Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

F-14: The 1970's Perspective

Collapse
X
Collapse
Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Schorsch
    Severely Transonic
    • Aug 2005
    • 3843

    F-14: The 1970's Perspective

    I try to get some insight in the envisioned career of the F-14 at the beginning of its service life. The TF-30 engines were due to be replaced and following variants (B and C) were due to follow in considerable numbers. Also did the Navy think that the USAF might adopt the aircraft. Does anybody have background infos about this and can possibly timeline it with other programs (like F-15, F-16, F-18 and F-4M).

    This is a rather low quality impression of the LTV contender for the USAF LWF-competition. It was intented to serve as USN-aircraft, too.Click image for larger version

Name:	vought-v1100.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	16.5 KB
ID:	3711227


    @moderators:
    I like to have this topic in Modern Military Aviation as it fits the usual discussion and might be misplaced in historic forum.
    Publicly, we say one thing... Actually, we do another.
  • ACCIPITER
    Senior Member
    • Jul 2006
    • 134

    #2
    Great thread !!

    hope a lot will join it with juicy material!!!!

    Comment

    • TinWing
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Sep 2005
      • 950

      #3
      Originally posted by Schorsch View Post
      I try to get some insight in the envisioned career of the F-14 at the beginning of its service life. The TF-30 engines were due to be replaced and following variants (B and C) were due to follow in considerable numbers.
      The real problem was that the Navy's F-401 turbofan for the original F-14B was far different engine than the Air Force's F-100, and it's development was far less advanced by the end of the Vietnam War. The F-401 had a higher bypass ratio and mass flow than the F-100, as well as a much higher thrust rating. In short, it was a bigger turbofan, optimized for loitering flight and upsized to fit in the same space as the TF-30.

      It is hardly surprising that the funding was cut for the F-401 turbofan and the F-14B when Vietnam ended. With the prospect of air combat against fighter sized targets receding, the F-14 community could concentrate on the intended threat of missile firing Soviet bombers. There really was no urgency in improving the F-14A, and the F-401, much like the early model F-100, had it's share of developmental problems - but nothing that couldn't have been fixed with enough time and money.

      The F-14B/F-401 cancellation was probably the right decision at the time, especially when you consider what terrible economic shape America was in during this period.

      Originally posted by Schorsch View Post
      Also did the Navy think that the USAF might adopt the aircraft.
      Grumman obvious pitched a highly modified F-14 to the USAF as a F-106 replacement, but the lack of a credible Soviet bomber threat against the "lower 48 states," meant that there was no pressing need.

      Grumman did produce a mock-up, but it is hard to believe that anyone took the issue too seriously.

      Comment

      • TinWing
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Sep 2005
        • 950

        #4
        Originally posted by ACCIPITER View Post
        Great thread !!

        hope a lot will join it with juicy material!!!!
        http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f14_3.html

        This is about as "juicy" as the material gets.

        Comment

        • JoeinTX
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Feb 2004
          • 259

          #5
          Funny, that LTV LWF candidate looks a lot like the Eurofighter Typhoon of today.

          In the 1970s, the F-14 was absolute top of the line. Engine issues aside, the radar/missile combo was second to none and it had a "sexy" factor that can't be denied.

          Not to dredge up an old thread, but, it's overall impact was probably pretty minimal. An evolved F-4 could have provided much of what the Navy wanted through the early 1990s at lesser cost. Phoenix? Not likely 4, but at least two could have been carried on wing pylons along with 4 Sparrow and 2 Sidewinder with improved radar.

          The USN could have lived comfortably with improved Phantoms throughout this time and done so at less cost to the taxpayer.

          Grumman obvious pitched a highly modified F-14 to the USAF as a F-106 replacement, but the lack of a credible Soviet bomber threat against the "lower 48 states," meant that there was no pressing need

          By this time, late 60s/early 70s, the "bomber gap" was an obvious anomaly with nothing other than the Bear even close to being a continental threat. Thus, the point of the F-15 was an aircraft capable of medium range defense over Europe in a contested environment rather than an interceptor over the homeland. Ironically, short of maneuvaribility, the F-4 was totally competent in this arena as well for less money.

          F-14? Unique and an icon? Yes. Indispensbile and irreplaceable then or today? No.

          Comment

          • Schorsch
            Severely Transonic
            • Aug 2005
            • 3843

            #6
            It looks to me like the F-14 lost political support when it turned out that it will be a very expensive bird, which still lacks any multi-mission capability. The Navy possibly intended to evolve its F-14s into a super fighter (like all aircraft evovled into more and more capable machines), but the budget was cut and the Navy was left with something half useful, half nightmare (in terms of cost, reliability, accident rate).

            The flight performance of the F-14 can be disputed and was so quite often. The fact that the Navy later launched a light-weight fighter program which became the F-18 speaks for itself. That the F-18 actually is neither a lightweight fighter nor a cheap fighter is another issue.

            The improved Phantom was the F-4L, but was rejected in proposal status. It was able to carry 2 AIM-54, which was deemed insufficient I guess. On the other hand, if a carrier would carry 40-50 Phantoms they could still fly the whole war-load of 96 Phoenix missiles into action.
            http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f4_23.html
            Publicly, we say one thing... Actually, we do another.

            Comment

            • Sens
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Jan 2000
              • 12298

              #7
              You have to look to the starting-point in the 60s.
              It was the F-111, the AIM-54 and related radar to start with.
              A lot of related money was spent already! So what to do? To make the best from that at hand already or to start with something new. In that Cold War times, every year a new fighter saw service everywhere and some upgrades of other ones too. The pace of development was similar to that of the personal computers in the 90s to give an idea about that. If it is for office-work only a 32 Bit PC is still enough most of the time. But none of us did stick to that economical considerations really. So no cheap blames please. -
              The AF had no need for the AIM-54 and could stick to something lighter, what it did. The frontal area of a design had something to do with the radar-dish in those days. Neither the navy nor the airforce people were fools really. The technology advances in the 70s did allow to break the trend of heavier fighters.
              I do remember about the Tu-28P and the MiG-31 of today too.

              Comment

              • Bager1968
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • May 2005
                • 3635

                #8
                "The fact that the Navy later launched a light-weight fighter program which became the F-18 speaks for itself."

                Yes, it says 2 things:
                1. Until the F-14 came along, the F-4 did both battlefield air superiority and fleet defense (on the larger carriers), and only enough F-14s were bought to fill the requirement for one... fleet defense. This left the remaining F-4s in need of replacement, so they needed something to finish the job of replacing the F-4. Yes, the F-14 was too expensive to replace all of the F-4s, but it was never intended to do that (see below).

                2. They needed something to replace the A-7, and thought it would be a good idea to use the same aircraft for both jobs, as this would cost less than developing two different new aircraft and building fewer of each type... which would mean fewer aircraft in total than they got by combining the two requirements.


                What it does not say, is anything about the performance of the F-14.



                The "lightweight fighter" requirement was based upon CAS/Tactical Strike (A-7) and Battlefield Air Superiority (F-4) (protecting CAS aircraft from enemy aircraft), while the F-14 requirement was all about fleet defense. Two completely different mission specs, and the F/A-18A/C/D had nothing to do with fleet defense. The "Hornet" only got into the F-14's mission field when F/A-18E began to replace the F-14 in the fleet defense mission.
                Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together in the middle of the pub, when Serbia bumps into Austria, and spills Austria's pint.

                Comment

                • Schorsch
                  Severely Transonic
                  • Aug 2005
                  • 3843

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Bager1968 View Post
                  What it does not say, is anything about the performance of the F-14.

                  The "lightweight fighter" requirement was based upon CAS/Tactical Strike (A-7) and Battlefield Air Superiority (F-4) (protecting CAS aircraft from enemy aircraft), while the F-14 requirement was all about fleet defense. Two completely different mission specs, and the F/A-18A/C/D had nothing to do with fleet defense. The "Hornet" only got into the F-14's mission field when F/A-18E began to replace the F-14 in the fleet defense mission.
                  Really? Why was the "most capable aircraft" unable to fullfill the air superiority mission on its own, especially as fleet defense was a mission that was sized by Soviet capabilies. A war against any other nation would leave the F-14 unemployed, no Badgers to defend against.
                  I think the Navy figured out that basing the air to air component of their carriers solely on the F-14A (the letter A is important) would be a gamble.
                  Publicly, we say one thing... Actually, we do another.

