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F-14 - Was it really that good ?


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Debunked several times by pilots, and finally by the now declassied performance charts :)

 

Wait, what?

 

His actual experiences are debunked by charts?

 

Other than the article you already posted, can you point to other first-hand sources that speak of community-wide experiences of the F-14 dominating the F-15 in DACT?

 

But to be fair he's likely just saying what he himself experienced the few times he faced the cat, and if you're flying a clean Eagle vs a 6.5 G limited bag carrying F-14 with a student behind the controls, then it probably won't be a particularly hard fight.

 

You know who he flew against, what his configuration was, and how many times he did it? Is it possible he supported fleet workups? Or supported Top Gun?

 

His bonafides are clear: three operational Eagle tours and about 1,200 hours, plus another 500 in the AT-38.

 

Serious question: what are yours? GCI controller? RIO? Pilot?

 

When things were even however, i.e. experienced pilots in both planes and no shits given about peace time limits, then the Tomcat more often than not seemed to give the Eagle a licking, just as was the case in the beginning before orders were cut short and each F-14 had to last much longer than originally intended.

 

Says who? Again, can you point to any material where Tomcat crews talk of "more often than not" besting the Eagle? The Flight article is very interesting, but I would like to hear read the words of actual crews...


Edited by Steve Davies
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I can see your point but even so , be it F15A or F14A, its still hard to look at them as 3rd generation ( whilst there is 4.5 gen is there something like 3.5 gen?) , because generally when one thinks of 3rd generation historians use examples of Mig23 series from the soviet side and on the west F4 phantom's and Mirage F1's as the defining fighter aircraft of the 3rd generation.

 

Both F14A and F15A are more advanced than preceding Phantoms in both being totally new aerodynamic designs and sporting more sophisticated avionics sets. Certainly way more advanced at introduction to any supposed contemporary Europeans or Soviets had at the time of their introduction. Even if not quite as advanced as later versions of 4th generation aircraft from the 1980s with more , digital avionics, networked capabilities, and FBW ( or Digital flight augmented) control.

 

Ultimately aircraft "generation" is something of marketing buzzword even if there are charts that are similar across US and Russians of certain characteristics they regard for specific aircraft generations.

 

The 14A is generally considered as "early" 4th gen. Mainly limited by its 60's era avionics (AWG-9), but really so was the original F15A, the early APG-63 (Pre-PSP) wasn't that great from what I've read. Same thing if you compare it to an F16A (original APG-66). But for some reason no one wants to try to make actual apples to apples comparisons, its always comparing an F14A from the 70's to a F15/16 from the 90's and then going on about how bad the 14 was in comparison. And I agree on the "buzzword" oversimplification of "generation". Some people claim the Mig21bis is 3rd gen because it has radar guided AAM's... Nope still firmly Gen2 in my book.

 

Truth of the matter was when introduced, the F14A was basically a UFO compared to everything else on the planet. Then a few years later the F15A joined it. It realistically took the Soviets a more than decade to "catch up" with the Su-27, and by then it had the even more advanced F15C/F14B to deal with. Thought its hard to compare the soviet planes to the NATO ones in some areas due to huge doctrinal differences though, if you expect to fly a soviet fighter like a western one, well, thats not gonna work real well, but all too often thats the comparison thats made.

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Very curious to know what they said that doesn't line up with your experience. Having no IRL F-14 experience myself, I more or less took everything they said at face value.

And that’s the correct way to take it.

The Tomcat crew on FPP wasn't particularly generous towards the A model and its finicky GE engines, among a couple other perceived deficiencies. Victory205 has taken issue with that representation and called into question whether they actually flew the Tomcat and, if so, how (un)skilled they were at it.

