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More Rotting Timbers In The Usn

Wheres the money?

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#21 Ken Estes

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 0753 AM

There was another flaw with the F-14,as it was completely dependent upon the Navy E-2s and the latter did not operate effectively over land until the advent of the E-2C with successor radars. We leaned this in the abortive USN 'strike' on Syrian forces in Lebanon in Dec83, where we lost 3 aircraft and an NFO became a POW of Assad and had to be more or less ransomed by Jesse Jackson.


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#22 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 0758 AM

Dartmouth seems to give good value, though its interesting they shut ALL the other naval colleges (including the well known one at Greenwich) to keep it open.

https://en.wikipedia...l_Naval_College

 

They had an interesting discussion about this on the fighter pilot podcast, where the host didnt go to an academy, and his co host did. They seemingly admit there isnt much difference in the end result produced, other than perhaps academy guys have a slightly different mindset.


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#23 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 0810 AM

There was another flaw with the F-14,as it was completely dependent upon the Navy E-2s and the latter did not operate effectively over land until the advent of the E-2C with successor radars. We leaned this in the abortive USN 'strike' on Syrian forces in Lebanon in Dec83, where we lost 3 aircraft and an NFO became a POW of Assad and had to be more or less ransomed by Jesse Jackson.

 

Well the land thing might be another reason. From what ive read the F14 community initially had a mindset 'we will not operate over land, the Jammers we have are not good enough'.  Apparently when Grumman designed the F14 they were, due to their size, slated to have 2 jammers, but penny pinching meant they only put in one, which for its size was wholly inadequate. The only times they envisaged operating over land were with TARPS I guess. Of course later when they had the more forward deployed role under the Lehman naval strategy, I suppose they must have rethought this. But it would perhaps have been preferred to have had an EA6 along with them. I think I vaguely recall they got a new jammer in the 1990's IIRC, but it was still a weak point for its size. Again, it points to a significant under-investment in an aircraft that was really rushed into service.

 

Ive not personally read about radar problems over land, but that doesn't mean anything. It was 1970's tech, and it really shows when you read up on the rio's position and the stuff he had to do to get a decent return. I imagine a lot would depend on operator skillset. Again, I cant comment about the E2 enough to comment, other than it seems the C model was quite a step up.

 

Have you read the Osprey book on the A6 squadrons? There is an account in there that the reason for the 1983 Lebanon fiasco was because the plan was rushed,. Washington mandated the operation would be undertaken by such and such a time, and didnt bother to figure out they had miscalculated the time zones by a couple of hours. The Navy supposedly only had a few hours to coordinate an operation they would have profited a whole day figuring out. Apparently they even sent A6's off half bombed up because they didnt have time to fully arm them. Thankfully Washington seemed to learn from that by 1986.


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#24 Anixtu

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 1013 AM

Dartmouth seems to give good value, though its interesting they shut ALL the other naval colleges (including the well known one at Greenwich) to keep it open.
https://en.wikipedia...l_Naval_College


Greenwich served a different function to BRNC, mid and higher level training that was merged into what is now the tri-service Defence Academy.

BRNC is and was the sole route to a commission in the RN, whether Regular or Reserve, direct or from the ranks, full course, short course or modular course. Same as RMAS for the Army.
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#25 RETAC21

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 1403 PM

 

There was another flaw with the F-14,as it was completely dependent upon the Navy E-2s and the latter did not operate effectively over land until the advent of the E-2C with successor radars. We leaned this in the abortive USN 'strike' on Syrian forces in Lebanon in Dec83, where we lost 3 aircraft and an NFO became a POW of Assad and had to be more or less ransomed by Jesse Jackson.

 

Well the land thing might be another reason. From what ive read the F14 community initially had a mindset 'we will not operate over land, the Jammers we have are not good enough'.  Apparently when Grumman designed the F14 they were, due to their size, slated to have 2 jammers, but penny pinching meant they only put in one, which for its size was wholly inadequate. The only times they envisaged operating over land were with TARPS I guess. Of course later when they had the more forward deployed role under the Lehman naval strategy, I suppose they must have rethought this. But it would perhaps have been preferred to have had an EA6 along with them. I think I vaguely recall they got a new jammer in the 1990's IIRC, but it was still a weak point for its size. Again, it points to a significant under-investment in an aircraft that was really rushed into service.

 

Ive not personally read about radar problems over land, but that doesn't mean anything. It was 1970's tech, and it really shows when you read up on the rio's position and the stuff he had to do to get a decent return. I imagine a lot would depend on operator skillset. Again, I cant comment about the E2 enough to comment, other than it seems the C model was quite a step up.