                  Comment

                  • Schorsch
                    Severely Transonic
                    • Aug 2005
                    • 3843

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Sens View Post
                    You have to look to the starting-point in the 60s.
                    It was the F-111, the AIM-54 and related radar to start with.
                    A lot of related money was spent already! So what to do? To make the best from that at hand already or to start with something new. In that Cold War times, every year a new fighter saw service everywhere and some upgrades of other ones too. The pace of development was similar to that of the personal computers in the 90s to give an idea about that. If it is for office-work only a 32 Bit PC is still enough most of the time. But none of us did stick to that economical considerations really. So no cheap blames please. -
                    The AF had no need for the AIM-54 and could stick to something lighter, what it did. The frontal area of a design had something to do with the radar-dish in those days. Neither the navy nor the airforce people were fools really. The technology advances in the 70s did allow to break the trend of heavier fighters.
                    I do remember about the Tu-28P and the MiG-31 of today too.
                    Yes, that sounds very reasonable. I guess one has to understand the mindset of the 60ies to get behind these procurement programs.
                    Publicly, we say one thing... Actually, we do another.

                    Comment

                    • press
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Jul 2005
                      • 543

                      #11
                      Originally posted by JoeinTX View Post
                      Funny, that LTV LWF candidate looks a lot like the Eurofighter Typhoon of today.
                      It looks a lot more like the F-16 than with the Typhoon.

                      Comment

                      • Ich Dien
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Aug 2006
                        • 84

                        #12
                        The F-111B concept was envisioned before major air combat took place in Vietnam. It was supposed to engage Soviet bombers and fighters from extended ranges while F-4s and future light fighters would engage at shorter ranges. Once the realities of air combat in Vietnam set in it became obvious that missile and radar technology were not up to par yet and political retraints would kill the F-111B's performance against the small and nimble MiG-17 and MiG-21s. The Navy's response to this was the Naval Fighter Attack Experiemnt (VFAX) program, that would produce a better dog fighter than the F-4 and a better attacker than the A-7. The Navy recommned the F-111B be cancelled even after successful carrier trials in October 1967, and was in early 1968. In July 1968 the VFAX requirements were changed into the Navy Fighter Experiment (VFX), which could perform both fleet air defense of the F-111B at a lower cost and air superiority/air interdiction of the F-4. The VFX's requirements were tailored around the advanced Grumman G-303 which was originally intended for the VFAX requirement.

                        In January 1969 the Grumman G-303 design was chosen and named the F-14, manufacture and testing proceded rapidly. Costs were never able to stay at the levels Grumman promised, the TF-30 experienced serious teething problems, and the plane was difficult to land on carrier. With the wind down of the Vietnam War military budgets shrank, and soon the F-14 program had became the most expensive US fighter. By the August 1973 Congress mandated the Navy to pursue a lower cost alternative to the F-14, and a new VFAX was born. In September the F401 performed poorly and the plans for engine replacement was shelved due to budget concerns. The Navy's outline of an interim A model, fleet defender B model with a 1:1 T2W ratio, and C model with new avionics and air to ground capability was thrown away. Marine Corp interest began to severly wane. Grumman tried offering stripped down versions of the Tomcat for the VFAX requirement, the F-14X, but the Deputy Secretary of Defense didn't bite. A navalized F-15 was offered but proved to be just as expensive.

                        In May 1974 the House Armed Services Committee said it would no longer accept stripped down F-14 bids. In August 1974 congress decided it could not fund another major fighter and cancelled the VFAX but some of the money was funneled in to the Naval Air Combat Fighter (NACF) which was to use technology learned from the USAF LWF program. After meeting much resistance from the pro-Tomcat faction few long-sighted Naval brass wised up and set the requirements for the NACF. In May 1975 the USN picked the McDD's navalized YF-17 over LTV's navalized F-16, heavily modified it and the end result was the F/A-18A.

