I wrote a bit on the competetiveness of the "interim" late 20th Century Fighters.
Although thye are not technically competetive with the later marks of the SU-27, the upgrades to present fighter in the inventory and the delivery of Block 52 F-16s and Super Hornets to the frontal aviation units is critical.
Hellenic Air Force Block 52 F16. Greece operates and maintains many powerful if obsolete or obsolescent aircraft and is a participant in the Block 52 F-16 Program.
It is difficult in the Absence of Understandable reports to assess the exact capabilities of the new and upgraded fighters mentioned.
Unmentioned in the general chatter about USAF and USN is anything about upgrading the Tomcat or F-15 beyond the F-15E.
The latter is the Ground attack version (actually mutli Role) of the F-15C.
At least the Block 52 F-16's and Super Hornets are considerably different externally from their immediate predecessors.
The Super Hornet development has been ongoing sonce the "need" to retire the Tomcat, partially because of their developing difficulties in the maintenance field.
You can guess , maybe, what I am going to say next;
DON"T retire the Tomcat!!!!
Picture is of a beautiful flight of Iranian F-14s.
The exact capabilities of the F14A in Iranian hands is unknown.
Iran's military has let it be known that their F-14s have been upgraded in terms of range and weapons.
The USN was not satisfied with its "Bombcat"---a multi role version of the F-14-and discontinued the program.
I know you think I am not serious, but I personally would feel better if I knew F-14s were operating out of, say, Otis AFB. Of course neither the USN or the ANG or USNR would allow that to happen despite the fact that the F-14 is much more capable that the F-15 or F-16 in a air defence role.
Otis is, aside from Katrina Victims' housing and the ANG F-15s (the first to arrive--late--at Ground Zero) empty; as is Camp Edwards.
The vast Military Reservation was due to be closed and was saved from closure only by the need to house Katrina Victims.
The F-14. despite its age and obsolensence, , It is an enormously powerful Air to Air fighter and might be "saved"---to the beneifit of Homoeland defence if used in the suggested air defence role.
I rather suspect I would be laughed at in Navy circles.
The HOMELAND folks is badly in need of ANY effective air defence, right know, we don't have even a semblance of effective protection against any airborne threat other than 40 year old "Bears" flying the Polar Route to Cuba.
Relegating the F-14 to NAS or AFB use would present certain problems.
The first is that the spare parts ofor the aircraft are not longer being made.
Ok. Set Aside HALF of the presently functional F14s for parts intead of shredding them ALL.
Shredding the Tomcat is seen as a necessity as Iran operates this aircraft, and in an apparently professional manner, and Iran's original 79 F-14s need serious help to stay flying.
Images of Tomcats buzz our own troops in Eastern Iraq and seeing them operational with HAWK missiles speaks to that.
Come to that, given the fact that they are still operational in many allied countries, why was the F4F (improved Phantom) program not pursued here.
Picture of proposed German Air force F4F--an improved Phantom with beter radar capable of handling the AIM-120 AMRAAM Missile.
Was it because the aircraft is a "sled" or because the military points to Russian developments and screams that they need new aircraft.
Well, the surely do, but retiring immensely capable if obsolete and obsolencent aircraft would quickly enlarge the air defence of the Homeland, why is it not seen to.
If there is not a cadre of maintenance technicians and pilots for the two aircraft "I'll eat my Hat".
Argentine A4 Skyhawk proved it self as scarily capable, with dumb bombs, against the Royal Navy in the 1982 Falklands war.
The Royal Navy was caught flat footed, even with the capable Sea Dart and Sea Wolf SAM systems and Harriers deployed from HMS Illustrious and the aging Carrier HMS Hermes, later sold to the Indian Navy.
This is without discussing the success of the Exocet Armed French built Super Etendards.
I will post my FLICKR Address for more Photos.