TheSonntag
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Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:43 am

The F-18 is officially called F/A-18, so why wasn't the F-4 called F/A 4? The Phantom certainly was one of the first real multi role combat aircraft around, right? Of course, an A-4 existed at the time already, but nevertheless.

Or was the term F/A simply not invented at this time?

Michael
 
sidishus
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:49 am

Its original designation was F-4H which was the navy designation.
F = Fighter. In the halcyon days fighters were assumed to be dual role so no need for a further identifier.

4 = The fourth fighter design by Mc Donnell (in the days before they bought Douglas).

H = H was for McDonnell. F was for Grumman. U for Vought. J for North American. D for Douglas.

Also the names were company specific. McDonnell had "spooky" names: Phantom Demon. Grumman had 'cat names of course. Douglas names started with Sky. North American had western names: Vigilante, Savage (how non PC!). Vought had the most un PC names from the early USN history days: Crusader (that aircraft would have gotten a name change today!!!) Corsair Cutlass.

Anyway, when Robert McNamara became SecDef, he wanted to rationalize things so the current system-which was the USAF designation scheme-was adopted with aircraft such as the F-4 granfathered in as "4". The F4H-1 became the F-4A. The A3D-1 and -2 became the A-3A and B, the A3J became the A-5A, etc.
Of course that system is highly bastardized today with the whole F/A thing and number sequences out of whack. Time to rationalize it again.

[Edited 2005-12-14 22:13:10]
the truth: first it is ridiculed second it is violently opposed finally it is accepted as self-evident
 
sidishus
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 6:45 am

the truth: first it is ridiculed second it is violently opposed finally it is accepted as self-evident
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:01 am

Thank you! This makes things clear...
 
sidishus
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:18 am

And now it appears this whole errant F/A thing will be going away as well-for the USAF at least...This from a speech a few days ago:

Moseley said the Air Force had decided to remove the letter "A" from the first part of the fighter's designation, which had been renamed the F/A-22 under former Air Force Secretary James Roche to emphasize its ground attack capability.

"We have 'F' for fighters," Moseley said, listing current and past fighter jets such as the F-111, the F-4 and the F-16. "It should be in the lineage of the rest of the fighters."
the truth: first it is ridiculed second it is violently opposed finally it is accepted as self-evident
 
f4wso
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:22 am

The USAF version of the F-4 was originally the F-110 Spectre
Gary
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sidishus
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:20 pm

Quoting F4wso (Reply 5):
The USAF version of the F-4 was originally the F-110 Spectre

Yup, forgot about that one, and it was redesignated the F-4C

Also the F4H-1 became the F-4B instead of the F-4A
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:13 pm

As an aside as well, if memory serves, the Hornet was originally going to come in two variants - the F-18, which would have been optimized for air-to-air combat, and the A-18, which naturally, would have been optimized for the strike mission. To save costs both roles were combined in one hull and the bastardized F/A-18 designation invented. Like I said in another thread - between liberties with the designation system coming left and right and liberties in the numbering system (Grr...JSF shouldn't be designated F-35), it looks more and more like the designation system is more of a "suggestion" than a hard and fast guideline these days.
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jwenting
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:05 pm

That is correct. I've a history of the Hornet which says the same thing.

Why shouldn't the F-35 be F-35? I'm not aware of every number in between 23 and 35 but I guess they have been handed out to some paper tiger or other.
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TheSonntag
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:18 pm

Doesn't the JSF have at least the same air-to-air capabilities as the F-16? If so, it can be called a fighter, even if it might not be as good as the Eurofighter or F-22!
 
jwenting
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:06 pm

pretty much, though in contrast to the F-16 AA isn't its primary design mission.
F-16 was designed as a lightweight day fighter with secondary ground attack capability, F-35 is a ground attack aircraft with secondary fighter capability (and still as good at it as the F-16 at its primary design mission).
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:46 pm

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 8):
Why shouldn't the F-35 be F-35? I'm not aware of every number in between 23 and 35 but I guess they have been handed out to some paper tiger or other.