                        The Tomcat still had its defenders like Vice Admiral William Douglas Houser who fought to keep the plane from complete cancellation, but it had lost political and technological momentum to what would later be called the Hornet. When Iran, or should I say the Shah, announced the purchase of 40 F-14AGRs in 1974 and provided much of the money up front this gave the F-14 a bit more breathing room and F-14A production continued throughout the end of the decade. Further exports pitches to Japan, Israel, Canada and Germany were unsuccessful.
                        Attached Files

                        Comment

                        • MiG-23MLD
                          Senior Member
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 3061

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Schorsch View Post
                          I try to get some insight in the envisioned career of the F-14 at the beginning of its service life. The TF-30 engines were due to be replaced and following variants (B and C) were due to follow in considerable numbers. Also did the Navy think that the USAF might adopt the aircraft. Does anybody have background infos about this and can possibly timeline it with other programs (like F-15, F-16, F-18 and F-4M).

                          This is a rather low quality impression of the LTV contender for the USAF LWF-competition. It was intented to serve as USN-aircraft, too.[ATTACH]150833[/ATTACH]


                          @moderators:
                          I like to have this topic in Modern Military Aviation as it fits the usual discussion and might be misplaced in historic forum.

                          Schorsh

                          The F-14A is not the best teen fighter in terms of performance and agility, the F-18 is more agile, its TF-30 restricted it a lot, as a whole the F-14 was superb before the 1990s but when even the F-16 started getting the AMRAAM AIM-120 the design showed active homing was available in smaller and better weapons, when it lost the AIM-54, in the last years of its carreer basicly all the short comings of the design became evident, unstealthy, expensive, obsolete weaponry, underpowered engines and so on, in the 1970s the F-14 was a complete different animal.

                          Compared to the MiG-25 and MiG-23 enjoyed better avionics weaponry avionics and up to a level some degree of better agility specially compared to the MiG-25.

                          From 1974 to 1985 it was really a very good fighter interceptor, but with the advent of fighters like the MiG-29K and Su-33, it started showing signs of obsolecence, the Su-33 and MiG-29K could take off without the aid of a catapult, as fighters would out turn and outmaneuver the F-14.

                          The AIM-54 despite it had a great range was not agile and it imposed some performance limitations to the already slow climbing F-14.

                          In the early 1970s there were too much limits in missile design, air breathing missiles like the Meteor or agile missiles like the AIM-9X were still years ahead, the threat of Tu-22Ms armed with primitive missiles was still a reason to carry the AIM-54, by the 1990s better Surface to Air missiles, longer range and lighter Air to Air missiles showed the AIM-54 was getting old and obsolecent.

                          As far as we can say the 1970s were the best years the F-14 had, the mid 1980s were also good years but new contenders proved that new wing designs dispensed of the complexity of variable geometry wings, this simply proved that at the end the F-18 took over where the F-14 once ruled.

                          Today we can say the best naval fighter is the Rafale and against it the F-14 would not had win, when the Rafale gets the Meteor will rule for several years as the F-14 did in the 1970s
                          Last edited by MiG-23MLD; 5th March 2007, 05:32.

                          Comment

                          • Schorsch
                            Severely Transonic
                            • Aug 2005
                            • 3843

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Ich Dien View Post
                            The F-111B concept was envisioned before major air combat took place in Vietnam. ....
                            Thanks for this outstanding post! It brings many things into perpective.
                            Publicly, we say one thing... Actually, we do another.

