All serial versions of deck multipurpose interceptor fighters of the F-14A “Tomcat” family have an important tactical advantage - a two-seat cockpit. As on the Su-30CM or F-15E, on the Super Tomcats, the 2 pilot performs the role of the avionics operator, controlling the AN / APG-71 radar station, the infrared television sighting system IRSTS, analyzing the radiation sources on the AN / ALR- indicator 67, as well as observing information about the tactical situation, obtained from the board of the deck aircraft DRLOiU E-2C / D via radio "Link-16". The F-14D's good information field, based on the 2's compact LCD MFIs in the pilot and 3-like indicators from the operator of the systems (central - large), in addition to the ability to scan the earth and water surface, can be attributed to “Super Tomcat” by generation "4 +." A possible upgrade of these machines would also include updating the dashboards of the pilots, because despite the presence of MFIs in the front cockpit, their size does not allow fully duplicating the operator’s cab, and a large number of electromechanical analog devices that occupy most of the area dashboards. Despite the tandem layout of the F-14A / D pilots, there is a drawback in the cabin layout: the visual front view of the system operator is severely limited, since his seat is located at the level of the first pilot seat
Tactical and strategic combat aircraft aviation with variable wing geometry, they began to delight and interest amateurs and experts in the field of aerospace technologies, and also fell in love with military pilots more than 52 years ago, when in December 1964 the first prototype of a multi-purpose long-range fighter-bomber F took off -111A "Aardvark", which later turned into several universal shock modifications with strategic capabilities specifically for the American and Australian Navy and Air Force. The variable wing geometry gave aviation two important tactical qualities: low-altitude flight following the terrain at a transonic or low supersonic speed to overcome the enemy air defense system (with the wing folded) and mid-altitude or high-altitude flight at subsonic cruising speeds with the wing open, used for the minimum flow rate fuel for flights over long distances within the vast regional theater of operations. This category of cars also includes those withdrawn from the American fleet F-14A "Tomcat" family carrier-based interceptor / multirole fighters, which are being actively replaced by the very dubious F / A-18E / F "Super Hornet" tactical and technical specifications and the terribly slow 1,3-missile multirole fighter aircraft 5 -th generation F-35C.
This review continues an interesting, but very short and summarizing opinion of an unnamed Chinese author and columnist in the field of military equipment, which was published on the Military Parity resource, which briefly described the scale of tactical omissions that came into the American fleet after the cancellation of all modifications of the deck Tomcats "And" Super Tomcata ". A similar situation exists with the F-111 fighter-bomber that was decommissioned, together with the EF EF-111A "Raven" versions in the USAF at the end of 90, and in Australia at the end of 2010. The completion of the deployment of these machines, of course, for the worse affected the operational capabilities of the long-range tactical strike aircraft of the US Air Force. The magnitude of the omissions is no less than a bit like the freezing of the integration program of the strategic low-profile AGM-129A / B / C ACM strategic missile into the armaments of the B-52H and B-1B "Lancer" strategic bombers, as the efficiency of the Australian Air Force and the US Air Force in Indo has sharply decreased - Asia Pacific. Both Super Tomkaty and Trubkozuby possessed all the qualities necessary for the implementation of the BSU concept, as well as an enormous modernization potential for successful service in the 21st century, but the Americans safely missed this opportunity for us.
Australian F-111C "Aardvark" (in the RAAF they were called "Pig", - "Pig") in the number of 24 long-range strike fighter-bomber became the main patrol aircraft of the Air Force in IATR. The huge radius of action in 2000 km, as well as the speed of 2400 km / h made it possible in a matter of hours to reach one or another point in Southeast Asia, as well as near borders in the Indian and Pacific oceans with 14-tonnage rocket-bomb "equipment" on 8 nodes suspension. It consisted of: PRLR AGM-88 HARM, modifications of the air-to-ground tactical missiles AGM-65 "Maveric", as well as various precision bombs with a semi-active laser seeker or satellite guidance system. Today, these unique machines are decommissioned by the RAAF and are being replaced by “positional” and slow “Super Hornets”.
WHAT DID THE US NAVY LOST AFTER THE "CARE" OF "SUPER TOMKETA"?
