Grumman F-14 Tomcat
The F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, variable sweep wing, two-place fighter designed to attack and destroy enemy aircraft at night and in all weather conditions.
The F-14 can track up to 24 targets simultaneously with its advanced weapons control system and attack six with Phoenix AIM-54A missiles while continuing to scan the airspace. It can also deliver free-fall or guided bombs.
Unique to the F-14 is the AWG-9 doppler radar which can track 24 targets simultaneously and engage six. These six targets can then be attacked with the AIM-54 Phoenix long range missle. The Phoenix can only be fired by the F-14 and it is the only long range standoff air-air missle employed by the United States armed forces. The F-14 also features a maximum speed of over Mach 2 and automatically sweeping wings which enhance the plane's ability to maintain control in the air.
The first R&D aircraft was flown on 21 December 1970, and the production F-14A is powered by two Pratt & Whitney T1730-P-412A turbofans each having a maximum reheat rating of 20,900 lb (9 480 kg). Armament consists of an internally housed 20-mm M-61 A1 rotary cannon and (intercept mission) six AIM-7E/F Sparrow and four AIM-9G/H Sidewinder AAMs, or six AIM54A Phoenix and two Sidewinder AAMs.
US Navy F-14A
The first of 478 F-14A aircraft entered US Navy service in October 1972 and saw it's first operational flight in September 1974. Tomcats first went to sea on board the aircraft carriers USS Enterprise and USS John F. Kennedy in 1974-75. By 1980 more than 340 of the 521 Tomcats expected to be purchased for the US Navy had been delivered. Power is provided by two 20,900 lb thrust (with afterburning) Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-412A turbo-fan engines, and armament can include one 20 mm General Electric M61A-1 cannon and four Sparrow or Phoenix air-to-air missiles under the fuselage, plus two more Sparrow or Phoenix missiles and two Sidewinders, or four Sidewinders under the fixed section of the wings. Alternatively, up to 14,500 lb (6,577 kg) of weapons can be carried for ground attack.
Delivered from September 1974, initial Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-414A-powered F-14As experienced problems from fan-blade failures and compressor stalls, the latter often at high angles-of-attack, leading to numerous irrecoverable "departures from controlled flight". Usually in the form of flat spins, these contributed to annual losses peaking to 9-10 in the 1970s-80s, but diminishing somewhat when F110-GE-400 turbofans were introduced in F-14Ds.
GEC-Marconi digital flight-control systems and MartinBaker zero-zero ejection-seats brought further F-14 safety improvements, although compressor stalls were not entirely eliminated.
A total of 377 had been delivered to service by the beginning of 1981.
A total of 79 F-14 A models were exported to Iran 1976-78. The Imperial Irani Air Force during the reign of the Shah of Iran ordered 80 aircraft, but only 79 were delivered, as the last unit was embargoed and turned over to the United States Navy.
The original F-14A was soon found to be slightly underpowered, and handicapped by engine reliability problems. Two prototypes were built with Pratt & Whitney F401-P-400 turbofans as F-14Bs, but the F-14B did not enter production. The F-14C was an unbuilt version with F401-P-400s and new avionics. One of the F-14Bs was later re-engined with the General Electric F101 (now F110-GE-400) as the F-14DFE to serve as the prototype F-14A (Plus). Thirty-eight of these aircraft are being newly built, and 32 F-14As are being re-engined. The F-14A+ (later designated F-14B) entered service in 1987.
The F-14D Super Tomcat first took to the air on February 9, 1980. The upgrade included enhanced APG-71 radar and cockpit, a dual IRST/TV undernose pod, and increased AAM capability. The Tomcat has now been equipped for night-attack bombing duty with the use of a LANTIRN (Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting InfraRed for Night) pod. The upgrade allows the F-14 to remain in service until the arrival of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
Production of the F-14A ship-borne interceptor will switch to the A(Plus) model in FY1987, and to the D version in FY1988. The F-14A(Plus)/F-14D development programme was initiated in July 1984, and consists principally of upgrades to the F-14A radar, avionics, and power plant systems, together with integration of the ALQ-165 airborne self-protection jammer, the Jtids secure datalink, an infrared search and track sensor (IRST), and the LAR-67 threat warning and recognition system. The new radar, the APG-71, based on the F-14A’s AN/AWG-9 system, includes a high-speed digital signal processor.