                            Comment

                            • Schorsch
                              Severely Transonic
                              • Aug 2005
                              • 3843

                              #15
                              Originally posted by MiG-23MLD View Post
                              The F-14A is not the best teen fighter in terms of performance and agility, the F-18 is more agile, its TF-30 restricted it a lot, as a whole the F-14 was superb before the 1990s but ...
                              No intention to compare something. I want to find out if why the Navy went for the F-14 and remained loyal to the design even after many problems surfaced. From today's perpective, the F-14 has some major shortcomings even for its time (weight, reliability, engine, accidient rate), which would have justified a bail out from the program. But it looks like the Navy was well aware of shortcomings and saw them solved in the evolution of the aircraft (as I said, the A-version of an aircraft never performs outstanding; in Russia anything before the M-version was extended prototyping :diablo: ). But the evolution was cut due to budget constraints.
                              Publicly, we say one thing... Actually, we do another.

                              Comment

                              • MiG-23MLD
                                Senior Member
                                • Apr 2006
                                • 3061

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Schorsch View Post
                                No intention to compare something. I want to find out if why the Navy went for the F-14 and remained loyal to the design even after many problems surfaced. From today's perpective, the F-14 has some major shortcomings even for its time (weight, reliability, engine, accidient rate), which would have justified a bail out from the program. But it looks like the Navy was well aware of shortcomings and saw them solved in the evolution of the aircraft (as I said, the A-version of an aircraft never performs outstanding; in Russia anything before the M-version was extended prototyping :diablo: ). But the evolution was cut due to budget constraints.
                                Schorsch

                                Without comparing it is impossible to know the answer, first the specifications were laid, Grumman satisfied the navy requirements so they won the bid and could supply their design to the US navy, once the aircraft flew for the first time in 1970, there was not real enemy fighter that could dogfight with it or beat it at BVR combat, the F-15 was in reality the only real competition it had, but this was a land fighter, the US Navy wanted to remain independent from the USAF, so the aircraft remained for them the only real option, The reason why the F-15N never became a reality, niether the F-14 an USAF fighter was simply the US is a wealthy country, if we remember the Russian experience the MiG-29K was an amazing fighter but lack of funds killed the program for the Russian navy and only the Su-33 ended as the operational aircraft, in few words when money is available politics are less important, in the 1970s no Russian fighter (Soviet in old terms) was capable of beating the F-14, there were MiG-25s and MiG-23s available but these aircraft were not capable of beating it, the Tu-128 and the Su-15 were much much less capable and the Yak-38 well was totally outclassed by the F-14 and even the Harrier was better.


                                However once the competition got better they needed to upgrade the F-14 so they fielded a few F-14B/Ds but in reality in terms of capabilities the F-14 did get obsolete only in the late 1990s.
                                Why did the F-14 got obsolete, well first it is later aircraft designers got better technology available, so the F-18 turned a better dogfighter and later new SA missiles competed with the F-14 in many ways.

                                Another important reason is as a wealthy nation the USA retires aircraft that in other nations would remain operational longer time due in part to a real need and in part because the US military complex demands new weapons to be purchased by the US armed forces

                                Technically speaking the F-14 remained a need due to the AIM-54 and AWG-9 radar system, but beyond that the F-15 was the better fighter and it easy to prove that simple because Israel and Japan chose the F-15 over the F-14.

                                In terms of which fighter is better killing MiGs, the F-15 proved that can kill the MiG-25, and the only reason the F-14 remained as a NAVAL fighter was simply because of the Tu-22M threat.
                                Last edited by MiG-23MLD; 5th March 2007, 09:03.

                                Comment

                                • michelf
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Aug 2005
                                  • 402

                                  #17
                                  Ich Dien's post is very comprehensive but omits two crucial elements which damned the Tomcat even before it flew.

                                  1) The F-111B's cancellation had very little to do with the results of A2A combat in Vietnam. It had every thing to do with the Admirals, all ex-fighter jocks (in the F-8 mould) who testified before Congress that 'all the thrust in Christendom could not make it into a fighter' (Adm Tom Connolley.) This was the culmination of a long campaign by the Admirals to try to get Congress to see that the type of airframe the Navy wanted should be specified by the operators, not by the poltical masters in the White House and their whipping boys at the DoD. NavAir had always epxressed its view that the F-111B was not what was needed on the deck. Bear in mind they had first hand experience of 'innovative' large aricraft on carrier decks not living up to thier billing (Vigi anyone) and had resolved that the use per deck spot had to increase and that the F-111B did not offer that efficiency. The fact it was not a good 'fighter' was a god send to make it go away.

