Grumman F-14 'Tomcat', Boscome Down 1992 ©Dave Key
12 December 1970.
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat was designed as an air superiority fighter and a long range interceptor, enabling it to serve as both an escort attack and a fleet air defence aircraft.
The F-14 has a two-seat cockpit fitted with a bubble canopy giving all round visibility.
It has variable ‘swing’ wings that automatically move during flight, sweeping right back at high speed and swinging forward at low speed. The wing sweep can vary between 20 degrees and 68 degrees during flight.
The Tomcat has a twin tail giving it excellent stability, twin engines housed in nacelles either side of the fuselage and the flat area between the nacelles used to contain fuel and avionics.
The flat area of the fuselage between the nacelles provides approx. 40% - 60% lift depending upon the position of the wings.
The Tomcat is not controlled by ailerons but instead roll control is provided by wing-mounted ‘spoilers’ at low speed and by the all-moving ‘tailerons’ at high speed.
Air brakes are positioned at the rearmost portion of the fuselage between the nacelles, the bottom surface is split into two and the tail hook fits between them.
When the Tomcat is stowed on the carrier, the wings can be ‘over swept’ to 75 degrees to save deck space.
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat was produced from 1969 to 1991, with 712 manufactured.
2 x Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-412s, producing 41,800 lb st.
Press play to hear the F-14
1 x M61A1 Vulcan 20mm cannon
8 x Air-to-Air Missiles or
14,500 lb (6,577 kg) bomb load.
The F-14 made its first deployment with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise in 1974, replacing the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.
The F-14 served as the U.S. Navy's primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defence interceptor and tactical aerial reconnaissance aircraft until the Tomcat was retired on 22 September 2006, having been replaced by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
|Crew - 2 in tandem|
|Wing Type - Variable sweep|
|Length - 62ft 8in (19.1m)|
|Wingspan - 64ft 2in (19.54m)|
|Height - 16ft 0in (4.88m)|
|Empty Weight - 40,105lb (18,190kg)|
|Max. Weight - 74,349lb (33,724kg)|
|Max. Speed - 1,553 mph (2,485 km/h)|
|Range - 2,012 miles (3,220 km)|