This page contains information about miscellaneous Cold War technology.
The Self Loading Rifle was designed in Canada in the early 1950s by Belgian emigres Dieudonné Saive and Ernest Vervier. They left Belgium in 1946 and headed for Canada, where they went to work for Canadian Arsenals in Montreal. They took with them drawings of a semi-automatic rifle.
Development of this design led to the Self-Loading Rifle or SLR, which was adopted for production in Canada (C1A1), Australia (L1A1), and India (1A1). It was exported throughout the League of Democracies and several neutral powers. The weapon was also developed into a section automatic weapon, known as the "Automatic Rifle". The Automatic Rifle saw some use, but 7.62mm Bren Guns were usually preferred. The SLR was a highly reliable and hard-hitting. Its main disadvantage was its weight. It continued to serve Canada until 1986 Australia and New Zealand until 1989, and India until 1993. Canada replaced the SLR with the C7, a derivative of the M16 rifle. Australia and New Zealand adopted the M16A3 rifle. India replaced the SLR with an Indian-designed derivative of the Russian Kalashnikov rifle.
The SLR gained prominence in the Second Falklands War.
- Weight 4.0–4.45 kg (8.8–9.8 lb)
- Length 1,090 mm (43 in)
- Barrel length 533 mm (21 in)
- Cartridge 7.62x51mm
- Action Gas-operated, tilting breechblock
- Rate of fire 650 rounds/min
- Muzzle velocity 823 m/s (2,700 ft/s)
- Effective range 500 meters
- Feed system 20 or 30-round detachable box magazine
- Sights Aperture rear sight, hooded post front sight
The Armalite AR-10 is an American designed 7.62mm select battle rifle. The AR-10 uses a modified direct gas-impingement system to operate a rotating bolt. While it has never been adopted as the standard military rifle of any country, it has been used in limited numbers by many countries in the League of Democracies, and neutral powers. The AR-10 is the progenitor of the M16 rifle. The AR-10 was developed to replace the M1 Garand in the US Armed Forces. When it was rejected in favour of the Springfield T-44 (M14), Armalite sold a manufacturing licence to the Australian company Artillery Instruments Ltd in 1957. AI sold rifles in small batches to Sudan, Cuba, Nicaragua, and a number of other countries. Incremental improvements were made each batch of rifles. Numbers ran from several hundred, to several thousand. The first large order came from India, which ordered 10,000 rifles in 1959 to equip their paratroopers. AI and Armalite developed new versions, including a carbine, and light machine guns (both magazine and belt-fed). Semi-automatic version were developed for police and civilian sales. The Australian Government ordered 15,000 rifles in 1964 as aid for North Vietnam. Several of these rifles found their way into the hands of Australian special forces troops. This led to further orders for the Australian military. During the 1990s, AI modernised the AR-10 by incorporating technology from the M16A2. The AR-10A2 range is still in production, and a number of American companies produce AR-10 style rifles.
General Purpose Machine GunEdit
The Canadian designed GPMG (normally designated C6) is another design by Dieudonné Saive and Ernest Vervier. It takes the mechanism from the American Browning Automatic Rifle and the feed system from the German MG 42 to create one of the world's best general purpose machine guns. The GPMG is now produced in the US as the M240.
F1/C1 Submachine GunEdit
This Australian designed submachine gun was a standard weapon in the Elizabethan Commonwealth. It is a simple, practical, and reliable weapon. Its top-mounted magazine is a unique Australian feature, and aids in reliable feeding. A .45 ACP version was produced for export to the US, and proved popular with law enforcement. Long-barrelled semi-automatic versions were sold as civilian carbines throughout the democratic world. A 9mm Makarov version for the Russian market was adopted by several Russian police forces.
Mauser Roller-Locked WeaponsEdit
Mauser developed a series of roller-locked weapons based on its unsuccessful wartime Sturmgewehr 45 rifle.
Gewehr 59 rifleEdit
The Gewehr 59 rifle is a 7.92x50mm automatic rifle developed by Mauser in Germany. It is based on the Sturmgewehr 45 rifle, which was cancelled with the end of the war. The need for the G 59 came from a Wehrmacht requirement for a select fire rifle that outranged the standard StG 44. For this new weapon, a new cartridge was developed, the 7.92x50mm known as 7.92 Mittel. This cartridge had ballistic performance as good as the traditional 7.92x57mm Mauser which the German Army had used since 1905. The new cartridge was adopted in 1953, and the MG 34, MG 42 and MG 26(t) were adapted to fire it. The 7.92 Mittel cartridge was simply a shortened 7.92 Mauser, so the adaptation was simple for these weapons. It was not deemed cost-effective to modify the FG 42, G 43, or the Kar 98k. The new rifle was intended to supplement the StG 44, and replace the FG 42, G 43, and Kar 98k. Mauser's submission for the requirement was a refined expansion of its roller-locked StG 45 design. Since it wasn't designed for the desperate situation of 1944-45, a better quality weapon was possible, however low-cost of construction was emphasised by Mauser. The rifle they produced, the Mauser 31 defeated the Rheinmetall-Borsig design (which was essentially a modified FG 42), and was designated Gewehr 59. Issue to German troops in infantry and mountain divisions of the Army and Waffen-SS. It is also issued to Naval Infantry and paratroopers. It also serves with police forces. A sniper variant is used by all infantry units as a designated marksman's rifle. This version, the G 59SG/1 is built on the best performing G 59s. These rifles are accurised and fitted with a special trigger assembly and scope. A carbine variant is also available as the Gewehr 59k. It can be fitted with a 40mm grenade launcher. Substantially altered versions, designated PSG 85 and MSG 90, are offered as sniper rifles, but are not used by the Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS, of any German police force.
To replace the Czech MG 26(t), a version of the G 59 with a quick change barrel, and belt or magazine feed was developed. It was adopted as the MG 62. Mauser produces a semi-automatic civilian version marketed as the Mauser 41. to civilians with special permits, and to export customers. In addition, several German allies produce the G 59 under licence, for government and for civilian use. Argentina produces its own version in the 7.62x51mm cartridge used by the League of Democracies. A semi-automatic version of this rifle is sold to civilians and exported.
