Following the Naval Air Systems Command’s 1968 request for proposals, Grumman drafted the first design of the F 14 Tomcat. The plane was a response to the Naval Fighter Experimental program which called for an air-to-air fighter that can achieve a speed of Mach 2.2 and can carry considerable weaponry. Grumman won the contract in January 1969 for the concept plane that was roughly based on the company’s earlier F-111B model. Interestingly, the development of the F-14 didn’t pass through prototyping. Then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara asked to skip the long testing phase to save time and avoid any form of interference towards the program. As such, the Tomcat immediately went into production with the first unit, the F-14A, first flown on December 1970. Some experts point out that since the A-model was the first model, it can very well be considered as the “prototype version”. But the F 14 aircraft still entered military service even before it was modified in the later stages. The US Navy, in particular, employed 478 F-14As while Iran employed 79. Within the USN, the squadron that became synonymous with the A-model Tomcat was the VF-84 Jolly Rogers squadron. The Tomcats proudly served the squad until the unit dissolved in 1995.