                                  As by this time the prime sponsor of the F-111 programme had left office (McNamara) Congress was loath to support a politcally motivated programme against the express wishes of the operation. However the staff at the DoD (whose careers had been built by McNamara) marked theTomcat's card at this point...even before one had flown. (Also remember that regardless of F-111 or F-14, Grumman was going to build it....

                                  2) Following this the DoD constructed a procurement process that locked Grumman into a contract price with little or no mechanism built in to cover cost increases (ie problems to be resolved) or inflation.

                                  As you will recall the late 60s and early 70s suffered relatively higher inflation than the previous decade, this, in addition to a very quick and somewhat abreviated cost exercise on Grumman's part, meant the contract as agreed left all the risk on Grumman's side. This meant that quite soon on it became clear to Grumman that they could build the F-14 to the price, but that they would become bankrupt in so doing. (Their cash flow to full scale production would mean they would have expended more than the net worth of the company to resolve the issues and get production under way. This expenditure ould be made prior to payment of the sums due for production birds...as ever cash flow rules...)

                                  Grumman then effectively went back to the DoD and made it clear that the contract as it stood would lead to the disappearance of Grumman. They asked for a revision of a non-revisionable contract and they got it. The DoD was able to report to Congress that their favoured programme (the F-14) and supplier (Grumman) were in need of rescuing and that Grumman was 'blackmailing' the DoD for more cash to stay in business. The final price of the F-14 as delivered was similar to the F-15 to the USAF, but McD had a more flexible contract and had always quoted a higher price....so the final price was 'as predicted' not a 'shock'.

                                  This action destroyed the wide base of Congressional support that Grumman had enjoyed heretofore. So the result of the short term solution was to kill the F-14 programme. Any DoD and Congressional support, not NavAir support, vanished and the F-14 development effectively stopped for a decade.

                                  (Remember that the envisaged Carrier Air Group by the mid -70s was only Grumman products, F-14s, A-6s and E-3s, with Sea Kings as the rotary wing component)

                                  The net result of this action was, as Ich Dien states, the new VFAX programme...which lead to the F-18; which benefitted hugely from funding and support beyond the merits of the airframe. This continued well beyond the A-D models and gave the impetus for the E/F programme at the expense of the update versions of the 14. These, encapuslated in the Tomcat 21 made use of the 14's inherent advantages to expand the built in the A2G role, in exactly the same manner as the 15E used the 15's inherent advantages over the 16 to gain the prime interdictor role in the USAF inventory over the proposed 16XL...

                                  The F-14 programme was born of an operator demand, its delivery forced by the manufacturer and as a result its life was blighted by lack of high level political support.

                                  Comment

                                  • TOMCAT TERRTORY
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Oct 2004
                                    • 68

