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The US Navy Says Goodbye to the Tomcat

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the off-into-the-wild-blue-yonder dept.

576

jonerik writes "Though it's not being widely reported, this week marks the end of the line for the F-14 Tomcat in US Navy service. First flown in 1970, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat was easily one of the world's most powerful, advanced, and deadly aircraft for many years, capable of flying at Mach 2.3 and firing its half-dozen Mach 5 AIM-54 Phoenix air-to-air missiles at targets as much as 100 miles away. Having been gradually replaced during the last several years by the newer F/A-18E/F, the last of the aircraft in US service will be officially retired on Friday, September 22nd in a ceremony at Virginia's Oceana Naval Air Station. However, at least a few F-14s will continue to fly for a few more years: Iran — which took delivery of 79 aircraft before the overthrow of the Shah — still flies the plane, though only a small number (perhaps ten or twenty) are believed to still be in service due to a lack of spare parts and attrition."

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Lets Have a Round of Applause! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158614)

For all the Tomcats that sprayed Agent Orange on to the people of Vietnam.

May death come slowly to your enemies.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1)

m0biusAce (899230) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158624)

my friend, tomcats are air to air fighters. they do not have real air-to-ground capabilities.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158743)

I quote from Carrier by Tom Clancy, page 74, footnote at the bottom: "the F-14 [Fleet Readiness Squadron] at NAS Oceana, Virginia, managed to hang a modified LANTIRN laser targeting pod onto a Tomcat, so that it could deliver laser-guided bombs".


I've read elsewhere that Tomcats were used as strike aircraft during Shrub's crusade.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1)

Nossie (753694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158763)

I'm also pretty sure Tomcats could carry AGM Mavericks....

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (5, Informative)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158875)

A nerdy fact for you [microcomputerhistory.com]

History and stats on the F-14 [att.net]

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158957)

That is an interesting read. I wonder how the 20 bit converters were designed. They do not say but if they were used for what would be considered an instrumentation application and had 18 bits of linearity, I would assume some type of charge balancing scheme or single slope integrating. I doubt I could do better then 16 bits on the first shot with a discrete design.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158966)

I'm an airplane buff, love the F-14, and am a programmer.

I was looking at data on the Commodore 64 ( I had not
had one when they came out, we could not afford it,
but I found one for free on Craigslist, so I was just
looking ) and I came across the above. Google found
it again for me. I cant add anything to the article,
unfortunately. But very cool.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (5, Informative)

dukeisgod (739214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158758)

Well you're half right. They weren't designed with air-to-ground in mind, but it was modified to perform in a limited strike role later on. They did pretty well over Libya, and I believe they dropped some bombs in Iraq and maybe Afghanistan as well. From http://www.airtoaircombat.com/background.asp?id=14 &bg=8 [airtoaircombat.com] The F-14A can carry up to 14,500 pounds of bombs and rockets, although it was not originally assigned a ground-attack mission. The under-fuselage pallets which ordinarily carry Phoenix missiles can also mount bomb racks for 1000-pound Mk 83 or 2000-pound Mk 84 bombs or other free-fall weaponry. As early as 1972, a Tomcat flew with 18 Mk 82 bombs, plus a complement of missiles. VF-122 dropped the first bombs from a Fleet Tomcat on August 8, 1990. Although the F/A-18 Hornet is the primary air-to-ground aircraft of the Navy fleet squadrons, the F/A-18 is felt to lack a sufficient range/payload capacity, and the air-to-ground capable F-14 Tomcat was felt to be essential to permit a carrier-based air wing to retain its full capacity. However, there were initially some shortages of bomb racks, and it was often true that only one F-14 squadron on each carrier was equipped to carry out a secondary ground attack role, with the other squadron being TARPS-equipped. Software for a ground attack mission has now been installed on all F-14Bs and Ds, as well on some F-14As. Today, the training syllabus includes some emphasis on air-to-ground strike, although such missions would only be carried out in a relatively permissible combat environment because of the high cost of the Tomcat.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (2, Informative)

grommit (97148) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158634)

Yes! All none of them!

