F9F Cougar

First used by the British in the North Atlantic, the Wildcat was the only effective fighter available to the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during the early part of the Second World War. The disappointing Brewster Buffalo was withdrawn in favor of the Wildcat and replaced as aircraft became available.

Grumman: F9F Cougar

Role Fighter aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Grumman
First flight 20 September 1951
Introduction December 1952
Retired 1974, US Navy
Status Retired
Primary users United States Navy
United States Marine Corps / Argentine Navy
Number built 1,988
Developed from Grumman F9F Panther

Grumman Millitary aircraft


Grumman F2F Bi-Plane / F3F GulfhawkGrumman F4F Wildcat • F6FHellcat •  F8F Bearcat • F7F Tigercat • F9F Cougar • F9F Panther / F11F  Tiger • F-14 Tomcat • F-11 Tiger / Northrop/Grumman B-2A Spirit / TBF-Avenger


Grumman F9F Cougar

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Grumman F9F Cougar

The Grumman F9F/F-9 Cougar was a carrier-based fighter aircraft for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. Based on Grumman’s earlier F9F Panther, the Cougar replaced the Panther’s straight wing with a more modern swept wing. Thrust was also increased with the installation of a newer, more powerful engine. The Navy considered the Cougar an updated version of the Panther, despite having a different official name, and thus Cougars started off from F9F-6.


Rumors that the Soviet Union had produced a swept-wing fighter had circulated a year before the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 first appeared at air shows in 1949. Despite the level of activity taking place with swept-wing aircraft, the Navy was not initially focused on the development of such aircraft. This was largely because the Navy’s focus at the time was defending the battle group against high speed, high altitude bombers with interceptors, as well as escorting medium-range carrier-based bombers in all weather conditions. Air-to-air combat was of less interest. Nonetheless, the Navy appreciated the importance of getting a capable carrier-based swept-wing jet fighter. Grumman was awarded a contract for the development of a swept-wing fighter jet in 1951. The arrival of the MiG-15, which easily outclassed straight-wing fighters in the air war over North Korea was a major facto

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Grumman F9F Cougar (1947)

The first F9F-6s were assigned to fleet squadron VF-32 at the end of 1952. The first F9F Cougar squadron to actually deploy was VF-24, assigned to USS Yorktown in August 1953 but arrived too late to the Korean theater to participate in the air war. F9F-8s were withdrawn from front-line service in 1958–59, replaced by F11F Tigers and F8U Crusaders. The Naval Reserves used them until the mid-1960s, but none of the single-seat versions were used in the Vietnam War.

The only version of the Cougar to see combat was the TF-9J trainer (known as F9F-8T until 1962) during the Vietnam War. Detachments of four Cougars served with US Marines Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 11 (H&MS-11) at Da Nang and H&MS-13 at Chu Lai, where they were used for fast-Forward Air Control and the airborne command role, directing airstrikes against enemy positions in South Vietnam between 1966 and 1968


Crew: 1

Length: 40 ft 11 in (12.47 m)

Wingspan: 34 ft 6 in (10.52 m)

Width: 14 ft 2 in (4.32 m) folded (tailplane span)

Height: 12 ft 3.5 in (3.747 m)

Height folded: 15 ft 10 in (4.8 m) (wing-tips

Empty weight: 11,483 lb (5,209 kg)

Gross weight: 15,800 lb (7,167 kg)

Combat weight: 16,244 lb (7,368 kg)

Max takeoff weight: 21,000 lb (9,525 kg) on land

Maximum speed: 654 mph (1,053 km/h, 568 kn) at sea level  speed: 541 mph (871 km/h, 470 kn)
at 41,200–5,000 ft (12,558–13,716 m)
Stall speed: 128 mph (206 km/h, 111 kn) at 18,450 lb (8,369 kg) 
Combat range: 293 mi (472 km, 255 nmi) with 1 hour 24 minutes time
Service ceiling: 44,500 ft (13,600 m)
g limits: +7.5 at 15,800 lb (7,167 kg); +5.5 at MTOW
Time to altitude:
20,000 ft (6,096 m) in 4 minutes at 18,450 lb (8,369 kg) TOW


Guns: 4 × 20 mm (0.79 in) AN/M3 cannon, 190 rounds per gun

Rockets: 6 × 5 in (127 mm) rockets

Bombs: 2 × 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs on inboard pylons plus 2 x 500 lb (227 kg) bombs on outer pylons

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Lessons learned from the Wildcat were later applied to the faster F6F Hellcat. While the Wildcat had better range and maneuverability at low speed, the Hellcat could rely on superior power and high speed performance to outperform the Zero. The Wildcat continued to be built throughout the remainder of the war to serve on escort carriers, where larger and heavier fighters could not be used.

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