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Uploaded on Oct 18, 2008
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable geometry wing aircraft. The F-14 was the United States Navy's primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor and tactical reconnaissance platform from 1974 to 2006. It later performed precision strike missions once it was integrated with the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night LANTIRN system.
The F-14 made its first combat debut flying cover during Operation Frequent Wind in April 1975. VF-1 and VF-2 deployed on board USS Enterprise (CVN-65) with Carrier Air Wing 14. The cruise began on September 17, 1974 and ended May 20, 1975. The two squadrons flew combat air patrols over South Vietnam during the operation but did not encounter any North Vietnamese MiGs, though they were fired upon by enemy anti-aircraft guns.
The F-14 had its first kills on 19 August 1981 over the Gulf of Sidra in what is known as the Gulf of Sidra incident after 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. On April 15, 1986, VF-33 and VF-102, along with VF-74 and VF-103, participated in Operation El Dorado Canyon, a series of air strikes against Libyan targets due to their support of terrorism. 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.
The participation of the F-14 Tomcat in the 1991 Operation Desert Storm consisted of Combat Air Patrol (CAP) over the Red Sea and Persian Gulf and overland missions consisting of strike escort and reconnaissance. The F-14 also achieved its final kill, an Mil Mi-8 "Hip" helicopter, with an AIM-9 Sidewinder. A rumor says that the Iraqi fighter pilots preferred to reverse course and head for a save place when they were detected by a powerful F-14 radar.
In 1995, F-14s from VF-14 and VF-41 participated in Operation Deliberate Force as well as Operation Allied Force in 1998, and in 1999, VF-32 and VF-213 participated in Operation Desert Fox.
On 15 February 2001 the Joint Direct Attack Munition was added to the Tomcat's arsenal. On 7 October 2001 F-14s would lead some of the first strikes into Afghanistan marking the start of Operation Enduring Freedom and the first F-14 drop of a JDAM occurred on 11 March 2002.
With its advanced weapons control system and array of missiles, rockets and bombs the F-14 can simultaneously track up to 24 targets. With a maximum speed of 1544 mph (2485 km/h), the F-14 has taken its place as one of the most powerful and lethal fighters in Navy history.
A total of 712 F-14s were built at Grumman's factory in Calverton on Long Island from 1969 to 1991.
The F-14 Tomcat was officially retired in September of 2006.