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Old 28th July 2015, 19:39   #16
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

Very well-researched post here on the Tomcat.

I had a brief moment of bother with it though; on the Team-BHP home-page, on the continuously running ticker of latest posts, the title said "Fighter jet: The F14 Tomcat" and depicted the F111 Aardvark (which is the last pic in your post).

Of course, knowing the factual/historical connections between the two aircraft, and upon seeing the contents of the post, I breathed a sigh of relief.
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Old 28th July 2015, 21:37   #17
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Originally Posted by Avenger_123 View Post
Thanks for the great info Ricci.
Interesting to see all the complexities on this one.

I believe there still might be many countries flying the F14s.

A fascinating description of the mighty "Tomcat" swing-wing interceptor and dubbed as "Fleet Defender".

Just to answer avenger's question - The Islamic Republic of Iran is the ONLY country in the world that presently possess this great 4th generation interceptor/fighter. My guess is that about 45 of them is left [source: Wikipedia] US Navy retired the F-14 in 2004 and the phoenix long range AAM in 2006 since the days of cold war was "officially" over.

And oh..BTW...Iran used these machines to great effect during the Iran-Iraq war. Iraqi pilots in Russian made MiGs and French made F-1 "Mirage" got so much used to the Tomcat's mighty AWG-9 Hughes radar + AIM-54 Phoenix combo during the 1980-88 war that in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf war they used to turn back home once USN F-14 pilot/Radar Intercept Officer [RIO] "painted" or "lit" them on their screen. The Iraqis knew well not to mess with this aircraft.

However the Persian Gulf war Rules of Engagement (RoE) did not permit the USN pilots to use their phoenix long range so they had to play a second fiddle to USAF's F-15 Eagle and F-16 Falcons who did most of the air domination damage with their medium range AIM-7 "Sparrow", AIM-120 "Scorpion" AAMs. The presence of F-14 acted as a deterrence for Iraqis to use their frontline MiG-25 "Foxbat" and MiG-29 "Fulcrum" fighters.
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Old 28th July 2015, 22:00   #18
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

Thanks Ricci for the wonderful description of this unique interceptor...I'm a great fan of the Tomcat since my teen years (this was even before i watched TOP GUN). I guess the MiG-31 "Foxhound" with its R-33 [AA-9 "Amos"] long range AAM is the only interceptor left in today's air power era!!
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Old 28th July 2015, 22:57   #19
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

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Originally Posted by yajaman99 View Post
I remember making scale drawing of it and hanging it on my wall. My favorite cartoon series, Robotech had all their fighters based on the F-14.
This got my heart racing to find a Revell or Airfix F14 plastic model to build.
Thanks for such a great write up.
I too have an F-14 posted on my wall and an Airfix 1:72 model. besides that, it's the plane I sketched most myself.

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Originally Posted by Avenger_123 View Post
I believe there still might be many countries flying the F14s.
Only 2 nations operated the F-14 ever - the USA and Iran. Now only Iran flies the serviceable number of F-14s left - estimates vary from 5-6 to almost 50. IIRIAF did once in the 1990s fly 25 F-14s for a parade all at once, just to taunt analysts who claimed only 5-10 F-14s remained flyable.


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Originally Posted by navin View Post
Would that be sea to ground? For air to ground the USAF had the Warthog (A10 Thunderbolt) na?
No, air to ground only. F-14s carried out strike sorties over Afghanistan and in the Persial Gulf, with 1000 and 2000 pound LGB and iron bombs. Several F-14s were also exclusively the only NATO jets with TARPS ( Tactical Airborne Reconnaisance Pod System ).


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Originally Posted by Ajith82 View Post
I guess the MiG-31 "Foxhound" with its R-33 [AA-9 "Amos"] long range AAM is the only interceptor left in today's air power era!!
Yes, and it's been claimed by western analysts that Iranian F-14s were helped stay serviceable by Russians who reverse-engineered parts for the F-14, in exchange for getting access to the F-14. They claim that this helped the Russians develop the MiG-31 radar and missiles, though this is debatable - the MiG-31 was already in service in 1983 with an advanced PESA radar and the R-33 missiles.


