FlagshipAZ From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3419 posts, RR: 15 Posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5613 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
PhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5606 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!
PhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5545 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
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.
KC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 11899 posts, RR: 52 Reply 10, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5235 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.
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 TB.
KC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 11899 posts, RR: 52 Reply 12, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5193 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.
N74JW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 14, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4989 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.
Arluna From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 84 posts, RR: 1 Reply 15, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4934 times:
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.
Hunterson From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 144 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4906 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.
Baroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 60 Reply 17, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4860 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.
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.
Baroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 60 Reply 19, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4761 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.
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 !!!
FlagshipAZ From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3419 posts, RR: 15 Reply 22, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 4606 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