Was the F-14 the best fighter in the world until the F-22?

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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f-16adf

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Unread post14 Nov 2017, 16:17

Funny thing is that prior to their (VF-1, VF-2) flying CAP for Operation Frequent Wind; during January 1975, USS Enterprise Tomcat's were grounded because of the TF-30 "thump-bang" problems. Since the F-14's were temporarily grounded, they used A-7's from VA-27 and VA-97 (armed with AIM-9's and 20mm) for fighter support.

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XanderCrews

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Unread post14 Nov 2017, 16:46

F-14 performance never matched it's looks


I'd make the case that it was hamstrung by the TF30. It finally got new engines after decades. They were still "fixing" the Tomcat as the F-15 was racking up kills, and putting out a strike variant. The Viper became the premier multi role teen, the hornet grew into a solid workhorse. The F-14s finest hour was as a striker.
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basher54321

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Unread post14 Nov 2017, 20:02

f-16adf wrote:Funny thing is that prior to their (VF-1, VF-2) flying CAP for Operation Frequent Wind; during January 1975, USS Enterprise Tomcat's were grounded because of the TF-30 "thump-bang" problems. Since the F-14's were temporarily grounded, they used A-7's from VA-27 and VA-97 (armed with AIM-9's and 20mm) for fighter support.


Ha ha - oh dear! good story.
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hb_pencil

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Unread post14 Nov 2017, 20:09

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:Maybe when they were flying CAP for the evacuation of Saigon?


They had constant operational problems, avionics failed constantly, wiring problems, there was water drainage issues (they drilled holes into the fuselage), unreliable engines ect. Barely combat effective.

Then again, its a carrier based fighter... so its metrics shouldn't be compared to land based aircraft.
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35_aoa

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Unread post15 Nov 2017, 01:52

XanderCrews wrote:F-14 performance never matched it's looks


I'd make the case that it was hamstrung by the TF30. It finally got new engines after decades. They were still "fixing" the Tomcat as the F-15 was racking up kills, and putting out a strike variant. The Viper became the premier multi role teen, the hornet grew into a solid workhorse. The F-14s finest hour was as a striker.


True story. I'm sure the Tomcat was a fearsome foe for Bear crews, and guys flying fighters in the 3rd world, but it wasn't anything to write home about by the 1980's/90's. Fleet defense was its thing, against ASCM equipped bombers, and it did that well.....or presumably would have. Then the mission went away, and it found FAC(A) and SCAR and made some money on the battlefield.
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tincansailor

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Unread post15 Nov 2017, 05:39

botsing wrote:
f-16adf wrote:Anyone remember the movie Final Countdown? Those Jolly Roger Tomcats were beautiful!!!!!

:D Yes sir!

"Why the hell are we playing with these guys?"

Loved that movie when I was a kid. Afterwards I built a scale model of the Nimitz and replayed that movie over and over again.



Two iconic warbirds. An F-14A going after a Zero would have a hard time getting on his tail. A Zero had a wing loading of 22 lbs. No allied fighter could turn inside a Zero. The Zero had it's advantage at low speeds, that is under 200mph. At higher speeds the unassisted controls became stiff. A Tomcat could never out maneuver a Zero under 200mph. The Tomcat pilot would be worried about stalling, the whole time. If he tried to get a guns lock on the Zero would just dance away.

The Tomcat pilots could try a long range Gun Shot. At over a thousand yards the Zero would think he was safe, and not dance away. Big surprise. Of course a Sidewinder from over a mile away would be an even bigger surprise. The simplest thing to do would be what allied pilots did, slashing attacks, at higher speeds then the Zero could cope with.

For it's part the Zero would have a hard time getting into a firing position. Forget the 7.7mm mgs, doing much damage, and the 20mm cannon had a slow rate of fire, and low muzzle velocity by modern standards. The Zero pilot would need incredible luck to get close enough, (under 400 yards) to get a shot at the Tomcat. In any case the Zero would be strictly on the defense.

