There Isn't A Fighter Pilot Alive That Doesn't Wish They Still Flew an Tomcat, because of the truly vast payload an could carry, including ground targeting systems. It saw close air support service in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The bow shock-wave - very high subsonic flight, just below the speed of sound. Some surfaces of the aircraft are already supersonic - there is local supersonic flow. The mass condensation occurs in the low pressure area directly behind the bow shock-wave.