 

Have you read the Osprey book on the A6 squadrons? There is an account in there that the reason for the 1983 Lebanon fiasco was because the plan was rushed,. Washington mandated the operation would be undertaken by such and such a time, and didnt bother to figure out they had miscalculated the time zones by a couple of hours. The Navy supposedly only had a few hours to coordinate an operation they would have profited a whole day figuring out. Apparently they even sent A6's off half bombed up because they didnt have time to fully arm them. Thankfully Washington seemed to learn from that by 1986.

 

 

Re the F-14 I think the fact that the F-18 offered a better multi-role capability already in place, plus lower maintenance cost offset the perceived issue about lack of range. When the USSR went away, the need for big, long range AAMs went away and with that, the need for F-14s. If push ever comes to shove, you can't get around the fact that more F-18s will fit a carrier than F-14s.


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#26 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 0219 AM

Im not sure if that is really true of the F18E which was rather bigger than an F18C. More to the point, they have plenty of room on US Carriers, now they only carry 36 combat aircraft.

 

The story I hear is that its down to Dick Cheney, he pulled the plug on the Tomcat and stopped procurement of the F14D. What was worse, he stopped a promising project called Tomcat 21, which used the Tomcat as a basis but created something akin to the Superhornet. It would clearly have cost more to procure, it would clearly have had more maintenance hours for being a swing wing. But looking at the problems the USN now has of making the F18E capable of dealing with the fleet defense role, its difficult not to conclude Cheney made the wrong choice. But then he had something of a track record for that kind of thing I guess....

 

st21-1.gif

 

 

 

Dartmouth seems to give good value, though its interesting they shut ALL the other naval colleges (including the well known one at Greenwich) to keep it open.
https://en.wikipedia...l_Naval_College


Greenwich served a different function to BRNC, mid and higher level training that was merged into what is now the tri-service Defence Academy.

BRNC is and was the sole route to a commission in the RN, whether Regular or Reserve, direct or from the ranks, full course, short course or modular course. Same as RMAS for the Army.

 

Thanks for clearing that up Anixthu.

 

Im glad they kept Dartmouth open, I recall it was on the brink of closure in the late 1990's.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 12 October 2019 - 0221 AM.

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#27 Daan

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 0541 AM

More maintenance requirements and costs would have resulted in even less available aircraft at US carriers. Given the evaporation of the threat of Soviet bombers appearing over the Atlantic and the declining budgets, a more reliable, easier to maintain and flexible aircraft such as the Super Hornet family made more sense.

 

The current aerial threat to the USN carriers is not renewed swarms of Tu-22s and Tu-95 over the Atlantic, but long range land-based cruise and ballistic missiles in coastal regions, covered by advanced SAM-systems and supported by a plethora of recce assets. I doubt having a lower number of gold plated reincarnations of a non-stealthy 1960s design is the solution to that problem. (Except perhaps for the interception of H-6 bombers).


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#28 KV7

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 0550 AM

More maintenance requirements and costs would have resulted in even less available aircraft at US carriers. Given the evaporation of the threat of Soviet bombers appearing over the Atlantic and the declining budgets, a more reliable, easier to maintain and flexible aircraft such as the Super Hornet family made more sense.

 

The current aerial threat to the USN carriers is not renewed swarms of Tu-22s and Tu-95 over the Atlantic, but long range land-based cruise and ballistic missiles in coastal regions, covered by advanced SAM-systems and supported by a plethora of recce assets. I doubt having a lower number of gold plated reincarnations of a non-stealthy 1960s design is the solution to that problem. (Except perhaps for the interception of H-6 bombers).

Even the H-6 is going to use standoff munitions with very long range. I doubt it would be that effectual trying to interdict them on approach.


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#29 Daan

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 0601 AM

Oh certainly and even more so in the near future, with the newer cruise missiles and long range high speed reconnaissance drones being inducted into service.


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#30 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 0640 AM

More maintenance requirements and costs would have resulted in even less available aircraft at US carriers. Given the evaporation of the threat of Soviet bombers appearing over the Atlantic and the declining budgets, a more reliable, easier to maintain and flexible aircraft such as the Super Hornet family made more sense.

 

The current aerial threat to the USN carriers is not renewed swarms of Tu-22s and Tu-95 over the Atlantic, but long range land-based cruise and ballistic missiles in coastal regions, covered by advanced SAM-systems and supported by a plethora of recce assets. I doubt having a lower number of gold plated reincarnations of a non-stealthy 1960s design is the solution to that problem. (Except perhaps for the interception of H-6 bombers).

