Did the Navy and the world miss out on the F11F-1F Super Tiger

Discussion in 'Post-War' started by davparlr, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    In the early to mid-fifties, three, at or near Mach 2, air superiority fighters was developed by the AF and Navy, the F-104 Starfighter, the F8U Crusader, and the F11F-1F Super Tiger. All three powered by a single 16-18k lb thrust jet engine, the J-79 for the Starfighter and Super Tiger, and the J-57 for the Crusader. The following is a comparison of the three aircraft per Wikipedia adjusted to data from "American Combat Planes" by Wagner.

    Weight empty (lbs)
    F11F 16.5k
    F8U 15.5k
    F-104 13k

    Weight (combat) (lbs)
    F11F 21443
    F8U 23659*
    F-104 17768
    * While the F8U had more fuel than the F11F, it was not as aerodynamically clean as the F11F as the F11F was over 100 mph faster at sea level with similar thrust, therefore, the F8U would use more fuel to perform the same mission.

    Speed max (mph/M/altitude(1000 ft))
    F11F 1400/2.04/40k (note this max speed but at a higher altitude than the other two). Speed at 35k is 1325/2.01
    F8U 1013/1.53/35k
    F-104 1324/2.01/35k

    Range
    Roughly equivalent

    Ceiling (ft)
    F11F 50k (some sources say 59k)
    F8U 58k
    F-104 55k


    Thrust to Weight
    F11F .70
    F8U .68
    F-104 .84


    Wing loading (combat) (lbs/sqft)

    F11F 86
    F8U 63
    F-104 90

    The F11F-1F was an impressive performing aircraft for the era and seemed to be quite competitive with contemporary designs. It was very fast, matching the speed of the vaunted F-104 with the same engine and considerable faster than the F8U, 300 mph at altitude and 100 mph on the deck. It was obviously a great handling aircraft as the Blue Angels flew the F11F for many years. Also, had the Navy bought the F11-1F, it would have the same engine as the F4H Phantom II and the A5J Vigilante greatly simplifying logistics. This brought up a question, did the Navy, and the world, miss out on the F11F-1F?

    I can kind of understand why the Navy did not end up with the F11F-1F instead of the F8U. Grumman did not buy into the more powerful engines coming down the line as Lockheed and Vaught did, possibly trying to keep the weight of the F11F down. That was a mistake however and left it barely meeting the competition spec. The F8U, with its more powerful engine was clearly superior and, by the time Grumman switched to the J-79 engine, the Crusader was already in production.

    Foreign military sales were another issue. There is no doubt the F11F would have been a far better choice for foreign sales than the F-104. It was faster; no doubt better maneuvering, and by far a safer aircraft, especially for many weak foreign pilots. In my pilot training class there was one Afghanistan student who had taken two years to get through the one year course. His father was head of the Afghanistani Air Force and the USAF was determined to graduate him, dropping him back from class to class. He was finally passed and went on to fly, you guessed it, an F-104. There is probably a black hole with his name on it somewhere. Many more pilots would have survived service had the F11F-1F been the selection. Unfortunately, there was a big bribery issue going on against Lockheed at that time. Too bad, a possibly great aircraft never got to show its stuff.
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The wing loading looks like what did it in. I bet its low speed handling was dicey.
     
  3. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    That may be why Grumman selected the smaller engine in the first place. perhaps they should have selected a slightly larger wing, reducing some speed. It was not significantly higher wing loading above the developing F4H (15% over the RF4). The significant speed advantage the F11F-1F had over the F8U may have made an acceptable trade off. However, the wing loading was still less than the F-104s, and I am sure it would have been easier to fly and probably been a better and safer foreign sales aircraft.
     
  4. Zipper730

    Zipper730 Member

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    #4 Zipper730, Oct 18, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
    How did the F11F-1F compare to the F11F-1?

    You also have to consider the ramifications on thrust/weight. The J79's had thrust ratings that were similar to the J57 with a higher afterburner fraction.

    I thought the F8U-1 could do at least 1.7 mach if not Mach 2.0 (I remember, they planned to add area ruling, and should performance not add up, they'd make additional modifications to get it to Mach 2.0). One must consider that the actual capability is low-balled, and sometimes out of context (say 36,000 feet instead of 65,000 feet where it'd do best).

