avatar_Big Bird

Zephyr the best close air support aircraft the RAF never had, or the A-10 in RAF

Started by Big Bird, August 11, 2009, 12:07:38 PM

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Big Bird

Zephyr
The history

A program began in the early 1960s, in response to a British requirement (AST 362) for an advanced supersonic jet trainer to replace the Folland Gnat T1 and Hawker Hunter T7, and a French need for a cheap, subsonic dual role trainer and light attack aircraft with good short field performance to replace the Fouga Magister, Lockheed T-33 and Dassault Mystère IV.

After development started, both the French and British trainer requirement changed and were eventually fulfilled instead by the Alpha Jet and Hawker Siddeley Hawk respectively. In the meantime, the RAF created a new requirement for the aircraft, to replace the McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2 in the close air support, tactical reconnaissance and tactical strike roles. In addition, a carrier-capable version to replace the French Aeronavale's Dassault Etendard IV was specified. From these apparently disparate aims came many years of committees on both sides of the channel both trying to push their own needs to the fore.

As the 60's came to a close neither side was any near getting the specification to match both countries needs. The MoD fed up with waiting and realising that there was probably never going to be an agreement started looking around. Naturally with the British 'special relationship with the U.S.A. they looked across the Atlantic to see if there was an answer there.

March 1967, the U.S. Air Force released a Request for Information to 21 defense contractors. Their objective was to create a design study for a low-cost attack aircraft designated A-X, or "Attack Experimental". The officer in charge of the project was Colonel Avery Kay. In 1969, the Secretary of the Air Force asked Pierre Sprey to write the detailed specifications for the proposed A-X project. However, his initial involvement was kept secret due to Sprey's earlier controversial involvement in the F-X project.[3] Sprey's discussions with A-1 Skyraider pilots operating in Vietnam and analysis of the effectiveness of current aircraft used in the role indicated the ideal aircraft should have long loiter time, low-speed maneuverability, massive cannon firepower, and extreme survivability; an aircraft that had the best elements of the Ilyushin Il-2, Henschel Hs 129 and A-1 Skyraider. The specifications also demanded that the aircraft cost less than $3 million. In May 1970, the USAF issued a modified, and much more detailed request for proposals, as the threat of Soviet armored forces and all-weather attack operations became more serious. Now included in the requirements was that the final aircraft would be designed specifically for the GAU-8 Avenger. Six companies submitted proposals to the USAF, with Northrop and Fairchild Republic selected to build prototypes: the YA-9A and YA-10A, respectively.

The MoD through the British government expressed an interest in the aircraft. Although it didn't fulfil all of the original specifications, the procurement side of the MoD
realised that the battlefield was changing and if war broke out in Europe antitank and close air support would be what was needed, it was very doubtful if tatical nuclear strike would be used by the RAF.  Of course the 'top brass' of the RAF wasn't very happy being stuck in a fast jet mentality and several publicly slated the idea calling the  A-10 a flying tombstone.

With firm orders from, the USAF and RAF Fairchild-Republic's YA-10A was selected for production on 10 January. The only difference in aircraft for USAF and RAF would be that the RAF aircraft would be shipped in kit form and without instrumentation as the British had they're own specific requirements. The first production A-10 flew in October 1975, and deliveries to the Air Force commenced in March 1976 to units at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. The first squadron to use the A-10 went operational in October 1977. The first 'kits' arrived at BAe in 1975 and the first airframes went for testing 1976.

By 1977 testing was complete and with 54(F) squadron just three years later than was first expected. There being no trainer version produced, a team from the USAF helped with training along with time spent on a specially constructed simulator. Many of the first pilots were not happy to be receiving a 'yank' aircraft. Mess mutterings of its mission profile being too slow and too low. The name flying tombstone was resurrected albeit unofficially. The Official name the RAF brass gave the aircraft was Zephyr, the slowest wind name they could think off. However as the pilots  put more time in on the Zephyr they began to like it simple, robust and rugged qualities. They kept the unofficial name of tombstone as they felt that was the only thing the enemy would need if they encountered the Zephyr.

