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Grumman F7F Tigercat

As early as 1941, Grumman began designing a twin-engined aircraft to be used by the U.S. Navy. The plane featured folding wing tips, an arrestor hook, and tricycle landing gear. Originally conceived as a carrier-based fighter for the new Midway class of aircraft carriers, the design contained several flaws (including heavy weight and high landing speed) that prevented the Navy from accepting the plane for carrier use. Instead, the plane was delivered to USMC units, but the F7F materialized too late to see any action in WWII. The plane did see action with the USMC in the Korean War for night interdiction and fighter missions. In the civilian arena, the plane was used as a water bomber to fight forest fires in the 1960s and '70s.

The plane has a crew of one pilot. The night fighter versions add a second crewman to operate the radar at the expense of some fuel tankage. The plane uses 155 gallons of aviation fuel per hour at routine usage. A full load of fuel and ammo (not including bombs) costs $428.

 

Grumman F7F-1 Tigercat

Subassemblies: Light Fighter-Bomber chassis with good streamlining +3; Medium Fighter-Bomber wings +3; two Small AFV Pods [Wings] +2; 3 retractable wheels +1.

Powertrain: Two 1,545-kW aerial Supercharged HP gas engines with two 1,545-kW props and 840-gallon self-sealing tanks [Body and Wings]; 8,000-kW batteries.

Occ.: 1 CS

Cargo: 0 Body, 0 Wings

 

Armor F RL B T U

Body: 3/6 3/6 3/6 3/6 3/6

Wings: 3/6 3/6 3/6 3/6 3/6

Wheels: 2/3 2/3 2/3 2/3 2/3

Cockpits: 0/+10 0/+10 0/+20 0/+0 0/+10

 

Weaponry:

4xLong Aircraft HMGs/12.7mm Browning M3 HMGs [Body:F] (300 rounds each).*

4xMedium Aircraft ACs/20mm Hispano M2 ACs [Wings:F] (300 rounds each).*

*Each pair linked, additional links fire four or all at once.

2x1,000-lb bombs or 6-8 5-inch HVAR rockets or 1 Mk 13-2 21-inch torpedo

 

Equipment:

Body: Medium radio and transmitter and receiver, IFF. Wings: 1,000-lb. hardpoint each.

 

Statistics:

Size: 51.5'x45.4'x16.6' Payload: 3.85 tons Lwt.: 11.8 tons

Volume: 280 Maint.: 32 hours Cost: $39,813

HT: 6. HPs: 165 Body, 330 each Wing, 150 each Pod, 10 each Wheel

aSpeed: 427 aAccel: 6 aDecel: 8 aMR: 2 aSR: 2

Stall Speed 114.

gSpeed: 406 gAccel: 20 gDecel: 10 gMR: 0.75 gSR: 3

Ground Pressure Moderate. 1/4 Off-Road Speed.

 

Design Notes:

The historical wing area was 455 sf. Sources were unclear whether all planes featured folding wings (since Grumman was constantly redesigning the craft for carrier use approval). I assumed that the arrestor hooks and folding wings were stripped from the F7F-1 aircraft sent to the USMC to save the additional weight (280 lbs.). Fuel tankage was not available; the figure was calculated from range and cruising speed values.

 

Variants:

The F7F-1 was the first production model to be used by the USMC. 33 craft were built beginning in April 1944, but never saw action in WWII.

The F7F-2N was a nightfighter version. It removed the rear fuselage fuel tank to provide room for a second crewman (the radar operator), and removed the nose armament (HMGs) for installation of the radar equipment. 65 were built before the contract was cancelled on VJ-Day.

The F3F-3N was a nightfighter with a slightly elongated nose to house improved radar equipment. It had 1,566-kW powerplants. 60 were built.

The F7F-4N was an improved version of the -3N, redesigned with additional strength and stability for carrier-borne operation. It had 1,600-kW powerplants. This was the first version of the plane the Navy accepted for carrier use. 13 were built.

The F7F-3E was a modified F7F-3 for use in electronic warfare.

The F7F-3P was a modified F7F-3 for use in photo-reconnaissance roles.

Interestingly, the plane was originally going to be called the "Tomcat," but the moniker was abandoned as being "too suggestive."

 

From the Aerodrome for GURPS

2008 by Jim Antonicic