SAC's Fighters

This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules

What aircraft?


What years? I was at Boca Chica 1971-74, doing training device support for VF101, and working part time for the base fueling contractor. Every time Hot Pad returned from a scramble we'd get an urgent call to get the birds topped off, muy pronto! If Fidel's boys were active and Willy Victor was out and about, Hot Pad would be scrambling repeatedly, and I would spend my entire shift running back and forth between Hot Pad and the fuel farm. Key West was a favorite destination for cross country "proficiency" flights, and on weekends the transient line often could pass for a military aviation museum.
Cuban Crisis: AD-5S, and sometime S2F-3 ... pre-MacNamara designations that we still used then.
I was ASW operator then, and we flew 8hr missions, usually 2 a day. We'd flown in birds from all over ... Med and WestPac, where I'd come from in a two-day, non-stop sea/air transfer. Only minor maintenance on ships, and flew trained crews and birds to Key West, Rosey Roads and Jax for major work. We often continued flight ops with our slow birds while a tanker was hooked up alongside, filling the Wasp's AvGas bunkers.

Key West Hot Pad: Mostly '68 in F-4Js.
Would rotate duty from East Coast F-4 squadrons, mostly from Oceana and I believe on occasion, MCAS Cherry Point. We didn't seem too busy at the time, and would be on duty 48 on, 48 off with two crews in staggered rotation. Our TAD was usually 3-4 weeks, and when there (or NAS Fallon for live ordnance quals) I'd go to the local car dealer and buy a beater trade-in from their back lot ... rust bucket or dent queen, with solid running gear but unsalable, so dirt cheap. The car would swap between duty crews. Would sell off base BX bulletin board for chump change when TAD was done ... Before age of rental cars. Great areas for a young, single guy if you had wheels ... beach, sailing, fishing in KW and Reno in Fallon ... and dress whites were chick magnets.

Photo Recon errata: Virtually all current accounts of the '62 Cuban Missile Crisis only mention U-2 photo recon overflights. Strangely, low level flights with USN F8U-1P Crusaders, USAF RF-101 Voodoos and amazingly, a sea skimming USN S2F-2P tour of Havana Harbor, are overlooked. Rather than hijack this thread, I'll start another to discuss.
 
Fannum, it looks like you're a little ahead of yourself here. Sure SA2s and Nikes were putting in their appearance circa 1960 (FG Powers), but they were far from an impenetrable shield for at least another decade, if ever.
It seems that there was quite a variation in opinion as to the exact lethality of the SA-2. If I recall somebody here (possibly you) mentioned the SA-2's radar beam was fairly agile and that might have led to the conclusion that the missile would be as well. Others didn't seem to have such pessimism about the capability (SAC seemed more confident).
And the Bulls and the Bears and the Badgers were always lurking out there to send their standoff missiles through the pores in the sieve.
Yeah, and the range of the interceptors were generally longer than the missiles and they could make multiple attacks.

Again, this thread was based on late 50s
That's why I mentioned the exercises from 1958-1962. From what I recall the Hercules (possibly the Hawk which came online in the summer of 1960) were used in these tests and it seemed that the bombers were able to make it through that even at altitude in some cases: Interestingly, I vaguely remember there being something that indicated an assumption that the Hawk would render fighters useless without some form of ECM (although it's capabilities eclipsed the SA-2) and this probably would make it fairly close to equivalent to the SA-3 (which came online in 1961).
a total revolution occurred in the SAC mission ... both translating to a non-nuclear, middle ground between tactical and strategic bombing. Carpet bombing was confined to the South due to the massive AAA and SAM threats up North, and initial high losses there. Also, politics kept us away from the most beneficial targets, the air bases, SAM stocks, ports, power production, etc.
While SAC's mission was predominantly nuclear-deterrence/armageddon, they were able to do conventional bombing with some of the aircraft, and the initial plans for Arc Light One was for a low-altitude bombing attack on Kep Airfield. The other attacks would have been much of the rest you said (as well as going full-arson on the cities of North Vietnam).
I was part of the USN Iron Hand project, precursor to better publicized AF Wild Weasel.
Oh really? That's pretty cool. I'm surprised the USAF didn't develop more anti-radiation missiles. There was the GAM-67, but it was subsonic (there was technically a proposed crossbow but it was cancelled). The USN seemed to have two designs, one which became the Shrike, and the Corvus. I figure the Corvus predated the Shrike and could have probably been in service a little earlier.
 
