This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets - We Are The Mighty
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This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets

This video is an ode to the F-14 Tomcat.


In 2001, as was the case six decades earlier, the United States got hit by an unprovoked and dastardly attack. The video starts with a quote from Thomas Jefferson about the tree of liberty.

Following that is a clip from the movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” in which Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto reacts to the news that the United States Navy was hit by surprise at Pearl Harbor, complete with his famous “sleeping giant” comments.

 

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
A U.S. Navy (USN) F-14D Tomcat aircraft flies a combat mission in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

 

We then get close to ten minutes of action, much of which focuses on the F-14. Aviation historian Joe Baugher noted that the F-14 had its first operational cruise in 1974. Its primary weapon was the AIM-54 Phoenix missile – which had a range of 80 nautical miles, per Designation-Systems.net.

Baugher notes that the U.S. Navy’s Tomcat scored five air-to-air kills – two Su-22 Fitters in 1981, two MiG-23s in 1989, and a Mi-8 during Desert Storm. In a stunning decision, work on F-14D production was inexplicably halted in February, 1991 (the excuse given was that is was an “economy move”).

The F-14 soon found itself being phased out, and in 2006, the Navy retired the plane after 32 years of service. Many of the planes were scrapped to keep components from falling into Iranian hands.

Here’s the video featuring the F-14. Enjoy and give us a shout if you worked with these airframes!

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Watch classic jets test out napalm and other bombs

Okay, so you’ve seen gun-camera footage and maybe you’ve seen the combat debut of the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Burst bomb, but long before weapons are used on the bad guys, the United States Armed Forces give them a few test runs.


Dropping a bomb from an airplane is a lot more complicated than you might think — it’s even led to some close calls that were caught on tape. Having your own bomb hit you while you fly over the bad guys isn’t exactly the desired outcome of your sortie, now is it?

So, to make sure everything goes according to plan, the military does a few test drops over friendly territory before taking it into the field. They want a good idea of how it drops and, importantly, if JDAM or Paveway guidance kits will work. These test drops are typically done in sparsely populated areas — think the vast deserts of Nevada or California.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
A B-1B Lancer releases a payload of inert weapons during a test flight. (USAF photo by Steve Zapka)

It’s why the Air Force has the 412th Test Wing that operates out of Edwards Air Force Base (best known as the place where the Space Shuttle would land). The Navy has VX-9, also known as “the Vampires,” at Naval Air Station China Lake. For the Marines, it’s VMX-1 in Yuma, Arizona. These squadrons are there to help work out the kinks and make sure that all aircraft and eligible ordnance work well together.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
Patch of the 412th Test Wing. (USAF graphic)

Tests like these have been done since World War II. For a little taste of vintage weapon tests, watch the video below and see some classic planes, like the North American F-86 Sabre, the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo, the Republic F-105 Thunderchief, and the North American F-100 Super Sabre test drop various bombs, including napalm.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig4XOziHC2Q
(Jeff Quitney | YouTube)
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This man found $2.5M in gold stashed aboard a surplus Russian tank

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, military surplus gear is like a box of chocolates — you never know what’s inside until you open it up and look.


For one lucky buyer, Nick Mead, who owns a tank-driving experience business in the United Kingdom, a $38,000 purchase of a Chinese-built Type 69 main battle tank off of eBay was a bargain, since he scored $2,592,010 of gold that had been hidden in the vehicle’s diesel tank! That represents a net profit of over $2.55 million.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
Chinese Type 69 tank. (Photo from National Defense University)

According to militaryfactory.com, a battle-ready Type 69 main battle tank is armed with a 100mm gun, a 7.62mm machine gun, and can be equipped with a 12.7mm machine gun. The tank has a crew of four. Over 4,700 of these tanks were produced by China.

But this tank, while produced by China, was exported to Saddam Hussein’s regime. Saddam bought as many as 2,500 Type 59 and Type 69 tanks. While many were destroyed during Operation Desert Storm, this one survived the BRRRRRT!

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
Marines look over a captured Iraqi Type 69 tank. (DOD photo)

The tank is believed to have also taken part in the original invasion of Kuwait. During the occupation of that country, Iraqi forces looted just about everything that wasn’t blasted apart. That included gold and other valuables.