Here’s the thing though, it’s guy-who-hasn’t-flown-a-Tomcat-in-15-years against other-guy-who-hasn’t-flown-a-Tomcat-in-15-years. Nobody has perfect memory, everyone remembers similar experiences differently, and 15 years (a reasonable guesstimate) is a long damn time. As far as I’m concerned the FPP Tomcat crew has just as much credibility as Vic205. (Actually, scratch that. Vic has the disadvantage of being an Anonymous Internet Guy while the FPP Tomcat crew does not. I know Heatblur vouch for Vic205’s credentials so I’m not questioning his authenticity, just pointing out that we don’t know who he is or his experience. (Also, I’m not asking.))

There are plenty of first hand accounts of the GE engines being unreliable and underpowered, and there are first hand accounts saying that they were just fine. It’s actually possible (likely even) that both ‘sides’ are telling the truth as they experienced it.

(I know how sensitive people can sometimes get here, so again, this isn’t a knock against Vic205 or an endorsement of anyone else. I absolutely appreciate all of Vic’s contributions to this sim and in no way am I questioning his bona fides.)


Edited by SonofEil
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Thanks, removed them.

 

No problem buddy. It's a bummer though...if you really read rule 1.16, we are extremely limited in what we can discuss and learn about the F-14B on these forums...since it's a post 1980 aircraft.

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And that’s the correct way to take it.

The Tomcat crew on FPP wasn't particularly generous towards the A model and its finicky GE engines, among a couple other perceived deficiencies. Victory205 has taken issue with that representation and called into question whether they actually flew the Tomcat and, if so, how (un)skilled they were at it.

 

The crew on the FFP were both B crew members. Its worth mentioning that all F-14B pilots do their initial FAM flights in the F-14A - so even a pilot who spends his entire career on the B will put 60-80 hours on the F-14A. The only Tomcat crews who have no flight time in the F-14A are F-14D crews.

 

So neither of those guys had experienced a real stall, but remembered the standard NATOPS restrictions and procedures - it left quite an impression, but reality was quite different. The TF30 was very stable at zone 5 and mil-power, even to 50+ deg of AOA. The issue is if you weren't at mil-power/zone 5 or if you decided to change power settings above 17-20 units of AOA. Then you could end up with problems, but it was actually pretty unpredictable. Usually things would work out fine, but every so often they wouldn't......and that would leave quite an impression as well.

 

-Nick

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Wait, what?

 

His actual experiences are debunked by charts?

 

Other than the article you already posted, can you point to other first-hand sources that speak of community-wide experiences of the F-14 dominating the F-15 in DACT?

 

Oh you mean like a bunch of competitive guys getting together and talking about their victories over guys that aren't in the room? Sounds very definable and quantifiable.....oh wait! Its the opposite of that! :smartass:

 

And to answer your question: yes. I have spoke with lots of Tomcat crews that have beaten Eagles multiple times at DACT. One of our best SMEs had a memorable round of three 2v4s (2 F-14As against 4 F-15Cs) and the Eagles lost 2 out of 3.....but I'm sure the Eagles were proud when they won the 3rd round. Surely they declared the Tomcats grapes after that 3rd victorious engagement.....

 

But the thing is that these engagements come down to a lot of factors: SA, tactics, expectations, and the capability of the aircraft. The F-15 has its advantages and so does the F-14, in the end the aircraft factors are agueably less important despite the fact that people around here tend to fall into camps and think that aircraft type predicts the outcome of an engagement. It doesn't and a fair fight means that you messed something up.

 

There is a reason why anecdotal experience is rated as the least reliable form of evidence, it is deeply flawed and subject heavily to selection bias. People don't like to remember unpleasant things, even when they try. And as you spend time with one community, you hear lots of stories of their victories and come to assume that they always win (or worse.....you believe their assertion that they always win ;) ).

 

But reality is far harder to quantify. In the end there are lots of HUD cameras shots with Tomcat pippers on the Eagle and lots of Eagle pippers on Tomcats. The funny thing is.....I've never actually seen an Eagle pipper on a Tomcat. I've seen lots of vice versa, but seems the Eagle drivers don't like to take pictures......or maybe its something else. :D

 

-Nick

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But the thing is that these engagements come down to a lot of factors: SA, tactics, expectations, and the capability of the aircraft. The F-15 has its advantages and so does the F-14, in the end the aircraft factors are agueably less important despite the fact that people around here tend to fall into camps and think that aircraft type predicts the outcome of an engagement. It doesn't and a fair fight means that you messed something up.

