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Last of the Tomcats near retirement

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posted on Dec, 17 2005 @ 04:57 PM
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The U.S. Navy's F-14 Tomcat fighter, built as a Cold War defense against Soviet bombers and emblazoned on popular imagination as Tom Cruise's plane in the 1986 movie Top Gun, is just weeks away from making its final combat sorties over Iraq before being retired for good.

A pair of Navy squadrons with the last 22 operational Tomcats are still flying bombing and strafing runs on insurgent targets in Iraq, jetting off the deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Persian Gulf.

But by next fall, Navy pilots will have completed their switch to the smaller, more reliable F-18 Hornet, said Commander Jim Howe, deputy commander of the Roosevelt's F-14 squadrons.

Despite the dogfighting flash of Top Gun, in real life the Tomcat was so tough to fly and maintain that it became known as the "turkey," said Howe, "because it doesn't look like it should fly."



Its final combat sorties are taking place in coming weeks, before the Roosevelt departs the Persian Gulf early next year, taking the last American F-14s to their retirement in the United States. Howe declined for security reasons to name the date of the Roosevelt's departure for its base in Virginia.



"It was a phenomenal capability when it was developed," Miller said. "It's one of the planes that helped us win the Cold War."



Ironically, the last flying Tomcats may be Tehran's.

U.S. intelligence assessments say five or six of Iran's early model Tomcats can probably still fly, but do so rarely, given the U.S. embargo on the Islamic Republic and the prodigious maintenance and parts the F-14s need, Howe said.

"I have almost no doubt that their F-14s are in such poor shape that I would not call them operational," Howe said.



The F-14 became notorious for the painstaking maintenance it needs: 40 shop hours for each hour in the air, four times the tinkering needed by its F-18 replacement.

"It's been flying on the backs of the maintainers for a long time," Howe said.

The F-18s are also easier to fly, Howe said.


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It will be sad to see them go, one of the best looking combat aircraft of all time. But we should embrace the future, JSF and U-CAS.




posted on Dec, 17 2005 @ 06:41 PM
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Sad very very sad to hear, This site will make Tomcat lovers even sadder.

www.amarcexperience.com...

This is a good site for all ATS users, tells you about the US Air Inventory.

I hope there will be another big 2 seater fighter like the F-14, An F-22N Naval Raptor?

Naa!, There will never be anything else boss like the F-14, I will sadly miss it BIG TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

I wish there was another heavy fighter instead of these F-18 things
(Lazy Jets).

[edit on 17-12-2005 by Browno]



posted on Dec, 17 2005 @ 06:43 PM
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Yeah it was a great fighter, one of my all time favorites. And it’s sad to say that neither the JSF nor the Super Hornet can fill the role of interceptor that the Tomcat was designed for.



posted on Dec, 17 2005 @ 07:08 PM
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Pitty, one aircraft i'll miss, atleast we'll have the F-15 for a while which is nearly like a Tomcat with fixed wings and none-slanted tailfins.

Anyone ever seen that pic of a F-22 with swing wings?



posted on Dec, 17 2005 @ 07:13 PM
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I was actually going to start a thread up for this very question... West Point, you bring up a damn good point. If im not mistaken, neither the JSF, UCAV, Super Hornet, or Raptor can carry the pheonix missile system. (I know its retired, but it wasnt really replaced by something better) Doesnt the Phoenix out do the AAMRAAM's and sidewinders in speed and range ... if the above is true, why are we equipping our cutting edge aircraft with substandard armament??? We no longer have any long range air to air capability, thie phoenix range was 100 miles and the sidwinder and AMRAAM only have a range of 10-20 miles. Not to mention they are both almost half as fast as the phoenix.. why??(manuverability?) Can somone please explain?

For me nothing will ever replace the 14, While the JSF is cool, the 14 will always ahve a place in my heart.



posted on Dec, 17 2005 @ 07:14 PM
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Originally posted by GrOuNd_ZeRo
Pitty, one aircraft i'll miss, atleast we'll have the F-15 for a while which is nearly like a Tomcat with fixed wings and none-slanted tailfins.

Anyone ever seen that pic of a F-22 with swing wings?


you mean this one ;-)





posted on Dec, 17 2005 @ 10:54 PM
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This is truly the end of era. Too bad the battle that the Tomcat was designed for never materialized. The fact that this airfame endured so long without its true mission is a testament to the full potential to the aircraft. I agree that it was initially an odd looking aircraft, but in '85 when it came in to my awareness was the best looking thing out there. TOP GUN was one heck of a cheesy movie, but i still watch it to see the Tomcat in action. Much respect to the F-14 Tomcat and those who built, serviced, and flew this remarkable airframe.



posted on Dec, 18 2005 @ 12:51 AM
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Originally posted by RealisticPatriot
I was actually going to start a thread up for this very question... West Point, you bring up a damn good point. If im not mistaken, neither the JSF, UCAV, Super Hornet, or Raptor can carry the pheonix missile system. (I know its retired, but it wasnt really replaced by something better) Doesnt the Phoenix out do the AAMRAAM's and sidewinders in speed and range ... if the above is true, why are we equipping our cutting edge aircraft with substandard armament??? We no longer have any long range air to air capability, thie phoenix range was 100 miles and the sidwinder and AMRAAM only have a range of 10-20 miles. Not to mention they are both almost half as fast as the phoenix.. why??(manuverability?) Can somone please explain?

For me nothing will ever replace the 14, While the JSF is cool, the 14 will always ahve a place in my heart.



Why was the Phoenix retired anyway? Too old, inaccurate, what?



posted on Dec, 18 2005 @ 02:42 AM
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cost mainly , and the fact that AMRAAM is cheaper and can nearly do teh same job ; AIM-54 is something like $1million per shot.



posted on Dec, 18 2005 @ 03:37 AM
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It is a pity... That is one hell of a plane... pity I never saw it fly...



posted on Dec, 18 2005 @ 01:19 PM
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Originally posted by Harlequin
cost mainly , and the fact that AMRAAM is cheaper and can nearly do teh same job ; AIM-54 is something like $1million per shot.


Nearly the same job? the 54 can go for 100 miles and go mach 4, dont think the amraam can do that. Also doesnt the 54 have som crazy inbuilt radar system?

54 is a long range missile and i dont think anything has replaced it yet

[edit on 18-12-2005 by RealisticPatriot]



posted on Dec, 18 2005 @ 02:07 PM
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Is there not an extended range AMRAAM in the pipe-line?



posted on Dec, 18 2005 @ 03:11 PM
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While there may be an extended rage AMRAAM, the Phoenix missiles system was designed to also shoot down cruise missiles, and threes no AMRAAM designed to do that. There was a program to replace the AIM-54 with a new missile but it was cancelled in 92, you can guess why.



posted on Dec, 18 2005 @ 03:24 PM
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Do the Russians still use their AA-9? that was basically a very close match to the Phoenix.

Still the R-27EM has superior range to the AMRAAM.

The phoenix had a good range, but it's hit probability was only around 60% last time I heard, I am not sure about the AA-9's or the R-27's hit probability either, but I can be sure it's fairly low at such a distance.



posted on Dec, 19 2005 @ 09:07 PM
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This link had answers to a lot of my questions... enjoy

aerospaceweb.org...



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