Grumman's specialists, who won the Pentagon's 3 February 1969 contest for the promising VFX interceptor fighter ("Variable geometry Fighter Experimental" or "Navy Fighter Geometry"), originally announced in 1968, initially relied on the design of the glider with variable geometry wing, because they knew that such a wing would make of the future F-14A a truly multi-purpose deck aircraft complex, allowing the fleet to not only effectively defend aircraft carrier strike groups from tactical fighters, strategic bombers and enemy aviation, but also to escort their missile-carrying bombers within a radius of up to 1500 km from AUG without refueling, and also to carry out strike operations at a similar distance from the aircraft carrier. The solid experience gained by the “Grummen” in the design and mass production of the F-111A / B / C / D was also used in relation to the “Tomkat”, and therefore any questions concerning the aerodynamic qualities of the wing at various sweep angles were quickly resolved or absent altogether.
The most important, one might even say, revolutionary, can be considered the design of the power plant and the tail planes of the airframe. Firstly, the engine nacelles of 2 "Pratt & Whitney" TF30-P-414A turbojet engines were separated by a decent distance from each other, which, in comparison with "Phantoms" and "Aardvarks", dramatically increased the survivability of the vehicle in the event of damage to one of the engines ( a similar scheme found its application in our multipurpose fighters of the MiG-29, Su-27 and T-50 PAK-FA families, as well as the Chinese J-11 and J-15). The first design solution led to the second: the glider received a tail unit with 2 vertical stabilizers located directly on the nacelles and above the engine nozzles. This solution made it possible to avoid the strong torque in the yaw plane when flying with one engine running. The moment arose due to the decent separation of the engines from the longitudinal axis of the airframe. The large total area of the stabilizers compensated for all these disadvantages. This design was also supported by the entry into service of the USSR Air Force of the high-speed interceptor MiG-25P, which also has a large two-fin vertical tail.
Like any high-speed interceptor, the F-14A received adjustable air intakes for external compression engines with a bucket-type engine, where the air flow is adjusted by deflecting the ramps at the top of the air intakes. The air intake duct clearance created by the automatic ramp movement depends on the height, speed, angle of attack and the current aircraft mass. Fully ramps are revealed in high-speed and high-altitude interception modes. Due to the wide use of titanium alloys (24,4%), aluminum (39,4%) and boro-epoxy materials (0,6%) with a small amount of steel elements (17,4%), the airframe of the machine, even with taking into account drives of changing the geometry of the wing and V -shaped titanium beam with a caisson design with a central transverse wing of the wing, turned out to be quite light and durable, allowing you to implement loads to 7 units. The empty mass of the F-14A was 18,1 tons, and the normal take-off mass with a pair of Phoenixes (AIM-54A / B) and a pair of Sparrow (AIM-7F / M) approached 26 tons. This, of course, did not allow to have a thrust-weight level at the 1,0 level with the engines of the first versions, but allowed to reach this level later (in the 1986-th year), when the first experienced F-14D "Super Tomcat" took off, which is a serial F-14B with significantly more powerful General Electic TRDDF F110-GE-400 12700 kg / s. The high aerodynamic qualities of the F-14A glider, as well as adjustable air intakes, ensured a maximum speed of 2480 km / h (without suspensions) and around 2200 km / h (with suspensions), which is approximately 25% higher than the current F / A-18E / F "Super Hornet". But these are only the visible benefits of the Super Tomcat.
Having removed the Tomcats from the US Navy on September 23, 2006, the fleet command made bets on the less complicated and expensive Super Hornets to maintain. It is no secret that the accident rate of these aircraft is much lower than that of the first versions of the F-14, and the speed of the established turn in the "dog dump" (close maneuverable air combat) is also higher due to the higher thrust-to-weight ratio and large influxes at the wing root; But this is not the main thing when the E-2D Hawkeye detects, 600 km from the AUG, up to hundreds of strategic cruise missiles, which are approaching, for example, a friendly naval base in the Philippines: F / A-18E / F with its 1700 km / h they will not be able to do anything for sure, and the range of 800 km for long-distance interceptions is clearly small. But the F-14D could really "make the weather", especially when using the advanced interceptor missiles AIM-54C "Phoenix" and AIM-120D AMRAAM. And the accident rate of these modifications was no longer at such a critical level as in the first fighters with TF-30 engines from Pratt & Whitney.
