U.S. Jet washes up in Ireland

#1
06 May 2006

US Navy jet tail fin washes up on Irish shores

By Dan Buckley, Alan Good and Eoin English
THERE’S nothing quite like the roar of waves crashing on the beach to wipe away the cobwebs — unless it happens to be the scream of a US Navy F-14 Tomcat overhead.

Whichever was loudest appears to have masked the moment a piece of combat aviation history fell to earth recently and ended up on a beach in west Cork.

An investigation was underway last night after what is believed to be a large part of the structure of the US Navy fighter jet was found washed up yesterday by a retired Aer Lingus pilot.

The piece, about the size of a family car, is thought to be one of the tail fins from a twin-tail F-14 Tomcat — the jet featured in the movie Top Gun.

Retired Aer Lingus captain Charlie Coughlan made the amazing discovery at Long Strand at Owenahincha, near Rosscarbery.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “The paint is still perfect. It appears to have broken off the aircraft. I could see a spar inside — it’s cracked, not cut.”

The debris, which measures eight feet by four feet, is military grey and features a flying skeleton, the insignia of VF-101 squadron — also known as the Grim Reapers — who up until recently were the US Navy’s F-14 training squad.

“It is quite a substantial piece; you would think it would have sunk but the inside is layered with honeycomb material and that could have made it buoyant,” said Mr Coughlan.

“There are no barnacles on it, so I would say it has only been in the water a few months.”

He notified the Irish Aviation Authority who in turn contacted the gardaí. They sealed off the scene yesterday and handed the investigation over to the Air Navigation Investigation Unit.

A senior garda said there were no reports of any aircraft missing in the area. The US Navy seems equally mystified.

A spokesman at the Pentagon said last night that they were not aware of any missing tail fins.

“We don’t fly F-14s any more,” said Lieutenant Jim Marks. “They were decommissioned earlier this year.”

The F-14 Tomcat, with its distinctive swept wings, twin vertical fins and engines, and state-of-the-art technology, was one of the most formidable fighter jets in US combat aviation history.

Designed primarily as a naval air-to-air fighter, the Tomcat also proved adept in ground attack capabilities, tactical reconnaissance and precision strikes. The first prototype flew in 1970 and its first combat deployment began in 1972.

Both the Tomcat and its fighter squadrons were finally mothballed in January after more than three decades of combat duty.

A sense of that history can be found on the US Navy website. Wannabe Tom Cruises can download a computer video game designed to test the mettle of those intent on a career with the force.

Called the US Navy Training Exercise, the website declares it is being “conducted to help us evaluate future recruitment benchmarks”. Naturally, it has a code name: Strike & Retrieve.

The Navy says: “NTE: Strike & Retrieve presents a mental challenge that requires both sound reasoning and quick- thinking action on your part. At the navy we know the missions of the future will be determined not by who is the strongest but by who is the smartest.”

And, presumably, whoever manages to hang on to their tail-fins.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/irishex...683-qqqx=1.asp
 
#2
Didnt an F14 fall off a carrier in the Irish sea some years ago IIRC? Must be at least 10 though.
 
#3
Bossdog said:
06 May 2006

US Navy jet tail fin washes up on Irish shores


An investigation was underway last night after what is believed to be a large part of the structure of the US Navy fighter jet was found washed up yesterday by a retired Aer Lingus pilot.


And, presumably, whoever manages to hang on to their tail-fins.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/irishex...683-qqqx=1.asp
And I suppose he retired to Scotland.

Not Prestwick again!
 
#4
An F14 did indeed fall off a USN carrier many years ago. The Americans were concerned not so much about the aircraft, but the Phoenix missile it was carrying, and went to great lengths to recover said missile before the Soviet Navy could get their mitts on it.

The missile was eventually recovered, but the wreck of the F14 was abandoned.

If my (now fading) memory serves me correctly, this occurred somewhere near Ireland.
 
#5
smokey said:
An F14 did indeed fall off a USN carrier many years ago. The Americans were concerned not so much about the aircraft, but the Phoenix missile it was carrying, and went to great lengths to recover said missile before the Soviet Navy could get their mitts on it.

The missile was eventually recovered, but the wreck of the F14 was abandoned.

If my (now fading) memory serves me correctly, this occurred somewhere near Ireland.
The Mig-31 Foxhound/AA-9 Amos system is allegedly heavily based on the Tomcat/Phoenix, to which the Soviets gained access following the fall of the Shah of Iran.
 
