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    The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

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    The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  2SPOOKY4U on Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:03 pm

    Found an interesting statement:
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/695515/posts?page=69

    Copy&Pasted for those that might not be able to access the link.
    Russian fighters for the USAF/USN? The ultimate irony …

    by Robert W. Kress with Rear Adm. Paul Gillcrist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Editors’ note: In this wonderful piece of aeronautical and political irony, it seems that our newfound but uneasy friends, the Russians, may be our best source of new fighter aircraft. Bob Kress, ex-Grumman VP of advanced programs and chief engineer on the F-14, and Adm. Paul Gillcrist, retired USN fighter pilot, make a convincing argument that rather than spend ridiculous sums for new fighters that will probably show up too late to do us any good, we should buy Sukhoi Su-27 airframes and "Americanize" them with our engines and flight-control systems. Controversial? Absolutely! Logical? Make your own decision.

    RIGHT: The Su-27 is bigger than the F-14 and F-15, and its capabilities and economics are so outstanding that a number of nations are in the process of adapting it to set it up as the primary U.S. foe in future conflicts (photo by Katsuhiko Tokunaga).

    Prelude

    Soon after Desert Storm, by some inexplicable miscalculation, the U.S. Navy voluntarily opted out of the important sea-based, deep-interdiction mission it had brilliantly carried out during and since WW II. It decided on the early termination of the A-6 program and to scrap the new A-6 "composite wing" program for which Boeing had already been paid hundreds of millions of dollars. This would have carried A-6Fs well into the next century.

    In the strike configuration for which it originally had been designed, the F-14D was to have been the bridging mechanism between the A-6 and the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). It is hoped (repeat, hoped) the JSF will arrive easily in the next millennium. With the A-6 out of the picture, and until the JSF arrives, the F-14D is the only game in town that has the same punch.

    The problem with using the F-14D as the bridge between the two aircraft is that it is on the edge of extinction. In another inexplicable move, beginning about 1990, the U.S. Navy, per orders of then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, planned to phase out of the F-14 program and, apparently to ensure there would be no second thoughts, ordered the destruction of all F-14 tooling. Incredible!

    The F-18 E/F program that is supposed to take over the sea-based, deep-interdiction, precision-strike mission does not have a long-range, high-payload, precision-strike capability, so the F-14Ds are the current workhorse delivery men of the 2,000-pound, LGB/radar-guided bombs in the many trouble spots around the world, as required. The USAF tries to supplement U.S. Navy strikes but is handicapped by diplomatic and political constraints.

    Unfortunately, the tragedy does not stop there. The requirement for the Nimitz and follow-on class carriers hinges, most experts say, on its ability to carry out sea-based, deep-interdiction missions. Without the F-14s, Congress will not support the construction of more $3.5 billion Nimitz-class carriers if deep-strike aircraft are not ready on the first day of the conflict.

    LEFT: Grumman F-14Ds, as based on the USS Constellation, are on the edge of extinction and are our last Naval aircraft capable of carrying heavy bomb loads for long distances (photo by Randy Jolly).

    Somebody in the White House will have to answer the President’s question, "Where are the carriers?" with the reply, "What carriers?" We decided not to build any; remember? The U.S. Navy

    The U.S. Navy retired the venerable long-range, heavy-attack A-6 aircraft, not because they lacked their original capability and survivability, but because they were disintegrating due to old age. They went into service in 1962—37 years ago!

    LEFT: the Grumman A-6E Intruder, now taken out of the fleet, was neither fast, nor glamorous, but it was rugged, reliable and carried an immense bomb load on long, low missions. It has no direct replacement (photos by Randy Jolly)..

    The F-14D has now taken over for the A-6 in the fighter/bomber role as it was originally designed to do. On top of that, when the Tomcat has loosed its bombs, it is a formidable dogfighter! With the 150 or so F-14s left, however, the U.S. Navy can only maintain this fighter/bomber force until about 2010—if it is lucky! And even doing that will require quick funding of restoration efforts to a lot of aircraft.

    LEFT: according to the authors, the F/A-18 is simply too small to carry either the fuel or ordnance required by deep interdiction missions.

