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Posted: 9/9/2004 11:21:51 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/9/2004 1:16:53 PM EST by KA3B]
Tomcats to become snowbirds in Arizona


Airman Joseph Black checks the tail section of an F-14 Tomcat at Oceana Naval Air Station. All of the F-14 Tomacats will be gone from Oceana by about August 2006. BILL TIERNAN FILE PHOTO/THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT.


By JACK DORSEY, The Virginian-Pilot
© September 9, 2004

VIRGINIA BEACH — The last five of the Navy’s oldest F-14 Tomcats will head to the “bone yard” Sunday, retiring to the dry desert floor of Arizona to join thousands of other aging war birds.

About 80 younger models of the F-14 remain at Oceana Naval Air Station, but all will be gone by about August 2006, replaced by F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets.

The “thirtysomething” A-model F-14 jets from the Checkmates of Fighter Squadron 211 will mark the beginning of the end of the Tomcat family, which totaled 632 aircraft during the past 32 years.

Cmdr. C.J. Deni, the squadron’s skipper, will lead the last flight to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, near Tucson, where the jets will be available for wartime recall.

“We are the last true fighter squadron in the Navy,” Deni said Wednesday as his five Tomcats showed off in a formation fly-by over Oceana. “There no longer will be any more fighter squadrons. They will be multi-mission strike fighters from now on.”

Developed as a premier fighter for strictly an air-to-air mission to protect the carrier battle group, later versions of the F-14, known as B, C and D models, evolved in the early 1990’s to carry air-to-ground munitions. By the mid-1990’s, precision-guided weapons were added and the aircraft took on more of a strike mission, Deni said.

However, the A-models remained a fighter. They were never given the global positioning system (GPS) weapons the younger models had, which better supported the battlefield commanders.

Deni’s squadron, which retired its five other planes earlier, will now begin learning to fly and maintain the F/A-18 F Super Hornet.

The entire squadron of about 250 air crews and maintenance personnel will begin leaving in October for Lemoore Naval Air Station, 40 miles south of Fresno, Calif., for six months of training. Their 12 two-seat models are already waiting for them on the flight line, Deni said.

When they return with the planes in late March, or early April, they will be known as the Checkmates of Strike/Fighter Squadron 211.

While the younger Tomcat models still have plenty of life in them, Deni said they have become too costly to operate. In the last few months it required between 65 to 80 man hours of maintenance to keep an F-14 flying for just one hour. By comparison, the Super Hornet requires between 10 and 15 hours of maintenance for every hour of flight, he said.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Vaughn Ransom has been taking care of the F-14s since 1982, working on probably 75 different planes over the years.

He has hand-picked their maintenance crews and pulled solutions to vexing problems “out of our heads,” not computers. But he seems ready to let them go and join the Super Hornet community.

An engine change can take 16 to 18 hours on an F-14 if all goes well, he said. The Super Hornet’s engines can be replaced in less than two hours.

Trouble shooting isn’t by guess work. It’s simply a plug-in to a computer to find the cause.

Yet, for Lt. Cmdr. Mark Sullivan, the squadron’s former maintenance officer, flying his plane into retirement will be a sad day.

“We’ve always called the Tomcat the big sexy fighter,” Sullivan said. “I’m going to miss manning up that aircraft and watching that sight behind the boat. There is nothing more challenging than flying the F-14 on an aircraft carrier.

“They call it 'the turkey’ because that’s kind of what it looks like when it comes into land. It’s ungainly. It’s big. It’s tough. It’s predictable.”

The Tomcat was never the most forgiving plane to a pilot who tried to push it farther than it was intended, Sullivan said. The Super Hornet, while slower, won’t allow a pilot to abuse it in the same way.

The Super Hornets are easier to fly than the Tomcats, Sullivan said.

“And they should be,” he said. “They are safer to fly, but I will miss a little bit of the challenges. I had a plane that was pretty much as smart as I was.

“If I am doing something wrong, the Super Hornet will not let you put yourself in extremes. It’s a little smarter than me.”

Sullivan has put more than 2,000 flight hours and 13 years in the Tomcat and insisted on taking his plane on the last flight.

“I’d rather take it to the bone yard than the scrap yard, where is would be torn apart,” he said. “At least there they will be ready to fight again on the front line if we need them.”