These upgrades will be incorporated into production Tomcats in two stages. The first will involve the engine upgrade only, the F-14A’s TF30 power plant being replaced by the General Electric F110 turbofan in some FY1987/1988 procured aircraft which will be known as F-14A(Plus). The second step combines the engine upgrade with the new radar and avionics, the resulting aircraft becoming the F-14D. F-14D procurement begins in FY1988.
In September 1986 the US Navy revised its F-14A(Plus)/F-14D purchase plans. Only seven production A(Plus) will now be acquired, two in FY1987 and five in FY1988, to be followed by a total of 127 Ds instead of the 304 originally planned. Seven F-l4Ds are to be funded in FY1988, and 12 per year will be procured there-after until the planned total is reached. The first production F-14A(Plus) is scheduled for delivery in November 1987, followed by the F-14D from March 1990. Approximately 400 F-14A/A(Plus) Tomcats will be retrofitted with F110 engines and upgraded equipment to give an all-D-model F-14 fleet by 1998.
The USN lost nearly 170, mainly from accidents rather than operational attrition over Iraq and elsewhere.
F-14 retirement was accelerated by it being the USN's most costly combat aircraft to operate, from requiring 40-60 maintenance man-hours (MMH) per flight-hour. This compares with 10-15 MMH for the latest Boeing F/A-18E
The US Navy plans to retire its Mach 2.34 multi-role Grumman F-14s, when VF-31, the last Tomcat squadron, begins conversion to Boeing F/AA8E/F Super Hornets at NAS Oceana, Virginia, in September 2009.
Engines: 2 x GE F110 GE400, 27,800 lb
Wingspan Open: 64 ft. 0 in
Wingspan Swept: 38 ft. 0 in.
Length: 61 ft. 9 in
Weight Empty: 40,100 lb
Max. Weight: 74,350 lb
Payload: 14,500 lb
Range: 1,842 mi
Fuel External: 4,070 lb
Fuel, Internal: 17,340 lb
Ceiling: 55,000 ft
Climb Rate: 45,000 fpm
Max. Speed: 1,585 mph
Cruise Speed: 610 mph
Cannons: 1x 20 mm
Engines: 2 x P&W TF30-P-412A or -414A turbofan.
Installed thrust (reheat): 20,900 lb st. / 92.97 kN
Span (max), 64 ft 1.5 in (19,55 m), (min) 37 ft 7 in (11,45 m).
Length, 61 ft 11 in (18,90 m).
Height: 16 ft (4,88 m).
Wing area: 565 sq ft (52,50sq.m).
Tactical radius (internal fuel and four Sparrow AAMs), 450 mls (725 km).
Empty wt: 18,290 kg.
MTOW: 68,567 lb (31 101 kg).
Empty equipped wt: 40,070 lb (18 176 kg).
Warload: 8618 kg.
Max level speed at 10.975m (36,000 ft) Mach 2.37 or 2.517 km/h (1,564 mph)
Service ceiling: 17,070+m (56,000+ ft)
TO run: 427 m.
Ldg run: 884 m.
Fuel internal (external): 7174 kg (1720 kg ).
Air refuel: Yes.
Armament: 8 x AAM / 14225kg, 1 x 20 mm M61A1 Vulcan six-barrel cannon with 675 rounds.
Engine: 2 x General Electric F110-GE-400 turbofan, 23,100 lb st.
Engine: 2 x Pratt & Whitney F404-P-400 turbofan
Engine: 2 x General Electric F110-GE-400 turbofan, 23,100 lb st.
Engine: 2 x General Electric F101 turbofan