    Cheney’s order of no more F-14 production was a wasteful move that cannot be explained rationally, nor was there ever any reason offered. The effect of the order, however, was to leave a clear path for further acquisition of the F-18A and its desperately needed mission-performance upgrade, the F-18E. The F-18s are good airplanes, but neither version comes close to the payload/range capability of the F-14 or the A-6.

    The cake was iced by the acquisition of Grumman by Northrop in 1993—the cat devoured by the mouse, so to speak. Seventy percent of the aircraft on carrier decks at the time were Grumman-built. On the other hand, Northrop had never built a tactically significant aircraft in its entire 60-year history.

    The USAF

    The USAF problem is different. The Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program resulted in the development of the excellent Lockheed F-22 stealth fighter and the very powerful and well-behaved Pratt & Whitney F-119 fighter engine. The USAF has many upgraded F-15 fighter/bomber aircraft in inventory and could build and upgrade even more. So, acquisition of the F-22 is not as critical an issue, timewise.

    The problem lies in the enormous acquisition cost of the F-22 (see Aerospace America, November ’98). The cost associated with introducing it to service would probably result in the forced retirement of many workhorse F-15s. Further, the effects of stealth aircraft design measures on fighter aircraft performance, cost and combat operability have been seriously questioned.

    The F-15s must be replaced in the next 10 to 20 years, but with which aircraft?

    Scale models show the relative sizes of the different fighters. From the left: MiG-29; F-14D; Su-27; F-15; F/A-18. Note the tiny relative size of the F/A-18 (photo by Walter Sidas).

    The threat

    On the other side of the fence, our combined U.S. Navy/USAF fighter/bomber force will face approximately 404 Russian Su-27 Flanker aircraft by 2002 ("Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft"). China has been licensed to build 200 (no license to export—so they say!).

    The Su-27 is already known as a premier highly maneuverable fighter. What is less known is that it is a brute of an aircraft—bigger than the F-14 and F-15. It has a huge internal fuel capacity and, like the F-14, can carry a lot of very large bombs in attack roles—neatly hidden from radar detection between the podded engine nacelles. In addition, its external shape results in a naturally low radar signature without compromising its performance. The vaunted MiG-29 is a midget compared with the Su-27—not unlike comparing the F-18 with the F-14. No wonder the world market opts for Su-27 payload/range versus the MiG-29. Even better for our purpose, the Su-27 has already been modified for carrier operations, and it was planned for the first Russian carrier, the Adm. Kuznetzov.

    By 2002, the U.S. will be outgunned by an ever-growing number of countries owning the Su-27. The Su-27 has a deep-strike capability that’s on a par with the current 500-nautical-mile U.S. capability, which, by the way, is in the process of rapidly fading to 300 n.m. as the F-14s go out of service and are replaced by F-18s with half the bomb load. The same goes for the F-15, except that its strike bomb load is on a par with the F-14, and it isn’t disappearing as quickly.

    We need some more affordable, high-performance "big guys" soon! So what can be done?

    An American Su-27?

    Before assuming that the concept of buying Su-27s for the USAF and USN is a whacky idea, let’s first see whether it has some merit. The Su-27 is a known excellent fighter. It has been partially “navalized.” It is a big brute. In the event of a conflict, we will be nose to nose with it worldwide. It exists and is in production, so we could easily buy Su-27 aircraft models as gap-fillers; we already have acquired two for evaluation. To make things even better, the airplane is inexpensive by any standards.?

    A recent unofficial quote from a Russian source says that Su-27s can be bought for about $8 million apiece. Perhaps the carrier version would cost substantially more. Compared with F-18E/F costs, the Su-27 may offer enormous procurement savings plus large mission- and combat-effectiveness benefits.

    Aviation Week recently announced plans by Australia to replace its F/A-18s and F-111s with MiG-29s and Su-27s. Maybe this proposal is not such a crazy idea after all!

