The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

More Naval Aircraft used in the book "Red Storm Rising"

This is a continuation of my "Red Storm Rising" equipment postings that I am doing.  In the book the F14's played a huge role in the book from the battles over the Atlantic and defending Scotland from the Blinder bombers that were attacking the radar installations that were alerting the RAF to the Soviet Incursions.  In the storyline, on the second day of the war, the Backfires came to visit the Nimitz Battle group that were delivering a MAU  to reinforce the garrison stationed at Iceland that was subsequently captured by the Soviets in "Operation Polar Glory" The F14's were sent to intercept the Backfires that were actually AT-4 Kelt missiles that had the radar signature of a Backfire, the tomcats were lured away from the battlegroup and the Kingfish missiles carried by the Backfires struck the battlegroup. damaging the Nimitz,the Saratoga and sinking the Saipan, the French carrier Foch.  The battlegroup only had the 8 Crusaders that were a retired U.S fighter and they were a little faster than the Backfires that they were pursuing.  After the battle, the Nimitz sailed to Birmingham where the Vospers shipwrights would quickly repair the ship for service.   The Tomcats of the "Jolly Rogers and "Black Aces" went to Scotland to help the RAF defend the Radar pickets.  While in Scotland, the F-14's followed the Backfires via the video system that they had and the Allies were successful in plotting the general landing times of the Backfires and the Chicago and 2 other subs launched Tomahawk missiles and caught the backfires as they were landing and decimated the regiments.  This gave the hard pressed convoys a 1 dimensional threat from the submarines.  Later the Tomcats helped beat up the Mig 29 Fulcrums that were stationed on Iceland.  

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program after the collapse of the F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American teen-series fighters, which were designed incorporating air combat experience against MiG fighters during the Vietnam War.
The F-14 first flew in December 1970 and made its first deployment in 1974 with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), replacing the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The F-14 served as the U.S. Navy's primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor, and tactical aerial reconnaissance platform into the 1990s. The Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod system were added in the 1990s and the Tomcat began performing precision ground-attack missions.
In the 1980s F-14s were used as land-based interceptors by the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force during the Iran–Iraq War, where they saw combat against Iraqi warplanes. Iranian F-14s reportedly shot down at least 160 Iraqi aircraft during the war, while only 12 to 16 Tomcats were lost; at least half of these losses were due to accidents.
The Tomcat was retired from the U.S. Navy's active fleet on 22 September 2006, having been supplanted by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F-14 remains in service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, having been exported to Iran in 1976.

Beginning in the late 1950s, the U.S. Navy sought a long-range, high-endurance interceptor to defend its carrier battle groups against long-range anti-ship missiles launched from the jet bombers and submarines of the Soviet Union. The U.S. Navy needed a Fleet Air Defense (FAD) aircraft with a more powerful radar and longer range missiles than the F-4 Phantom II carried to intercept both enemy bombers and missiles. The Navy was directed to participate in the Tactical Fighter Experimental (TFX) program with the U.S. Air Force by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. McNamara wanted "joint" solutions to service aircraft needs to reduce development costs, and had already directed the Air Force to buy the F-4 Phantom II, which was developed for the Navy and Marine Corps. The Navy strenuously opposed the TFX as it feared compromises necessary for the Air Force's need for a low-level attack aircraft would adversely impact the aircraft's performance as a fighter
 Weight and performance issues plagued the U.S. Navy F-111B variant for TFX and would not be resolved to the Navy's satisfaction. The F-111 manufacturer General Dynamics partnered with Grumman on the Navy F-111B. With the F-111B program in distress, Grumman began studying improvements and alternatives. In 1966, the Navy awarded Grumman a contract to begin studying advanced fighter designs. Grumman narrowed down these designs to its 303 design. Vice Admiral Thomas F. Connolly, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare, took the developmental F-111A variant for a flight and discovered that it had difficulty going supersonic and had poor carrier landing characteristics. He later testified before Congress about his concerns against the official Department of the Navy position and, in May 1968, Congress stopped funding for the F-111B, allowing the Navy to pursue an answer tailored to its requirements. The name "Tomcat" was partially chosen to pay tribute to Admiral Connolly, as the nickname "Tom's Cat" had already been widely used by the manufacturer, although the name also followed the Grumman tradition of naming its fighter aircraft after felines.

