F-14 with US forces markings.
|Role||Carrier-Based Heavy Fighter|
|Armament(s)||WS-16 Assault Cannon|
The F-14 Tomcat is a family of 2nd generation Tactical Surface Fighters developed by Grunnan for the US Navy. As the earliest 2nd generation machine, it represented a major milestone in the war against the BETA, and is mostly phased out of use by the beginning of the 21st century.
Due to reports from the war against the BETA in Europe, designs changes were made to the Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier during the construction of the second ship to accommodate a TSF group. Grunnan also developed the F-11 Tiger, the first carrier-based Tactical Surface Fighter, which unfortunately failed to meet the Navy's specifications for a naval TSF.
Seeking revenge for the F-11's failure, Grunnan took advantage of the data accumulated to meet the Navy's requirements by developing a new product with the following capabilities:
- Operation of the newly-developed AIM-54 Phoenix long-range missile system as a first-strike capability during sea-to-land operations;
- Enlargement of fuselage and adoption of a double-seat type control unit (front-seat pilot, rear-seat radar control) to aid in the performance of the TSF during high-speed strikes;
- Expansion of continuous uptime strategies, that is, improving the unit's staying power on the battlefield;
- Ensuring high survivability of both pilot and TSF;
- Significant improvements in mobility and maneuverability, one of the methods being the adoption of Operation by Wire, and the use of new lightweight composite materials for armor rather than the heavy armor used on the F-4 series;
- Introduction of flexible, aerodynamic control concepts, one of the methods being the introduction of Jump Units with a variable-wing mechanism.
The F-14 was an ambitious and innovative TSF concept, representing a completely new combat doctrine that could be used against the BETA. It received 100 orders and financial support from the Navy during its design phase, allowing steady development up to the first unit being delivered in November 1981.
Expectations for the F-14 were high among Navy leaders. Admiral Lascaux Helen Carter, known as the "father of the Tactical Surface Fighter", declared that "with the appearance of the F-14, all existing TSFs became obsolete" at its ceremony.
Perhaps the most famous squadron to make use of the F-14 Tomcat was the US Navy's VF-103 Jolly Rogers. Apart from participating in Operation Neptune in 1983, VF-103 was also notably at the retreat of Kyoto in 1998, assisting the remaining Japanese forces in evacuating their capital city.
An attempt to sell the F-14 was made to the Empire of Japan, but in a fierce marketing battle it lost to the F-15 Eagle due to a lack of close-combat ability. Although it is a larger aircraft than the F-15, its Jump Units, which were equipped with variable-mechanism wings, allowed the F-14 to exhibit a high degree of mobility.
With the surplus of units, several upgrades were introduced to keep the Tomcat's performance up to current standards, despite its status as the oldest 2nd generation TSF; after upgrading, the F-14D had overall equivalent performance to the F-15C. A further minor upgrade would be made with the F-14E, and improved radar and fire control capability in the final F-14F.
Because of skyrocketing maintenance costs and the acceptance of the F-18E/F Super Hornet as the US Navy's replacement main TSF, it was decided to retire the F-14 in 2001. Some units are planned to be sold to the Empire of Iran (the only other nation to adopt the F-14), as well as various pro-American African countries after downgrading.
F-14Ex Super TomcatEdit
|F-14Ex Super Tomcat|
An F-14Ex with Iranian markings.
|Role||Desert-Optimized/Modernized Heavy Fighter|
|Armament(s)||WS-16 Assault Cannon|
XWS-116 Support Assault Cannon
During consideration to retire the F-14, a comparison of pilot experience and overall capability to the F-18 Hornet found that many Navy leaders were in favor of continued operations for the Tomcat, and Northrock Grunnan proposed the "Super Tomcat plan" to upgrade the F-14 to 2.5th generation specifications. However, due to costs and the F-18E/F Super Hornet performing better than expected, the project was shelved. For the sake of Northrock Grunnan, the US sold the plan to Iran to strengthen its F-14s.
While it remains a two-seater like the F-14, it places the Weapons Systems Officer in front and the Surface Pilot in the rear, a switched layout from the original Tomcat. The head module was expanded for improved sensors and radar, stretching radar coverage by 20%, and Blade-Edge Armor fins have been mounted on its forearms and legs. The hardpoints for the AIM-54 Phoenix system on its shoulder blocks have been replaced by auxiliary thrusters to boost its maneuverability. A notable aspect of the unit is its capability to easily accept modifications for recon missions without requiring extensive refitting. Unit commanders participating in Blue Flag exercises pilot sniper types with the XWS-116 Support Assault Cannon.