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158644)

For all the Tomcats that sprayed Agent Orange on to the people of Vietnam.
That kind of stuff didn't come from the Navy. That was Airforce. Do your homework.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (0)

d474 (695126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158651)

Yeah, never mind the bullets, missles, and bombs deployed from the F-14 that killed countless people...but it NEVER dropped Agent Orange, so the F-14 was kind to humanity.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1)

paganizer (566360) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158679)

Oddly enough, the "F" in F-14 stands for "FIghter"; I give you my personal guarantee that a U.S. Navy F-14 never dropped an agent orange bomb on vietnam.
Considering that all F-14's were pure fighter, as in no strike capability, until after I got out of the military in '91, I sort of doubt that they dropped any other type of bomb on vietnam, either.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1, Insightful)

d474 (695126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158750)

I don't doubt that it didn't drop Agent Orange. I'll take your word for it that it didn't.

I'm just sarcastically pointing out that the point is moot - the Tomcat was a killing machine - I see no reason for us all to feel sentimental for something being "retired" (anthropomorphism anyone?) that existed on this earth for the sole reason of killing human beings.

So, just pointing that out.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (2, Interesting)

TekPolitik (147802) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158850)

I see no reason for us all to feel sentimental for something being "retired" (anthropomorphism anyone?) that existed on this earth for the sole reason of killing human beings.

Pure fighter aircraft are defensive weaponry, not offensive weaponry. They are used in the first instance to intercept bombers. Of course if you know your bombers are going to be intercepted you will deploy fighters alongside your bombers to intercept the fighters intercepting your bombers, but even in that case they are defending the bomber, not attacking enemy infrastructure in their own right.

The horrors of killing can not be measured... (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158975)

... but they can be compared. Kind of like the cardinality [wikipedia.org] of infinite sets.

... existed on this earth for the sole reason of killing human beings.

It sucks to have to kill people, but you must be prepared to do it to prevent other killings and/or misery — deemed greater by some measure or another.

People have always been fascinated with things beautiful, weapons included — consider the swords and the firearms collections, for example. The fascination with a fighter plane is perfectly legitimate too.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158772)

Considering that all F-14's were pure fighter, as in no strike capability, until after I got out of the military in '91, I sort of doubt that they dropped any other type of bomb on vietnam, either.

Especially since the F-14 was fleet air defence (shooting missiles at Sov bombers) and didn't enter service until late 1974.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (2, Informative)

Babbster (107076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158912)

Considering that all F-14's were pure fighter, as in no strike capability, until after I got out of the military in '91, I sort of doubt that they dropped any other type of bomb on vietnam, either.

While its true that the F-14's [wikipedia.org] primary role throughout its length of service has been as an air-to-air interceptor, it could indeed drop bombs. I don't know that the F-14 did any bombing in Vietnam (the US Navy had several aircraft to fill this role, most notably the A-6 Intruder which was in service well into the 1990s), but at the very least it did drop laser-guided bombs (with laser designation by other aircraft, presumably F-18s) in Bosnia in 1995.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158681)

How about not blaming the craft, rather the pilots, nay, the civilian leadership who authorized and/or ordered the deployment of said bullets, missles, and bombs.

Don't worry about their targets, I have an idea you can't know or comprehend the ways in which this craft was used.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158727)

I guess one could argue the P-51D was not kind to humanity.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (2, Interesting)

Attaturk (695988) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158667)

For all the Tomcats that sprayed Agent Orange on to the people of Vietnam.
That kind of stuff didn't come from the Navy. That was Airforce. Do your homework.
And they're still at it [electroniciraq.net] : "They were supported by US Navy aircraft which dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives and napalm, a US officer told the Herald."

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158837)

Napalm is not Agent Orange!!! Sure, both get dropped by planes in warfare, and I wouldn't want to be the target of either, but that's about where the similarities end.

Besides, I'm pretty sure that the military doesn't see much need for defoliant in the desert.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158852)

And they're still at it: "They were supported by US Navy aircraft which dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives and napalm, a US officer told the Herald.

I think you're confusing napalm and agent orange. Napalm is thickened fuel, used an an incendiary. Agent Orange is a herbicide (with human carcinogenic properties).

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (1)

CthulhuDreamer (844223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158997)

"They were supported by US Navy aircraft which dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives and napalm, a US officer told the Herald."