Mead discovered the gold when checking out the tank after he’d been told by the tank’s previous owner that he’s discovered some machine-gun ammo on board. Mead then discovered the gold hidden in the fuel tank.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
Nick Mead holds one of the gold bars he discovered when checking out the Type 69 tank he bought on eBay. (Youtube screenshot)

Currently the five bars of gold, each weighing about 12 pounds, are in police custody as they try to trace the original owners.

MIGHTY TRENDING

Wounded warrior Elizabeth Marks receives the 2016 Pat Tillman Award

Wounded warrior Elizabeth Marks sat down with Army veteran Bryan Anderson from We Are The Mighty to talk about her journey through recovery from her injury in Iraq to eventually becoming a Paralympic swimmer.


After receiving this year’s Pat Tillman Award at the ESPYs, she spoke about the support she has received after her injury and the inspiration she hopes to provide others in their struggles.

If you’re hurting, whether it’s mental or emotional; if ever you think you’re alone, you’re not. If ever you think no one cares, I do. Please come join me behind the blocks.

The Pat Tillman Award for Service honors an individual with a strong connection to sports who has served others in a way that echoes the former Army Ranger and NFL star’s legacy.

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Watch the Coast Guard bust the biggest Narco-Sub ever

Narco-subs, aka drug subs, aka Bigfoot submarines, are custom-made submarines used by cartels in Central and South America to smuggle drugs (usually cocaine) from Colombia to Mexico and/or the United States. For more than twenty years the U.S. Coast Guard has been on the watch for these kinds of smuggling techniques. The first time they found one, they dubbed it Bigfoot, because before they actually found one, they had only heard rumors of their existence.


 

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
A narco-sub under construction in Ecuador

 

Sometimes the subs are self-propelled, sometimes, they’re dragged by a surface ship. Sometimes the subs are fully submersible, sometimes, they aren’t. This all depends on the level of expertise in their creation. The subs can typically carry tons of illegal cargo. Before subs, fishing vessels and speed boats were the main enemy in the war on shipping, but they can be seen on radar and the Coast Guard developed a special kind of helicopter to catch the fast boats. Much of cocaine moved that way was intercepted.

In July 2015, the Coast Guard caught a semi-submersible running just below the waterline.

 

In the video, the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton crew seizes bales of coke from a self-propelled semi-submersible submarine caught 200 miles off the coast of Mexico, July 19, 2015. They captured more than six tons of drugs from the 40-foot ship, worth an estimated $181 million. Another two tons of cocaine sank with the homemade sub.

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Watch this knockout from a modern-day Medieval knight fight

Fully armored, Medieval knight-style sword fighting is a sport in Russia now. And it’s freaking incredible.


M-1 Global is a Russian mixed martial arts company that has a Medieval “Knight Fight” circuit. The fighting began with jousting, but proved so popular, one-on-one fighting was a natural next step.

“I liked the fans’ reaction when we did it for the first time in St. Petersburg at M-1 Challenge 50,” M-1 Founder Vadim Finkelchtein told Marc Raimondi from MMAFighting.com. “At that time, the knight fight was to fill the pause between the undercard and main card fights. If we find enough fighters to make enough fights, we will have a separate medieval show with its own weight categories, title fights and champions.”

That was 2015, and it’s taken off since then. In August 2016, M-1 Medieval featured some hardcore head-to-head combat. Just watch one of these knights make the other one eat his shield until he passes out.

The modern-day knights use blunted swords, and cannot use submission holds or strikes to the back of the neck, spine, feet or ankles.

And even though these are fully-armored knight fights, as you can see from the video above, knockouts are still a distinct possibility.

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Here is how a Civil War cannon tore infantry apart

When you think of artillery, you’re probably thinking of something like the M777-towed 155mm howitzer or the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled gun. But in the Civil War, artillery was very different.


Back then, a gun wasn’t described by how wide the round was, but how much the round weighed. According to a National Park Service release, one of the most common was the 12-pounder Napoleon, which got that name from firing a 12-pound solid shot. The typical range for the Napoleon was about 2,000 yards. Multiply that by about twenty to have a rough idea how far a M777 can shoot an Excalibur GPS-guided round.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
The M1857 12-pounder Napoleon, probably the most common artillery piece of the Civil War. (Wikimedia Commons)

Another round used was the shell, a hollowed-out solid shot that usually had about eight ounces of black powder inserted. This is pretty much what most artillery rounds are today. The typical Civil War shell had a range of about 1,500 yards — or just under a mile.

