Century Wings 1/72nd scale CW001620 Century Wings Grumman F-14A Tomcat VF-41 Black Aces, AJ100, USS Nimitz, 1978 “Landing Configuration” . Buy now online at Flying Tigers.
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a twin-engine, variable sweep wings capable of supersonic flight. The aircraft is crewed by a Pilot and a Radar Intercept Officer who share the tasks of navigation, target acquisition, ECM and weapons usage. The Tomcat was operated by the United States Navy and the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force only. The name “Tomcat” is said to come from the call-sign used by Vice Admiral Thomas Connolly which conformed to the USN tradition of giving Grumman aircraft feline names.
Strike Fighter Squadron 41 (VFA-41) also known as the “Black Aces”, is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet. They are attached to Carrier Air Wing 9 (CVW-9), which are currently deployed aboard the USS John C. Stennis. Their radio call sign is “Fast Eagle” and their tail code is NG.
In April 1976 VF-41 transitioned to the F-14A Tomcat and their first cruise began in September 1979 as part of CVW-8 on the USS Nimitz. Another cruise followed in 1980 to the Mediterranean.
In 1980, Nimitz and VF-41 took part in a round the Horn cruise. While on this cruise, the carrier served as the seaborne base in response to the Iran hostage crisis and the subsequent attempted rescue of the U.S. Embassy hostages from Iran. VF-41 (and the rest of the battle group) spent 144 continuous days at sea, the longest period the squadron had spent at sea without break since World War II.
During workups for the 1981–1982 Mediterranean cruise, an EA-6B Prowler piloted by Marine Lieut. Steven E. White, crashed on the deck of the Nimitz. Upon crashing onto the deck, the Prowler rammed broadside into six fueled F-14 Tomcats causing a fuel fire and ordnance to explode, including an AIM-7 Sparrow missile. The incident, which caused only superficial damage to the Nimitz, resulted in three F-14s destroyed, 45 injured sailors and fourteen casualties with VF-41 losing three shipmates.
While on deployment in the Mediterranean on August 19, 1981, during a routine combat air patrol mission over the Gulf of Sidra, two Libyan Su-22 “Fitter” aircraft were shot down by squadron aircraft. The incident marked the first Navy air combat confrontation since the Vietnam War and the first ever for the F-14A Tomcat. It was the first time a variable wing geometry aircraft shot down another variable wing geometry aircraft. 1981 was also the first year in which the squadron won the COMNAVAIRLANT Battle Efficiency “E”, signifying them as the most efficient squadron in the Atlantic Fleet. VF-41 was also awarded the Battle “E” in 1985 and 1989.
In November 1982, the squadron embarked on an extended deployment off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon, in support of the Multinational Force in Lebanon.
During 1985, VF-41 spent 68 days off the coast of Lebanon in response to the hijacking of TWA Flight 847.
The 1986 cruise was the last with Nimitz; it began in December and ended in June 1987 when Nimitz got to her new home in San Diego.