-Nick

 

I think the reason you are seeing people devolve the argument entirely into aircraft performance statistics has more to do with assuming an equally piloted x vs y and comparing raw stats. As you rightfully point out, fair fights mean you screwed up and pushed a tactically unsound position to the point where you had to "fight fair". The proverbial "sticks and stones" gun fights of ACM/BCM fighting happens infrequently enough since the end of Vietnam (predominantly due to the threat of nuclear war preventing a real fight between world powers, and to an extent the reliability of longer ranged actively guided missiles) as to be an anomaly and not the norm. The problem with assuming equally piloted aircraft is that the Tomcat has TWO crew members to the F-15's ONE... even if the pilots are the same, an F-14 will have significantly better SA in a dogfight than an F-15C for that very reason. The RIO could be a nearly braindead potato and so long as he can call out aircraft he sees; he would provide much better SA than a lone F-15C pilot could ever hope to have. This is an advantage that is hard to ignore even if you have the F-14 as being the "lesser" aircraft and can often times turn the tide of a dogfight in the favor of the lesser aircraft. That's why it doesn't surprise me that an dogfight between 2 F-14A and 4 F-15C can end so poorly for the F-15C crews to lose that fight 2 out of 3 times.

 

Now if you talk single seaters vs single seaters or double seaters vs double seaters, it's easier to "ignore" the crew and talk about stats only.

 

Also, I concur... I've seen lots of pictures of an F-15 in the gun piper of an F-14, and none of the reverse... I HAVE seen F-14's in the gun piper of an F-16 (there is a famous video) but IIRC the video was a top gun instructor vs a student and demonstrates as much about the pilot as it does the F-14 vs F-16 debate.

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And that’s the correct way to take it. <snip>

 

 

I think that's an excellent summary.

 

My own experiences as a journalist who visited dozens of fighter squadrons over 16 years is that even among those who are current, you can hear wildly different opinions on the same things and the same events.

 

Sometimes, it's just not possible to arrive at a concrete answer.

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Oh you mean like a bunch of competitive guys getting together and talking about their victories over guys that aren't in the room? Sounds very definable and quantifiable.....oh wait! Its the opposite of that!

 

-Nick

 

No. I mean someone who has published something into the public domain, put their name beside it, and is prepared to have their credibility judged by it.

 

<snip>

 

-Nick

 

I don't actually disagree with most of what you've written.

 

My point is that Hummingbird is saying that charts debunk someone's personal experiences, and that if an Eagle pilot had won against the F-14, it must have been because: he had a clean jet, he was fighting a nugget, or his sample size (sortie count) was too small.

 

In the face of that reasoning, I am simply asking where the narratives are that we can all go and read, that show the Tomcat would 'nearly always' wax the Eagle when things were evened up. That's perfectly reasonable of me to ask.

 

As you point out, it's possible for anyone to kill anything given the right conditions (note that there's a Tornado F3 driver on here who says he managed to kill an F-15). But in this instance,

the Eagle pilot I quoted was not talking about specific engagements, but the general experience in his community during the decade that he flew the Eagle.

 

On the question of WSV, how much video total have you seen from the F-15A/C? The answer is probably 'not very much' (I have seen maybe three clips). The reason is that since the early 1980s, Eagle HUD video is classified SECRET.


Edited by Steve Davies
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Why argue? The facts are available for all to see right here:

 

EDIT: Not allowed to post the information as pr. forum rule 1.16

 

Apologized for unknowingly breaking the rule.

 

It's a good question! It's you who is arguing with an Eagle pilot, not me arguing with you :)

 

I am assuming you posted charts. Too bad they are not allowed.

