gulf War with F-14s, F-15s & F-16s, which are turbofan equipped.
Surely there were some fighters in service before the F-teens that were fitted with turbofan engines. What were they?
Can anyone give me & others some insight here? and while we're at it...what were the first bombers equipped with turbo-fans too?
All replies appreciated. Regards.


"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 1, posted (6 years 9 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6422 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
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Quoting FlagshipAZ (Thread starter):
Question: What Was World's First Turbofan Fighter?

Probably the Harrier...

2H4



Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 9 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6412 times:

IIRC, the F-111 had TF-33 engines, which were the militarized version of the JT3. Certainly not a high bypass turbofan, but it was one. Otherwise it might be the A-7 which used the TF-30 (no afterburner). Just a guess!

User currently offlineLegs From Australia, joined Jun 2006, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 9 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6407 times:

The F-111s have a pair of TF-30 with afterburners, and I believe they first flew marginally before the A-7, although I could be wrong. Im also wondering if a Soviet plane might take the honour?

User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (6 years 9 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6351 times:



Quoting Legs (Reply 3):
The F-111s have a pair of TF-30 with afterburners, and I believe they first flew marginally before the A-7, although I could be wrong. Im also wondering if a Soviet plane might take the honour?

A-7 first flght 27 Sept 1965, operational 1 Feb 1967
F-111 first flight 21 Dec 1964, 18 July 1967 deliveries to 474 TFW Cannon AFB, however not operational until Spring 1968


User currently offlineFBU 4EVER! From Norway, joined Jan 2001, 998 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (6 years 9 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 6325 times:

I don't think the Soviets were all that early with turbofan fighters.

I believe the first turbofan bomber was the B



"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
User currently offlineN74JW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (6 years 9 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 6259 times:

The first Mig to be designed with a turbofan was the Mig-31 'Foxhound' along with the Soloviev D-30. The Mig-31 first flew in 1975, and entered service in 1982.

The Su-27 series fighters use the L'yulka AL-31F turbofans. The Su-27 first flew in 1977, and entered service in 1984.


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14026 posts, RR: 62
Reply 7, posted (6 years 9 months 23 hours ago) and read 6180 times:

Didn't the Saab Viggen use a version of the JT8D with afterburner?

Jan


User currently offlineFBU 4EVER! From Norway, joined Jan 2001, 998 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (6 years 9 months 9 hours ago) and read 6070 times:



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 7):
Didn't the Saab Viggen use a version of the JT8D with afterburner?

Yes, indeed. It used a modified JT-8 with a/b.



"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 9, posted (6 years 9 months 8 hours ago) and read 6053 times:



Quoting FlagshipAZ (Thread starter):
the F-4 were turbojet-powered

The F4K (first flight 27 June 1966) had two afterburning Speys. First deliveries to RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset in April 1968. The F111 first flew in Dec 1964, but first production F-111s were delivered on 18 July 1967. And was (is if in Aus) the F-111 a fighter?

Victor Mk2 had Conways - first flew Feb 1959.
Buccaneers with Speys, May 1963.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (6 years 9 months 7 hours ago) and read 6041 times:

GD has always said the F-111 was the world's first fighter equipped with a turbofan engine. It is officially called a fighter because the TFX program included the USN version, the F-111B, which was the first airplane to carry and fire the AIM-54.

Quoting FBU 4EVER! (Reply 5):
I believe the first turbofan bomber was the B

Did you want to say "B-52H"?


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 11, posted (6 years 9 months 6 hours ago) and read 6026 times:



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
first fighter equipped with

It becomes a matter of semantics about equipped. The earlier F-111s were prototypes whereas although the F4Ks were in a test program, they were production machines. Perhaps we could agree it is a great example of the futility of most of the first or largest contests? IIRC soon after the first F-111 deliveries it was withdrawn due to a number of faults in the early planes. Too late to chase them down. I am sure someone remembers. Happy Christmas TBBig grin


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 12, posted (6 years 9 months 4 hours ago) and read 5999 times:



Quoting Baroque (Reply 11):
IIRC soon after the first F-111 deliveries it was withdrawn due to a number of faults in the early planes.

The early F-111As were not withdrawn from service, but were withdrawn from their first combat tour in Vietnam. There was a problem with the TFR following the bottom contour of lakes and ponds. The water got in the way of flying the airplane at low levels, ooops.

There were also several groundings for different reasons, from landing gear, to engines, to escape capsules, and wing sweep.


User currently offlineIwok From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 1108 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 8 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 5824 times:



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 1):
Probably the Harrier...

2H4

I thought that the Harrier used a centrifugal turbine as opposed to the axial type? If so I don't think it qualifies as a turbo fan per se (of course I am probably waaaaayyyy off base  bigthumbsup 

iwok


User currently offlineN74JW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (6 years 8 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 5795 times:



Quoting Iwok (Reply 13):
I thought that the Harrier used a centrifugal turbine as opposed to the axial type? If so I don't think it qualifies as a turbo fan per se (of course I am probably waaaaayyyy off base

The Harrier's Pegasus engine is a very complex turbofan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Pegasus


User currently offlineArluna From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 88 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5740 times:

Hello,

If I'm not mistaken the engine inlets on the F111 gave trouble from the start. They were too short to stabilize the air before it reached the engine. There were numerous mods made to the inlets but they never completly solved the problem. As a result the TF-30 was very prone to shelling out.

