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What makes F-14 Tomcat a ‘legendary’ American fighter?

12/03/2022 13:33 GMT+7

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a fighter from the 1970s that is still relevant today.

In August 1981, in the Mediterranean Sea, north of Libya, the US Air Force destroyed Libyan fighter pilots. For the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, this was the first success in air combat and thus the beginning of the story of the aircraft that became one of the most famous American fighters in history.

The Tomcat appeared as a “response” from Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation to the Navy’s request for an aircraft capable of protecting aircraft carriers from bomber attack. Experts expected a new aircraft to be created for the Navy and Air Force, but in the end, Admiral Thomas Connolly was able to defend the idea of ​​​​developing a separate aircraft for the needs of the fleet of the air force.

Accordingly, the US Navy needs an aircraft that can combine the ability to take off and land when necessary on an aircraft carrier with maximum speed, but with the payload and maneuverability of fighter aircraft. intercept. The result is an aircraft with variably shaped wings that maximize lift-off and minimize drag at high-speed.

What makes F-14 Tomcat a 'legendary' American fighter?

The F-14 can carry up to 6.8 tons of weapons including air-to-air missiles and interceptor cruise missiles. (Image: Wikipedia)

The US Navy liked the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation’s project so much that it decided to skip the prototype phase altogether, starting production in 1969 and receiving the first new F-14s in 1972. Grumman The F-14 is named in honor of Admiral Thomas Connolly, who was the most enthusiastic supporter of the new aircraft and did everything to speed up the development process.

The fourth-generation twin-jet carrier-based multirole/interceptor fighter with variable wing geometry can reach speeds of more than Mach 1 at sea level and more than Mach 2.34 at altitude thanks to two engines. General Electric F110-GE-400 turbofan with Afterburner. In addition, the F-14 can fly about 2.5 thousand km without refueling, but experts believe that the combat range is 1.6 thousand km.

The aircraft was able to track 24 enemy aircraft 315 km away using the X-band AWG-9 pulsed doppler radar using one of the first microprocessors to appear on fighter aircraft at the time. The powerful onboard systems can even target long-range missiles at six separate targets simultaneously without losing sight of the remaining targets.

Besides, the weapons of the F-14 are also reliable with many options on different types of targets and distances. With a total of 10 weapons mounting points and a payload of 6.5 tons, the Tomcat can effectively deal with fighters and bombers.

What is the Grumman F-14 Tomcat known for?

Production began in 1969 and continued until 1991 with a total of 712 F-14s built, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US Navy stood at a “crossroads”. At that time, there was no longer a “threat ghost” from Russian bombers to confront, the powerful F-14 became an “unemployed” fighter. In 2006, the F-14 was phased out in favor of the cheaper Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

But to the public, Tomcat is better known through the 1986 Tony Scott film Top Gun with the image of a skilled fighter pilot on an aircraft carrier, a An elite student at the US Naval Academy, played by Tom Cruise.

Later, the F-14 Tomcat played a major role in the USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier Museum in Texas, and the aircraft itself is forever engraved on the battlefield and in world culture.

Peace (translation summary)

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