Herpa 1/200th scale 558891 Grumman F-14A Tomcat – VF-33 “Starfighters”, U.S.S. America – Gulf of Sidra March 1986 – 200 / 161142. Available to pre-order at Flying Tigers.
In 1986, Libya´s then ruler Gaddafi threatened to shoot down any foreign aircraft passing the so-called “Line of Death”, the boundary to self-proclaimed territorial waters and air space. In March 1986, the situation escalated, and it came to a number of close air encounters. One of these encounters involved two Libyan MiG-25s that intercepted two U.S. Tomcats of VF-33.
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, twin-tail, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy’s Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program after the collapse of the F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American teen-series fighters, which were designed incorporating air combat experience against MiG fighters during the Vietnam War.
The F-14 first flew in December 1970 and made its first deployment in 1974 with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), replacing the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The F-14 served as the U.S. Navy’s primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor, and tactical aerial reconnaissance platform into the 1990s. The Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod system were added in the 1990s and the Tomcat began performing precision ground-attack missions.
In the 1980s F-14s were used as land-based interceptors by the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force during the Iran–Iraq War, where they saw combat against Iraqi warplanes. Iranian F-14s reportedly shot down at least 160 Iraqi aircraft during the war, while only 12 to 16 Tomcats were lost; at least half of these losses were due to accidents.
The Tomcat was retired from the U.S. Navy’s active fleet on 22 September 2006, having been supplanted by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F-14 remains in service with the Iranian Air Force, having been exported to Iran in 1976.