Century Wings 1:72 scale 001620: Grumman F-14A Tomcat AJ100 of VF-41 Black Aces, USS Nimitz, 1978. This superb model come in Landing Configuration, with flaps lowered so that the wings are fixed in the forward position. Low limited edition of only 1,500 pieces. Sure to be another sellout with its new unique features. RRP £150
For 2016 Century Wings are celebrating their 10th Anniversary with a very special limited-edition release. They are releasing an all-new rendition of their original Black Aces F-14A Tomcat (AJ100), which astonished collectors with its benchmark accurate appearance and attention to detail. While the markings are the same as the original, the tooling has been updated to incorporate some exciting new features that allow this new model to be accurately displayed in landing configuration:
Fixed forward wings with leading and trailing edge flaps lowered.
Interchangeable magnetically attached landing gear.
Interchangeable lowered or raised arresting hook.
Interchangeable open or closed exhaust nozzles.
Subtle weathered paint finish.
Specially designed 10th Anniversary box.
Strike Fighter Squadron 41 (VFA-41) also known as the “Black Aces”, is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron.
In April 1976 VF-41 transitioned from the F-4 Phantom 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. In October that year, CVW-8 was deployed with USS Theodore Roosevelt and the first cruise was in the North Atlantic for Exercise Teamwork ’88 which involved operations with the Royal Norwegian Air Force and the first Mediterranean deployment was in December.
On December 28, 1990, VF-41 embarked on USS Theodore Roosevelt to support Operation Desert Shield, arriving in the Persian Gulf shortly after hostilities with Iraq began. By the end of the war, the squadron had amassed over 1,500 combat flight hours. After the war, the squadron remained in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea as part of a military presence enforcing the ceasefire until late April 1991, when the squadron was tasked with providing air support for ground forces assisting Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq during Operation Provide Comfort.
VF-41 was soon training for the F-14’s new role: air-to-ground bombing. In late 1991, VF-41 had flown over 46,500 hours without an accident over a period of 11 years.
In 1995 VF-84 was disestablished and VF-41 picked up the TARPS mission. The disestablishment of VF-84 was the only occasion in which a TARPS capable unit was disestablished instead of a non-TARPS capable unit.
In early 1995 VF-41 deployed on a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and the Adriatic Sea. During this cruise VF-41 conducted combat operations in support of Operation Deliberate Force and Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia and Herzegovina and Operation Southern Watch over Iraq. On September 5, 1995, two VF-41 F-14A’s dropped laser-guided bombs for the first time in combat during Operation Deliberate Force. The target was an ammunition dump in eastern Bosnia. The bombs were guided by F/A-18s. VF-41 adopted the slogan “First To Fight, First To Strike” in recognition of being the first F-14 squadron to score air-to-air kills and drop bombs in combat. During this deployment VF-41 logged over 600 combat hours and 530 sorties.
In 1996, VF-14 joined VF-41 in CVW-8 and thus CVW-8 was one of few air wings in the US Navy with two F-14 squadrons, rather than one. CVW-8 deployed onboard USS John C. Stennis in February 1996, for a Joint Fleet Exercise. This was followed by deployed operations to the North Atlantic while embarked on USS John F. Kennedy with port calls to Dublin, Ireland and Portsmouth, England.
In April 1997, CVW-8 embarked on USS John F. Kennedy for a Mediterranean/Persian Gulf deployment. During this deployment, CVW-8 participated in numerous exercises and detachments including Infinite Acclaim, Beacon Flash and Invitex. During Invitex the Air Wing completed over 350 sorties including 203 sorties in a single day of surge operations. This deployment also included operations over Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Deliberate Guard and over Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch.
In 1999, USS Theodore Roosevelt departed for the Mediterranean and joined NATO forces for Operation Allied Force. VF-41’s first strike was against an ammunition storage facility in Pristina, Kosovo on April 6. In July, Theodore Roosevelt was ordered to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, where VF-41 became the first squadron to expend ordnance in two theatres on a single deployment. VF-41 logged over 1,100 combat hours during 384 sorties and dropped over 160 tons of laser-guided munitions with an unprecedented 85% success rate in support of Operation Allied Force and Operation Southern Watch.
The squadron won the RADM Wade McClusky Award in 1999, which previously been given only to A-6 and F/A-18 units. This marked the first time an F-14 squadron won the award.
In April 2001, VF-41 embarked on their final F-14 cruise aboard USS Enterprise, supporting Operation Southern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). As the carrier headed for home, they were given order to head to the Gulf of Oman after the September 11 attacks. During the build-up to war, VF-41 conducted several TARPS missions near the Pakistani/Afghani-border.
The USS Enterprise/CVW-8 were the night carrier during OEF and thus didn’t see action until October 8, when VF-41 attacked several cave complexes. One of the first target hit was the Shindand airbase, in western Afghanistan, where the Taliban were storing aircraft, radar and vehicles. By the end of the deployment in November, VF-41 had dropped over 200,000 lbs of ordnance (202 laser-guided bombs)
Shortly after their return in late 2001, VF-41 transitioned to the F/A-18F Super Hornet and was redesignated VFA-41.
Designed to carry the formidable long range AIM-54 Phoenix missile, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat was first flown on December 21st, 1970. Made famous by the Hollywood film Top Gun, the F-14 replaced the F-4 Phantom II as the US Navy’s primary maritime air superiority fighter. Its design includes a variable geometry wing that can sweep back for high speed supersonic intercepts and forward for improved positioning in air to air dogfights. Nicknamed “Bombcat,” the F-14 spent much of its late career in an air-to-ground role, carrying the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) system.