F-20 vs F-18

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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firebase99

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Unread post17 Nov 2019, 06:28

Gums wrote:Salute!

As the only guy on these forums who has ever sat in the cockpit of an F-20, and have about 40 - 50 sim hours......... I feel qualified to comment.

The death of the plane was not straightforward, but one poster has nailed a biggie - trying to sell the plane to folks that didn't want a "super" F-5, but not making it easy for the existing F-5 folks to pay for it. So the failed Korean sale was the second to last nail in the coffin. And it didn't help that they lost one of the three FSD birds there due to gee-loc.

Northrop was trying to get the Air Guard to buy it as an airspace sovereignty asset. If USAF had some, the thot was small countries would have bought it. By then, the Viper was getting Slammers for the air defense mission and had much better range and multirole capability. When GD lowered the price for a stripped down Viper, the Koreans jumped on.
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- No way that beast could have ever been navalized .
- The radar and main computer was about as good as the Hornet except for the map, which it did not have. I flew the Hornet sim as part of my evaluation of the two planes and the map was just like the one I had in the Sluf, but digital
- The human interface for both the F-20 and Hornet was way better than the Block 15 Viper I had just gotten out of and I don't think even the Bk25 was equal. Seems that Bk 30 and 40 were close, but still no projected map.
- My flight was cancelled hours before scheduled, so I only have sim time to compare. It seemed like a Viper with two bags and light loadout.
- The avionics were super, and it had a better radar than the pre-Bk 40 Vipers. Took me about 5 minutes to be real comfortable, and data entry/mode selection was in a class by itself. Hornet was almost the same ( and that was part of the lawsuit I was part of as an expert witness).

In cllosing, I feel the plane would have been ideal for all countries that had the F-5 and even some others. Perfect air defense plane with that 2 minute inertial alignment time and the A2A radar modes. Limited loadout and range, but it wasn't intended to fly 400 miles then CAP or bomb and come home unrefueled. It was too pricey, and Vipers were getting cheaper everyday.

Gums sends...


To clarify... "It seemed like a Viper with two bags and light loadout." Was the F20 sim with bags as well or clean?
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Unread post17 Nov 2019, 16:21

Salute!

I flew the sim with several loadouts, but no external tanks. Heaviest was something like 6 or 8 x Mk-82, and that was the one that felt like a decently loaded Viper. Remember that the motor was not as powerful and the wing really needed to be a bit larger. Production Vipers added sq feet to the YF-16 wing area

Pitch rates were really good. Without the limiters we had in the Viper FBW system, it was not hard to "stress" the beast. In fact, that is what contributed to the losses. I cannot comment about burble, buffet, etc at high AoA because my joyride was cancelled the day after I went thru the real cockpit layout and engine start stuff at Edwards. I suspect it behaved like the Viper after talking with the test pilots, but nothing like actually feeling it for yourself.

As I opined earlier, the F-20 would have been outstanding for many countries, especially point defense, but Northrop needed to make a few hundred or maybe a thousand to get the unit cost reasonable. I was at the plant when GD made their pitch to Korea and the Northrop troops were quite bitter about the price being so low. Another factor was that the logistics flow was already in place there for USAF Vipers.

I would rather have seen further development of the F-23, but that is another series of threads here.

Gums sends...
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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Unread post18 Nov 2019, 11:26

Small correction Gums.....no way was the moving map in the hornet you flew digital. That was a lot 12 mod, which was well after the timeframe you say. Those early/low lot hornets had a scrolling paper moving map, which we affectionately called the "fishbowl". Just saying. I'm sure you have forgotten more about various fighters than I have ever learned flying these electric jets for a career (and all variants of FA-18, specifically A-F and G) :)

You are absolutely right about Hornet v Block 15 viper though, which I also flew. Those vipers were like cessnas with a big engine. The block 1 Hornet was a significant upgrade comparatively. Even then was glass cockpit with lots of pilot interface, compared to that A/B viper, which basically had nothing worthwhile to look at in the cockpit, other than the pesky FCNP on start............thank god I don't have to slow touch that picky fu**er again. Can you imagine this days aviator trying to input a waypoint into that thing? Nobody has the finger pushing patience for that anymore you old man :)
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Unread post18 Nov 2019, 15:45

Salute!

Oh yeah, AoA...... It musta been an AV-8B at China Lake that had the digital map. We were there as part of a contract to improve the avionics on the Marines' Super Cobra. But you're right about memories not being as sharp anymore, heh heh.

