Grumman’s F-14 Tomcat Scrapbook
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat was the successor of the ill-fated General Dynamics F-111B aircraft carrier-based fighter. The first prototype flew on December 21, 1970, and was introduced operationally in 1974, just missing combat in the skies over Vietnam. One original mission was to defend carrier task forces from attacks from the Soviet Union in case of World War III.
The aircraft in use with the U.S. Navy were upgraded through a series of electronic and powerplant improvements. After the initial F-14A, the F-14A+ and F-14B swapped Pratt and Whitney engines for General Electric powerplants. The Super Tomcat, known as F-14D, added more flexibility, including the capability of dropping Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs) too.
The only export of this Grumman model went to the Imperial Iranian Air Force, who used them heavily during their war with Iraq during the 1980s.
The U.S. Navy’s jets were slowly retired during the 1990s, although the type fought during the 1991 Gulf War. As newer F/A-18 Hornet versions were fielded, Tomcat squadrons switched to the Super Hornet. The final squadron retired their F-14s in late 2006.
Here’s a look at the Tomcat through the eyes and lenses of a number of Photorecon.net and ClassicWarbirds.net photographers, enjoy!