Sturmgewehr 65 rifleEdit
The Sturmgewehr 65 is a 7.92 Kurz assault rifle developed by Mauser in Germany. It is a 7.92 Kurz version of the Gewehr 59, and features the same roller-delayed blowback action. It was introduced in 1966, and was issued on a limited basis to German troops fighting in Vietnam. It is lighter than the standard StG 44 rifle, and uses plastic furniture, which will not rot in the humid conditions of Vietnam. It was generally issued with a 20-round magazine. The 30 round StG 44 magazine could be used, but this long magazine made firing from the prone positions almost impossible.
The StG 65 was designed to accept optical sights. Originally this capability was intended to allow the StG 65 to be used for sniping, but in Vietnam the normal optical sight was an image intensifier, giving the StG 65 a night-fighting capability. A night sight was issued to every German infantry section in Vietnam. The StG 65 was issued to many South Vietnamese units, and large numbers were captured by the VDC.
Sturmgewehr 72 rifleEdit
Sturmgewehr 72 is a 5.92mm assault rifle based on the Gewehr 59. It was developed to take advantage of the new 5.92mm cartridge designed to emulate the performance of the American 5.56mm round, which the Germans had encountered in Vietnam in the M16 rifle. It was adopted in limited numbers by special operations forces and police units. However, it lost the bid to become Germany's service rifle to a bullpup design from Steyr (see below). There are two short versions, the StG 72k with a 33 cm barrel, and the StG 73MP with a 21 cm barrel.
Maschinenpistole 68 submachine gunEdit
The MP 68 9mm sub machine gun is widely regarded as the best sub machine gun in the world. The MP 68's suppressed version was a favourite assassination weapon in the Vietnam War. There is also a compact variant intended for concealed carry. MP 68s are manufactured by various current and former allies of Germany.
Sturmgewehr 77 rifleEdit
The Sturmgewehr 77 is a 5.92mm bullpup assault rifle developed by Steyr-Mannlicher of Ostmark, Germany. It was the first completely new rifle issued to the Wehrmacht since the StG 45 of World War 2. It was adopted by the Wehrmacht in 1977, though its development was initiated by the Waffen-SS. The rifle was intended to implement all of the lessons learned by the Germans during the Vietnam War. Innovations in the rifle include a US-style operating system, the bullpup design, a small caliber cartridge, and the extensive use of plastics.
The development of the German small caliber round started during the Vietnam War. Comparisons of captured 5.56mm ammunition with the existing German 7.92mm Kurz round revealed the superiority of the smaller cartridge in wounding. The German 5.92 x 45 mm round is essentially a copy of the US 5.56mm round with a wider neck to accomodate a larger bullet. The reason for choosing the 5.92mm calibre is it is exactly 2mm less than the standard 7.92mm German calibre. The 5.92 mm round is now standard throughout the global Axis alliance. Its performance is comparable to the 5.56mm round used by the League of Democracies and the 5.45mm round used by Russia and many of its allies.
The StG 77 has a "progressive" trigger mechanism. Pulling the trigger halfway produces semi-automatic fire, pulling the trigger fully gives automatic fire. A cross-trigger safety prevents unauthorised firing. The rifle can either have a built-in optical sight, or a mounting for any desired optical sight. The standard barrel length is 50 cm, but alternative barrels measuring 30 cm, 40 cm, and 62 cm are available. A 9mm version designated MP 88 is in use. The StG 77 was intended to replace all shoulder fired individual weapons in the Wehrmacht, but in practice, some specialised weapons have remained, largely due to low productivity.
The StG 77 has a modular design, allowing for differing barrel lengths, exchange of receivers (either integrated optical sight, or sight rail), and exchange of trigger mechanisms (burst fire or single fire only). It has been extensively exported to both EU and non-EU countries. Production licences have been sold to Pakistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Venezuela, North Korea, and Argentina. Rifles captured in Africa have formed the basis of American MSAR STG-556, which is a civilian/law enforcement 5.56mm clone of the StG 77. Although Argentina has joined the League of Democracies it continues to produce the StG 77, where it is known as the 5.56mm FM FAS (Fusil automático de Steyr, Steyr Automatic Rifle). The StG 77 has spawned a generation of bullpup rifles including the French FAMAS, the British SA80, the South African CR-21, the Croatian VHS, the Chinese QBZ-95, and the Finnish Valmet M82. Argentina is the only League of Democracies member to use a bullpup rifle due to tactical limitations and 'identification' problems. 'OPFOR' units in the League's armies use some bullpup rifles for realism, such as the Armtech C60R from Australia, the Kel-Tec RDB from the US, and the Muzzelite bullpup stock for the Ruger Mini-14.
Light Machine GunEdit
The LMG is a 5.56mm light machine gun designed by Ernest Vervier for Canadian Arsenals of Montreal. It entered service with the Canadian Army in the late 1980s. It also serves with the armies of Australia and New Zealand. It is manufactured under licence in Japan and the United States. A 7.62 x 51 mm version was developed to replace the L2/C2 automatic rifle and 7.62mm Bren Gun. It is known as C9 in Canada and New Zealand, F89 in Australia, and M249 in the US.
- Weight: 7.51 kg
- Length: 103.8 cm
- Sight - Primary: Optical 3.4 X
- Sight - Front: Post
- Sight - Rear: Aperture
- Magazine Capacity: 200 rounds, disintegrating linked belt or 30 round rifle magazine
- Ammunition: 5.56mm x 45mm
- Muzzle Velocity: 915 m/s
- Type of Fire: automatic, 700-1,150 rounds/min
- Range - Effective: 600 m
The Ruger MP is a 9mm Parabellum American submachine gun designed by German-Jewish refugee Uziel Gal, and produced by Sturm, Ruger & Co. The Ruger MP uses a "telescoping bolt" design, which places most of the mass of the bolt in front of the chamber resulting in a substantially shortened weapon. The weapon was intended to gain a US military contract, but, apart from small contracts, it was not adopted by the US armed forces. It became enourmously popular with Latin American countries, and American police forces. It was used extensively by the US Secret Service. With conversion kits, it can fire 0.45ACP, and 0.22LR cartridges. During the 1980s, an improved version called the "Ruger MP9" was released. The AG Strojnica ERO is an unlicensed copy produced in Croatia. A version with a 16-inch barrel was offered on the US civilian market.
