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Why no more Tomcats?

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Well the Tomcat was born as a interceptor to counter the soviet bomber menace no? After the USSR collapse there's no need to have such an interceptor so the Tomcat is phased out and the fleet defender job is for the F18E/F right?? But is the right plane for the job?

With Russian reborning and slowly retaking his flights and rights again, will be the Hornet enough to defend the carriers in a case of war? IIRC the F/A-18 have no long range missiles so please someone clarify me why the Tomcat was deceased

Thank's

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Cost was a major factor. The Tomcat was always extremely expensive to procure and maintain. Also, I would guess that the F-14A fleet was completely worn out by the time they were retired. Tthe small number of Bs and Ds would not have amounted to an effective force, and would have been even more expensive to maintain due to diminishing economy of scale.

 

The only way the Tomcat could have lived longer is if the F-14D productin line had been kept open, and enough new-build Ds had been produced to replace the tired As. That is what should have happened in hindsight. But it didn't.

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Don't forget that the AIM-54 was retired several years before the F-14 was retired as well.

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Don't forget that the AIM-54 was retired several years before the F-14 was retired as well.

 

That is a good point and there is some question as to whether the Phoenix was really an effective weapon or more of a bluff. On the other hand, an F-14D with six AIM-120C and a pair of AIM-9X would have been no bluff at all.

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Even though this topic has been hashed over many a time on many a thread, just imagine if Grumman was allowed to realize the full potential of the F-14D? AIM-120's, AIM-9X, AGM-65's, JSSOW, HARM's, etc. Throw in the JHMCS for both crewmembers, and it's already impressive a/g capability (and a/a) would of increased tremendously. Ok, hijack off :)

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The F-18 with those capabilities would also be awesome.

Everyone hates to see their favorite aircraft retired.

I hated to see the F-4,A-6 and A-4 go by the wayside,but that is progress.

I'm sure it was the same for F-8,F-86,P-51,P-38,etc.

 

But thanks to TK and the Thirdwire/CombatAce family,I get to fly them everyday.

Edited by ezlead

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Problem is, the re-engined Tomcat is measurably superior to the Supa Honet in many respects:

 

Range, payload, loiter time, bring-back weight, speed, etc. etc. Notice how all of those characteristics are essential for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan? As a taxpayer I feel totally ripped off, which is why I was happy that the tanker deal went to Northrop/Grumman and Airbus rather than Boeing.

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I did'nt know that column5. Thats sucks. Your a good source of information though.

Edited by herman01

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Problem is, the re-engined Tomcat is measurably superior to the Supa Honet in many respects:

 

Range, payload, loiter time, bring-back weight, speed, etc. etc. Notice how all of those characteristics are essential for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan? As a taxpayer I feel totally ripped off, which is why I was happy that the tanker deal went to Northrop/Grumman and Airbus rather than Boeing.

 

not to mention the maintenance per flight hour which the Tomcat was horrendous on. Great plane - when it actually got into the air.......

 

As a frame of reference the Super Hornet maintenance manhours per flight hour is less than 10% of what the Tomcat was and the availability is more than double.

 

At the war college this was a major item at the time because the decision was still on the table.

 

It really boiled down to one major factor - cost. In order to run the production line to fill the decks with aircraft the USN needed more than would be available. The choice with a limited amount of funds projected and a rapidly crashing threat was to go down the lower cost route of the Hornet and consolidate aircraft types into fewer types covering the broad range of missions. The SH was the only solution that would not strip the decks of planes.

 

Had we gone the Tomcat21 route - the decks would now be even emptier than the 2/3 deck load that they are now. Also bear in mind that the decision was made under Bush the Elder as part of an initial defense cutback with the decline of the Soviet Bear into nothing. What then happened under Clinton the Perjurer was an almost complete shutdown of defense acquisition across the board with Naval Aviation in particular being almost stripped. The Hornet was on life support for much of that period of time and survived simply because it was cheaper.

 

So at the war college running the numbers and capabilities there was an overall feeling that we would loose in capabilities but gain in aircraft numbers. This broke the crowd into two camps - Tomcat supporters (including me) and Hornet advocates. The USN leadership weighed in and told everyone that cost drove the decision and to get on board.

 

As time went on you could tell who the Tomcat supporters were because we all added "Ret." to our ranks..........

 

(just kidding!!!!)

 

 

today we are pretty well served with the Super Hornet and USAF tankers to get them out to where they need to go. Joint air operations leveraging the best of all services is what has enabled us to put airpower on target wherever it needs to go, and the precision strike capabilities today are an order of magnitude better than they were just a decade ago, which itself was an order of magnitude greater than a decade before that.

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I did'nt know that column5. Thats sucks. Your a good source of information though.

 

Its just what I've read. Don't put too much faith in it because I could certainly be wrong, but I have read in more than once source that the Supa Honet didn't quite meet all of its expectations in the areas I listed, and doesn't really replace the A-6 or the F-14 in a lot of ways. Bring-back capability is often cited as being a problem with both the legacy Hornet and Supa. That is, if you take off with a large weapons load and don't expend it all you may have to dump some of it before you land. Not a huge deal with dumb bombs I presume, but you can't treat Paveways and JDAMs like that.

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Its just what I've read. Don't put too much faith in it because I could certainly be wrong, but I have read in more than once source that the Supa Honet didn't quite meet all of its expectations in the areas I listed, and doesn't really replace the A-6 or the F-14 in a lot of ways. Bring-back capability is often cited as being a problem with both the legacy Hornet and Supa. That is, if you take off with a large weapons load and don't expend it all you may have to dump some of it before you land. Not a huge deal with dumb bombs I presume, but you can't treat Paveways and JDAMs like that.

