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Grumman F7F-I Tigercat 

 
History
The American built Grumman F7F Tigercat was destined to be the US Navy's first twin engined fighter built in production quantities. It was designed to operate from aircraft carriers of the USS Midway class and six version of the Tigercat were produced. The Tigercat was too late for operational service in the second world war, arriving in Okinawa the day before VJ-day. It did not see Korea and was replaced by more effective jets.

Ordered in 1941, the Grumman F7F Tigercat wartime production was delayed and the first flight of the prototype, XF7F-1, was not until 3 November 1943 where it proved to be a highly maneuverable aircraft with a top speed of 400 mph despite its large radial engines (a pair of 2,100hp Pratt & Whitney R2800 engines) and heavy armament of four .50 caliber machine guns and four 20 mm cannons. Originally fitted with a tail hook for operations from "Midway" class carriers, the F7Fs proved too heavy for such duty and were transferred to the US Marine Corps shore based squadrons in 1944.

Total production of all variants of the F7F was slightly in excess of 360 examples.

Only two Tigercats were assessed by the Royal Navy and none saw service with the Fleet Air Arm. The single aircraft, TT349(Bu Aer No 80293)  was received at the naval unit at A&AEE Boscombe Down in December 1944 and another, TT346 was sent for trials with 787 squadron in February, 1945.

Assessment by the naval test pilots at Boscombe Down indicated that the cockpit featrures were regarded as poor, due to a lack of rear view. The aircraft was regarded as suitable for deck operations which was aided by good view, absence of take off swing,  low power- on stall and good lateral stability. However, the type was rendered unacceptable to the FAA as tested due to poor elavator response at approach speeds.
 

          Fleet Air Arm history
         GRUMMAN TIGERCAT
          Total FAA 1939-1945             1
          First delivered to RN:             1944
          First squadron 1939-1945:       TT346 to 787 on 2.1945. A&AEE
          Operational squadron:              None
          Last served with RN                None
Aircraft Type:
Grumman F7F-I Tigercat
Mark:
F7F-I
Primary Role:
carrier borne fighter for FAA trials
First Flight: 
2 December 1943
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
Received at the naval unit at A&AEE Boscombe Down December 1944
Manufacturer:
Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
Engine:
Two 2,000hp double wasp R-2800-22W engines
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
51.5 ft 
Length 45.5 ft 
Height 13.7ft
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
21,388lb
Speed: 
Ceiling: 
Range:
450mph 
40,600ft 
2060 nm
Armament: 
Four .5caliber machine guns 
Four 20mm cannons 
Two 1,000lb bombs or one 2,150lb torpedo
Crew:
2
Squadrons:
A&AEE 1944, TT346 to 787 sqdn 2.1945
Battle honours:
None with FAA
Additional references and notes:
-
 
Battle Honours and Operational History
None with FAA

Surviving aircraft and relics
Tigercat 80425/N7235C preserved at the Fighter Collection at Duxford (UK)

Tigercat F7F-3 BuNo 80373 preserved at the NNAM (USA)

Associations and reunions
No information
 
FURTHER INFORMATION
US Carrier-Borne Fighter Grumman F7F Tigercat Technical details only
Warbird Alley Warbird Alley, an online reference source for information about privately-owned, ex-military aircraft. Includes details and specs and a summary total of airworthy aircraft including the Tigercat.
Grumman F7F Tigercat  Technical details only
 F7F Tigercat by M.A.T.S. Technical details.
GRUMMAN aircraft at the Pima Air & Space Museum Tigercat preserved at the Pima Museum
Museum/Aircraft locator  of the Aviation Enthusiast Corner  Aircraft Finder for Grumman F7F (Tigercat) 
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 085130 232 7 
 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000

 

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