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#4717282 - 04/05/18 02:35 PM Still trying to replace the F14....
DeepFriar Offline


Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 1360
Loc: Georgia
Interesting article on how to further enhance the (weak) combat radius and lethality of the Super Hornet. In this case with a conformal fuel tank (do away with "drop" tanks) and the carriage of SM-6 variants. Might increase radius to around 600 miles with perhaps a 200+ mile AAM. For mental example assume a carrier launch in Tampa, SM-6 launch at bingo over Chattanooga against a target over Louisville. Not exact and with nine miracles in a row but an example.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/article...m-6_113137.html

Cheers.

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#4717427 - 04/05/18 05:27 PM Re: Still trying to replace the F14.... [Re: DeepFriar]
Linctex Online   content


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 5689
Loc: Waco, TX
Moot point.

Missile technology and advanced UAV's will make manned fighters/interceptors obsolete in another decade.
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#4717476 - 04/05/18 06:32 PM Re: Still trying to replace the F14.... [Re: Linctex]
JLTD Offline


Registered: 12/15/17
Posts: 375
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Linctex
Moot point.

Missile technology and advanced UAV's will make manned fighters/interceptors obsolete in another decade.


Let's refer back to this thread in 2028 and see if that's true or not. I'll take the bet it's not.

As Astro14 has said, the F-14 was a rock star. Range, speed and capability. Hard to replace.


Edited by JLTD (04/05/18 06:33 PM)
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#4717540 - 04/05/18 07:10 PM Re: Still trying to replace the F14.... [Re: DeepFriar]
SubieRubyRoo Offline


Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 861
Loc: Winchester, Indiana
The F-14 was the Alpha male. I was in the Navy at the end of the F-14's usage, when the F/A-18 and Super Hornet were in the mix together. You could tell the difference between F-14 and F-18 pilots in the passageways- '14 flyboys had a swagger that the '18 pilots just didn't have. Sure, the '14s got to the point that they "weren't financially feasible to maintain in service" but this was more political jockeying than actual obsolescence. They had still been performing weapons and electronics system upgrades in the late 90s, so there was still plenty of "real" life left in those jets.

Kind of like the battleships- they had a punch nothing else in the current arsenal can match.

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#4717594 - 04/05/18 07:51 PM Re: Still trying to replace the F14.... [Re: DeepFriar]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4470
Loc: MA
I somehow got the impression that they got rid of it partly because of the cost of maintaining it, but also because they hated Iran. Sorta like this country is so rich, they can get rid of an airplane that's still good just so that Iran can't get it hands on any parts anymore.

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#4717995 - 04/06/18 07:08 AM Re: Still trying to replace the F14.... [Re: Linctex]
Astro14 Offline


Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 8353
Loc: Virginia Beach
Originally Posted By: Linctex
Moot point.

Missile technology and advanced UAV's will make manned fighters/interceptors obsolete in another decade.


I heard that 40 years ago...still waiting...many missions still require a pilot in the loop and eyeballs on target, not eyeballs in a remote location, and a pilot at a console with a cup of coffee.

I think the tipping point in Naval Aviation was the demise of the A-6. One of the F-14 design requirements was the ability to escort the A-6 on long range strikes.

The decision to give up the Carrier's long range strike capability by replacing the A-6 with Super Hornet signaled a change in the strategic direction of the US Navy. With long range strike removed, the F-14's long range wasn't as important.

The Navy saddled the F/A-18 E/F with ENORMOUS drop tanks of 500 gallons (instead of 330 gallons, like the A/B/C/D Hornet) that caused huge drag, and resulted in terrible top speed, just to demonstrate having "long range" but...it's really not...

