The F-84F was not intended to be designated in the F-84 series. It
was, in fact, orginally designated as the YF-96A. Changing the
designation to F-84F has been explained as a political sleight-of-hand
move to make it easier to obtain funding from Congress. The thinking
apparently was that Congress would more readily provide funding for a
progressive development of a tried and proven aircraft rather than a
more risky new generation. A similar approach was taken for the F-86D
Sabre which was originally designated YF-95A. Given this view of the
world, one wonders why the F-101 Voodoo series wasn't the F-88B,
F-88C, F-88D, etc. After all, the F-106 Delta Dart was originally the
F-102B before common sense returned to this process. Even today,
however, this mentality has resurfaced with the F/A-18 designation - a
clear attempt to manipulate Congress into providing funding for a
"multi-role" capability. So why didn't we have the F/A-100 Super
Sabre, the F/A-105 Thunderchief, and the F/A-4 Phantom II? The F-4
Phantom, of course, was originally the F-110. This change, however,
we can't attribute to funding motives - it was strictly due to the
intellectual shortcomings of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. He
just couldn't deal with the differences in Air Force and Navy
designation systems. Rather than make the effort to understand, he
simply decreed all designations were to be standardized so he wouldn't
be confused. And thus history was rewritten . . .
Well, what was the logical basis for virtually identical aircraft having
completely different designations? In fact, I would not be surprised to
learn that, pre-McNamara, the USN and USAF used different part numbers for
the same piece of metal. Would a desire to use a single tracking number for
a part be evidence of "intellectual shortcomings" or logistical pragmatism?
Chek probably doesn't know what a wonderful intellect McNamara had. Had
he had his way every car Ford built would have had the same basic
dashboard just to cut costs.
I can see a logical reason for changing the designations and it wasn't
the first time the system had been changed but in no way does that make
Bill Banaszak, MFE
There's not much by Larry Niven that I wouldn't recommend.
Perhaps "Achilles choice", and I have to be in ten right frame of mind
for the "dream park" books. I've also heard bad things about
"destiny's road" too, though I haven't read it myself.
Many of his books I reread every 5 years or so.
add protector and the ringworld engineer stories. those are
also known space stories.
another great series for fantasy modeling would be kieth
laumer's retief and bolo stories.
someday i will scratch build a groaci.
Difficult to vac form without seams too, I would guess! Perhaps a
skilled glass blower could handle the job? Then the problem would be
reduced to building the innards "ship in a bottle style" through a
tiny hole. ...and you would _still_ have problems building the whole
set to a consistent scale, due to relative sizes.
I've never actually seen this edition; but I assume that the "mistake"
is in Chapter 1, where Louis Wu is celebrating his birthday. At the
stroke of midnight, he teleports "one time zone over" so that he
can celebrate for one more hour. He does this repeatedly. I assume
that before he corrected it, Niven has him going in the wrong direction.
Is this correct?
Thanks. Like I said, I have never seen this first edition. Niven
spoke of it in one of his compilations where he detailed his collection
of stories: their chronological order, what "series" they belonged to,
etc. It is here where he "teased" the reader by mentioning his mistake.
He never went into detail, but this was the only obvious place I could
come up with.
Another "can't live without" compilation: "Neutron Star", which gives the
reader an excellent general education on the Puppeteers, and General
McNamara's decision had nothing to do with "logistical pragmatism."
It had everything to do with McNamara's emporer complex. He had no
respect or tolerance for military tradition, did not trust the
military leadership, and ignored its advice. He put his trust instead
in the young "whiz kids" who had never done anything except count
beans, been professional academics, or worked at Ford Motor Company.
McNamara was a graduate of Berkeley and Harvard. Ouch. He made a
name for himself at Ford as a member of the "statistical control
experts team." Bean counter terrorists. And Kennedy put them in
charge of the Defense Department. To refer to the Navy's Phantom as
an F4H-1 and the Air Force's version as the F-110 offended McNamara's
bean counter mentality. This is the same bean counter McNamara who
spent billions trying to make the F-111 a carrier fighter. I guess
there are beans and then there are beans. This is the same McNamara
who was the architect of the Vietnam gradualism doctrine, placing
military targets off-limits, designating geographical sanctuaries for
the VC, prolonging the war by years. I jogged past the Vietnam War
Memorial this morning. I wonder how many names on that wall are there
because of the leadership of Robert McNamara? When Tricky Dick and
Mel Laird finally turned the military loose, the war was over in 11
days. Having spent 24 years in the Air Force, I hope my antipathy for
McNamara isn't showing through. My reference to his intellectual
shortcomings has to do with his complete inability to grasp any
concept in the abstract or variations of a common theme - if you
couldn't categorize it or quantify it with a number, it had no meaning
to him. Hence his fixation with the aircraft designation numbering
system. By the way, it wasn't the F4H-1/F-110 anomoly that irritated
him - it was the F4H/F4D designations. Two F-4s! Oh the humanity!
So the Skyray became the F-6A and everything was put into its proper
I gather from your comments that the possibility that the Air Force
and Navy might use different part numbers for common equipment items
is offensive. Welcome to government. To carry your views to their
logical conclusion, we should do away with the separate branches and
just have one military service. That would certainly solve that part
number problem. Say, didn't the Canucks already try that? And can
you believe Wal-Mart and Target use different inventory numbers for
Coleman coolers? Who let those guys out of nomenclature jail?
By the way. To characterize the naval and air force F-4s as
"virtually identical aircraft" would likely generate another whole
thread of opinions. Then, of course, we'd have to throw in the
British Phantoms as "virtually identical aircraft." And then those
Germans! And where do the Brits get off with those FG and FGR
designations? Weren't they paying attention to Big Bob? Boy that
must have grated on his nerves. To think the McNamara nomenclature
police had no jurisdiction outside the colonies. And I'll bet those
unruly Brits have a whole different set of part numbers!
Second by the way. I'll bet you like the designated hitter rule don't
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