In 1938, the United States Navy asked for a prototype for a carrier based, twin-engine fighter. The plane that Grumman provided (the XF5-1) never entered production, but it paved the way for Grumman's next try at the Navy's request, the F7F. The F7F Tigercat was to have superior performance, strong weapons loadout, and be ideal for a carrier environment (folding wings, tricycle landing gear, etc.).

The F7F's primary mission was to be that of ground support during the various amphibious landings in the Pacific Campaign of World War II, and was to be one of the front line support craft for the planned 1946 invasion of the Japanese home islands. However, V-J Day and the events leading up to it precluded the need for the F7F, and the order of 500 planes was cut off, leaving the Navy and United States Marine Corps with some 288 F7Fs.

In the years after World War II, the Navy and Marine Corps used the Tigercat, although not extensively. The Tigercat was soon replaced with the newer carrier based jet fighters. However, specialized versions of the F7F were produced after the war. Night fighters (F7F-3N and F7F-4N), electronic reconnaissance (F7F-3E) and photo reconnaissance (F7F-3P) versions of the Tigercat lived on into the 1960s and even the 1970s.

There are currently no more F7F Tigercats in service for the United States of America, though a small handfull still remain airworthy.

Grumman F7F-3 Tigercat Specifications
  • Type: Fighter
  • Crew: 1, Pilot
  • Engines: Two 2,100hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W Double Wasp 18-cylinder radial piston engines
  • Length: 45' 4.5" (13.82 m)
  • Height: 16' 7" (5.5 m)
  • Wingspan: 51' 6" (1.68 m)
  • Wing area: 455 sq. ft (42.27 sq. m)
  • Empty Weight: 16270 lbs (7378 kg)
  • Gross Weight: 25720 lbs

    Performance:
  • Range: 1200 miles (1932 km)
  • Cruise Speed: 222 mph (357 km/hr)
  • Max Speed: 435 mph (700 km/hr)
  • Climb: 4530 ft/min (1380.68 m/min)
  • Ceiling: 40700 ft (12405 m)

    Armament:
  • Four 20mm (0.79-inch) cannon in wing roots
  • Four 12.7mm (0.5-inch) machine guns in nose
  • One torpedo under fuselage
  • 2,000 lbs. of bombs (1,000 lbs. under each wing)
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