Grumman F-14 Tomcat Cost, Specs, Review, Manufacturer – Born out of the canceled F-111B Navy program at the end of the Cold War, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat established itself as the Navy’s go-to interceptor.
Grumman F-14 Tomcat Cost, Specs, Review, Manufacturer
|Type||Grumman F-14 Tomcat|
|Year of development||1974|
|Development Status||Limited Service, Retired|
|Engine||Two General Electric F110-GE-400 turbocharged engines (27,800 pounds of thrust)|
|Max Speed||1342 knots (1544 mph)|
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – The Grumman F-14 Tomcat was the typical defensive fleet interceptor of the U.S. Navy at the end of the Cold War. Its existence was largely due to the failure of the F-111B, a modified version of General Dynamics’ F-111 Aardvark large rotary-wing bomber.
The Model B was intended as a successor to McDonnell Douglas’ F-4 Phantom II series (albeit an older model), but the ballooning attempt failed, leaving the US Navy without a suitable replacement.
History of the development of the F-14.
Grumman, who was in charge of the F-111B at General Dynamics, was involved in the development of future defensive fighter aircraft by private companies for sale to the US Navy.
One of the models was the G-303, which was submitted to the US Navy and performed better than the competing McDonnell Douglas product. At the time of the crash, the new design was abbreviated as “VFX” (“Naval Fighter Experience”).
The VFX called for a more maneuverable aircraft platform (compared to the previous F-4 Phantom). It also had to perform functions other than an intercept and provide the crew with air combat capabilities that the F-111B could not, due to its excessive weight and poor system performance.
The cockpit, BVR, and radar improvements.
The aircraft, like the F-111, has a two-person crew that deploys the workload and operates a robust airborne radar, weapons, and overall mission systems. The radar is an AWG-9 pulsed Doppler X-band radar system designed to detect and track long-range targets while engaging air targets such as aircraft and cruise missiles.
The system has a range of up to 170 nautical miles and is capable of striking outside visual range (BVR). As a result, the crew can fire at a target before the enemy registers the aircraft on their radar.
The radar itself was a solution developed for the F-111B, but was eventually abandoned. Hughes’ AIM-54 Phoenix radar missile, a new long-range air-to-air missile threat dubbed the “Million Missile,” became the aircraft’s primary weapon.
F-14 Built to replace the F-111B
It was also originally designed for the F-111B program. The aircraft’s airframe power is transmitted from an adjacent twin-engine unit via a Pratt & Whitney TF30 afterburner-type turbocharger. This engine was also to be installed in the failed F-111B.
Grumman’s U.S. Navy F-14 continues a relationship with carrier-based aircraft that dates back to the F4F Wildcat of World War II.
Eliminating the typical prototype phase, the F-14 was immediately put into development and fully produced in a short period of time to avoid bureaucratic interference.
The U.S. Marine Corps was also interested in the program because its F-4s were aging and needed to be replaced in the near future. The first aircraft was registered for its first flight on December 21, 1970.
Unlike the F-111B, which came from the ground fighter/bomber framework, the F-14 was designed from the beginning as a carrier-based fighter.
However, the F-14 inherited many of the qualities and components of the F-111B, such as the variable-shaped wing set known as “swing wings,” the radar system for long-range missiles, and the two-seat, twin-engine layout.
Early production models of the Tomcat
The first production model of the Tomcat was the F-14A, which made its first flight on December 21, 1970. This line was officially launched on September 22, 1974, replacing the F-4, but the first few dozen were classified as pre-production models, more like prototypes than production models.
The first to operate the F-14 was the U.S. Navy’s VF-1 and VF-2 squadrons, aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65).
The remaining 79 were shipped to Iran, an ally, when there was a cooperative relationship between the two countries.
Power and Speed of the F-14
The first F-14s were powered by Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-412 twin-turbofan engines, giving them a maximum speed of Mach 2.4, a climb rate of 30,000 feet per minute, an operational altitude of 50,000 feet, and an operational radius of 665 nautical miles when fully loaded with missiles. The latest 102 F-14As are powered by the new TF30-P-414A engine.
F-14 Air Service
While the F-14 has a broad mission to protect the fleet, its mission is generally focused on Combat Air Patrol (CAP).
To counter these threats, the F-14 can operate a full complement of up to six AIM-54 Phoenix missiles for long-range operations, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for short-range operations, and M61 20mm internal combustion machine guns for short-range operations.
The AIM-7 Sparrow can also be used as a medium-range solution to better balance potential attack aircraft. It has a total of ten mounting points: six under the fuselage, two under the engine nacelles, and two under the wing “globes.
In addition to its performance, maneuverability, and on-board radar system, these armaments and command, and control support made the F-14 the leading interceptor fighter of its time, and its use on aircraft carriers gave it access to all parts of the world.
The F-14’s role in the ground attack was not completed in time, and the U.S. Marines became less and less interested in replacing the F-4.
The Plan Was To Replace it, But it Was Canceled Due to Cost
The F-14A was to be upgraded to the proposed “F-14B” model and Pratt & Whitney’s F401-P-400 turbofan engine, but this brand was canceled due to budgetary constraints. Instead, development continued on the 1987 “F-14A+” (also known as the “F-14 Plus”). This engine abandoned the original Pratt & Whitney engine in favor of General Electric’s more efficient GE F110-GE400 series turbofan engine.
The original Pratt & Whitney engines tended to reject blades and were generally considered underpowered, load-bearing designs that required more power for takeoff and climb to higher altitudes. 38 new F-14+ models were adopted by the U.S. Navy for the first flight in September 1986, and The F-14+, which first flew in September 1986, was adopted by the U.S. Navy in 38 new models, and 48 additional models of the improved F-14A were added to the new standard.
In addition, the USN changed the designation of the F-14A+ to the F-14B. Other changes to the brand included a threat reception system and expanded jet channels. These changes resulted in a better carrier-based interceptor missile with a longer range.
The total number of F-14s produced
Grumman produced a total of 712 F-14s between 1969 and 1991. The series has a relatively high number of non-combat frictions, with about 160 deaths in crashes alone.
Today, many of the surviving F-14 Tomahawks are on display at public and private exhibitions across the United States.
In May 2015, the Fakhr-90, a long-range air-to-air missile-based primarily on Raytheon’s AIM-54A Phoenix missile, was unveiled at a military parade in Iran.
The AIM-23 Sejil is another weapon based on the US-made (MIM-23) and is planned to be carried by the F-14.