#6
The F-14 was a rugged plane, and losing one vertical stabiliser would not nescessarily be a death sentance for the aircraft. It would be a bitch to get back aboard the ship, so the crew would most likely divert ashore.
As long as no one was injured, and the plane was otherwise intact any report on the incident could be buried, hence the mystery.
 
#7
It's entirely possible that, since VF-101 was the East F-14 FRS and only deployed for short training exercises not 6-8 month cruises, that it came from a jet that stuffed in on the other side of the Atlantic years ago (and plenty did over the past 35yrs). It's possible that the structure allowed enough air to remain trapped so that it would float. The Gulf Stream runs right along the Atlantic coast.

http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/atlantic/spaghetti-speed/gulf-stream.jpg

YM- I don't know if the F-14 had the ability to isolate sections of the hydraulic system, but if it didn't, then the loss of one of the fins would have required a return to earth courtesy of Martin-Baker.
 
#8
crabtastic said:
It's entirely possible that, since VF-101 was the East F-14 FRS and only deployed for short training exercises not 6-8 month cruises, that it came from a jet that stuffed in on the other side of the Atlantic years ago (and plenty did over the past 35yrs). It's possible that the structure allowed enough air to remain trapped so that it would float. The Gulf Stream runs right along the Atlantic coast.

http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/atlantic/spaghetti-speed/gulf-stream.jpg

YM- I don't know if the F-14 had the ability to isolate sections of the hydraulic system, but if it didn't, then the loss of one of the fins would have required a return to earth courtesy of Martin-Baker.
Good point. I was an ordnanceman, so I know squat about hydraulics. It may depend on which model it was as well. An F-14D in my CAG lost a stabilator in a midair off the Virginia coast and made it back to NAS Oceana.
VF-101 being a FRS, they might have had the old "A" model.
 
#9
Whats the betting the finder will claim salvage rights and it will end up on eBay!! :D
 
#11
One_of_the_strange said:
The Mig-31 Foxhound/AA-9 Amos system is allegedly heavily based on the Tomcat/Phoenix, to which the Soviets gained access following the fall of the Shah of Iran.
That was never proved; all of the Iranian F-14's are either still in their inventory, retired from service or lost in combat. :wink:
 
#12
Fraser said:
One_of_the_strange said:
The Mig-31 Foxhound/AA-9 Amos system is allegedly heavily based on the Tomcat/Phoenix, to which the Soviets gained access following the fall of the Shah of Iran.
That was never proved; all of the Iranian F-14's are either still in their inventory, retired from service or lost in combat. :wink:
Going way off thread, but:

1. The Soviets wouldn't have had time to develop the Amos/Foxhound in that sort of time frame. (Iranian Revolution 1979- Mig 31 entered service in 1983) If they did get any data on the AWG-9/AIM-54 combo, it would have come from infiltrating the Imperial Iranian Air Force or the Spams directly.

2. There's bugger-all chance of the Islamic Republic co-operating with with the Soviets on something like this. The mullahs couldn't stand communists.
 
#13
crabtastic said:
Fraser said:
One_of_the_strange said:
The Mig-31 Foxhound/AA-9 Amos system is allegedly heavily based on the Tomcat/Phoenix, to which the Soviets gained access following the fall of the Shah of Iran.
That was never proved; all of the Iranian F-14's are either still in their inventory, retired from service or lost in combat. :wink:
Going way off thread, but:

1. The Soviets wouldn't have had time to develop the Amos/Foxhound in that sort of time frame. (Iranian Revolution 1979- Mig 31 entered service in 1983) If they did get any data on the AWG-9/AIM-54 combo, it would have come from infiltrating the Imperial Iranian Air Force or the Spams directly.

2. There's bugger-all chance of the Islamic Republic co-operating with with the Soviets on something like this. The mullahs couldn't stand communists.
The Mullahs might not be able to stand commies, but the chance to swap some US technology for some bargain deals on new military hardware from their new supplier may well have proved too good to pass over.

Oh, and if all the airframes are accounted for; what about the spare radars and missiles ?
 
#14
india-juliet said:
Whats the betting the finder will claim salvage rights and it will end up on eBay!! :D
US Navy is incredibly posessive about its stuff. Claims of Salvage Rights hold no sway, the Navy maintains ownership of anything that was ever once in its inventory. There was a case of a rare WWII fighter which was drug up off the bottom about ten years ago, restored back to flying condition by the private citizen who found it, and the Navy swooped in and claimed ownership. Very uncivilised.

The rule of thumb ever since has been that if you find something interesting that the US Navy used to have, for God's sake, don't tell the US Navy.

