F-14s Head to Scrap Yard
The Defense Department is having its old F-14 Tomcats destroyed.
A mechanical monster grabs the F-14 fighter jet and chews through one wing and then another, ripping off the Tomcat’s appendages before moving onto its guts. Finally, all that’s left is a pile of shredded rubble — like the scraps from a Thanksgiving turkey.
The Pentagon is paying a contractor at least $900,000 to destroy old F-14s, a jet affectionately nicknamed “the turkey,” rather than sell the spares at the risk of their falling into the wrong hands, including Iran’s. Within a workday, a $38 million fighter jet that once soared as a showpiece of U.S. airpower can be destroyed at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., the military’s “boneyard” for retired aircraft.
“There were things getting to the bad guys, so to speak,” said Tim Shocklee, founder and executive vice president of TRI-Rinse Inc. in St. Louis. “And one of the ways to make sure that no one will ever use an F-14 again is to cut them into little 2-by-2-foot bits.”
The Defense Department had intended to destroy spare parts unique to the F-14 but sell thousands of others that could be used on other aircraft. It suspended sales of all Tomcat parts after The Associated Press reported in January that buyers for Iran, China and other countries had exploited gaps in surplus-sale security to acquire sensitive U.S. military gear, including F-14 parts.
You’d think they could just take them to a junk yard and put them in a car crusher. Leave it to the Pentagon to spend a million bucks having things turned to scrap.