Ready For The Shot - Grumman F-14 Tomcat
Grumman F-14 Tomcat Aviation Art Painting by Artist Chris French FGAvA
Getting an aircraft off the pitching deck of a ship and to flying speed has never been easy! This fact was made even harder with the added weight of the jet aircraft and all the armament and added electronics that they could bare.
To aid in the safe take off, British engineers developed the steam-catapult and this enabled aircraft, such as the 32-ton F-14, to become airborne in less than three seconds.
Made famous by the film “Top Gun”, the F-14 was to be the backbone of the U.S Navy fighter fleet for more than thirty years . Having already had a great deal of experience in the development of carrier-borne aircraft , Grumman won the contract for a new Navy fighter in 1968 with the maiden flight as early as 1970. Carrier trials began aboard USS Enterprise in 1972 with the carriers’ two fighter squadrons VF-1 and VF-2 becoming the first units in the fleet to be made operational in late 1974.
Over 500 Tomcat’s had been built for the USN and from here the aircraft was continually improved, the aircraft were finally retired from service in 2006
In Chris French’s aviation painting, an F-14 in the 1980s two-tone grey scheme prepares to be catapulted.