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The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a multi-mission fighter aircraft. Originally designed as an air superiority fighter to outperform any potential threat to the carrier battle group, it has adopted many other important missions today like Ground Attack (incl. Laser Guided Bombs) and Tactical Air Reconnaissance.
In the air superiority role the F-14 has an unmatched weapon: The AIM-54 Phoenix missile with a range in access of 100 miles. Six of these missiles can be shot at aerial targets and home in on incoming cruise missiles or enemy bombers independantly. Other air-to-air weapons are the standard AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seaking short range missile, the AIM-7 Sparrow medium range missile, the AIM-120 AMRAAM (advanced medium range air-to-air missile) and of course the M61A Vulcan cannon firing 6000 rounds a minute.
The F-14 with its TARPS reconnaissance pod is the only aircraft in the Navy to fly photo missions and just recently the TARPS was modified to digitally transmit gathered images in near real-time to the fleet commanders. An invaluable instrument in any war scenario.
The air-to-ground Capability was long time not trained in the F-14 community. Even though the original 1970s design included air-to-ground capability, only in recent years the F-14 became again a fighter-bomber. Not only iron bombs and cluster bombs can be delivered, but also latest laser-guided ammunition. Doing this, the F-14 can also identify and mark its own targets using the LANTIRN (low altitude navigation and targeting infra-red, night) pod.
So even after more than 25 years in service with the U.S. Navy the F-14 Tomcat is - even though an aging - a most capable fighter aircraft.

Type F-14A F-14B F-14D
First Fligth 21 Dec 1970 Sept 1986 Mar 1990
Wingspan (unswept) 64 ft 1.5 in 64 ft 1.5 in 64 ft 1.5 in
Wingspan (swept) 38 ft 2.5 in 38 ft 2.5 in 38 ft 2.5 in
Lenght 62 ft 8 in 62 ft 8 in 62 ft 8 in
Height 16 ft 16 ft 16 ft
Wing Area 565 sqft 565 sqft 565 sqft
Empty Weight 40,104 pounds 41,780 pounds 43,735 pounds
Max. Weight 72,000 pounds 74,349 pounds 74,349 pounds
Powerplants 2 P&W TF-30-P-414A 2 GE F-110-GE-400 2 GE F-110-GE-400
Max. Thrust 34,154 lbs 56,400 lbs 56,400 lbs
Wing Loading 92 psf 94 psf 96 psf
Max. Speed 1,544 mph 1,544 mph 1,544 mph
Mach 2.38 Mach 2.38 Mach 2.38
Ceiling 50,000+ ft 53,000+ ft 53,000+ ft
Range 1,730 nm 2,050 nm 2,050 nm

Graphics: © Torsten Anft, 1999
For a most detailed description of the F-14 visit the HOME OF M.A.T.S. F-14 Reference Work Website.

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