RE: @sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD - They are in the boneyard
".....the current F18's missle system requires that the plane keeps flying towards the incoming target to keep it 'illuminated'....." Well, with the old SARH Sparrow (also carreid by Tomcats), that was true, but AMRAAM (carried by SuperHornets, F-16s, Eurofighter, Raptor, Uncle Tom Cobbley and just about every Western fighter not built in France) is fire-and-update, or fire-and-forget if there is a friendly like AWACS in the area. AMRAAM, unlike the old Sparrow, has it's own active radar for terminal guidance.
In the mid-phase it flies a path calculated to get it close enough for the active homer to lock on, and this mid-phase can be updated by an encrypted datalink which can be fed either direct from the launching aircraft's radar, or from other radar data supllied by friendlies in the area (such as wingmen, AWACS or Hawkeye). In short, not only can a SuperHornet launch an AMRAAM and then turn away, they can even switch off their own radar to reduce the chance of detection and simply let an Hawkeye flying a hundred miles away supply the data to get the missile into the range where it switches to self-homing. If the range is shorter, the AMRAAM just goes straight to self-homing at launch, which makes it a much better dogfight missile than the old Sparrow, and with a much bigger punch than lighter SRAAMs like Sidewinder.
But personally, whilst I am a big fan of Harrier, the F-14 was simply the most amazingly capable naval fighter ever, to the point where I'd even place odds on the Tomcat versus an F-35B.