However, when enemy troops were approaching, the artillery had two options. The first was to use what was called “case” rounds. These were spherical rounds that held musket balls. In the case of the Napoleon, it held 78 balls. Think of it as a giant hand grenade that could reach out as far as a mile and “touch” enemy troops.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
Artillery shot-canister for a 12-pounder cannon. The canister has a wood sabot, iron dividing plate, and thirty-seven cast-iron grape shot. The grapeshot all have mold-seam lines, and some have sprue projections. (Wikimedia Commons)

When the enemy troops got real close, there was one last round: the canister. In essence, this turned the cannon into a giant shotgun. It would have cast-iron shot packed with sawdust. When enemy troops got very close, they’d use two canister rounds, known as “double canister” (in the 1993 movie, “Gettysburg,” you can hear a Union officer order “double canister” during the depiction of Pickett’s Charge).

To see what a canister round did to enemy troops, watch this video:

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Army shows off new killer robots

The United States Army recently demonstrated some new killer robots at Fort Benning, near the city of Columbus, Georgia. While these robots are new, some of the gear they used looks awfully familiar to grunts.


According to a report by the Army Times, automated versions of the M113 armored personnel carrier and the High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, or HMMWV, were among the robots that were shown off to high-raking brass. These vehicles are currently planned for replacement by the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
Troops make their exit from a M113. (Photo: US Army)

While it might seem odd to use the older vehicles as the basis for robots, keep this in mind: The military has thousands of M113s and thousands of HMMWVs on inventory. The vehicles have also been widely exported. In fact, the M113 is so widely used, it’s hard to imagine anyone would want the used M113s the United States Army has to offer. The same goes for the HMMWV.

Furthermore, while these vehicles may not be ones that you can keep troops in during combat, they can still drive. They can carry cargo. Or, they can carry some firepower. With today’s ability to either drive vehicles by remote control, or to program them to carry out missions, these vehicles could have a lot of useful service left to give.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
A U.S. Army HMMWV in Saladin Province, Iraq in March 2006. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

An Army release had details about how the old platforms helped. One M113 was used to deploy other robots from its troop compartment – one that could hold 11 grunts. Another M113 was used to provide smoke – and conceal a pair of M1A2 Abrams tanks. An unnamed HMMWV demonstrated its ability to use a remote weapon station and a target acquisition system.

That’s not all. The military also had a modified Polaris all-terrain vehicle show its stuff. The ATV also featured an unmanned aerial vehicle on a tether. Such an eye in the sky can have huge benefits. Furthermore, the ATV has a much lower profile.

If these experiments are any indication, American grunts will still be seeing the M113 and HMMWV on the battlefield. This time, though, they will be fighting alongside them, not riding in them.

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These were the terrifying dangers of being a ‘Tunnel Rat’ in Vietnam

If fighting the well-defended Viet Cong on their home turf wasn’t dangerous enough, imagine having to crawl your way through a series of extremely tight and narrow underground tunnels to capture or kill them.


Armed with only a flashlight, a single pistol, or maybe just a knife, a “Tunnel Rat” didn’t have much in the way of defense.

“The most dangerous part would be psyching up to get into the tunnel,” Carl Cory says, a former 25th Infantry Div Tunnel Rat. “That was the part that was most frightening because you didn’t what you were getting into.”

Related: This video shows the ingenuity behind the Viet Cong tunnel systems

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
Sgt. Ronald H. Payne, a Tunnel Rat, bravely searches a tunnel’s entrance during Vietnam War. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

In 1946, the Viet Minh were the Viet Cong resistance fighters who began digging the tunnels and bunkers to combat the French, whom they would eventually defeat.

By the time the Vietnam War broke out, the Viet Cong had over 100-miles of tunnels with which to spring deadly ambushes on American and South Vietnamese forces before vanishing.

The numerous spider holes (as the tunnel entrances were sometimes called) were conveniently located and well camouflaged — nearly impossible to detect.

Also Read: American troops tried to find Viet Cong tunnels using witching rods

It was the duty of the brave Tunnel Rat to slide alone into the tunnel’s entrance then search for the enemy and other valuable intelligence. Due to the intense and dangerous nature of the job, many Tunnel Rats became so emotionally desensitized that entering a spider hole was just another day at the office — no big deal.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
Sgt. Ronald A. Payne searches a Vietnamese tunnel armed with only a flashlight and a pistol. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

With danger lurking around every corner, the Tunnel Rat not only had to dodge the various savage booby traps set by the Viet Cong, but typically only carried 6-7 rounds of ammunition with him even though the tunnels were commonly used to house up to a few dozen enemy combatants.