The F-14 Tomcat was designed as both an air superiority fighter and a long-range naval interceptor, which enabled it to both escort attack aircraft when armed with Sparrow missiles and fleet air defense loitering interceptor role when armed with Phoenix missiles. The F-14 was designed with a two-seat cockpit with a bubble canopy which affords all-around visibility aiding aircrew in air-to-air combat. It features variable geometry wings that swing automatically during flight. For high-speed intercept, they are swept back and they swing forward for lower speed flight. It was designed to improve on the F-4 Phantom's air combat performance in most respects.
The F-14's fuselage and wings allow it to climb faster than the F-4, while the twin-tail arrangement offers better stability. The F-14 is equipped with an internal 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling cannon mounted on the left side (unlike the Phantom, which was not equipped with an internal gun in the US Navy), and can carry AIM-54 Phoenix, AIM-7 Sparrow, and AIM-9 Sidewinder anti-aircraft missiles. The twin engines are housed in widely spaced nacelles. The flat area of the fuselage between the nacelles is used to contain fuel and avionics systems, such as the wing-sweep mechanism and flight controls, as well as weaponry since the wings were not used for carrying ordnance. By itself, the fuselage provides approximately 40 to 60 percent of the F-14's aerodynamic lifting surface depending on the wing sweep position. The lifting body characteristics of the fuselage allowed one F-14 to safely land after suffering a mid-air collision that sheared off more than half of the plane's right wing in 1991.

The F-14 was designed to combat highly maneuverable aircraft as well as the Soviet anti-ship cruise missile and bomber (Tupolev Tu-16, Tupolev Tu-22, Tupolev Tu-22M) threats. The Tomcat was to be a platform for the AIM-54 Phoenix, but unlike the canceled F-111B, it could also engage medium- and short-range threats with other weapons. The F-14 was an air superiority fighter, not just a long-range interceptor aircraft. Over 6,700 kg (14,800 lb) of stores could be carried for combat missions on several hardpoints under the fuselage and under the wings. Commonly, this meant a maximum of two–four Phoenixes or Sparrows on the belly stations, two Phoenixes/Sparrows on the wing hardpoints, and two Sidewinders on the wing hardpoints. The F-14 was also fitted with an internal 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling-type cannon.
Operationally, the capability to hold up to six Phoenix missiles was never used, although early testing was conducted; there was never a threat requirement to engage six hostile targets simultaneously and the load was too heavy to safely recover aboard an aircraft carrier in the event that the missiles were not fired. During the height of Cold War operations in the late 1970s and 1980s, the typical weapon loadout on carrier-deployed F-14s was usually only one AIM-54 Phoenix, augmented by two AIM-9 Sidewinders, two AIM-7 Sparrow IIIs, a full loadout of 20 mm ammunition and two drop tanks. The Phoenix missile was used twice in combat by the U.S. Navy, both over Iraq in 1999,  but the missiles did not score any kills.
Iran made use of the Phoenix system, claiming several kills with it during the 1980-1988 Iran–Iraq War. Iran tried to use other missiles on the Tomcat. It attempted to integrate the Russian R-27R "Alamo" BVR missile, but was apparently unsuccessful.

Data from U.S. Navy file, Spick, M.A.T.S. FlightGlobal
General characteristics

The Northrop Grumman (formerly Grumman) EA-6B Prowler is a twin-engine, four-seat, mid-wing electronic warfare aircraft derived from the A-6 Intruder airframe. The EA-6A was the initial electronic warfare version of the A-6 used by the United States Marine Corps and United States Navy. Development on the more advanced EA-6B began in 1966. An EA-6B aircrew consists of one pilot and three Electronic Countermeasures Officers, though it is not uncommon for only two ECMOs to be used on missions. It is capable of carrying and firing anti-radiation missiles (ARM), such as the AGM-88 HARM missile.
The Prowler has been in service with the U.S. Armed Forces since 1971. It has carried out numerous missions for jamming enemy radar systems, and in gathering radio intelligence on those and other enemy air defense systems. From the 1998 retirement of the United States Air Force EF-111 Raven electronic warfare aircraft, the EA-6B was the only dedicated electronic warfare plane available for missions by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Air Force until the fielding of the Navy's EA-18G Growler in 2009. Following its last deployment in late 2014, the EA-6B was withdrawn from U.S. Navy service in June 2015. The USMC plans to operate the Prowler until 2019.

