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Tomcat weapons for 1978 era


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Hello I have just started a 1/72 F-14A Tomcat of VF-1 in a 1978 scheme. What would be they sub types for the

Sidewinder and Sparrow? Also out of curiosity did the Tomcat ever use the Phoenix in any conflict?

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The AIM-7E or AIM-7F were possible.  The 7F had been in service since 1976 and would have been available in at least limited numbers for fleet use by the time of your markings.  For the IR missile the AIM-9H was much more likely.  The AIM-9L only entered production in 1978, and would take time to make it to the boat; although, as the Navy's newest operational fighter at the time, the Kittykat would have had first claim to the latest missiles.  It's worth noting that in these two pictures below it's still carrying the AIM-7E and AIM-9H, and the photos were claimed to be from 1981.

 

FY7upFw.jpg

 

pTIXTVo.jpg

 

However in this official Navy photo (dated from October of 1979) the dark metal wings and fins of an AIM-7F are visible on the far wing pylon.

 

1oYvIrn.jpg

 

Both the U.S. Navy and the Iranian Air Force have fired the AIM-54 "in anger".  The Navy in the southern no-fly zone over Iraq and Iran during their war with the Iraqis.

 

Regards,

Murph

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First shot at an attempted answer for you...  Murph hit send while I was typing. 

For the 1978 timeframe the F-14 carried the AIM-9L, the AIM-7F, and the AIM-54A. Typical load would be 2 of each, or 2xAIM-9, 4xAIM-7, and 2xAIM-54. The AIM-9L was introduced in 1977. The AIM-7M came into service in 1982. There is a lot of good info online on the missiles and variants. 

The only confirmed F-14 kills were 2 Su-22s on 19 August 1981 and 2 MiG-23s on 4 January 1989. Both Su-22s were shot with AIM-9L Sidewinders. One MiG was shot down with an AIM-7 (probably an M), the other with an AIM-9L, or maybe an M. My reference doesn’t specify. 

The AIM-54 was fired a few times during the first gulf war and no fly zone patrols. No reported kills achieved. The Iranians reported several/many Phoenix kills in their conflicts with Iraq. 

The above does not include the 2 “A6M2 Zeros” shot down during the “Final Countdown” incident with the USS Nimitz. 😉

Edited by Mark V
Correction to AIM-54 subtype.
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If I remember correctly, Iran needed to integrate the Sparrow (E model? As used on their Phantoms ) themselves, as the F was not delivered on time of the Revolution...

they use an upgraded P version Sidewinder up to these days 

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17 hours ago, Mark V said:

First shot at an attempted answer for you...  Murph hit send while I was typing. 

For the 1978 timeframe the F-14 carried the AIM-9L, the AIM-7F, and the AIM-54C. Typical load would be 2 of each, or 2xAIM-9, 4xAIM-7, and 2xAIM-54. The AIM-9L was introduced in 1977. The AIM-7M came into service in 1982. There is a lot of good info online on the missiles and variants. 

 

 

The prototype AIM-54C was only delivered in 1979, with first production rounds delivered in late 1981. In 1978 the AIM-54A would have been used

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3 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

 

The prototype AIM-54C was only delivered in 1979, with first production rounds delivered in late 1981. In 1978 the AIM-54A would have been used

Thanks for the correction. I went back and looked at Wikipedia again. I misread the article. I corrected my entry above in case some finds it in the future. 

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On 4/28/2021 at 4:31 AM, Mark V said:

The only confirmed F-14 kills were 2 Su-22s on 19 August 1981 and 2 MiG-23s on 4 January 1989. 😉

 

VF-1's BuNo 162603 downed an Iraqi Mil-8 on February 6th 1991 with an AIM-9L/M. 

 

For more information on USN F-14's in action over the Middle East, see In the Claws of the Tomcat: US NAVY F-14 Tomcats in Air Combat Against Iran and Iraq, 1987-2000 by Tom Cooper. 

 

Cheers,

 

Andre 

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On 28/04/2021 at 03:31, Mark V said:

F-14 carried the AIM-9L, the AIM-7F, and the AIM-54A. Typical load would be 2 of each, or 2xAIM-9, 4xAIM-7, and 2xAIM-54.

You sure!? The forward of the 2 centreline Sparrow slots lies partly under the 2 forward Phoenix palettes so my references say the maximum loadout was  2xAIM-9, 3xAIM-7, and 2xAIM-54. Sidewinders and 2 Sparrows on the glove pylons, Phoenix on the 2 forward palettes, and a 3rd Sparrow in the aft slot.

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46 minutes ago, Paws4thot said:

You sure!? The forward of the 2 centreline Sparrow slots lies partly under the 2 forward Phoenix palettes so my references say the maximum loadout was  2xAIM-9, 3xAIM-7, and 2xAIM-54. Sidewinders and 2 Sparrows on the glove pylons, Phoenix on the 2 forward palettes, and a 3rd Sparrow in the aft slot.

 

It might betheoretically possible to have four AIM-7 under the belly, and two each of AIM-9/54 on the wing glove  pylons. 

