A little teaser for some aircraft photos I have taken recently, this from a small air museum nearby. This cool nose art is on a Grumman F-14A Tomcat on display. Looks like the AIM-54 Phoenix radar air-to-air missile has a lock and is ready to set its teeth into a bad guy. B'bye!
Here's what a six-pack of Phoenix missiles looks like mounted on a Navy F-14 Tomcat: [link]
(first photo is one missile, scroll down to see the six-pack).
That's six big hot steaming cans of whoopass.
The AIM-54 is 13 feet long and weighs 1,000 lbs, and the F-14 was the only fighter capable of carrying that heavy a missile. Each Phoenix costs $477,131 so the total of a six pack on that Tomcat cost the taxpayers $2,862,786 plus freight and installation. The mission profile for the Phoenix was fleet protection against enemy cruise missiles and bombers, smaller missiles were used for close in dogfights. Usually the Tomcat would carry a mixed load of missiles rather than the Phoenix six pack (scroll down the linked page further to see a mixed load on a Tomcat - also notice how large the F-14 is compared to the pilot sitting on the wing). Phoenix has been retired but interestingly the replacement missiles do not have as long a range.