Grumman F4F Wildcat "1937"

Grumman F4F Wildcat

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Grumman F4F Wildcat

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Grumman F4F Wildcat

The Grumman F4F Wildcat is an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that began service in 1940 with the United States Navy, and the British Royal Navy where it was initially known as the Martlet.[2] 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 The disappointing Brewster Buffalo was withdrawn in favor of the Wildcat and replaced as aircraft became available.


Even before the Wildcat had been purchased by the U.S. Navy, the French Navy and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) had ordered the Wildcat, with their own configurations, via the Anglo-French Purchasing Board. The F4F initially known in British service as the Martlet was taken on by the FAA as an interim replacement for the Fairey Fulmar. The Fulmar was a two-seat fighter with good range but operated at a performance disadvantage against single-seater fighters. Navalised Supermarine Spitfires were not available because of the greater need of the Royal Air Force.


F4F Wildcat

Role Carrier-based fighter aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Grumman
First flight 2 September 1937
Introduction December 1940
Retired 1945
Primary users United States Navy
United States Marine Corps
Royal Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
Number built 7,885


  • Aeronavale: 81 aircraft ordered, never delivered, transferred to Royal Navy after French defeat.
  • Royal Canadian Navy: RCN personnel assigned to the Royal Navy HMS Puncher, were to provide the RCN with experience in aircraft carrier operations. The RCN flew 14 Martlets as part of 881 (RN) Squadron from February–July 1945.[53]
 United Kingdom
 United States

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Grumman F4F Wildcat "Fighter"

Martlet Mk I

At the end of 1939, Grumman received a French order for 81 aircraft of model G-36A, to equip their new Joffre-class aircraft carriers: Joffre and Painlevé. The main difference with the basic model G-36 was due to the unavailability for export of the two-stage supercharged engine of F4F-3. The G-36A was powered by the nine-cylinder, single-row Wright R-1820-G205A radial engine, of 1,200 hp (890 kW) and with a single-stage two-speed supercharger

F4F Wildcat"1937": Specifications

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 28 ft 9 in (8.76 m)
  • Wingspan: 38 ft 0 in (11.58 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 10 in (3.61 m)
  • Wing area: 260 sq ft (24 m2)
  • Airfoil: root: NACA 23015; tip: NACA 23009[55]
  • Empty weight: 4,907 lb (2,226 kg)
  • Gross weight: 7,423 lb (3,367 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-76 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,200 hp (890 kW
  • Maximum speed: 331 mph (533 km/h, 288 kn)
  • Range: 845 mi (1,360 km, 734 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 39,500 ft (12,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,303 ft/min (11.70 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 28.5 lb/sq ft (139 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.282 kW/kg (0.172 hp/lb)

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Totals In all, 7,860 Wildcats were built.During the course of the war, Navy and Marine F4Fs and FMs flew 15,553 combat sorties (14,027 of these from aircraft carriers[29]), destroying 1,327 enemy aircraft at a cost of 178 aerial losses, 24 to ground/shipboard fire, and 49 to operational causes[30] (an overall kill-to-loss ratio of 6.9:1). True to their escort fighter role, Wildcats dropped only 154 tons of bombs during the war.

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