Indeed, we all know the story of years back how a U.S. F-22 Raptor flew right under an Iranian F-14 to check out its weapons loadout, only to scare it away.
But what do simulations of such a fight tell us?
Thanks to a PC-based video game simulator that has been popular for years and recordings of actual dogfights taking place on this innovative platform, we might have some answers to this dream match in the sky.
Meet Digital Combat Simulator
And while movies like Top Gun: Maverick tries to showcase some sort of mythical way an old fighter like the F-14 could somehow win the day, the video game simulation shows the old Tomcat would likely not stand a chance under almost any circumstances.
Yes, It Was a Video Game Simulation
Sure, I know people will pan the idea of looking for clues of how an old but respected jet like the F-14 would perform against the F-22 in what amounts to a video game; I get it.
However, DCS is respected in the U.S. Air Force community as a very authentic platform to try out new combat situations in the sky that could possibly occur. And, to be frank, while the game does have very high specs for a PC to jump and play with a lot of skill needed, it sure is fun when you get going – as millions of people around the world would agree.
You can fly planes like the F-15, Eurofighter Typhoon, the F-35, and many more. Of course, all data on how these planes work is based on open-source information, so no plane is precisely like the real thing.
As one U.S. Air Force pilot told me:
“DCS is something I play all of the time, and respect for its authenticity and ability to showcase possible aviation matchups that could someday be seen in the sky. It does not get everything right. Of course, it does not have access to classified data, but for civilians and experts trying to get a sense of what one fighter could do against another, it does a good job of giving us some ideas to consider. And that is surely helpful.”
F-22 vs. F-14B: So What Happened? It Was a Slaughter
You really do need to watch the video above, as it is fascinating. However, over several different combat simulations, the F-14B, as you can imagine, was killed time after time.
The first engagement lasted just seconds and was the most interesting as the F-22 landed a guns kill on the F-14 easily.
All the other engagements ended the same way, with the F-14 meeting a fiery death in minutes.
During the last engagement, the F-14B pilot got very daring and aggressive. However, the result was both planes crashed into each other. Sadly, the only way an old F-14 might be able to kill the F-22 would be a kamikaze strike. Something Iranian pilots might want to consider, as they could very well someday use their old F-14s against U.S. F-22s.
I had to ask that same U.S. Air Force pilot above what an F-22 vs. F-14B dogfight would look like and he said “that is a really stupid question.” Indeed.
Bonus: F-14 Tomcat Photo Essay
Expert Biography: Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) serves as President and CEO of Rogue States Project, a bipartisan national security think tank. He has held senior positions at the Center for the National Interest, the Heritage Foundation, the Potomac Foundation, and Pacific Forum. Kazianis has also worked as a defense journalist, serving as Editor-In-Chief of the Diplomat and Executive Editor of The National Interest. His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum. He holds a graduate degree focusing on International Relations from Harvard University and is the author of the book The Tao of A2/AD, a study of Chinese military modernization.