Oceana is expected to acquire a total of 120 F/A-18 single-seat E and twin-seat F Super Hornets.

It has 145 F/A-18 single-seat C Hornets now.

http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=75340&ran=160631

Link Posted: 9/9/2004 11:34:54 AM EST
You're making me cry, stop it.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 11:40:41 AM EST

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:
You're making me cry, stop it.



+1

Link Posted: 9/9/2004 11:42:47 AM EST
I'm sure the maintainers on the ground/deck aren't crying that it going to take 1/4 of the man hours to keep the new aircraft flying.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 11:45:14 AM EST
Hell, I still wanna cry every time I think of the F-4 and how I wish some of them were still around. But as sad as it may be, there is better stuff coming along. The F-18 can fly circles around the Tomcat, has more advanced avionics and is easier and cheaper to maintain and operate. Soon there will be something that can fly circles around the F-18. It's just the way things are. The important thing to remember is that as long as we stay ahead of the badguys, that's all that matters. The F-14 may soon be gone but we have lots of great memories of it. And it did it's job well in the many years of service it gave us. Just ask the Libyans, they'll tell ya!

-CH
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 11:45:35 AM EST
I'm sure if they didn't have budget cuts in the first place, and they got the parts that they were originally designed for, AND if we were not wasting money on things like the XM-8, then we would be able to run them longer.

One error in that article - there is no F-14C.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 11:50:12 AM EST
Ahhhh...Memories of living under NAS Miramar's Flight Path. Got the see some bitchin jets and the yearly airshow. I'll miss the F-14's. "Anytime Baby"
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 11:51:11 AM EST
I think we are in for a rude surprise if we ever get into it with China over Taiwan and they send a bunch of bombers to take out a carrier. Aren't we putting our carriers at risk without the Phoenix missle and the means to deliver it? I sure hope not.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 11:54:50 AM EST
If the Chinese had any bombers.....


Originally Posted By CalGat:
I think we are in for a rude surprise if we ever get into it with China over Taiwan and they send a bunch of bombers to take out a carrier. Aren't we putting our carriers at risk without the Phoenix missle and the means to deliver it? I sure hope not.

Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:27:14 PM EST

Originally Posted By CalGat:
I think we are in for a rude surprise if we ever get into it with China over Taiwan and they send a bunch of bombers to take out a carrier. Aren't we putting our carriers at risk without the Phoenix missle and the means to deliver it? I sure hope not.



The big problem is the Sunburn missile...

That thing is BAD.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:28:00 PM EST

Originally Posted By dport:
I'm sure the maintainers on the ground/deck aren't crying that it going to take 1/4 of the man hours to keep the new aircraft flying.



I know a couple -14 maintainers who would curse the plane up and down, but are downright in love with it. They'll cry too.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:32:03 PM EST
When some of the F-14D's were converted to "Bomb-cats", did they lose their status as "fighter squadrons"? If not, why should this be different for the F/A-18?
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:33:51 PM EST

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
When some of the F-14D's were converted to "Bomb-cats", did they lose their status as "fighter squadrons"? If not, why should this be different for the F/A-18?



The "bombcat" idea was a way to extend the life of the F-14. They just added the capability to drop some bombs, especially LGBs. No, they remained VF squadrons. The F-14 doesn't have the ground attack capability of a F/A-18... never heard of Tomcats practicing hitting tanks with rockets...
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:41:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
When some of the F-14D's were converted to "Bomb-cats", did they lose their status as "fighter squadrons"? If not, why should this be different for the F/A-18?



The "bombcat" idea was a way to extend the life of the F-14. They just added the capability to drop some bombs, especially LGBs. No, they remained VF squadrons. The F-14 doesn't have the ground attack capability of a F/A-18... never heard of Tomcats practicing hitting tanks with rockets...



I have. They have been armed with Zuni rockets before - have been armed with GBUs, JDAMS, and even HARMS at one point, and nearly everything in between.

Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:41:57 PM EST
All of the (now retired) F-14B's and the F-14D's were upgraded to "Bombcat" specs.
They still need a LANTIRN pod in order to use LGB's.

TARPS-capable F-14s cannot carry the LANTIRN pod, although the F-18's have taken over the photo roll from the F-14 with the new SHARPS pod.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:47:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/9/2004 12:50:43 PM EST by Fly-Navy]

Originally Posted By Blackjack272:

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
When some of the F-14D's were converted to "Bomb-cats", did they lose their status as "fighter squadrons"? If not, why should this be different for the F/A-18?



