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9. F-14 TOMCAT The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twinjet, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program following the collapse of the F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American teen-series fighters which were designed incorporating the experience of air combat against MiG fighters during the Vietnam War. The F-14 first flew in December 1970 and made its first deployment in 1974 with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), replacing the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The F-14 served as the U.S. Navy's primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor and tactical reconnaissance platform. In the 1990s, it added the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod system and began performing precision ground-attack missions.The Tomcat was retired from the U.S. Navy's active fleet on 22 September 2006, having been supplanted by the Boeing F/A-18E and F Super Hornets. As of 2014, the F-14 was only in service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, having been exported to Iran in 1976, when the U.S. had amicable diplomatic relations with Iran. In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, an F-14D Tomcat from Fighter Squadron Three One (VF-31), performs a fly by past the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in the Atlantic Ocean on June 19, 2006. For the past 30 years, the F-14 Tomcat has assured U.S. air superiority, playing a key role in ensuring victory and preserving peace around the world. The F-14 Tomcat will be removed from service and officially stricken from the inventory in September of 2006. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy,Dale Miller)
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