It seems that there was quite a variation in opinion as to the exact lethality of the SA-2. If I recall somebody here (possibly you) mentioned the SA-2's radar beam was fairly agile and that might have led to the conclusion that the missile would be as well. Others didn't seem to have such pessimism about the capability (SAC seemed more confident).
Yeah, and the range of the interceptors were generally longer than the missiles and they could make multiple attacks.

That's why I mentioned the exercises from 1958-1962. From what I recall the Hercules (possibly the Hawk which came online in the summer of 1960) were used in these tests and it seemed that the bombers were able to make it through that even at altitude in some cases: Interestingly, I vaguely remember there being something that indicated an assumption that the Hawk would render fighters useless without some form of ECM (although it's capabilities eclipsed the SA-2) and this probably would make it fairly close to equivalent to the SA-3 (which came online in 1961).
While SAC's mission was predominantly nuclear-deterrence/armageddon, they were able to do conventional bombing with some of the aircraft, and the initial plans for Arc Light One was for a low-altitude bombing attack on Kep Airfield. The other attacks would have been much of the rest you said (as well as going full-arson on the cities of North Vietnam).
Oh really? That's pretty cool. I'm surprised the USAF didn't develop more anti-radiation missiles. There was the GAM-67, but it was subsonic (there was technically a proposed crossbow but it was cancelled). The USN seemed to have two designs, one which became the Shrike, and the Corvus. I figure the Corvus predated the Shrike and could have probably been in service a little earlier.
You've got some good information, Zipper. However, I'd suggest laying this all out with REALISTIC time lines, especially when these promised advances were truly mission capable. War games always seem to emphasize the GAMES aspects, and in retrospect we invariably find that combos of optimism/pessimism in the ROE undermine the project. Also, politics are seldom a factor in the games. During my career, we NEVER lost a war game, but in the last 75 years, we've sure lost a LOT of wars!!
Also, look at all the pre-WW2 ads and publicity that the miraculous, fully tested and proven Norden bomb sight would put a 500 pounder into a pickle barrel from 25,000 ft!
Then post-war analysis found the true Circle of Probability to be 3-5 miles!!
Remember that Press Releases and Capability Brochures are really just bullshit you can fold.

Does anyone remember when the first standoff precision unmanned aerial weapon was tested? Look up the WWI Kettering Bug.
When was the first appearance of effective guided bombs? How about First Gulf War.
Every time we were in a conflict, we'd thrash around getting organized, get troops up to strength, get logistics straight, and only then would we get focused on stand off precision weapons. Then, peace time priorities put them on the back burner, confined to studies ... until we were deep into the next war!
That wasn't my role in VietNam, but I was in the same boat developing Anti-Sam weapons and tactics amid fighting for funding and priorities.
 
Following up on previous post. The system posted before I wanted it to, and wouldn't let me edit. We had the SAM site sensors in pretty good shape quickly, but needed to get a stand off missile to take out the site. The whiz kids at places like Saunders developed the guidance to our feedback, but we had no funding for a missile. We'd scour the Nellis and China Lake storage bunkers for obsolete missiles, and tack on our gear to test. Bullpups and Mavericks were too dear stateside, and we'd use most anything we could fit on racks and cobble a guidance package to.

G





O
 
Following up on previous post. The system posted before I wanted it to, and wouldn't let me edit. We had the SAM site sensors in pretty good shape quickly, but needed to get a stand off missile to take out the site. The whiz kids at places like Saunders developed the guidance to our feedback, but we had no funding for a missile. We'd scour the Nellis and China Lake storage bunkers for obsolete missiles, and tack on our gear to test. Bullpups and Mavericks were too dear stateside, and we'd use most anything we could fit on racks and cobble a guidance package to.
So this is where HARM "fire and forget" anti radiation missiles came from? Bravo Zulu!
 