The map I saw at St Louis in the sim ( 1985) looked very close to the A-7D/E PMDS I wrote about. See attached article I wrote back in '73. I was invited to address the Defense Mapping Agency folks about their map, and got to meet some of the gnomes that made the film strips for the map. They really enjoyed talking with and touching an actual combat user of that thing, and I could not stop thanking each one for what they provided we lowly airmen and nasal radiators. Funny, but I was in my motel at St Louis when the F-16 contract was awarded. DMA and the "surveyor and mapping" professional group had paid my airfare and lodging expenses

http://www.sluf.org/misc_pages/fwr_winter_1973.pdf

The data entry feature of the map was really helpful if you only wanted a waypoint within a half mile or so. Just hit "freeze" and slew to your tgt or turnpoint and hit "enter". No typing required. I used to estimate a holding pattern position and enter the altitude so I actually had a TD box in the HUD to see.


Gums sends...
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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hornetfinn

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 08:01

Oh man, thank you Gums for that article and sharing your experiences! It's really amazing what kinds of systems could be done even before everything went digital. I have always wondered how these systems worked in aircraft as I have some experience with Teldix paper map plotter in a ground vehicle.
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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 15:29

Pretty cool stuff Gums, thanks for sharing! I bet that was a cool time in fighter aviation history to be doing all of that. Yeah, what became the digital moving map was a huge upgrade for the fleet. Nice for a lot of things, both "in country", as well as just back at home being able to (sort of) back yourself up on a PAR with having an idea of where you are. Having done a bit of level D sim flying recently throughout the process of getting my ATP cert, it was interesting to me to see that neither the B757 nor the A320 had anything similar. Just a black hole with waypoints, navaids, and wx radar/terrain alerts to look at. Probably somewhat less useful in the commercial aviation world, but I'd think it would still be nice.
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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 16:04

Salute!

@ Finn ..... TY for nice words.

Make no mistake, the Sluf was a breakthrough in digital technology for our planes. Several systems were still analog or even a hybrid electronic and mechanical analog, such as the PMDS and doppler ( which allowed us to do airborne INS alignments and also minimize "drift", besides being a great back up nav system, huh?). A good example was the flight path doofer that was supposed to provide steering bars for ILS and TACAN navigation. It was second class compared to the NAV/WD and HUD combo.
- We had no mux bus, so all the interfaces were dedicated wires. The NAV/WD was the surrogate mux bus, and it talked with those systems that did not have dedicated displays and then "spread the word and commands".

- The armament control system was digital, and it was faster than the mechanical step switches in our suspension gear. SO when trying to release 10 or 12 bombs we would have several hanging. We only saw this over Hanoi when they changed our loadouts from 2,000 pounders to 12 x Mk-82 and no drop tanks. So we had to top off on the way north, but no refueling coming home at 40,000 feet and burning about 1,500 pph. Loadout was 12 x MK-82 on MERS, two ECM pods and 2 x AIM-9E

- As my article says, the map was projected on the screen from a roll of 35mm film. A host of very fine gears provided discrete signals to the analog/digital convertor that talked with our computer. When the film pak was loaded, we turned the gears until they all lined up with fine scribe marks. Accuracy was prolly about 1000 feet in the small map ( TPC format).

The Hornet folks included many A-7E drivers, and their contributions were evident when I climbed into the sim back in St Louis. My USN cohort on the Northrop lawsuit team was a Sluf pilot, then was on the F-18 OT&E bunch. The other guy was a fellow named Yeager, heh heh.

Oh well, those were great days for this attack pilot that had flown two high tech platforms, and one in actual combat versus at some practice range in the countryside.

Gums sends...
Gums
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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juretrn

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 19:23

rowbeartoe wrote:This video posted some stats that were interesting. Turn rate at 11 degrees a second etc.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_LK-Gv6iCw

"It can achieve supersonic speed in military power." Well, damn. I'd like to know at what conditions.
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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 20:04

Kansas ANG counting its chickens before they hatch. :mrgreen:
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Unread post20 Nov 2019, 00:51

http://sftentx.com/files/78637014.pdf

I found the above interesting. The 3 aircraft conducted over 1400 flights.

4 ANG pilots (at least one from the 162nd) flew it, as well as.....(gasp) 5 USN pilots :D , totaling 37 potential customer pilots from 18 countries.

Evidently, the flights were flown to demonstrate that your average operational pilot with no F-5 experience would love it.

Now that's salesmanship.
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Unread post20 Nov 2019, 01:58

Wasn't it 8,000 projected hours when fighters like F-16A/B and F/A-18A/B were only 6,000?

Imagine with today's improvements it would outlive the service careers of the second generation of pilots that would have flown it operationally.
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Unread post20 Nov 2019, 06:57

F-16A/B was 8000 hours, certified by analysis and two lifetimes durability ground test. F-20 was an unverified goal, with no detailed analysis and no durability ground test.
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Unread post20 Nov 2019, 14:58

madrat wrote:Wasn't it 8,000 projected hours when fighters like F-16A/B and F/A-18A/B were only 6,000?