C5 155 mm HowitzerEdit
Canada has been one of the world's foremost developers of artillery weapons. This is almost solely due to one man: Dr. Gerald Bull. He was appointed to head research at the Commonwealth Artillery Research Centre in Canada. In 1976, Bull's team produced a design for a long-range 155 mm howitzer. It had a barrel 45 calibres long, and a new type of projectile. The howitzer had its own small engine for limited mobility. The C5 howitzer entered service in 1980. It formed the basis of most of Canada's artillery.
C6 155 mm Self Propelled HowitzerEdit
The C6 is a self-propelled version of the C5. It was designed to full the requirements of Australia.
M109C 155 mm Self Propelled HowitzerEdit
The M109C unites the American M109 chassis and turret with the C5 howitzer. It was developed for Canada, and formed the basis of the American M109A6 Paladin.
C7 105 mm HowitzerEdit
The C7 is a lightweight 105mm howitzer designed for easy deployment. It entered service with the Canadian Army in 1983 and served in the Second Falklands War with distinction. It outranged Argentine and British 15 cm howitzers.
Commonwealth Aircraft Carrier (Sea Control Ship)Edit
The Sea Control Ship was a small aircraft carrier concept developed by the US Navy. In the event, the US Navy did not adopt the concept, but it was adopted in the late 1970s by the navies of Canada, Australia, and Japan to provide a replacement for the elderly Essex class aircraft carriers used by those navies. It is usually used with the FV-16 Wraith (Canadian designation: CF-156).
Adelaide/Sherbrooke class destroyerEdit
The Adelaide/Sherbrooke class destroyers are guided missile destroyers operated by the RAN and the RCN. They are air defence detivatives of the American Spruance class destroyers. Their development was rapid due to the modular design of Spruance class. They have a massive arsenal of 68 Standard or ASROC missiles, 8 Harpoons, and two CH-151 Sea Sprite helicopters.
Australia ordered four ships (under the name "Adelaide class") while Canada was to purchase eight. The first was commissioned in 1979. The Australian ships did not carry ASROC until they were fitted with VLS.
They were used to great effect in the Second Falklands War where they shot down over 25 confirmed British and Argentine aircraft. Two were lost in the Falklands War (HMCS Sherbrooke and HMCS Côte-Saint-Luc, but both were replaced after the war.
The Adelaide/Sherbrooke class destroyers recently went through a Service Life Extension Program, which included the replacement of the Mark 26 missile launchers with two 61 cell Mark 41 VLS fore and aft. This gave them the ability to carry Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Commonwealth Escort FrigateEdit
The Commonwealth Escort Frigates are ocean escort frigates. They are intended to provide anti-air, anti-ship, and anti-submarine defence to an amphibious task force or merchant convoy. They are armed with the Mark 13 missile launcher with both Standard anti-air and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. They also have an American Mark 75 gun for surface engagements. They can carry two helicopters, either Sea Kings or Seahawks. The ships are unique in having an all-Canadian gas turbine powerplant consisting of 2 Orenda Marine Huron boost engines and two Pratt & Whitney Canada FT12 cruise engines. They are used by Canada, and India. Australia rejected the frigates in favour of the American Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigate.
During the Falklands War, the ships were criticised for having 2-dimensional radars and only one channel of fire. After the war, they received a 3D radar, and a second illuminator. During the late 1990s, the class received a full upgrade, including a new funnel, 32-cell Mark 41 vertical launcher, and two four-round Mark 141 Harpoon launchers. The electronics were upgraded to take Standard Missile 2.
Commonwealth Patrol FrigateEdit
The Georgetown class of frigates are Canadian-designed patrol frigates. Patrol frigates are not intended for ocean escort, but are multi-purpose ships. They can deploy in a task force or carry out sovereignty patrol. They were intended to be relatively inexpensive ships, built to replace obsolete or lost warships and increase the size of the Royal Canadian Navy. The Georgetown class have modest anti-ship and anti-submarine capabilities, and can defend themselves from air attack (not they are not air defence ships). They fill the gap between patrol craft and guided missile frigates. The Georgetown class is also used by Australia and New Zealand under the name "ANZAC class". They are the only combatants of the Royal New Zealand Navy.
Canadian Escort FrigateEdit
The Columbia class frigate was the result of the Canadian Escort Frigate Program. It is a derivative of the Georgetown class, and intended to provide an ocean escort capability, a role similar to the American Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates. They have anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine capabilities. Their anti-submarine capability is particularly potent, since it can carry two large anti-submarine helicopters such as the CH-124 Sea King or the CH-165 Cyclone. The frigate is also used by Australia.
Grumman B-2 VindicatorEdit
The Grumman B-2 Vindicator is a swing-wing supersonic medium bomber based on the Russian Tupolev Tu-22M. It is used by the Royal Canadian Air Force, the US Navy.
The requirement for the Vindicator was first put forward in 1965 by Australia and Canada jointly. Australia and Canada operated aging B-47 Stratojets to deliver its nuclear weapons. Proposals were solicited from the aircraft industries of the US and Russia. Any successful proposal would have to be based on an existing design. The principal US offering of the FB-111 did not impress Australia or Canada. Both countries used the F-111C, and did not consider that the FB-111A would provide much additional capability.
Avro Canada, the Government Aircraft Factories of Australia, and Tupolev proposed a Tu-22M derivative. The proposal would involve a modified Tu-22 airframe, with Western avionics, and a new engine developed by Orenda Engines. Avro Canada would be the prime contractor. The prospect of having Avro Canada as a prime contractor on such a major program did not tempt the Canadian government, which still remembered the debacle of the CF-105 Arrow.