    In the long term, we would want to upgrade Su-27 models in thrust and avionics to give us an edge over the worldwide Su-27 threat. The Pratt & Whitney F-119 engine is significantly more powerful than the Russian Su-27 powerplants and can be built with elegant pitch and yaw thrust vectoring. The General Electric F-120 F-23 engine could also be used. Without being specific, the U.S. avionics industry should be able to substantially upgrade Su-27 systems. Cost will be the driver, but here, the Su-27 may be the solution for the U.S. Navy and USAF as interim gap-filler aircraft. For the long term, there are several options:

    • Buy bare airframes made to specifications for completion in the U.S. • Obtain a license to build Su-27s in the U.S. without export rights. • Build some parts in the U.S. and buy major subassemblies from Russia for assembly in the U.S. (really a variant of the second option).

    On the carrier version of the Su-27, both the wings and the horizontal tail fold. The authors argue that the Russian fighter/bomber can do the F-14’s job at a fraction of the cost of a new, U.S.-built airplane (photo courtesy of Paul Gillcrist).

    As a side issue in the procurement of these aircraft, the U.S. would certainly be funding a large part of Russia’s economic recovery, which would help to keep it stable and less of a threat. Obtaining a really good deal on Su-27s should be realistic and beneficial to both countries. It would also further cement the collaboration between Russia and the U.S. in the face of jointly perceived threats.

    Action items!

    Somebody (let’s see some hands, folks) should carefully explore the procurement cost and fleet readiness implications of the proposals we’ve presented. Since we’re supposedly retired, this is something we can no longer explore without the help of a major agency.

    As long as we’re asking questions about the future fighter programs, what about the JSF program? It is a joint U.S. Navy/USAF/USMC next-generation fighter program! (Heard that one before?) But this time, a dimly perceived USMC VTOL fighter is the objective!

    Has anyone figured out that when an engine fails during hover, a twin-engine VTOL will do a rollover very quickly, thus preventing pilot ejection? Even Harriers require quick pilot action to avoid insidious, slow, roll-control loss if the nose was allowed to get too high in a crosswind hover. Many were lost. Thus, a VTOL for the Marines must be a single-engine configuration, which means that it must be a single-engine aircraft. It also means that the JSF will be another fighter in the 30,000-pound class (using the F-119 engine, for example).

    Finale

    You might wonder why we are taking these positions. We could talk about politicians, the specifics of current international events and future perils—of which we know nothing of substance.

    What we do know is how we perceived the world unfolding as youngsters on December 7, 1941. Our leaders saw what was coming but were too late to achieve a high state of readiness. So, we listened to the radio and watched “Movietone News” in horror, grief and fear until our industrial capability at last turned the tide.

    On the surface, the current world situation is not as threatening, but many world trouble spots may demand military attention via conventional forces and weapons. Events that do arise will do so quickly, leaving little time to build up the military. Our forces must be ready at all times—something that seems to have lost its importance in the last decade. Tactical airpower must be refreshed in strategy and form, unencumbered by politics and corporate interference. In other words, we’ll always need the ability to dash in, drop a lot of bombs and get out. If we don’t do something about the impending vacuum of that capability very soon, we may find ourselves unable to effectively smack some dictator’s backside when he needs it.

    Drawings by Lloyd S. Jones

    U.S. Navy aircraft design comparisons

    In the tables that follow, we’ve attempted to compare the fighter/bomber mission performance of the F-14D, F-18A, F-18E and Su-27. We cannot obtain or use classified U.S. Navy data. However, "Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft" is presumably an accurate source of aircraft data. Tactical missions and loads differ from aircraft to aircraft, but an aeronautical engineer can extract some valid, nearly accurate comparisons and conclusions.

    So here we go. We apologize for dragging you through the technical mud! Table 1 compares the F-18A, F-18E, F-14D, A-6E and Su-27 in the long-range fighter/bomber mission. In so doing, some fundamental issues of physics begin to emerge.

