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So - be it a good idea or a bad idea - the 'spiritual successor' to the F-14 will, in time, become part of the military. It may be a few generations of airframes before that happens, or it could be the next - but it is only a matter of time before the political winds turn back in favor of an aircraft that fills the role the F-14 used to fill.
The problem with that is, that the F-14 was envisioned as a Fleet Defense fighter, using its AWG-9 radar and AIM-54, against hordes of incoming Soviet bombers intent on attacking a carrier battle group. The numbers of such bombers existing has diminished greatly, and its not the biggest threat to a carrier anymore.
the USN has moved away from dedicated specialized aircraft like they used to have. Before, you had the F-14 for fleet defence, KA-6 for tankering, EA-6B for ECM, S-3 for ASM, and A-6/A-7 then F/A-18 for strike.
ASM is less active than it used to be, and most everything else on a carrier is being done with F/A-18s in a jack of all trades role, from air defence to strike to tanker and now ECM coming up with the F/A-18G. Soon, the only combat aircraft on USN carriers will be F/A-18 variants, with Seahawk helicopters for rescue, and E-3 Hawkeyes for AWACS.
The days of several dedicated combat aircraft types on a carrier will be a distant memory soon. not saying that in a good or bad way, just that is the way it is.
Certain roles in aviation can be blended. Others, however, cannot. In another 5-10 years, we'll be going back to more dedicated airframes with better matching of performance characteristics and the roles those aircraft are to fill. And the 'next 14' will be part of that, just as the 'next 15' will, as well (and, no, I do not mean the F-22).
Originally posted by Luke.S
oh and sorry for double post but I ran out of space. If I recall the F-15 has such a good A2A ratio because it usually goes up against much less advanced fighters such as the Mig 21 etc...
Originally posted by Spyz
I think it's a 6 one half dozen the other type of argument. The aim-54 is a great missle, but was really built for attacking slow or at least relatively slow moving bombers. Until the f-22 came out, I'd be more than comfortable in either one.