F-104 with FBW

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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charlielima223

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Unread post27 Dec 2015, 08:59

Out of all my favorite aircraft of the Cold War era the one that I always liked aesthetically was the F-104 Starfighter (though there are many that I still think are absolutely beautiful too). The aircraft went on to serve in the airforces of many western nations. The last squadron of operational F-104s were retired in 2004. Unfortunately the F-104 isn't so much recognized for its service record but rather its checkered past with accidents and crashes. Its more known for its reputation for being difficult to fly.

I always wondered though. If all things being equal, an F-104 version with FBW. How would that aircraft fair?

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basher54321

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Unread post27 Dec 2015, 14:56

charlielima223 wrote:I always wondered though. If all things being equal, an F-104 version with FBW. How would that aircraft fair?



You could probably replace the existing control system so it functions as it does with a conventional control system - but if you are thinking of putting on LEFs TEF and changing CG you could be talking about redesigning the airframe because no idea if it would even be viable. I know with the F-16 if the FBW didn't work out they had a contingency to move the wing position and turn it into a conventional jet with less performance.
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vilters

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Unread post27 Dec 2015, 15:10

Ah, my old love; The F-104. What a machine.

The many accidents broke it's reputation, but what a machine...

Most accidents came from "simple" things.

- The high landing speed.
- There was a flaw in the LEF operation.
- The BLC ducts had some dark area's too.
- The hydraulic door cost some lives too....

With FBW controlled Automatic LEF and TEF, half of the crashes could/would have been prevented.
But that did not exist in that period yet.

But the aircraft was as good as bullet proof. A dream for maintainers; Fuel, oil, and tires.

Yes, ha-ha-ha-, with that landing speed it consumed lots tires.
A good X-Wind would get ya a set of tires per landing. LOL.

An F-104 with FBW, a newer engine, and modern avionix??
Not gonna happen these days but it would be a good machine.
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vilters

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Unread post27 Dec 2015, 15:16

It was also a victim of its growth.

It started as a pure interceptor, and it was extremely good at that.

Then they started hanging stuff on the wingtips, and even more heavy stuff under the little wings.

It was not build for that, and the results came with even higher landing speeds, and in the high crash numbers.

But as a clean pure interceptor???
Give me an F-104 any time of the day.

And a light one? With the correct temperatures?
Is was one of the old birds that would supercruise. But that word did not exist in that period either.
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basher54321

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Unread post27 Dec 2015, 22:05

charlielima223 wrote:
I always wondered though. If all things being equal, an F-104 version with FBW. How would that aircraft fair?



Almost forgot about the cl-200 Lancer - note the many wing changes such as bigger, mounted higher, blended strakes, loss of the T Tail - still probably too early for FBW.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_CL-1200_Lancer
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charlielima223

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Unread post28 Dec 2015, 07:33

basher54321 wrote:
charlielima223 wrote:
I always wondered though. If all things being equal, an F-104 version with FBW. How would that aircraft fair?



Almost forgot about the cl-200 Lancer - note the many wing changes such as bigger, mounted higher, blended strakes, loss of the T Tail - still probably too early for FBW.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_CL-1200_Lancer


Not really thinking about major structural changes. For instance the F-117 was nicknamed the "Hopeless Diamond" for awhile because the design of the aircraft was so unstable it was considered impossible to fly. To make it stable again it would virtually negate almost all of its stealthy features. That being said...

without having to do an entire structural redesign, would a FBW "modified" F-104 be considered a good aircraft?
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edpop

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Unread post28 Dec 2015, 07:41

MBB built a F-104CCV in 1977 with a triple redundant fly by wire system. The aircraft was a converted Fokker built F-104G in 1977. I have a book with some info and more pictures that I will try to post next post.
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edpop

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Unread post28 Dec 2015, 07:52

From a book titled "CENTURY JETS" BY DAVID DONALD and published by AIRtime publishing.
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F-104 with FBW 1977.jpg
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charlielima223

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Unread post28 Dec 2015, 08:47

edpop wrote:From a book titled "CENTURY JETS" BY DAVID DONALD and published by AIRtime publishing.

SERIOUSLY COOL BEANS!!! :D :D :D :applause: :thanks:
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basher54321

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Unread post28 Dec 2015, 11:33

edpop wrote:From a book titled "CENTURY JETS" BY DAVID DONALD and published by AIRtime publishing.


Thanks - don't think I have seen that because I might have remembered the T Tail grafted onto its back - very interesting.
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basher54321

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Unread post28 Dec 2015, 13:05

charlielima223 wrote:
Not really thinking about major structural changes. For instance the F-117 was nicknamed the "Hopeless Diamond" for awhile because the design of the aircraft was so unstable it was considered impossible to fly. To make it stable again it would virtually negate almost all of its stealthy features.


Yes AFAIK the F-117A was unstable in all 3 axis unlike e.g. the F-16.
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smsgtmac

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Unread post28 Dec 2015, 18:28

vilters wrote:It was also a victim of its growth.

It started as a pure interceptor, and it was extremely good at that.

Then they started hanging stuff on the wingtips, and even more heavy stuff under the little wings.

