A permanent test Tomcat for the Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division at its homebase Point Mugu. This F-14B (Block 150, FY 1987) was delivered to the US Navy in 1989 and served from the early 90s within the Test and Evaluation community. Since the mid 90s, BuNo 163223 was used as the F-14B Avionics Upgrade Prototype and was therefore specially wired and configured. It received an N in its type designation to make it clear that this aircraft was not suitable for regular carrier deployments as it deviates from normal standard F-14s. The NF-14B was scrapped at AMARG in July 2007.
From VF-41 and based at this time aboard aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. Seen here fitted with live weapons at the end of 1st Gulf War. This Tomcat was lost on May 22sd, 1995 in Mediterranean see after takeoff from USS Theodore Roosevelt. Crew safely recovered.
Some Tomcats were specially configured as a test airframe for new avionica, weapons, databases, wiring and so on. In the Naval designation system, test airframes receive the letter N in front of the basic type. The NF-14Ds were based at NAS point Mugu (CA) and assigned to the Naval Weapons Test Squadron Point Mugu (NWTSPM). This unit was redesignated to Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD). This Tomcat shows the NAWCWD title on the leading edge, as well as the old Weapons Test Squadron on the tail.
Fighter Squadron 111 (VF-111), USS Kitty Hawk, 1979. Made famous by the movie "Top Gun," the F-14 Tomcat is the last of Grumman's "Cat" series of Naval fighters which began with the F4F Wildcat in the 1930s. Tomcats entered service on the USS Enterprise in 1974, and flew some of the last American combat missions over Vietnam while providing air cover over Saigon during the American evacuation in April 1975. The Tomcat was retired from service in the U.S. Navy in 2006.
There are Tomcats and there are beautiful Tomcats. A classic picture of a towed Tomcat over the deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). The aircraft was on its way to the the rear of the flight deck where it was positioned for an upcoming morning launch. Many Tomcats were scrapped at AMARG to prevent spare parts feeding to Iran. Luckily, this beauty was relieved from that fate. Since September 2006, 164342 is preserved at the Wings over Miami Museum at Kendall (FL).
This F-14A of Fighter Squadron (VF) 191 Satan's Kittens was seen during an enthusiastic landing at NAS Miramar. VF-191 and sister squadron VF-194 Red Lightnings were the two shortest lived F-14 squadrons in history and thus are rarely photographed. VF-191 was established on 4 Dec'86. Its pilots were trained by VF-124 and being prepared for a deployment onboard the USS Independence as part of CVW-10. After the FRS training, the squadron received its first Tomcats (mid '87). The squadron was disbanded before the cruise could ever take place, on 30 April 1988.
One of my favorite F-14 Tomcat pictures. AJ-105 of Fighting Squadron (VF) 31 grabs the cable on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during the final cruise of the F-14. VF-213 Black Lions and VF-31 Tomcatters had the honours to bring the Tomcat to war (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and to home for the final time. Awesome!
Fighter Squadron (VF) 202 Superheats of the United States Navy Reserves operated factory-new Tomcats, but the squadron received (after transition from the F-4S) also very old Tomcats, like this 33rd built 158632. But... old or new... they all looked great and were in splendid condition when the squadron started receiving the aircraft in 1987.
AF-104 of Fighter Squadron (VF) 202 Superheats on its way to the runway of NAS Dallas (TX). On this September 1987 day, the squadron performed some Dissimilar air combat training (DACT) with Tyndall F-15s that were deployed to Dallas. The pilot of one of the Tomcat said the memorable words to me before he entered his office: "Today we're gonna eat some Eagles" in a Texas slang. This BuNo 162708 crashed on 23 December 1992 during an Air Combat Manoeuvring engagement with an A-4 Skyhawk, some 30 miles SW of Dallas.