    TABLE 1 F-18A F-18E F-14D A-6E Su-27 Weight empty (lb.) 23,832 30,564 43,879 27,888 38,580 Pilot and ammo (lb.) 535 535 838 500 500 Mm/no. of rounds 20/570 20/570 20/675 0 30/150 Internal fuel (lb.) 10,860 14,400 16,200 15,939 20,723 External fuel (lb.) 7,431 7,206 3,854 0 0 AAM (2); Sidewinders 472 472 472 0 472 No. of tanks/capacity 3/330 2/480 2/280 0 0 Bomb weight in lb. 4,000 4,000 8,000 8,000 8,000 Bombs: no. and type (2) Mk 84* (4) Mk 83 (4) Mk 84 (4) Mk 84 (4) Mk 84 Takeoff gross weight (lb.) 47,130 57,177 73,253 52,327 68,275 Takeoff fuel weight as % of gross takeoff weight 37.5 36.8 27.4 30.5 30.4 * Two 1,000-lb. Mk 83s used in Desert Fox, not 2,000 lb. Mk 84.

    The message of Table 1 is that big is beautiful! The F-18A and substantially puffed-up F-18E don’t carry much of a weapon load compared with the big guys. As you will see in the next table, they don’t carry it very far either, in spite of their huge external fuel loads that prevent large weapon load-outs by using up wing store stations. Note the large takeoff fuel percentages: the big boys fly farther on less fuel, as Table 2 shows.

    One caution in viewing these numbers; although they have been extracted from "Jane’s," aircraft companies are marvelously innovative at hiding the facts while appearing to be completely candid; we’ve been there. Further, for some numbers in the table and the tables that follow, we have made corrections to establish a common baseline.

    Now that we have a common attack mission, let’s address the mission performance and fundamental aero/propulsion issues. Table 2 clearly shows where "big is beautiful" comes from. Look at the radius multiplied by bomb-load factor (R x B). The F-14Ds and the SU-27s have twice the capability of the F-18s, so only half as many aircraft and crew need to be endangered (the bombs are twice as big and in-flight refueling is rarely needed). The mission radius comparison speaks for itself.

    TABLE 2 F-18A F-18E F-14D A-6E Su-27 Store stations (2) 2,500 Same as F-18A (4) 2,000 (5) 3,600 (7) 2,000 (2) 2,350 Same as F-18A (2) 2,200 — — (1) 2,400 Same as F-18A (2) 1,800 — — Wing area (sq. ft.) 400 500 565 484 667 Wingspan 37.5 44.7 64.1/38.2 53 48.2 Sea level static afterburner thrust (lb.) 32,000 44,000 55,600 18,600 (*1) 55,100 Attack wing loading (bombs on board) (lb./sq. ft.) @ 60% fuel 100 98 115 94.9 90 Wing loading (bombs dropped) (lb./lb.) @ 60% fuel 90 90 101 NA 78 Attack thrust/weight (lb./lb.) @ 60% fuel .80 .90 .85 NA .92 Thrust/weight (bombs dropped; lb./lb.) @ 60% fuel .89 .98 .97 NA 1.06 Turning drag/lift factor 28.5 24.4 15.9 16.4 25.8 Attack-mission radius in n.m. 290 (*2) 390 (*2) 402 (*2) 500 (*2) 420 (*2, *3) Radius x bomb load (R x B); n.m. x lb./10^6 or 1,000,000 1.16 1.56 3.22 4.00 3.36 *1 No afterburner, *2 "Hi-lo-lo-hi" mission, *3 Probably low, NA=not available

    Wing loading and thrust to weight require a bit more explanation. Wing loading at the attack-mission weight simply defines your predicament if you are jumped while carrying a full bomb load. After dropping the bombs, your wing loading is much better, as shown in the table; so is the thrust-to-weight ratio (T/W). Note that the F-18E and F-14D are nearly equal in T/W at .98 and .97 compared with the Su-27 at 1.06. The reason is that the weight of bombs dropped is doubled for the big guys.

    The turning drag/lift factor is proportional to the span loading (W/b^2) at a given G loading and indicated airspeed (IAS). It is related to induced drag and is familiar to aerodynamicists. It is the dominant parameter in calculating sustained G. In air-combat turns, the induced drag at a given G level is directly proportional to the span loading. With its wings unswept below Mach .7 via the sweep programmer, the F-14’s induced drag in turns is half that of the other aircraft tabulated due to its big span (squared). And aircraft combat maneuvering at the Yuma range proved that after the initial engagement, most of the time was spent below Mach .7.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  GarryB on Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:27 am

    That article appears to be written in 1999... Tomcats are gone and the F-35 is the future for the US.

