04 October 2004

"Now this is what I call a target rich enviornment"

Well, I went out and bought the Top Gun DVD a couple of days ago and I've decided to dedicate this post to the finest fighter in the Navy's arsenal. Sadly, this year has begun it's decommissioning process. This jet is the Cadillac of fighters and I've decided to go through it's history, the immortilization of this fighter in american pop-culture, and some of my favorite moments from the movie and some more stuff too. So sit back, grab a beer and prepare to enter the 'Danger Zone.'

The History of the F-14 Tomcat

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a United States Navy supersonic, twin-engine, variable sweep wing, two-seat strike fighter. The Tomcat's primary missions are air superiority, fleet air defense and precision strike against ground targets.

The F-14 has visual and all-weather attack capability to deliver Phoenix and Sparrow missiles as well as the M-61 gun and Sidewinder missiles for close in air-to-air combat. 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. The F-14, equipped with Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) is the Navy's only manned tactical reconnaissance platform.

The F-14 entered the fleet in 1973, replacing the F-4 Phantom II. The F-14B, introduced in November 1987, incorporated new General Electric F-110 engines. In 1995, an upgrade program was initiated to incorporate new digital avionics and weapon system improvements to strengthen its multi-mission competitive edge. The F-14D, delivered in 1990, was a major upgrade with F-110 engines, new APG-71 radar system, Airborne Self-Protection Jammer (ASPJ), Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) and Infrared Search and Track (IRST). Additionally, all F-14 variants were given precision strike capability using the LANTIRN targeting system, night vision compatibility, new defensive countermeasures systems and a new digital flight control system. The F-14 is currently scheduled to be retired from the U.S. Navy arsenal in the year 2005. It is to be replaced by the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Super Hornet.

The F-14 is reputedly named for late Vice Admiral Thomas Connolly, whose testimony before the Senate was critical in the cancellation of the deeply flawed TFX project. Ironically, much of the F-14's equipment was re-used from the TFX, including the radar, Phoenix missile, and the Pratt & Whitney TF30 engines.

Statistics of the Tomcat


Role: Fleet Defense Interceptor
Crew: 2, Pilot and Radar Intercept Officer
First Flight: 1970
Entered Service: 1973
Manufacturer: Grumman

Length: 62 ft 8 in
Wingspan: 64 ft 1 in (extended) 38 ft 2 in (swept)
Height: 16 ft 0 in
Wing area: 565 ft²
Weights: Empty: 39,762 lb
Loaded: 68,649 lb
Maximum takeoff: 74,438 lb

Engines: 2 × General Electric F110-400 Turbofans
Thrust: 20,900 lbf each

Maximum speed: 1,544 mph (Mach 2.34)
Combat range: 576 mi
Ferry range: 2,000 mi
Service ceiling: > 56,000 ft

Guns: M61A1 20-mm Vulcan multibarrel cannon
6 AIM-54s(Phoenix) + 2 AIM-9s(Sidewinder)
6 AIM-7s(Sparrow) + 2 AIM-9s
2 AIM-54s + 3 AIM-7s + 2 AIM-9s
4 AIM-54s + 2 AIM-7s + 2 AIM-9s
(work in progress....check back for updates)