JSI JSI60023 US Navy Grumman F-14 Tomcat Fleet Defense Fighter - VF-154 "Black Knights" [Working Lights] (1:18 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing aircraft. The F-14 was the United States Navy's primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor and tactical reconnaissance platform from 1974 to 2006. It later performed precision strike missions once it was integrated with the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night LANTIRN system. The F-14 was developed after the collapse of the F-111B project, and was the first of the American teen-series fighters which were designed incorporating the experience of air combat against MiGs during the Vietnam War.
The F-14 first deployed in 1974 with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise, replacing the F-4 Phantom II and was retired from the active U.S. Navy fleet on 22 September 2006, having been replaced by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F-14 is in service with only the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force as of 2009, having been exported to the former Imperial Iranian Air Force in 1976, during a time when the US had good diplomatic relations with Iran.
The F-14 first flew on December 21st, 1970, just 22 months after Grumman was awarded the contract, and reached Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 1973. While the Marine Corps was interested in the F-14 and went so far as to send pilots to VF-124 to train as instructors, they were never fully sold on the aircraft and pulled out when the stores management system for ground attack munitions was left undeveloped, leaving the aircraft incapable of dropping air-to-ground munitions (these were later developed in the 1990s).
Pictured here is a 1:18 scale replica of a US Navy Grumman F-14 Tomcat Fleet Defense Fighter that was attached to VF-154 "Black Knights". Equipped with working lights. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 25-1/2 inches
Length: 42-1/2 inches
Release Date: February 2011
Historical Account: "Black Knights" - Strike Fighter Squadron 154 (VFA-154), also known as the "Black Knights", is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore. The Black Knights are an operational fleet squadron flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet. They are currently attached to Carrier Air Wing Fourteen and deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). Their radio callsign is "Knight."
Between 1999 and 2002, VF-154 would participate in five deployments in the Pacific as well as the Indian Ocean. In 2001, CVW-5 flew more than 600 missions and 100 combat sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In 2003, VF-154 would make their last cruise with the F-14, this time in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This would be the first time CVW-5 would deploy to the Persian Gulf since 1999. The USS Kitty Hawk arrived on station on February 26 and CVW-5 was chosen to be the dedicated Close Air Support wing. VF-154 deployed with 12 F-14As and detached five F-14As and five air crews to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar where these F-14s and its crews would work closely with Royal Air Force Panavia Tornados, USAF F-15Es, F-16CGs and F-16CJ's and Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18As. CENTCOM had contacted CVW-5 and specifically asked for the air wing to deploy Forward Air Controller capable Tomcats and crews to support coalition land-based aircraft as well as Special Forces squads operating inside Iraq. The F-14s were usually paired with the aircraft already deployed to the airbase, dropping bomb themselves or guiding other aircraft bombs. The aircrews would fly daily missions and in one 48 hour period the Black Knights detachment flew 14 sorties totaling 100 hours of flight time. The crews at Al Udeid flew more than 300 combat hours and delivered 50 000 pounds of ordnance, (98 GBU-12s) during the 21 day stay at the airbase.
On April 1st, 2003, VF-154 lost one of their aircraft over southern Iraq due to that it suffered a single engine and fuel transfer system failure which caused the remaining engine to run dry. The crew, already two hours into their mission and having dropped some bombs,the pilot and RIO ejected and the crew was soon picked up by an HH-60G helicopter. This F-14A was the first coalition aircraft to crash in Iraq since the start of Iraqi Freedom.
The remaining F-14s on the USS Kitty Hawk made a valuable contribution to the war effort, compromising mostly of junior officers and expended 246 GBU-12s, ten GBU-16s and four GBU-10s during 27 days of combat. By the end of the war, VF-154 had dropped 358 laser guided bombs, buddy lased 65 more and passed target coordinates for 32 JDAMs during the course of 286 sorties. The Black Knights had expended more ordnance than any other unit in CVW-5, despite flying the oldest jets in the air wing.
In September 2003, the Black Knights left Atsugi for the last time and ended their proud 13 years in Japan and 20 years in the Tomcat. A month later, VF-154 was redesignated VFA-154 at their new home at NAS Lemoore, California, and began transitioning to the Navy's newest strike fighter, the F/A-18F Super Hornet. They completed their first Super Hornet cruise in the summer of 2005 aboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), part of Carrier Air Wing 9 supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. On April 6, 2005, VFA-154 and VFA-147 dropped two 500-pound laser-guided bombs on enemy insurgent location east of Baghdad.