J


User currently offlineHunterson From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 144 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5712 times:

Despite all the initial (teething) problems with the F-111/TF-30 combination, it did eventally work out quite nicely.

There is no doubt in my mind that the F-111 was way ahead of its time. It set the scene for a whole new generation of combat aircraft, both in terms of aerodynamic and engine technologies. The TF-30 was certainly the first operationally viable "turbofan" on a military combat-rated aircraft. And, of course, the F-111 was the first operational variable-geometry combat fighter to enter service ever.

The fact of the matter is the accountants and other grey men in grey suits sitting in the comfort of their offices in Washington DC never gave that fantastic warbird its proper and fair chance. As the RAAF has duly acknowledged it is a type that could easily and effectively serve you till the middle of the 21st. century as an unequalled long-range tactical/strategic strike and deep penetration bomber at medium and low levels, thanks to its turbofan engines and variable geometry wings.Obviously, that was such a winning design combination which was not missed by Soviet aircraft designers who were quick to adopt it on types such as the MiG-23/27(Flogger), the Sukhoi-17/20/22(Fitter), and most significantly on the Sukhoi-24(Fencer) and Tupolev-22M(Backfire) fighters and fighter-bombers.

The F-111/TF-30 combination has never been successfully replaced in the USAF, and the requirement for a suitable long-range deep strike low-level interdictor still holds to this very moment.


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 17, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5666 times:



Quoting Hunterson (Reply 16):
The TF-30 was certainly the first operationally viable "turbofan" on a military combat-rated aircraft.

Are you not forgetting the Buccaneer Mark II? Conversion to Speys started in 1962 which was before the F-111 prototypes flew. The Spey 101s in the Buccaneer were not an afterburning version. If it was not combat-rated, someone forgot to tell the RAF. Aside from its other "tricks" it was type approved for nuclear weapons "delivery" from 1965.


User currently offlineHunterson From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 144 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5636 times:



Quoting Baroque (Reply 17):

You are quite right. The Spey was indeed combat-rated, though not re-heated, and that probably makes the Buccaneer the first operational turbofan powered combat aircraft. I can not really think of any earlier type.


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 19, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 5567 times:



Quoting Hunterson (Reply 18):
The Spey was indeed combat-rated, though not re-heated, and that probably makes the Buccaneer the first operational turbofan powered combat aircraft. I can not really think of any earlier type.

Essentially both were bombers, although the F-111 was listed as a fighter - presumably to keep McNamara happy - but there was a proposed fighter version of the Buccaneer, so in effect the two are comparable, except for the afterburners. Not a great deal of point in putting the afterburning versions of the Spey on the Buccaneer.

There do not seem to be any earlier types. None of the Russian planes at that time had turbo-fans. But if bombers are OK, then the Victors probably take the cake. However, if someone wants to argue that the Conways had too low a bypass ratio they can have that argument to themselves.


User currently offlineHunterson From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 144 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5481 times:



Quoting Baroque (Reply 19):

I agree with you again. I guess the difference between big multi-engined long-range strategic bombers such as the Victor, Vulcan, B-52..etc. and the more recent developments such as the F-111 and Buccaneer, not to mention even the Tornado-IDS, was actually the way they flew and operated. A Victor, for instance, would fly as a big airliner at a cruising altitude of 30 000 ft. A Buccaneer, on the otherhand, would actually fly at low-level and at near Mach-1, like a "fighter".
I think it makes all the difference in classification , and probably that is why types such as the F-111, Tornado, Buccaneer and Sukhoi-24 are classified as "fighter-bombers" or " strike fighters" ( remember the F-15E Strike Eagle!!!), while others such as the Tupolev-22 Blinder, Tupolev-22M Backfire and Mirage-4 were called "bombers" despite the fact that they were assigned exactly the same operational roles.
So, which was the first turbofan-powered "fighter" ?
Take your pick: Was it the F-111, or the Buccaneer, or the A-7 Corsair ?
I guess it all depends on ones definition of Fighter, bomber, or fighter-bomber !!!


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 21, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5430 times:



Quoting Hunterson (Reply 20):
Take your pick: Was it the F-111, or the Buccaneer, or the A-7 Corsair ?
I guess it all depends on ones definition of Fighter, bomber, or fighter-bomber !!!

Yes and the other variable is when in the cycle. The F-111 beat the F4K into the air but, I think, not into service. Thank heavens I don't write the G book of records!


User currently offlineFlagshipAZ From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3419 posts, RR: 14
Reply 22, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 5412 times:

I want to thank each & every one of you who has replied to this thread. After reading, and re-reading this thread many times, I realized that I should have titled the thread "World's first turbo-fan warbird?" I know now that there were many "firsts" pertaining to warbirds, and their powerplants.
As to my original question...there are lots of answers to this. There is no one correct answer. Many aircraft mentioned here did have a few various powerplants in their service lives.
Once again, many thanks to all. Best regards.



"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
User currently offlineHunterson From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 144 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5403 times:



Quoting FlagshipAZ (Reply 22):

You are most welcome. It was a pleasure. Please keep the good topics coming.
Cheers and Best Regards.


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