The young and inexperienced Grumman F-14 Tomcat stars in this Grumman-produced promotional film titled “One of a Kind.” Interviews with Tomcat crews are used to explain the need for the F-14 as well as some of its characteristics and features. The narrator does the rest. There is some gorgeous footage of F-14s being wrung out, perceived threats, and plenty of discussion around the Tomcat’s Hughes AN/AWG-9 radar system and the Hughes/Raytheon AIM-54 Phoenix missile. The video transfer of the film, uploaded to YouTube by PeriscopeFilm, is really quite good and a really nice piece of eye candy for Tomcat fans.
The promise of the Tomcat and its radar/missile combination made it the logical choice for a fleet defense interceptor during the early 1970s. The F-14’s tested and proven ability to track up to 24 targets simultaneously and take any six of them under fire using Phoenix missiles from more than 100 miles away was unprecedented. But did you know that there were only two instances of Phoenix missiles (three missiles in total) being used in combat by the United States Navy? Neither of these 1999 Gulf War engagements was successful. Of course the Tomcat went on to do much more during its service with the Navy than fire Phoenix missiles at Russian Backfires, Badgers, and Bears, but that’s another story.
Interestingly both the Television Camera Set (TCS) and the Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) are introduced as new tech for the Tomcat. In the film we also see footage of McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIs and F-15 Eagles, General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-111 Aardvarks, Convair F-16 Delta Darts, Grumman A-6 Intruders and E-2 Hawkeyes, Lockheed S-3 Vikings, and even some Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighters. Russian aircraft appearing in the film include the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 Flogger and the Tupolev Tu-16 Badger and Tu-95 Bear. F-14 squadrons appearing in the film include VF-211 Fighting Checkmates, VF-24 Fighting Renegades, VF-101 Grim Reapers, VF-213 Black Lions, and VF-2 Bounty Hunters. F-14s assigned to the Pacific Missile Test Center (PMTC) also appear.