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.
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.
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.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com