 

Well lets think about that a moment. The heavy maintenance requirement of the Tomcats is leveled against it. But they seem to have been reasonably easy to keep operational when new, provided the spares were available. The thing everyone forgets about the Tomcat is that it was first delivered in 1975. Even some of the D models were upgraded A models, one of them known as Christine was one of the first A models delivered. Maintenance of aging aircraft  is never easy, doubly so when they have been kept on a carrier at sea in all conditions. Its interesting to note that the maintainers said if you kept them up, they remained up. Meaning if you kept them in operation, they had a tendency to be more reliable. Leaving them in downtime was a surefire way to break them. Sounds counter intuitive, but I heard exactly the same thing said about Chieftains. Some machinery thrives on hard use.

 

Its my view  that with modern generation electronics and a lifetime of experience of F14 operations Grumman would  have been able to design out the worst problems in it that had emerged, first gen wiring, circuit boards, and so on. Yes, swing wing aircraft are maintenance intensive, there is no doubt about that. But in terms of capability, when you look at what F14's brought to the USN its no contest between that and an F18E. Range, radar, long range missile capability, and a strike capability that would  have been comparable to the F15 strike eagle, if the aircraft had been built. It would even have had enough fuel on board to have had a fairly good shake at being a tanker.

 

That isnt to say the Super Hornet isnt a good aircraft, it is. Its just a long way short of fulfilling the fleet defence role, and there is nothing else in the inventory coming forward to fulfill it. There is nothing else to fulfill the long range strike role. The Tomcat did a reasonable job for a role it was never designed for, but the USN is still waiting on an A6 replacement.  The A11 was cancelled by Cheney as well I gather....


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#31 Daan

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 0745 AM

A new iteration of the Tomcat would undoubtedly have improved on the maintenance requirements of older generation aircraft, but would these have been competitive with those of the Hornet and Super Hornet that were designed with ease of maintenance in mind? Probably not, it being a legacy design with, moreover, swing wings. Then, there is the cost of acquisition, which would have been stellar. The fact that the USN acquired comparatively few expensive F-14B in the late 1980s seems to indicate that the F-14A was deemed good enough for its role at the time. Same with the D-version, its age was over. At the end of the 1990s a single new-built F-14D was already nearly twice as expensive as a single F-15E.

 

The Super Hornet is of course a jack of all trades, master of none, and affected by the compromises inherent in a carrier borne aircraft. It is also a machine of its time, the arch nemesis lying flat on its back and the resulting dwindling budgets. What it brings relative to a hypothetical Super Tomcat is a good enough aircraft that could be procured and operated in number. Deep strikes with non-stealthy aircraft operating from carriers is a fantasy in this day and age. From another angle, Iran recently demonstrated that it did not even need aircraft to conduct a deep strike.

 

Moreover, as missile, satellite and drone technology proliferates and some countries stock up on large numbers of reasonably modern submarines, investing in expensive carrier battle groups looks more and more akin to building a fleet of battleships in 1938. The money could be better spent elsewhere.


Edited by Daan, 12 October 2019 - 0749 AM.

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#32 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 0816 AM

The relatively few F14B's is largely down to the protracted nature of the procurement. They tested it in 1981 IIRC, and were taking delivery in 1987! It was minimum changes, other than the engine (which was a fairly straightforward fit) they fitted some new gauges for the engines and... that was it! There was a reason why they initially called the B the A+, the changes were minimal. Cost probably had much to do with it, the other thing is that it wasnt THAT necessary. If you listen to an online podcast by a Tomcat driver called Okie he said he could fly rings around the B model in an A model, at least in some parts of the envelope. The trick was energy management, and not getting into a condition where you could stall the engine. In fact, its claimed the A model with the TF30 was actually faster at low altitude than the B model, particularly those with engines left over from the F111B. A far cheaper solution would have been to bolt in a digital flight control system, but they did that much later.

 

The D model was largely specialized for ground attack, including FLIR IIRC, and a digital version of the AWG9 that was rather more reliable (and had the ability to paint ground targets too IIRC) Its age had only just began, but with 55 aircraft, a minuscule fleet as far as combat aircraft go, the writing was on the wall.

 

See here is where I come from. You can do long range strike at sea. If you have a standoff of say, 800 miles, from the carrier, and the missile you carry has 300 miles range, you dont need to penetrate enemy radar at all. You are just doing the same as the PRC are doing with their H6's, which also do not need to be stealthy, if you launch far enough away. You are giving your carrier a much larger standoff range than it would otherwise have. And you still have the fleet defence role that needs to be filled. Last I heard the USN was actually going to experiment with hanging SM3 missiles off a Superhornet. Imagine how easy its going to be to bring that back aboard if you dont use them! Particularly in a high sea....

