posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 09:19 PM
The world’s first carrier based variable sweep wing and the most recognizable aircraft - the fast and lethal F-14 - is roaring off into Naval
history. The people who researched, developed, tested and trained for the mighty Tomcat will close down the program at Patuxent River Naval Air
Station on April 27. R/Adm Venlet, Executive Officer for Naval Tactical Aircraft and a Tomcat aviator, will preside at the ceremony.
The Tomcat has been a mainstay in Navy aviation for 32 years. The F-14 has been transformed from a single mission air-to-air fighter into a combat
proven strike and attack aircraft now equipped with digital tactical recon capability. It became an icon in popular culture starring in the 1986
motion picture “Top Gun” and made later appearances on the tv series “JAG.” Its swept wings design is quickly recognized around the globe.
The Tomcat program started in 1968 when the Navy decided to conceive a new carrier based air-to-air fighter. The first production F-14A was delivered
in 1972. A significant improvement was made in 1987 with the upgrade to General Electric F110 fanjet engines. This aircraft was designated the F-14B.
The F-14D added a new state-of-the-art digital avionics system, one of the most powerful and advanced digital processing radar systems at the time, as
well as a high performance passive infrared search and track system.
Tomcats delivered precision-guided munitions over Belgrade, Kabul, and Baghdad. In 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom saw the deployment of all three F-14D
squadrons, and saw the F-14D’s first release of a Joint Direct Attack Munition in a combat environment. In late 2005, the Tomcat also became the
first Navy plane to be equipped with ROVER compatibility, which allowed transmission of real-time streaming video to troops on the ground.
Two Tomcat squadrons were retired in March from their last deployment aboard the USS Teddy Roosevelt, CVN71. With an average service life of over 15
years, the aging aircraft has proved itself among the best multi-mission aircraft ever built. It ends its service life while flying alongside the
F/A-18 Super Hornet, which the Navy has chosen as its successor. Based on a story in the “Navy News” for April 20, 2006.
Wt empty 42,000 Max takeoff 72,900
Power 2 GE F110 rated at 13,000 lbs dry and 24,000 lbs wet (afterburner)
Max speed, Mach 2.34 (1,540 mph at altitude)
Combat range - 1 way plus loiter time, 570 miles
Service ceiling 78,000 ft
Rate of clime, 45,000 ft per min.
Armament, 1 M61 Vulcan 20 mm with 1,100 rounds
plus up to 10,000 lbs of mixed bombs and rockets
Purchase price $38 million
Here follows examples in the generally recognized generation guide to the world's fighter aircraft, posted by Waynos on another thread on ATS
Generation 1 - Meteor, P-80, Me 262
Generation 2 - F-100, Super Mystere, MiG 19
Generation 3 - Lighting, F-4, Su-15
Generation 4 - F-14, F-15, Tornado, Su-27
Generation 5 - Typhoon, Raptor, F-35.
The F-86, MiG 15 and Hunter were far superior to the Meteor and P-80 but they still belonged to the same generation, the leap came with the F-100. The
MiG 21 was the ultimate 2nd gen fighter, later mods brought it to parity with many 3rd gen types but that doesn't change where the MiG 21 belongs.
Same applies to the Mirage III and several similar types. The MiG 23 and 25 along with the F-111 in the USA are strictly 3rd gen.
The F-16 (first flight same year as Tornado, two years after F-15 and three years before Su-27, is quite obviously of the same generation as these
aircraft. The same goes for the F-18 and MiG 29.
[edit on 4/20/2006 by donwhite]