Not exactly an even fight, but interesting. The Zero wouldn't do anywhere near as well as the P-51Ds did against the ME-262.
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haveblue

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Unread post15 Nov 2017, 07:16

mixelflick wrote:
madrat wrote:I don't know about that. The F-15C always looked pretty awesome, too.
No argument there, the F-15 was my favorite plane growing up. From certain angles though it looks boxy and almost sterile (with no weapons). By contrast the F-14 was never an acquired taste. You saw it once and immediately, it was captivating. Weapons or not, it looked sleek and deadly.


The F-14 has long been my favorite (along with XB-70 and SR-71). While I'm well aware of the Eagle's prowess I tried to figure out why I like the Tomcat so much more... and it is because of this. The F-15 lacks that visual 'growl'. Everything on the 15 is at 90' angles, perfectly straight up vertical tails, perfectly level wings and horizontal stabs, perfectly rectangular inlets, etc. The Tomcat has canted tails, canted inlets, ventral fins, beefy diagonal shoulders with air bypass doors protruding on top, swing wings, glove vanes (originally) and a compressed front strut for cat shots that truly makes it seem like a cat ready to pounce! All these angles add to the menace, and it is all that the Eagle is lacking. The 14 looks like the bad boy, the mysterious brute beast, while the 15 is like the Clark Kent... clean image but a hidden bad a$$! It's the same reason the F-4 Phantom is so beloved, wingtips turned up, stabs turned down, dogtooth leading edge, intimidating intakes with boundary layer splitter, it just looks mean!
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f-16adf

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Unread post15 Nov 2017, 14:57

The Tomcat had cool lines. And even back in the mid 1970's those lines coupled with the "loud" Navy squadron markings/colors made a cool jet even cooler (VF-84, VF-142, VF-1 had awesome markings). The low viz colors (basically from 1980 and on) were rather bland.....
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mixelflick

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Unread post15 Nov 2017, 15:49

haveblue wrote:
mixelflick wrote:
madrat wrote:I don't know about that. The F-15C always looked pretty awesome, too.
No argument there, the F-15 was my favorite plane growing up. From certain angles though it looks boxy and almost sterile (with no weapons). By contrast the F-14 was never an acquired taste. You saw it once and immediately, it was captivating. Weapons or not, it looked sleek and deadly.


The F-14 has long been my favorite (along with XB-70 and SR-71). While I'm well aware of the Eagle's prowess I tried to figure out why I like the Tomcat so much more... and it is because of this. The F-15 lacks that visual 'growl'. Everything on the 15 is at 90' angles, perfectly straight up vertical tails, perfectly level wings and horizontal stabs, perfectly rectangular inlets, etc. The Tomcat has canted tails, canted inlets, ventral fins, beefy diagonal shoulders with air bypass doors protruding on top, swing wings, glove vanes (originally) and a compressed front strut for cat shots that truly makes it seem like a cat ready to pounce! All these angles add to the menace, and it is all that the Eagle is lacking. The 14 looks like the bad boy, the mysterious brute beast, while the 15 is like the Clark Kent... clean image but a hidden bad a$$! It's the same reason the F-4 Phantom is so beloved, wingtips turned up, stabs turned down, dogtooth leading edge, intimidating intakes with boundary layer splitter, it just looks mean!


Agree 100%. The F-15 looks sterile, whereas the F-14 looks downright mad. The F-4 does too, but then again it's been said it's a triumph of thrust over aerodynamics. The F-14 looked fast standing still, like it was just begging you for a fight. Once it got those F-110's, the sky was the limit. It never had it "all", but then again neither does the F-22 (needs a helmet mounted sight).

For once, I'd love to see a US air superiority bird have "everything". Probably wishful thinking, as every design comes with compromises and the single mission aircraft is dead. Let's hope the PCA/6th gen at least comes close..
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