Grumman F-14A Tomcat Late: Last Original Cat Standing Baby!

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Grumman F-14A Tomcat Late


This suggestion is essentially a “late” version of the F-14A, just prior to its retirement from U.S. Navy service. Compared to the F-14A Early we currently have in the game, it has better A2A, A2G loadout and avionics, allowing it to fight on equal terms with more advanced jets. Also, compared to the F-14B, it has a worse engine but lighter airframe, which will give it far better advantage on 1v1 duels.

F-14A Tomcat (VF-154 / CVW-5) launched from USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) - March 2003

Background
In the 1990s, the U.S. Navy had a significant number of F-14As, but unlike the Legacy Hornet and F-14B, they were not as capable from a “multirole” standpoint. As part of the LANTIRN/PTID upgrade program in the mid-1990s, a “bombcat” upgrade and RWR update was done. Curiously, however, even in the NATOPS, there is no mention of the RWRs that were replaced, only some squadron images/videos and testimonials from pilots at the time like that.

These upgraded F-14As were used in the Iraq war in 2003 and operations in Afghanistan, an attack against al-Qaeda/Taliban.

The F-14As that received these upgrades operated in the following squadrons.

  • VF-14 Top Hatters
  • VF-41 Black Aces
  • VF-154 Black Nights
  • VF-211 Fighting Checkmates

In September 1995, the VF-41 “Black Ace” flew Operation Deliberate Force off the coast of Bosnia. This operation marked the first ever combat deployment of A2G weapons by the “A model” bombcats.

In 2001, VF-14 “Top hatters” and VF-41 “Black Aces” F-14As embarked on the USS Enterprise on their last cruise with the Tomcat. They were aboard the closest carrier to Afghanistan and were the first aircraft employed in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) as the F-14Ds of VF-213 “Black Lions” aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) arrived there. Carriers were initially the only means of deploying tactical air power in Afghanistan. Tomcat, Hornet, and Prowler units flew six- to 10-hour missions over 700 miles (1,126 km) from the carrier.

The A model of the F-14 was retired around 2004, several years earlier than the F-14B/F-14D, and the last US Navy F-14A to fly was the NICKEL 103 (BuNo 158632), which was part of the VF-211 “Fighting Checkmates”. It’s last flight was September 13, 2004.

Specifications
The real life F-14A refurbishment was very patchy. That is, many units were often leftovers from previous variants, and there was no clear cut block by block.

  • Crew: x2 (Pilot and Radar Intercept Officer)
  • Powerplant:Two Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-414A engines of 20,900 lb
  • Span (max spread): 64 ft., 1 in.
  • Span (fully swept): 48 ft., 2 in.
  • Span (overswept): 33 ft. 3 in.
  • Wing Area: 565 sq. ft.
  • Empty Weight: 40,104lbs
  • Max Speed: 1,544 mph
  • Climb Rate: 30,000 ft./min.
  • Radar: AN/AWG-9
  • RWR: ALR-67(same as F-14B)
  • ECM: ALQ-126
  • Guns: M61 Vulcan 20mm cannon
  • Weaponry
    ----------------A2A----------------
  • AIM-9H
  • AIM-9L
  • AIM-9M
  • AIM-7F
  • AIM-7M
  • AIM-54A
  • AIM-54C
    ----------------A2G----------------
  • LAU-10
  • Mk.82 (BLU-111A/B) GPB
  • Mk.83 (BLU-110A/B) GPB
  • Mk.84 GPB
  • GBU-10
  • GBU-12
  • GBU-16
  • GBU-24
  • CBU-20
  • CBU-78
  • CBU-99
  • CBU-100
  • Mk.76 Practice Bomb
  • Mk.106 Practice Bomb
  • BDU-33
  • BDU-45
  • BDU-48

Conclusion
The late model of F-14A is, in a nutshell, the F-14B with the TF-30. However, it is not “worse” model because of lighter airframe. If added to the game, it would be a historic addition and also allow players to choose between the F-14A or F-14B depending on two different play styles. If you want to make it completely different from F-14B, Gaijin can give AIM-9M and AIM-54C for F-14A. Of course, as of June 2024, the AIM-54 is in need of some rework, but if all of that were done, it would not be difficult at all to balance even if the F-14A had an AIM-9Ms. If they were added, the F-14A late would be a legitimate counterpart to the F-15A/C and Su-27, MiG-29G.

Sources

  1. Jon Lake (ed.). F-14 Tomcat Shipborne Superfighter. (London, England: Aerospace Publishing, Ltd., 1998), 83, 196.
  2. National Naval Aviation Museum
  3. SeaForce-online This website really helped to find late F-14A photos!
  4. The retire of F-14A from The Aviation Geek Club
  5. HOME OF M.A.T.S
  6. TOMCAT ALLEY
  7. The Aviationist
4 Likes

Kind of a yes, but kind of a no from me, I’ll explain:
Personally, I would like to see the F-14B go up to 12.3 and receive its Aim-9Ms, while seeing an F-14A (Late) take its place at 12.0, and if the current F-14A (late) that you’re proposing would have 9Ms, ehhhhhhhhh idk.
I’m not opposed to it, but I would prefer if a F-14A (late) could be a gap filler at 12.0 and the F-14B gets historically adjusted. For now, I think ima just give it a thumbs up, great and well detailed suggestion as well.

3 Likes

As a reminder, Gaijin can implement several F-14s, including the F-14A late.

  • F-14A Early

Yes… we already have but, the F-14A that Gaijin is modeling is from 1977, and the U.S. Navy tested the AIM-9L with the F-14A at China Lake on same year.

  • F-14A Late(with bombcat upgrades)
  • F-14B
  • F-14B(U)

“U” means Upgrade. It is basically F-14B with some F-14D functions such as Sparrowhawk HUD and JDAM.

  • F-14D
2 Likes

Can be a great addition. +1

1 Like

Would be 12.3 and in folder with F-14B

1 Like

or folder with F-14A.

Why not a F-14D Super Tomcat?

There’s other variants to be added, this one is not about the F-14D, it’s about the F-14A (Late)

1 Like

So lets make a F-15A Late then, or a F-16C Late

Uhhh sure, go make a suggestion then I guess? But this is getting off topic, this is about the F-14A (late) and not an F-15A, F-16C, or F-14D. Try to stay on topic please.

2 Likes

I want F14D Super Tomcat too before the F18

In folder with F-14A Early ? Maybe but F-14A at 12.3 BR

1 Like