The 'Tomb' as the aircraft is known by public and aircrew alike is still in service have served with out loss in both Gulf wars and is still serving in the close air support role in Afghanistan.

So I'm creating this Whif with:



I've started work







More soon....

Sauragnmon

Looking forward to seeing what mods you pull off on this one - your F-16 was quite an interesting product at the end.
Putty-fu, Scratch-jutsu and Bash-chi, the sacred martial arts of the What-If. Mastering them, is Ancient Chinese Secret.

Just your friendly neighbourhood Mad Scientist and Ship-whiffer.

Overkill? Nah, it's Insurance.  So are the 20" guns.

Captain Canada

Nice work so far ! And I never noticed how much the underside of an A-10 looks like the topside of an F-18 !

:cheers:
CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?

Taiidantomcat

"Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality." -Jules de Gaultier

"My model is right! It's the real world that's wrong!" -global warming scientist

An armor guy, who builds airplanes almost exclusively, that he converts to space fighters-- all while admiring ship models.

ChernayaAkula

Cheers,
Moritz


Must, then, my projects bend to the iron yoke of a mechanical system? Is my soaring spirit to be chained down to the snail's pace of matter?

Wyrmshadow

This may be a silly question, but what is the short pylon along the spine between the turbines?
Likes to re-invent the wheel
http://1wyrmshadow1.deviantart.com/

ChernayaAkula

^ Not a pylon, Wyrm, but the intake and exhaust of the air conditioning system.

EDIT: Looking at it again, if you look at it as a pylon, how about using that pylon to mount an additional engine?  :wacko:
Cheers,
Moritz


Must, then, my projects bend to the iron yoke of a mechanical system? Is my soaring spirit to be chained down to the snail's pace of matter?

Big Bird

Quote from: ChernayaAkula on August 11, 2009, 02:52:36 PM
RAF Hog is a splendid idea!  :thumbsup: What camo is it going to carry?
I'm afraid I'm gonna have to leave you hanging with question. Wait and see ;D

Weaver

Yep -excellent notion!  :thumbsup:

I have my own ideas about RAF Hogs, so I'll be watching this with interest.....
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
 - Morpheus in Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman

"I dunno, I'm making this up as I go."
 - Indiana Jones '

Big Bird

Today's progress, I'm enjoying this little kit, fit isn't too bad, detail is fantastic.







More soon....


Big Bird


Sauragnmon

Coming along nicely, BB - going to whif any changes on her aside from the paint?  I'm curious to see if you venture off the path any, she's a beautiful bird so far.
Putty-fu, Scratch-jutsu and Bash-chi, the sacred martial arts of the What-If. Mastering them, is Ancient Chinese Secret.

Just your friendly neighbourhood Mad Scientist and Ship-whiffer.

Overkill? Nah, it's Insurance.  So are the 20" guns.

redstar72

Best regards,
Soviet Aviation enthusiast

GTX

Quote from: Sauragnmon on August 14, 2009, 09:58:59 PM
Coming along nicely, BB - going to whif any changes on her aside from the paint?  I'm curious to see if you venture off the path any, she's a beautiful bird so far.

You could try for something like posed in this thread:  http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,160.html

Regards,

Greg
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Weaver

I see you've already stuck the Pave Penny on, so this suggestion is maybe a bit late, but:

As I see it , the RAF's principle objection to the A-10 would be it's lack of all-weather avionics, so how about:

1a. Harrier-style FLIR in place of the redundant refuelling receptacle ahead of the windscreen.

1b. Lightning-style fixed refuelling probe under one wing instead of the receptacle (you can't have it next to the cockpit because spillage would go straight down the intakes).

2. Tornado-style chisel-nosed LRMTS fairing, either behind the nosewheel bay, on a modified Pave Penny pylon, or on the front of one mainwheel fairing. Obviously, the first one is easiest (nick it off a Tornado kit) IF it'll fit.

3. Terrain-following radar on the front of one mainwheel fairing.
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
 - Morpheus in Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman

"I dunno, I'm making this up as I go."
 - Indiana Jones '