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Even if the aircraft take-off from a carrier, the ground-attack weapons are still air-ground

The Thunderbolt fulfills a different role - Close Air Support. They operate at much shorter ranges and directly support troops on the ground. The the Bombcat conversion was aimed at providing carriers longer reach to more strategic targets.
The A-10 is another wonderful, effective , purpose-built aircraft, not constrained by opposing requirements to fit multi-role objectives.

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Originally Posted by navin View Post
Correct me if I am wrong, the F14s were replaced (at least by the USN) by the F18s and the F18s (E-F) will be replaced by the F35s (C).
Yes, the F-14 was intended to be replaced by naval variant of the F-22 , which didn't happen due to delays and budget ballooning of the F-22. Instead the Navy opted for the "safer" F/A-18E/F Super Hornet which although almost 70-80% is redesigned anew from the F/A-18A-D variants, was easier to get funded from Congress citing it as a "low risk development of existing aircraft". F/A-18A-D models didn't replace F-14s, they complemented them the same way F-16s did for F-15s.

Like the USAF only wanted the F-15s, but were forced to compromise due to cost and develop a cheaper fighter to maintain numbers - two prototypes that went to final round, were the YF-16 and YF-17. The USAF selected the YF-16 , which became the F-16.

The US Navy wanted only the F-14 too, but like the USAF was compelled to select another cheaper fighter - initially dictated to choose the same figher the USAF chose ( F-16 ) but the USN protested and said no single engine jet citing survivability. So they were forced to choose the YF-17 (named Cobra), which transformed to the F/A-18 Hornet. That also explained the missing -17 among the teen series !

It caused a lot many F-14 aircrew grief over transitioning to an inferior fighter - in the sense of pure flying/performance ability - electronically, it was a huge gain and a huge relief for the maintenance crew.

The F/A-18 has its own share of problems which drew much criticism, some even in comparison to the older F/A-18 ; the F-35 now is even more so considered a dog that underperforms even compared to 4th generation jets, it's only saving grace being the yet unproven low-observability, that too in front hemisphere only.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet replaces not just the F-14, but also EA-6 Prowler electronic warfare specialist ( F/A-18G Growler being it's replacement), the KA-6D tanker (with F/A-18Fs playing the buddy tanker) as well as early model F/A-18s.

Last edited by Ricci : 28th July 2015 at 23:13.
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Old 29th July 2015, 12:23   #20
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

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Originally Posted by Ricci View Post
That also explained the missing -17 among the teen series !
Hey never knew but where did the F13 and F19 go? I assume the F13 was due to American superstition over the number 13 (all the apartment buildings I lived in in NYC had no 13th floor) but F19? Then from F22 they jump to F35? or are there some other numbers in between we don't know of?

The plane I lament the US never made in production runs was the F20. Robert (Bob) Sandusky was a brilliant engineer. The F20 was far more agile than the F16 or F15. The guys at Northdrop (1 Northdrop Av, Hawthorne, CA) claim that the F20 was shelved only because Northdrop/McDonnell Douglas had the B2 and C17 programs and if the USAF gave Northdrop/MD the F20 it would have shut Lockheed, General Dynamics and Boeing out and they wanted other companies to be available to compete.

Last edited by navin : 29th July 2015 at 12:49.
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Old 29th July 2015, 16:10   #21
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

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Originally Posted by Ajith82 View Post

And oh..BTW...Iran used these machines to great effect during the Iran-Iraq war. Iraqi pilots in Russian made MiGs and French made F-1 "Mirage" got so much used to the Tomcat's mighty AWG-9 Hughes radar + AIM-54 Phoenix combo during the 1980-88 war that in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf war they used to turn back home once USN F-14 pilot/Radar Intercept Officer [RIO] "painted" or "lit" them on their screen. The Iraqis knew well not to mess with this aircraft.
The performance of the F-14 during the Iran - Iraq war depends on whose version you want to believe in. Some sources say they shot down 100+ aircraft with their own losses in the single digits.

