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F- 103

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posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 07:44 AM
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I was watching a program recently on the history channel called "Secret superpower aircraft" and it mentioned a fighter called the F-103 Thunder Warrior. Apparrently it could do mach 4, but it was cancelled early on, because of the Strategic Air Command wanting bombers at that time. why didn't they restart it? A fighter that fast could out run an SR-71, and thats almost impossible to shoot down, so whyever do all fighters now have a top speed of like mach 2?

It seems like there was a massive step backwards to me.




posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 08:21 AM
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This F-103 was supposed to go that fast, but was never actually built so there is no step backwards because the step forward you are referring to never happened in the first place. There is also no reason to believe that the F-103 would have been capable of achieving its design objectives, having the ambition is one thing but actually doing it is quite different. Mach 2 (and many modern fighters don't even go that fast - F-18 and F-35 for example) is the most attainable, affordable, and practical performance level, generally speaking, for high performance fighters which is why we have stuck there for half a century.

The 1950's saw a plethora of mach 3 and faster projects because it was assumed that the race for speed, which was always present in military aircraft, would just continue. The SR-71 and XB-70 are just two of many from the USA, UK and USSR.

However once it came to producing these aircraft when the mach 2 generation (as they were thought to be) was operational, the sheer expense of developing, building and operating them was found to far outway the benefits and that is why military performance, as a rule, maxes out at around mach 2.

There were direct equivalents to the XB-70 AND YF-12 in development in the UK and USSR during the late 1950's alongside their US counterparts but they were all abandoned, in Britains case because the money to support them simply wasn't there.



[edit on 21-2-2006 by waynos]



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 09:15 AM
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Apex,

The XF-103 was cancelled in August 1957. Sputnik (Red Rover Cometh Over) flew in October.

WHY would the Russians invest in manned bombers which took /hours/ to fly out, _were emminently attackable by existing aircraft during that period_ and which, over a 20 year lifetime cost FOUR TIMES as much as an already-developed ICBM technology base?

As an interceptor, the XF-103 was no better aerodynamically than a BOMARC SAM and indeed it's weapons load of unguided FFAR and AIM-4 variant Falcon missiles would be next to useless fired from an airframe moving as fast as they would (from a standard launch vehicle).

Lastly, the 'route forward' for U.S. was the Mach 3 XB-70 which 'needed' (like a hole in the head) a 3-4,000 mile escort along the lines of the YF-108 Rapier. Not an 450nm (radius) XF-103.

Within a year or two, we started flying U-2's over the USSR and drones over China and the gig was up. They had no giant bombt fleet nor really the makings of a production system to create one. Despite an early lead, they didn't even have half the number of operationally capable (more than 10hrs to get prepped for launch, hand built) ICBMs.

Now compare this to the B-52. Sure, it takes (and tanks) forever to get where it needs to go. But that place can be upwards of 10,000nm distant. And AT that specified range point, it can 'hover', on station, for as long as there are KC-135s to feed it and oil in the engines to keep them running smooth.

Lastly, if you want to smash a BUFF fleet playing Chrome Dome on your borders they are only one Skybolt or Hounddog (300nm @ Mach 3 = 10 minutes from oblivion) away from lighting a nuclear candle under your posterior so you'd /better/ get them all at once.

If you shoot at CONUS ICBM silos, we're all screwed anyway by the concept of massive retaliation inherent to MAD but you will STILL die about 20 minutes sooner than everyone else.

Slow is nothing compared to sneaky. And sneaky is largely a function of Persistence. Where that means bombers at strategic distances, the utility of any fighter (as escort or standoff interceptor) is not worth talking about.


KPl.



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 03:22 PM
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The F-103 was to be powered by a turbojet and a scram jet which would be used later to achieve greater speeds.

It also had an escape pod to protect the pilot against mach 3+ wind blasts.

I suppose Republic Aviation would have made a recon version of this if it had entered service, It would work alongside SR-71s A-12s

Maybe it could have took place of the YF-12 Interceptor.



