LMP: The USN
did have another missile planned that was going to replace the Phoenix
. The AIM-152 Advanced Air-to-Air Missile (AAAM) was going to take over for the AIM-54 while being both smaller and lighter than its predecessor as well as to incorporate a plethora of new technologies like advanced multimode-guidance, an air-breathing integral-rocket-ramjet propulsion system, new warhead and fuzing designs, and advanced airframe and steering technologies. Two teams were selected to design the AIM-152: Hughes/Raytheon and General Dynamics/Westinghouse
The Hughes/Raytheon proposal:
The Hughes/Raytheon proposal was to use a hybrid solid-rocket/ramjet propulsion system with mid-course guidance being provided by an intertial nav system with command updates and terminal homing coming from a dual-mode active-radar and IR
seeker. The GD
/Westinghouse design, meanwhile would have been propelled by a multiple-pulse solid-propellant rocket motor with a booster stage that would be dropped during flyout. Their concept also employed inertial guidance with dual-band semi-active radar homing for mid-course guidance and an electro-optical sensor for autonomous homing during the terminal endgame. GD
's proposal also had a backup IR
seeker and called for fitting the F-14 with a targeting pod featuring forward- and aft-looking radar to illuminate the target from any angle.
AAAM was supposed to enter service in the mid-90s, but like so many other weapons, it's usefulness was called into question with the end of the Cold War, and Congress finally axed it in '92.
JWenting: Interesting you bring up the interservice rivalry aspect. The problem is, Congress often tries to write off legitimate gripes from either service as mere parochialism. Take the F-111, for instance. From the start, the aircraft was the wrong aircraft for the Navy, but they did try to go along with it. The realization came, however, that "there wasn't enough thrust in all Christiandom to make the F-111 a fighter" and more importantly, that the very act of landing the F-111B was dangerous to flight crews due to the unusually high angle-of-attack needed during flight operations - I believe the AOA was so high that the pilot routinely would lose sight of the flight deck and arresting wires during landing -NOT
something you want to happen during a trap. It's obvious that while commonality is cost-effective, when it risks the lives of aircrews it is no longer desirable.
At any rate, your information about the NATF is incorrect as the Navy was not the one insisting on a variable-geometry design for the NATF. When Lockheed was trying to sell the NATF to the Navy, the artist's conception included a variable-geometry design as Lockheed thought that Tomcat
drivers seeing the picture would have a favorable reaction. And, while the Navy did briefly write a proposal for the NATF, the idea was scrapped in order to provide more funding for the A-12 Avenger II
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.