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

 

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4 minutes ago, Hook said:

 

It might be theoretically possible to have four AIM-7 under the belly, and two each of AIM-9/54 on the wing glove  pylons. 

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

 

True, but have you ever seen a glove pylon with Phoenix and Sidewinder adaptors on it? I haven't.

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Ok, no. I’m not sure. I looked it up in my reference books and on the internet. I was a USAF Phantom guy, so what do I know about Tomcats?  Tried to answer the guy’s question. Sorry for the confusion. 

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10 hours ago, Paws4thot said:

True, but have you ever seen a glove pylon with Phoenix and Sidewinder adaptors on it? I haven't.

spacer.png

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Let's clarify a few points here....

The Tomcat always had the possibility of launching the Phoenix missile from the wing glove pylon, however the underbelly launchers produced less drag, reason why for air-to-air missions these missiles were generally carried in that position. The exception was the rare occurrence of a 6 X AIM-54 load, for which both the underbelly launchers and the glove pylons had to be used. This configuration was not used operationally from carriers because the Tomcat could not be recovered on board with all six missiles for weight reason. This meant that one or two missiles would have had to be jettisoned into the sea before approaching the carrier, a less than desireable situation with such an expensive missile. Pictures showing this kind of load were taken during either tests or "publicity" flights

The 2-2-2 configuration was the most common, with 2 missiles per type and the Phoenix carried under the two front belly launchers, with Sparrows and Sidewinders on the glove pylons. Sometime a third Sparrow was carried in the rearmost underbelly well. In peacetime however the most common configuration was 1-1-1, with 1 missile per type. There were however other loads depending on a number of factors. For example the AIM-54 was not always carried and in certain theatres it was rare to see them.

 

Fast forward a few years and the Tomcat was being used more and more as a "Bombcat", with the A-A role less important in conflicts where air opposition was scarce. This is when the glove pylon Phoenix adaptors started to be used more often and this is the timeframe when the two pictures above have been taken: for ground attack missions the underbelly stations were used for bombs so any mission where a Phoenix had to be carried as well required the missile to be mounted under the glove pylon.

With the introduction of Lantirn, the only pylon available became the left one, and it's no surprise that both pictures above show this pylon... this was a common configuration in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, when there was the possibility of meeting enemy aircraft: bombs on the underbelly launchers, Lantirn and Sidewinder under the right glove pylon, Phoenix and Sidewinder under the left glove pylon. With the progress of the operation the chances of meeting enemy aircraft lowered and then disappeared, so that Sidewinders only were carried.

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Mecon, your link appears to be alphanumeric soup, but is the aircraft not the Diamondbacks CAG configured as a Bombcat? If so, then I'd have to agree with Georgio N's analysis.

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2 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

[...]The exception was the rare occurrence of a 6 X AIM-54 load, for which both the underbelly launchers and the glove pylons had to be used. This configuration was not used operationally from carriers because the Tomcat could not be recovered on board with all six missiles for weight reason. This meant that one or two missiles would have had to be jettisoned into the sea before approaching the carrier, a less than desireable situation with such an expensive missile. Pictures showing this kind of load were taken during either tests or "publicity" flights.[...]

 

 

The inability to land back on the carrier with 6x AIM-54 is an urban legend. It was possible and apparently very rarely practiced, but not considered sensible since the fuel reserve in case of problems during landing was ridiculously low and hence not desirable during peace time ops.  Retired Tomcat RIO "Hey Joe" Parsons clarified this in countless posts on FB.

B/r

Michael

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Scout712 said:

The inability to land back on the carrier with 6x AIM-54 is an urban legend. It was possible and apparently very rarely practiced, but not considered sensible since the fuel reserve in case of problems during landing was ridiculously low and hence not desirable during peace time ops.  Retired Tomcat RIO "Hey Joe" Parsons clarified this in countless posts on FB.

B/r

Michael

 

Actually his word confirm this inability: not having enough fuel for a second attempt at landing is something that procedures in peacetime make not feasible. Really in aviation most of the times when something is defined as not possible it is because it can't be done following the rules in place. Most sources that mention this also explain how the problem was that it meant having a dangerously low fuel reserve.

Even so, there seems to be no record of this configuration having been used in wartime, There are rumours that some of the aircraft involved in the "interception" of the Achille Lauro hijackers carried 6 AIM-54s, but there's no confirmation and it may just be a reconstruction from some journalist. Maybe today something more will surface,

Edited by Giorgio N
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2 hours ago, Paws4thot said:

Mecon, your link appears to be alphanumeric soup, but is the aircraft not the Diamondbacks CAG configured as a Bombcat? If so, then I'd have to agree with Georgio N's analysis.

Arguments aside the link is fine

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2 hours ago, Julien said:

Arguments aside the link is fine

I didn't say it didn't work; I said you can't derive any useful information about the subject from reading the link rather than using your subject knowledge.

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38 minutes ago, Paws4thot said:

I didn't say it didn't work; I said you can't derive any useful information about the subject from reading the link rather than using your subject knowledge.

Well thats not how it read, so perhaps make your self clear? You asked if the the configuration of a glove pylon was seen, the poster answered, then the discussion developed from there. 

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