    And considering the current relations such an arrangement would be totally impossible right now even if it does seem a good idea.

    Ironically I don't really think the US Su-27 would be better than the Su-35S.


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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  2SPOOKY4U on Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:30 pm

    GarryB wrote:That article appears to be written in 1999... Tomcats are gone and the F-35 is the future for the US.

    And considering the current relations such an arrangement would be totally impossible right now even if it does seem a good idea.

    Ironically I don't really think the US Su-27 would be better than the Su-35S.

    Good points, I did not state that the article was 2013 or 2014 did I? And, yes you are correct on all points, the F-35 is the future for them. I just wanted to post this information as a source on some opinions at the time. I could not find a thread to post this and I thought I would make a new one. Feel free to move it if you so wish, I have no complaints. I am just here to spread and learn information and have constructive and most importantly fun debates with other intellectuals.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  medo on Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:55 pm

    What is even more ironically is the fact, that China take their advice and made their own Su-33 clone called J-15 for their carriers.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  GarryB on Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:43 am

    In the 1990s there was even a suggestion for Su-35 to replace the F-18s in australian service and the Su-34 to replace the F-111s... was never going to happen of course, just like the US adopting any Russian fighter design is never going to happen even as a charity.


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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  BlackArrow on Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:11 am

    In the same way that the Russian AF would never adopt the F-16, C-17 or Rafale into service. That's the way international politics works it seems.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  BlackArrow on Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:33 am

    The USN already had the F-14D in service, which certainly to this day could not be equaled as an air defence fighter, AIM-54C, AIM-120, etc. Not sure what the Su-33 could offer ahead of it?

    Also, the F/A-18E probaly has a range and warload equal to if not greater than that of the RafaleM and MiG-29K.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  TR1 on Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:32 pm

    Su-33 was a much higher performer across the spectrum- as was any new 4th gen compared to the F-14. The airframe was simply newer and better. Aim-54C was a crappy weapon against anything but bombers @ long range anwyays (though of course that was a good capability for the Tomcat to have).

    Hell the F-15 was across the board a much better performer than the Tomcat, barring carrier capability.


    To this day the F-14 cannot be rivaled? That is pure hype talking. People are blinded by Topgun and the Phoenix.

    IMO one of the most overrated designs out there period. Great for its time, but very much passed on by newer 4th gens.
    People just think it is an amazing dog-fighter, an amazing high altitude performer (not on both counts, by any modern stretch of the imagination), and I won't even go into its overall reliability as a system.
    The F-18 scores MUCH better in the last category.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  medo on Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:04 pm

    I wouldn't underestimate F-14 fighters. I would still rather take F-14D than any F-15 type of fighters. F-14D have very powerful radar with range around 300 km, IRST and very capable data link network. It was capable to carry AMRAAM missiles and new AIM-120D could replace AIM-54 by its range and capabilities. If long range AMRAAM work with max. range of many fighters radars, F-14 could easily work with them.

    It's true, that AIM-54 is capable only against bombers, but in seventies and eighties only soviet bombers represent a danger to US NAVY, Yak-38 didn't represent any danger to them. Today, Phoenix could be replaced with long range AMRAAMs.

    Maybe F-14D have lower agility than Su-33, but in other performances is equal and in radar and data link network is better than Su-33.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  GarryB on Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:20 am

    The Tomcat never got AMRAAM capability... it was all part of the plan to get rid of it... for the same reasons the Germans never upgraded their MiG-29s to SMT standard to improve performance and reduce operating costs. It just didn't fit their replacement plans to have better performing aircraft.

    The Tomcat is a very over rated aircraft... its much vaunted capability to shoot down 6 aircraft at once was largely paper based... in the test the targets were different distances and angles but there was only a 600m vertical difference in target altitudes because of the limitations of the mechanically scanned radar used to guide the missiles.

    The Soviet equivalent Zaslon in the MiG-31 was vastly superior.

    Currently the Su-33 has plenty of future growth potential, but will likely never see operational service as a naval PAK FA has already been announced.

    The export RVV-BD will have a 200km range and be able to engage modern manouvering air targets, which would make it superior to any model Phoenix.