What can be said about the maneuverability of the Tomcats? Like any aircraft with a thrust-weight ratio significantly lower than the 1,0, the first modification of the TomCat cannot be compared with such power-up maneuvers as the MiG-29C, Su-35C, F-16C, F-15C / E / SE and F / A-18E / F. Nevertheless, the “bully-cat” could always “show its teeth”, and often it did in training battles with our front-line MiG-23LD fighters based in the 80s. on the Vietnamese Avb Cam Ranh, as part of the 169 of the mixed air regiment. When our fighters took to the air on patrol, the pilots of the American F-14A, carrying air on the South China Sea, took the Twenty-third to escort them in advance thanks to the powerful on-board pulse-Doppler radar with a slit antenna array (AAR) AN / AWG- 9, this happened at a distance of 200 km, the MiG-31B with its “Shield” was then at the pre-production stage, and we did not have the tools for a decent response. And they had “Phoenixes” on active suspensions with active radar seeker and range up to 180 km. Further, according to the logic of things, there was a rapprochement and our machines entered into imitation short-range air battles with American Tomcats, half of which often ended in victory for the latter: everything depended on the training and experience of our and American pilots. In other words, the maneuverability of the first version of the F-14A was not so bad, and this is understandable from the published documentation of the initial stage of tests of the deck fighter-interceptor: the maximum angle of attack reached 41 degrees, a sharp turn in the pitch plane without loss of controllability could reach 90 degrees (almost “Pugachev's Cobra”, there is even a video in “YouTube” to prove it), the glider confidently maintained the 9,5 multiple positive overload, which is comparable to the performance of most modern tactics Sgiach fighters. The excellent bearing qualities of the airframe in the maximum wing sweep mode (68 degrees) are realized due to the combination of aerodynamic properties of the wing and the fuselage surface between the nacelles, and the full turning rear tailgate (elevators) also plays a role: high maneuverability qualities at transonic and supersonic speeds.
An interesting fact is that the aerodynamic quality of the F-14A-D glider has a 9,1 coefficient, which is even higher than that of the European multi-purpose fighter EF-2000 "Typhoon" (the factor is 8,8). It is also known that the new engines from General Electric F-110-GE-400 increased the afterburner per midsection by 34% in the F-14D Super Tomcat modification: from 1481,25 kg / sq. m, it increased to 1984 kg / sq. The result was an increase in the acceleration qualities of the Tomcat, an increase in the climb from 150 to 180 m / s (by 20%), an increase in thrust ratio to 0,85 - 1,0 (depending on the type of suspension and amount of fuel), and the possibility of flying from a small supersonic cruising speed (up to 1,25M) that the “Super Hornets” pilots did not “dream the best”. H 8 suspension can be placed up to 6580 kg of high-precision rocket-bomb armament and various optical-electronic sighting and navigation containers for conducting reconnaissance and target designation at a large distance from the target. But this is information that can be calculated with the help of simple mathematical operations, a more complicated and interesting point - the modernization of all versions of Tomcata, which depends directly on the fuselage design.
“F-14D + BLOCK X”: VARIATIONS ON THE TOPIC OF MODERNIZATION OR FOLLOWING THE “SILENT WITH NEEDLE”
F-15E's “Srike Eagle” and F-15C “Eagle” profoundly improved and merged to a single updated version of the F-15SE “Silent Eagle” is today the main highlight of the Boeing Corporation in achieving its many billions of contracts among the large list of Arab States in the Arabian Peninsula, Israel, and the Republic of Korea. Combining the best flight-technical and combat qualities of the two key versions of the Eagle, the F-15SE received an advanced glider with a tailing angle of tail vertical empennage, as well as extensive use of radio absorbing materials, which reduced the radar signature to EPR indicators around 0,7 - 1 square. The conformal armaments compartments located immediately behind the air intakes contribute to this. They hide the radio-contrast active homing heads of AIM-120C / D missiles from the enemy radar exposure. The new airborne radar AN / APG-63 (V) 3 c AFAR implemented in Silent Eagle the possibility of high-precision work both on small airborne and ground targets, probably in the mode of the synthesized aperture. The parameters of this radar are close to AN / APG-81, mounted on low-profile fighters of the F-35 family, in particular, the detection range of the Rafale-type air target from AN / APG-63 (V) 3 is 150 km, and of the type “F- 15C ”- 215 km. The F-14A "Tomcat" has been sharpened for such an improvement.
The main emphasis in the modernization is on reducing the radar visibility of the aircraft. As applied to the F-14D "Super Tomcat", it is giving the angle of dilution to vertical tail stabilizers within 20 — 30 degrees for the most effective spread of the irradiating electromagnetic wave of the enemy radar, introducing radio-absorbing materials into the air intake edges and winged fixed flows, changing the geometry of airway channels, changing airway inlets and airfoils, changing the geometry of airway inlets and airfoils. in front of the blades of the engine compressors in order to avoid the reflection of the radar radiation of the enemy’s radar, the creation of an improved design the cab light (avoiding right angles and rounding in the flashlight binding model, radio absorbing materials in the binding elements).