With all those physical dangers to consider, the courageous troop still needed to maintain a clear and precise mental state of mind and not let the fear get the best of him.

After completing a search, many American and South Vietnamese units would rig the tunnels with C-4 explosives or bring in the always productive flamethrowers to flush out or kill any remaining hostiles.

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This is what happened when Japan gave the F-16 steroids

When Japan was looking to replace aging F-1 fighters (dedicated anti-ship aircraft), they were thinking about an indigenous design. The F-1, based on the T-2 trainer, had done well, but it was outdated.


According to aviation historian Joe Baugher, the Japanese eventually decided to go with a modified version of the F-16C/D, giving Lockheed Martin a piece of the action.

However, Japan didn’t go with a typical F-16. They decided to give it some upgrades, and as a result, their replacement for the F-1 would emerge larger than an F-16, particularly when it came to the wings – gaining two more hardpoints than the Viper.

This allowed it to carry up to four anti-ship missiles — enough to ruin a warship’s entire day.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
A Mitsubishi F-2A taxis during a 2009 exercise. Note the dumb bombs. (U.S. Air Force photo)

It was also equipped from the get-go to carry radar-guided missiles like the AIM-7 Sparrow and Japan’s AAM-4. MilitaryFactory.com notes that the F-2 was delayed by issues with the wings, and eventually sticker shock hit the program when the initial versions had a price tag of $100 million each.

In the 1990s, that was enough to truncate production at 98 total airframes, instead of the planned 140.

AirForce-Technology.com reported that F-2s deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam for joint exercises in 2007. In 2011, 18 of the planes suffered damage, but most were returned to service. In 2013, the F-2s saw “action” when Russian planes flew near Japanese airspace.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
A comparison of the F-2 (in light blue) and the F-16 (in orange). (Wikimedia Commons)

For its long development and its truncated production, the F-2 has proved to be very capable. It has a top speed of 1,553 miles per hour and it carries over 17,800 pounds of ordnance.

By comparison, an Air Force fact sheet notes that the F-16 has a top speed of 1,500 miles per hour, and MilitaryFactory.com credits it with the ability to carry up to 17,000 pounds of ordnance.

In essence, the F-2 paid a visit to BALCO, and got some good steroids, going a little faster and carrying a bit more than your normal F-16. Japan has also improved the plane’s radar.

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How America literally chops the heads off of nuclear bombers

Boeing’s B-52H Stratofortress will be in service into the 2040s — a long career for the eight-engine bomber. But what of the earlier versions of the B-52? What is happening to them? Well, the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty consigned many to a fate reminiscent of the French Revolution.


The luckiest B-52s were placed on static display – many as “gate guardians” outside air bases and some in museums. A few others ended up as training airframes – permanently grounded, but still serving.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
This Boeing B-52G is on display at the Global Power Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The rest of them, though, were given a very harsh sentence in the so called “Protocol on Procedures Governing the Conversion or Elimination of the Items subject to the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms” — an ignominious death.

The so-called “BUFFs” sentenced to elimination were taken to a “conversion or elimination facility.” The United States chose the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to be that facility.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets

Once there, the BUFF was to be “eliminated” in accordance with the Treaty. Here’s that that protocol says must be done:

“(a) The tail section with tail surfaces shall be severed from the fuselage at a location obviously not an assembly joint;

“(b) The wings shall be separated from the fuselage at any location by any method; and

“(c) The remainder of the fuselage shall be severed into two pieces, within the area of attachment of the wings to the fuselage, at a location obviously not an assembly joint.”

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
A before and after shot of scrapped B-52s. (USAF photo)

The tool for this is surprisingly simple. According to a CNN report, it was a 13,500-pound blade that is hoisted about 60 feet above the BUFF. Then the blade drops like a guillotine (vive la France!).

The planes are then left out for 90 days to allow a Russian satellite to verify that the planes have gone through the “elimination” protocol. After that, they will be taken to be scrapped. Among those that have met that fate, according to CNN, was “Memphis Belle III,” a descendant of the famous World War II bomber. Each plane has 150,000 pounds of aluminum and other metals that will likely be soda cans, a car fender, or the stereotypical razor blades.

This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets
B-52s destroyed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. (USAF photo)

Below is a video showing this process underway from the ground level.

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