Grumman F-14A Tomcat, US Navy, VF-154 "Black Knights", USS "Kitty Hawk" 2003 USA
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a 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 following the collapse of the F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American teen-series fighters which were designed incorporating the experience of air combat 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 reconnaissance platform. In the 1990s it added the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod system and began performing precision ground-attack missions. The Tomcat was retired from the active U.S. Navy fleet on 22 September 2006, having been supplanted by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. As of 2009, the F-14 was only in service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, having been exported to Iran in 1976 when the US had amicable diplomatic relations with the then government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.