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.
In early 1981 VF-31 received the Grumman F-14A Tomcat and in 1992 upgraded to the F-14D
Super Tomcat. In 2002 VF-31 was onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and heading home from
Operation Enduring Freedom when they were ordered back to take part in Operation Iraqi
Freedom. Like many squadrons that were deployed over the Christmas season they painted an
aircraft with a Santa theme so F-14D 164601 was chosen. Felix The Cat was painted on the tail
wearing a small Santa hat still carrying his fused bomb.