In order to align NAS Pensacola with security directives issued by the Secretary of the Navy, the air station commanding officer has directed that beginning February 1, 2016, all visitors to the National Naval Aviation Museum, Fort Barrancas and Pensacola Lighthouse who do not possess a Department of Defense identification card or are unescorted by the holder of a Department of Defense identification card, will be required to enter the installation via the West Gate located off Blue Angel Parkway. Click here for directions.


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F-14A Tomcat

Advancements during the Cold War in Soviet long range patrol and bomber aircraft dictated a requirement for a fleet defense fighter that could engage high-altitude bombers from well beyond visual range. The iconic F-14 Tomcat was Grumman's answer. Equipped with long range AIM-54 Phoenix air-to-air missiles, F-14s could engage multiple hostiles over 90 miles away. Needing an interceptor's high speed while carrying this heavy ordnance, Grumman produced the highly effective variable sweep wing of the F-14, enabling it to operate at a wide range of airspeeds.

The Navy's search for an advanced carrier-based air superiority fighter led to evaluation of General Dynamics' F-111B, an aircraft that would promote the Department of Defense's aim of commonality with the Air Force and its F-111A. The F-111B, having been modified to meet Navy mission requirements, was deemed too heavy for carrier operations and the contract was cancelled in April 1968. Subsequently, the Navy inaugurated a new design contest for what was termed the VFX program, the two primary competitors being McDonnell Douglas and Grumman.

While McDonnell Douglas evaluated a navalized version of the F-15, Grumman's Model 303 proposed a variable-geometry, two-seat, twin-engined design built around the Hughes AWG-9 weapons system. Grumman had gained considerable experience with "swing-wing" technology from its earlier XF10F Jaguar that had been built only as a prototype. The need for rapid development and fielding of the aircraft dictated adoption of Pratt & Whitney TF-30 turbofans similar to those used in the F-111.

Following Grumman's tradition of naming its aircraft after cats, the new "Tomcat" made its first flight in December 1970. After a number of changes following flight testing, the first F-14As were delivered to the Navy in June 1972, with Fighter Squadron (VF) 124 designated to provide crew training. On the West Coast, VF-1 and VF-2 were the first operational squadrons to receive the new aircraft, while on the East Coast VF-14 and VF-32 became the first Atlantic fleet Tomcat squadrons. In 1974, the Marine Corps prepared to stand up VMFA-122 at NAS Miramar, but the program was cancelled when the Marine Corps decided to retain modified versions of the dependable F-4J Phantom II.

The F-14 saw its first combat in August 1981, downing two Libyan Su-22 fighters over the Gulf of Sidra. It saw considerable duty in the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. The last F-14 retired from active service with VF-213 in 2006. The Museum's F-14A (Bureau Number 157984) is the fifth Tomcat produced and was one of the prototypes used in the early testing of the aircraft. It is the first F-14 Tomcat ever placed on public display.


Manufacturer:Grumman Corporation
Type:Carrier-based air superiority fighter.
Crew:Pilot and Radar Intercept Officer
Powerplant:Two Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-412A or 414A engines of 20,900 lb. static thrust each
Dimensions:Length: 62 ft., 8 in.
Height: 16 ft.
Span (max spread): 64 ft., 1 in.
Span (fully swept): 48 ft., 2 in.
Span (overswept): 33 ft. 3 in.
Wing Area: 565 sq. ft.
Weight:Empty: 40,100 lb.
Gross: 74,349 lb.
Performance: Max Speed: 1,544 mph
Climb Rate: 30,000 ft./min.
Ceiling: 55,000 ft.
Range: 2,400 miles
Armament:M-61 20mm cannon; four AIM-7 Sparrow, four AIM-9 Sidewinder, or six AIM-54 Phoenix and two AIM-9 air-to-air missiles.

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