F-14 Tomcat

(Model created by Incredible Guy in Google SketchUp)

The F-14 Tomcat, made by Grumman (now Northrop Grumman), is a third-generation, two-seater swing-wing fighter jet.

Designed as a naval interceptor, it became the primary air interceptor of the US Navy for just over three decades until its 2006 retirement, gaining cult status due to its starring role in Top Gun. Combining high speed, high agility and a powerful main missile (the AIM-54 Phoenix), the "Cat" was well loved by its crews.

Only one country ever received the Tomcat as an export - the government of Iran under the Shah. 79 of 80 planned aircraft were delivered before the Islamic Revolution and the type saw extensive service in the Iran-Iraq War, where its powerful radar proved handy at detecting Iraqi fighters in lieu of an actual airborne radar platform.

The type remains service with Iran, about 20 in operation as of 2015. Spare parts have to be built locally, as arms sanctions and the shredding of most of the retired US fleet prevent purchase of these parts from abroad.

Pilot advice

The F-14 is one of Iran's best fighter jets, despite its age. The aircraft can turn quickly and with two crew, has a slight advantage in overall situational awareness. However, it should be easily to take from beyond visual range.