Introduction:Still the Best
At The Controls: Tomcat puts the reader aboard the F-14B and F-I4D Super Tomcats of Fighter Squadron VF-2. the US Navy's 'Bounty Hunters', on the nuclear Supercarrier George Washington. What makes this book different is the pilot's eye perspective. After an introduction to the unique design capabilities of the Tomcat, you will fly and fight a series of realistic missions over the Adriatic Sea and Bosnia, beginning with a seemingly routine peace-keeping flight and climaxing in a deadly battle, with the George Washington herself at risk. Along the way, the reader/pilot will be introduced to all he or she needs to know to fly these missions, from modern digital radar systems and electronic countermeasures, to dogfighter aerodynamics and tactics, to making a successful carrier landing. At night.
Although the Tomcat has been 'pounding the skies' for some time, it is still the most capable long-range multi-role fighter in the world, vital to the US carrier battle groups. Without the Tomcat, US naval policy and power projection would be severely limited. This importance is reflected in a long list of recent and planned upgrades to the F-14. Indeed, the Tomcat role is still expanding to fulfil the missions of retiring aircraft such as the A-6E Intruder. We will look atand employall these new systems, from DFCS (Digital Flight Control System) to LANTIRN (Low Altitude Navigation & Targeting InfraRed for Night) to TARPS (Tactical Aircraft Reconnaissance Pod System). Input from the US Navy pilots and RIOs who fly the F-14 make this the most comprehensive pilot's-eye view of today'ssupreme Navy fighter. DEFENDING THE CARRIERS: FROM MISSILEER TO TOMCAT
The Tomcat story begins in the 1950s, soon after the F-4 Phantom program was initiated. But unlike the Phantom, it would take 20 years before the US Navy's Missileer evolved into the F-14. With the progress of missile technology in the 1950s, long-range cruise missiles became the greatest threat to the US Navy carrier battle group. Launched from high-speed bombers at a stand-off distance of as much as 200 nm (nautical miles) (370 km), these missiles would demand an incredibly powerful radar to be acquired and tracked. An equally powerful radar on a long-range, fast, high-endurance platform would be required to attack the bombers before they could launch. The Navy's solution was a large, high-endurance aircraft, carrying several high-speed long-range air-to-air missiles. The missile chosen, in 1958, was Bendix's AAMN-10 Eagle; 16 feet (4.9 m) long and weighing 1,284 lbs (852 kg), it had a maximum speed of Mach 4 and a range of 110 nm (204 km). Eagle development was eventually transferred to Hughes, to become the Tomcat's AIM-54 Phoenix, but Douglas's F-6D Missileer was as different from the Tomcat as can be imagined. From its beginnings in 1960, there were objections to the Missileer. While it could carry three Eagles under each wing and two more under the forward fuselage, its fixed high wing and non-afterburning engines produced a top speed of only Mach 0.8. After it had released its Eagles, the Missileer would be an easy target as it flew slowly back to the carrier. Big, sluggish, as well as slow, the variety of missions it could perform was APN-1 22(V) radar continued, to become the limited by its defencelessness. On a crowded AWG-9 of the F-1 4A/B. aircraft carrier that just wasn't good enough. After the Missileer was cancelled in 1961, On the other hand, the Missileer's radar was new Defence Secretary Robert S. McNamara, designed to track multiple targets at extreme former Vice President of the Ford Motor range, in order to keep itself far from trouble Company, encouraged a common Air when it launched missiles. Development of Force/Navy aircraft. The goal was to the Hughes pulse Doppler/track-while-scan streamline programs and reduce costs. In some ways the Air Force's SOR-1 83 Tactical Strike Fighter (TFX) did share requirements with the Navy's ex-Missileer Fleet Air Defence Fighter (FADF). Both needed a heavy weapons load, high speed, and long endurance. But the Air Force wanted a ground attack aircraft and the Navy was pure air-to-air. While the Air Force eventually fielded the successful General Dynamics F-111A bomber, the Navy's F-111B was cancelled in 1968 for being overweight and not nimble enough for either carrier operations or fighter work. But the F-111B provided the seed for the F-14. Principal subcontractor Grumman retained the F-111B's variable geometry swing-wing concept and, unfortunately, its Pratt & Whitney TF30 engines. This became Project 303, which won the contract for the Navy's VFX fighter (soon to be F-14) in 1969. All that remained was a last minute change to twin vertical fins in back, and the Tomcat name. Vice Admiral Tom Connolly and Admiral Thomas Moorer had both been great supporters of the F-14 program, and combined with Grumman's practice of naming its fighters after felines (Wildcat, Bearcat, Hellcat, etc.), the project long known as 'Tom's Cat' officially became the Tomcat. The Tomcat took something from all these projects of the 1950s and '60s, but the end result was greater than the sum of the parts. Fast, manoeuvrable, capable of carrying six of the longest range air-to-air missiles in the world, and with a superb multi-target radar that has even been used as a command centre in a mini-AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) role, the F-14 was just what the Navy asked for.