Range and mission profile aren't simple numbers that are easily compared. Conformal Tanks (CFTs) have a drag penalty that is lower than external drop tanks, but they do add drag, and degrade high Alpha handling. They're a good solution, but not zero cost. The airplane will still be slow. All you're really doing is freeing up the weapons stations and taking some of the drag off, but only some. The Achilles Heel of the Super Hornet is the angle of the weapon pylons. To reduce flutter at transonic speeds, they were angled out by 4 degrees. They're NEVER directly in the airflow and ALWAYS create high drag. If you see a Hornet without pylons, you're at an airshow and when cleaned off like that, the Hornet is a phenomenal performer...

But the real world is radically different. In the real world, the Super Hornet is a high-subsonic, medium range strike airplane with exceptional versatility and a nice phased-array (AESA) radar. A huge step backwards from the F-14's airframe - which landed slower, at higher weight, and had great speed and long range.

Ironically, Grumman offered a set of Tomcat upgrades that would've outperformed the Super Hornet in every respect. Quick Strike and Tomcat21 had radar and cockpit improvements (including future AESA), propulsion improvements (GE F110-429), increased internal fuel (in the wing glove area), conformal multi-sensor/designators (like the TCS and IRST, which the Hornet still doesn't have), which keep the weapon stations free of sensors for greater ordnance capacity. I've supercruised a slick F-14B (supersonic without AB), so adding 30% more thrust with the -429 engine would easily get a QS or T21 to supercruise (while the Hornet struggles to get through Mach 1 even in full AB when it's carrying weapons).

Long range. High speed. High speed cruise. More sensors. Integrated digital weapon system. It would've been a great airplane, better than the Super Hornet in every respect. But it was killed by Dick Cheney as SECDEF and we chose the "low risk option" of the Super Hornet because it was "common" with the legacy Hornet...

Sure, it had the NACES Ejection Seat, ARC-182 radio and name in common. The parts that were different? Fuselage/airframe, engines, landing gear, wings, rudders, stabilizers, ECS, fuel and other systems... A masterful bit of PowerPoint salesmanship on the part of McDonnell Douglas...

Long range missiles? In the early 90's - we had prototypes for AIM-54 follow on weapons that could go out past 150 miles with ramjet propulsion. An air to air weapon that could be employed at that range required a very powerful radar (like the F-14s) to even see the target. Good for a horde of incoming bombers, not much use against a fighter. Long range strike missiles have existed in various forms for decades. So, stick a new one on a Hornet? Sure, why not?
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#4719035 - 04/07/18 12:37 AM Re: Still trying to replace the F14.... [Re: DeepFriar]
SubieRubyRoo Offline


Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 861
Loc: Winchester, Indiana
Nice post, Astro. You obviously have more in-depth experience. But, I completely agree the Tomcat is without equal even today. I just got to watch them fly smile

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#4719037 - 04/07/18 12:53 AM Re: Still trying to replace the F14.... [Re: DeepFriar]
DeepFriar Offline


Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 1360
Loc: Georgia
I guess I subscribe to the theory that the manned platforms will be managing the semiautonomous platforms. Swarms of MQ-25 like vehicles forward being controlled by managing fighters who would also be responsible for prosecuting leakers that may have gotten by. I don't know, that just seems like the least manpower intensive, best force multiplier to me. It'll probably end up being particle beam weapons or some such by the time we get there... grin It's anybody's guess. I did like the wrinkle in the article of repurposing the SM-6, let the bad guys try to get away from that mach 4+ item. And it would also be about a mach 9 closure rate with those Russian/Chicom hypervelocity missiles they keep bragging about. The phsics would be epic!

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#4728311 - 04/15/18 09:23 PM Re: Still trying to replace the F14.... [Re: DeepFriar]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10547
Loc: Idaho
The military is a tool box and needs many different size wrenches to do a job.
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#4728315 - 04/15/18 09:28 PM Re: Still trying to replace the F14.... [Re: CT8]
spasm3 Offline


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8424
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: CT8
The military is a tool box and needs many different size wrenches to do a job.


Lol true, the Tomcat was Mr. Bigwrench! Glad i got to see them fly at oceana.


Edited by spasm3 (04/15/18 09:29 PM)
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