I believe these claims are certainly exaggerated since the Iranians were operating the aircraft without any service and spares from the manufacturer due to US sanctions for the duration of the 8 year war. Very few would have been in flyable condition at a given time.

During the 1999 Kargil which lasted a few months, Pakistan Air Force F-16s had to limit their Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) due to limited spares avaiable because of US Sanctions.

Others say they suffered numerous losses and where shot down by Iraqi Mirage F-1s, Mig-23s and Mig-21s.

Grumman F-14 Tomcat in Iranian Air Force Service

http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/c...Iran_F-14_.htm
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Old 29th July 2015, 19:09   #22
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

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Originally Posted by navin View Post
Hey never knew but where did the F13 and F19 go? I assume the F13 was due to American superstition over the number 13 (all the apartment buildings I lived in in NYC had no 13th floor) but F19? Then from F22 they jump to F35? or are there some other numbers in between we don't know of?

The plane I lament the US never made in production runs was the F20. Robert (Bob) Sandusky was a brilliant engineer. The F20 was far more agile than the F16 or F15. The guys at Northdrop (1 Northdrop Av, Hawthorne, CA) claim that the F20 was shelved only because Northdrop/McDonnell Douglas had the B2 and C17 programs and if the USAF gave Northdrop/MD the F20 it would have shut Lockheed, General Dynamics and Boeing out and they wanted other companies to be available to compete.
13 was skipped for superstitious reasons, yes. F-19 was never publicly acknowledged. Many claims about a stealth fighter abound but no official F-19 has been acknowledge, not even as a Black program.

F-20 you already know, the Kfir C2 was designated F-21, F-22 you know , YF-23 also you'd have heard/read of. The F-35 was expected to have the F-24 designation, and Lockheed expected as much, so when the USAF designated it F-35, it was a surprise to them too. There aren't any F-25 , F-26 or higher designated planes aside from the F-8x , F-9x , and century series. Unless we consider the X-32 (and X-29 ) that were reserved for potential fighter designation ( X to F ) but the X and F series are separate, fighter prototypes being prefixed with Y ( YF-16, YF-22 ).

The F-20 Tigershark - that's a very debated plane. I've heard of those reasons, but then I doubt the F-20 could set a legacy the way the F-16 has. The F-16 has grown over time, but it had room for growth. The F-20 was smaller and lighter than even the F-16, it wouldn't have the structural strength for growth of heavier equipment or the payload that F-16 has.

What really killed the F-20 was the NATO countries' decision to select the same jet the USAF chose, ensuring a long production run, cheaper cost and continued support/development, it was demoed to every major European buyer as a cheaper alternative to the F-16.
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Old 29th July 2015, 19:39   #23
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Default Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

There are actually various theories around the missing F19. Just google and you will find many different websites with as many different storyline.

Wikipedia seems at least something that sort of makes sense

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-19
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Old 30th July 2015, 16:09   #24
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

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Originally Posted by Ricci View Post
The F-20 Tigershark - that's a very debated plane.
Sir, I was working as a vendor for Material Handling, Planning and Engineering at Northdrop during the early 90s. What I know is what we were told.
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Old 31st July 2015, 13:42   #25
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

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Originally Posted by navin View Post
The plane I lament the US never made in production runs was the F20. Robert (Bob) Sandusky was a brilliant engineer. The F20 was far more agile than the F16 or F15. The guys at Northdrop (1 Northdrop Av, Hawthorne, CA) claim that the F20 was shelved only because Northdrop/McDonnell Douglas had the B2 and C17 programs and if the USAF gave Northdrop/MD the F20 it would have shut Lockheed, General Dynamics and Boeing out and they wanted other companies to be available to compete.
There were other reasons for the F-20s cancellation too. The F-20 wasn't competing for a USAF contract against the F-16, but was a major re-work of the F-5/F-5E airframe with a modern engine and electronics for the export market.

