America Loves the F-14 Tomcat

Yes, everyone knows the plane from Top Gun. And everyone loves it.

F-14 Tomcat in mid-turn with wings swept back

After a first flight on December 21, 1970, the F-14 began operation in the U.S. Navy in 1972. The plane is a highly maneuverable intercept and strike aircraft. and it has been called ” the world’s premier air defense fighter.” [1]  Throughout its operational life of 1972 to 2006, the F-14 was the U.S. Navy’s “primary air superiority fighter and tactical reconnaissance plane.” [2] “Primary missions include[d] precision strike[s] against ground targets, air superiority, and fleet air defense.” [3]

F-14 in mid-turn with wings extended

Designed and manufactured by Grumman Aircraft Corporation, a total of 712 Tomcats were built. [4] The United States officially retired the F-14 Tomcat in 2006 after 34 years of service.

F-14 Takeoff
A F-14 takes off from aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt

Every F-14 was equipped with a 20mm M61 Vulcan Gatling gun. Missile load-out  included the:

  • AIM-9 Sidewinder Short-range missile
  • AIM-7 Sparrow Medium-range missile
  • AIM-54 Phoenix Long-range missile

The F-14 was the only plane that was could carry an AIM-54 Phoenix missile. With a range of over 100 miles, this missile could take down an enemy aircraft without ever being seen. However, the U.S. Navy used this missile only twice in combat situations, both over Iraq in 1999, and scored no kills.

The top speed of the F-14 is over Mach 2 (1524 mph / 1323 knots/hr). The maximum range is 1600 nautical miles.

The F-14 sails into the sunset

The F-14 Tomcat will live on in our memories and hearts forever…


One response

  1. Pingback: America Loves the F-14 Tomcat (via Raven’s Paradox) « Calgary Recreational and Ultralight Flying Club (CRUFC)

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