    [quote]In the same way that the Russian AF would never adopt the F-16, C-17 or Rafale into service. That's the way international politics works it seems.[/qutoe]

    Funny you say that... I remember discussions in the late 1990s with US Strong crew who claimed that by this time Russia would be in NATO as a poor second cousin and its aero industry would be in tatters and that they would be introducing F-16s into service in the Russian Air Force now while other NATO members would be putting F-35 into service...


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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  Giulio on Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:12 pm

    Afaik the F-14 had nothing to do with the F-15. The F-15 is an air-superiority fighter like the Su-27, the F-14 was a long range bomber and missile destroyer, similar to the Mig-31. The F-14's targets were bombers like the Tu-22M.
    Is it true that the Iranians gave some F-14A to the Russians?
    but will likely never see operational service as a naval PAK FA has already been announced.
    Do you know something about that? Thanks

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  BlackArrow on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:59 pm

    "TR1"]Su-33 was a much higher performer across the spectrum- as was any new 4th gen compared to the F-14.

    Have to disagree with you there. They both probably had similar payload and range capabilities - they both had similar maximum take off weights.

    Aim-54C was a crappy weapon against anything but bombers @ long range anwyays (though of course that was a good capability for the Tomcat to have).

    AIM-54C was not a a crappy weapon - anymore than R-33 on a MiG-31 was. Who said AIM-54 could only shoot down bombers?

    People just think it is an amazing dog-fighter, an amazing high altitude performer (not on both counts, by any modern stretch of the imagination),

    Oh yes it was - maybe not as good as a Flanker - but close.

    and I won't even go into its overall reliability as a system.

    compared to what, Su-33, MiG-31?

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  GarryB on Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:36 am

    AIM-54C was not a a crappy weapon - anymore than R-33 on a MiG-31 was. Who said AIM-54 could only shoot down bombers?

    Phoenix was an ordinary weapon optimised for shooting down large aircraft and missiles that were not manouvering and were closing with the interceptor.

    Against small manouverable fighters... especially when flying away from the interceptor their performance was poor.

    Even the MiG-29K2 will be able to carry the much better RVV-BD with a range in the export version of 200km and 280km in the domestic model. It can be fitted with an AESA radar far superior to the set fitted to the F-14D.

    It might not have the all out range of the F-14D but it does have inflight refuelling capability and is all digital.

    The F-14Ds data link was analog and not that impressive... even compared with the digital system fitted to the MiG-31.


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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  BlackArrow on Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:50 pm

    GarryB wrote:
    Even the MiG-29K2 will be able to carry the much better RVV-BD with a range in the export version of 200km and 280km in the domestic model. It can be fitted with an AESA radar far superior to the set fitted to the F-14D.

    A Mig-29 variant carrying the huge R-37 missile - any evidence for that?
    There are no Russian made AESA radars in service at the moment apart from testing. What has the radar and weapons of a future, potential,navalised MiG-29 got to do with a type that been out of service almost 10 years, I really don't know.

    The F-14Ds data link was analog and not that impressive... even compared with the digital system fitted to the MiG-31.

    I presume F-14D had link 16, which is digital. It also has other data links, which no doubt work very well.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  GarryB on Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:00 am


    A Mig-29 variant carrying the huge R-37 missile - any evidence for that?

    The RVV-BD is an export missile intended for operational use on all the new Russian fighters.

    There are no Russian made AESA radars in service at the moment apart from testing. What has the radar and weapons of a future, potential,navalised MiG-29 got to do with a type that been out of service almost 10 years, I really don't know.

    We are talking about the possibility of the US putting Russian air frames into service to replace more expensive domestic airframes.

    The fact that the F-14 has been out of production for more than quarter of a century is more relevant... and it is still in service... in Iran.

    I presume F-14D had link 16, which is digital. It also has other data links, which no doubt work very well.

    Its radar wasn't digital either... they didn't even give it compatibility with AMRAAM... what makes you think they kept it fully updated with new technology?