NTM
 
#15
California_Tanker said:
india-juliet said:
Whats the betting the finder will claim salvage rights and it will end up on eBay!! :D
US Navy is incredibly posessive about its stuff. Claims of Salvage Rights hold no sway, the Navy maintains ownership of anything that was ever once in its inventory. There was a case of a rare WWII fighter which was drug up off the bottom about ten years ago, restored back to flying condition by the private citizen who found it, and the Navy swooped in and claimed ownership. Very uncivilised.

The rule of thumb ever since has been that if you find something interesting that the US Navy used to have, for God's sake, don't tell the US Navy.

NTM
Ain't the US Army the same, I seem to remember the trouble that a fella had to recover one of the DD shermans, lost at slapton sands, which was to be used as a memorial, untold amounts of red tape, think he got told that the wouldn't let him have at first, in the end he paid $1 for it IIRC
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#17
crabtastic said:
Going way off thread, but:

1. The Soviets wouldn't have had time to develop the Amos/Foxhound in that sort of time frame. (Iranian Revolution 1979- Mig 31 entered service in 1983) If they did get any data on the AWG-9/AIM-54 combo, it would have come from infiltrating the Imperial Iranian Air Force or the Spams directly.

2. There's bugger-all chance of the Islamic Republic co-operating with with the Soviets on something like this. The mullahs couldn't stand communists.
yeah...possibly via a guy called John Walker......
The KGB had choreographed every step of its meetings with Walker since his initial contact with the Russians in late 1967. After their first meeting -- when Walker had boldly strutted into the Soviet Embassy in Washington and offered to sell Navy secrets for cash -- there had been only one other face-to-face encounter in the U.S., a rendezvous two weeks later with a KGB agent in a shopping center. Since then the Russians had met him in person only in Europe. All other exchanges had been done through dead drops and after a stunning eighteen years of spying, Walker had become such an old hand at them that his KGB handler had once gushed: “You are the most experienced, the very best!”

“Goddamn right!” Walker had replied.

" US technology passed to the Sovs ?....damn, must have been some Eyeranian Mutha ...."

Makes me die how every time there's a security disclosure we drag out Burgess,Philby and McLean - anybody but a Yank........how's the trial of the Pentagon analyst caught red-handed passing classified documents on Iraq to members of Mossad going guys? 8)


Schh...You Know Who !
 
#18
Goatman said:
crabtastic said:
Going way off thread, but:

1. The Soviets wouldn't have had time to develop the Amos/Foxhound in that sort of time frame. (Iranian Revolution 1979- Mig 31 entered service in 1983) If they did get any data on the AWG-9/AIM-54 combo, it would have come from infiltrating the Imperial Iranian Air Force or the Spams directly.

2. There's bugger-all chance of the Islamic Republic co-operating with with the Soviets on something like this. The mullahs couldn't stand communists.
yeah...possibly via a guy called John Walker......
The KGB had choreographed every step of its meetings with Walker since his initial contact with the Russians in late 1967. After their first meeting -- when Walker had boldly strutted into the Soviet Embassy in Washington and offered to sell Navy secrets for cash -- there had been only one other face-to-face encounter in the U.S., a rendezvous two weeks later with a KGB agent in a shopping center. Since then the Russians had met him in person only in Europe. All other exchanges had been done through dead drops and after a stunning eighteen years of spying, Walker had become such an old hand at them that his KGB handler had once gushed: “You are the most experienced, the very best!”

“Goddamn right!” Walker had replied.

" US technology passed to the Sovs ?....damn, must have been some Eyeranian Mutha ...."

Makes me die how every time there's a security disclosure we drag out Burgess,Philby and McLean - anybody but a Yank........how's the trial of the Pentagon analyst caught red-handed passing classified documents on Iraq to members of Mossad going guys? 8)


Schh...You Know Who !
IIRC, Walker was a singalman- his big thing was giving away cyphers. The result being that the Sovs knew exactly where every vessel in the USN was at any given time.

OOTS, even if the tech transfer between the Islamic Republic and the USSR occurred (and they we really quite worried about a Soviet attack themselves- the iranian communists were second on their sh1t list after they got rid of all the Shah's people- and the Sovs were worried about Islamist movements in their Southern Republics) it still gives the Sovs an absolute maximum of 3 1/2 years to a) get hold of the kit b)reverse engineer it c) come up with a design for a version they could build, d) test it and e) deploy it. I don't think it could be done.
 
#19
W.Anchor said:
Could be a bit they they had replaced on a plane and chucked the raubbish bit over the side of the carrrier to get rid of it
The article said that the spar looked like it had cracked, rather than been cut or detached normally, suggesting that the part sheared away.
 

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