Four Super Tomcats are known to be operated by the Imperial Army of Iran's Azriel Test Flight. Originally stationed at the Suez Canal as part of the defence line, they were later deployed to a reconnaissance mission north of the Tigris-Euphrates river system in former Syria, and subsequently participated in combat trials at Yukon Base in Alaska under the banner of the United Nations' Project: PROMINENCE. Despite their combat experience, Azriel Test Flight was unable to overcome their opponent, the Scarlet Twins of Idol Test Flight, and were easily defeated by them.
An F-14AN3 with all sensor equipment installed.
|Role||Hive Infiltrator/Force Reconnaissance/Esper-Optimized Heavy Fighter|
|Armament(s)||WS-16 Assault Cannon|
The only TSF to be exclusively deployed under the command of the United Nations, the Mindseeker was a F-14D variant built for the Soviet Union-born esper-pilot corps, assigned to the UN's A-01 Task Force to carry out Alternative III. Named the Roksova(РокСова) for its unique head design, it, like all F-14 variants, is a two-seater TSF, with the weapons officer (in this case the esper assigned to the craft) seated in front, and the pilot positioned behind. The seating arrangement was originally reversed until the F-14AN3s' assigned pilots voiced their displeasure at having "witches" seated behind them.
The F-14AN3 was outfitted with various composite sensors and reconnaissance equipment on its shoulder block antennae, forearm pods, and in its head unit, all linked to the esper seated within to aid them in detecting BETA thought processes while they were in a BETA-heavy location. Performance of the TSF was regarded by many pilots as a step backwards from the F-14D, the Mindseeker's base model; not only was the capability to use the AIM-54 Phoenix system completely omitted, but the exterior sensor equipment also decreased the aerodynamic performance of the F-14AN3, and Soviet pilots often regarded the F-14D as the superior machine against the MiG-31 Plamya-Lisa, and even the Su-27 Zhuravlik, which at that time was the newest Soviet TSF to be deployed.
After a process of selection amongst the committee in charge of Alternative III, the F-14AN3 was developed, and was first deployed in combat in 1990. Its most iconic deployment to date was in 1992's Operation Swaraj, where F-14AN3s of the Vsadnik (Всадник) Squadron, under Alternative III, attempted to enter the Bhopal Hive to scan for BETA thought processes. It remained in use in various reconnaissance missions around the world until 1995, when Alternative III was discontinued in favor of Alternative IV.
During the selection of TSFs for Alternative III, the MiG-31 had also been considered as a possible TSF candidate for the operation. UN command eventually rejected the Plamya-Lisa on the basis that it lacked the required maneuverability, survivability, and overall combat performance when compared to the F-14D, which had also been included in the selection. The Soviet went through independent selections again, and this time picked the F-14D. Due to the displeasure at having to use US military hardware for a Soviet-led operation, the relationships between both countries took a hit as a result.
Once the results were finalized, all further protests were turned away, with the UN going as far as to threaten to charge those standing against the F-14 modification plans for committing crimes against humanity, and to punish them with the appropriate UN sanctions. It was rumored that the Sufoni Design Bureau, which was placed in charge of the modifications of the F-14AN3 and its maintenance, had relations to background political entities or dealings.
- The original F-14 only had 3 models; the F-14A Tomcat, F-14B Bombcat and F-14D Super Tomcat. The F-14C was an unbuilt variant, there is no F-14E or F-14F variant, and definitely no F-14Ex or F-14AN3.
- Proposed real-world variants of the F-14 include an F-14C, an upgraded F-14B with multi-mission avionics, and a Super Tomcat 21, which in summary would be the Navy equivalent of the F-22. Both were never built, but in the Muv-Luv multiverse the F-14Ex represents the end result of the Super Tomcat 21 plan.
- In real life, Iran uses the F-14A; a stark contrast to the F-14Ex of the Muv-Luv Alternative version of Iran, which uses an F-14 variant built with American aid and technology.
- The F-14AN3's nickname was because its head resembled that of a rock owl's.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 MLA LD3 Code: Rebellion, pg. 19, "オルターナティブ第三計画直属", 1st paragraph.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 MLA TSF Cross Operation Vol. 4, pg. 104, TSFIA #32: Blood Red Carpet.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 MLA LD3 Code: Rebellion, pg. 19, "オルターナティブ第三計画直属", 2nd paragraph
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 MLA LD3 Code: Rebellion, pg. 18, "F-14AN3 Mindseeker", 1st paragraph.