By Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time IV

This was one of the last illustrations cut from Strike from the Sea to make the limit. Provided by the Grumman Historical Center, it depicts a single-seat A-6 providing close air support to the Marines. The proposal was in response to a 1962 Navy requirement to replace the single-seat Douglas A-1 (AD) Skyraider. (The two-seat A-6 had replaced the A-1G (AD-5N) night attack variant.) Also see

Unfortunately, the Navy had in mind not only a variant of an existing aircraft, but one powered by a single TF30 turbofan engine, which not coincidentally at the time was also the basic powerplant for the nascent Grumman/General Dynamics F-111B. Grumman management was forced to choose between full compliance, a TF30-powered F-11 (F11F) Tiger—don't scoff, the winner of the competition was Vought's proposal, which closely resembled the Vought F-8 (F8U) Crusader)—and a proposal that they hoped the Navy would realize was a better deal than an all-but-new design powered by a new engine. They were wrong, although their Attack Tiger would probably have lost to Vought's excellent proposal anyway, as did Douglas' proposal of an A-4 (A4D) Skyhawk on steroids. For more, see chapter nine in my book on U.S. Navy attack aircraft, Strike from the Sea.


ivan boston said...

Hi. I found this to be very interesting and was wondering if the F-11 proposal was using the same size airframe or if it was enlarged like the Douglas proposal?

Reason being I remember the reason the navy gave for rejecting the super tiger was it was "to heavy"(probably indicating to heavy to launch from an H-8 cat indicating they were looking at using her as CVS cap), and am noodling around with a "what if"; essentially an F-11ST with the FJ-4B wing. I would think the increased lift from the larger surface area would get it under the H-8 limit and probably make it viable for the smaller British carriers with their hydraulic cats as well.

Tailspin said...

Like the proposals from Douglas and North American, Grumman's based on its F-11 Tiger had to be scaled up in size and therefore weight to fulfill the mission requirement and substitute the TF-30 engine.

ivan boston said...

Thanks for the response. Dang it! I was worried about how big they could make the inlets to accommodate the increased mass flow.. was hoping if they could do the 233 for the low end TF-30 on the smaller frame since it would make the 210 for a spey a breeze.

Would you happen to have an idea on the viability of using Grumman's "STO-Wing" folding on a wing as thin as the FJ-4? If it is in theory possible I will go to the bother of scaling an S2 tracker drawing to see if my "what if" could fit under the wing.