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Picture of Grumman F6F-5K Hellcat WW2 Fighter

The Grumman F6F Hellcat started it's development as an improved F4F Wildcat intended to use the powerful Wright R-2600 Cyclone engine, the Wildcat airframe however proved to be to small for this purpose so a new larger airframe was designed with only a superficial resemblance to the older F4F Wilcat, it had self sealing fuel tanks and substantial armour and was upgraded to the more powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine before production commenced as the Grumman F6F Hellcat.

Grumman F6F-5K Hellcat Fighter Plane

 

The first, Cyclone-equipped Grumman F6F Hellcat prototype flew on the 26th of June 1942 and a R-2800 Double Wasp powered aircraft the following month. The first production aircraft took to the air on the 3rd of October 1942 and was ready for operational use in March 1943.

The Grumman Hellcat first saw action on the 1st of September 1943 and along with the Chance Vought Corsair were the backbone of the WW2 US carrier force in the Pacific theatre, the Corsair was potentially the better dogfighter but was less forgiving of pilot error and was harder to land, it was also nearly twice the cost of the Hellcat, consequently, due to force of numbers resultant of wartime economy requirements, the Grumman Hellcat was to become the best overall American fighter of WW2 with a 19:1 kill ratio with a total of 12,272 aircraft being produced between June 1942 and November 1945.

Grumman F6F Hellcat Specifications:

  • Crew: Pilot only
  • Length: 33 ft 7 in (10.24 m)
  • Wingspan: 42 ft 10 in (13.06 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 1 in (3.99 m)
  • Wing area: 334 ft (31 m)
  • Max takeoff weight: 15,415 lb (6,990 kg)
  • Engine: Single 2,000 hp (1,492 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W Double Wasp double-row radial
  • Maximum speed: 380 mph (612 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 84 mph (135 km/h)
  • Combat range: 945 mi (1,520 km)
  • Service ceiling: 37,300 ft (11,370 m)
  • Rate of climb: 3,500 ft/min (17.8 m/s)

Grumman F6F Hellcat Armament:

  • Six .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns or four .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns and twin 20 mm cannon
  • Three 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs, or six 5 in. (127 mm) rocket projectiles, or Twin Tiny Tim rockets
 

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