There was considerable interest in the F-20 from allies -- if the USAF was willing to show commitment in the design by buying some themselves (there was precedent for this, a small batch of the F-20's forebear the F-5 Tiger was initially purchased by the USAF before going on to be an export success. The Tigers in the USAF evaluation squadron went on to become famous in Vietnam as the 'Skoshi Tigers').

The USAF had already selected the F-16 for their own use, export sales would drive down their cost of purchase (since the development costs would be spread over a larger number of airframes). General Dynamics (the original manufacturer of the F-16) pitched a downgraded version of the F-16 (the F-16/79 with the turbofan engine replaced with the J79 turbojet and simpler avionics) and the USAF latched on to this and supported this 'budget' variant for export sales instead of the F-20. It's another matter that the lower thrust and higher weight of the F-16/79 was so unattractive to customers, that they ended purchasing (the more expensive) standard F-16A/B variants.

The F-20 prototypes soldiered on showing their skills at airshows around the world for a few more years. A couple of countries showed interest - chiefly Taiwan and Saudi Arabia to some extent, but nobody wanted to take a risk of being the first (and possibly only operator) of a new design and the project was eventually shelved.


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Originally Posted by Foxbat View Post
The performance of the F-14 during the Iran - Iraq war depends on whose version you want to believe in. Some sources say they shot down 100+ aircraft with their own losses in the single digits.

I believe these claims are certainly exaggerated since the Iranians were operating the aircraft without any service and spares from the manufacturer due to US sanctions for the duration of the 8 year war. Very few would have been in flyable condition at a given time.

During the 1999 Kargil which lasted a few months, Pakistan Air Force F-16s had to limit their Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) due to limited spares avaiable because of US Sanctions.

Others say they suffered numerous losses and where shot down by Iraqi Mirage F-1s, Mig-23s and Mig-21s.

Grumman F-14 Tomcat in Iranian Air Force Service

http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/c...Iran_F-14_.htm
A great source on air combat in the Middle East and Africa is Tom Cooper. While most of his work is only available in print, he was a member on the (now-defunct) ACIG forum and had posted a brief summary of the F-14's career in the IRIAF which is still available online.

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Originally Posted by Ricci View Post
The F-20 Tigershark - that's a very debated plane. I've heard of those reasons, but then I doubt the F-20 could set a legacy the way the F-16 has. The F-16 has grown over time, but it had room for growth. The F-20 was smaller and lighter than even the F-16, it wouldn't have the structural strength for growth of heavier equipment or the payload that F-16 has.
The F-20 was already part of a great legacy - it was the junior-most member of a family (F-5/F-5E/T-38) that had almost 3400 aircraft built and is cousins with another family with a great legacy (FA-18/FA-18E).

Northrop had a good run with the F-5 and its descendants, but like you I also feel that the F-16 was the better aircraft for the NATO alliance. At the same time, I also believe that there was a market for a cheaper alternative for smaller countries which were already operating older F-5/MiG-15/MiG-21 aircraft and which couldn't afford the F-16.
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Old 31st July 2015, 15:59   #26
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

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Originally Posted by vivtho View Post
The F-20 was already part of a great legacy

but like you I also feel that the F-16 was the better aircraft
If I remember right the F20 was priced around $20m each and Northdrop reduced the price to 16m or 18min last ditch hopes to edge out the F16. In the tend the F16 was more flexible a platform, the F20 being a pure dogfighter.

That said I am surprised at the amount of knowledge and interest in Russian and US military shown here.

