Grumman Wildcat; airbrush image by Les Still - Mystic Realms

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Grumman F4F Wildcat
Grumman F4F Wildcat; an airbrush illustration by Les Still
Grumman F4F Wildcat; an airbrush illustration by Les Still
Grumman F4f /FM Wildcat
G-36, Martlet, F4F-1 t0 -4, and Eastern Aircraft   FM-1 and -2.
Origin;- Grumman Aircraft Engineering   Corporation also built by Eastern Aircraft.
Type;- Single seat naval fighter.
Engine;- (XF4F-1) one 1,050hp Pratt   and Whitney R-1830-66 Twin Wasp 14 cylinder two row   radial, (G-36A, Martlet I, Wildcat I) one 1200hp   Wright R-1820-G205A Cyclone nine cylinder radial,   (F4F-3) 1,200hp R-1830-76, (F4F-4, and FM-1 Wildcat   V) R-1830-86, (FM-2 Wildcat VI) 1,350hp R-1820-56.
Dimensions;- Span 38' (11.6m), length   28'9" (8.5m), Height 11' 11" (3.6m).
Weights;- Empty (F4F-3) 4,425lb,   (F4F-4) 4,649lb, (FM-2) 4,900lb, loaded (F4F-3)   5,876lb, (F4F-4) 6,100lb rising to 7,952lb (3607kg)   with final FM-1s (FM-2) 7,412lb.
Performance;- Maximum Speed (F4F-3)   325mph (523km/h), (F4F-4, FM-1) 318mph (509km/h),   (FM-2) 332mph (534km/h), initial climb typically   2,000' (610m) /min in early versions, 1920' in main   production and over 2,000 for FM-2), service ceiling   typically 35,000' (10,670m) more in light early   versions, range typically 900miles (1448km).
Armament;- (X4F-2) two 0.5in Colt   Brownings in fuselage, (F4F-3) four 0.5in in outer   wings, (F4F-4 and subsequent) six 0.5in in outer   wings, (F4F-4, FM-1 and FM-2) underwing racks for   two 250lb (113kg) bombs.
History;- First flight (XF4F-2) 2   September 1937, (XF4F-3) 12 February 1939,   production (G-36 and F4F-3) February 1940, (FM-2)   March 1943, final delivery August 1945.
Users;- France (FFL), Greece, UK (RN), US (Navy,   Marines).
Development;- Designed as a biplane   to continue Grumman's very successful F3F series of   single seat carrier fighters, the XF4F-1 was   replanned on the drawing board in the summer of 1936   as a mid wing monoplane. Though this machine, the   XF4F-2, lost out to the Brewster F2A Buffalo,   Grumman continued with the XF4F-3 with a more   powerful engine and in early 1939 received a French   Aeronavale order for 100, the US Navy following with   54 in August. The French aircraft were diverted to   Britain and renamed Martlet I. Production built up   with both Twin Wasp and Cyclone engines, folding   wings being introduce with the R4R-4, of which   Grumman delivered 1,169 plus 220 Martlet IVs for the   Fleet Air Arm. Eastern Aircraft Division of General   Motors very quickly tooled up and delivered 839   FM-1s and 311 Martlet Vs, the British name then   being changed to the US name of Wildcat. Grumman   switched to the Avenger, Hellcat and other types   but made F4F-7 reconnaissance versions weighing   10,328lb and having 24 hour endurance as well as a   floatplane version. eastern took over the final   mark, the powerful and effective FM-2, delivering   4,777 of this type ( including 340 Wildcat VI) in 13   months. A Martlet I shot down a Ju88 on Christmas   day 1940, and an F4F-3 of VF-211 destroyed a   Japanese   bomber at Wake Island on 9 December 1941. each event   was the first of thousands of furious actions from   this quite old fighter emerged with a splendid   reputation. Wildcats were especially valuable for   their ability to operate from small escort carriers,   the pioneer work having been done with British   Martlets based in November 1940 on the 5,000 ton   captured German vessel Audacity on which a flat deck   had been built. Noted for their strength and   manoeuvrability, Wildcats even sank Japanese   submarines and a cruiser.
from Military Aviation Library -   World War 2 United States Aircraft.
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