40,000 pounds means two planes, maybe three. Throw weight adds up fast with modern aircraft.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158717)

Thats right America is the problem once again.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158728)

But they apparently did not spray enough of it.

Re:Lets Have a Round of Applause! (2, Informative)

ross.w (87751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158813)

...and a rousing cheer for the guy who can't tell an F14 from a C123.

Thank God (5, Funny)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158621)

that we won't have to think of Tom Cruise anymore when we see one of those planes flying!!!

Not to mention we won't have to think of "Danger Zone", "you've lost that loving feelin'" (when he sings it), and we won't have to think of Navy training jets as MIGs anymore!

Re:Thank God (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158637)

Now hear this; now hear this:

I am about to barf.

Re:Thank God (3, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158702)

> Not to mention we won't have to think of "Danger Zone", "you've lost that loving feelin'" (when he sings it), and we won't have to think of Navy training jets as MIGs anymore!

But we'll never forget Sega's 2-degree-of-freedom arcade game After Burner II [wikipedia.org] .

It came out one year later, had the same sprite-scaled love that Space Harrier great, and it had a soundtrack better than the movie that indirectly inspired it. When the enemy fighter appeared behind you, you could indeed "hit the brakes, he'll fly right by me" and blow the guy away. Suicide in any actual air-to-air encounter, but it made for great coin-op lovin'...

The pattern is full... but negative, Ghostrider, neither is the coin box in my basement arcade. Don't ask how I got it down got there, and I won't tell you you have to land until Stage 23.

Re:Thank God (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158940)

you will still have to think of tom cruise when you see one flying... ...you just wont see one flying very often and hence, you will think of tom less. he will be sad.

Re:Thank God (1, Troll)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16159006)

I'm just happy because it means that Australia will be getting a whole new batch of secondhand, breaking down, last generation military equipment.

Tomcat (4, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158640)

I believe Jerry mouse had it his way this time, poor Tomcat.

On a related note:

Last time I checked, our country only had 4 italian training jets for our air defense. Maybe they're going to donate those things :)

Re:Tomcat (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158803)

Last time I checked, our country only had 4 italian training jets for our air defense. Maybe they're going to donate those things :)

Not strictly true - we also have the entire Australian Air Force... ;)

And so marches on the.... (1, Troll)

d474 (695126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158645)

...Military Industrial War Complex....new planes, new weapons, new profits...

Hey, you've got to spend income taxes somehow (-1, Troll)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158675)

What better way than spending 64% of American's income tax on new weapons?

 

Re:Hey, you've got to spend income taxes somehow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158876)

Your number is a little off. The US spends 4.06% (FY03 est.) (2005 est.) of its GDP for the military (via CIA WorldFact Book). So if you have a $100 it is like spending $4.06 and you get the best military in the world. Not really that expensive in my opinion.

Re:Hey, you've got to spend income taxes somehow (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158917)

I don't know the numbers, but the poster you're responding to is talking about military spending as a proportion of federal income tax revenues, not as a proportion of GDP.

Re:Hey, you've got to spend income taxes somehow (1)

Fei_Id (937827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158984)

Where'd you pull that number from? Maybe you got that number mixed up with SOCIAL PROGRAMS. The military hardly gets anything today relatively speaking... along with NASA, etc...

Re:And so marches on the.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158700)

Eat a bag of dicks, you whiny hippie!

Correction... (1)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158731)

I believe you meant to say, "Eat a bag of [i]babies[/i]". To which my liberal leanings would say, "Delicious!"

Re:And so marches on the.... (4, Insightful)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158786)

new planes

Because slamming them into carrier decks and parking them in salt water spray incurs no maintenece cost. Those things could just be used forever, if it weren't for that damn Military Industrial War Complex.

The military-industrial complex is overrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158799)

Western society is generally obsessed with technology anyway. It's not just the military-industrial complex. Read the books Technopoly [amazon.com] by Neil Postman or Voltaire's Bastards [amazon.com] by John Ralston Saul for a good explanation of how society has made technology and technological systems of thought the automatic solution to all our problems.

Re:And so marches on the.... (5, Informative)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158815)

new planes, new weapons, new profits...