The second point is the installation of the internal weapons compartment. Like the F-14D "Super Tomcat", and with the earlier versions of the deck multipurpose fighter, there is a rather large niche between the engine nacelles; its width is about 1,6 m, thanks to which a large weapons compartment longer than 4,5 m could be built in, which could fit from 4 to 6 long-range air-to-air missiles AIM-120D. Firstly, it would significantly increase the value of the “Super Tomcat” as a long-range interceptor and deck fighter to gain air supremacy, secondly, it would eliminate the external suspension in operations that require overcoming the enemy’s ground and air defense, and therefore additional decrease in ESR. The armament compartment could also accommodate such high-precision armament as small-sized planning bombs GBU-39 SDB, moreover in quantities up to 10 units, making the F-14D an excellent tactical strike fighter of the 4 ++ generation.
No less interesting is the consideration of a possible upgrade of the F-14 D “Super Tomcat” avionics, where the fighter’s BRLS comes to the fore. The Super Tomcats were equipped with the AN / APG-71 radar, which, unlike the purely anti-aircraft AN / AWG-9, was the first most powerful stories deck-mounted multi-mode radar aircraft capable of operating on land, sea and air targets within a radius of up to 250 km, while its instrumental range reached 370 km. The fact is, AN / APG-71 is a modification of the AN / APG-70 station installed on tactical fighter F-15E "Strike Eagle", but with improved energy performance. The antenna array AN / APG-71 is 914 mm in diameter, with an azimuthal field of view 160 degrees (in the AN / AWG-9 radar, it is 130 degrees). Later, it was planned to improve the software for controlling the on-board radar modes by including the algorithms used on the Strike Needle: this is the SAR (synthesized aperture) mode, the terrain following mode, and the Doppler mode; the latter, as is well known, allows one to accurately calculate the radial velocities of the objects being accompanied, and also boasts a high degree of noise immunity. But all the works “froze” simultaneously with the completion of the combat deployment of “Tomcats” and “Super Tomcats” based on the AUG of the US Navy, while the upgraded F-14D could get a radar of a fundamentally new type.
The internal dimensions of the radio transparent fairing F-14D fair fighter are adapted to the installation of virtually any version of the American airborne radar. The favorites could be AN / APG-63 (V) 3, AN / APG-81 and even AN / APG-77 stations installed on Raptors, the combat power and tactical features of such a bastard would have surpassed those with which we are familiar in “Super Hornets”, with the exception, of course, of stable maneuverability in long-term BVB, because the controlled thrust vector for F110-GE-400 has not yet been developed, and “lit up” only in conjunction with the F100-PW-100 TRDDF for an experimental super-maneuverable American fighter F-15 ACTIVE, which was not in the series.
The combined optical-electronic sighting system IRSTS installed under the radar nose radar, which allows observing ground, surface and air targets in infrared and television channels at a distance of up to 80 km in the daytime and at night, could be replaced with an optical-electronic IR system with the DAS aperture distributed over the glider of the fighter, used in the F-35A avionics, or its equivalent. Such an F-14D + would become an excellent reconnaissance-strike deck unit of the US Navy, capable of performing air defense functions. With regards to DAS, we can note the growth of “stealth” -the capabilities of the aircraft possessing it. As in the case of our optical-electronic sighting complexes OLS-UEM (MiG-35), 8ТК (MiG-31), 36Ш / OLS-27К (Su-27 / 33) and OLS-35 (Su-35С / 50), AN / AAQ-37 DAS is capable in passive mode (with radar off) to detect and track air targets far from 100 (tactical aircraft) to 1000 or more kilometers (starting OTBR and ICBM), AIM- missiles can be launched to targets 120D, which will be detected already on the approach to the target, either by its radar tools or according to STR, which notifies about the irradiation of ARGSN. "Tomkat" with full 2-swing afterburner could start leaving with the included EW complex. F-14D + would have an order of magnitude more anti-aircraft / anti-missile, anti-ship and pure impact capabilities confidently supported by a large radius of action, speed and number of suspension nodes, but the Americans were inclined towards simplicity, “dubious” cheapness and limited advantages of “Super Hornets”, depriving its strategically important fleet of the “long arm” for decades, which is beneficial both to us and to China.