Having read this, I was just about to comment a picture of an Su-30MKI. Then I read the rest of the post…
Well, this IS the F-14 thread after all so I wil still give you a big air superiority fighter that looks like a Turkey with widely-spaced engine nacelles and a ton of lift surface, a crew of 2, and a long-range radar.
I’ll be sure and tell that to the Su-27/30/33 that I shot down gunzo with both the Scooter and Bug…
On a more serious note:
“But, as they say, no matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down.” – Ivan Kozhedub
Overall, I don’t expect most F-14 crews to be threatening to the typical DCS air quake combat; that will take some time as they adjust and learn how to fly and fight to their advantages. I suspect that after the initial luster has waned, the more dedicated and very good crews will be very good at playing the Kitty’s strengths. I’ve already seen it a lot with the Bug, watching people get absolutely clobbered in it and playing to the other side’s tune. Chances are if someone is flying around in a Bug, they probably aren’t much of a threat – nature of the game with popular aircraft.
Something to keep in mind with the big planes though: if you’re in a gunfight, the big plane is a bigger target. In the old IL2 days I remember this very well with the P-38. While it could hold its own very well (provided a competent pilot), it was also a lot easier to hit from certain angles – especially in a furball. There were ways to minimize this of course, but that took some skill to pull off. The F-14 will be the same way in DCS and it will be interesting to see what the crews do in the game.
A-6s don’t have guns, so no problemo.
Hey everybody, ban @near_blind, he’s a dirty team killer! He shot down the strike package he was supposed to be escorting!
(Also, A-6 had capacity to carry a couple different gunpods, though I’m not aware of any being used on active service.)
And a sidewinder on the outer wing pylons. Yup.
Yes, it becomes very clear that the F-14 was readily inspired by the A-6. An evolution, in fact!
Plus, it has flaps, so you know, variable wing geometry and all that.
Well yeah, when you’re banned for team killing, kinda hard to save anyone…
I think a lot of that will hinge on how effective they make the AIM-54. On paper, later models were able to intercept cruise missiles, so in theory, should be decent enough to bag fighters. On the other hand, It had a pretty sorry combat record IRL. On the other-other hand, it didn’t really have much of a combat record at all, so not much to go off of other than ‘by-the-books’ modeling.
Actually, I think most of that will hinge on how effective the radar is. The typical red side SOP is to stick to the hills and use IRST, never radar (unless employing R-77), utilizing R-27T/ET and R-73 missiles for stealth kills at low altitude. Remember, these guys have had to face F-15s with spamraam from the LOMAC days, so they’ve already got some idea of what to anticipate from the Kitty. Depending on how it plays out, it’s probably going to take crews to try and draw the Flankers and Fulcrums out of the hills a la Operation Bolo style to get them into the Kitty’s engagement envelope. Given that, I’d probably have a couple Kitties loaded with Sparrow and Sidewinder, try to get the reds to bite, then draw them high for Kitties loaded with Phoenix at a distance for suppression. That, of course, would take teamwork, so I’m not sure it’d work so well with just one Kitty buzzing around…
The AIM-54 has the same combat record in US service as the AIM-9X, which is say circumstantial and non-representative of the capabilities of the weapon. There were two attempted shots. One failed because the missile was improperly loaded onto the jet and the mistake was not caught by the flight crew. The second was a shot outside of Rtr where the target, a Flogger, intuited it had been engaged and exited the area at high speed. No missile in existence could have splashed that bandit with those parameters., The ability to engage cruise missiles in of itself is no indicator of performance versus high performance fighters: those targets do not maneuver and fly constant heading and speed. Generally speaking, if the radar can see them anything that can catch them can kill them. AIM-54As can engage cruise missiles. AIM-7s can engage cruise missiles.
What I would point out is that the professionals briefed on the missile’s actual capabilities, the threats that would be faced, seemed confident in their ability to effectively destroy any threat.
I’d be more concerned about the capability of the AWG-9 than I would be the AIM-54.
The 54 wasn’t meant for fighters. If you bag one good for you, but it’s more like downing a helo with an LGB.
For that matter the Sparrow wasn’t either, but the later models received upgrades that made them competent (unlike the early ones…those are bomber-only too).
So you’re saying we should practice that more?
Isn’t APKWS what the cool kids use for that these days?
That’s simply incorrect. The 54 was intended to be an improvement on The Sparrow in every way they could make it. Scarcity of the weapon and the lack of all aspect IR missiles and or BVR threat from frontal aviation initially deemphasized the missiles use against anything that wasn’t an existential threat to the cvbg.
The introduction of large numbers of apex/aacrid capable floggers began to shift this doctrine, which was hastened by the arrival of the flanker, fulcrum, and ultimately the Alamo-C. By the end the Navy fully intended to use them in the air superiority role when needed.
Moral of the story is the myth of Phoenixes being incapable of hitting fighters stems from a misunderstanding of doctrine, not a lack of capability. Less killing a hind with an LGB and more sniffing out a MiG-17 with a -120D.