During the mid-1960s, the US Navy had gained Pentagon approval to purchase land-based bombers specifically for maritime strike. The B-52 had been out of production for some time, and the US Navy was hesitant about the North American B-1 supersonic bomber. They preferred a medium bomber. The Tu-22M interested the US Navy, as it was a high performance medium bomber already intended for maritime strike. The intervention of the US Navy rescued the program from cancellation. The "League Medium Bomber Group" was formed in 1966, and consisted of the USN, the RAAF, the RCAF and industry representatives. Fairly soon, full requirements, and the potential market took shape. The US Navy required 200 aircraft, the RCAF wanted fifty, the RAAF 36, Japan, India, and Saudi Arabia required thirty each. Rising costs caused the Australian government to pull out of the program in 1967. The RAAF took the cheaper option of increasing its F-111 order. Canada also ordered more F-111s, but this was said to be an interim solution. Japan, India, and Saudi Arabia pulled out as well. The US Navy preferred an American company as prime contractor, and this accorded with the views of the Canadian government, and the other countries involved. The company selected in 1968 was Grumman. Grumman and Tupolev negotiated a licence agreement for a new version, with the right to modify the aircraft, and export it inside the League of Democracies. The LMBG also ordered two prototypes from Tupolev for airframe and systems development. Orenda's proposal for a Canadian designed engine was dropped, but Orenda and General Electric were given licences to produce the Kuznetsov NK-25 turbofan. Grumman supervised the integration of US avionics, and made airframe changes. The principal change was the switch to "box ramp" inlets, and the addition of a refueling receptacle on the nose. The tail gun was removed, and replaced with jammers.
The first flight of the new aircraft, now designated B-2 Vindicator took place in 1975. A total of three prototypes were built. All of the prototypes were built by Grumman, however a production sharing agreement was negotiated between Grumman, and Avro Canada. The testing program was extensive, taking the new aircraft through every phase of the envelope, testing all avionics in a variety of conditions, and dropping or firing every anticipated weapon. In total, the testing program took three years to complete. While the US Navy had intended to use the B-2 for maritime strike, the US Marines managed to get Congress to include a land attack capability for the US Navy's aircraft.
The B-3 entered service with the US Navy in late 1977. Deliveries to Canada followed in 1980. During the Persian Gulf War of 1995, B-2 Vindicators of the RCAF gave sterling service, including the carpet bombing of Republican Guard positions. During the late 1990s, most B-2 Vindicators were modernised with new avionics. The B-2 Vindicator was offered to the US Air Force, however the USAF preferred to retain their combination of Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses, Rockwell B-1B Lancers, and Northrop B-3A Spirit stealth bombers. The B-2 is expected to continue to serve until at least 2035.
McDonnell Douglas F-4K/M PhantomEdit
The McDonnell Douglas F-4K/M Phantom is the Commonwealth version of the American F-4 Phantom fighter aircraft. From the late 1960s to the early 1990s, it was used extensively by the navies and air forces of Canada and Australia. During the late fifties, the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Canadian Navy introduced the F8U Crusader and the A4D-2 Skyhawk. These aircraft provided an adequate day fighter and light attack capability from their Essex class aircraft carriers. After only a few years, the strategic situations for both Australia and Canada had worsened considerable. The Fascist takeover on Cuba and Fidel Castro's invitation to Germany to station troops, ships, and aircraft in Cuba created problems for the Allies in America generally, and for Canada's Caribbean territories in particular. The relationship between Germany and Indonesian dictator Sukarno became closer throughout the late fifties and early sixties. German arms poured into Indonesia, creating a possible threat to Australia, Malaysia, and even the Philippines. By 1964, Indonesia's air force and naval aviation could, according to strategists, inflict crippling losses on the RAN. To counter the new threats, both navies came to the same answer: an all-weather, long-range, supersonic, multi-role fighter. Each navy learned of the other's requirement, and the Diefenbaker Government of Canada and the Menzies Government of Australia decided on a joint Phantom program.
The requirement issued by the RAN and RCN in 1964 specified a fleet defence capability, and long-range strike capability. The RAN and RCN complicated the matter by also requiring that the aircraft be able to operate from Australian and Canadian Essex class aircraft carriers. Grumman and McDonnell responded to the requirement, offering the Grumman F11F Super Tiger and the F-4 Phantom respectively. For political reasons, both Australia and Canada mandated a large amount of Australian and Canadian content. The principal Australian contractor was the Government Aircraft Factories, and the principal Canadian contractor was Avro Canada.
Most important among the Commonwealth components was the Orenda Huron afterburning turbofan. The Orenda Huron was originally intended for civilian aircraft, but was militarised by the addition of an afterburner. The Orenda Huron is capable of producing over 20,000 pounds of thrust, compared with 17,900 pounds for the General Electric J79. The Orenda Huron also has lower fuel consumption than the J79. The disadvantages of the Huron were its larger size, in terms of its diameter, and its greater appetite for air. However, the Huron's greater power would improve carrier launch and recovery performance, essential for the smaller Commonwealth aircraft carriers. Because the prime contractor for the F-4K/M was American, the Huron received a US military designation, TF41. The Orenda Huron proved to be a good investment in its own right, being licensed to Allison Engines, and used in the A-7 Corsair. In addition, the Huron was used in several civilian aircraft, including the Gulfstream II and III. In addition, the Marine Huron powers several classes of warships. The following versions of the Huron have seen military service:
- Allison's entrant for the engine component of TFX (F-111), unsuccessful
- F-4K Phantom II
- F-4K Phantom II, manufactured by Orenda Australia
- YF-4L Phantom II, manufactured by Allison Engines, not adopted
- F-4M Phantom II
- F-4M Phantom II, manufactured by Orenda Australia
- A-7D Corsair II, manufactured by Allison Engines
- A-7D Corsair II for RAAF, and RNZAF, manufactured by Orenda Australia
- A-7E Corsair II, manufactured by Allison Engines
- A-7E Corsair II for RAN, manufactured by Orenda Australia
- C-20 Gulfstream II
The aircraft chosen was the Phantom. The intended Commonwealth version of the Phantom (dubbed "F-4K" by McDonnell) would be based on the US Navy's F-4J. Avro Canada would design and manufacture the rear fuselage, while GAF would manufacture the wings. Both companies would act as sub-contractors to McDonnell. Part of the avionics (including the radar) were to be manufactured by AWA (Amalgamated Wireless Australasia), and by RCA Victor. The radar used on the F-4K was the AN/AWG-11, which was essentially a licence-built AN/AWG-10 with a folding antenna. Other changes included a folding radome, a nose-wheel extension, and a strengthened arrester hook. The redesign of the Phantom to suit the Huron made the Phantom slower at high altitudes. The F-4K first flew in April 1966, and was delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy in early 1968. Deliveries to the Royal Australian Navy soon followed. Shortly before delivery, the Canadian government gave the aircraft the designation "CF-110K Phantom II". Each Navy ordered more than sixty aircraft. Naval deliveries were soon suspended, with the aircraft going to the Royal Australian Air Force, and Royal Canadian Air Force. It was not until 1970, that HMAS Melbourne and HMCS Bonaventure sailed with a Phantom-based air wing.