                                    #18
                                    Basically, what Grumman gave the Navy was a very good starting point with F-14A. True the aircraft was expensive but then again the F-22 and the Super Hornet are also more expensive aircraft today. I think there was a 10 million dollar difference between the F-15 and the F-14 back then. Unfortunately Grumman and the F-14 never had the political clout that other companies had and as a result whilst alot was envisioned for the Tomcat when it started service little was accomplished. I mean the Basic F-14A was the main variant and served until 2003 without major modification - name another U.S aircraft that has been so neglected. To say the F-14 was a single role aircraft is in no way true Grumman had originally designed the aircraft as an air superiority fighter and then to screw six Phoenix on it without messing it up, they also designed plenty of growth potential into the aircraft and envisioned a ground attack role as well. However that was the job of the A-6 and A-7 and would have intruded on their territory. Furthermore Navy fighter jocks in those days saw dropping bombs as unglamorous. Had Grumman been able to sell the F-14 to the USAF over the F-15 - yet another Sparrow armed fighter - (which seemed likely at one stage) then we would have had commonality, a lower unit cost and the clout that USAF brings to a program. This would have resulted in continued devlopement of the F-14 instead of stagnation allowing the aicraft to be at the cutting edge right up to now. The F-14 really could have been as widely used as the F-4 was. Indead in the ACEVAL/AIMVAL simultation the F-14 on average achieved two times the kill ratio of the F-15. But this did not happen and the F-14A stayed as the main variant instead of the F-14B with the F-401 engine and even worse the F-14C (envisioned to enter service in the mid-80s didn't happen). The Navy wanted a single seat version of the F-14 to replace the A-7/F-4 but this was not to be and the Navy was told to look at one of the LWF contenders ie the YF-17, developed into the F/A-18. Basically the USN wanted this jet at all costs as the A-7 and F-4 were aging rapidly even though one of the F/A-18 test pilots (Brian Fitzpatrick) testified that the USN should not procure this machine. Therein lies the thorn in the F-14s side - the Hornet - which took away most of the Navy's meagre budget to make a half decent aircraft out of this machine. This combined with the money used for the A-12 and A-6F and NATF left nothing for the F-14. After the Tailhook 91' fiasco several F-14 supporters were forced into premature retirment which allowed some pro-Hornet mafia into power - one was notably a buddy of Dick Cheney. The infamous Dick Cheney's move to get rid of the F-14 and handicap the USN with Hornet 2000 closed the door not only F-14D production (a program fought very hard for and also already paid for) but also on further F-14 development and even production of F-14 spares! This despite lobbying by Grumman and a letter written by senior naval aviators read in congress by the Hon. Randy 'Duke Cunningham to keep the F-14 in production. It's a testiment to the capability of the F-14 that a ground attack capability was able to be added to the aircraft on a shoe-string budget and indeed making the aircraft the prefered striker over the Hornet. The F-14D is no slouch in air to air either and with thrust vectoring as proposed on the ST21 it could have been in the league of the Rafale and other 4.5 gen aircraft. Many say the F-14 is too big and heavy, remember the aircraft is of similar size to the F-15 and smaller and lighter than the SU-27 - the present standard to be measured against pending major F-22 production. Also the swing wing is not obsolete either as the envisioned F-22N (NATF) was also to have swing wings. Remember the Hornet did not take over any fighter capability from the F-14, it was a point defence aircraft meant to deal with any leakers that got past the initial F-14 BARCAP. The USN of today is not exactly replacing the F-14, it is merely surrending the role of the F-14 and resigned itself to rely on USAF support for all future activities - even so far as changing its doctrine to littoral operations and therefore not requiring a long range machine like the F-14 simply because admitting that they are operating at a disadvantage is not an option and would be highly scandalous. All in all the F-14 served well but could have still been serving probably at the same level of the F-15 had there not been so many obstacles, mainly political in it's path. Unfortunately politics count more in military aquisition than actual capability - until a proper war starts and hard lessons are learned!
                                    Last edited by TOMCAT TERRTORY; 5th March 2007, 09:59.
                                    When you're out of Tomcats, you're out of fighters!

                                    Comment

                                    • MiG-23MLD
                                      Senior Member
                                      • Apr 2006
                                      • 3061