Nope. The last fighter designation given prior to the JSF was to the YF-23A and, in fact, the USAF Nomenclature Office recommended that the F-35 be designated the F-24, but was overruled on the matter. In fact, after being awarded the contract, Lockheed-Martin began referring to the aircraft (at least in-house) as the F-24 and, from what I understand, were a bit surprised at the designation F-35.

http://www.designation-systems.net/u...ilav/nonstandard-mds.html#_MDS_F35 for more info.
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dl021
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:30 am

The designations are meted out by design, and for the airforce this has always been the case with the one exception coming at DOD wide rationalization.

THere have been several flying designs coming with the various designations such as the X-29, the X-32 and others which all lead to the F-35....which of course earlier was the X-35 then the XF-35. I don't think it was ever designated with the Y prototype designation, but I could be wrong.

This makes sense.....

F/A-22 did not. F/A-4 would have made more sense, especially later in its service life.

The F-111 should have continued to be the FB-111 as this was the mission in which it found success....it was never deployed as a fighter.
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aeroweanie
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 2:20 am

The F-35 is a total perversion of the numbering system. First, the two prototypes were designated X-34 and X-35, when they should have been the YF-24 and YF-25. Then, the winner of the competition was designated the F-35! McNamara would be spinning in his grave, but he is still alive.
 
jwenting
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 2:33 am

32 was handed out to the Boeing proposal.
I think some more were handed out to the other competitors but never built, don't know if those can be reclaimed and reused.

Methinks the rest are reserved for some black projects, there is usually logic when the airforce does something even if it's sometimes perverted logic  Wink
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dl021
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 6:15 am

OK..you guys are not listening...the designations followed standard practice of numbering the aircraft in the order of the sequential designs.

Now, it can get confusing, because NASA has altered this to a degree by having their own system, and secrecy often forces deception in the numbering (see A-12, SR-71, F-117, etc)

YF-23 Northrop offering in the ATF competition (pretty airplane)
http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/yf23roll.jpg

X-24 (this was Steve Austins wingman)


X-25 Lifting body design

X-26 Schweizer and Lockheed cooperation on ultra quiet aircraft
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/images/x-26b-q-star2.jpg

X-27... cancelled LW fighter project from Lockheed

X-28....Homebuilt Perriera seaplane (I swear to God) tested at Phil NB for export as observation a/c to developing countries


X-29 Forward swept research aircraft by Grumman


X-30 Planned never made

X-31 Northrop and DASA cooperative on angles of attack and research on ducted jet exhaust for enhanced maneuverability
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/images/x-31_vector_030429-n-0000x-002.jpg

X-32 Boeing prototype for JSF

X-33 Reusable single stage orbiter and return ship

X-34 Civilian reusable design from Orbital Science

F-35 (nee X-35 then XF-35) JSF
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/images/x-35b-pr356334.jpg

OK...Do I need to keep going or are you guys gonna accept that the designations were correct and in line with the system in place since the P-1 (Pursuit 1) came out of the Curtiss Hangar, with only 1 rationalisation?

I promise it's ok. The Air Farce is not screwing things up....on this issue at least.  Wink

Oh, and GP....it ended up with the designations YF-110 and YF-113 being assigned to the Fishbeds and FLoggers we got from unnamed sources (but one's real close to the Suez Canal and they have a giant laser show for tourists) for the test squadron we ran back in the 70s to see what these airplanes were all about.
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HaveBlue
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 7:22 am

I disagree DL021. The X-24 was in the 50's or early 60's, it certainly was not sequential after the F-23. The X planes numbers bear nothing on the sequential numbering of production fighter planes. The X-29 was numbered sequentially in order of the X planes, which are never intended to go into production.

The X-35 is the exception to that. For decades the first plane built of a planned production bomber/fighter might be designated with an X, as in the XB-52...the prototype would then be called the YB-52, and when everything was tweaked and it went into production it would be just the B-52. Why they called the F-35 test vehicle X-35 instead of XF-35 is beyond me, it certainly isn't the way they used to do things.

But regardless the F-35 should have been F-24.
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:26 am

Sorry, Ian, but you're dead wrong on this. Numbers are sequential WITHIN the Mission designator only. For instance, let's look at those aircraft given the "A" designator versus those given the "F" designator using the Tri-Service system.


