F-14 Tomcat Fighter Jet

The F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, variable sweep wing, two-place strike fighter manufactured by Grumman Aircraft Corporation. The multiple tasks of navigation, target acquisition, electronic counter measures (ECM), and weapons employment are divided between the pilot and the radar intercept officer (RIO). Primary missions include precision strike against ground targets, air superiority, and fleet air defense.

Features: As a Strike Fighter, the Tomcat is capable of deploying an assortment of air-to-ground ordnance (MK-80 series GP bombs, LGBs and JDAM) in various configurations, while simultaneously carrying the AIM-7, AIM-9 and AIM-54 air-to-air missiles.

  Related Aircraft:
Chinese J15, Chinese J20,
F-35 JSF, F/A-18E/F, EA-18G

The F-14 also has the LANTIRN targeting system that allows delivery of various laser-guided bombs for precision strikes in air-to-ground combat missions and for battle damage assessment. With its Fast Tactical Imagery (FTI) system the F-14 can transmit and receive targeting/reconnaissance imagery in-flight to provide time sensitive strike capability. A number of F-14s also carry the Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) providing in-theater tactical reconnaissance.

The F-14 was retired from the active U.S. Navy fleet on 22 September 2006, having been replaced by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

First flew in December 21st 1970 , the F-14 armed with the powerful AWG-9 radar and AIM-54 Phoenix ,is one of the most powerful and lethal fighter / interceptor ever to serve in the US Navy .

First served on the USS Enterprise (CVN-65). It saw actions from Libya to Bosnia and proved capable of completing its mission. Each Tomcat cost more than 40 millions dollars and is one of the most costsome plane in the US Navy.

Given that whether or not you agree that F-14 is one of the Best fighters in the world . It is certainly one of the most magnificent aircraft to serve in the armed forces .

F-14A

Years before anybody thought of developing the F-14, in the early 1960's the US Navy and US Air Force had planned to build a fighter that should meet the requirements of both the Navy and the Air Force: The F-111. The Navy version was the F-111B, nicknamed "Sea Pig" by Navy crews and test personnel, an 85,000 lbs experimental fighter aircraft that was build to carry the 1,000 lbs heavy AIM-54 Phoenix missile and the AWG-9 radar. Missile and radar were a unique composition to shoot down aerial enemy targets 100 miles away. F-111B flight tests were not successful and killed several pilots. The aircraft was too heavy, too clumsy, too much a maintanance nightmare. Only 7 F-111B were produced before the program had been canceled in 1968. The AWG-9 radar and Phoenix missile would be installed in the F-111B replacement aircraft, the F-14A Tomcat. The Navy and Hughes decided to continue testing the AWG-9/Phoenix with the F-111B prototypes to ensure that the system was ready when the Tomcat was ready to fly years later.

F-14B

The F-14B was taken out of storage again in early 1981 and a pair of General Electric F101DFE (Derivative Fighter Engine) was fitted into it. This time flight tests were more successful and the F-14B prototype was put through a 33 hours flight evaluation. Thereafter, beginning on 14 July 1981, some 22 Grumman and 3 Navy test flights took place, during which engine installation problems arose. Grumman test pilots discovered that the F-14B could accelerate from Mach 0.8 to Mach 1.8 in just 90 seconds and the Navy found out, that the F-14B could launch from a catapult without the use of afterburners. Further, for the first time in the F-14's lifetime, pilot talked of "flying the aircraft and not the engines".

With its 65,000 lbs of thrust, the F101DFE engines produced enough power to give the F-14 a thrust to weight ratio of almost one to one. That means, the F-14B prototypes were able to accelerate in the vertical, something the F-14A was unable of. But the Navy - not the pilots - decided against the F-14B and the test program was terminated in September 1981.

VF130 F-14B

F-14D

In the late 1980s Grumman started a promotion for the new F-14D when the Navy was to select their future carrier-based fighter. Since Grumman saw still a growing potential for the F-14, they upgraded their 20 years old kitty with quite a range of up-to-date technology. But it was no easy way for the F-14D to find its place in the Navy, a lot of setbacks on the political scene made it hard and often endangered the F-14D production and remanufactoring. Finally, on 23 March 1990 the first production aircraft rolled off the assembly line. But sadly, the last one followed only little more than two years later on 20 July 1992.

The best visible modification are the engines. The F-14D is powered by two F110-GE-400 engines with 28,200 lbs thrust each. This increased thrust for the new Tomcat means no afterburners required for catapult launch on an aircraft carrier, improved "behind the boat" flying characteristics and more fuel efficiency. As pilots say, "the F-14D's new engines finally allow the pilot to fly the aircraft rather than the engines." The installation of the new GE engines required only minor changes to the aft fuselage and engine exhaust aera.

 

Continue reading: F-14 Tomcat intro - Part 2

 

 

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