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 05:48 PM
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A nicely done model of the F103


external image

Mod Edit: Image Size – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 15/3/2006 by Mirthful Me]



posted on Feb, 23 2006 @ 09:02 AM
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A mock up of the F-103 was made, shame the project was cancelled.

Would have been nice to fly.

www.airwar.ru...

www.fantastic-plastic.com...

www.features02.kitparade.com...



posted on Mar, 10 2006 @ 11:32 AM
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I was thinking about the good points of the F-103 for a couple of days

1. Could be used for chasing down ICBMs

2. Since its airframe design is old, It should be quick and easy to build with the technology we have now.

3. Could be mass produced within a deadline?

4. Updated with 21st century technology for example GPS, Radar, Plasma Screens and simple cockpit like the F-35 JSF.

5. Would use AIM 54 Phoenix, Sparrows and present day missiles?.

6. Could be exported to big NATO countries like Japan Canada and Australia/NZ since they are the two furthest countries of all?

7. Airframe may be used as recon platform?

Maybe it could be revived but slightly different in design like angled surfaces, blended wings ,RAM coated etc. Also there may be a two seater version.

We never know, It may put the SR-71/A-12 to shame!.



[edit on 10-3-2006 by Browno]



posted on Mar, 10 2006 @ 12:19 PM
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Originally posted by Browno
I was thinking about the good points of the F-103 for a couple of days

1. Could be used for chasing down ICBMs

2. Since its airframe design is old, It should be quick and easy to build with the technology we have now.

3. Could be mass produced within a deadline?

4. Updated with 21st century technology for example GPS, Radar, Plasma Screens and simple cockpit like the F-35 JSF.

5. Would use AIM 54 Phoenix, Sparrows and present day missiles?.

6. Could be exported to big NATO countries like Japan Canada and Australia/NZ since they are the two furthest countries of all?

7. Airframe may be used as recon platform?



Asking this browno is like me saying we should rebuild the avro arrow. its was a good plane at the time. in fact better but too much time has passed for a arrow to be rebuilt and fielded and id have to say the same for the F-103



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 10:01 PM
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Originally posted by Browno
The F-103 was to be powered by a turbojet and a scram jet which would be used later to achieve greater speeds.


Not quite: a turbojet and a *RAM* jet, not a scramjet. And they never could get the performance out of the engine combo they wanted.

You can see the engin arrangement in the inboard profile. The ramjet was a discrete separate engine behind the turbojet; during normal turbojet flight the ramjet could serve as an afterburner. For high-speed flight, doors closed off the turbojet inlet, and opened a separate duct above it that led to the ramjet. It was complex and lossy. It would have been an utter failure to try to make a scramjet out of that.

external image

Mod Edit: Image Size – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 15/3/2006 by Mirthful Me]



posted on Mar, 16 2006 @ 08:59 AM
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Since the F-103 airframe is missile like, It would have been a decent interceptor for hunting nuclear missiles since it was to be so fast.

If i was an Air Force Official, No matter how old it is I would have this plane built(With 21st technology) and have it tested. The existing design would only be the prototype but the production variant would use RAM Coating and a few modded parts like angled surfaces and new stuff like that.

Its airframe looks so simple and easy to build(Like a Mig 21, F-105, Commercial airliners). I mentioned these planes becouse they all have similar type of fuselages(Tubular shaped) and should be easy to Repair, Maintain?

Being the 21st Century, Would the F-103 be good as an Emergency Production Interceptor?



posted on Mar, 16 2006 @ 12:16 PM
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Originally posted by Browno
Since the F-103 airframe is missile like, It would have been a decent interceptor for hunting nuclear missiles since it was to be so fast.


- Browno do you have any idea just how fast ICBM warhead reentry speeds are?

Check this out, it talks of reentry speeds of 7km a second (over 15000mph).
Forget your F103 and a (completely unsubstantiated) guesstimate/claim about mach 4 or any ideas about "chasing down" one of these warheads (which come in a 'MIRV pack' with decoys etc etc).

www.fas.org...

