The “ADCOM F-14:” the Tomcat that USAF never bought

The “ADCOM F-14:” the Tomcat that USAF never bought

By Dario Leone
Jul 5 2021
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Studies indicated 170 “ADCOM F-14 Tomcats” could provide the same level of Defense as 290 F-15 Eagles

Taken at the Grumman Calverton test facility in the summer of 1972, the interesting photos in this post show the mock-up of the so called “ADCOM F-14” created by Grumman in response to an U.S. Air Force (USAF) proposal to replace the Convair F-106 Delta Dart as an Aerospace Defense Command (ADCOM) interceptor in the 1970s. Note the simulated “Buzz Code” and Aerospace Defense Command livery and emblem on the tail.

The “ADCOM F-14:” the Tomcat that USAF never bought

To meet this need, Grumman developed an F-14B Tomcat Interceptor variant, with a single example in mock-up form produced in 1972. The modifications included changes to the missile launchers and increased internal fuel capacity, but little interest was shown and the project quickly died.

Actually the USAF tested the F-14 but the USAF opted to purchase more F-15 Eagles. As told by David F. Brown in his book Tomcat Alley: A Photographic Roll Call of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, when comparing the air defense capabilities of both, the purchase of the F-15 seemed foolish. The Phoenix missile system alone was far more capable than the Eagle’s AIM-7 Sparrow. Studies indicated 170 Tomcats could provide the same level of Defense as 290 F-15 Eagles. General Daniel `Chappie’ James, the former Commander of NORAD, personally evaluated the Tomcat. He recommended that it be purchased by the USAF.

The “ADCOM F-14:” the Tomcat that USAF never bought
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-14A Tomcat VF-33 Starfighters / Tarsiers , AB201 / 19428 / 1982

Today it is the F-15 Eagle which guards the sky over the continental United States; the F-14 was defeated by interservice rivalry, by politics and…… by its high cost.

Tomcat Alley: A Photographic Roll Call of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat is published by Schiffer Military and is available to order here.

The “ADCOM F-14:” the Tomcat that USAF never bought
This model is available in multiple sizes from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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