 

I haven't heard that there is any problem with bring back. Their standard load for the SH is three JDAMs and tanks, and they hit USAF tankers for endurance and range.

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If we were to "rebuild the tomcat" using modern technology but with a mostly similar design, it would be cheaper, easier to maintain, lighter, faster, stronger, and more survivable. Mabey someone should design a Ficticious F-14E variant with 1-2 seats, glass cockpit, HUD/HMD single piece canopy and all that other good stuff.

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...it would be cheaper, easier to maintain, lighter,...

 

i don't see how an aircraft with variable geometry wing design can ever be cheaper to produce or easier to maintain.

 

and with the big over-budget spenders like raptor and the jsf i don't think there's even the will to produce another new fighter jet, let alone the one only navy would use.

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It's just progress.

 

We all have our favourites and are sad to se 'em go when the time comes (whether it's too early or not).

 

Cost is the defining element in any military these days and if the sums don't add up (or someone at the top thinks they don't) then it's adios.

 

The Tomcat was a true classic and deserves it's place in history.

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rather than rebuilding the Tomcat -

build a new, stealth fighter that is carrier capable.

 

kinda like an F-22N maybe.......

 

:clapping:

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That is a good point and there is some question as to whether the Phoenix was really an effective weapon or more of a bluff.

This is a shocking statement! Care to elaborate please :blink: if you have time C5?

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That's why they're developing the AIM-120D and the one after that (E presumably) to have even longer range. The AESA radar the latest Super Bugs have is superior to what even the Tomcat Deltas had. The 120C has less range than a 54 did, but is arguably more effective against fighter-sized targets and certainly anything remotely stealthy. The 54C was a 70s missile designed to attack bombers and cruise missiles at long range ie non-manuevering targets. I think every known kill by a 54 was against a target that was unaware.

There's also some speculation the US might buy the Meteor if it's proven to be cost-effective (for what it gives) if it can do more than a 120 variant for the same or less money.

 

I've also never heard of any complaints about Super Bug bring-back weight, only tons about the legacy Hornet. Same with the range, the old Hornet had ridiculously short legs while the Suped one is "average".

 

An F-22N likely would've cost a LOT more than a Super 21, which as mentioned was dumped in favor of the new Hornet for cost reasons.

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This is a shocking statement! Care to elaborate please :blink: if you have time C5?

 

Its just speculation on my part, because the missile never actually met its test objective of being able to engage and destroy 6 targets simultaneously, and its extremely limited combat record resulted in 0 kills, notwithstanding any Iranian use which we have no real idea about.

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I read a very good article recently about what is now known about the Tomcats' performance in the Iran-Iraq war. It boiled down to "did damned well against Iraq" and there were several confirmed kills of Iraqi jets by Phoenix missiles. However, there were also a large number of misses, I think I saw something like 50% success rate.

I think it was in the previous issue of IAPR.

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electric motors can mak swing wings easier to maintain, and i was implying that it would be interesting if someone made it for TW sims or something (i have no experience in using 3ds max and could not make a plane in there, mabey a little practice needed)

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the AIM-54C block7 was a souped up, very capable missile that was lightyears ahead of the original AIM-54A (the A also having been sold to Iran where it apparently racked up a 50% kill rate against Iraqi aircraft - which is actually quite good for a missile!)

 

The C block7 had a lot of very advanced guidance and ECCM built into it and in testing handled multiple, maneuvering, fighter sized targets in an ECM environment very well.

 

without going into details, we considered it a very credible threat against the Flanker and Fulcrum and the "no escape zone" for a Phoenix shot exceeded the range anything they could throw at us at the time.

 

The only combat shot that I know of was against an Iraqi Foxbat which was trying to lure the Tomcats over a missile trap. The Tomcats declined to take that bait and heaved a pair of Phoenix at the "rapidly retreating" Foxbat, which in a tail chase at Mach2+ the Phoenix couldn't catch.

 

Beyond that, the ROE generally prohibited employment of the Phoenix which was particularly the case in the Gulf War when Gen Horner very explicitly prohibited the USN from using it and forced the Tomcats to be stationed out of the fight.

 

so I wouldn't denigrate the Phoenix so much.

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Read the chapter called 'The Acid Test' in 'Tomcat! The Grumman F-14 Story' by RADM Paul Gillcrist. I'll try to post some details later.

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Has this been brought up because everyone is still wondering which jet to put in Topgun 2 :biggrin:

 

Theres a lot of affection for the F-14 it seems - and it would be great to be in the 80s again in some ways when it and others were in their prime.

 

But no its 2008 - the missiles are too flippin good and the latest version of my beloved F-16 is called the QF-16 :doh:

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There have always been doubts about the phoenix. It was derived from the AIM-4 Falcon, which was known as the "20 thousand dollar turn signal" because it couldn't hit jack.

 

An F-14E or F-22N/AFX would have been a better choice going up against Su-30s that are quickly becoming the standard non-western fighter in stock by world airforces. By all the figures I've seen the bug is slower, has less acceleration and range than the tomcat.

 

With more loiter time, higher bringback ability and larger payload (saw somewhere the D could carry more on its fuselage than the bug on wings) might have been more cost effective, even if the plane and maintenance was more expensive and timelier.

 

Anyway, we have a what if worthy tomcat replacement in SF as Julhelm's F/A-24 "Shadowcat" already.

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