The "bombcat" idea was a way to extend the life of the F-14. They just added the capability to drop some bombs, especially LGBs. No, they remained VF squadrons. The F-14 doesn't have the ground attack capability of a F/A-18... never heard of Tomcats practicing hitting tanks with rockets...



I have. They have been armed with Zuni rockets before - have been armed with GBUs, JDAMS, and even HARMS at one point, and nearly everything in between.




An F-14 with Zunis and HARMs? You can confirm this? Very interesting, considering I have a Tomcat RIO here saying you're on crack.

GBU, JDAM, yes yes, all the guided goodies.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:48:03 PM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
All of the (now retired) F-14B's and the F-14D's were upgraded to "Bombcat" specs.
They still need a LANTIRN pod in order to use LGB's.

TARPS-capable F-14s cannot carry the LANTIRN pod, although the F-18's have taken over the photo roll from the F-14 with the new SHARPS pod.



Know if the Navy Hornets will get the LIGHTNING II pod? I'm not in the loop for that info.. yet.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:50:32 PM EST
Zunis, nothing special. If you really want I can dig for a source or photos, but it is really no big deal.

The F-14 has been tested with HARMs before - and there are photos to prove it.

http://www.anft.net/f-14/f14-detail-zuni.htm
http://www.anft.net/f-14/f14-detail-agm88.htm

Enjoy!
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:52:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By Blackjack272:
Zunis, nothing special. If you really want I can dig for a source or photos, but it is really no big deal.

The F-14 has been tested with HARMs before - and there are photos to prove it.

http://www.anft.net/f-14/f14-detail-zuni.htm
http://www.anft.net/f-14/f14-detail-agm88.htm

Enjoy!



Interesting, gonna confer with my RIO friend. Thanks for the links.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 12:55:00 PM EST
Ok, this is what was said from RIO buddy:

They tried it, and either didn't work with the software too well or just was never implemented. You'd never see it in the Fleet. Notice those birds are test aircraft from NWS.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 1:08:30 PM EST
Just as sad as the day when they retired the last A6 Intruder. I loved those slow, ugly birds. I wonder if the fleet air arm is as well armed as it used to be - I read that the F/A18 family gives up alot compared to the A6 in strike range and payload and the F14 in air-to-air capability.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 1:10:35 PM EST
Could you please edit your post so it is not 40 feet wide?

I'd like to read it.

Thanks!
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 1:11:36 PM EST

Originally Posted By Jeepster:
Just as sad as the day when they retired the last A6 Intruder. I loved those slow, ugly birds. I wonder if the fleet air arm is as well armed as it used to be - I read that the F/A18 family gives up alot compared to the A6 in strike range and payload and the F14 in air-to-air capability.



Talking to guys in the fleet (I'm not there yet and won't be for a while)... the Hornet does not and never will compare to the Intruder in that role...
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 1:16:04 PM EST
The LITENING II pod is now fitted to the Marines AV-8B's.
The LITENING AT has been tested with F-18D's, however, the Navy has not bought any.
The Marines have.



Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:
Know if the Navy Hornets will get the LIGHTNING II pod? I'm not in the loop for that info.. yet.

Link Posted: 9/9/2004 1:19:45 PM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
The LITENING II pod is now fitted to the Marines AV-8B's.
The LITENING AT has been tested with F-18D's, however, the Navy has not bought any.
The Marines have.



Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:
Know if the Navy Hornets will get the LIGHTNING II pod? I'm not in the loop for that info.. yet.




Hmm ok, any news about the Super Bugs? I hear that pod is pretty frickin bad ass.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 1:26:10 PM EST
Maintenance woes are nothing unique to the Tomcat, the Hornet will have them in 20 years when its replacement is being phased in.

The fact is the Navy is giving up capabilities and not replacing the Tomcat with an all around better plane. Had politics and bureaucrats not been involved, the Tomcat would have all the parts it needs and it would have been continually upgraded like other planes in the AF, MC, and Navy and could have served another 10 years. Of course, lack of interference is wishful thinking when it comes to anything with the government.


It will be a black day when the last F-14 is retired.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 1:40:36 PM EST
Heck, the F-18's are already having maintenance woes.
The center barrel is cracking apart, center wing box cracking, landing gear problems....



