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Tomcat

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F-14 Tomcat
Type Carrier-Borne Air Defence
Manufacturer Grumman - USA
Introduction 1970
Status In service by Iran
Number Built 700+
Cost $38m (1998 dollars)

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat-series of variable-geometry wing carrier-capable interceptors is one of the true living success stories of Cold War aircraft design. Deployed as a weapons platform rather than a dogfighter, the system was popularized by the Hollywood motion picture "Top Gun" and has been viewed with awe since.

Having scored several successes in air-to-air combat, the F-14 later solidified its role as a contemporary classical warfighter.

Armament

  • Available Hardpoints - 10
  • 1 x M61 Vulcan 20mm Cannon
  • 2 x AIM-54 Phoenix Air-To-Air Missiles
  • 2 x AIM-7 Sparrow Air-To-Air Missiles
  • 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinder Air-To-Air Missiles

Performance

  • Maximum Speed - 1,545mph
  • Maximum Range - 450 miles
  • Service Ceiling - 60,000ft
  • Rate Of Climb - 30,000ft a minute

Dimensions

  • Length - 19.10m
  • Wingspan - 19.55m
  • Height - 4.88m

Not to be outdone by its contemporaries, the F-14 was later outfitted and trailed for air-to-ground strike operations with equal success. Utilizing an array of laser-guided munitions and conventional iron bombs, the system performed against targets in the 1995 conflict in the skies over Bosnia. These particular Tomcats were later assigned the comical nickname of "Bombcats" to identify their new role.

As time would have it, the successful performance of the newer F/A-18 Hornet and F-18 Super Hornet series would spell the end of the Tomcat series and, in 2006, were officially labelled as "retired" by the United States Navy.

Iran still has 40 or so F-14's most of which are supplying spares to the dozen operational birds. However as all American Tomcats were shredded to ensure spare parts didn't reach Iran, the number of operational F-14's will continue to fall.

A classic warbird in its own time, the F-14 Tomcat will forever be revered as one of the best aircraft designs of the last century, adored by pilot, RIO and warbird fan alike ... even if it did spent an un-fecking-believable amount of time in maintenance for just 1 hours flight time.