Taking the US by storm in the late 80s, the movie Top Gun thrust the F-14 Tomcat into theaters and then living rooms across the country.
In a lot of ways it represented the technology that allowed the US to, literally in this theatrical instance, flip the bird to the Soviets. Americans’ love of the iconic fighter jet continues on to this day for several reasons, not just its star role in the hit film. But for the Naval Aviators who actually flew this incredible plane, there are so many more reasons to love it. Below we’ll explore what made the F-14 Tomcat truly a badass fighter.
There are so many great things to mention about this plane, it can sometimes be hard to keep track. We’ll try to break it down into sections to really show how this plane excels.
Is the F-14 fast?
In short, yes – the F-14 is very fast. One of its main advantages as an air superiority fighter is the sheer speed this plane is able to travel, 2.34 times faster than the speed of sound. Launched from an aircraft carrier. That type of speed available anywhere in the world is incredibly valuable. For the aviators who flew this plane though, that speed was crucial in being able to accomplish their missions successfully and return to the carrier.
How’s the F-14 different?
One of the biggest differences between the F-14 and other 4th-gen fighters is it’s variable-swept wing design. The angle of the wings is able to change depending on what the pilot is hoping to do with the plane, increased sweep for faster speeds and decreased sweep for slower flight and more maneuverability.
Is the F-14 still flying?
The F-14 was retired from the US Navy in 2006, and is no longer flying for the US Military. Despite this there are still some F-14s taking to the skies. In the 1970s, prior to the Iranian Revolution, the US sold F-14 fighter jets to Iran. Even through decades of sanctions to prevent parts and supplies necessary to operate the F-14, Iran has still managed to keep some of the jets flying.
US Navy F-14 Glory Days
The F-14 had a glorious career ruling the Seas with the US Navy. Take a look below at some of the best images and clips of this amazing fighter.