For those interested I am posting a couple of links of the manufacture of the B-1B (these pics have all security clearances).
http://airbarge.com/Pics/B1B.jpg
http://airbarge.com/Pics/AirCellsPic.jpg

Last edited by navin : 31st July 2015 at 16:03.
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Old 31st July 2015, 21:00   #27
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

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Sir, I was working as a vendor for Material Handling, Planning and Engineering at Northdrop during the early 90s. What I know is what we were told.
Great, hope to get more inside perspective, for whatever non-classified things you can proffer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivtho View Post
There were other reasons for the F-20s cancellation too. The F-20 wasn't competing for a USAF contract against the F-16, but was a major re-work of the F-5/F-5E airframe with a modern engine and electronics for the export market.

A great source on air combat in the Middle East and Africa is Tom Cooper. While most of his work is only available in print, he was a member on the (now-defunct) ACIG forum and had posted a brief summary of the F-14's career in the IRIAF which is still available online.


The F-20 was already part of a great legacy - it was the junior-most member of a family (F-5/F-5E/T-38) that had almost 3400 aircraft built and is cousins with another family with a great legacy (FA-18/FA-18E).
Yep, Northrop didn't really promote the F-20 for the USAF program since they'd placed their rival in the F-17. The designation -20 itself sort of gives that way, which was originally named F-5G but renamed to F-20 to make it look/sound newer than it was, and re-using the F-404 from the YF-17.


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Originally Posted by navin View Post
If I remember right the F20 was priced around $20m each and Northdrop reduced the price to 16m or 18min last ditch hopes to edge out the F16. In the tend the F16 was more flexible a platform, the F20 being a pure dogfighter.

That said I am surprised at the amount of knowledge and interest in Russian and US military shown here.

For those interested I am posting a couple of links of the manufacture of the B-1B (these pics have all security clearances).
It was certainly less than that - circa $8 million for the F-20 vs $14-15 million for the F-16 , in/around 1980. The F-16 cost $20 million toward the end of the 1980s. Being an upgraded F-5 with small LERX, it was agile but the F-16 was even more so.

The air forces who'd be most likely F-20 customers were F-5 users, but they kept using the F-5s instead, or even bought F-16s (or F-18s like the Swiss ). As for the B-1, maybe you can start a thread .
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Old 1st August 2015, 01:47   #28
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Originally Posted by Ricci View Post
Great, hope to get more inside perspective, for whatever non-classified things you can proffer.

As for the B-1, maybe you can start a thread .

Sir, I think you are giving me too much credit. As a vendor we were limited in the information that was shared with us. Since we were not directly involved in the manufacture of the airframes, merely their transportation, we had no access to the kind of information you expect.

I never thought that Indians would be so interested in military aircraft of the U.S. How do you guys know so much?
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Old 1st August 2015, 22:40   #29
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

Thanks for this wonderful thread Ricci

After V.Narayan's wonderful thread on the Migs, your thread has added some more spice with NATO aircraft.

I was quite impressed with the nice detailed accumulation of info and trivia on this aircraft that, only someone with passion can acquire.

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Originally Posted by Ricci View Post
There is a 75º oversweep for carrier stowage - only used on the ground for parking, to allow an even smaller area, as seen in below picture. The yellow bent line shows the over-sweep position that is only used on ground/deck for parking(stowage).
Here is a picture off the net that shows the unbelievable proportions to which that feature can be utilized!
Source: www.pinterest.com

Name:  f14 tomcat.jpg
Views: 3003
Size:  79.4 KB

I shudder to imagine those aircraft, in this manner, atop an aircraft carrier on rough seas
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Old 2nd August 2015, 10:02   #30
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Default Re: Defender of the fleet - The Grumman F-14 Tomcat

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I shudder to imagine those aircraft, in this manner, atop an aircraft carrier on rough seas
Well, the navy usually doesn't leave its planes out on the deck during heavy seas. Aluminium and salty sea water doesn't make for a good combination at the best of times!

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