F-14 Tomcat in World War III
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat served during the war as the U.S. Navy's main Fleet Defense and Air Superiority fighter, while also able to perform the tactical reconnaissance mission with the TARPS pod. Serving from both carriers and shore bases, the F-14 showed that it had teeth, thanks to the AWG-9 radar and the AIM-54A/C Phoenix missile. This work will illustrate the F-14 variants that served during the war, and after, with the D model still in Fleet service today.
A list of Tomcat variants
F-14A: Initial production model from Grumman, entered Fleet service in 1974 with VF-1 and VF-2. Main USN carrier-borne fighter during the war, and also known as an “ace-maker.” Fitted with the Pratt and Whitney TF-30 engine. Most airframes that survived the war either converted to F-14B or remanufactured into D versions. 478 As produced for USN, 80 for the Imperial Iranian Air Force. 80 USN aircraft wired for TARPS pod. AIM-54A/C, AIM-7E-2/F/M, AIM-9J/L/M. Still used by the IRIAF in Iran. Est. 40-50 airframes still operational.
F-14B. As converted to B standard, original designation F-14A(+). GE F110-400 engine replaced the TF-30. Most A avionics retained, with ALR-67 RWR added, and same weapons and TARPS as A. Interim program until F-14D. Same designation as F-14B originally for a Tomcat with F401 engines in 1970s, not proceeded with.
F-14C: Projected 1970s multi-mission variant. Not procured.
F-14D “Super Tomcat”: The ultimate F-14 version, with APG-71 radar, AIM-54D and later AIM-155, AIM-120, and AIM-9X. 350 produced via remanufacture from A or B versions, 455 produced via new production. Low-rate production for attrition replacement continued until 2009. Still in USN service. All aircraft wired for TARPS pods. GE F110-400 engine. Glass cockpit, ASPJ (ALQ-165) ECM system, TCS with IRST. D model offered to RAF as replacement for Tornado F.3 via new production at Calverton.
F-14E: Proposed “Tomcat 21” version from Grumman for USN, with multimission capability similar to USAF F-15E.