Under condition of anonymity, a senior-level official with the Navy has informed TACAIRNET that the service intends on bringing the F-14 Tomcat back from the graveyard to replace the delayed F-35C carrier variant of the Lightning II stealth strike fighter. The Tomcat was retired from the US Navy in 2006, just over eleven years ago, having been superseded by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, a multirole fighter which has more than proven itself over the past thirteen years as an effective carrier-based fighter/attack platform. The Lightning II has seen a considerable number of program setbacks and failures, as described by Luis Jenkins, a defense researcher on Reddit.com, the world’s most trusted source of military technology analysis.
“It just sucks, man, it can’t even fly, it can’t fire its guns, it costs $500 million to build, and we just need a new fighter that can do what the Navy needs it to do,” said Jenkins in an on-the-record phone interview with TACAIRNET. “They shouldn’t even call it the F-35, bro, they should call it the Loser-35. ‘Cause that’s what it is. Get it?”
The aforementioned Navy official confided in us that after seeing a significant amount of negative comments on social media directed towards the F-35 program, which expects to reach full rate production in the near future, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) began to have serious doubts about buying their variant of the stealth fighter. So much so that at an acceptance ceremony for a new F-35C test model, the NAVAIR representative due to formally take charge of the aircraft from Lockheed Martin seemingly got cold feet, leaving the fighter, its builders and a man dressed up as a priest standing in shocked silence at the figurative altar.
The Navy official, in a discussion with us, said: “We’re looking towards the future of fighter aviation in the Navy, and the future is in the past. That’s why we want to bring back the Tomcat. Those armchair generals… err.. excuse me, admirals, on the internet clearly know more about the needs of the Navy than the Navy itself.” In the details forwarded to TACAIRNET, it appears that the Navy will not commission a contractor to rebuild Tomcats from whatever parts are leftover after the aircraft was phased out of service, but instead carry out the entire project in-house using Navy personnel.
“We don’t really have much to go on, they destroyed most of the Tomcats and sent the rest to museums, since we didn’t want the Iranians to get their hands on parts,” says the unnamed Navy official. Since the Department of Defense ordered all Tomcats to be dismantled and shredded, the Navy will temporarily retask scores of sailors into parts collection teams. These specialized teams will go door to door and Walmart to Walmart, collecting razor blades, beer cans, tins, and other consumer products which were, once upon a time, one of the most capable fighter aircraft ever built.
“We’ll then take the best and brightest engineers graduating from the Naval Academy and have them sit in hangars, give them print outs of Tomcat pictures, and have them put these fantastic aircraft back together piece by piece. Whoever builds a Tomcat first will be given command of their very own Littoral Combat Ship. Whoever builds two will get an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer… and whoever fails to build us our Tomcats, you’ll be stripped of your commission; you’re clearly not cut out to be an officer in the most advanced naval fighting force in the world!”
Lieutenant Commander Frank “Shark” Phelps, a career Super Hornet pilot, was shocked by the move. “The Tomcat is great and all, yeah, but there’s a reason we retired it to begin with.” The F-14 was originally removed from the fleet due to steadily decreasing readiness levels, high operational and support costs and general inflexibility on modular upgrades, which the Super Hornet addresses and solves nearly completely. “I mean sure, the F-35 has its problems, but bringing back that old relic? Are they stupid? Those idiots have been huffing chemtrails again, haven’t they…”
The US Navy will procure one F-14 by April 1, 2018, from the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, and will have it refurbished to flight status soon after. Smithsonian officials expressed extreme reluctance at giving up their sole Tomcat on display, a participant in the second Gulf of Sidra Incident (1989) credited with a MiG kill. When we asked the anonymous Navy official how NAVAIR intends on acquiring this Tomcat, which hasn’t flown in years, he responded: “We’ll devise some form of competition and have them wager it. If we win, we get the Tomcat. If they win, we’ll give them a Gerald Ford-class carrier.”
He and other top-level officials are still deliberating whether or not an arm-wrestling contest would suffice between the Director of the Smithsonian and the Chief of Naval Operations. The entire program is expected to cost over $2 trillion USD over the next ten years, and will be funded by a revitalized Girl Scout cookies and snacks sales regimen. It is projected that around 100 boxes of Thin Mint cookies will pay for either one set of ejection seat cushions, or the forty rivets to be used on the aircraft during construction.
Happy April Fools! Or, rather, not so happy for some of you when you realize the Tomcat is never coming back.