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F-14 Tomcat Grumman
F-14 Tomcat
Carrier-borne Multi-Role Fighter

Following the cancellation of the F-111B, Grumman's proposal for a new long-range air superiority fighter was accepted by the US Navy. This aircraft was ultimately accepted as the F-14 Tomcat, and the new fighter incorporated a number of advanced features. Among these are variable-sweep wings that allow optimum efficiency throughout the plane's flight envelope. Minimum sweep is used during low-speed flight to reduce takeoff and landing speeds while maximum sweep reduces drag during supersonic flight. In combination with its large fuel capacity, varying the wing geometry allows the F-14 to maximize range and endurance in its primary air patrol and escort mission.

The F-14 is also equipped with a sophisticated array of armament and avionics tailored to long-range air defense. Carrying the Phoenix missile and the advanced AWG-9 radar, the Tomcat is capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles from over 100 miles away. This capability is important since the F-14 is tasked with the mission of defending aircraft carrier battle groups from massed air attack.

The Navy began taking delivery of the first production F-14A models in the early 1970s. However, these aircraft were hampered by inadequate Pratt & Whitney TF30 engines that limited the Tomcat's performance and reliability. Several aircraft were eventually upgraded to the F-14A+ standard (later known as the F-14B) that added much improved General Electric F110 engines. The final production model was the F-14D equipped with an improved APG-71 radar. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the F-14's air defense mission was considered obsolete, so many aircraft were further upgraded with a limited ground attack capability during the 1990s.

Numerous additional upgrade programs were also proposed by Grumman in the hopes of keeping the F-14 in service beyond 2010. Most recent of these concepts were the Super Tomcat, Attack Super Tomcat, and ASF-14 which would add a far more thorough ground attack capability. Unfortunately, the existing F-14 fleet requires extensive maintenance and has become too expensive to keep in service. Phaseout of the F-14 had originally been scheduled for 2010 or 2012, but has been moved progressively forward as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has entered service. The final F-14A squadron was retired in 2004 and the last F-14B was removed from service in 2005. Only two squadrons of the F-14D remain operational and concluded the Tomcat's final combat tour in February 2006. The last F-14 squadron was disbanded and transitioned to the F-18F in May 2006.

Data below for F-14A and F-14D
Last modified 19 September 2009

First Flight (F-14A) 21 December 1970
(F-14D) 24 November 1987
Service Entry October 1972

(F-14A) 8 September 2004
(F-14B) November 2005 (?)
(F-14D) May 2006

CREW: two: pilot, radar intercept officer


$38 million [1998$]

Wing Root unknown
Wing Tip


Length 62.67 ft (19.10 m)
Wingspan unswept: 64.08 ft (19.54 m)
swept: 38.17 ft (11.65 m)
overswept: 33.29 ft (10.15 m)
Height 16.00 ft (4.88 m)
Wing Area 565 ft (52.49 m)
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty (F-14A) 40,105 lb (18,190 kg)
(F-14D) 41,780 lb (18,951 kg)
Normal Takeoff (F-14A) 58,715 lb (26,630 kg) [fighter/escort]
(F-14D) 64,095 lb (29,070 kg) [fighter/escort]
(F-14D) 73,100 lb (35,155 kg) [fleet air defense]
Max Takeoff 74,350 lb (33,725 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: 2,385 gal (9,030 L)
internal: 16,200 lb (7,350 kg)
external: 535 gal (2,020 L)
external: 3,800 lb (1,725 kg)
Max Payload

14,500 lb (6,575 kg)

Powerplant (F-14A) two Pratt & Whitney TF30-412A/414A afterburning turbofans
(F-14D) two General Electric F110-400 afterburning turbofans
Thrust (F-14A) 30,570 lb (136.00 kN)
(F-14A) 41,800 lb (185.94 kN) with afterburner
(F-14D) 33,220 lb (147.78 kN)
(F-14D) 54,160 lb (240.93 kN) with afterburner

Max Level Speed at altitude: 1,565 mph (2,515 km/h) at 36,000 ft (10,975 m), Mach 2.37
at sea level: 910 mph (1,470 km/h), Mach 1.2
Initial Climb Rate 30,000 ft (9,144 m) / min
Service Ceiling 56,000 ft (17,070 m)
Range typical: 1,600 nm (2,965 km)
ferry: 1,730 nm (3,200 km)
g-Limits unknown

Gun one 20-mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon (675 rds)
Stations six external hardpoints
Air-to-Air Missile AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-54 Phoenix
Air-to-Surface Missile (F-14D) AGM-88 HARM, AGM-84 SLAM
Bomb (F-14D) Rockeye, GBU-16, CBU-59
Other ECM pods, TARPS pod (see below)

F-14A Original fighter model; 557 built
F-14/TARPS F-14A models equipped to carry the Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System; about 50 converted
F-14B or F-14A+ Original F-14B was to have improved Pratt & Whitney F401-400 engines but the design was cancelled due to rising costs after only one prototype had flown, the F-14A+ is an upgraded 'A' model with more powerful General Electric F110-400 engines, F-14A+ aircraft later re-designated F-14B; at least 32 converted
F-14C Proposed upgraded F-14A with new engine, not built
F-14D Much improved fighter with more powerful radar and improved missile capability, cancelled and resurrected several times but about 37 built and 18 converted from F-14A models (referred to as F-14D(R) model), later upgraded with limited ground attack capability under Quickstrike program
Super Tomcat Proposed multi-role attack fighter
ASF-14 Proposed alternative to the Navy version of the ATF (advanced tactical fighter)
Attack Super Tomcat

Proposed attack model to replace the cancelled A-12 Avenger


Vietnam - Operation Frequent Wind (USN, 1975)
Iran-Iraq War (Iran, 1980-1988)
Gulf of Sidra - shot down 2 Libyan Su-22s (USN, 1981)
Lebanon - US Multinational Force (USN, 1982-1983)
Grenada - Operation Urgent Fury (USN, 1983)
Libya - Operation El Dorado Canyon (USN, 1986)
Mediterranean Sea - shot down 2 Libyan MiG-23s (USN, 1989)
Iraq - Operation Desert Storm (USN, 1991)
Iraq - Operation Southern Watch (USN, 1991-2003)
Bosnia - Operation Deliberate Force (USN, 1995)
Iraq - Operation Desert Strike (USN, 1996)
Iraq - Operation Desert Fox (USN, 1998)
Kosovo - Operation Allied Force (USN, 1999)
Afghanistan - Operation Enduring Freedom (USN, 2001-present)
Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom (USN, 2003-present)


Iran (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force)
United States (US Navy)


F-14 Tomcat

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  • US Navy F-14 Fact Sheet
  • Wilson, Jim. Combat: The Great American Warplane. NY: Hearst Books, 2001, p. 178-181, F-14 Tomcat.

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