Originally Posted By A_G:
Maintenance woes are nothing unique to the Tomcat, the Hornet will have them in 20 years when its replacement is being phased in.

Link Posted: 9/9/2004 1:54:01 PM EST
They should sell F-14s to us civilians!Yeah,thats the ticket! Seriosly,I remember seeing F-14s in the landing pattern while playing Army Nat'l Guard at Camp Elliot. BTW,this is about as bad as seeing the B-727 retiring.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 1:54:50 PM EST

Originally Posted By MattyMattel:
They should sell F-14s to us civilians!Yeah,thats the ticket! Seriosly,I remember seeing F-14s in the landing pattern while playing Army Nat'l Guard at Camp Elliot. BTW,this is about as bad as seeing the B-727 retiring.



Boeing 727... another gorgeous plane... I have a thing for that bird, I don't know what it is. Classic lines I guess.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:13:27 PM EST

Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
The F-18 can fly circles around the Tomcat,

-CH



Not sure on that one…

ANdy
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:15:43 PM EST
I am!


Originally Posted By vito113:

Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
The F-18 can fly circles around the Tomcat,

-CH



Not sure on that one…

ANdy

Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:16:28 PM EST
Each aircraft has its strength and weakness. The Hornet is known for its slow speed turning ability at lower-medium altitudes. Don't get low and slow with a Hornet.

Don't outrun a Tomcat. In fact, don't get within 80 miles of it.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:20:57 PM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
I am!


Originally Posted By vito113:

Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
The F-18 can fly circles around the Tomcat,

-CH



Not sure on that one…

ANdy




Are we talking the lean 'n' mean F/A-18A or the fat E model?

ANdy
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:21:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/9/2004 2:21:56 PM EST by Fly-Navy]
F/A-18A... little plane... little engine.... Yuck.

F/A-18A+... little plane... big engine... mmm.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:21:48 PM EST

Originally Posted By CalGat:
I think we are in for a rude surprise if we ever get into it with China over Taiwan and they send a bunch of bombers to take out a carrier. Aren't we putting our carriers at risk without the Phoenix missle and the means to deliver it? I sure hope not.



Yawn. Ever heard of Aegis?
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:22:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By CalGat:
I think we are in for a rude surprise if we ever get into it with China over Taiwan and they send a bunch of bombers to take out a carrier. Aren't we putting our carriers at risk without the Phoenix missle and the means to deliver it? I sure hope not.



Yawn. Ever heard of Aegis?



Not the bombers, it's the SSMs that are a problem.

Sunburn BAD.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:26:15 PM EST

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By CalGat:
I think we are in for a rude surprise if we ever get into it with China over Taiwan and they send a bunch of bombers to take out a carrier. Aren't we putting our carriers at risk without the Phoenix missle and the means to deliver it? I sure hope not.



Yawn. Ever heard of Aegis?



Not the bombers, it's the SSMs that are a problem.

Sunburn BAD.



Sunburn is impressive on paper. Of course, you have to use it properly, and you have to have the chance to launch it. There are ways of defeating the missile, which I won't get into on the internet. The best thing about Sunburn is China doesn't have that many platforms capable of launching them.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:30:16 PM EST

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:
Not the bombers, it's the SSMs that are a problem.

Sunburn BAD.



Sunburn is impressive on paper. Of course, you have to use it properly, and you have to have the chance to launch it. There are ways of defeating the missile, which I won't get into on the internet. The best thing about Sunburn is China doesn't have that many platforms capable of launching them.



Yes, please don't get into it. OPSEC and security issues of course.

Yes, very thankful China doesn't have too many platforms for it.. yet.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:40:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:

Originally Posted By Jeepster:
Just as sad as the day when they retired the last A6 Intruder. I loved those slow, ugly birds. I wonder if the fleet air arm is as well armed as it used to be - I read that the F/A18 family gives up alot compared to the A6 in strike range and payload and the F14 in air-to-air capability.



Talking to guys in the fleet (I'm not there yet and won't be for a while)... the Hornet does not and never will compare to the Intruder in that role...