Initially, neither the Royal Canadian Air Force nor the Royal Australian Air Force wanted the Phantom as either an air defence interceptor or a strike aircraft. Both services had committed to other types, namely the F-X fighter (later to become the F-15 Eagle), and the F-111 strike aircraft. The Vietnam War showed the inadequacies of the RCAF's CF-101B Voodoo interceptor, and the RAAF's F-105D Thunderchief strike aircraft. Losses of the Thunderchief, and the poor serviceability of the Voodoo were telling factors. The inability of the CF-101B to engage German escort fighters over Vietnam also frustrated the RCAF. During 1967, both the RAAF and RCAF submitted urgent requirements for Phantoms to supplement aircraft being used in Vietnam. As a result, some of the first batches of F-4K Phantoms were diverted to the RAAF and RCAF, while McDonnell adapted the F-4K for operations from land only. The land based F-4M omitted the F-4K's extended nose wheel, folding radome, drooping ailerons and catapult launch attachments, and substituted low pressure tyres for naval high pressure tyres. The RAAF's strike and reconnaissance requirement was met by interfacing a Litton Industries AN/ASN-63 with the AWG-11 radar. The F-4M first flew late in 1967, and was being delivered less than a year later. Both the RCAF and the RAAF quickly sent their Phantoms into action in Vietnam.
The F-4K and F-4M were highly successful in Vietnam, and the Royal Canadian Navy's F-4Ks achieved a victory almost singlehandedly in the Battle of the 44th Parallel. In Vietnam, Australian F-4Ms carried out a strike on the British logistics base at Vung Tau, causing serious damage and loss of stores, without damaging the British military hospital. Between 1968 and 1975, Canadian Phantoms scored more than one hundred kills, including successful dogfights against the Messerschmitt Me 563.
During 1970, deliveries of F-4K/M aircraft had been large enough to allow the RCAF to begin to replace CF-101B Voodoo aircraft based in Canada on NORAD duties. After the Vietnam War, Australian F-4M Phantoms were replaced in the strike role by the General Dynamics F-111C. The RAAF then used those Phantoms to replace many of their F-104G Starfighter tactical fighters. The increased endurance of the Phantom, combined with its far better radar and weapons significantly increased the RAAF's capability. After the Vietnam War, the Phantoms received improved defensive equipment, including a radar warning receiver, and decoy dispensers. Canada continued to order Phantoms, initially with the intention of replacing the CF-104. In a move described as farcical, many of them were placed into storage on delivery because the government did not provide enough funding to recruit and train Weapon Systems Officers. This meant that a number of CF-104s remained in service well into the 1980s.
In naval service, the F-4K lasted into the mid-1980s. The F-4K Phantom was ultimately replaced in naval service by the FV-16 Wraith. The poor condition of the forty-year old Essex class carriers, combined with the far lower cost of STOVL carriers forced selection of the FV-16 over the F/A-18 Hornet. The RCN retired its F-4Ks in 1983. The survivors were used to equip 416 and 425 Squadrons, which were air defence squadrons assigned to NORAD. Their F-4Ms were used to replace the RCAF's last CF-104s. The F-4M remained in RCAF service until the early 1990s. The RCAF both most of replaced their Phantoms with F-15C Eagles (aka CF-155 Eagle/Aigle), and the F/A-18 Hornet (CF-188 Hornet).
The RAN's F-4K Phantoms served well into the 1990s. They were originally to be retired in the beginning of 1995, but the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait changed the RAN's plans. On the eve of their retirement, HMAS Sydney was deployed to the Persian Gulf with 808 Squadron's Phantoms. Due to their age, the F-4Ks were limited to operations over the water and did not engage in combat, unlike 887 Squadron's A-7 Corsairs, which saw extensive combat. The delay in the RAN's introduction of the FV-16 Wraith left a surplus of Phantoms. 805 Squadron, which had decommissioned in preparation for the FV-16, was commissioned as a Phantom squadron and sent to western Saudi Arabia to provide air defence over the Red Sea. 805 Squadron returned to Australia in March 1995. HMAS Sydney returned to Australia in April, with 808 Squadron decommissioning on arrival. Hawker de Havilland proposed the F-4M to the RAAF as an F-106 Delta Dart replacement, after an upgrade that would have included a digital inertial navigation, a single-piece windshield, new outer wings, a new radar warning receiver, and radar upgrades. The RAAF preferred the F-15 as an F-106 replacement, and the proposal was rejected. Had the project gone ahead, the F-4M would probably have continued in service until at least 2005. The RAAF F-4Ms began to be replaced in 1993 by the F/A-18C (which had already replaced the F-104G Starfighter). The RAAF retired its last Phantoms in 1996.
