DL021: "The Tomcat is faster and has longer reach, but the Navy decided that long range interception no longer has the value previously seen. The Superhornet was to be the answer to the Navy's need for three or four different aircraft. It will meet the need for the interceptor, using the AIM-120...the EA
-6B with its upcoming EA
-18 pkg, it will perform fleet in flight refuelling now done by S-3's (derated as Subhunters) and as long range attack craft. The F/A-18 A thru D replaced several types itself, including the A-4, A-7, F-8, as well as supplementing the F-14's in their fighter role."
I think you have a good point here. I may exaggerate, but I have the feeling that the AIM-120 signed the end of the F-14 more than the F/A-18 did. This missile provided great BVR ability to almost every US aircraft and proved to be able to get a hit almost every time it has been launched. The Phoenix, in comparison, had wider range (80 nm head-on for the C variant), could travel Mach 4, had a ceiling of around 100,000 Ft but could be launched from just one aircraft and, if launched from a great distance, often missed the target (some were launched between Gulf Wars I and II
to intercept Iraqi aircrafts violating the no-fly zones, and missed). The EA
-6B is doomed as well, will be replaced in the EW
role by the EA
-18 as soon as it's ready.
I understand this is the only way to go for the US Navy, but I feel sorry seeing all those nice birds being phased out, even though it's not my home business (oh, I do miss that useless beauty the F-104 was
If God had wanted men to fly he would have given them more money...