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by TOMCAT TERRTORY View Post
                                      Basically, what Grumman gave the Navy was a very good starting point with F-14A. True the aircraft was expensive but then again the F-22 and the Super Hornet are also more expensive aircraft today. I think there was a 10 million dollar difference between the F-15 and the F-14 back then. Unfortunately Grumman and the F-14 never had the political clout that other companies had and as a result whilst alot was envisioned for the Tomcat when it started service little was accomplished. I mean the Basic F-14A was the main variant and served until 2003 without major modification - name another U.S aircraft that has been so neglected. To say the F-14 was a single role aircraft is in no way true Grumman had originally designed the aircraft as an air superiority fighter and then to screw six Phoenix on it without messing it up, they also designed plenty of growth potential into the aircraft and envisioned a ground attack role as well. However that was the job of the A-6 and A-7 and would have intruded on their territory. Furthermore Navy fighter jocks in those days saw dropping bombs as unglamorous. Had Grumman been able to sell the F-14 to the USAF over the F-15 - yet another Sparrow armed fighter - (which seemed likely at one stage) then we would have had commonality, a lower unit cost and the clout that USAF brings to a program. This would have resulted in continued devlopement of the F-14 instead of stagnation allowing the aicraft to be at the cutting edge right up to now. The F-14 really could have been as widely used as the F-4 was. Indead in the ACEVAL/AIMVAL simultation the F-14 on average achieved two times the kill ratio of the F-15. But this did not happen and the F-14A stayed as the main variant instead of the F-14B with the F-401 engine and even worse the F-14C (envisioned to enter service in the mid-80s didn't happen). The Navy wanted a single seat version of the F-14 to replace the A-7/F-4 but this was not to be and the Navy was told to look at one of the LWF contenders ie the YF-17, developed into the F/A-18. Basically the USN wanted this jet at all costs as the A-7 and F-4 were aging rapidly even though one of the F/A-18 test pilots (Brian Fitzpatrick) testified that the USN should not procure this machine. Therein lies the thorn in the F-14s side - the Hornet - which took away most of the Navy's meagre budget to make a half decent aircraft out of this machine. This combined with the money used for the A-12 and A-6F and NATF left nothing for the F-14. After the Tailhook 91' fiasco several F-14 supporters were forced into premature retirment which allowed some pro-Hornet mafia into power - one was notably a buddy of Dick Cheney. The infamous Dick Cheney's move to get rid of the F-14 and handicap the USN with Hornet 2000 closed the door not only F-14D production (a program fought very hard for and also already paid for) but also on further F-14 development and even production of F-14 spares! This despite lobbying by Grumman and a letter written by senior naval aviators read in congress by the Hon. Randy 'Duke Cunningham to keep the F-14 in production. It's a testiment to the capability of the F-14 that a ground attack capability was able to be added to the aircraft on a shoe-string budget and indeed making the aircraft the prefered striker over the Hornet. The F-14D is no slouch in air to air either and with thrust vectoring as proposed on the ST21 it could have been in the league of the Rafale and other 4.5 gen aircraft. Many say the F-14 is too big and heavy, remember the aircraft is of similar size to the F-15 and smaller and lighter than the SU-27 - the present standard to be measured against pending major F-22 production. Also the swing wing is not obsolete either as the envisioned F-22N (NATF) was also to have swing wings. Remember the Hornet did not take over any fighter capability from the F-14, it was a point defence aircraft meant to deal with any leakers that got past the initial F-14 BARCAP. The USN of today is not exactly replacing the F-14, it is merely surrending the role of the F-14 and resigned itself to rely on USAF support for all future activities - even so far as changing its doctrine to littoral operations and therefore not requiring a long range machine like the F-14 simply because admitting that they are operating at a disadvantage is not an option and would be highly scandalous. All in all the F-14 served well but could have still been serving probably at the same level of the F-15 had there not been so many obstacles, mainly political in it's path. Unfortunately politics count more in military aquisition than actual capability - until a proper war starts and hard lessons are learned!
                                      I do not thuink the F-14 is a need in 2007, first there are new longer range versions in design of the well proven AIM-120 and second the F-18E armed with AIM-9X canbeat even the Su-30MKI, as long as the US gets a Meteor or the AIM-120D

                                      Comment

                                      • TOMCAT TERRTORY
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Oct 2004
                                        • 68

                                        #20
                                        I think that the Afghanistan campaign shows that there is a need or a long range, high payload aircraft able to fight its way into and out of the conflict. As for the AMRAAM, the F-14 is more than capable of carrying this missile - ideed it and Phoenix played a major role in AMRAAM developement. F-14 never carried it operationally because the USN decided to use the money for the AMRAAM software needed in the F-14 for the LANTIRN program. So in the end I the choice is an AMRAAM armed S. Hornet or a AMRAAM carrying Tomcat - I'd go F-14 Anytime Baby! Same goes for the AIM-9X, it could easily be integrated onto the F-14 - like it was done on the F-15.
                                        When you're out of Tomcats, you're out of fighters!

                                        Comment

                                        Unconfigured Ad Widget

                                        Collapse

                                         

                                        Working...
                                        X