The unique design of the F-4K and F-4M restricted export opportunities. The Imperial Japanese Navy used two Essex class aircraft carriers, and purchased 75 F-4K Phantoms. An attempt to export new F-4Ks to India for its carriers failed. However, the Indian Air Force ordered ex-Australian F-4Ks and F-4Ms which it modernised and operates as interceptors. A variant was offered to the US Navy for its remaining Essex class carriers, the F-4L. It had an identical avionics fit to the F-4J, and used an afterburning Allison TF41 engine (a licence-built Orenda Huron). Two prototypes were built and tested. New Zealand was offered the F-4M, but preferred the cheaper F-104 Starfighter. Kuwait purchased former Royal Canadian Navy aircraft in the mid 1980s. The Imperial Japanese Air Force did not purchase the F-4M, preferring the F-4E. During the 1990s, F-4K and F-4M Phantoms were sold to Turkey after that nation joined the League of Democracies. They are used for air defence with a secondary strike role.
Production numbers are as follows:
- 4 for RCN
- 2 for RCAF
- 227 for RAN and RCN
- 246 for RAAF and RCAF
- 2 for USN/USMC
McDonnell Douglas F-4P Phantom IIEdit
The McDonnell Douglas F-4P Phantom II is an advanced strike variant of the F-4 Phantom. During the early 1970s, the US and its closest, richest allies began to take delivery of the General Dynamics F-111. General Dynamics expected good export sales for the F-111, however the massive cost of the aircraft, combined with its troubled development undermined export opportunities. In the event, only Australia, and Canada purchased the F-111. Not even Saudi Arabia, with its massive oil wealth, seriously considered the F-111. By 1974, General Dynamics and the US Department of Defense had given up on exporting the F-111. However, India, Saudi Arabia, and other countries expressed interest in a simpler, cheaper strike aircraft. In 1976, the US Department of Defense requested proposals for such an aircraft. It had to be based on existing equipment, but the Government said it should not be based on the latest front-line equipment. Two proposals were given detailed consideration, the Vought A-7F Super Corsair, and the McDonnell Douglas F-4P Phantom. The latter was successful due to the ease of converting existing aircraft, and the superior flight performance.
The F-4P is based on the F-4E, and as such it fitted with an internal gun. The F-4P is powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1120 afterburning turbofan. The cockpit is vastly different to the F-4E. With three multi-function displays, the cockpit more closely resembles that of the F/A-18. Like the F/A-18, the F-4P uses the APG-65 radar. The F-4P retains the Phantom's heavy warload. Acceleration, and range are improved by the new powerplants. Unlike the other turbofan-powered Phantoms (see above), the PW1120 fits into the original J79 engine housings, and requires no more air than the J79. Thus, airframe changes were minimal (unlike the previous turbofan-powered Phantoms, the F-4K and F-4M). The F-4P was designed for modern weapons, and databuses link every stores pylon to the aircraft's avionics. The F-4P is qualified for virtually every US non-nuclear weapon. Maintenance is simpler than on the original F-4E. The arrester hook and folding wings are retained (as on all Phantom variants). A reconnaissance variant was developed. This aircraft is simply the RF-4E's camera nose grafted onto the the F-4P. The only difference is the provision of a TV viewfinder, the view from which can be displayed on an MFD.
The F-4P was never used by the US Air Force, and was considered strictly an export program (so as to not threaten the F-15 Eagle). However several are based in the United States for training. Although they are owned by foreign air forces, they wear USAF markings. Although the capability to convert F-4E airframes was there, most F-4Ps were new-build aircraft. Users of the F-4P include India, Jordan, Japan, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Colombia, Singapore, Peru, and the Philippines. Argentina and Turkey have received F-4Ps converted from ex-USAF F-4Es. First deliveries of the F-4P were made to India in 1980, and production continued until 1989. This means that the F-4 Phantom II had a production run of thirty years. The F-4P is still in service with most purchasers. India, Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia are in the process of replacing the F-4P with versions of the F-15E Strike Eagle. F-4P Phantoms saw action during the Gulf War, the Colombian Insurgency, and the Sri Lankan Civil War.
The F-4R, a combination of many of the F-4P's avionics, and the F-4J's airframe, was planned by McDonnell Douglas to be offered to naval operators of the Phantom. However, McDonnell Douglas's management felt this aircraft would take customers away from the FV-16 Wraith, and the F/A-18 Hornet.
McDonnell Douglas F-15K/M EagleEdit
The F-15K and F-15M Eagle are the Australian and Canadian variants of the F-15C and F-15D Eagle. They are employed as air superiority fighters and as interceptors. Both Australia and Canada had the same requirement, and the same obsolete equipment to replace. The requirement was for a long-range air superiority fighter for patrol with a heavy weapons load and the capability for considerable independent operation. The F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle were both considered, and both air forces ultimately chose the F-15 Eagle. The reasons for choosing the Eagle were lower cost, greater reliability, and better dogfighting performance. It was also felt that the F-15 would be further developed, while the F-14 was more or less at the end of the line.
The winning F-15K and M are based on the F-15C and F-15E. The F-15K is a single seat fighter. The cockpit of the F-15K is based on that of the F-15E, with extensive use of multi-function displays to provide information to the aircrew. The F-15E cockpit layout was chosen because of its similarity to the F/A-18 and because it was, objectively, the better cockpit. The RAAF and RCAF opted against the two-man crew of the Phantom because of improvements in computer technology that made a second crewman unnecessary for the air defence role. Unlike the F-15C, the F-15K uses the F-15E's APG-70 radar. There have been proposals to replace the APG-70 with the APG-82(V)1 AESA radar. The F-15M is a conversion trainer.
The F-15K and F-15M often fly with conformal fuel tanks for extended range operations. A bolt-on retractable in-flight refueling probe, designed by the Commonealth Aircraft Corporation, allows multiple F-15K/Ms to refuel from a single tanker. They are armed with Sidewinder and AMRAAM missiles, plus a built-in M61 Vulcan cannon. The aircraft are fitted with Link 16 for sharing data with airborne early warning aircraft, land-based radar, and air defence warships.
