V-1600: The Carrier-Capable F-16 That Wasn't | Defense Media Network

After the F-16 had won the ACF competition, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) pushed hard for the Navy to procure the F-16 as well, presumably for economies of scale along with the benefits a common aircraft would have to both maintenance and training. Congress had already, in August 1974, directed the Navy to look to the LWF/ACF program’s competitors for its new Navy Air Combat Fighter (NACF) program, which had superseded the Navy’s own VFAX program, begun several months before, in April 1974, to replace the F-4, A-4, and A-7 aircraft on carrier decks. The Navy really wanted more F-14s, or at least something big enough to carry Phoenix missiles, but was now being forced to go with a lightweight fighter choice. Both General Dynamics and Northrop put forward proposals for navalized versions of their fighters, GD teaming up with Ling Temco Vought (LTV) and Northrop with McDonnell Douglas.

via V-1600: The Carrier-Capable F-16 That Wasn’t | Defense Media Network.

We wrote yesterday about SecNav Mabus, and his desire, among other things, to give the individual service chiefs greater autonomy in buying weapons for their service.

This article highlights some of the possible compromises that face the services when trying to force one platform to serve two different roles.

Also, the picture is pretty neat.

9 thoughts on “V-1600: The Carrier-Capable F-16 That Wasn't | Defense Media Network”

    1. A single engine isn’t a dealbreaker for me (of course, I’m not gonna get stuck flying it!). A single engine generally weighs less than twin. Costs tend to be lower as well.

      The problems with the F-35 don’t stem from its single engine- they stem from forcing a STOV/L design into the mix.

      Of course, if they didn’t force the B model into the mix, JSF might very well have been a twin engine design.

    2. Well, the other problem with the F35 single engine design is logistics. We don’t have any COD capability to deliver an engine to the boat, short of suspended load beneath a rather large helicopter. I’m not even sure if the Osprey can carry it suspended.

    3. And the F8U was, what, exactly?

      I thought all Navy guys loved to brag about “The Last of the Gunfighters.” 🙂

      On the other hand, I don’t know how well the Sea Viper would have performed after beefing up the undercarriage and salt-proofing the design…

    4. If you consider the F-35B a Harrier replacement, both have a single engine.

      On the other hand, some people call the F-35B’s lift fan an engine, but it decreases reliability instead of increasing it.

      Also, the commercial world has mostly gone from 4 engines to 2 engines because engine reliability has become very very good.

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