 

 

Its worth relating everyone keeps saying 'The carrier is dead'. But increasingly numerous nations are now building them. The latest talking about getting in on the game is South Korea.

https://www.thedrive...-buy-more-f-35s

 

 

Carriers will only cease to be useful when combat aircraft cease to be useful. Afer all, when drone combat aircraft with the performance of a fighter come online, they are still going to need something to carry them at sea, unless one fancies towing them everywhere on the end of a tanker.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 12 October 2019 - 0817 AM.

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#33 Ken Estes

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 1002 AM

....

 

I would actually extend the academy training cycle to 5 years.

Many of us did so! [Not voluntary, though]


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#34 Nobu

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 1104 AM

The USAF has realized the importance of a ready force of F15 aircraft. The Navy should have realized the same with the F14. Benefits to the USN’s strike and air control mission needs aside, It would have made a superb export aircraft for nations seeking land based naval air capability.

What was the 5th year if I may ask?
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#35 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 1123 AM

Well I do have SOME sympathy for Cheney. It was the end of the cold war, the F14 looked expensive (for what you got, it probably was not), and they wanted carriers able to carry large numbers of attack fighters to bomb arabs. The interesting thing is, even after making that decision, the USN recognised what a useful bomb truck the F14 was now that the A6 had gone. It was pretty clear a mistake had been made by the mid 1990's, but nobody saw fit to revisit it. I dont blame the USN for removing the F14's they had from the Inventory, they were life expired. I do blame them for not seeing what a useful platform it was for many different roles, and moving heaven and earth to keep the production line open, just as the air force did for the F15.

 

Of course it was alleged Cheney took some back handers  to go with the Super Hornet, but that is almost certainly a filthy lie without any validation. His dealings with Halliburton were entirely above board. :glare:


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#36 Rick

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 1358 PM

 

....

 

I would actually extend the academy training cycle to 5 years.

Many of us did so! [Not voluntary, though]

 

Ken, in your experience, how did "mustang officers" do?


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#37 Ken Estes

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 0221 AM

The USAF has realized the importance of a ready force of F15 aircraft. The Navy should have realized the same with the F14. Benefits to the USN’s strike and air control mission needs aside, It would have made a superb export aircraft for nations seeking land based naval air capability.

What was the 5th year if I may ask?

The fifth year was a repeat of the 4th, a favor given midshipmen who failed a subject or failed to have a sufficient final grade average to graduate. They usually were dismissed from the academy, to serve off their obligated active duty as sailors in the fleet, unless they had come from the fleet, whence they resumed their previous grade in service. The criteria for their retention by the academy was obscure, based upon a vote by the Academic Board of officers and a few professors. Too many of the retained [called "turnbacks"] were sons of admirals or major ship commanders to escape our notice; a few were sports figures. Patton was a turnback from USMA, as I recall he had failed math.

 

[ETA:] Rick, I wouldn't touch that one on mustangs, nor would I generalize about regulars, reservists and so forth. They all run the gamut. Some wear it on their sleeve [e.g. the CNO who could not stop bragging about going "from sailor to admiral," that is, until he committed suicide.] Others, you never knew, such as my first military mentor, who never let it show, nor could you read in his official bio that he rose to Sgt before going to OCS.


Edited by Ken Estes, 13 October 2019 - 0345 AM.

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#38 Calvinb1nav

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 1451 PM

 


Ken, in your experience, how did "mustang officers" do?

 

Most of the ones I served with were good officers and had a valuable perspective that they used to more effectively lead their enlisted troops.  My couple of years of enlisted service in the Army Reserve were valuable for me to understand things from an enlisted perspective, for example.  However, I knew some that hated enlisted people, despite having been enlisted, and consequently were poor leaders.


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#39 Dawes

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 1530 PM

Those of us that spent their careers working in the bomb dump had relatively little interactions with officers. Even our OIC walked through maybe once a month.


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#40 Nobu

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 1732 PM

Well I do have SOME sympathy for Cheney. It was the end of the cold war, the F14 looked expensive (for what you got, it probably was not), and they wanted carriers able to carry large numbers of attack fighters to bomb arabs. The interesting thing is, even after making that decision, the USN recognised what a useful bomb truck the F14 was now that the A6 had gone. It was pretty clear a mistake had been made by the mid 1990's, but nobody saw fit to revisit it. I dont blame the USN for removing the F14's they had from the Inventory, they were life expired. I do blame them for not seeing what a useful platform it was for many different roles, and moving heaven and earth to keep the production line open, just as the air force did for the F15.

 

Of course it was alleged Cheney took some back handers  to go with the Super Hornet, but that is almost certainly a filthy lie without any validation. His dealings with Halliburton were entirely above board. :glare:

 

Thanks to Cheney, the next generation of F14 will likely enter service with the IRIAF. Its name will be an iteration of Tomcat 21 in Farsi.


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