Damn shame. I read that the A6E was one hell of a bird when it came to nighttime precision bombing. I always liked the planes like the A6 and A10 - unglamorous but hell-on-wheels when it came to putting ordinance on a target. I've heard the F/A18 has problems with range once you load it up with bombs - can't carry a payload over a distance like the ugly old A6. What has taken over the old KA6 tanker role?
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:42:00 PM EST

Originally Posted By Jeepster:
Damn shame. I read that the A6E was one hell of a bird when it came to nighttime precision bombing. I always liked the planes like the A6 and A10 - unglamorous but hell-on-wheels when it came to putting ordinance on a target. I've heard the F/A18 has problems with range once you load it up with bombs - can't carry a payload over a distance like the ugly old A6. What has taken over the old KA6 tanker role?



Hornet = No Legs.

S-3B and F/A-18E are doing the buddy tanking right now.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:48:21 PM EST
So how much will a surplus f-14 run? $3,000,000?
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 2:52:43 PM EST
Everyone crys for the great ones when the last cycle is over. They cried for the Corsair when the Skyraider came, But they mourned the Skyraider too. Ask any Vietnam era pilot that was shot down and waited for rescue under the protection of an A-1. The F-4 was an icon, and always will be, and it took both the F-15 and F-16 to fill its shoes. The OH-6 is still king, even if the OH-58 (5.8, not quite a 6) now has its job. The UH-1 is the most reconizeable symbol of the Vietnam war (along with the M-16) but it too had to make way for the Blackhawk. The F-14 was my dream as a child, even before that twit Tom Cruise befouled her. But I went Army because my eyes would never let me fly. The fact that people notice her absence, and pause to miss her speaks of the service she gave. Thanks KA3B for the reminder. I may drive to Tuscon to see if I can visit and revel in the excitement of my childhood when I see her again.

Someday our kids will mourn the passing of the F/A-18. I only hope that, for the sake of those that fly her, she does her job well.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 3:16:29 PM EST
Both the F-14 and A-6 were and could still be fantastic machines. But newer technologies have really made both unnecessary. What I mean by that is that it's no longer necessary to have a plane with a tremendous payload. Let's remember that during Vietnam and even as late as the Gulf War (just before the A-6 was retired), most of the bombs dropped were conventional free fall bombs. Therefore having a tremendous payload to unleash on a target was a good thing. The bombing wasn't as precise but with such a huge number being dropped all at once, the chance of taking out the target were pretty high. Now, contrast that with the latest war against Iraq. Most of the munitions dropped were of a precision nature, be they laser guided or GPS. What might have taken 2 aircraft with 30 dumb bombs to destroy 15 or 20 years ago, today we can do with one aircraft and 2 bombs. Therefore payload is no big huge issue. And range? Well, we haven't really had any issues yet that I've noticed. The F-18A/C may not have the range of the Intruder, but we have plenty of tankers on hand if that becomes an issue. They can stay close enough to the fight but out of danger to fuel a thirsty bird if needed. Besides, the new Super Hornet has a much increased range and payload. Considering the technology advances over the older birds, I feel what little we lose with range and payload is more than made up for in capability.

Now as far as the Tomcat being the fleet interceptor, yeah, it was great in that role. And the range of the Phoenix missile sounds impressive, at least on paper. But the Phoenix was never really battle proven. Besides, it was really intending for large bomber aircraft and not so much for the more smaller, highly agile fighter aircraft. From everything I've heard, the Phoenix's probability of a kill against such aircraft is not all that great anyway. And it's extremely expensive. So much so that only limited testing was done on it, compared to the Sidewinder or Sparrow. And in all it's years of service, as far as I know the missile never acheived one single kill in combat. So where really is the need for it? But for those who worry over things such as range, there is good news. Newer versions of the AIM-120 AMRAAM are being developed that will dramatically boost it's range and performance. The new AMRAAM will rival the Phoenix in range, pushing the envelope out toward 100 miles while offering a much higher probability of a kill against a maneuvering target. This missile will be one badass mofo, as it can really maneuver against a target. It will be far superior to the Phoenix in every aspect besides range and warhead size. But it certainly is no slouch in either of those two departments either.

