Grumman F-14 "Tomcat"
Grumman F-14 "Tomcat"
Carrier-based fighter
Unit Cost
US$ 38 million
Main Operator
United States Air Force
Number Built
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Grumman F-14 Program Milestones
Maiden Flight
December 21, 1970
September 1974
September 22, 2006
First User
United States Air Force

Grumman F-14 Aircraft Dimensions
Wing Span - Unswept
64 feet 1.5 inch (19.54 m)
Wing Span - Swept
38 feet 2.5 inch (11.65 m)
Wing Span - Overswept
33 feet 3.5 inch (10.15 m)
Wing Aspect Ratio
62 feet 8 inch (19.10 m)
16 feet 0 inch (4.88 m)
Wing Area
565 sq ft

Grumman F-14 Weights
Empty Weight
39,762 lb (18,036 kg)
Normal Take-Off Weight
58,539 lb (26,553 kg)
Maximum Take-off Weight
74,348 lb (33,724 kg)
Maximum Landing Weight
51,830 lb (23,510 kg)
Fuel Capacity - Internal
16,200 lb (7,348 kg)
Fuel Capacity - External
3,800 lb (1,724 kg)

Grumman F-14 Tomcat
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Grumman F-14 Tomcat

Grumman F-14 Powerplants
2 x PW TF30-P-412A
20,900 lbf
Grumman F-14 Radius & Performance
Service Ceiling
50,000 feet (15,24 km)
Maximum Design Speed
Mach 2.4 (1,544 mph)
Cruise Speed
460 - 633 mph
Maximum Rate of Climb
41,300 ft/min (210 m/s)
Thrust to Weight ratio

Grumman F-14

On January 15, 1969, Grumman announced that it had been selected as winner of the design competition for a carrier-based fighter aircraft for the United States Navy. During the competitive phase of the programme the aircraft was designated as the VFX, after which is was renamed as the F-14. The first aircraft, the F-14A Tomcat, took of for the first time on December 21, 1970. Unfortunately the aircraft was lost in a non-fatal accident later the next year, and flight testing was resumed on May 24, 1971 with the second aircraft.

The F-14 is designed to fulfil three primary missions. The first of these involves clearing contested airpsace of enemy fighters and protecting the strike force. The second mission is to defend carrier task forces via combat air patrol (CAP) and deck launched intercept (DLI) operations. The third role of the F-14 is the secondary attack of tactical targets on the ground, supported by electronic countermeasures and fighter escort.

The F-14 is configured with variable-geometry wings, small foreplanes (glove vanes) which are extended automatically at supersonic speeds to control centre-of-pressure shift, manoeuvring slats and flaps to create a lower effective wing loading, and twin outward-canted fins and rudders. The wings are swept to an optimum angle automatically by a Mach sweep programmer, which relates sweep to Mach number and altitude.

Carrier trials started in 1972 with initial deployment with the fleet beginning in October that same year. By early 1982, the US Navy received a total of 420 F-14A's with 27 more being scheduled for delivery during the remainder of the year.

During 1979, the United States Navy awarded the Northrop Corporation a $4 million contract to manufacture pre-production television camera sets (TCSs) for installation on F-14 aircraft. The TCS, developed by Northrop's Electro-Mechanical Division, is a closed-circuit TV system, offering both wide-angle and telescopic fields of view. It is mounted beneath the nose of the F-14 and automatically searches for, acquires and locks on to distant targets, displaying them on monitors for the pilot and flight officer.

Grumman F-14 Design

As said the F-14 is a two-seat multi-role carrier-based fighter aircraft. It has variable-geometry wings with 20 degrees of leading-edge sweep in the fully-forward position and 68 degrees when fully swept. The oversweep position of 75 degrees is used for carrier stowage. Throughout the flight, wing position if automatically controlled and programmed for optimum performance, although manual override is provided. In order to minimise cross-sectional area and wave-drag, the inboard wing sections, adjacent to the fuselage, arc slightly upward. Furthermore, the F-14 is equipped with so-called glove vanes which swing out from the leading-edge of the fixed portion of the wing, to a maximum angle of 15 degrees in relation to the leading-edge.

The F-14 is configured with twin vertical fins, mounted at the rear of each engine nacelle, and outward-canted ventral fins under each nacelle. Its landing gear is of the retractable tricycle type and has a twin-wheel nose unit and single-wheel main units retracted forward and upward. The arrester hook underneath the fuselage, housed in a small ventral fairing, and nose-tow catapult attachment on the nose unit enables carrier operations.

The F-14 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney TF-30-P-412A turbofan engines which deliver 93 kN each with afterburning capability, mounted in ducts which open to provide 180 degree access for ease of maintenance. Auxialiary power is provided by a Garrett ATS200-50 air-turbine starter. An additional external auxiliary fuel tank can be carried beneath each intake trunk with each containing 267 US gallons.

Equipped with a Hughes AN/AWG-9 weapons control system enables the aircraft to detect airborne targets at ranges of more than 65-170 nautical miles according to their size, and to track 24 enemy targets and atack six of them simultaneously at varied atltitudes and distances. Optimum optical performance is achieved through the Kaiser Aerospace AN/AVG-12 vertical and head-up display system.

The F-14 Tomcat is armed with a General Electric M61A-1 Vulcan 20 mm gun mounted in the port side of the forward fuselage. Furthermore it has the ability to carry four Sparrow air-to-air missiles mounted partially sub-merged in the underfuselage, or four Phoenix missiles carried on special pallets which attach to the bottom of the fuselage. The F-14 has two wing pylons, one under each fixed wing section, that can cary four Sidewinder missiles or two additional Sparrow or Phoenix missiles with two Sidewinders. Overall, the Tomcat is able to carry a max external weapon load of 14,500 lb (6,577 kg).