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ramprat74
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Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:58 am

So what made the French Navy choose the F-8 over other aircraft? I know the French military likes to field homegrown products. Wasn't there a French or even a British design they could of bought over the F-8?

Was the F-8 used for air defense and the Extendard used for ground attack?


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L-188
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Sun Mar 20, 2005 3:59 am

Nope, even the Brits fielded a US designed carrier fighter, (Phantom).

Quoting RampRat74 (Thread starter):
Was the F-8 used for air defense and the Extendard used for ground attack

That is my understanding.
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dl021
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:31 am

When the French put the Clemenceau and the Foch to sea they needed a true jet fighter to defend their fleet. The F-8 was known as the MiG Killer in Vietnam and was a highly maneuverable and fast jet, with excellent punch and the ability to carry sidewinders as well as internal guns. These aircraft gave the French the ability to deploy their carriers on their own and provide the Etendards, and later the Super Etendards with escorts on missions.

The French tried but could not successfully adapt their aircraft to carrier standards as the requirements for a carrier based aircraft are specialized and while you can make a carrier bird good for land, its tough to do the opposite. As L-188 says, even the British did not have their own supersonic fighter for service either, which is why their fleet graduated to Phantoms for a supersonic fighter for the 60's and 70's.

When the Etendard, France's first purpose built carrier jat aircraft, was originally put out it was purely a daytime attack craft with very limited air-air potential and unsuitable for CAP and interception purposes.

They evaluated several aircraft proposals both from home and overseas and selected the Gunfighter (F-8) as the best option for the space on the carriers and the job requirements. The F-8 "Crouze", the French nickname for the Crusader, served well and was extremely popular with her pilots. It even beyond her useful life simply because the French had nothing else they could put on the deck. The Foch/Clemenceau was too small to operate F-4s and they were unwilling to buy F/A-18s when they became available, starting work on the Rafale back in the 80's.

The F-8 served until the end of 1999, but did not see combat duty over the Adriatic as the French were concerned it would not be useful in the duties and loaded extra SEM's onto the decks of their carriers for attack missions and used land based aircraft, as well as US carrier based a/c to provide top cover.
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SATL382G
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:42 am

... and the fact that there were few export opportunities for a competitive French designed and built carrier fighter probably had something to do with it too.

Same goes for their carrier based AEW&C capability. They only needed a few. To build their own would have been prohibitively expensive. So they swallowed their pride and bought from the U.S.
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ghostbase
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Sun Mar 20, 2005 6:31 am

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 3):
So they swallowed their pride and bought from the U.S.

French military aircraft procurement over the years has been very pragmatic indeed and as has already been said the F-8 was the best available for their two 'smaller' carriers at the time. Only 43 were purchased and one of these was used as a GIA at Rochefort.

Looking at US designed aircraft in French military service we have the B-26, C-47, DC-7C, P2V-7, F-86K, F-100D/F, AT-6, F-84E, F-84F, RF-84F, H-19, H-34, H-21C, C-135F, E-3F, various Cessnas, DC-8F, T-33A, C-130H, and O-1. Looks a long list but so many of these were in relatively small numbers, as far as I can see only the Hun, the Bird Dog and the T-Bird were large procurements and those were most likely under MAP arrangements.

Out of the majority of the European air forces (perhaps except Sweden) the French have probably operated the smallest proportion of US designed aircraft. I would think that they were quietly laughing, not swallowing their pride!

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GDB
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:24 am

Remember the two French carriers procured in the early 60's, were small by US standards, 30-35,000 tons, F-8 had that nifty variable wing to aid operation from smaller decks, as well as being a fine aircraft in it's own right.

F-4K was brought after the large, complex, supersonic V/STOL Hawker P.1154 was axed in 1965, this was basically an attempt to do a 'JSF' 40 years ago, but the compromises to please the RAF low level attack mission, and RN Air Defence mission, was going to produce an expensive mess, as well as big technical hurdles, (a PCB nozzle reheat system would cause big problems with ground erosion and heat and vibration on the airframe).

France did operate, until the 1970's, a fleet of F-100D's, alongside the first French supersonic fighter, the Super Mystere, a broadly similar aircraft to the F-100.
I suspect the reason why was that prior to DeGaulle's hissy fit in 1966, when he expelled US forces from France, like the Germans and UK Valiant tactical squadrons, US tactical nukes would be made available to these nations in war, the F-100D was wired for them, the French built aircraft were not.

At this time, French nukes were entering service, so the Mirage IIIE and then Jaguars, that replaced both Super Mystere and F-100, could carry the home grown French AN-52 nuke, as well as the more strategic Mirage IV force.
(Likewise, the UK Valiants were scrapped for structural reasons, but the UK WE-177 bomb was now available for most UK combat aircraft).

So the French F-100D force carried on into the 70's for conventional attack and advanced training, Jaguars replaced the last of them.
 
sebolino
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:09 pm

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 3):
So they swallowed their pride and bought from the U.S.

Why do some people always need to find an aggressive opposition between US and FR ?
That's pathetic !
 
dl021
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:41 pm

Thats not aggressive opposition, thats a matter of fact. The French have spent more money in the past trying to stay French in their purchasing and been penny wise and pound foolish doing so.
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:28 am

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hemispheres
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:02 am

Quoting Garnetpalmetto (Reply 8):
I don't know, Sebolino. The same question could be asked to you at times.