One of the biggest problems with those old jets is the massive number of ground service hours required for every hour of air time. The F-14 was one of the worst. Not to mention that maintaining a certain level of air superiority might require X of an older type of jet, versus 1/4X of a newer type of jet [strategypage.com] .

Often you can save money buy spending money.

And those old F-14s aren't immediately ground up into Bender sandwiches -- They usually go to a graveyard [google.com] to sit around in a state of somewhat possibly potentially close to readiness, just in case a really big war breaks out.

Re:And so marches on the.... (5, Interesting)

Quixotic241 (1004413) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158867)

Im an avionics tech crrently stationed at NAS Oceana, and im not sorry to see them go because of this. F-18 gear is way easier and faster to work on. Not to mention a lower failure rate. That being said, alot of the older guys and pilots are sad to see them go.

Anyone else think Apache? (5, Funny)

GeorgeFitch3 (988277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158646)

At first I thought the Navy was dumping Apache Tomcat! :) http://tomcat.apache.org/ [apache.org]

Re:Anyone else think Apache? (5, Funny)

thechronic (892545) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158672)

ha, seriously, my first thought was the Navy dumped Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes...I watch way too much E! Channel...

Re:Anyone else think Apache? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158847)

RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE INNNNNTOOOOOOO THE DANGER ZOOOOOOOOOOONE!
Now follows a bunch of lower cap words so as to evade the lameness filter :)

Re:Anyone else think Apache? (1)

pdbaby (609052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158936)

Thank you for restoring my faith in geekdom! When I read the title I immediately thought of Apache Tomcat -- and I was shocked that a post about the web application container wasn't higher up on the page :-)

hank bless us every one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158658)

long live the amerikan war machine

Stupid Reporter (3, Funny)

MadMorf (118601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158673)

The link below goes to a story that claims the F-14 was a formidable opponent for MIGs in Vietnam:

http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID =/20060919/NEWS/609190338&SearchID=73257582885024/ [theledger.com]

The Grumman F-14D Tomcat is a twin-engine, two-seat supersonic airplane that in the years since the early 1970s was the Navy's primary fighter. Its battles with Russian-built MiGs over Vietnam made both planes famous.

Clearly he confused the F-14 with the F-4...

Yay (4, Funny)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158674)

They have moved from Apache & Tomcat to IIS & ASP.NET.

Reading between the lines... (4, Funny)

Lord Aurora (969557) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158688)

...only a small number (perhaps ten or twenty) are believed to still be in service due to a lack of spare parts and attrition.

Yeah, not having enough attrition is a big problem in the Tomcat business.

On a more serious subject, were these the ones with the foldy wings? Man, I have a Micro Machine that I'm somewhat sure is a Tomcat and the wings amaze me every time I play with it.

Er, you know. Every time when I used to play with it. Because...I'm too old for Micro Machines now...of...course...

Re:Reading between the lines... (1)

Lord Aurora (969557) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158691)

In case you were wondering, I went and RTFA:
The F-14 features an adjustable sweep wing, two engines and can reach speeds above Mach 2 using powerful afterburners. The wing could be swept all the way back for flying at high speeds and forward to increase manoeuvrability in dogfights.

So yes, my foldy wings Micro Machine is indeed a Tomcat. (^_^)b

Re:Reading between the lines... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158792)

F-4s have wings that can fold up to pack more into a limited space of a carrier.
F-14s have swing wings that swing back for faster flight.

Re:Reading between the lines... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158807)

The F-14 wings don't fold like most other US naval aircraft. For storage they sweep further back than they do in flight. This is referred to as 'oversweeping' [geocities.com] .

Re:Reading between the lines... (2, Informative)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158833)

"Foldy wings". :-)

Most carrier aircraft have wings that fold. Usually
they fold *up* and not back. Storage is at a premium.

Actually, they left active service months ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158689)

Maybe as much as half a year ago.

    The Iranians keep them around for propaganda value, really. Although these days, they're getting more propaganda mileage out of that "new bomber" they rolled out, which is just a cannibalized F-5 with the tail hacked up to stuff in twin engines and twin tail fins, neither of which were necessary. And painted black to make it a "stealth fighter."

Re:Actually, they left active service months ago (1)

noewun (591275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158830)

The Iranians also use them as AWACs.

