|Grumman F7F Tigercat|
7F-3P of the "Fighter Collection", 2005
November 3, 1943
1943 to 1946
|Number of pieces:||
The Grumman F7F Tigercat was developed by Grumman as early as 1938, but it wasn't until 1941 that the US Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics laid down the exact specifications for the twin-engine, heavy fighter and attack aircraft.
From experience with the Grumman XF5F , which was not mass- produced, Grumman developed the concept of the G-51 at the end of the 1930s. On June 30, 1941, the US Navy placed an order for the construction of two prototypes of this aircraft. The Army Air Corps was also interested in the model, but abandoned the project due to difficulties in working with the Navy.
In 1943 the first prototype was completed and tested. The first flight of the XF7F-1 took place on November 3, 1943. By this time the US Marine Corps had already ordered 500 machines intended for use on land bases. The prototypes still showed some problems, but the engine performance, climb performance and top speed were more than satisfactory. In the spring of 1944, carrier landings were simulated for the first time with the prototype, which resulted in the necessary reinforcement of the rear of the machine. The 2nd prototype was put into service on March 2nd. The first production version F7F-1 was delivered from April 1944 to the Marine Corps Squadron VMF-911 in Cherry Point ( North Carolina ) and in small numbers to the VF (N) -52 of the Navy. The tests revealed structural weaknesses, some of which ended in structural fractures. On May 1, 1944, an incident occurred when the first machine with a Navy test pilot on board crashed. In the meantime, due to further delays, the order for the machines has been severely cut. In November 1944 deck tests of the F7F-1 took place on board the USS Shangri La .
At the same time as the delivery of the first single-seat fighter models, the development of a two-seat night fighter model F7F-2N with the AN / APS-6 radar in the bow instead of the MG began . The radar operator had his place behind the pilot. The following single-seat F7F-3 had a more powerful R-2800-34W engine with 1566 kW output, a higher fuel capacity and a maximum take-off mass increased to 11,666 kg. A two-seat night fighter variant F7F-3N, a photo reconnaissance aircraft F7F-3P and an ECM version F7F-3E were also built from this version .
The last F7F variant, the night fighter version F7F-4N with AN / APS-19 radar, was delivered to the US Navy at the beginning of November 1946 and declared fit for use in 1947. This was suitable for aircraft carrier use and accordingly equipped with structural reinforcements, catch hooks and other modifications for carrier operations.
The F7 was no longer used in World War II , as the first F7F-2N of the VMF (N) -531 did not arrive in Guam until the summer of 1945 and only two days before the Japanese surrender to Okinawa . The F7F-3N was put to the test in September 1950 during the Korean War , when it was used by the USMC for day and night ground attacks. A total of 7119 missions were flown with 27 losses.
The aircraft remained in service in various roles until 1956. Most of the machines were decommissioned as early as 1954, while some F7F-2N were still used as F7F-2D as drone control aircraft or civil as fire-fighting aircraft.
The F7F is a middle-wing heavy fighter with foldable wings for space-saving storage on aircraft carriers and during transport. Two 18-cylinder radial engines with three-blade propellers attached to the underside of the wings served as drive. The retractable landing gear consisted of a nose wheel with single tires and two main landing gears with single tires, which were pulled into the engine nacelles. The armament consisted of four 12.7 mm machine guns with 300 rounds of ammunition each and four 20 mm cannons with 200 rounds of ammunition in the fuselage nose and the leading edge of the wing. In addition, up to 908 kg bombs, rockets or torpedoes could be carried under the fuselage.
Acceptance of the Tigercat by the US Navy:
Before delivery, 49 of the F7F-3 were converted into the two-seat night fighter F7F-3N and 58 into the single-seat reconnaissance aircraft F7F-3P. Later there were further modifications to the night fighter (57) and the reconnaissance aircraft (at least 3).
- Total length: 13.83 m
- Height: 5.05 m
- Span: 15.70 m
- Wing area: 42.27 m²
- Max. Takeoff weight: 11,666 kg
- Drive: two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 -34W Double Wasp with 2,100 HP each
- Speed: up to 720 km / h, normal cruising speed up to 360 km / h
- Armament: four 20-mm machine guns , four 12.7 mm machine guns , two 454-kilogram bombs
- FliegerRevue October 2011, pp. 54–57, F7F Tigercat and F8F Bearcat
- Francillon, René J .: Grumman Aircraft Since 1929, London 1989, p. 222 ff.