The F-14 and the F-15 were designed in almost the same years and each one was at the top of its own "compartment" (respectively, US Navy and US Air Force).

However, almost 15 years ago, the F-14 was retired in favor of the F/A-18, surely less powerful but probably more multi-role (while the F-14 was improved too for ground attack), while the F-15 was not superseded by the new F-22.

So, the F-14 was replaced by a project that already had 16 years on its shoulder in 2006 — the F/A-18 was a project of the 80's — but F-15 continues to be side-by-side with the F-22.

Why these complete different approaches to fleet renewal?

  1. There aren't enough F-22s to go around. Too expensive.
  2. The F-18C/D Hornet that replaced the F-14 has itself been mostly replaced by the F-18E/F Super Hornet. The look the same, but the E/F is actually larger and more advanced. Not really the same aircraft.
  3. Maintenance. Facilities on a carrier are restricted, simply due to space. If they can reduce the number of airframes to support on a ship, and still accomplish the mission, good.
  4. Lack of mission for the AIM-54, which was the primary reason for the F-14.

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