The Grumman F-14 Tomcat. One of the most iconic fighter jets out there. While many fighters can be mixed together at a first glance, the Tomcat can’t be mistaken with its twin-engine and variable-sweep wings combined with mostly unique silhouette. Its main missions have always been air superiority and fleet air defence with a touch of precision strikes against ground targets in any weather.
Despite its age, the Tomcat was one of the most potent interceptors in the world before its retirement in 2006. In a non-stealth fight, the Tomcat would still be a considerable threat. It can attack its targets anywhere between few meters away to 160km, and with flight altitude upper limit being somewhere around 18km, the F-14 Tomcat is a beast.
I really like the Tomcat if you can’t tell. It’s one of the earliest fighter jets I can remember having an awesome effect. It’s not just me, but the popular culture before F-22’s arrival knew that the fighter that represented American fighter superiority was the F-14. The plane is well known from movies such as The Final Countdown and the Top Gun. Most people associate the Tomcat with the Fighter Squadron 84, also known as the Jolly Rogers. These factors has made the fighter to be associated with yellow, black and grey very well, and Macross’ / Robotech’s Skull Squadron made this asociation even stronger in this matter both in Japan and US in the minds of the children. Pretty much any and every fighter game in the 80’s and at least early 90’s had a Tomcat prominently in there somewhere, and perhaps one of the most famous examples is SEGA’s After Burner series. Hell, the fighter has its own damn pinball machine!
The Tomcat saw most action in the 1980’s and 1990’s, having its first kill in the Gulf of Sidra incident. The Tomcat saw action during Operation Desert Storm and one of its variants, the variant F-14B got nicknamed as the Bombcat due to its role as an accurate bomber in Bosnia in 1995. Iran has been the only other country that has employed Tomcats thanks to Nixon, who offered the last Shah of Iran to gain access to the latest American fighter technology.
But what of the TSF? you ask.
There’s not much to discuss the Grunnan F-14 Tomcat. The TSF doesn’t reflect the real fighter all too well. The F-14 was the first variable geometry carrier-borne aircraft to step into service, whereas its TSF counterpart merely employs these in the Jump Unit. The TSF’s big grandeur seems to be in its AIM-54 Phoenix long-range missile system, it’s two-seat control unit and overall normal stuff you get with more advanced TSF tech. I admit that my lack of enthusiasm for this TSF stems from the design feeling very sparse, weak and uninspiring compared to what the actual fighter plane could’ve offered. Perhaps it’s partially because the core TSF designs don’t accommodate F-14’s general silhouette too well, or it could be that whoever was in charge of these designs was too busy fapping over Russian fighters during production of Total Eclipse’ mechas.
The TSF Tomcat stays true to the American doctrine of fighting; shoot it until it’s dead. Add the Phoenix missiles in, and you don’t even need to be at visual range to do it. It’s nothing new or exciting. In Altverse, the Tomcat didn’t stay silent when it was being replaced by the F/A-18/F Super Hornet as US Navy’s main fighter.
The F-14Ex Super Tomcat is based on a real idea to produce Super Tomcat 21, a sort of overhaul update to give the base F-14 high-end navigation systems, targeting pods, ground attack modes and new weaponry options as well as physical changes to accommodate better control surfaces and enlarged leading edge root extensions for more fuel. Add digital controls with possibility of thrust vectoring with a single piece windscreen, and you possibly had a winner. I don’t know the F-14Ex managed to add shit on top of the sleek prototype model, but the TSF Super Tomcat is a failed design in this regard. Add another injury to the F-14’s TSF treatment, the F-14AN3 Mindseeer is a mess visually speaking, and the it is recognized as such in-universe as well. The less said about it the better.
The operational history of the TSF does reflect the real life fighter to some extent, but that’s not what these posts are about.
All in all, from TSF like Su-47 you recognize the plane well enough or with the TSA A-10. I didn’t realise what the F-14 TSF was suppose to be before seeing the name Tomcat with it. It’s a too generic TSF look for this particular model.
Well, we’re all humming it already, so here it is.
3 thoughts on “Plane Elements in Tactical Surface Fighters; F-14 Tomcat”
I gotta agree… as someone who’s a bit connected to the Naval Aviation community, I was pretty disappointed with the TSF interpretation of it. The Strike Eagle got a ton of attention in the MLverse, but it’s like the real queen of the 80s jet era was just an afterthought…
I’d have to agree.
And I’m a Tomcat fan through and through. Heck, I just LOVE THOSE GRUMMAN BIRDS!
Admittedly, the F-15 Eagle has it where the F-14 doesn’t: The ability to fly literally on a wing and a prayer. But the F-14 Tomcat made other guys think twice. They say that when US Navy Cats were locking up Iraqi fighters, the pilots would turn tail and run for Russia. Apparently, they got used to a distinctive radar alert sound of the Tomcat and when they heard the Cat’s radar was scanning them, they beat feet for Moscow.
Or ride the rocket chair. Whichever got them safely back on the ground fastest.
I recall seeing the F-14 Tomcat in the anime for Total Eclipse. A bit of a let down. I don’t recall seeing it later either. That TSF got no action other than to take off from a carrier.
Just so happens I’m writing a story for MLA over at fanfiction.net net. You can easily find me: F-14 TomcatLover, hehe. Another story I got is going to have my favorite bird in the coop as well.
And because of my love for the Tomcat… I’m going to add it into my stories.