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History: In early 1941, Grumman began
design-work on a new twin-engine fighter for the War Department, for use on a planned
larger Midway-class aircraft carrier. On June 30, 1941, Grumman was awarded a
contract to build two prototypes, the first of which flew in December 1943. The XF7F-1
Tigercat was unusual for a fighter, with its shoulder-mounted wings, twin
underwing-mounted engines, all-metal construction and tricycle landing gear.
Before the prototype even flew for the first time, Grumman
was contracted to build 500 of them for the US Marine Corps, to be used as close-support
aircraft for the massive landing operations then underway in the Pacific. Delivery began
in April 1944. The first 34 F7F-1s were similar to the
prototypes, then 30 two-seat night-fighter variants (called F7F-2Ns)
were produced. Next, 189 single-seat models called F7F-3s were
built which featured slightly more powerful R-2800 engines, slightly larger vertical
stabilizers, and a 7% increase in fuel capacity.
Much of the original order for Tigercats was cancelled after
VJ-Day, and they never saw operational service in WWII. Less than 100 Tigercats were built
after the war as night-fighters (F7F-3N and F7F-4N),
electronic reconnaissance (F7F-3E) and photo-reconnaissance (F7F-3P)
platforms, but higher-performance jet-powered airplanes soon replaced the Tigercat in the
US Marine Corps. During the 1960s and 1970s, a few were gradually sold as surplus and
converted to fire bombers or aerial photography ships.
Engines: Two 2,100hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W Double Wasp
18-cylinder radial piston engines
Weight: Empty 16,270 lbs., Max Takeoff 25,720 lbs.
Wing Span: 51ft. 6in.
Length: 45ft. 4.5in.
Height: 16ft. 7in.
Maximum Speed at 22,200 ft: 435 mph
Cruising Speed at 5,000 ft: 222 mph
Initial Climb Rate: 4,500 feet per
Ceiling: 40,700 ft.
Range: 1,200 miles
Four 20mm (0.79-inch) cannon in wing
Four 12.7mm (0.5-inch) machine guns in
One torpedo under fuselage
2,000 lbs. of bombs (1,000 lbs. under
Number Built: 364
Number Still Airworthy: 6
AeroWeb Tigercat Page
F7F Tigercat Photo Page
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