148 pages, lots of photos, softbound
The F-14 Tomcat served the USN from the end of the Vietnam War through most of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. During those thirty years, the aircraft was involved in many other conflicts throughout the world. This book tells the tales of the aircraft's involvement and the stories of those who flew it.
It starts as one might expect, with a brief history of the design and development of the Tomcat. This was a plane developed during the years of the swing wing and it was that feature which made it such a potent aircraft. Though the USAF had its F-15, in a dog-fight, it was the Tomcat that came out on top, much of that due to the ability to change the sweep of the wing to meet the requirements of combat.
Not only was it fairly agile, but it was also strong, as it had to be to withstand the rigors of carrier landings. No long approaches, flaring and long landing runs. It was slam, grab, and stop in a few hundred feet.
The aircraft did not have as distinguished air to air combat record as the opportunities were few and far between. I dare say that fewer than 10 enemy aircraft were shot down by US Tomcats in their 30 years of service. However, the US wasn't the only nation to operate the type. Iran ordered and received 80 aircraft before the fall of the Shah. These planes were used with considerable success against Iraq during the 1980s and this is where the Tomcat had the greatest air to air success. It is also where the aircraft is still in service, though its numbers of combat ready planes has drastically been reduced.
The book is well illustrated with dozens of fairly large photographs of planes and pilots, mostly in full color and well chosen to illustrate each of the separate sections of the book. Many are USN photos and you will see quite a few old favorites if you have been following the type through its years of operational service.
It is a great read and the pilot stories only enhance what is a well done book of the combat career of the F-14. It is A book that I know you will like and is one I can easily recommend.
Thanks to Mike Guardia for the review copy. You can get yours from many sources. Here is one.
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