The F-18 Hornet and Super Hornet are just newer, more capable aircraft. The Super Hornet will be no Tomcat, but it will be better suited going up against the latest the enemy has to offer. Remember, for much of the Tomcat's life, it's major adversary in the sky was likely aircraft such as the MiG-21 and MiG-23. It held most of the advantages over both planes and with well-trained pilots, had little trouble with either. But with more modern adversaries such as the MiG-29, SU-27, SU-30, SU-33, etc, the Tomcat was giving up a lot of things, especially in the maneuverability department. The Hornet's tight turning, high thrust to weight ratio and more advanced avionics and weapons systems make it a much better match against the latest threat aircraft. Think of the "buddy radar" tactics for example, where another aircraft can transmit radar data to another aircraft allowing targeting, without that aircraft ever having to turn on it's own radar. This gives this aircraft a limited stealth ability, even though it isn't really a stealthy plane. But if you can keep your radar off, that makes you very hard for the badguy to locate. That's a very important ability to have. See the bad guy first, kill him before he can kill you, or even know you are there for that matter. Everybody has shit-hot fighters these days and with G-load limitations on pilots, maneuvering is as about as advanced as the human body can take. Therefore the way to win in the modern air battle is to see the enemy first while remaining undetected and getting off the first shot with superior weapons. In these regards, the Super Hornet will have a big advantage over the Tomcat.

Even so, I'll still miss the Tomcat. It's been protecting me as long as I've been alive. For that, I think it and it's crews for their service and wonderful job. But it's time to give the ol' Cat some much needed rest and let the younger fellas carry on the fight. I get sentimental about aircraft as well, and you can bet many people felt the same way when the Phanton was phased out and the Tomcat replaced it. But it seems that worked out well and we ended up with a more cpable aircraft. That will be the case this time around as well.

-CH
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 3:37:48 PM EST
LOL, the A-6 was JUNK!
Wings cracking, engines worn out, maintenance nightmare, no parts.....


Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
Both the F-14 and A-6 were and could still be fantastic machines.

Link Posted: 9/9/2004 3:40:33 PM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
LOL, the A-6 was JUNK!
Wings cracking, engines worn out, maintenance nightmare, no parts.....



But it could do this :

Link Posted: 9/9/2004 3:44:06 PM EST
So long Tomcat… last of her breed, and the long line of Grumman Navy fighters…a true 'Cold War Warrior'…







Andy
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 4:53:00 PM EST
Does that mean that TOP GUN will become a collectors item.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 4:55:40 PM EST
The hornet can smoke the tomcat AtoA. No contest.


Originally Posted By KA3B:
I am!


Originally Posted By vito113:

Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
The F-18 can fly circles around the Tomcat,

-CH



Not sure on that one…

ANdy


Link Posted: 9/9/2004 8:47:08 PM EST
I don't know...

The A-6 was 30 something years old. The airframes had been heavily used and abused. I would say that wings cracking and engines wearing out are unavoidable when an airplane is used a bomb truck.


The A-6 did have a nearly unmatched payload and weapons delivery system for its class. Superb at night time bombing, could carry 16,000 of bombs, and very good avionics to allow it to fly at night and drop all those bombs with reasonable precision (for its time).

The lack of parts could be attributed to its age and the fact that it was being retired - the Hornet will face the same problems in 10-15 years.



Now about not "needing" to carry so much ordinance because of guided munitions, remember that more "ammo" is always better. Having an extra couple of bombs per plane means less missions and being able to engage sudden targets of opportunity.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 9:24:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By dport:
I'm sure the maintainers on the ground/deck aren't crying that it going to take 1/4 of the man hours to keep the new aircraft flying.



You're right; been there, done that. Pretty insightful of you.
Link Posted: 9/9/2004 9:24:50 PM EST

Originally Posted By vito113:
So long Tomcat… last of her breed, and the long line of Grumman Navy fighters…a true 'Cold War Warrior'…





My great uncle worked for Grumman as an engineer, up at the Iron Works I believe, and worked on the F-14. My grandmother has his project mug, I've got the Tomcat patch.

To us, that plane isn't just an airplane, it's family. We didn't go and watch Top Gun for anything or anybody but the Tomcat.

That's really the last part of my uncle up there, and when they retire them it'll be gone. And they won't even let civilians get them. My nephew can go and see the F4U's that flew cover for my grandfather in the air thanks to some dedicated folks, but in a year he won't be able to see the plane his great great uncle built fly. Just in a museum, which is a sad existance for a fighter.

I'm really afraid that we've seen the last of the Grumman (Northrop Grumman) " -cats". Although NG worked on the F-35. There's just gotta be a "cat" in the Navy.
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