    I can't really vouch for the F8U but, the F-100 didn't handle as good at altitude so far as I know...

    Wing loading is not an absolute measurement for a plane's maneuverability. Aspect ratio is also important: The F-11F's was around 4, the F8U around 3.4, and the F-104 around 2.4. A big difference, and I've seen footage of the F11F-1 maneuvering, it didn't look bad.

    I think the F11F-1F had a bigger wing (not sure by how much), and a slightly different span.

    Actually the Germans were interested in it for their fighter-bomber, the Japanese for their interceptor.

    MAP admittedly preferred land-based fighters, and Lockheed had engaged in systematic bribery...

    Really shows what power can do...

    Actually if Tommy Thomason is correct, the F-11 was generally well remembered for it's basic handling, it had few handling quirks and vices. It just didn't have enough power.
     
  5. Zipper730

    Zipper730 Member

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    I have an image of the F11F-1F wing area difference.

    I'm not sure what you guys can do for determining the difference in span with image analysis but the data available states the following
    • The F11F-1 Short Nose: 40'10" in length, height of 12'9", span of 31' 7-1/2", Wing Area of 250 ft^2
    • The F11F-1 Long Nose: 46'11" in length, 13'3" in height, same span and area
    • The F11F-1F was 48'9" in length.
     
  6. Zipper730

    Zipper730 Member

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    Is this with all on internal fuel or the F8U-1 on internal fuel, F11F-1F on drop-tanks?

    Was there any political issues against the F11F-1 vs the F8U?
     
  7. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    #7 davparlr, Apr 25, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
    Hard to say, probably with internal fuel. F11F-1F had 914 gallons internal with max combat range of 1136 miles, F8U-1 had 1272 gallons internal with a combat range of 1474. But the F11F-1F was a true Mach 2 aircraft.
     
  8. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    I have read that the early J-79 in the F-104 had a fairly poor reputation, as being quite fragile, although I don't know how it compared to the J-65 in the F11F with regard to reliability or serviceability.
     
  9. Zipper730

    Zipper730 Member

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    If those ranges are correct, that would probably require external tanks for the F11F-1F to meet the F8U's range (those range figures far as I know are from the F-8A).
    Yeah, the F8U was a stretch for Mach 2, though the F8U-2's might have been faster as there was a small bypass door to deal with excessive air-pressure in the duct (there could be another reason though).

    I don't recall anything about the aircraft being flimsy by the standard of it's era. Sure, it had all kinds of other problems, but I never heard anything regarding strength.
     
  10. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    The J-79 was what I heard had the reputation for fragility. At least one aircraft was lost when the engine was FOD'ed by a dumpling.
     
  11. Zipper730

    Zipper730 Member

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    Unreliable at least, I remember reading about the following problems
    • Nozzle would freeze open: This was fixed via the use of a compressed air-bottle
    • Cabling to control the stator vnes would bind triggering massive compresor stalls
    A dumpling? LOL! That must have been a hell of a dumpling...
     
  12. Zipper730

    Zipper730 Member

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    What are the stall speeds of the F8U & F11F-2 with flaps-up?
     
  13. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    The J-79 engine, not the F-104 or F11F-1F aircraft. At least one F-104 was lost when the engine ingested a dumpling.
     
  14. Zipper730

    Zipper730 Member

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    What kind of dumpling are we talking about?
     
  15. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    #15 swampyankee, Jul 31, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
    Bavarian. A person living on one on the approach paths of a Luftwaffe runway used a catapult to shoot them at aircraft coming in. One dumpling went into the intake. J79s used a lot of variable geometry in the compressor. The IGV probably failed. I don't know what standards the AF had for FOD tolerance, but I've read several USAF aircraft needed mods to meet their standards for impact resistance, especially for the front end of the canopy, so the USAF's may have been less stringent than the civil standards.
     
  16. Zipper730

    Zipper730 Member

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    Okay, I can understand that: My mom had a German friend and apparently those things were like little bowling balls.
    Which ones if I may ask?
     
  17. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    I honestly can't remember, but the RAF operated few US combat aircraft. It may have been the F-4M.
     
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