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United States' Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter

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Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter:
United States' Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter

Design

The Naval Bureau of Aeronautics (BUAER) ordered a replacement for the F4F in June 1941.5 The F6F Hellcat was designed after Pearl Harbor and was rushed into production.1

The fuel tanks were self sealing.1

Cockpit

There was armor for the pilot.1

Pilots took off with the canopy open in case of a takeoff accident they could make their escape.1

Fuselage

The plane was built around very strong central spars.1 The F6F Hellcat was very strong and could withstand a lot of punishment.1

Prototype

On June 30, 1941, a contract was signed to build two prototypes.4

On June 26, 1942 the XF6F-1 / XF6F-34 prototype made its first flight.1,2,3,4,5

The XF6F-5 flew in April 1944.5

Production

Five weeks after to prototype flew production models (F6F-3) were delivered.2

At its New York plant Grumman produced 12,275 Hellcats from June 1942 to November 1945.1 This was the largest number of fighters produced in a single factory.1

  • Grumman XF6F-1: 13
  • Grumman XF6F-3: 13
  • Grumman F6F-3: 4,4033, 4,4235
  • Grumman F6F-5: 6,4352, 6,6813, 6,9405
  • Grumman F6F-5N: 1,1892,3,5, 1,4344
  • Total: 11,0905, 12,2724, 12,2751,2,3
    • Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation4,5
    • Manufacturing location: Bethpage, New York5
    • Production: August 31, 1943 - November 19454

Variants

Usage

Out of the 6,477 planes shot down by US Navy pilots, 4,9472,5 (76%) were in Hellcats.1,4 The land based United States Marine Corps Hellcats shot down 209 enemy planes.4,5

First Action

The USS Essex had some of the initial F6F-3s assigned to its VF-5 / VF-9 squadron which used them on August 31, 1943 against Marcus Island.2,4,5

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom used 252 Hellcat Mk Is (F6F-3s) and 930 / 9324 Hellcat Mk IIs (F6F-5s).2,3,4,5 704 / 175 of those were converted to F6F-5N night fighters.3

The Tirpitz was attacked by Royal Navy Hellcats on April 3, 1944, at Kaafjord, Norway.1

Marianas Turkey Shoot

Around 400 Japanese planes were shot down by Hellcats during the Marianas Turkey Shoot from June 19 to June 20, 1944.4

Korean War

The final Hellcats in service with the US Navy were used at unmanned flying bombs.1

Specifications

  Grumman F6F Hellcat3
Type Carrier based fighter3
Crew 13
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 Double Wasp3
OR Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W Double Wasp3
Cylinders Radial 183
Cooling  
HP 10: 2,0003
10W: 2,2003
Propeller blades 33
Dimensions  
Span 42' 10"3
13.05 m3
Length 33' 7"3
10.24 m3
Height 13' 1"3
3.99 m3
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Wings 6: 0.5" MG3
Bombs under fuselage 2,000 lb3
907 kg3
OR  
Rockets - under wings 63

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. American Attack Aircraft Since 1926, E. R. Johnson, 2012
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