Re:Actually, they left active service months ago (1)

dukeisgod (739214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158883)

They probably make a very poor AWACS plane since they shipped with a very inferior radar compared to the US version.

Stock up on them now (2, Funny)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158697)

in case you need parts later!

Thank God for the Tomcat (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158713)

The Tomcat had a great run in defending the US and maintaining its dominance in air superiority for over 30 years. It was a beautiful airplane and technically amazing. It had never been downed by other aircraft.

It's sad to see such a great aircraft be retired, but it was time. Super Hornets and the F-35 will take over its spot, and keep the US's military might stronger than ever.

Slashdotters should be more thankful we had such a great machine keep America safe for over 30 years.

Re:Thank God for the Tomcat (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158732)

What about Soviet Slashdot readers? I doubt they share your final sentiment.

Re:Thank God for the Tomcat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158788)

They should. Like the Japanese, they're a hell of a lot better off than they were before we defeated them.

And as if the economic advantages that come from ditching Communism weren't enough, the former Soviets get to rent out their old GULAG camps to the CIA! Talk about synergizing your core competencies.

Re:Thank God for the Tomcat (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158951)

Remind me who won the Cold War. Because from here, it doeesn't look like the citizens of either side.

How much... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158724)

Does one of these cost now and where can I buy one?

I bet some hydraulic techs are happy about this (5, Interesting)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158738)

The F-14 uses a variable sweep wing, the idea being that for maneuverability the wings are extended and for speed the wings are swept back.

Nice idea eh? The problem is there are six hydraulic actuators on each wing to make this happen. When one breaks, there's no way to tell which one is bad without pulling all six from the wing and putting each one on a test bench. Testing a single actuator takes about an hour... and Murphy states the bad actuator is the last one you test.

The F-18 may look like a lawn dart from hell, but at least it's relatively easier to work on.

Re:I bet some hydraulic techs are happy about this (1, Funny)

Exsam (768226) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158773)

and Murphy states the bad actuator is the last one you test.
Yes, because after you find the bad one you're going to stop testing.

Re:I bet some hydraulic techs are happy about this (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158952)

If you do that you can guarantee two of them were bad...

Re:I bet some hydraulic techs are happy about this (2, Interesting)

sr180 (700526) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158823)

The swing wing was based on the lessons learnt from the F-111. Which incidently is still in service (with many local upgrades) with the Royal Australian Air Force. There is still nothing as capable for our needs in a single plane as the F111.

Re:I bet some hydraulic techs are happy about this (4, Interesting)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158963)

While your about it you might as well mention the negative experiences of the F18 down under, such as the double control inversion points (controls reverse themselves - a real oh shit moment) due to the fact that the damn thing twists longitudinally and laterally at speed. Not to mention the mods added to stop the damn tail ripping off during low altitude maneauvres that the aussies are so fond of. I hope the JSF isn't a dud. The F1-11 has been pretty good. Any piece of high tech has it's problems, you just need the right maintenance schedule.

To keep on topic, I think the F14 was a beautiful piece of Aviation history and it was designed in a time where thing got accomplished. The current state of the development of such things has reached a point where I'm amazed that anything actually ever gets achieved.

Re:I bet some hydraulic techs are happy about this (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158999)

My solution would be to have six actuator testers.

Re:I bet some hydraulic techs are happy about this (5, Funny)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 7 years ago | (#16159001)

Murphy states the bad actuator is the last one you test

Well, yeah - because once you've found the bad one you don't test any more, right?

Re:I bet some hydraulic techs are happy about this (5, Funny)

z3d4r (598419) | more than 7 years ago | (#16159011)

so test the last one first

Worse is better (1)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158752)

The F/A-18 means it's both a Fighter and also an Attack aircraft, which means is does neither as well as a plane designed specifically for that purpose. Meaning, the F/A-18 cannot carry as much ordinance as an A-6 nor dogfight as well as an F-14 or F-15.

That said, the F-14 is also one damned big plane compared to the F/A-18, despite how cool it may have looked. IANANA (I am not a naval aviator) so I can't say which flies better. I just know that when I was aboard CV-62 USS Independence, I was surprised at how much bigger the Tomcat was compared to the Hornet.

