The 1943 G-58 design was Grummans final propeller driven fighter aircraft and it was the finest piston-engined fighter in service with the US Navy. The first F8F prototype flew on 21 August 1944 and proved a rate of climb of 4,800 ft/min and a top speed of 424 mph.
Some 2,023 F8F-1s were ordered by the Navy plus some 1,876 F3M-1s (General Motors designation for the F8F-1), but the contract was cut back to 770 Grumman F8F-1s and the General Motors production was cancelled. Additionally 126 F8F-1Bs were produced with new 20-mm guns in place of the wing-guns. Among those were also 15 F8F-1N night fighters with a radar pod under one wing.
In 1948 the Bearcat was improved and 293 F8F-2s with 20-mm cannons, taller fin and rudder and other modifications were built. Furthermore, 12 F8F-2Ns (night fighters) and 60 F8F-2Ps (camera equipped) were produced.
From 1946 to 1949 the Blue Angels aerobatic team flew the F8F-1. The last Bearcats were phased out in 1952 and thereafter only a few F8F-1Ds and F8F-2Ds were used as drone control aircrafts.
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TBF & TBM Avenger | F6F Hellcat | F7F Tigercat | F8F Bearcat | AF Guardian | UF-1 Albatross
F9F-2/5 Panther | F9F-6/8 Cougar | XF10F-1 Jaguar | F11F Tiger & F12F | S-2 Tracker, C-1 Trader
E-1 Tracer | E-2 Hawkeye, C-2 Greyhound | A-6 Intruder | C-4 Academe | C-11 Gulfstream
EA-6B Prowler | F-14 Tomcat
Grumman History | Grumman Memorial Park & Aerospace Museum
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