In my introduction a couple of days ago, mentioned I was a retired Navy guy. Well, most of my career, about 19 years of it, was spent around the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, the Navy fighter plane that was The Star of the movie Top Gun.
A few months ago, there was some reporting about Tomcats seized on their way to museums that were not properly demilitarized. Concern grew out of that incident that F-14 parts could make their way to someplace we don't want them to go. Namely, the only other country that has ever flown them - Iran.
An outgrowth of that has been an effort to prevent the inadvertent or illegal transfer of F-14 parts or whole airframes to a legitimate enemy of the United States. They're being cut up with a huge claw and shears.
A mechanical monster grabs the F-14 fighter jet and chews through one wing and then another, ripping off the Tomcat's appendages before moving onto its guts. Finally, all that's left is a pile of shredded rubble — like the scraps from a Thanksgiving turkey.Be sure to watch the video listed under related video titled Raw video: Watch an F-14 get demolished. (Seems to be no way to link directly to the video.) The video is sort of pixelated because it's been sped up.
The Pentagon is paying a contractor at least $900,000 to destroy old F-14s, a jet affectionately nicknamed "the turkey," rather than sell the spares at the risk of their falling into the wrong hands, including Iran's.
It's quite fascinating to watch. But for a guy who spent so much of his life and career maintaining this jet, to have seen it fly and know it's marvelous capabilities, it's sad to see it cut up and discarded like an old wrecked car.
It was a sad day for me when the last Tomcat flew, ending an era of a great warplane.
If you can get beyond the notion that these are simply machines, or, as Marshall “War Dog” Lefavor put it:
The uninitiated non-believers think an airplane is a collection of moving parts and miles of wiring.
We know better
Update July 3, 2007 - Instapinch has more to say on this subject, and lots of pics.