Just the other day I recieved an email from quite a famous character in the world of Naval aviation.
I had been looking for some information relating to the F-14A Tomcat for the purposes of my Pacific group build contribution. There was only two sources that I suspected may have the answer to my question after not being able to find the info anywhere else. I flicked and email off not really expecting anything in return.
Came home from work on Tuesday afternoon and blow me down, in my inbox is a message from none other than Dave "Bio" Baranek. Dave is a former US Naval aviator and Radar Intercept officer on the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and he was also an instructor at the Naval Fighter Weapon School aka Topgun. One of the highlights of Dave's career as an instructor was being involved as an advisor and photographer during the making of the Hollywood production of Top Gun. To sum up his career, he wrote a book titled "Topgun Days" and it graphically illustrates what it was like being in the Navy in the early to mid eighties.
Damn right there Gaz. The information I got was relating to the Heads up display and the cockpit layout of the F-14A Bombcat.
I wanted to know what the rear cockpit looked like in comparison to the earlier tomcats. Most searches when looking for Bombcat come up with the F-14B or F-14D cockpits.
The F-14B had to be upgraded with new rear console screens when they took on the air to ground role and incorporated the Lantirn pod for laser designation but also has a slighty upgraded front instrument panel also with a vastly updated HUD.
The F-14A Bombcat it seems is still a standard A model cat with a few exterior upgrades for intakes and vents etc aswell as the updaded version of the original Pratt & Whitney TF30 engines. The major difference being the addition of the smae rear cockpit instrument panel as the F-14B to accommodate the Lantirn pod controls and target display instruments
Here are the four types of instrument panels that were seen during the the tomcats service in the rear cockpit:
I quite enjoyed his book, I got it from amazon as a kindle book, the only disappointment was the lack of photos, as I'm sure the paper version would have been illustrated to some degree, but the kindle version wasn't.
Phil wrote: I quite enjoyed his book, I got it from amazon as a kindle book, the only disappointment was the lack of photos, as I'm sure the paper version would have been illustrated to some degree, but the kindle version wasn't.
The paperbased book is very very good. Pictures are plentiful with fantastic arial shots. I'd recommend getting a copy if you can.
Andrew, looks like in both cases all they did was rip out the old scope and whack a decent sized display in there for the feed from the LANTIRN pod... I'm guessing the IP is reasonably modular so they can pull out bits without having to replace the whole IP. Good pics though, handy for reference shots...
CyNaKyL wrote: Andrew, looks like in both cases all they did was rip out the old scope and whack a decent sized display in there for the feed from the LANTIRN pod... I'm guessing the IP is reasonably modular so they can pull out bits without having to replace the whole IP. Good pics though, handy for reference shots...
For the most part, yes just the IP was changed plus the addition of the Lanitrn control stick down on the left side console. Externally, a lot more had to go into the bombcat package with extra processors, wiring looms, bomb rack and the mount for the Lantirn together with a self protection package of chaff/flare dispensers in the tail and modified sidewinder launchers known as BOL rails from Sweden. The F-14 was always designed to be potentially upgraded for the bombing role but no one expected it to be as advanced as it was. F-14D came already equiped with everything by the time it got into fleet service so only the D needed a few minor tweeks. It just became the machine it was always destined to be.