It was not build for that, and the results came with even higher landing speeds, and in the high crash numbers.

But as a clean pure interceptor???
Give me an F-104 any time of the day.

And a light one? With the correct temperatures?
Is was one of the old birds that would supercruise. But that word did not exist in that period either.


The F-104 was conceived as an Air Superiority Day Fighter with performance that overcame all of what was perceived as the F-86's deficiencies. It became a multi-role fighter in short order, and excelled as an interceptor in its day. BTW: The "tell" for aircraft designed to be interceptors from the start in that era is that they were designed without cannon. If it had a cannon from the start it was to be a "fighter". The surge in the number of interceptor designs in the 50s-early 60s gave rise to the "AF thinks they don't need a cannon on a fighter" myth.
--The ultimate weapon is the mind of man.
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eloise

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Unread post28 Dec 2015, 22:48

smsgtmac wrote:
vilters wrote:It was also a victim of its growth.

It started as a pure interceptor, and it was extremely good at that.

Then they started hanging stuff on the wingtips, and even more heavy stuff under the little wings.

It was not build for that, and the results came with even higher landing speeds, and in the high crash numbers.

But as a clean pure interceptor???
Give me an F-104 any time of the day.

And a light one? With the correct temperatures?
Is was one of the old birds that would supercruise. But that word did not exist in that period either.


The F-104 was conceived as an Air Superiority Day Fighter with performance that overcame all of what was perceived as the F-86's deficiencies. It became a multi-role fighter in short order, and excelled as an interceptor in its day. BTW: The "tell" for aircraft designed to be interceptors from the start in that era is that they were designed without cannon. If it had a cannon from the start it was to be a "fighter". The surge in the number of interceptor designs in the 50s-early 60s gave rise to the "AF thinks they don't need a cannon on a fighter" myth.

iam really surprise that they mentioned many contact with the mig-15 was made at 45-50K feet , how the heck can f-86 , mig-15 can even cruise at that altitude :shock: ? even modern fighter does cruise that high
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basher54321

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Unread post29 Dec 2015, 01:40

eloise wrote:iam really surprise that they mentioned many contact with the mig-15 was made at 45-50K feet , how the heck can f-86 , mig-15 can even cruise at that altitude :shock: ? even modern fighter does cruise that high


Combination of low wing loading and adequate thrust I guess - here is a chart for a clean F-86A. Some Modern fighters can fly there in Mil e.g. light loading

f86-A.JPG
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tincansailor

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Unread post29 Dec 2015, 12:47

iam really surprise that they mentioned many contact with the mig-15 was made at 45-50K feet , how the heck can f-86 , mig-15 can even cruise at that altitude :shock: ? even modern fighter does cruise that high[/quote]

Remember the Soviets designed the MIG-15 has an interceptor to take down the high flying B-36. That's why the armament on the MIG-15 was so heavy. Two 23mm, and one 37mm cannon. The 37mm was devastating when it hit, but it's slow rate of fire made it less likely to score a hit on a fighter. That was the same reason the Germans put four 30mm cannon on the ME-262. It was meant to kill B-17's & B-24's not P-51's.

In Korea a Chinese tactic was to form up a large group of MIG-15's at over 45,000 ft. where the F-86's couldn't reach and then dive down in mass on a formation of Saber jets. They'd make one pass and head back up stairs avoiding a furball. It was a late WWII tactic used by ME-262's. Our pilots called them "Roller Coasters". Late Korean War Sabers could climb higher and surprised the Chinese who thought they were safe at 45k.

It amazing the F-86 pilots did so well in Korea considering all the advantages the Chinese had. The Chinese had safe bases only a few miles from what we called MIG Ally, just south of the Yalu river, while the Sabers had to fly 300nm over enemy territory to get there. The MIG's heavily outnumbered the Sabers, usually at least 2/1. The MIG's had a higher service ceiling, and rate of climb. At high altitude the incendiary rounds from the F-86's machineguns had minimal effect, 20mm cannon would have done much better.

Others can correct me, or add to what I'm saying. From what I've read the main advantages the F-86 had was a radar gun sight. The Chinese were using a Gyro Stabilized Reflecting Sight like the kind we used late in WWII. The Saber being much heavier could out dive the MIG. The Sabers flying tail gave it an advantage in maneuverability. The Saber was very rugged, and although it's guns were light they had a high rate of fire, 6 50cals firing at over 900rpm. That's got to leave a mark.

In the end it had to come down to the pilots. Korea was the last conflict of the pure gunfight. No SAM's, no air to air Missiles, no ECM, no radar scanning, no IRST, you find the enemy with your mk1 eyeball, get on his tail and gun him. Just like WWI but a lot higher and faster. It all comes down to the basics laid out in WWI. Our pilots just did a better job keeping the enemy off his own a$$, while shooting it off a guy who never saw it coming. We had better training, tactics, and more experience, and used our technical advantages better then the Chinese used theirs.

Bringing the circle back to today from WWI on SA is the most important factor in determining the outcome of combat. The advantages of the F-35 are just lost on a Top Gun Mind. It just comes down to drawing the right lessons from history.
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