Last edited:
Would rotate duty from East Coast F-4 squadrons, mostly from Oceana and I believe on occasion, MCAS Cherry Point.
By my time, the ratio was rather heavily weighted towards USMC squadrons from Cherry Pt and Beaufort, and they would show up with some pretty ragged aircraft and kit. By Jan, 1972 Navy F4Bs were nowhere to be seen, but the Marine squadrons were still showing up with them for Hot Pad into 1973-74. Strapped for cash, USMC would take advantage of Hot Pad maintenance priority to prop up their tired old birds. They would fly their tiredest old hangar queens down, put the worst pair on Ready One, declare them down, and send them off to AIMD for priority NAVY FUNDED repair. After a couple weeks, all patched up, the initial birds would get rotated back to Homeplate and get replaced by new candidates for resuscitation. They would also show up with unairworthy AAMs, get them swapped for "good" ones, then rotate the good ones home with the repaired jets. Scuttlebut had it that NAS CO complained about this to AirLant, and was told to eat it.
 
You've got some good information, Zipper. However, I'd suggest laying this all out with REALISTIC time lines, especially when these promised advances were truly mission capable.
That's a good point.

I'm really surprised more money wasn't poured into anti-radiation missiles. It was a clear means to defeat enemy air-defenses. After all, once missiles started to become a major threat which I figure would be by 5/1/60 at latest with the shoot-down of Gary Powers, though there were concerns before that which included a Canberra reconnaissance plane getting shot down (10/7/59), to our own missile developments, and potential knowledge of Soviet missile developments.

While I forgot about this, while I was searching for anti-radiation missiles, I actually found an old post of mine. I figure if the USAF didn't kill the project it would have been possible to get it to operational status by 1962 or 1963.

While I don't know anything about the WS-121B (which was a USAF development): I wouldn't be surprised if it was bigger and heavier than the Corvus and there's something to be said about small and light.
Remember that Press Releases and Capability Brochures are really just bullshit you can fold.
That's a great line...
When was the first appearance of effective guided bombs? How about First Gulf War.
I thought Vietnam saw them used to considerable effect...
 
Last edited:
By my time, the ratio was rather heavily weighted towards USMC squadrons from Cherry Pt and Beaufort, and they would show up with some pretty ragged aircraft and kit. By Jan, 1972 Navy F4Bs were nowhere to be seen, but the Marine squadrons were still showing up with them for Hot Pad into 1973-74. Strapped for cash, USMC would take advantage of Hot Pad maintenance priority to prop up their tired old birds. They would fly their tiredest old hangar queens down, put the worst pair on Ready One, declare them down, and send them off to AIMD for priority NAVY FUNDED repair. After a couple weeks, all patched up, the initial birds would get rotated back to Homeplate and get replaced by new candidates for resuscitation. They would also show up with unairworthy AAMs, get them swapped for "good" ones, then rotate the good ones home with the repaired jets. Scuttlebut had it that NAS CO complained about this to AirLant, and was told to eat it.
 
fannum fannum

Uh, you didn't type anything: I think you mentioned that you ended up having that happen before when the system caused the message to appear before you were finished.

I think you might have fallen prey to the same glitch twice.
 
fannum fannum

Uh, you didn't type anything: I think you mentioned that you ended up having that happen before when the system caused the message to appear before you were finished.

I think you might have fallen prey to the same glitch twice.
Somehow, I wound up being unable to either reply or edit. Had to sign out of everything, reboot computer, and now WW2Aircraft seems to work again. All other programs still worked fine. Hmmm!
If this works, I have some Hot Pad/USMC Air comments
 
When was the first appearance of effective guided bombs? How about First Gulf War.
define "effective"
Some of the end of WW II or Korean war stuff was supposed to 10 times more effective that dropping unguided munitions but that was hardly up to the claimed accuracy ;)

Only 10-20 bombs to take out bridge vs several hundred?

Getting to even 50% hits might very well have take to the 1st Gulf War.
 
Somehow, I wound up being unable to either reply or edit. Had to sign out of everything, reboot computer, and now WW2Aircraft seems to work again.
That's unusual, but at least it works now
I have some Hot Pad/USMC Air comments
Go for it, it's never stopped me lol
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back