A-1 Skyraider
A-2 Savage (AJ Savage under the pre-62 USN system)
A-3 Skywarrior
A-4 Skyhawk
A-5 Vigilante
A-6 Intruder
A-7 Corsair II
AV-8 Harrier
YA-9 (aircraft which competed in a flyoff with the YA-10)
A-10 Thunderbolt II
A-11 (as far as I can tell went unassigned)
A-12 Avenger II

Now according to that, there should be no F-1 through F-12. But..

F-1 Fury (FJ Fury under the pre-62 USN system)
F-2 Banshee (F2H Banshee under the pre-62 USN system)
F-3 Demon (F3H Demon under the pre-62 USN system)
F-4 Phantom II
F-5 Freedom Fighter
F-6 Skyray (F4H Skyray under the pre-62 USN system)
F-7 Sea Dart (F2Y Sea Dart under the pre-62 USN system)
F-8 Crusader
F-9 Cougar (F9F Cougar under the pre-62 USN system)
F-10 Skyknight (F3D Skyknight under the pre-62 USN system)
F-11 Tiger
YF-12 (prototype interceptor based on the SR-71)

So if you're right, Ian, the A-12, which commenced work YEARS after the F-12 designator was assigned, should never have been the A-12. Given the amount of overlap, that's clearly not the case, especially when you consider that we have, among other things, a B-1, B-2, C-5, C-17, YF-17, P-1, P-2, P-3, E-1, E-2, E-3, E-4, E-6, E-8, and E-9. That's a bit too much overlap there. So, clearly, design numbers are supposed to be given sequential within the mission series and not to the overall system.
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dl021
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:53 am

OK...the sort of truth is I was bored with the argument because I have heard both explanations behind this issue and I firmly believe two things....

Number 1.... That I was right and besides, it doesn't matter because the Air Farce changed the designation rules during the 60s because someone decided that they were going to follow the X designations sometime during the process during the late 80s as it had been a while since the last fighter had been introduced probably because there was some overlap in the X plane numbers and the experimental plane numbers.

The P numbers starting with the P-1 and going all the way through P-80, which then retroactively changed to the F system (from Pursuit to Fighter) by order of the USAF which emerged from the Key West agreements in 1948 were sequential and got screwy when they merged the fighter numbers. Remember that the A series was both Navy an......never mind. Its impossible to properly explain because the system was arbitrarily changed.

I was just hoping to provide some angry people with some comfort...  

NUMBER 2 reason... Those were some cool photographs and needed to be seen.

How many of you knew Schweizer was involved in early stealth research?

How many of you knew immediately why that dude being Steve Austins wingman is cool?

C'mon...where's the fun here? All we're doing is bitching about things we can't change and being angry about things that don't matter.

Let's get mad about the Air Farce/DOD screwing with the F-22 procurement number.....or not...

actually, the real truth is this....

I figured out my longstanding assumptions were incorrect after I looked at the earlier X model designs while I was loading the photos, then I looked into it further than the previous superficial thinking I had done.....but the photos looked so cool and I decided that no one knows the real reason why and that it was like why is Nome Alaska not named Anvil anymore....and when I figured the real story out I came here to post but one of you no-life buttmonkeys beat me to telling on my wrongness (thanks GP...  Wink ). Imagine my chagrin when I was not allowed to emit self-deprecatory noises while mea culpaing my way to the correct answer...


which, again, is that no one knows why, but it works now....the X planes and the fighters had a crossroads and someone merged them when the F-22 and YF-23 were given X designations instead of XF designations.

Here are three websites that will either clear it up or muddle it more for you.

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/history/HistoricAircraft/X-Planes/

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/x.htm

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/x.htm

damnit



[Edited 2005-12-16 03:12:51]
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Areopagus
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:48 am

Quoting Garnetpalmetto (Reply 17):
A-11 (as far as I can tell went unassigned)

I surmise that this is due to President Johnson's introduction of Lockheed's A-12 Mach 3 airplane for the CIA (predecessor to the SR-71) as the A-11. This designation stemmed from Lockheed's succession of designs leading up to it as Archangel-1, Archangel-2, A-3, etc., up to A-12, which was built and flown. This was a totally different "A" series from the Attack series.

Of course, Johnson then did this one better by introducing the RS-71 as the SR-71. RS stood for Reconnaissance Strike, and came from the B series numbering, right after the B-70. But after Johnson's flub, the SR was confirmed as Strategic Reconnaissance.

