In an alternate timeline...
* The NATF Program continues development and evaluation of aircraft design.
* The planned A-12 and Super Hornet are shelved.
* In its place, the Navy opts to procure a next generation fighter with the strike capability of the F/A-18.
* This NATF airframe would be known as the F-28.
* The F-28 inherits the F-14’s overall arrangement and variable-geometry wings, making it a true successor design. It is given the befitting nickname “Tomcat II”.
* The Tomcat II would incorporate numerous emerging technologies such as composite construction, advanced fly-by wire and high power propulsion systems.
* As a cost saving measure, stealth technology is omitted from the F-28 design. However, the airframe adopts RCS reduction.
* Construction of the prototypes follow suit, with the US Navy ordering its first batch in 1992.
* The Tomcat II’s maiden flight takes place in late 1996 with production starting in 1999.
* After the type’s testing phase, the F-28A enters service in 2002 with much appraisal.
* In Navy deployment, the F-28 replaces the aging F-14 fleet and augments the A-6F in the strike role.
* The Tomcat II is sometimes called, “Puma” to differentiate it from “Legacy Tomcats”
* By 2008, the Navy retires the last of the original Tomcats. But the namesake still lives on with the F-28.
* 2014 sees new upgrades for the F-28 fleet, with the new AESA Radar and thrust vectoring nozzles.
* In the same year, The Royal Australian Air Force receives its first batch of F-28A’s, replacing the F-111C.
* As F-22 export is banned, there is increased interest in the F-28, with potential customers in Europe and Asia.
The Tomcat II is basically a what-if aircraft that takes the place of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. In this permutation of events, the F-28 is a Generation 4.5 class aircraft. It is a modern interpretation of its iconic predecessor that offers cutting edge technology and impressive performance.
Design by Jetfreak, use with permission.