The F-15K and F-15M are powered by the General Electric F110 engine, which is made under licence by Orenda Engines and Orenda Australia. Assembly of the aircraft was carried out by Avro Canada and the Government Aircraft Factories of Australia. The F-15K/M entered service in 1990, though Australian prototypes were ready in time for the Bicentenary Air Show of 1988. After a crowd-pleasing debut, both Australian and Canadian Eagles steadily replaced the Australian F-106 Delta Darts and the Canadian Phantoms. The F-15K and M serves with five RCAF squadrons, plus an Operational Conversion Unit. Three RAAF squadrons and an Operational Conversion Unit operate the F-15K and M. The F-15K served with distinction in the Gulf War, and in other conflicts. It's kill ratio is twenty five kills with no combat losses. The RAAF replaced its F15s with the F-22 Raptor between 2016 and 2017. Canada cancelled its order for the F-22, and is in the process of upgrading and extending the service life of its F-15s.
Arado Ar 534 Blitz IIIEdit
The Arado Ar 534 Blitz is Germany's premier strategic bomber. It was the first successful German heavy bomber after the famous Ta 800. The Ar 534 is a four-engined, variable geometry aircraft, and is currently the world's largest combat aircraft. Due to its massive cost, it has not fully replaced the Ta 800, but it serves in considerable numbers with the Luftwaffe.
The Arado Ar 534 resembles the American Rockwell B-1B Lancer. Some commentators claimed this proved that Arado copied Rockwell's design, however the Germans claim it is original, and that in trying to solve the same problem as the Americans, they came to essentially the same solution in a similar time. Originally, the Luftwaffe wanted an "Überschall-Amerika-Bomber" (Supersonic America Bomber), and requested proposals in 1969. Arado designed a large swept-wing aircraft with four engines under the fuselage. Messerschmitt attempted to scale up their delta-wing design to meet the range requirement, while Sanger proposed a suborbital space plane. Heinkel dismissed the Reich Air Ministry's requirement as technically impossible to meet at a reasonable cost, but proposed a Mach 3 cruise missile for the Ta 800. Messerschmitt's delta proposal went nowhere fast. The RLM wanted amalgamation and consolidation in the European aviation industry. The RLM asked if Arado and Messerschmitt would submit a joint design. Messerschmitt leveraged its experience in variable geometry, and a joint design was produced, which was designated "Ar 534" and named "Blitz III" after Germany's first jet bomber. The variable geometry wing was essential to meet a change in requirements. At first, the UAB was to be a high altitude aircraft, however experience in Vietnam with high flying interceptors such as the F-106, and evaluation of missiles such as Nike Hercules made it too vulnerable at high altitude, so fast, low-altitude operation was added. The variable-sweep wing was the only way available at the time to meet the performance requirements from sea level to 20,000 metres.
The development of the Ar 534 took time, comsiderably more than the B-1B Lancer, in fact. The first flight of the Ar 534 took place in 1981, and the aircraft entered service in 1987. Production has been continuous. Over two hundred are in service with the Luftwaffe. The aircraft is powered by four BMW 300 afterburning turbofans, capable of delivering 245 kN of thrust each. Three wing sweep settings are available, 20 degrees (for take off and landing), 35 degrees (for economical cruise), and 65 degrees (for low altitude transonic and high altitude Mach 2 dash). Weapons are carried in two internal bays. The normal armament is twelve Fieseler Fi 603 cruise missiles carried on rotary launchers. 24 "SRAM-type" missiles can also be carried. Alternatively, nuclear free fall bombs or conventional bombs can be carried. Up to 40 tonnes of ordnance can be carried.
Only the Luftwaffe uses the Ar 534, however the Kriegsmarine has shown considerable interest in the aircraft. The Kriegsmarine has evaluated the aircraft for anti-shipping and mining operations. The Kriegsmarine is attempting to convince the Reich to fund the aircraft for the Marineflieger, however high costs have kept the aircraft out of naval hands. The USAF Strategic Air Command has labeled the Ar 534 "a major strategic threat". It is also speculated that the appearance of the Ar 534 led to the development of the F-22 Raptor.
Messerschmitt Me 810 ZerstörerEdit
The Messerschmitt Me 810 Zerstörer is a large, long-range German interceptor. It was the largest and heaviest fighter ever to enter service. The Me 810 was designed to destroy American bombers before they could launch nuclear-tipped missiles against German targets. The Me 810 served in this role from 1962 to 1992. It was used, to little effect., in Vietnam in the traditional Zerstörer role, of destroying enemy interceptors before they could attack German bombers. The Me 810 had reliable, but unsophisticated avionics. They were, however capable of performing their intended role. With poor visibility, slow acceleration, and a highly loaded wing, the Me 810 was no dogfighter, however US bomber crews feared this aircraft. It was armed with four powerful LL-R-7 missiles. The missile's high explosive warhead could easily destroy a B-52, with either a direct hit, or by peppering it with tungsten balls. It's nuclear version could destroy an entire formation. However, a Voodoo or a Delta Dart could outfly the missile with ease.
Inspite of the Me 810's poor record in Vietnam, it remained in service for European air defence. China and South Africa used the Me 810 until the early 1980s. The Me 810's eventual replacement was the Tornado ADV.
The F-20 Tigershark is a lightweight fighter and supersonic trainer initially developed by Northrop to provide a low-cost export fighter for the less wealthy members of the League of Democracies. It is a further development of the F-5E Tiger II with a revised airframe, totally different avionics, and a General Electric F404 turbofan replacing the twin J85s. While it was successfully developed, it found no orders, suffered a number of fatal crashes, and faced stiff (and US Government backed) competition from the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. All this caused Northrop to abandon the F-20 in 1986. The program lay dormant for years. Canadair and the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation anticipated a need for a new trainer for the the RAN, RAAF, RCN and the RCAF. They believed that if they were successful, then a single-seat variant could serve as a lightweight fighter. This had been the case for Northrop's N-156, whose first large production order took the form of the T-38 Talon, which lead to the highly successful F-5 series. The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation and Canadair, both manufacturers of the F-5 began negotiations with Northrop about a revival of the F-20. The three companies formed a consortium to redevelop and market the F-20 Tigershark. Extensive development would be required. Northrop had not built a twin-seat Tigershark, and there had been considerable technological change after the cancellation of the F-20. Canadair took the lead in the development, with CAC and Northrop aiding them. By the mid 1990s, Australia and Canada put out requirements for a replacement for the RAAF's T-38s and F-5Ds, the RAN's TA-4Fs, the RCN's CA-4Fs, and the RCAF's CF-5Ds. In 1996, the RAAF, and RCAF decided on a common procurement. The requirements stipulated high (though not necessarily supersonic) performance, advanced avionics and a glass cockpit suitable for pilots transitioning to the F-15 and F/A-18, and combat capability. The Canadair/CAC/Northrop partnership bid for the contract, as did ST Aerospace of Singapore with its TA-4SL Super Skyhawk, Kawasaki offered a version of its T-4 trainer, the radar equipped T-4LIF, Fuji Heavy Industries offered the T-5LIF , and Vought formed a partnership with Argentina's FMA to offer the AT-63 Pampa. The Argentine bid was quickly dropped for political reasons, and inferior performance. The two Japanese bids were forced to withdraw by a newly elected Japan Renewal Party government which banned foreign arms sales. ST Aerospace, to shore up its position, offered extensive offsets through Avro Canada and Hawker De Havilland Australia. The Singaporean bid was an upgrade of its own TA-4SU. The primary difference between the RSAF's TA-4SU and the TA-4SL was the latter's APG-66 radar.