The EA-6A "Electric Intruder" was developed for the U.S. Marine Corps during the 1960s to replace its EF-10B Skyknights. The EA-6A was a direct conversion of the standard A-6 Intruder airframe, with two seats, equipped with electronic warfare (EW) equipment. The EA-6A was used by three Marine Corps squadrons during the Vietnam War. A total of 27 EA-6As were produced, with 15 of these being newly manufactured ones. Most of these EA-6As were retired from service in the 1970s with the last few being used by the Navy with two electronic attack "aggressor" squadrons, with all examples finally retired in the 1990s. The EA-6A was essentially an interim warplane until the more-advanced EA-6B could be designed and built.

The substantially redesigned and more advanced EA-6B was developed beginning in 1966 as a replacement for EKA-3B Skywarriors for the U.S. Navy. The forward fuselage was lengthened to create a rear area for a larger four-seat cockpit, and an antenna fairing was added to the tip of its vertical stabilizer. Grumman was awarded a $12.7 million contract to develop an EA-6B prototype on 14 November 1966. The Prowler first flew on 25 May 1968, and it entered service on aircraft carriers in July 1971. Three prototype EA-6Bs were converted from A-6As, and five EA-6Bs were developmental airplanes. A total of 170 EA-6B production aircraft were manufactured from 1966 through 1991.
The EA-6B Prowler is powered by two Pratt & Whitney J52 turbojet engines, and it is capable of high subsonic speeds. Due to its extensive electronic warfare operations, and the aircraft's age (produced until 1991), the EA-6B is a high-maintenance aircraft, and has undergone many frequent equipment upgrades. Although designed as an electronic warfare and command-and-control aircraft for air strike missions, the EA-6B is also capable of attacking some surface targets on its own, in particular enemy radar sites and surface-to-air missile launchers. In addition, the EA-6B is capable of gathering electronic signals intelligence.
The EA-6B Prowler has been continually upgraded over the years. The first such upgrade was named "expanded capability" (EXCAP) beginning in 1973. Then came "improved capability" (ICAP) in 1976 and ICAP II in 1980. The ICAP II upgrade provided the EA-6B with the capability of firing Shrike missiles and AGM-88 HARM missiles.

Designed for carrier-based and advanced base operations, the EA-6B is a fully integrated electronic warfare system combining long-range, all-weather capabilities with advanced electronic countermeasures. A forward equipment bay and pod-shaped fairing on the vertical fin house the additional avionics equipment. It has been the primary electronic warfare aircraft for the U.S Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. The EA-6B's primary mission is to support ground-attack strikes by disrupting enemy electromagnetic activity. As a secondary mission it can also gather tactical electronic intelligence within a combat zone, and another secondary mission is attacking enemy radar sites with anti-radiation missiles.
The Prowler has a crew of four, a pilot and three Electronic Countermeasures Officers (known as ECMOs). Powered by two non-afterburning Pratt & Whitney J52-P-408A turbojet engines, it is capable of speeds of up to 590 mph (950 km/h) with a range of 1,140 miles (1,840 km).
Design particulars include the refueling probe being asymmetrical, appearing bent to the right. It contains an antenna near its root. The canopy has a shading of gold to protect the crew against the radio emissions that the electronic warfare equipment produces.

General characteristics
  • Hardpoints: 5 total: 1× centreline/under-fuselage plus 4× under-wing pylon stations with a capacity of 18,000 pounds (8,164.7 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:
  • AN/ALQ-218 Tactical Jamming System Receiver
  • AN/USQ-113 Communications Jamming System

The EA6B Prowler was used to roll back the radar of the Soviet fighters like the Mig-29 or the radar capability of the Backfires to locate convoys.  They also were used to jam the capability of the Soviet  SAM systems, especially the SA-11(Which I will discuss in a future block ).  They used the word "Queer" to describe the airplanes, I surmise from the gold lining the cockpit to protect the crew from the EW activities.

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