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F-14 Flies Off Into The Sunset

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F-14 Flies Off Into The Sunset

Postby knapplc » Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:08 pm

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Navy's F-14 fighter jet flies its final mission

The F-14 Tomcat, the fighter jet that soared into the national imagination in the movie Top Gun, has flown into the danger zone for the last time.

The Navy announced Thursday that the last F-14 combat mission was completed Feb. 8, when a pair of Tomcats landed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt after one dropped a bomb in Iraq.

Capt. William Sizemore, who flew on that last mission, said the Tomcat will be missed.

"This is one of the best airplanes ever built, and it's sad to see it go away," Sizemore said in a Navy report from the ship. "It's just a beautiful airplane. And it just looks like the ultimate fighter."

Although still swift and deadly, the F-14 is a victim of changing times. For example:

• Sophisticated missiles have made its specialty, aerial dogfighting, obsolete. Opposing aircraft target each other from miles away, often before the pilots can see each other except on radar.

• Precision bombing is the new priority, and despite modification, the Tomcat can't carry the loads of the new F/A-18 Super Hornet.

• It's too expensive in the long run. The jet that flew its first combat missions in September 1974 requires 50 hours of maintenance, compared with five to 10 hours for the Super Hornet, for each hour of flight time.

The F-14 and its Navy pilots were at the heart of the 1986 movie Top Gun, in which Tom Cruise played Maverick, an impetuous, ambiguously gay pilot training at the Navy's elite flight school in Miramar, Calif.

Top Gun enhanced the reputation of an already legendary jet, said Adm. William Fallon, the U.S. Pacific commander and a former F-14 weapons officer.

"Potential opponents, at the mere thought there might be Tomcats around, would head off the other direction," he said.

Although the Navy is better served by the newer jets, the beautiful F-14 will be missed, Fallon said. "It was the last of the pure fighters."

They've landed F-14s at the air base next to my house a few times over the years. When they take off again it sounds like they're ripping the sky in half. What a beautiful, badass airplane. So long, Tomcat! ;-D :,-(
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Postby Flockers » Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:12 pm

It'll be cool to see the new breeds of fighter jets.
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Postby knapplc » Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:30 pm

The Navy will still rely heavily on the F/A-18 for the forseeable future:

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This is the future of air combat - the F22 Raptor, which became operational in late 2005:

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The F-22 is an "air superiority" fighter, designed to eliminate the enemy's air-to-air fighting capability, allowing tactical planes like the F-117 Stealth "Fighter" to operate without threat from enemy planes:

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The F-14, F-22 and the F-18 are beautiful, powerful and awe-inspiring. I admire them for what they are - sharp-looking, powerful and very interesting aircraft.
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Postby moonhead » Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:44 pm

we don't even use this stuff. dogfights in the air? yeah right. who has the capabilities anymore to even think of engaging one of our planes?
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Postby knapplc » Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:59 pm

moonhead wrote:we don't even use this stuff. dogfights in the air? yeah right. who has the capabilities anymore to even think of engaging one of our planes?

Right - that's why the F-14 is being retired. The F22 is designed to destroy you before you ever get near it, while never allowing you to see it due to its "stealth."

The F/A-18 is more of a tactical bomber than a true "fighter," although it still has air-to-air combat capabilities, as does the F22. Both planes are stand-off weapons; they engage their enemy at distances measured in kilometers, rather than meters.

The F-117 is, of course, not a "fighter" at all; it's really a light bomber.

And to answer your question about who could take us on in the air these days - the answer is just about nobody. There are many nations who could bloody our nose, but with the firepower and technology we have, there isn't a nation in the world that could stand up to us in the air.
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Postby onnestabe » Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:04 pm

moonhead wrote:we don't even use this stuff. dogfights in the air? yeah right. who has the capabilities anymore to even think of engaging one of our planes?


There are countries that have the capabilities, and most of them got it from us or the Russians. Once we retire a piece of equipment, we sell it to other countries' militaries, and the Russians have been doing the same thing for years. So what happens is that smaller countries end up using equipment that is obsolete to us, but still have the capabilities to hang with our newer stuff.

Keep in mind that one of the mainstays of our airforce is still the F-16, and the first combat version of it was put in service in the 70s. It can still hang with anything else in the sky or else we wouldn't still be using it, so I'm sure there are plenty of countries out there that have the capabilities to pose a threat in a dogfight, despite the fact that the equipment they are using is "obsolete".
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Postby Redskins Win » Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:13 pm

moonhead wrote:we don't even use this stuff. dogfights in the air? yeah right. who has the capabilities anymore to even think of engaging one of our planes?

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Postby knapplc » Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:15 pm

Thanks, RW. I forgot the Sopwith Camel. ;-D
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Postby Redskins Win » Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:20 pm

knapplc wrote:Thanks, RW. I forgot the Sopwith Camel. ;-D

Thanks to you, I had to look that up :-t
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Postby knapplc » Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:22 pm

Redskins Win wrote:
knapplc wrote:Thanks, RW. I forgot the Sopwith Camel. ;-D

Thanks to you, I had to look that up :-t

But - you posted it! :-?
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