Designed in the 60’s, fielded in the 70’s, by 1994 the F-14 was beyond mid life. Although an outstanding Air Superiority fighter, its prowess was based on its ability to carry the Aim-54 Phoenix long range missile designed to destroy Soviet bombers, but despite its size, it was a nimble dog-fighter. The original Tomcat was big (61,000 lbs), expensive and limited in capabilities to a single role.
In the late ‘80’s the USN embarked on a major upgrade program of its F-14 fleet in order to make it a more versatile, multi-role aircraft – this would solve the flexibility constraint but make it bigger and more expensive. The first upgrade was started in 1987 where the engines were replaced by an improved and more reliable one. These were further modified to enable them to carry bombs and they were renamed ‘Bombcats’. Historically 38 were built with another 48 rebuilt for a total of 96; in Northern Fury the rebuilds were saved for the F-14D so all 120 F-14Bs in service were built at 20/year between 1987 and 1992. Nine squadrons are equipped with this version.
The next version is the much more advanced F-14D ‘Super Tomcat’ (not to be confused with Super Tomcat 21). This version had the same improved engines as the Bombcats but also had a modern precision ground strike capability. The plan was for 137 new build followed by 400 rebuilt F-14A. Historically this plan was canceled in 1989 after 55 airframes were delivered (37 new, remainder rebuilt) but in Northern Fury the program continues with 162, mostly rebuilds already delivered and eight more arriving each month. Five squadrons are equipped with this version, another four are training and the Fleet Replacement Units (FRU) hold about 15 each.
In the Northern Fury world there are some alterations to historical production which are listed here:
478 F-14A models were built which is historically accurate.
The F-14B was originally a mix of 67 rebuilt and 19 new production aircraft. However, in Northern Fury, all of these aircraft are new build and production continued from 1987 until 1992 at the rate of 20 per year for a total of 120 Bombcats built.
The rebuild program to F-14D standard continues with 162 delivered and 8 more completing each month.
There are 29 Tomcat squadrons (VF) in the fleet, one more than there was historically.
VF-101 ‘Grim Reapers’ on the East Coast, and VF-124 ‘Gunfighters’ on the West Coast, are the F-14 FRU Squadrons with a mix of A, B and D models. They conduct certification and qualification training. Each has about 35 airframes but that fluctuates as replacements are needed in the fleet and they draw new ones from the replacement pool or storage.
|VF-2||Bounty Hunters||CVW-2||12||F-14A||USS Constellation|
|VF-11||Red Rippers||CAW-14||12||F-14D||USS Carl Vinson|
|VF-21||Free Lancers||CVW-5||12||F-14A||USS Independence|
|VF-24||Fighting Renegades||CVW-9||12||F-14A||USS Nimitz|
|VF-31||Tomcatters||CAW-14||12||F-14D||USS Carl Vinson|
|VF-32||Fighting Swardsmen||CVW-3||12||F-14B||USS Eisenhower|
|VF-41||Black Aces||CVW-8||12||F-14A||USS T Roosevelt|
|VF-51||Screamin' Eagles||CAW-6||12||F-14A||USS Enterprise|
|VF-74||Be-Devilers||CVW-15||12||F-14B||USS Kitty Hawk|
|VF-84||Jolly Rogers||CVW-15||12||F-14B||USS Kitty Hawk|
|VF-101||Grim Reapers||FRS||36||F-14A/B/D||NAS Oceana|
|VF-103||Sluggers||CVW-10||12||F-14B||USS George Washington|
|VF-114||Aardvarks||CVW-8||12||F-14A||USS T Roosevelt|
|VF-124||Gunfighters||CVW-7||12||F-14D||USS JF Kennedy|
|VF-142||Ghostriders||CVW-10||12||F-14B||USS George Washington|
|VF-143||Pukin Dogs||CVW-7||12||F-14B||USS JF Kennedy|
|VF-154||Black Knights||CVW-5||12||F-14A||USS Independence|
|VF-191||Satan's Kittens||CVW-11||12||F-14A||USS Abraham Lincoln|
|VF-194||Red Lightnings||CVW-3||12||F-14B||USS Eisenhower|
|VF-201||Devils Disciples||CVWR-20||12||F-14A||JRSB Fort Worth|
|VF-213||Black Lions||CVW-11||12||F-14A||USS Abraham Lincoln|
|VF-301||Devils Disciples||CVWR-30||12||F-14D||NAS Miramar|