Hosted by Rear Admiral Leonard “Swoosh” Snead, the Navy’s project manager for the F-14 Tomcat, this 1974 movie provides an update to the on-going efforts to put the aircraft with the fleet. The film shows the remarkable efforts the Grumman employed to test, manufacture, and deploy this remarkable fighter. At this point only 13 aircraft had been delivered from Grumman to Miramar, and the plane’s potential was not fully known. The film shows VF-1 and VF-2 beginning independent operations, and shows VF-124 working the Navy’s newest aircraft as twice the expected rate.
The footage also features Shah of Iran visiting Andrews Air Force Base (AFB) in July 1973 to observe F-14 Tomcat performance before making up his mind about it.
At 13:50 in fact, the Shah of Iran gets a demonstration of the F-14’s capabilities.
As The Aviation Geek Club contributor and world famous modern military aviation author Tom Cooper explains, the clip portrays an “F-14A from VF-124 performing for the Shah of Iran during the famous fly-off against an F-15A, in July 1973…
“The Tomcat was flown by Don Evans and Dennis Romano – and they had few tricks up the sleeve. For example, they were the second to take-off, but started their engines early, and thus burned lots of fuel to lighten their aircraft before take-off. Then they caught a detail in the weather briefing and flew that 95 knots pass into a shear-wind (opposed to the F-15A-pilot), and then did a few turns no F-15 could ever do… Even though Iranians have already made their decision – well before the fly-off”
At 15:33 the Shah sits in the aircraft cockpit. Iran would eventually become a customer, purchasing 80 Grumman F-14A Tomcats and 633 Hughes AIM-54 Phoenix missiles for $2 billion.
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy’s Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program after the collapse of the F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American teen-series fighters, which were designed incorporating air combat experience against MiG fighters during the Vietnam War.
The F-14 first flew in December 1970 and made its first deployment in 1974 with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), replacing the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The F-14 served as the U.S. Navy’s primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor, and tactical aerial reconnaissance platform into the 1990s. The Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod system were added in the 1990s and the Tomcat began performing precision ground-attack missions.
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