The F-14 Tomcat won the Navy's VFX fighter competition on January 15, 1969. First production of 12 prototypes came on December 21, 1970, and the original contract for 497 aircraft, including prototypes, was extended into the '90s for a total of 621. The F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, variable sweep wing, two-place strike fighter manufactured by Grumman Aircraft Corporation. The multiple tasks of navigation, target acquisition, electronic counter measures (ECM), and weapons employment are divided between the pilot and the radar intercept officer (RIO). Primary missions include precision strike against ground targets, air superiority, and fleet air defense.
A Class-A carrier-based multi-role strike fighter, its main spar is a one-piece electron beam-welded structure of titanium alloy. Fins and rudders are light alloy honeycomb with multiple spars and boron epoxy composites skins. The fuselage, with machined frames, titanium main longerons, and light alloy stressed skin, is essentially a fuel-carrying box. The internal fuel tank stores 16, 200 lbs, external fuel tanks an additional 3, 800 lbs.
Long-span spoilers ahead of the flaps and automatic leading-edge slats assist maneuvering. The automatic wing sweep has manual override and automatic scheduling of control with airspeed, and auto stabilization and angle-of-attack control.
Crew consists of a pilot and radar intercept officer. Typical armament: AIM-54 Phoenix missile, AIM-7 Sparrow missile, AIM-9 Sidewinder missile, air-to-ground ordnance, and one 20mm MK-61A1 Vulcan cannon.
Manufactured at a unit cost of $38 million by Grumman Aerospace Corp at various locations.
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