The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, twin-tail, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy‘s Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program after the collapse of the F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American Teen Series fighters, which were designed incorporating air combat experience against MiG fighters during the Vietnam War.
Beginning in the late 1950s, the U.S. Navy sought a long-range, high-endurance interceptor to defend its carrier battle groups against long-range anti-ship missiles launched from the jet bombers and submarines of the Soviet Union. They outlined the idea of a Fleet Air Defense (FAD) aircraft with a more powerful radar and longer range missiles than the F-4 Phantom II to intercept both enemy bombers and missiles at very long range. Studies into this concept led to the Douglas F6D Missileer project of 1959, but this large subsonic aircraft appeared to have little ability to defend itself once it fired its missiles, and the project was cancelled in December 1961
Role Interceptor, air superiority, and multirole fighter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Grumman Aerospace Corporation
First flight 21 December 1970
Introduction 22 September 1974
Retired 22 September 2006 (United States Navy)
Status In service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
Primary users United States Navy (historical)
Number built 712
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The F-14 began replacing the F-4 Phantom II in U.S. Navy service starting in September 1974 with squadrons VF-1 “Wolfpack” and VF-2 “Bounty Hunters” aboard USS Enterprise and participated in the American withdrawal from Saigon. The F-14 had its first kills in U.S. Navy service on 19 August 1981 over the Gulf of Sidra in what is known as the Gulf of Sidra incident. In that engagement, two F-14s from VF-41 Black Aces were engaged by two Libyan Su-22 “Fitters”. The F-14s evaded the short range heat seeking AA-2 “Atoll” missile and returned fire, downing both Libyan aircraft. U.S. Navy F-14s once again were pitted against Libyan aircraft on 4 January 1989, when two F-14s from VF-32 shot down two Libyan MiG-23 “Floggers” over the Gulf of Sidra in a second Gulf of Sidra incident.
Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling cannon, with 675 rounds
Hardpoints: 10 total: 6× under-fuselage, 2× under nacelles and 2× on wing gloves with a capacity of 14,500 lb (6,600 kg) of ordnance and fuel tanks,
Rockets:7x LAU-10 rocket pods (for a total of 28 rockets)
Air-to-air missiles: AIM-54 Phoenix, AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9 Sidewinder
An air force, also known in some countries as an aerospace force or air army, is in the broadest sense, the national military branch that primarily conducts aerial warfare.