Besides going Tomcat-heavy in Cat Blogging, here are a couple additional F-14 entries for your Friday enjoyment:
“This last Tomcat cruise is only possible because of the gallons of blood, sweat and tears put into these airplanes by our maintainers,” said Lt. Cmdr. Craig Snyder, squadron maintenance officer. “They routinely put up eight or nine airplanes a day despite the challenges of limited parts support for this 35-year-old war-horse. We are one team out here.”
There’s no doubt that the current litter of Tomcats is about at the end of its useful life. It’s the fact that no new Tomkitties were brought along to take its place that’s so disappointing. The Super Hornet is a fine plane, for what it is. And what it is is not a Tomcat.
For the first time, a forward ground controller, with the call sign of “Antidote,” located on the ground near Baghdad, was invited “into” the cockpit of the aircraft via the Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) system.
“The new system allows forward ground controllers to see what the aircraft is seeing in real time,” said Lt. j.g. Will Parish, radar interceptor officer. “There is no time delay in the system.”
ROVER allowed Antidote to see real-time images acquired by the aircraft’s sensors by transmitting the images to his laptop. Usage of ROVER greatly improved Antidote’s reconnaissance and target identification, which are essential to the combat air support mission in Iraq.
Tomcats from both VF-213 and VF-31 are getting the ROVER upgrades, which cost only about $800 per plane using off-the-shelf technology.
Before ROVER capability, ground controllers had to rely on “visual talk-ons” to hunt for IEDs, track insurgents or follow suspicious vehicles. The ground controller would have a map he used to guide the pilots where they needed to go.
“The ground controllers are excited because it eliminates talk-ons,” said Parish. “It gives them a lot more confidence when making decisions such as dropping bombs, because they have the same real-time bird’s eye view as [the pilots] do.”
The ROVER system was first conceived in November. Yes, this November. As in “last month”. This is a great example of getting the job done.
Finally, I came across these patches at Home of M.A.T.S.:
If you haven’t checked out Home of M.A.T.S., you probably ought to.