F7F Grumman

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Another 106 were completed from May 15, 1945, to June 20, 1946, as the two-place F7F-3N. The enlarged nose held the heavier SCR-720 radar whose reflector diameter was 29 inches, instead of the 17-inch APS-6 reflector, and the nose guns had to be omitted. Armament included the four 20-mm wing root guns, eight 5-inch rockets, or up to 4,000 pounds of bombs, with 588 pounds of armor. GRUMMAN F7F-3N

Production of 364 Tigercats ended November 7, 1946, with the last 12 being F7F-4N two-seaters with APS-19 radar in the pointed nose and a structure strengthened for carrier operations. Two F7F-1s loaned to the Royal Navy for carrier tests were the only examples in foreign service.

Although an F7F-1 completed carrier qualification trials on the new Shangri-La in November 1944, no full Tigercat squadron was deployed aboard ship, although post-war operations by night fighter detachments were seen. The first Marine F7F-1 squadron, VMF-911 at Cherry Point in 1944, did not go overseas, but VMF(N)-533, with the F7F-2N, arrived at Okinawa the day before Japanís surrender. VMD-354, with the F7F-3P, was shipped to Guam in May 1945, in time for photo missions in the West Pacific. VF(N)-52 was the only Navy F7F-2N unit in 1945.

After the war, Marine Tigercat units included three day fighter, two photo, and four night fighter squadrons. Most were replaced by 1950, and all the F7F-2Ns became F7F-2D directors for drone aircraft in 1948.


While the Tigercat was too late for World War II, VMF(N)-542 still had the F3F-3N when the Korean War began, and arrived in Korea in September 1950, flying night and day close support missions until March 1951, when its planes were turned over to VMF(N)-513, which continued vigorous ground attacks and also downed two Po-2 biplane light night bombers before the Tigercatís ≠retirement in April 1952, when F3D-2 jets replaced them.

The first Curtiss Navy fighter since 1935 was ordered the same day as the XF7F-1 but failed to have any impact on the war. The XFl4C-1 was to be powered by a 2,200-hp Lycoming H-2470-4, and the second prototype was redesigned to take a 2,300-hp Wright R-3350-16 Cyclone.

When the inline Lycoming proved unsatisfactory, the XFl4C-1 was canceled in December 1943, but the second prototype was first flown in September 1943 and accepted as the XF14C-2 in July 1944. Co-axial contrarotating propellers were provided for the big Cyclone, along with an intake under the cowl for the turbosupercharger. The wheels folded inwards into the roots of the low wing, which could fold upwards for stowage. Four 20-mm guns protruded from the wingís leading edge.

The Curtiss design was as unsuccessful as the parallel XP-62 for the Air Force. Actual speed in tests is reported as only 398 mph, instead of the 424 mph promised, and the type was inferior to the F4U-4 already in production.