Re:Worse is better (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158819)

All true of the F/A-18A through D. The ones that are replacing the Tomcats are fortunately more capable. The Super Hornet (E and F model) is 20% larger, has two extra weapon stations, and quite a bit more capability.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Hornet [wikipedia.org]

Its no Tomcat but its not the regular Hornet either.

Re:Worse is better (1)

shoma-san (739914) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158874)

Obviously you've never seen an F-18 dive bomb a target or strafe a position. Also note that the the F/A-18 does not need to carry as much ordinance as an A-6 because of the current avionics,targeting and weapons systems that link to satilites. And lets not talk about the smart bombs, air to air - air to ground missle advancements that make it possible to drop less ordinance.

I'm sorry to say but as a former Marine infantryman, I would trust the Hornet any day of the week and twice on tuesday instead of a couple of 30 year old planes full of replacement parts.

Re:Worse is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158987)

So I guess you don't trust the A-10 much either considering it was first delivered to the AF 30 years ago.

Re:Worse is better (5, Informative)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158877)

The F-14 was a very interesting plane. It was a dedicated interceptor, built for pure speed - not really made for dogfighting, no matter what Top Gun claimed. It also carried the most powerful air intercept radar in either the Navy or the Air Force inventory. The backseat guy was the Radar Intercept Officer - it took a dedicated crewman just to work the damn thing. It was kind of like a flying SAM platform, almost.

It had two main roles. First was the BARCAP role. The USA kept carrier groups on patrol in case the Soviets launched bomber strikes, and the F-14 was the first line of defense against them. The idea was that it could catch up with a Soviet bomber group before they reached launch range, lock onto the big bombers, fire its AIM-54s, and get out once the missiles went terminal. It wasn't supposed to mix it up with the escorting fighters, that was the job of escorting F-14s or the F-15s from the USAF. Once the USSR collapsed, BARCAP wasn't such a big deal, so that's when they decided to give it ground attack capability.

It was also tasked with Fleet Air Defense, meaning to protect the carrier air group from airborne threats - bombers dedicated to anti-ship strikes, cruise missiles, fighters scrambled to attack Navy bombers. In this role, it was obseleted by the AEGIS cruiser as much as the F/A-18.

I apologize in advance if I got any of the facts wrong - this is just as I remember it as a plane geek.

Re:Worse is better (2, Interesting)

mdhoover (856288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158893)

Size difference is not surprising when comparing a long range interceptor (F14) with a fighter (F18).

The tomcats primary purpose was as a long range interceptor/air superiority fighter (similar role to the F15 and the soviets MiG 25). Its job was to protect the fleet by destroying incoming supersonic bombers before they reached their launch range. It had to have legs, be fast, be able to track and launch at multiple targets at extreme range. It is a big powerful brute, but not that nimble.

The F18 fell out of the design requirements for the F16 (indeed the USAF took the YF16 and the navy the YF17) as a nimble cheap fighter aircraft. Both performed within spec (light, manoeverable, nimble) with IIRC the navy choosing the F18 due to it having dual engines.

I think you'll find the F/A 18 when devoid of bombs would more than out dogfight the F14/F15 in a furball, that was what it was designed for.
Of course the F/A 18 would first have to close range to the interceptors, while doing so it is vulnerable, falling into the envelope of what the interceptors were designed for (destroying targets at maximum standoff distance).

So what was my point? the F/A designation doesn't mean it is not as capable a fighter as it should be, it is just as capable as the F16 in both roles. Comparing the F18/F16 to the F14/F15 is comparing apples and oranges, they have completely different roles.

Grammar Nazi... (3, Funny)

Riktov (632) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158954)

I wasn't aware that the Hornet or the Intruder were capable of carrying(?) laws or regulations. The word you're looking for is ordnance.

Re:Worse is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158982)

Actually, the F-18E/F (F is the two seat version of the E) is comparable in size to the F-14; the 18A through 18D were all considerably smaller, but the E/F is larger and designed specifically to take over the role vacated by the 14.

Oh say can you... (1)

iluvovaltine (1004099) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158765)

For whatever your beliefs, thanks for sharing them. Thanks for spelling America with a "k". You get a star for utilizing your free speech!