Garnetpalmetto - Great post!

Sebolino - Welcome to Hypocrites Anonymous.  bigthumbsup 
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sebolino
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Thu Mar 24, 2005 5:48 pm

Quoting DL021 (Reply 7):
The French have spent more money in the past trying to stay French in their purchasing and been penny wise and pound foolish doing so.

LOL.

What could we say about the US then ?

Quoting Hemispheres (Reply 9):
Sebolino - Welcome to Hypocrites Anonymous.

Oh, I see. The fact that I dare to disagree with American point of view means I'm an hypocrite. Great post indeed !  Smile
 
dl021
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:17 am

Quoting Sebolino (Reply 10):
What could we say about the US then ?

That we developed the concept of carrier aviation and have been the ones to push it forward (along with the British, and for a while the Japanese) since it began, and pretty much exclusively since the 1960s.

The French could have purchased F/A-18s that would have given them the capability they needed off their carriers to make them self sustaining and defendable rather than going to sea with antiques and relatively slow attack jets that could not return to their boats with ordnance.

The US Navy has occasionally spent money on a boondoggle, but we usually end up with the capabilities needed to do the job.

You aren't a hypocrite for disagreeing.....possibly for throwing stones from a glass house, but thats another story.
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GDB
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:01 am

I suppose an interim French buy/lease, in the late 80's/early 90's, of surplus USN F-18A/B's could have allowed a F-8 replacement much sooner.
But there were probably fears that this would undermine the Naval Rafale, as well as Super Etendard upgrades.

It shouldn't have done, when you compare F-18A capability to Rafale N, though France would need to take AIM-7's to provide a BVR capability, Magic IR AAM's could probably be fitted to F-18 without too much trouble, not so the Super 530D AAM.

However, France was not too proud to buy E-2C, or E-3F AWACS aircraft.

Probably Rafale was seen as too cruical and expensive to be seen to be undermined, even when it wasn't in truth.
 
LMP737
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Fri Mar 25, 2005 11:56 am

Quoting Sebolino (Reply 10):
What could we say about the US then ?

I take that Sebolino is trying to imply that the US buys equipment even when european alternatives exist. When looks at the facts one can see that the USA can be perfectly willing to buy foreign equipment. Take the harrier. The USMC saw the need for a close support aircraft that can be near the grunts. The Harrier fit the bill and the aircraft was acquired. Now could the Pentagon could have turned around and spent a truckload of money on a new aircraft. But it made more sense to license build the Harrier. Then there's the T-45 Goshawk. The Navy could have spent money on an entirely new design but decided to modify an existing British design.

Then one has to look at the reasons European countries have bought US made equipment in the past. Two reasons I can think of off the top of my head, either no European manufacturer made the equipment needed or their design did not match up to the US design (no I'am not trying to be an ugly American). In the case of the C-130 and F-4 no european manufacturer made a four engine tactical transport at the time or a two seat interceptor. In the case of the F-16 Dassault had the Mirage V to offer. However the F-16 outclassed the Mirage V by a country mile. That's why you see Begium, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands flying the F-16.
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GDB
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RE: Why Did The French Navy Operate The F-8

Sat Mar 26, 2005 1:26 am

Away from aviation, it was recently announced that the US will buy 500 UK designed lightweight 155mm artillery, with production both in the UK and US, this weapon has yet to be sold to UK forces, though there is a requirement.

For aviation, the undermining of the UK combat aircraft industry, from 1957 when the then Conservative government decided that after the Lighting, manned combat aircraft would be obsolete, to be replaced by missiles, meant that for the 1960's, there was not much of a portfolio of products to offer for export.

France never had such illusions (the 1957 decision in the UK was more about being able to more easily and quickly end the unpopular conscription), but though the Mirage III was a great success, it was never going to be suitable for carrier ops.
I've always been surprised that France did not adapt the high wing config Mirage F.1 for their carriers, to replace F-8's in the late 70's/early 80's.
As at one time, the M53 engine was mooted for export F.1s, this more powerful turbofan could have offset extra weight from carrier equipment, as well as the lower fuel consumption, allowing more time on CAP.
This M53 powered Mirage F.1 was the main competition against the F-16 in 1974/75, for the European order.

I note that a planned Maritime Jaguar was originally planned to replace Etendards, but the all French Super Etendard was procured instead, one reason given was that the Jaguar was a bit underpowered, in reality that was soon fixed in export and RAF upgrades, but then the RAF Jaguars also had rather more sophisticated avionics compared to their French Air Force counterparts.
This planned Jaguar M for the French Navy, would have had the Agave radar as fitted to the Super Etendards, as well was having twin engines and rather better range/payload ability.

I get the feeling that Jaguar became unfavoured in France, the French side was made by Breguet, but when that company was later taken over by Dassault, the famous fighter maker had it's own portfolio of products that could be in competition with Jaguar, as the UK effort to supply Jaguars to India found, having encountered severe French pressure to be dropped for Mirage F.1s, despite previous export/marketing agreements when the Anglo-French Jaguar was being designed.

In the end, India went for the aircraft that most suited their strike/penetration requirements, eventually some Indian Jaguars were fitted with Agave radar like the French Jaguar M's were planned to do, though this time to illuminate targets for the carried BAe Sea Eagle ASM's, rather than the Exocet.

[Edited 2005-03-25 17:31:11]

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