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Subject: F-14 vs. F-15
boris the romanian    9/29/2006 1:21:01 AM
Something that's always bugged me, I often wonder why the USAF didn't field the F-14A in the 1970s but went with the F-15A. I reckon in the 1970s era of SARH MRMs, the Tomcat would have absolutely mopped the floor with the F-15 a la its performance in Iran vs. Iraq against Floggers and Mirages. It's ability to engage multiple targets at ranges of 100km+ was far in excess of the F-15's capabilities, and the Tomcat was no picnic in a dogfight either. I understand the Pheonix would have performed with reduced accuracy against manoeuvering targets, but when a target is manoeuvering he is defensive, bleeding off his energy, ever more vulnerable to a follow-up shot, and much less likely to get in a shot of his own. The only area where I see the Eagle having any sort of meaningful combat superiority over the Tomcat is mud moving, but the 1970s motto was "not a pound for air to ground". Why didn't the USAF field the Tomcat? Seems like a mistake to me...
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DropBear       9/30/2006 1:27:44 AM

Politics and inter-service rivalry.
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sentinel28a       9/30/2006 8:03:47 AM
Cost was one reason.  The F-14 was once the most expensive fighter in existence, and a single Phoenix cost a million a pop.  The USAF did evaluate the F-14 as an interceptor replacement for the F-106, which it would've excelled at.  Daniel "Chappie" James lobbied for the Tomcat.  However, this was during the Carter administration (cut the military to the bone, then work on the marrow), and the F-14 was simply too much to get, so the 'Six labored on for another 15 years--and did it well, mind.
The other reason, I think, was because the Tomcat was made by the Navy for the Navy.  The USAF didn't want any part of it.  Remember that the last multiservice fighter project had been the F-111, which had been a dismal failure for the Navy and nearly so for the USAF.  The USAF wasn't going to get burned again.  Aside from the Phoenix, there really wasn't much more the Tomcat could do that the F-15 couldn't, and if the USAF started buying F-14s, Congress might ask uncomfortable questions like "Why do you need the F-15, then?"
My question is, why not adapt the F-15 to carry the Phoenix?
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Rasputin       10/2/2006 6:37:37 AM
Can the F14s get to the height of 85000ft to launch ???? anti satalight weapons?
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Rasputin       10/2/2006 6:43:01 AM
An additionial question about the F14, as it was 2 seat fighter from the beginning, and head swing wings, would it not
have been more ideal for any operator to modify this platform to become a "mud mover" rather than redesign a single seat fighter?

The F15s are blessed with more capability upgrades is what i have noticed.

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boris the romanian       10/2/2006 9:18:27 PM
I can't really see the F-15 doing stuff that the F-14 couldn't, so indeed, one may ask the question "Why not ditch the Eagle and go the Tomcat?". I think that would have been a much smarter move, IMO.
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Francois       10/2/2006 10:11:23 PM
The key word is maintainability.
F-14 is not really a very good design in this regard.
Why nobody designs sweep-wings anymore, uh?
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boris the romanian       10/2/2006 10:24:35 PM
Whilst I'll agree that the F-15 was more manoeuverable than the Tomcat, the F-14 was surprisingly agile. It also had a second pair of eyes, which are quite handy in a dogfight.
WVR combat would be secondary to BVR, though, and in BVR the Tomcat was far superior to the Eagle.
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boris the romanian       10/2/2006 10:25:25 PM
Sorry, I misread "maintainability" as "manoeuverability". My bad!
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Rasputin       10/3/2006 12:23:01 AM
So the swing wing is the archillies heel of the F14?

In war where your enemies are confirmed or for naval use where u need to hit targets before they get to anti ship missile range. The F14 with its BVR and phoneix capabilities would be highly appreciated.

But during peacetime, or in wars where you have absolute air superiority, someone still has to go up to identify the UFO before you can declare it hostile for the shootdown. In this regard, the F15 with its greater manuverability is more suited, and as the F15 also has long range, it can also be an interceptor. So it would seem that this configuration is much more suited to most airforces.

However, swing wing fighters would also make great close support bombers, and just as the F15 could be modified, the F14 would have been quite capable. But the navy chose to go with an F18 that could not carry as much as the A6, and needed to be refueled after it took off. Cost of development of the F18 could have just made a F14 bombcat instead.

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MadRat       10/3/2006 1:20:02 AM
The F-14E wouldn't of had near the flutter at high speeds on the deck, but otherwise didn't seem to handle near the bombs.  Perhaps if they were looking to replace the retired F-111 missions then F-14E made sense.
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