Imagine with today's improvements it would outlive the service careers of the second generation of pilots that would have flown it operationally.


I would imagine it'd still be cheap too. Upgrades would have almost certainly come in the form of a more powerful F-414, a small AESA radar and of course, weapons such as the AMRAAM. Even today, it'd still be a zippy little fighter capable of flying multiple sorties/day with minimal maintenance requirements.

Might not fit into the USAF view of how to do things, but certainly a good number of smaller countries looking for point airfield defense and other duties. One thing I never understood was why they didn't make room for 2 semi-recessed AMRAAMs under the fuselage. Sure looked like it had the space, and it'd make a 6-8 AAM loadout a snap, with minimal drag (at least for the semi-recessed missiles).

It would probably give Gripen a good run for its money :)
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Unread post20 Nov 2019, 22:07

Salute!

@ mixel......

Back in in 1984-85 when I was at Northrop during the lawsuit, the plane was not that cheap. The Viper offer by GD to Korea beat it, and some was due to established logistical support, not just capability.

I shall let the reader do the research and post how many countries were flying the F-5E and then converted to Vipers..... And then how many are still flying the F-5E.

U.S. and the NATO EPG had the Vipers arriving every day. The were more capable than the F-104 that many replaced, and the fact that USAF was buying a sh!load meant a lot in terms of support. The Italians and Germans and Greeks and.... took some time to buy the Vipers or Tiffies or Tornadoes or.......

On a personal note and opinion, I thot some of the foreign Hornet buys were not all that great. I gave the Swiss and maybe some Canadians a tour of our Logistics Command avionics support facility, and we talked. This was late '79 and 1980. Didn't run into Aussies. That winter the IAF showed up to get the Vipers we had planned to send to Iran. And I got to check out that first and only bunch.

You don't see two thousand Hornets flying in other countries than U.S.A. around the globe, last I checked. Hmmmm.....

Gums sends...
Gums
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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Unread post20 Nov 2019, 22:55

Salute!

Despite thread drift, I'll post this snip from Wiki about the lawsuit I was involved with concerning the F-20 and the F-18.

Northrop was pissed because McAir had gone around the contract and was offering basic F-18 planes versus the F-18L that was gonna provide Northrop lottsa money for all the export versions. Northrop would then lose the $$$ for various components they were gonna produce for the F-18L. And then there was the proprietary stuff concerning the avionics. I was there at Hill for a briefing by Riccione concerning the F-5G, which morphed to the F-20. That would be early 1980. A biggie was the hands-on control features and such. By the time the original Hornets were flying, the complaints were also flying about who invented what switch and display did and the system logic for we humans to operate all the new stuff.

So I got hired by the lawyers to compare systems and procedures. My flying ability was not the biggie, as we had Yeager on the team.

Here' the excerpt from Wiki:

The partnership between McDonnell Douglas and Northrop soured over competition for foreign sales for the two models. Northrop felt that McDonnell Douglas would put the F/A-18 in direct competition with the F-18L. In October 1979, Northrop filed a series of lawsuits charging that McDonnell was using Northrop technology developed for the F-18L for foreign sales of the F/A-18 in violation of their agreement, and asked for a moratorium on foreign sales of the Hornet. McDonnell Douglas countersued, alleging Northrop illegally used F/A-18 technology in its F-20 Tigershark. A settlement was announced 8 April 1985 for all of the lawsuits.[11][12][13][14] McDonnell Douglas paid Northrop $50 million for "rights to sell the F/A-18 wherever it could".[14] Additionally, the companies agreed on McDonnell Douglas as the prime contractor with Northrop as the principal subcontractor.[11][12][13][14] As principal subcontractor, Northrop will produce the rear section for the F/A-18 (A/B/C/D/E/F), while McDonnell Douglas will produce the rest with final assembly to be performed by McDonnell Douglas.[15] At the time of the settlement, Northrop had ceased work on the F-18L. Most export orders for the F18-L were captured by the F-16 or the F/A-18.[9] The F-20 Tigershark did not enter production, and although the program was not officially terminated until 17 November 1986, it was dead by mid-1985.[16]


So I needed a new job, and a small company near Eglin needed an experienced fighter pilot who was computer savvy. The company was already working with Northrop-Grumman on a project. They could not brief me completely in the job interview, but they knew I had all the security background clearances and had flown an F-16 just a year before. It was the USN A-12 program, and I was supposed to help develop all the cockpit controls and displays, then help the electrical engineers and sfwe pukes implement the control algorithms for a host of weapons and delivery modes. WHEW!!!

So that's where I come from.

Gums sends...
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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