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    The vanishing of the F-14

    Post  Giulio on Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:21 pm

    If possible I would open this thread because I don't have clear notions. Maybe it's already posted, but I have not found, if so, I apologize.
    Above all:
    1) If the F-14 is no longer on board the aircraft carriers something has changed: or the threat for the carriers, or the American weapons systems could do without the Tomcat, or both. (Or simply they ran out of money??). Which of these?

    2) Could the F-18F and amraam do what the F-14 and aim-54 did?
    3) Why don't put the amraam on board the F-14?
    Thanks

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  Werewolf on Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:04 pm

    Despite i love the F-14, it is old and it is inferior to F-18 for carrier based roles it was suppossed to do. The F-18 is smaller and more effecient for the same role, with bit more modern weapons than the Phoenix, plain and simple modernisation even tho i love the F-14 and dislike the looks of F-18.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  Flyingdutchman on Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:52 pm

    The tomcat is my favorite fighter jet of all times and i would have loved to see an upgraded version with an cockpit like the super hornet and the same electronic stuff.
    But i have to agree with werewolf except for the F 18 part, i like the looks of an f 18 aswell.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  Mike E on Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:58 pm

    I know for a fact that while the Tomcat was well-loved, it was very expensive to run. The F/A-18 can do everything the Tomcat could for cheaper, all while being more reliable.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  GarryB on Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:39 am

    1) If the F-14 is no longer on board the aircraft carriers something has changed: or the threat for the carriers, or the American weapons systems could do without the Tomcat, or both. (Or simply they ran out of money??). Which of these?

    The F-14 was basically killed... they certainly could have kept it in service with technology upgrades and new weapons, but they have invested too much money in the F-18 and F-35 so they didn't upgrade it with AMRAAM.

    Ironically they did upgrade it with a system where the pilot could use onboard sensors to find targets on the ground and transmit them in real time to the commanders on the ground so they can look at the air picture and select targets to hit for the pilots. this greatly improved the performance of the aircraft and greatly reduced friendly fire incidents.

    Because the design and systems of the F-35 were frozen to keep down costs even the F-35 is unable to do this.

    Of course without proper upgrades the F-14 became harder and harder to keep operational... think of trying to get parts now for a 386 computer... old mother boards, old memory, old parts etc which are more expensive than brand new much more capable components.

    Imagine spending $50,000 on a specially made 50MB hard drive when you can pick up a 6TB hard drive for less than $1,000... today.

    But the old systems wont work with GB or larger hard drives...

    2) Could the F-18F and amraam do what the F-14 and aim-54 did?

    No.

    They pretend the Soviet threat is gone so a Hornet can do the job... the reality is that the Tu-22M3M has Kh-32 anti ship missiles that are twice as fast and have double the range of the Kh-22M missiles the F-14s would have had serious problems trying to intercept...

    3) Why don't put the amraam on board the F-14?

    For the same reason the Germans didn't buy R-77 and do SMT upgrades on their MiG-29s... the Typhoon was on the way so they didn't want to jeopardise things with a much cheaper plane that could in some ways do a much better job that the very very expensive new plane developed as its replacement...

    The F/A-18 can do everything the Tomcat could for cheaper, all while being more reliable.

    The Hornet is a short legged slower F-14 with shorter ranged weapons. Its electronics are more capable, but as I said above that was a conscious choice of the US Navy.

    There are plenty of areas the F-14 could have been improved to make it rather more capable and easily able to still do its job better than the F-18 in any version.

    the cost of the F-18E/F would not be that much less than a non upgraded F-14 and the F-35 will likely make them both look very cheap.

    at 11 odd billion per carrier the US Navy doesn't mind spending US taxpayers money... it simply isn't something they have a problem with...


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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  medo on Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:06 pm

    F-14D with new F110 engines and APG-71 radar was superior to any model of F-18 and was actually a carrier based F-15E. F-14 was politically retired and they destroyed all planes and spare parts, that Iran would not be able to achieve any spare parts for their F-14 fleet and Iran is the only foreign user of F-14. F-14 was able to use AMRAAM missiles as the first test launches of AMRAAM missiles were made by F-14.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  GarryB on Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:37 pm

    There was a plan to integrate AMRAAM for the F-14, but the missile was never integrated into actual in service aircraft so it was never a choice operationally.

