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What if the Tomcat Had Never Happened?

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F-14 Tomcat prototypes in flight c1972.jpg
F-14 prototypes in flight, 1972. By U.S. Navy – U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation. Public Domain.

First of what may be a new series at the National Interest: What if the F-14 Tomcat had never existed?

What if the F-14 Tomcat had never happened? The iconic fighter served the U.S. Navy for more than thirty years before finally (and some say prematurely) being retired in 2006. Over time, the F-14 shifted from its initial long-range fleet air-defense role to a ground-attack mission. But what if the problems that plagued the program in the 1960s and 1970s had proved insoluble? How would the Navy have filled the gap?

Suggestions for other systems are welcome…

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