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Paging Tomcat Tweekers, specifically with TARPS knowledge


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That's the control panel for the TARPS pod that goes in the cockpit. The ground crew just set it on top of the pod while they wheeled it on the skid to the jet.

That's kind of what I thought, but I wasn't entirely sure. Thanks, Neeko! Much appreciated.

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Would that be due to relatively few TARPS pods available on a deployment and only certain jets that can carry it? I would have expected a TARPS capable jet to already have that panel since only certain F-14As on a deployment (in only one of the two deployed squadrons) could carry it. I imagine later on with the F-14D (or was it B?) fleet being being capable of carrying TARPS, then I could see a need to wire in a control panel on a jet as needed.

Fascinating.

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Would that be due to relatively few TARPS pods available on a deployment and only certain jets that can carry it? I would have expected a TARPS capable jet to already have that panel since only certain F-14As on a deployment (in only one of the two deployed squadrons) could carry it. I imagine later on with the F-14D (or was it B?) fleet being being capable of carrying TARPS, then I could see a need to wire in a control panel on a jet as needed.

Fascinating.

The answer to your question could be because of a million different reasons, as it applies to the picture attached in the OP.

Every single D was plumbed for TARPS when they came off the assembly line. That being said every single D did not come off the assembly line with its own TARPS pod and associated control box. There were relatively few of them, and thus the pod and control were rotated to the aircraft that were to be configured for TARPS missions, or they were deconfigured altogether and the pod put in the hangar (and the control box put on a shelf in the TARPS shop). When the panel was not configured on the aircraft, the cables were stowed and the opening was blanked off.

I am less familiar with how the As and Bs did it, but it stands to reason that they would also act similarly. There were far more TARPS capable F-14As and Bs than there were TARPS pods, and there were not that many more control boxes out there than pods.

Add LANTIRN to the mix, and things get even more fun... because LANTIRN and TARPS used a lot of the same resources (and real estate in the RIO'S cockpit).

In the pictures linked in the OP, I can't see anything that tells me what ship or squadron is involved... I see three stripes painted on the pod, but these things were cross decked enough to not make me convinced that it belongs to 143... based on what I see.

Edited by Neeko
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