F-14 vs. F-15

What's the Difference?

The F-14 and F-15 are both iconic fighter jets that have played significant roles in the United States military. The F-14, also known as the Tomcat, was primarily used by the Navy and was renowned for its swing-wing design, allowing it to adapt to different flight conditions. It was equipped with long-range radar and advanced missile systems, making it a formidable air-to-air combat aircraft. On the other hand, the F-15, known as the Eagle, was developed for the Air Force and excelled in both air superiority and ground attack missions. It boasted superior speed, range, and maneuverability, along with advanced avionics and weapon systems. While the F-14 was retired in 2006, the F-15 continues to serve as a vital asset in the US military, showcasing its enduring capabilities.


ManufacturerGrumman Aerospace CorporationMcDonnell Douglas (now Boeing)
First FlightDecember 21, 1970July 27, 1972
RoleInterceptor, air superiority fighterTactical fighter, air superiority fighter
Wingspan19.54 m (64 ft 1 in)13.05 m (42 ft 10 in)
Length19.1 m (62 ft 9 in)19.43 m (63 ft 9 in)
Height4.88 m (16 ft 0 in)5.63 m (18 ft 6 in)
Maximum SpeedMach 2.34 (2,485 km/h, 1,544 mph)Mach 2.5+ (2,655 km/h, 1,650 mph)
Maximum Range2,275 km (1,413 mi)3,450 km (2,140 mi)
Crew2 (pilot and radar intercept officer)1 (pilot)
ArmamentMissiles, bombs, and gunsMissiles, bombs, and guns

Further Detail


The F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle are two iconic fighter jets that have played significant roles in military aviation history. Developed by different manufacturers, Grumman and McDonnell Douglas respectively, these aircraft have distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore and compare the various features and capabilities of the F-14 and F-15.

Design and Performance

The F-14 Tomcat, introduced in the 1970s, was primarily designed as a carrier-based interceptor and air superiority fighter. It featured a variable-sweep wing design, allowing it to adjust its wingspan for optimal performance at different speeds and altitudes. This unique feature provided the F-14 with excellent maneuverability and stability during high-speed engagements.

On the other hand, the F-15 Eagle, introduced in the same era, was designed as an all-weather tactical fighter. It featured a fixed-wing design optimized for high-speed performance and superior maneuverability. The F-15's aerodynamic design, combined with its powerful engines, allowed it to achieve exceptional speed and climb rates, making it a formidable adversary in air-to-air combat.

Both aircraft were equipped with advanced avionics and radar systems, enabling them to detect and engage multiple targets simultaneously. The F-14 utilized the AN/AWG-9 radar system, which had a long-range detection capability and the ability to track up to 24 targets simultaneously. The F-15, on the other hand, employed the AN/APG-63 radar system, known for its high-resolution target tracking and engagement capabilities.

Armament and Capabilities

The F-14 Tomcat was armed with a combination of air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-54 Phoenix, AIM-7 Sparrow, and AIM-9 Sidewinder. The AIM-54 Phoenix, with its long-range capability, was a key feature of the F-14, allowing it to engage targets at extended distances. Additionally, the F-14 could carry a variety of air-to-ground ordnance, making it a versatile platform for strike missions.

The F-15 Eagle, on the other hand, was primarily focused on air superiority and air-to-air combat. It was armed with a combination of AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, along with an internal M61 Vulcan cannon. The F-15's primary strength lay in its ability to engage and destroy enemy aircraft with its advanced radar-guided missiles and exceptional maneuverability.

Both aircraft had the capability to carry external fuel tanks, extending their range and endurance during missions. The F-14, being a carrier-based aircraft, had the added advantage of being able to refuel in-flight using the buddy refueling system, allowing it to extend its operational range even further.

Operational History

The F-14 Tomcat gained prominence during the Gulf War in the early 1990s, where it played a crucial role in air superiority missions and precision strikes. Its long-range engagement capability and versatility made it a valuable asset in the conflict. The F-14 also saw action in various other conflicts, including the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan, before being retired from active service in 2006.

The F-15 Eagle, on the other hand, has had an extensive operational history since its introduction. It has been used by various air forces around the world and has seen combat in numerous conflicts, including the Gulf War, Balkans conflicts, and more recently, in the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. The F-15's exceptional performance and reliability have made it a highly sought-after aircraft for air forces globally.


In conclusion, while the F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle were both formidable fighter jets, they had distinct attributes that made them suitable for different roles. The F-14's variable-sweep wing design and long-range engagement capability made it a versatile platform for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. On the other hand, the F-15's fixed-wing design, exceptional speed, and maneuverability made it a dominant force in air superiority and air-to-air combat.

Both aircraft have left a lasting impact on military aviation history and have contributed significantly to the advancement of fighter jet technology. The F-14's retirement marked the end of an era, while the F-15 continues to serve as a vital asset in modern air forces. Regardless of their differences, both the F-14 and F-15 will always be remembered as iconic symbols of aerial power and technological innovation.

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