The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a twin-engine, twin-seat, variable-swept wing fighter aircraft developed by Grumman as a fleet defender for the US Navy.

The F-14 Tomcat was the first and the largest fighter of the American Teen Series, a series of four 4th generation American fighter aircrafts. The Tomcat was followed by the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F/A-18 Hornet.

Result of the US Navy Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program, the F-14 Tomcat was developed following the cancelation of the F-111B fighter.

The F-14 Tomcat was designed as a fleet defender capable to act as an interceptor, and air superiority fighter and later a true multirole fighter aircraft.

The F-14 Tomcat first flew on 21 December 1970 and was introduced into US Navy service starting with 22 September 1974.

Its US Navy carreer spanned over 32 years, being its main fleet defender aircraft. It was finally retired from USN service on 22 September 2006, its role being completely overtaken by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

F-14 Tomcat remains totay in service with the Iranian Air Force, the Iranians managing to still keep in service some numbers of this advanced and complex piece of aircraft engineering despite the arms embargo imposed by USA which cut the needed spare parts for the F-14.

Over the course of 22 years, between 1969 and 1991, 712 F-14 Tomcats were manufactured with a 1977 unit cost of $19.2 million and a 1998 unit cost of $38 million.

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The F-14 Tomcat Design

The F-14 Tomcat was designed to be both an air supriority fighter and an interceptor armed with the long-range AIM-54 Phoenix in order to defend the aircraft carrier fleet against Soviet bombers while also being capable of air-to-air combat against enemy fighters.

The F-14 was a large and heavy twin-engine and twin-seat fighter aircraft with a variable-sweep wing design.

The F-14 Tomcat was designed during the 60s following the cancellation of the F-111. A large long range air-to-air missile, the AIM-54 Phoenix was developed for the F-111, but the later was cancelled due to poor performance.

The US Navy urgently need a new fleet defender aircraft, to act both as an interceptor an as an air superity fighter. The new aircraft needed to be larger enough to carry the huge AIM-54 Phoenix missile, and at the same time it needed to be very maneuverable in order to be capable of air-to-air dogfight.

Grumman came with a new design, a very large fither aircraft similar in size with the F-111 and like the F-111 its most striking feature were its variable geometry swept Wings.

In flight the wing sweep varies from 20° and 68°. On the carrier deck the wings can be swept to a maximum of 75° to save more space when parked.

The sweep of the wings is automatically controlled by the onboard computer but can be manually override by the pilot when needed.

With the wings fully swept in flight, the F-14 Tomcat can reach very high speed and a stable flight accomplishing its interceptor role.

When the wings are fully unswept, the Tomcat is a high maneuverable aircraft capable of dogfight.

The wings can also be swept asymmetrically with one wing fully swept and the other fully uextended. The Tomcat proved it was able to land on carrier deck with the wings swept asymetrically and also with the wings fully swept, but this is recommended only in case of emergency.

The F-14 was also intelligently designed from the aerodynamic point of view. The large plain surface of the central fuselage between the engines acts like a portant area, increasing the total portant surface of the aircraft.

This made it possible for an F-14 to land safely after it lost one of the wings.

The F-14 Tomcat Engines

The F-14 is a twin-engine fighter-interceptor and it was initially equiped with two Pratt & Whitney TF30 (or JTF10A) augmented turbofan engines.

Each P&W TF30 turbofans was rated at 20,900 lb (93 kN) of thrust.

But the Pratt & Whitney TF30 proved to be problematic with 28% of all the F-14 accidents were attributed to the engine.

All of the F-14A, F-14B and F-14D fighter aircrafts were equiped with the newer General Electric F110 engine.

The F-14 Tomcat Avionics

In order to operate the large AIM-54 Phoenix missile, the F-14 Tomcat needed a very powerfull radar. The Hughes AN/AWG-9 X band radar was developed and the F-14 became the first combat aircraft capable to engage multiple targets at the same time.

The AN/AWG-9 can track a maximum of 24 targets simultaneously and can engage six of them in the Track while scan (TWS) mode from around 60 mi (97 km).

The F-14s one of a kind Television Camera Set (TCS)

Another unique feature of the F-14 Tomcat was the Northrop's AAX-1 also designated the Television Camera Set (TCS). Located outside the aircraft, under its nose, the TV Camera Set was designed as a complementary system to the radar.

The Television Camera Set and the radar communicated with each other.

