Beautiful Virgin Islands


The F-14 Tomcat first flew 52 years ago. Here's why the US destroyed them rather than let anyone else buy them.

The F-14 Tomcat first flew 52 years ago. Here's why the US destroyed them rather than let anyone else buy them.

Like many of the United States' foreign-policy decisions over the past 20 years, this one was about Iran.

There was only one foreign customer for the advanced F-14 Tomcat fighter during its heyday: Iran.

The Shah chose to buy 80 Tomcats instead of the F-15 Eagle — and it was a good investment. Even after Imperial Iran gave way to the Islamic Republic of Iran after the 1979 revolution, the Iranian Air Force was still stacked with some of the best Tomcat pilots in the world.

And the US doesn't want any of them in the air ever again.

Iran is the US's ex-girlfriend who we just can't stop thinking about. After the Islamic Revolution, the US could just not leave Iran alone. A major US sticking point was that our ex still had 30 of our best fighter aircraft — and was using them to great effect against our new boo, Iraq, in the Iran-Iraq War.


An F-14D Tomcat over the Persian Gulf in November 2005.

The Iranian air force was so skilled in the Iran-Iraq War that a lone Tomcat could clear the skies of enemy aircraft without firing a shot. Many of the successful downings of Tomcats were at the hands of ground-based SAM batteries ... Iranian SAM batteries.

But the US eventually gets better stuff, no matter how iconic "Top Gun" is. Since the Tomcat, we've had the major advances in fighter technology that led us to develop the F-22 and F-35 fighters, technology so amazing it might seem like magic to some.

So it made sense to retire our fleet of F-14s in 2007, given that we had an air-superiority fighter that had the radar cross-section of a bumblebee and could take out enemy planes before it could physically see them. When Iran got wind of the Tomcat's retirement, you could practically hear the CEO of Northrop Grumman's tummy growling at the idea of parts sales.

But nope. This was 2007, and Iran was still firmly placed in President George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil," along with North Korea. The idea of selling Iran rare F-14 parts so it didn't have to cannibalize its own F-14 inventory was preposterous. It was this concern that led the Pentagon to shred every leftover F-14 Tomcat.
A US Navy F-14D Tomcat over Afghanistan, in November 2001.


Did the US have to take a $38 million plane and reduce it to scrap metal just so Iran couldn't repair its aging fleet? No, according to many national security experts, it did not.

They said the move was more symbolic than practical. F-14 parts were considered sensitive equipment just for this reason, so the US ended all parts sales to anyone, not just Iran, for fear that Iran might get them eventually. But that doesn't matter; there isn't much Iran could do with its F-14s if they were airworthy.

"Those planes as they age are maybe the equivalent of Chevrolets in Cuba. They become relics of a past era," said Larry C. Johnson, a former deputy chief of counterterrorism at the State Department in President George H.W. Bush's administration. "Even if they can put them in the air, they are going to face more advanced weapons systems."

The decision to destroy all the surplus Tomcats was the defense equivalent of taking the house and the car despite not needing or wanting either — a purely spiteful move that makes Tomcat fans wish they would have just donated to museums.
Read the original article on We Are The Mighty. Copyright 2022. Follow We Are The Mighty on Twitter.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Beautiful Virgin Islands
0:00
0:00
Close
U.S. Sues Adobe Over Hard-to-Cancel Subscriptions
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Deadly Heat Wave Claims Dozens of Lives During Hajj Pilgrimage in Mecca
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
Here are today's top worldwide stories you don’t want to miss:.
BVI Freedom Song
World’s Largest Pilot Union Calls to Eliminate Terms Like ‘Cockpit’ and ‘Manpower’ for Equity
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Woman Suing UK Intel Services Denies China Spy Allegations
VIRGIN ISLANDS REGGAE CARIBBEAN RIDDIMZ
Iran Sentences Nobel Laureate Narges Mohammadi to 1-Year Prison Term for Propaganda
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
News roundup
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
Good day, everyone! We've got some gripping stories for you today, spanning from the Middle East to Europe, and even a touch of Hollywood.
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
Britain’s Refugee Visa Rules Stranding Children in War Zones
Hello Dolly
UK Elections Predict ‘Electoral Extinction’ for PM Sunak’s Conservative Party
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
Good morning!
Yes He Can
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
Unforgettable
Fake Pro-Reform UK Social Accounts and Their Influence on Elections
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
The Lord's Prayer
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
THE GOD MOVEMENT...BEAUTIFUL BVI
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Siyahamba
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Ramblin' Rose
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
Protoje - Who Knows ft. Chronixx
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Pressure - Virgin Islands Nice
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Phil Wickham - House Of The Lord
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
My God Is Real (Yes, God Is Real)
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
The Lion King Circle of Life by LEBO M. — LIVE at the HAVASI Symphonic
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Kanye West Sunday Service - hallelujah, salvation, and glory
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jonathan Nelson - I Believe (Island Medley
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
From The Virgin Islands Sqad Up
World's Oldest Privately Owned Book Auctioned for $3.8 Million
Common, John Legend - Glory
Animal Rights Activists Deface King Charles' Portrait in Protest
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell - If I Ain't Got You
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
BVI Freedom Song
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
VIRGIN ISLANDS REGGAE CARIBBEAN RIDDIMZ
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
UK Job Market Shows Signs of Recovery
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Hello Dolly
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
Yes He Can
England Loses Over 260,000 Social Rent Homes in a Decade
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Campaigners Urge Government to Block Shein's FTSE Listing
Unforgettable
First NHS AI-Run Physiotherapy Clinic Launches This Year
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
British TV Presenter Michael Mosley Found Dead on Greek Island
The Lord's Prayer
Ukrainian Forces Claims First Strike on Russia's Su-57 Fighter Jet
THE GOD MOVEMENT...BEAUTIFUL BVI
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Siyahamba
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
×