Friday, September 23, 2011

Tomcats Forever

America needs the F-14. That was the message appearing on American TV screens in the autumn of 1989 as the authors assembled this pictorial celebration of the US Navy's Top Gun' fighter. The F-14 had been in production for two decades, had served with one foreign user in addition to our navy, and although accruing some age, was still one of the best air-to-air combat machines this side of the long-awaited ATF (advanced tactical fighter). Many were concerned that production of the F-14 might end prematurely, and the TV message was intended to save not only the Tomcat but its builder, Grumman. Other volumes may address the political, economic and corporate issues which underly the decision to end production early in the F-14D factory run. We are here not speak of politics but to show the Tomcat to our audience through the medium of photos. Photos aboard the carrier, photos returning from combat off the Libyan coast, and still more photos. None of these colour plates has ever been published before.