Grumman F-14 Tomcat

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, twin-tail, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft.

A total of 712 F-14s were built from 1969 to 1991.

Over 160 of the U.S. aircraft were destroyed in accidents.



The F-14A was the initial two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather interceptor fighter variant for the U.S. Navy.

It first flew on 21 December 1970.

The first 12 F-14As were prototype versions (sometimes called YF-14As).

Modifications late in its service life added precision strike munitions to its armament.

The U.S. Navy received 478 F-14A aircraft and 79 were received by Iran.

The final 102 F-14As were delivered with improved Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-414A engines.

Additionally, an 80th F-14A was manufactured for Iran, but was delivered to the U.S. Navy.


The F-14 received its first of many major upgrades in March 1987 with the F-14A Plus (or F-14A+).

The F-14A’s TF30 engine was replaced with the improved GE F110-GE-400 engine.

The F-14A+ also received the state-of-the-art ALR-67 Radar Homing and Warning (RHAW) system.

Much of the avionics components, as well as the AWG-9 radar, were retained.

The F-14A+ was later redesignated F-14B on 1 May 1991.

A total of 38 new aircraft were manufactured and 48 F-14A were upgraded into B variants.

The TF30 had been plagued from the start with susceptibility to compressor stalls at high AoA and during rapid throttle transients or above 30,000 ft (9,100 m).

The F110-400 engine provided a significant increase in thrust, producing 23,400 lbf (104 kN) with afterburner at sea level, which rose to 30,200 lbf (134 kN) at Mach 0.9.

The increased thrust gave the Tomcat a better than 1:1 thrust-to-weight ratio at low fuel quantities.

The basic engine thrust without afterburner was powerful enough for carrier launches, further increasing safety.

Another benefit was allowing the Tomcat to cruise comfortably above 30,000 ft (9,100 m), which increased its range and survivability.

The F-14B arrived in time to participate in Desert Storm.

In the late 1990s, 67 F-14Bs were upgraded to extend airframe life and improve offensive and defensive avionics systems.

The modified aircraft became known as F-14B Upgrade.


The final variant of the F-14 was the F-14D Super Tomcat.

The F-14D variant was first delivered in 1991.

The original Pratt & Whitney TF30 engines were replaced with General Electric F110-GE-400 engines, similar to the F-14B.

The F-14D also included newer digital avionics systems including a glass cockpit and replaced the AWG-9 with the newer AN/APG-71 radar.

Other systems included the Airborne Self Protection Jammer (ASPJ), Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), SJU-17(V) Naval Aircrew Common Ejection Seats (NACES), and Infrared search and track (IRST).

The GE F110-GE-400 engine provided increased thrust and additional endurance to extend range or to stay on station much longer.

In the overland attack role this gave the F-14D 60 percent more striking range or one-third more time on station.

The rate of climb was increased by 61 percent.

The F110’s increased thrust allowed almost all carrier launches to be made in military (dry) power.

While this did result in fuel savings, the main reason not to use afterburner during carrier launches was that if an engine failed the F110’s thrust in full afterburner would produce a yawing moment too abruptly for the pilot to correct.

Thus the launch of an F-14D with afterburner was rare, while the F-14A required full afterburner unless very lightly loaded.

Although the F-14D was to be the definitive version of the Tomcat, not all fleet units received the D variant.

A total of 37 new aircraft were completed, and 18 F-14A models were upgraded to D-models, designated F-14D(R) for a rebuild.

An upgrade to the F-14D’s computer software to allow AIM-120 AMRAAM missile capability was planned but was later terminated to free up funding for LANTIRN integration.

Starting in 2005, some F-14Ds received the ROVER III upgrade.





62 ft 9 in (19.13 m)


64 ft 1.5 in (19.545 m)

Lower wingspan

38 ft 2.5 in (11.646 m) swept


16 ft (4.9 m)

Wing area

565 sq ft (52.5 m2) wings only

1,008 sq ft (94 m2) effective area including fuselage



Grumman (1.74)(9.6)-(1.1)(1.1) 


Grumman (1.27)(9.0)-(1.1)(1.1) 

Empty weight

43,735 lb (19,838 kg)

Gross weight

61,000 lb (27,669 kg)

Max take-off weight

74,350 lb (33,725 kg)

Fuel capacity

16,200 lb (7,348 kg) internal fuel; 2 × optional 267 US gal (222 imp gal; 1,010 l) / 1,756 lb (797 kg) external tanks


2 × General Electric F110-GE-400 afterburning turbofans, 16,610 lbf (73.9 kN) thrust each dry, 28,200 lbf (125 kN) with afterburner


Maximum speed

Mach 2.34 (1,544 mph, 2,485 km/h) at altitude


1,600 nmi (1,800 mi, 3,000 km)

Combat range

500 nmi (580 mi, 930 km)

Service ceiling

53,000 ft (16,000 m) plus

G limits


Rate of climb

45,000 ft/min (230 m/s) plus

Wing loading

96 lb/sq ft (470 kg/m2)

48 lb/sq ft (230 kg/m2) effective


0.89 at gross weight (1.02 with loaded weight & 50% internal fuel)



1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling cannon, with 675 rounds


10 total: 6 x under-fuselage, 2 x under nacelles and 2 x on wing gloves with a capacity of 14,500 lb (6,600 kg) of ordnance and fuel tanks,


7x LAU-10 rocket pods (for a total of 28 rockets)


Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS)

LANTIRN Targeting System (LTS) pod (AN/AAQ-14)

2× 267 US gal (1,010 l; 222 imp gal) drop tanks for extended range/loitering time


Air-to-air missiles

AIM-54 Phoenix, AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9 Sidewinder

Loading configurations

2× AIM-9 + 6× AIM-54 (Rarely used due to weight stress on airframe)

2× AIM-9 + 2× AIM-54 + 3× AIM-7 (Most common load during Cold War era)

2× AIM-9 + 4× AIM-54 + 2× AIM-7

2× AIM-9 + 6× AIM-7

4× AIM-9 + 4× AIM-54

4× AIM-9 + 4× AIM-7


JDAM precision-guided munition (PGMs)

Paveway series of laser-guided bombs

Mk 80 series of unguided iron bombs

Mk 20 Rockeye II


Hughes AN/APG-71 radar

AN/ASN-130 Inertial navigation system, Infrared search and track, AAX-1 TCS

Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) upgrade.










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