The Greatest Post War Fighter The Tornado F3?

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by CXX, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. CXX

    CXX New Member

    What would be your greatest post war fighter? i would choose the Hawker Hunter.


    The RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF), the RAF’s leading welfare charity, recently held a poll to discover the RAF’s greatest post-World War Two fighter jet. Thousands of votes were cast but the Tornado F3 nudged ahead of the Phantom and the Hunter, winning with a total of 1,437 votes.

    The Phantom came a very close second with just 37 votes less and the Hunter finished with 1,259. 5,900 people voted and the results have created a lot of interest and debate.RAF Greatest

    Following the success of this poll, the RAF Benevolent Fund is now asking people to cast their votes for the most iconic RAF figure of World War Two. At the moment Air Chief Marshal Dowding is in the lead with 27% of the vote, however Group Captain Bader, Marshal of the RAF Harris and Wing Commander Gibson are close behind.

    The question has led to some great discussion about what constitutes an iconic figure, and plenty of debate about the merits of the RAFBF’s proposed candidates. The poll will be open until the end of January and can be found at The results of the older votes can be found at

    The polls are featured on ‘90 faces of the RAF Benevolent Fund’, the charity’s special 90th anniversary microsite, which includes 90 different stories about the RAFBF’s work using a variety of anecdotes in text, audio and video format. The site features articles about the people the charity helps, the people who fundraise for them and the ways the RAF Benevolent Fund currently supports today’s highly-stretched RAF.
  2. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    nah gotta be the Harrier, agile, fast, great in all theatres and still viable toay.
  3. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    I'm surprised they went for the Tornado F3. Sure it was awesome to watch and hear and no doubt to fly in, but not especially good-looking, and for much of its career it would have been outclassed in combat by the more nimble lightweight types such as the F16.

    The Hunter was probably the best-looking of them all, and certainly a superb aircraft, but the debate continues as to whether it was superior to the Sabre. It was later into service than the Sabre, and would have been useful as an air superiority fighter in a European war for only the first few years of its career.

    If I was voting with my heart, I would say the Lightning. A quantum leap from the Hunter, a truly awesome aeroplane, and still the fastest British aircraft ever. But it was out-performed by the American version of the Phantom at low and medium altitudes, and the Phantom was far more versatile. (The British Phantom, the F4K/M, was castrated by the politically-imposed use of RR Spey engines rather than General Electric J79s).

    If I was voting with my head I would have to go with the Harrier - the aircraft the Americans wished they had thought of.
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  4. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    and the aircraft the americans are screaming out for in afghanistan, but the MOD are getting rid of
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  5. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    The Yanks will just use their USMC Harriers if they can't get RN/RAF ones.
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  6. sniper

    sniper Active Member

    I would have to go for the Russian Mig. It has/had awesome power coming from the engines. The firepower it could carry was huge and the manouverabililty of it was just out of this world.

  7. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    Since when did the RAF fly MIG's?
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  8. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator


    The Tornado F3 is one of the most mis-understood aircraft of the late 20th century. It was built for a single role, and in that role was utterly awesome.

    That role was the air defence of the United Kingdom. The F3 Tornado was not, and was never intended to be, an "air superiority fighter" like the F16 or F15. It was an air defence interceptor, it was a "bomber destroyer". it's role was unique, no other NATO nation had the same requirement for an aircraft.

    The air threat to the UK during the "cold war" was from Soviet Backfire bombers operating from the Kola inlet. These long range, supersonic, nuclear capable aircraft had the endurance to fly north of the UK, far out into the Atlantic Ocean and then turn back, split up into groups and attack the UK from any direction on the compass. They were expected to fly very low, very fast (subsonic) in groups of 2 or 3 aircraft, hit their targets and then escape at high (supersonic) speed.

    To combat this threat, the UK deployed a fleet of Boeing E3 AWAC aircraft to locate the enemy far out to sea and guide in the interceptors.

    The following were the requirements for the interceptor.

    In flight re-fuelling capable, twin engined, 2 man crew. These were required because the defending interceptors were expected to spend long patrols over the open ocean, and this meant more chance of engine failure and danger of crew fatigue (especially for a lone pilot) , so the F16 (single engine/single seat) & F15 (single seat) were not suitable. It had to be supersonic and be heavily armed to take out more than one group of attackers.

    The F3 Tornado met all these requirements, 4 Skyflash missiles, 4 sidewinders, plus a gun. It was also able to swoop down and dive at speeds that would cause other aircraft to break into pieces, ideal for taking out low flying Backfires. It had better acceleration than the F4 Phantom
    it replaced, it also had twice the range/loiter time, and had next generation radar and avionics.
    Finally it shared many parts with the GR1/GR4 Tornado strike aircraft so it kept costs down.

    Cost was the eventual reason for choosing the F3. The RAF actually wanted the one aircraft that was even better than the Tornado F3 in the air defence role, the F14 Tomcat! The Tomcat (even built under licence in the UK) was however simply far too expensive.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
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