.....oh, and in order to make life even harder for the dreams of an ABM system the Russians are working on even faster ones (which will obviously end up being a 'norm' everyone adopts as everyone looks to defeat ABM systems in part by this simple spec alteration.).


If i was an Air Force Official, No matter how old it is I would have this plane built(With 21st technology) and have it tested.


- You really ought to consider that the instant you start talking about redesigns and newer tech that your points about 'off-the-shelf', 'simple' and to a 'set time frame' just went out the window, hmmmmm?

Sorry matey but if you were a procurement official in the USAF I think this kind of idea would see you very swiftly moved or 'retired'!


The existing design would only be the prototype but the production variant would use RAM Coating and a few modded parts like angled surfaces and new stuff like that.


- What 'existing design'?

There are the remnants of an ancient existing proposal knocking about (using components no longer made and materials some of which would be to a set of spec.s no longer appropriate).

This mere proposal never made it through to systems and flight testing and all the other million and one practical steps it takes to move an idea off of the paper and onto the concrete.

It really isn't anything like as simple as you seem to believe.

Why do you think today's projects cost so much if merely dusting off and slightly modifying existing proposals were all there was to it?


Its airframe looks so simple and easy to build(Like a Mig 21, F-105, Commercial airliners).


- Well, OK, but don't they all, superficially, to some extent?
"Looks" are hardly the basis on which these things can be gauged.

Things like the materials to cope with 'heat soak' (thanks to the mach 4 speeds) etc make the basic 'shape' far from your biggest consideration in making such a thing work.
Titanium is the usual starting point with high speed vehicles and it is not an easy material to fabricate and work with.


I mentioned these planes because they all have similar type of fuselages(Tubular shaped) and should be easy to Repair, Maintain?


- The outline is rarely crucial in these things, the materials used to construct and systems packing the insides are the big deal.


Being the 21st Century, Would the F-103 be good as an Emergency Production Interceptor?


- If aviation history shows us anything it is that revisiting old ideas (especially ones so old......this proposal goes back nearly 50yrs!) is something that almost never happens.
For several very good reasons.


[edit on 16-3-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Aug, 10 2008 @ 10:41 PM
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reply to post by apex
 


My Grandfather worked at Republic Aviation around the time the XF-103 was concieved.
As he put it, the XF-103 was a promising aircraft on paper but she never could get off the ground much further than that! Only a full scale mock-up was built. Cost overruns and delays were the driving factors that put a big dent in the program. But what put the final nail in the "Thunderwarrior's" coffin was trouble in forming the titanium skins and structure.
He also said that a rumor at the time was after it's cancellation Lockheed got ahold of the data on the titanium problems Republic was having and used it as a learning curve in building the SR-71!



posted on Sep, 3 2008 @ 11:18 PM
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In his recently-published autobiography, Jack Broughton ("Thud Ridge") recalls, as then-leader (1955) of the Air Force Thunderbird stunt demo team being hosted by Republic Aviation when their F-84F planes were in the Farmingdale, NY shop being upgraded by company techs. He got to meet chief designer Alexander Kartveli and being personally shown around the top-secret design hangar and introduced to the XF-103 mockup. He noted the missile-like appearance and the elevator-acessed cockpit-pod. He wasn't given details about the revolutionary turbo-ramjet or the proposed titanium skin. He did think the periscope-like device the pilot was supposed to steer with would take some getting used to, however.

I get the impression that both the distinctive engine design and the attempt at titanium construction must have been acquired by Lockheed for the YF-12/SR-71. Perhaps Kartveli himself may have slipped the data to Kelly Johnson so that some part of his baby could be realized? The SR-71's blended wing/fuselage seem much more sophisticated than the Thunderwarrior's shape, which really looks like a kid's cerealbox toy blown up to full size.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 08:34 PM
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reply to post by Anonymous ATS
 


where would one go to find some technical drawings if I wanted to a 3d rendering with intend to build a detailed model?






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