From the sea they strike -- the Navy's SEA WINGS. This collection focuses on America's Naval sea wing defense craft, which include the fastest fighters of the day. Aircraft seen in action include the F-8 Crusader, A-6 Intruder and F/A-18 Hornet, which carry the latest computer controlled missiles and radar-jamming equipment. These modern marvels are the gatekeepers of America's defense. Set out to sea with the F/A-18 Hornet, the historical TBM Avenger, and of course, the F-14 Tomcat, while providing the largest show-of-force the United States military has to offer.There is no such thing as a training mission for a carrier pilot. Every decision, every mission has life or death consequences. Prepare to earn your Sea Wings. Seawings Productions Inc. co-production with The Discovery Channel.
The A-6 was developed to meet the U.S. Navy's need for an aircraft that could attack ground and sea based targets in any weather, day or night. The A-6 worked around the clock in Vietnam, conducting attacks on the targets with a pinpoint accuracy unavailable through any other aircraft at that time. Later "Grumman Ironworks Intruders" were used extensively during Operation Desert Storm, providing precision bombing on a wide range of targets.
The Vought F-8 Crusader began active service in the US Navy in 1962, and went on to become the American aircraft the Russians most feared. The last of the 'gunfighters' can be seen here in footage from the early days of the Vietnam war, and there is also a feature on the prototype Super Crusader.
The Avenger originated from the 'Arsenal of Democracy' and proved to be one of the best examples of naval aircraft. Emerging from the race to replace the torpedo bombers of the 1930s, the Avengers can be seen in action in rare footage from the Marianas Turkey Shoot of June 1944, and there are interviews with original crew members who recall their operational service on carriers.
The F-14 Tomcat was developed by Northrop Grumman to replace the F-4 Phantom fighter and entered service with the US Navy in 1972. It was the foremost air superiority fighter of the Cold War, with continuing service as a fighter-bomber in the Gulf Wars. This part looks at the active duty of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, specifically in two missions over Libya in 1981 and 1989. Episode also looks at the specifications, weaponry and personnel involved with the aircraft.
The F/A-18 Hornet replaced the F-4 Phantom II fighter and A-7 Corsair II light attack jet, and also replaced the A-6 Intruder as these aircraft were retired during the 1990s. This part looks back at the active duty of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18, with footage from its activity in Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf. Included is also footage of its work in the Adriatic as it runs reconnaissance missions over Bosnia. Alongside this is a profile of the men and women who fly the Hornet.
The Grumman F9F Panther was developed in the late 1940s for a US Air Force which had only recently gained its independence from the Army. Although Grumman designs could not attain the same height or speed as other craft due to their heavier build, they could better withstand arduous carrier missions. The Panther is seen here in footage from the Korean war. In all, the F9F undertook 78,000 missions over Korea - and this was shortly after naval aviation had been given its premature last rites. Here you see recorded testimony to the excellence of Grumman's first jet fighter - the straight wing Panther that led to its successful development into the much faster swept-wing Cougar of the next generation.
Wing of Mercy looks at the Search and Rescue service of the US Coastguard, the seventh largest Naval air force in the world, and its Aerospatiale HH-65a Dolphin helicopter. This helicopter is at the forefront of the coastguard's 70,000 rescue missions a year and has been in service since 1983, covering over 15 different locations and over 15,000 miles of US coastlines. Seawings Productions Inc. co-production with The Discovery Channel