The failure of the General Dynamics F-111B to meet US Navy requirements for an advanced carrier-based air-superiority fighter led to a new design contest which was won by Grumman with its variable-geometry, two-seat, twin-engine aircraft designated the F-14. Named the Tomcat, procurement began in 1969 for 700 aircraft. Deliveries to the Navy began in June 1972, with the initial deployment of operational carrier squadrons in 1974.
The ability to sweep its wings aft 43 degrees, coupled with twin 21,000-lb-thrust engines enabled the F-14 to achieve speeds in excess of twice the speed of sound.
The F-14, with its Phoenix air-to-air missiles, coupled with airborne early-warning aircraft radar, was able to simultaneously intercept, engage and destroy up to five incoming enemy aircraft out to distances in excess of one hundred miles from a carrier task force. The F-14 was later used in the ground-attack role, as well.
Reduction of force requirements and concurrent cuts in defense spending necessitated the gradual replacement of the F-14s by F/A-18s in 2006.
This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola, Florida.