For Aircraft enthusiasts: a far more succesful Anglo_French plane than the Concorde

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Blazer, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Ah the Concorde, typical French panache coupled with English stiff upper lip mentality but thanks to its thirsty nature and a change in views concerning environmental issues was doomed to have a very limited production and apart from the state airlines of the two countries who built her had no foreign operators.

    But what is lesser known was that she wasn't the only aircraft where the British and French shared their knowledge and created something beautiful.
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    This is the round view of the Breguet Br. 121, a sleek powerful design that the French company submitted when the French Air Force issued an order for a replacement of their ageing fleet of Lockheed T-33, Fouga Magistere and Dassault Mystere VI ( A name that will later pop up again) jet trainers and light attack aircraft. At the same time the Royal Air Force issued their own order for a replacement for their Hawker Hunter and Folland Gnat trainers.

    In 1966 British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) and Breguet decided that it was in both companies' best interest to collaborate. Using the BR.121 as a starting point it was decided to spread the building of the compartments of the plane between both countries, this diagram showing what was going to be made where.
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    The orange sections were to be built in France and the yellow sections in the UK with the engines coming from Rolls Royce.

    Naming their collaborative effort "SEPECAT" (Société Européenne de Production de l'Avion d'École de Combat et d'Appui Tactique – the "European company for the production of a combat trainer and tactical support aircraft) The redesigned Br. 121 would enter production under the name Jaguar and was accepted as the winner for the competitions in both countries.
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    But one man, who was a big name in French aviation was not at all happy with that development. His name: Marcel Dassault
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    Dassault had submitted his own design to that same competition and was facing a loss of a huge amount of money if his Mirage F-1 was rejected.
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    Proving himself to be a very sore loser, Dassault decided that the only way to stop SEPECAT was to buy out the assets of Breguet, creating Dassault-Breguet. Solely for the purpose of making it impossible for the Jaguar to be built in series. But that plan was quickly stifled as the French Air Force reminded Dassault that with the Jaguar ordered and PAID FOR, breech of contract would cost him far more than just losing the competition.

    Dassault relented, Breguet would continue to built the Jaguar and because of him now being owner of the plant, he would get a good pay from it too, even though it still must have nagged him that he would be building that very plane that trumped him. The fact that when Dassault would have an official from an air force coming over to check the Jaguar out, he would offer the Mirage F-1 for a cheaper discount price shows just how much it nagged him.

    Regardless, the Jaguar went into service with both Armee De'l air and the RAF with the air forces of Ecuador, Nigeria and Oman, But by far the biggest operator of the Jaguar was India which also licence built the aircraft and is planning to keep them around for at least 20 years with update programs.
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    Indian Jaguars over Alaskan skies during an exercise drill, the Indians will ensure that this plane will remain a familiar sight in the far east for a long time.

    The Jaguar still suffered from Dassault's meddling though, when the French Navy issued an order for a carrier based fighter jet, SEPECAT offered the Jaguar M (Marine, Navy)
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    The Jaguar M differed from the normal land based variant in it having a stronger undercarriage, arrester hook and catapult fittings. But it never went into full scale production because Dassault offering the Super Etendard fighter instead.
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    Japan also showed interest in the Jaguar but when licence building was proposed, Dassault raised the licence fee to such a degree that the Japanese lost interest and decided to build their own fighter instead. But it wasn't the victory that Dassault had hoped for because the resulting Mitsubishi F-1 and T-2 jets looked rather familiar...
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    A very similar plane to the Jaguar, the F-1/T-2 series used the same Rolls Royce engines and the same fuselage design but the avionics were based on the Northrop T-38 Talon

    So there you have it, the SEPECAT Jaguar, that other plane aside from the concorde where the French and the British joined forces and suffered from in-fighting at one of the two factories where it was built.
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    But even with Marcel Dassault's meddling the Jaguar had a good production run of a very respectable 543 built.
     
  2. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I always thought the Jaguar was a beautiful, in fact elegant design. When I was a teenager I built a number of scratch built control line flying models. Among them were a Jaguar and a MIG 21D. The Jaguar's nose was not perfectly scale, since it had to be designed to incorporate a propeller spinner, but it turned out to be an excellent flier. I won several awards with those two planes, and also did quite well with a Messerschmitt Bf 109D and a Focke Wulf 190A5.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  3. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Incidentally, two of the things that helped the Jaguar be so accepted in other markets, and stay in use as long as it did with the British and French, were a very rugged undercarriage designed for takeoff and landing on rough, unimproved airfields and an ability to carry a weapon load completely out of proportion to the aircraft's size. It was, and by all means still is, an incredible feat of engineering.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  4. BartS

    BartS Friend of Leo's

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    That is a lot of great info about a really cool plane.
     
  5. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Another piece of info that I just recalled is that the Jaguar was equipped with one of the first terrain following radar guidance systems. It was, if I remember correctly, developed for and lifted from the BAC TSR-2.
     
  6. tfsails

    tfsails Friend of Leo's

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    I had the opportunity to poke my nose around an RAF Jaguar at a Canadian Maple Flag exercise about 25 years ago. It was typically British, inside and out. It had a projected map display just like our A-7Ds had.


    If it were to carry AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, they were mounted on pylons above the wing, not unlike the external tanks on an English Electric Lightning.

    The airplane is marginally supersonic, but is used more for ground attack than air-air, so that's not a real big deal. It's also a ground-hugger on takeoff. Maybe SEPECAT took lessons from Republic Iron Works when they designed that jet.
     
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