aeroporn 2.0

F-14 launch

Behold the last-ever catapult launch of an F-14. Weep if you must.

Atlantic Ocean (July 28, 2006) – Aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), an F-14D Tomcat assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Fighter Squadron Three One (VF-31), aircraft number 112, completes the final catapult launch of an F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft. The last launch marks the end of an era for Naval Aviation. The F-14 will officially retire in September 2006, after 32 years of service to the fleet. Theodore Roosevelt is completing Joint Task Force Exercises with USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Laird

13 thoughts on “aeroporn 2.0

  1. They are out of date rainocaster, the Iranians have a few F-14 tomcats according to wikipedia in fact. The F-22 Raptor is the future of air superiority now, the Eurofighter typhoon is the new fighter bomber and in 2011 the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (a 5th generationbomber) should come into play.

    Israel are in cooperation with Russia and China over a new fighter and the 21st century arms race has begun. Nothing in production has the stealth qualities of the F-22 Raptor however.

    Here is a link about new military aircraft:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_21st_century_fighter_aircraft

  2. Personally, I’ve always favoured Spy magazine’s plan; for the same money as one Stealth Bomber, buy several thousand Cessna 172s and fly them to your target all at once. They’ll never be able to pick out the one with the nukes.

  3. And the early stealth stuff seems like it was largly experimental to me, the seem to have the technology sorted now on the F-22.

  4. I’m still weeping. The F-14 was the great lost opportunity of Naval Aviation since the Navy only fitted it with the engines and avionics it was designed for in mid-life and at the time that great fat bastard poseur of American defense Dick Cheney cancelled the project after only about 70 were authorized.

    Your typical fleet Tomcat was rather twitchy in flight due to a powerplant that would stall or flameout with relatively little provocation. Her full potential as a fighter/deep strike bird was only realized in the twilight of her career.

    I grew up around Tomcats as they began populating Atlantic Fleet squadrons in the mid 1970’s. Even with its powerplant teething problems, she was a force of nature.

    The movie “Top Gun” did her no justice whatsoever.

  5. Incidentally, the photo is of an F-14D – the glimpse of what could have been starting in 1989-90.

    Rumor has it that, when Grumman brought the first F-14D to NAS Norfolk and Oceana (I was working at NAS Norfolk at the time and saw blue-suiters crawling all over it like it was a Radio Flyer wagon) that they put her up against an A-4 from VF-43, the Oceana tactics and adversary sqaudron.

    VF-43’s A-4 drivers enjoyed trying to draw novice F-14 pilots into a sustained turning fight to show that A- model ‘Cats didn’t like disturbed airflow into the blowtorches. Standard F-14 tactic was to go vertical as the A-4 went into a turn, half-loop at the top and drop on the A-4 like a brick.

    VF-43’s drivers liked to remind Tomcat jocks of the occasional danger in that move by pulling up abruptly and lining up for a simulated gun shot down the nose.

    When the F-14D in question trailed the A-4, the Scooter jock dutifully went through 270 degrees of the turn, pulled up ready to yell ‘guns guns guns’ and found that the D had stayed on his tail in dry thrust the entire time and its driver was laughing as he broadcast ‘guns guns guns’.

    If you’re getting that close in a Tomcat, you’re not doing your job that well, but it was a wonderful taste of what could have been.

    Call me sentimental . . .

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