The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for United States Navy’s Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program. The F-14 was the first of the American teen-series fighters which were designed incorporating the experience of air combat against MiGs during the Vietnam War.
The F-14 first flew in December 1970. It first deployed in 1974 with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), replacing the F-4 Phantom II. The F-14 served as the U.S. Navy’s primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor and tactical reconnaissance platform.
Top Gun Movie
The F-14 gained much of its notoriety among civilians from the 1986 blockbuster film Top Gun. It was the feature military fighter jet throughout the film, and the platform the best fighter pilots across their respective squadrons flew and used to hone their skills at the Top Gun flight school.
The Navy made available several aircraft from F-14 fighter squadron VF-51 Screaming Eagles for the film. Paramount paid as much as $7,800 per hour for fuel and other operating costs whenever aircraft were flown outside of their normal duties. Shots of the aircraft carrier sequences were filmed aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), showing aircraft from F-14 squadrons VF-114 Aardvarks and VF-213 Black Lions.
The F-14 was retired from the active U.S. Navy fleet on 22 September 2006, having been replaced by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.