This all goes with the TM-61 Matador, SM-62 Snark, and GAM-63 Rascal missiles, which came from the B series, and the GAR-98 Falcon and IM-99 Bomarc missiles which was numbered in the F series.

F-13 and F-19 also got skipped.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 18):
The P numbers starting with the P-1 and going all the way through P-80

It went at least through P-86.

[Edited 2005-12-16 03:55:27]
 
HaveBlue
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:27 pm

Quoting DL021 (Reply 18):
How many of you knew Schweizer was involved in early stealth research?

How many of you knew immediately why that dude being Steve Austins wingman is cool?

Okay, so you had your tongue firmly planted in your cheek... I get it now  Smile


Steve Austin, or the Bionic Man (Million Dollar Man), was in an X-24A wreck. Gotcha.

Schweiser, helo maker, involved in 'stealthing up' an observation plane?

Nice  Smile
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 1:23 pm

As a completely off-topic aside, anybody think the X-31 looks a lot like the Eurofighter?
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HaveBlue
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 1:47 pm

Yes, very much so.

filler
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aeroweanie
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:02 pm

DL021:

Nice exhibit of photos! However, the X-32 and X-35 (my mistake on calling the X-32 the X-34) were NOT experimental aircraft. They were test and evaluation aircraft. As such, the should have been numbered in the fighter series as YF-24 and YF-25. If they were truely experimental, they should have been the XF-24 and XF-25. X series aircraft (X-1, X-2, etc.) are technology test aircraft, not contenders for the next fighter contract.

The YF-23 is a completely different numbering sequence than the X series. There was an X-23. It was a lifting body test shape built by Martin Marietta to be launched on a rocket for reentry tests and was called the PRIME (Precision Recovery Including Maneuvering Entry). Its credited with being the first maneuverable reentry vehicle.
 
dl021
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:05 pm

Aero....yeah, I think my earlier post pointed out there were different X designations from the DOD and NASA and there was evidently a crossing of the sequences which prompted some unnamed individual to merge the numbers.

Quoting Garnetpalmetto (Reply 21):
As a completely off-topic aside, anybody think the X-31 looks a lot like the Eurofighter?

Yes it does. DASA's research team reactivated the X-31 while they were conducting research into the EF2000 project. The info from that airplane went into the ATF, JSF and EF designs.

It was a very innovative piece of technology that turned out to be useful in practical application, unlike the X-29 which evidently could not be made useful even though it was extremely radical in its approach.
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SlamClick
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Wed Dec 21, 2005 2:48 am

One curmudgeon's point of view:

F/A was a piece of politically-correct crap. It was coined to make congressmen and their chump constituents think they are getting two airplanes for the price of one, when they already were, as anyone who has ever seen footage of P-51 or P-47s strafing knows. Besides no one who knew anything (other than the Blue Angels announcer) ever actually spoke it that way.

It was a little like the USAF low level RBS routes being changed from "Oil Burner" to "Olive Branch" during the first oil shortage spasm. Yeah! That sure weaned us off the Saudi teat.

Geez! Am I getting cranky in my old age?
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Confuscius
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Wed Dec 21, 2005 4:30 am

"F/A was a piece of politically-correct crap. It was coined to make congressmen and their chump constituents think they are getting two airplanes for the price of one, when they already were,..."

Very true...It's redundant. Besides, no self-respecting Hornet driver would ever call it F/A-18.  Wink


Try this book...

The Pentagon Paradox-The Development of the F-18 Hornet by James P. Stevenson (Naval Institute Press, 1993)
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f4wso
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:58 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 25):
Geez! Am I getting cranky in my old age?

Even if you are, you are telling like I remembered it.
Gary
Cottage Grove, MN, USA
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jwenting
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:30 pm

Quoting Confuscius (Reply 26):
Besides, no self-respecting Hornet driver would ever call it F/A-18.

It's an F-A-TEEN  Smile
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RE: Why F-4 And Not F/A-4

Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:28 am

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 20):
Schweiser, helo maker, involved in 'stealthing up' an observation plane?

Schweizer (sp) at the time focused on gliders. Stan Hall, a Lockheed employee and glider fan, took a Schweizer 2-32 glider and added a quiet engine for stealth. For the gory details, see http://www.yo-3a.com/pages/6/page6.html
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