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Grumman F-14 Tomcat Replica - Fully Functional


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Grumman F-14 Tomcat - America's Favorite Fighter


A few months ago, for the Jet-of-the-Day thread, I made a functional, visually accurate F-14 Tomcat. However, going back to it, I found it much less accurate than I thought, so I decided to return. At the cost of doubling the part count, I finally have a Tomcat that I'm happy with.


The Mechanisms

In addition to the visual overhaul, I redid the hinge mechanism to work smoother and explode less. The result is a mechanism that works smoothly in level flight, and is actuated by only two action groups (one forward, one back).


The mechanism is pretty interesting. The solar panels in the hinge hold two RCS balls each, in two chambers. The docking ports (facing up) are actuated by the airbrakes between docking ports (facing down). The result is a smooth hinge that's timewarp resistant.


The Arsenal

The F-14 was an extremely versatile big fighter. It was extremely maneuverable when armed with AIM-9 Sidewinders, and could kill from long range with AIM-54 Phoenix. Long-range interceptor roles used a combination of the two, and this replication follows the most common loadout for that role. On the central pylons are four AIM-54 Phoenix. Like its real-life counterpart, this AIM-54 is a long-range air-to-air missile capable of destroying bombers in one shot. Decouple the missile and use target hold to home in. Earlier versions of this missile were capable of killing planes from kilometers away (in KSP, IRL it had much more range). To complement the jet rockets, there are a pair of unguided missile types. The inner wing pylon holds AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, and the outer one holds AIM-9 Sidewinders. To extend the range, there are a pair of drop tanks as well.


More Information

In addition to the accurate weapons loadout, I spent a lot of time making sure that the craft would look and function the same as an actual F-14. The variable incidence wings are fully functional, and are actuated by action groups. This is mostly non-problematic, and the wings dock back without incident, provided that the transition is done in level flight.

The focus for this project was extreme visual accuracy, so the craft is extremely draggy. Because of this, expect top speeds of about 100m/s with afterburner, and about 170 with burners lit. I expect that it will perform much better in FAR, but have not tested it. Fitting to the real Tomcat, this replica is significantly more maneuverable with wings forward, and a bit faster with the wings swept.


Action Groups

 1 - sweep wings backward
2 - sweep wings forward
9 - toggle engines
0 - toggle afterburner
RCS - body spoilers
ABORT - tailhook
G - gear + gear bays





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6 hours ago, YoeriCookie said:

Hey, I think I know why it didn't work for me, I was changing the wings on the runway.

It can barely take off though with wings sweeped.

You need burners to take off in any practical time, and even then it's a bit underpowered. I tried to stick with four Panthers, but even that's not quite enough sometimes. Just makes me wish stock aero was a bit more realistic.

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One of the best replicas I've seen in my 4 years of playing. The drag issues just show how much KSP needs voxel-based drag calculation the likes of FAR, perhaps limited to drag calc only, without modelling the complex airflow and stalling mechanics which would make the learning curve a bit too steep for the newcomers.

Despite all the limitations of the physics engine, this replica is a true gem. Congrats on building something straight out of KSP engine's worst nightmares and making it work.

EDIT: If any FAR player tried this thing out it would be great if he posted the performance results he achieved, no?

Edited by EvenFlow
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