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Watch: Spanking New F-14A Tomcat Gets Prepped For Service

Big Bad Tomcat Was Just A Kitten When This Progress Report Was Filmed During The Early 1970s

Official US Navy Photograph

When Grumman and the Navy teamed up to produce the F-14 Tomcat Progress Report films during the early 1970s the new jet was being tested and evaluated by multiple squadrons at several Naval Air Stations (NASs) and facilities. The Tomcat would go on to serve the Navy for 32 years, but at this point there was still a whole lot to learn about the complex F-14A.

The process of testing, training, and getting a brand new weapons system ready for its first combat deployment was complicated indeed. This film, “Progress Report #5:  The Operational Tomcat” uploaded by YouTuber Jeff Quitney with excellent image and sound quality, is a must-see for every Tomcat aficionado. Boola Boola anyone?

Official US Navy Photograph

Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN (CVW-14) was preparing for their next WestPac deployment aboard the carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) when the film was shot. Fighter Squadron ONE (VF-1) Wolfpack and VF-2 Bounty Hunters had just been formed at NAS Miramar in mid-October 1972. Both squadrons were gearing up for their first deployment with the new Tomcat.

Note the flamboyant far-from-low-viz colors on the VF-1 and VF-2 Tomcats in the film. Those are classic 1970s Navy squadron schemes! Testing and evaluation of just about every kind can be seen in this time capsule of a film.

Official US Navy Photograph

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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