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It's a good question! It's you who is arguing with an Eagle pilot, not me arguing with you :)

 

I am assuming you posted charts. Too bad they are not allowed.

 

Nope, referenced the entire declassified flight manuals for F-14A, F-14B/D, F-15A & F-15C/D.

 

And I'm not arguing with the eagle pilot at all, infact I said he's most likely just expressing how he saw things based on some incidents he had. However if he makes the blanket claim that the Eagle was a better WVR fighter than the F-14 then he his making a false claim, something the declassified performance manuals clearly illustrate for all those interested.

 

If you want to argue against this then you're not arguing with me, but instead you're arguing against the established performance of either aircraft through exhaustive trials. Good luck with that :thumbup:


Edited by Hummingbird
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Well it was actually designed to do everything - air superiority, fleet air defense, and close-in engagements as needed. If it were purely an interceptor (like the F-4) it wouldn't have a large bubble canopy and enormous control surfaces to allow for an impressive pitch rate. Plus "designed for" doesn't necessarily translate into capability. Irrespective, the F110 powered Tomcats can match the F-16's sustained turn rate at 10000', so nothing to take lightly.

 

Being a post-Vietnam design, it certainly was created with the understanding that any fighter aircraft needs to be capable at ACM.

 

 

 

I can confirm that Okie tested and validated the flight model. He asked us to adjust take-off/rotation behavior (which we did); otherwise he was very pleased and impressed with the handling and behavior.

 

-Nick

I’m not sure which episode of Sea-Wings your quoting, but in real life the swing was necessary for carrier ops and all combat aircraft since 1965 have big bubble canopies. Even OV-10’s oh, wait that must be a fighter too... Not.

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This is flat out wrong. Go watch that video from one of the Grumman designers.

Unfortunately I’m not the one who’s flat out wrong... maybe your opinion is colored from too many reruns of TopGun, but as former Hornet driver I have pretty of HUD tapes of poor turkey drivers who believe that same stuff as you.

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Using charts as a defense of saying that an aircraft is superior to another is not a good way to set the argument. Unless those who say this is armchair experts who have the right setup and skills for their aircraft, it reasonably varies from person to person. Nobody expects an L-39ZA outfitted with R-60M's to be able to shoot down an F-5 because of its wing buffeting at high AoA and stabilizer deflection, but it still happens.

 

Likewise, a bad pilot always makes a bad aircraft. Same can be said the other way around.

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, but the image doesn't show a kill.

 

Are we complaining that it's an un ranged shot and assuming the crosshair is the same proportions as in DCS, the Eagle is way outside 2000 feet?

 

To be fair, that's a valid point. I wasn't there and I don't know what their rules were for an unranged shot. That said, I'm sure that no Eagle driver has ever stiffened their gun funnel in an effort to fudge the range and get an embarrassing hud tape of a inter-service, inter-platform rival flying through their gun pipper.

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Just let people and pilots who never flew the aircraft and yet still think they know better than the test pilots & engineers who were behind the design & development of it say and think what they want, then those of us who are interested in the facts can just look through the manual and talk to the other pilots who actually flew the bird.

 

Pilots aren't free of bias and bravado, they are humans just like everyone else and they often have wildly different opinions just as well. It has always been like this and will continue to be so.

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Btw just incase anyone's wondering, I think the F-15 is an excellent fighter and I would never consider it an easy opponent for an F-14, F-16 or F/A-18, but I just also see it the same the other way around as well, and that because I know all four aircraft have their strengths, and if you play toward those then they will give any of the others a run for their money.

 

Infact in the case of the F-14 vs F-15 they're so very close to each other in their ACM capabilities that 99% of the time it would come down to who messed up first (assuming equal load outs & no peace time G limits ofc). That said the F-14 is simply the better turner whilst the F-15 climbs & accelerates faster. But overall I would personally pick the F-14 as ever so slightly better WVR if allowed to ignore the 6.5 G peace time limit.

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