After the F-14s long-range radar detected a possible target, the TCS entered it role. The camera under the nose, with a very powerful lens, magnified over the threat so that the pilot can visualize its target on a screen in its cockpit.

This helped the pilot to visually identify the possible threat and to distinguish between friends or foes. The TCS system had a range of 60 miles (97 km) against large aircrafts.

The Northrop's AAX-1 replace the earlier AN/ALR-23 sensor suite. Later on, on the F-14D models the TV Camera Set was replaced by a dual infrared/optical detection system.

The F-14 Tomcat Variants


The F-14A was the initial model of the Tomcat. The first F-14A made its inaugural flight on 21 December 1970 and the fist 12 models of the F-14A that were manufactured were prototype versions.



The F-14 Tomcat Operators

United States Navy


The F-14 Tomcat Armament

The F-14 Tomcat was unique in many ways. Its armament also. The F-14 was the only aircraft that carryed the legendary AIM-54 Phoenix because such a large missile needed a large combat aircraft to carry it.

AIM-54 Phoenix, like its host, was a very special piece of military hardware. The Phoenix was a very heavy and large long-range air-to-air missile designed to hit both aircrafts as well as anti-ship missiles potentially launched against the USN carriers by the long-range Soviet bombers.

This gargantuan missile measured 15 inches (38 cm) in diameter, 13 feet / 4 in length and had a mass of 1,000 lbs (454 kg).

After its launching the missile start to climb and flew on a ballistic trajectory in order to increase its range before it accelerate full speed towards its target. It could fly above 80,000 feet (24,384 m) at speeds of Mach 5.

Designed to counter all sorts of aircrafts as well as missiles, the AIM-54 Phoenix was and remains to this day a unique and powerful deadly missile.

Posted by: Andrei Dcs
F-14 Tomcat - General Data and Specifications:
Type 4th generation Fighter Aircraft / Interceptor / Air Superiority / Multirole Combat Aircraft
Place of Origin United States of America
Service Period and Status 22 September 1974 - 22 September 2006 (United States Navy)
Currently in service with Iran Air Force
Designer Grumman Aerospace Corporation
Manufacturer and Builders Grumman Aerospace Corporation
Production Period 1969–1991
Number Built 712
Mass / Weight Empty weight:
43,735 lb / 19,838 kg

Loaded weight:
61,000 lb / 27,700 kg

Max. takeoff weight:
74,350 lb / 33,720 kg
Length 62 ft 9 in / 19.12 m
Height 16 ft / 4.88 m
Wingspan Spread:
64 ft / 19.55 m

38 ft / 11.58 m
Wing Area • 565 sq ft / 52.5 m2 wings only
• 1,008 sq ft / 94 m2 effective area including fuselage
Wing Loading 96 lb/sq ft (470 kg/m2)
48 lb/sq ft (230 kg/m2) effective
Airfoil Root:
Grumman (1.74)(35)9.6)-(1.1)(30)(1.1);

Grumman (1.27)(30)(9.0)-(1.1)(40)(1.1)
Powerplant F-14A initially equipped with:
2 × Pratt & Whitney TF-30-P-414A (or JTF10A) augmented turbofan engines

Later F-14A+ / F-14B / F-14D equipped with:
2 × General Electric F110-GE-400 afterburning turbofan engines
Thrust Dry Thrust:

• 20,900 lb / 93 kN each (initial fighters eqquiped with Pratt & Whitney TF-30-P-414A turbofans
• 16,610 lbf / 73.9 kN each (with the General Electric F110-GE-400 turbofans)

Thrust with Afterburner:

28,200 lbf / 125 kN each (with the General Electric F110-GE-400 turbofans)
Fuel Capacity Internal fuel:
16,200 lb / 7,348 kg internal fuel

External tanks:
2 x optional 267 US gal / 222 imp gal / 1,010 l / 1,756 lb / 797 kg capacity external tanks
Speed 1,544 mph / Mach 2.38 / 2,485 km/h maximum speed
Operational Range Combat range:
500 nmi / 575 mi / 926 km

Ferry Range:
1,600 nmi / 1,840 mi / 2,960 km
Service Ceiling 50,000+ ft / 15,200 m
Rate of Climb >45,000 ft/min / +230 m/s
Thrust-to-Weight Ratio 0.88 lbf/lb / 0.0086 kN/kg
1 lbf/lb / 0.0098 kN/kg with loaded weight & 50% internal fuel