    With a new radar and new engines the F-14 is a very capable aircraft but the Hornet is fully digital and all systems are plug and play types systems with built in diagnostic sensors and software to find and fix faults and problems quickly.

    the advantage of being rather newer is that it is much easier and cheaper to maintain and operate and doesn't have high maintainence systems like variable swing wings, which makes it lighter and smaller, but also slower and shorter ranged.

    There is no reason why the F-14 couldn't have a full upgrade much like the Su-35S to make it vastly more capable and cheaper to operate, but its swing wing design and size and the fact that they have already invested in the Super Hornet and F-35 means they are not going to invest in upgrading an aircraft they plan to replace.

    They destroyed all the plans and tooling to make the aircraft to prevent any option of cancelling the expensive Super Hornet programme and the super expensive F-35 programme, as well as to prevent production or sales to Iran... the only current user of the aircraft.


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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  Militarov on Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:43 pm

    F14 as itself was decent machine, but i must also say most of the fame surrounding it is coming from movies and low IQ Americans that served on carriers that can say only: "BRING BACK THE TOMCATS" without actually basing that request on anything but "Obama sux".

    When its about AIM54A, every time it was launched in combat it failed. Even on exercises it would very often fail, despite looking insane on paper it wasnt performing very well. Why Iranians are trying to reverse engineer it? Well their original AIMs that were delivered are probably very hard to be kept in service if they are even around these days, even with extended lifetime refit they should have been retired by now and i am not sure if Iranians were capable of it. Second and most important reason is that they tried integrating Russian and Chinese missiles on F14 but they apparently failed, coz they lack radar core software and codes, thats why they even mentioned F14 refit with Chinese built radars 2-3 years ago. So they got an idea to build their own domestic AIM54 which they will be able to use on F14s without rogue integration.

    AIM54A was a crap, F14 was a fine fighter.

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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  GarryB on Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:42 am

    The F-14D was not a bad aircraft... it did what it needed to be able to do... expecting it to be anything else is unreasonable.

    Upgrade its radar and you still have an expensive to maintain and operate aircraft.

    Make it all digital and upgrade everything and you have an excellent aircraft with very good performance that would cost too much to rebuild each example of.

    Replacing it with a naval Flanker might be possible if Flankers were Canadian aircraft or American land based aircraft, but the simple facts are they are Russian and therefore not an option for the USN.

    The Su-33KUB had potential to be everything the F14D was and much more, but is no more likely in US service as an F-18 in Russian or Chinese service.

    Funny that the major advantage of the Hornet over the Tomcat was lower operational costs and easy maintainence... so they are going from Tomcat fighter and hornet bomber to Hornet less capable but cheaper fighter and F-35 ridiculously expensive bomber... but then the Hornet became the Super Hornet which resulted in a few minor performance changes and an enormous increase in costs for the SH.


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    Re: The vanishing of F-14 Tomcat and its replacement

    Post  Militarov on Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:15 am

    GarryB wrote:The F-14D was not a bad aircraft... it did what it needed to be able to do... expecting it to be anything else is unreasonable.

    Upgrade its radar and you still have an expensive to maintain and operate aircraft.

    Make it all digital and upgrade everything and you have an excellent aircraft with very good performance that would cost too much to rebuild each example of.

    Replacing it with a naval Flanker might be possible if Flankers were Canadian aircraft or American land based aircraft, but the simple facts are they are Russian and therefore not an option for the USN.

    The Su-33KUB had potential to be everything the F14D was and much more, but is no more likely in US service as an F-18 in Russian or Chinese service.

    Funny that the major advantage of the Hornet over the Tomcat was lower operational costs and easy maintainence... so they are going from Tomcat fighter and hornet bomber to Hornet less capable but cheaper fighter and F-35 ridiculously expensive bomber... but then the Hornet became the Super Hornet which resulted in a few minor performance changes and an enormous increase in costs for the SH.

    Yeah, F14 in general was good machine, especially late D variant. I actually belive Hornet had better overall performance than F14, in terms of multirole missions, however i am almost certain F14D as platform is far better suited for air dominance and interception. Super Hornet is still cheaper to operate than F14 i belive.

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