And what type of aircraft are going to protect the tankers that we will just have "loitering" up there? This is combat, and alot of times, things don't work as nicely as some people back in D.C. think. Crews of the F-14 are looking forward to accepting the F/A-18 E and F only because it is going to require less maintenance. There was a large artcile on VF-14 and VF-41 in a pretty recent Wings of Gold. It was very simply to see that the F-14 is a much more capable aircraft and that the crews are only excited by its "newness". Also, the reason that over the past 25 years no one has launched an attack against the carrier group is because the "Turkey" was on patrol. As for a new play and new stage, the only people that truly believe that are again the boys back in D.C. FYI- Intercepts of Russian and China bombers and reconnaisance aircraft have jumped 10 fold over the last 2-3 years. My father happens to have a job that has him in the know about what the "enemy" is doing more than the normal civilan. I was discussing Russia and China the other day, all he had to say was that our old comrades have never gone "away" and that while the media wants to say the cold war is over, it just ain't. Nothing has changed. All the Soviet Union did was make a new flag and try on a new name. Did you happen to see their newest fighter? All black with a RED Communist star on the wing. Makes you wonder. Its to bad there aren't any great senators like Mr. John C. Stennis still around. He didn't let the Navy do this kind of monkey business with the F-111 "Missilier". He stopped that program and called it what it was, junk. Thanks to him we got the best aircraft availabe in the F-14.
Just food for thought. The "Green Machine" USMC who has been criticized by the Navy for years of having inferior equipment and letting brand new platforms be beat up, is passing on the F/A-18 E and F. They want the JSF (An aircraft that will be the next F-16). HEY NAVY, YOUR THE ONLY SERVICE DUMB ENOUGH TO BE DUPED INTO THE F/A-18 "SUPER WASTE".
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower