The F-14 Tomcat is one of America’s most iconic jet aircraft, featuring a variable swept-wing design and impressive maneuverability and versatility. Developers Heatblur and IndiaFoxtEcho have worked together to create the most in-depth and accurate virtual depiction of this legendary aircraft that has ever been made. Years of research and development have resulted in the most true-to-life Tomcat experience – now possible in Microsoft Flight Simulator!
The iconic F-14 Tomcat is an American twin-engine, two-seat jet fighter that was developed in response to the U.S. Navy’s need for a new fleet defense fighter during the Cold War.
Thanks to the film Top Gun, the F-14 gained widespread recognition during the 1980s, where it starred in the movie alongside actor Tom Cruise. The film showcased its speed, agility and air-to-air combat capabilities, contributed to the Tomcat’s iconic status, and brought widespread recognition to the aircraft outside of military and aviation enthusiasts.
Development for the aircraft began in the late 1960s and it saw its first flight on December 21, 1970. Designed primarily as an air superiority weapon, the F-14 aimed to improve on the function and capabilities of its predecessor, the F-4 Phantom II. The United States Navy required an aircraft that could detect and engage multiple targets at long ranges. To support this requirement, the F-14’s two seats are in tandem, each with their own cockpit. The pilots are able to see with a 360° view through the aircraft’s bubble canopy. The cockpits also have mirrors to help improve visibility at certain angles.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the F-14 is its variable sweep-wing design. This design allows for the wings to be swept back for high-speed flight or extended forward at slower speeds for increased maneuverability. With the help of the F-14’s Central Air Data Computer, the wings could automatically adjust their sweep angle between 20° and 68° to optimize performance for specific flight conditions. The ability to adapt for a variety of operational scenarios makes the F-14 an incredibly versatile and reliable aircraft.
The F-14 measures at 62 feet, 9 inches in length, stands at 16 feet tall, and when fully extended the wingspan measures at roughly 64 feet. When swept in, the wingspan shortens to 38 feet wide. It sports a range of 1600 nautical miles, climbs at an initial rate of 32,500 feet per minute, and has a service ceiling of 55,000 feet. It is capable of going supersonic, clocking in at a top speed of 1,544 mph (Mach 2.34) at altitudes above 40,000 feet.
The F-14B was introduced in 1987 as an upgraded version of the F-14A.Owing to its updated systems and avionics, the F-14B is more advanced and versatile. The original model, the F-14A, is equipped with two Pratt & Whitney TF-30s, while the F-14B is powered by General Electric F110 engines. In addition to the new engines, the F-14B also replaced the AN/AWG-9 radar with the newer AN/ALR-67, allowing for improved detection of potential threats. Upgrades to systems within the cockpit also led to a slightly different panel appearance within the F-14B.
IndiaFoxtEcho has already created a variety of highly-rated military jets for Microsoft Flight Simulator, including the F-35 Lighting II, Sukhoi Su-31, and T-45 Goshawk. Heatblur has a longstanding history already with the F-14 Tomcat, having previously released a version of this aircraft on the DCS platform in 2019. By combining their talents and experience together, the two developers aim to provide both experienced virtual pilots and new ones alike with an opportunity to experience this iconic fighter jet.
Talk to me, Jester! The F-14 by Heatblur and IndiaFoxtEcho is equipped with an AI co-pilot: JESTER AI. This AI radar intercept officer (RIO) is made as a companion to fulfill the role of secondary pilot for the F-14, and manage all functions of the secondary cockpit. From their official product page,
Our proprietary AI RIO companion will help you fly and fulfill your duty in the F-14 Tomcat. There is no substitute for good teamwork in the F-14, and JESTER will help you immerse yourself across all scenarios, making your life as a pilot easier and able to concentrate on what really matters: flying well.
Heatblur and IndiaFoxtEcho will be bringing both the F-14A and F-14B models to Microsoft Flight Simulator pilots with a focus on recreating a variety of features such as accurate flight dynamics and core avionics and navigation systems. Combined with an extremely detailed external and internal model, realistic sounds, and high fidelity texturing, Heatblur and IndiaFoxtEcho have truly adopted the philosophy that there’s “no points for second place”!
The F-14A/B Tomcat is available for both PC and Xbox in the Microsoft Flight Simulator Marketplace for $34.99.