The is awesome because it represents one of the only ways to view an F-14 Tomcat in action. The game changing fighter jet retired from duty on September 22, 2006. What this demonstrates, is the outstanding physical capabilities of this amazing jet. The F-14 came in three versions, and what you are seeing is the F-14 Super Tomcat.
Technology and Change
You might be wondering why we replaced such an awesome jet. The primary reason is the speed at which technology changes. Technology is one of America’s greatest strengths, but it also moves just as fast for most of our potential enemies. That fact requires that fighter jets and other military equipment be constantly upgraded . Innovation is how we remain the most powerful nation in the world.
The demonstration opens with the F-14 entering into a bombing sequence. The high-speed, tight turn allows the jet to deliver air support to a small area. In the demonstration, you see it drop 12 lit flares. In war, those would be laser guided Rockeye and CBU Cluster bombs. The Rockeye Cluster bombs:
- Weigh nearly 500 pounds
- Are designed to take out armored vehicles, such tanks.
- The bomb carries multiple bomblets that can be activated and dispensed from the original package. This is why they call them cluster bombs.
- Each bomblet weighs just under 1.5 pounds.
- When detonated, the bomblet produces 250,000 psi making it possible for the bomb to penetrate upwards of 7.5 inches of tank armor.
- Each Rockeye Cluster bomb holds 247 MK 118 Mod 1 bomblets.
Make no mistake about the power of a bomblet as they are designed to penetrate a tank and kill its occupants.
The Tomcat swoops in and dispenses 12-would-be cluster bombs (flares used for demo). The demonstration highlights how effective the Tomcat was against armored troops. If you put this fighter jet’s capabilities into the first Iraq War, you begin to see the effectiveness of this jet. In fact, the technology of the F-14’s era and its use is demonstrated by a news report from the first Iraqi War. The report depicted the result of a US Airstrike where the “enemy” fires their antiaircraft missiles straight up into the air. At the time, it was kind of funny because what goes up must come down. In this case, they bombed themselves. But, that logic shows how fast technology changes. It also illustrates why we need to improve our technology constantly.
The Sonic Boom Created By the High Speed Jet
As the demonstration commences, the spectators are looking for the jet, which disappeared into the clouds. In war, that happens too. You can hear the Tomcat’s engines screaming, but you cannot locate it. Then, it appears… almost at water level moving so fast that the image is blurred by the slow recorder. So fast, it creates a sonic boom, and then is gone. To create a sonic boom, a jet must travel at the speed of sound, which is 761 MPH. At that speed, an F-14 could travel from California to Japan in just over 7 hours. That would be a 5,355 mile trip in 7 hours. One of the biggest unanswered questions from this era is whether the Tomcat was better then the Mig? What say you?