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
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.