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The F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, variable-sweep wing multirole fighter aircraft designed by Grumman. It was the US Navy's main strike fighter until it retired in 2006.
However, the F-14 is still in service today, but in another, more closed and controversial part of the world.
In this article, we will tell you more about the F-14 Tomcat and if the F-14 Tomcat is still in service, where and the history behind it.
About the Grumman F-14 Tomcat
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a twin-engine, two-seater fighter aircraft developed for the United States Navy. The F-14 is capable of aircraft carrier deployment and has a distinctive variable-sweep wing configuration. When flying at high speeds, the onboard computer systems move the wings backward, reducing drag. For lower speeds, it moves them forward.
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat was designed to replace the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and is built on combat experience gained during the Vietnam War. The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II demonstrated that it lacked sufficient mobility to win fights in Vietnam. Grumman was given the contract in January 1969.
The Tomcat first flew on 21 December 1970 and entered service in 1974. When production stopped in 1991, Grumman had built 712 F-14s.
Is the F-14 Tomcat Still In Service?
The F-14 Tomcat is no longer in use by the United States. The aircraft retired on 22 September 2006, and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet replaced it. Until its retirement, the F-14 served as the Navy's primary air superiority fighter, fleet defense aircraft, and reconnaissance platform.
But despite the F-14 Tomcat's retirement from the United States Navy in 2006, the aircraft is still in use today. The F-14 remains in service with Iran's Air Force.
Under the Pahlavi dynasty, the United States exported the F-14 Tomcat to Iran in 1976. At the beginning of the 1970s, the Iranian Air Force was looking for a new fighter aircraft capable of intercepting Soviet reconnaissance MiGs.
In January 1974, Iran ordered 30 F-14 Tomcats in a deal worth around 300 million dollars. Shortly after, Iran increased the order to 80 aircraft. The newly expanded agreement also included spare parts, replacement engines for ten years, armament packages, and support for the aircraft. Iran's first F-14 Tomcats arrived in early 1976.
After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, most western arms orders were canceled by the post-revolution government. However, Iran tried to purchase spare parts for the F-14 after the aircraft retired from the United States Navy in 2006. The year after, the US Department of Defense halted the sales of all F-14 spare parts due to worries that the parts would end up in Iran. To further deny Iran access to spare parts, the Pentagon announced plans to destroy the remaining US F-14s in July 2007.
It is unclear how many F-14s Iran currently has in operational condition.
The F-14 Tomcat was the primary air superiority fighter, fleet defense, and reconnaissance aircraft for the US Navy. On 22 September 2006, the aircraft was retired, and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet took its place.
Although the United States Navy no longer has the aircraft in operation, it is still used by the Iranian Air Force. Iran ordered the F-14 in the 1970s, but after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the post-revolution administration canceled all arms sales.
Today the US denies Iran access to spare parts, and the majority of the remaining F-14s have been destroyed for that exact reason. The number of functional F-14s in the Iranian inventory is unknown.
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