The prowler is even being fazed out, because of the F-18 variants.
A bunch of old planes are getting older. Some are older than the pilots and mechanics making them fly.
Nostalgia... except I am too young to remember.
I am glad they are done with this plane because it killed Goose.

Oh, the plane... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158771)

For a minute I though they [dancewithshadows.com] . were breaking up.

Sooo...how much then? (1)

Kirsha (201264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158778)

I always wanted one of those! And, well, since they are getting rid of them, better for me to get one than somebody else, right? =D

I'm Happy (1)

kryogen1x (838672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158800)

Sentimental feelings aside (no more riding into the Danger Zone), it's a good thing the Tomcat is gone. Hopefully maintenace budgets will fall as a result. Make way for the F/A-18s and F-35s!

Re:I'm Happy (2, Interesting)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158865)

Speaking of danger zones... according to wikipedia, those F-35s they're making way for could have frickin' laser beams [wikipedia.org] attached.

A few left in Iran? (-1, Flamebait)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158806)

From the description above:


However, at least a few F-14s will continue to fly for a few more years: Iran -- which took delivery of 79 aircraft before the overthrow of the Shah -- still flies the plane, though only a small number (perhaps ten or twenty) are believed to still be in service due to a lack of spare parts and attrition."


Ehhh- our Feeerlez Leedor and his evil Evil EVIL minions will likely destroy those jets on November 8th.


RS

Former Tomcat Tweaker here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158817)

I served in the USN from 1981-1986 and worked on Tomcats (flight line and later AIMD at Miramar and ship's company on the Ranger.) These were amazing aircraft and a huge step forward technologically from '60's era aviation. Not only were things like moving wings and the Phoenix missile system introduced, but the avionics were the first ever designed for computerized testing, repair and calibration. As technical pioneers, this and the SR-71 Blackbird benefited hugely from NASA research, of course. :)

Anyway, I have some amazing memories (and some neat pictures) from those years, and in a way its sad to see this plane retired.

Get Off My Lawn You Damn Kids! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158836)

With your newfangled... "jet engines" and your... "radar"!

Ok well I'm not that old, but I remember drooling over F4s in Okinawa back when I was knee high to a grasshopper. Probably would have ended up flying if my eyes hadn't taken a turn for the worse when I was 10. I reckon you can fix 'em now with those newfangled "lasers" but it's a bit too late to get started now...

Re:Get Off My Lawn You Damn Kids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158998)

Ok well I'm not that old, but I remember drooling over F4s...

F4's? Those pigs? Dude, you are THAT old.

Most famous hardware in the military. (2, Interesting)

hellfire (86129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158840)

It's hard to find any grown man today who hasn't seen the classic man-flick "Top Gun." By the same token it would be hard for any man not to be able to identify the F-14. A small slice of americana has officially slid into the past. It looked like the SUV of jet fighters, since it was so big, but it was sexy. It was meant to rule the sky, an air superiority fighter.

Hell yes, I admit I would love to fly at Mach 3 with my hair on fire, and have the call sign "Maverick." While over all I felt the military would be a poor choice of career for me due to my disrespect for authority, I always had a small fantasy to be able to fly an F-14.

I will briefly lament it's passing by wearing Axe body spray, putting on a navy uniform, and going out to bars to sing "She's Lost that Lovin' Feeling" to women who won't sleep with me.

WHY??? The agony... (0)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158844)

Tomcat seemed to be a good Application Server I doubt they are going to get the same performance out of whatever they replace it with, Apache maybe?

Fi8st poskt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158860)

Air and Space Smithsonian Salute (1)

Stalky (31519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158869)

Air and Space Smithsonian had a "22-page salute" to the Tomcat in its August-September issue, some of which [airspacemag.com] is available online.

First Tom Cruise, now the Tomcat (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158895)

All these [imdb.com] firings [aol.com] ! This craziness must stop!

So.....does this mean I can get one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158996)

Ok this sounds cool. Do you know if any of the Army/Navy surplus places have any of these? I know they were expensive, but you'd be real surprised how cheap you can get ex-gov stuff if you know where to look. Hmmm.. Anyone know of any auctions? I had better hit up eBay!

I was worried that they were switching to PHP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16159010)

I'm relieved now!
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