Meanwhile, the 3rd (and only surviving) F-20 prototype, GI1002 had been taken out of its museum, and refurbished to flying condition and now bore the Canadian Armed Forces serial 220001. Canadair took the parts of GI1003 (which were slated to be scrapped) to use as a prototype for the twin-seat Tigershark, the CF-220D/YF-20B. The twin-seater was fully combat capable, though its onboard armament was reduced to a single 20mm cannon. Consideration was given to replacing the M39 cannon with a different design, however this was dropped on cost grounds. The CF-220D prototype made its maiden flight from Montréal–Mirabel International Airport in 1997. Flight testing proceeded apace. The successful testing of the F-20 in the early 1980s provided a foundation for the F-20B. As testing proceeded, Canadair and CAC marketed the aircraft heavily, gaining some interest in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. After a year of successful testing, the Canadian Government placed an order for 12 single-seat CF-220As, and 12 twin-seat CF-220Ds, with the intention to order another 30 twin-seaters. In 1999, the Australian Government followed suit with an order for 46 F-20B twin-seaters.
Production started in Canada in 2001, and in Australia in 2002. The first true export customer for the Tigershark was Vietnam, which ordered 60 aircraft from the consortium in 2003 - both single and twin seat aircraft - as a replacement for it's F-5 and Mirage-79 fighters. This was followed in 2008 by an order from India for over 120 aircraft, which would be used as lightweight fighters, and trainers. The Indian order included license production by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Tigersharks have also been purchased by Brazil, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia (for training). Potential deals with Thailand, and Turkey did not go through for financial reasons.
Dornier Do 91Edit
The Dornier Do 91 is the German manufactured version of the Italian Fiat G.91 ground attack aircraft. The Do 91 filled a Luftwaffe requirement for a light support aircraft, and it served in the anti-partisan role in Ostland and the Ukraine, as well as in Vietnam. Dornier also manufactured aircraft for South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The simplicity of the aircraft kept it in use with South Vietnam right until the end of the Vietnam War, and examples served with the VNAF into the 1980s. The Fiat G.91 was also produced by Sud Aviation of France. Outside South East Asia, the aircraft was used extensively in counter-insurgency in Africa and Latin America.
McDonnell Douglas FV-16 WraithEdit
American VTOL projects, for both engines and airframes, had been in a state of disarray since the mid-1950s. Apart from Avro Canada's "flying saucer" Avrocar (a complete failure, it never rose above waist height), most US VTOL projects focused on tail-sitting aircraft (a nightmare to handle for highly experienced test pilots in daylight with clear weather), and aircraft equipped with lift engines (technically feasible, but of limited operational use due to the dead weight of the lift engines in cruise flight). Pratt and Whitney had been working on a solution of using a single engines with vectored nozzles, but they had been working with turbojets (with only one exhaust), and the design of a balanced engine led to many engineering problems. The USAF in the meantime decided to focus on zero-length launch technology with booster rockets.
In 1972, the American VTOL program received an unexpected shot in the arms. A pilot in the North Korean Air Force, Major No Kum-Sok, flew a Harrier Mark 31 from North Korea to Kimpo Air Base, South Korea. The aircraft was quickly moved into a hardened shelter, and shipped to the United States. Pratt and Whitney were assigned to develop a production engine based on the turbofan's design. Pratt & Whitney included a technology they had been developing for their own engine, Plenum Chamber Burning. This afterburner-like technology promised supersonic performance (though drag was a consideration for an engine with such a high bypass ratio). Their F402 engine would give the McDonnell Douglas design (which closely resembled the Harrier) the ability to reach Mach 1.6 in level flight. The first potential customer was the US Marine Corps. The Marines sought a ground attack aircraft capable of operating from austere airstrips and from amphibious assault ships. Such an aircraft would be able to provide close support to an amphibious landing. The Marines also specified a limited air defence capability.
The first AV-16 flew in 1976, and the aircraft was being delivered to US Marine Corps squadrons in 1979. The avionics package of the AV-16A was basic, and no radar was fitted. The inertial navigation system provided accurate navigation over sea and land, and a computerised gun/bomb sight was integrated with a heads up display. For export, the more sophisticated FV-16C was designed. This variant was equipped with a multi-mode radar (the APG-65, also used on the F/A-18 Hornet), and could operate in all fighter roles. The first customers for the FV-16C were the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Imperial Japanese Navy with aircraft reaching operational units in 1985. Within weeks of the types introduction into service, the Royal Canadian Navy took them into combat over the Falkland Islands. The RCN's CF-156 Wraith squadrons shot down more than thirty Argentine and British aircraft with no losses in air combat.
The following models have been made:
- AV-16A: Clear weather ground attack, now superseded.
- TV-16B: Two seat conversion trainer.
- FV-16C: Upgraded fighter, more powerful engine, superior avionics, new cockpit, speed: Mach 1.8
- FV-16D: Conversion trainer based on the FV-16C