Prints are signed by the artist and numbered|
16" x 11½" Collector Sized Lithograph....$40
18" x 27" Giclee on Canvas....$445
24" x 36" Giclee on Canvas....$745
30" x 45" Giclee on Canvas....$975
Grumman Aircraft has had a long tradition of providing rugged aircraft for naval aviators. These Grumman planes were all named "Cats." The F-14 Tomcat, the latest in the long line of Grumman carrier "cats," evolved from Grumman's involvement as a subcontractor in the ill-fated TFX development program. Ever since the WW II Battle of Midway, the Navy has been concerned about the vulnerability of its carriers to attack. Super carriers, the largest mobile machines ever developed by mankind, are vulnerable to attack from ground, sea or air-launched missals. To protect its carriers, the Navy has long recognized the critical need for high speed, long-range, heavily-armed, interceptors. The first two jet-powered aircraft to fill this role were the F-8 Crusader and the F-4 Phantom II. The F-14 Tomcat was developed to provide an improved interceptor capable of carrying the heavier Phoenix missile, and advanced avionics. The first Tomcat prototype flew on December 21, 1970. By late 1972 full scale production of the F-14 had commenced. The Tomcat is big and heavy. It can operate at altitudes in excess of 50,000 feet, can exceed speeds of 1,500 MPH, and has a maximum range in excess of 2,000 miles. Despite its size and high performance the Tomcat is an agile bird. With its variable-geometry wings, the F-14 can be configured on the fly to change its flying and handling characteristics. The aircraft is equipped with a 20mm cannon, and can carry a large assortment of highly lethal guided missals. The aircraft got its "Tomcat" name because of Admiral Tom Connolly's involvement in the project, and the fact that Grumman was the designer and builder of the F-14. The Tomcat, like the F-4 before it, carries a two-man crew. Grumman designed the aircraft with upgradability in mind. This has permitted improved engines, improved avionics, and improved missals to be incorporated into the basic air frame with remarkable effectiveness. Highly regarded aviation artist Stan Stokes, in his dramatic painting entitled Cats First Cruise created exclusively for The Stokes Collection, shows an F-14 of the Navy's VF-1 Wolfpack squadron on final approach to the USS Enterprise. The Wolfpack, and the VF-2 Bounty Hunters were the first two squadrons of Tomcats deployed for carrier duty. Their first cruise was in 1974. By 1980 the Navy had deployed Tomcat squadrons on nearly all its active carriers. The Tomcat has proven itself in actual combat and no doubt will continue to serve as the Navy's primary long range carrier-based interceptor for many more years.