Navy Unzipped it's Fly?




 
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December 21st, 2004  
syr74
 

Topic: Navy Unzipped it's Fly?


It would seem pretty clear to me that the US Navy really unzipped it's fly switching over to the Super-Hornet from the F-14B/D. I fully understand that the F-14 was a very expensive aircraft to run and that airframes were getting old in some instances. However, the Super-Hornet really was not a good-match overall compared to the existing F-14D, the concept Tomcats proposed to replace the D were far and away superior to the Hornet in virtually every respect.

The most glaring shortcoming of the Super-Hornet is what you give up in radar and long range AAM's (Pheonix) when compared to the F-14. There is simply no comparison, and in this role that is a pretty huge oversight IMHO. While certain folks in the DOD and Navy seem to have decided that we will never again have an aircraft carrier face large numbers of incoming bombers or fighter aircraft (we have never regretted decisions like that in the US before ) somehow, someday I think we may. And, at that time we will likely pay dearly for the time it will take to fix this problem.

The merits of the Super Hornet versus the Cat have likely been discussed here before, but my question is does anybody else have any suggestions as to what could be done to fix this oversight. If you agree that this was a bad idea sooner or later the Navy will likely have to fix it. What would you do?

My first instinct (and the decision the Navy should have made to begin with) would be to build the F-14 ATF proposed by Grumman and have far more defensive firepower in far fewer fighter aircraft. It may be an "old" platform, but it is still head and shoulders above the Hornet and could easily compete with any fighter in the world in the ATF and Tomcat 21 protype trims Grumman showed.

But, since the F-14 is already "gone" that is not really an option they would be likely to under-take. I suppose they could try to sling a Phoenix or some kind of ALRAAM under the Super-Hornet, with appropriate radar of course, even though the Hornet was an obvious case of buying the second best aircraft at the higher price IMO. Other than these I am fresh out of ideas I think would be even remotely likely courses of action.

Unfortunately this very obvious problem probably will not likely become obvious to the powers that be until it is a genuine disaster. But, if you had the reigns what would you do?
December 22nd, 2004  
A Can of Man
 
 
Make the super hornet capable of firing the Phoenix.
December 22nd, 2004  
chewie_nz
 
i thought the phoenix missiles themselves were nearing the end of their lives (corroded casings?) can't remember where i read that though!
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December 22nd, 2004  
Sea_Cadet
 
F-14 Tomcat is better, and all you have to do is build new ones.
December 22nd, 2004  
A Can of Man
 
 
Yup.
The F-14 is still an excellent interceptor. Too bad it's being phased out of service.
But if that's the way it's going to be, the new Hornets will have to be able to carry those Phoenix missiles.
I mean, it's a hard sell when you want me to believe that some jet that came out of the 70s could carry and fire that thing and something pretty recent (the E/F models) can't be made to use them.
December 22nd, 2004  
EagleZtrike
 
 
They'll upgrade em.
December 22nd, 2004  
syr74
 
I mentioned the Super-Hornet possibly being made Phoenix (or some ALRAAM replacement) capable too. But, something I did not go into is the radar system in the F-14 is the largest part of what makes the Phoenix such a potent weapon. And, as I am not an engineer I cannot really say wether or not the radar used in the outgoing F-14 or the radar proposed as it's replacement in potential upgraded models will actually fit in the Super-Hornet!

Before anyone scoffs remember that just as the A-10 was designed around it's gun the Cat was designed around it's radar/weapons systems. Even if that radar system would fit into a Hornet, one has to wonder how much range or other capabilties the Super Hornet would have to forfeit to shoehorn it in there?

If I recall somebody actually proposed to the Navy the idea of placing Phoenix's, or a replacement, on the Hornet to match the capability of the F-14. However, if I recall they would literally have to slave the plane's radar to the Hawkeyes and essentially use the big Hawk's crew in some convoluted "remote RIO" role when firing the Phoenix. I can only surmise this means that fitment of the system to the Super Hornet is an issue. Somebody may know more about this than myself.

This was definately one of the greater brain farts committed by the Navy in recent memory.
December 22nd, 2004  
c/Commander
 
 
Probably cheaper to just ditch the -14 class entirely. Also, the F/A-18 is smaller, making it possible to carry more, and, maybe, eventually, make carriers smaller?
December 22nd, 2004  
A Can of Man
 
 
I don't think the F-18 is different enough to warrant the introduction of smaller carriers, but I think in the future with UAVs, the Nimitz like carriers will become a thing of the past. With F-18s, the current large carriers are still neccessary.
December 22nd, 2004  
Trevor
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagleStrike
They'll upgrade em.
Nope. By 2007, the F-14D's will be phased out, the last of the Tomcats.