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Posted 16 September 2017 - 06:27 PM

Grumman, GM, Eastern Martlet / Wildcat Timeline


2 March 1936: The US Navy awards Grumman Aircraft Engineering Co. a contract

     for a biplane fighter, XF4F-1.


10 July 1936: The USN Bureau of Aeronautics approves a change of design to the

     monoplane XF4F-2. The aircraft has rounded wing tips, elevators and rudder.

     The engine is the Pratt & Whittney1830-66: 1,050 hp./T.O. and military rating.

     capable of 900 hp./12,000 ft.    

     The wing span is 34 ft.  and Armament is 2 x 0.5 in. cowl mounted machine guns. 


2 September 1937: First flight XF4F-2 at Bethpage, L.I. N.Y. with Robert L. Hall

     as pilot.


12 February 1939: First flight XF4F-3 with pilot Robert L. Hall. The aircraft has a

     new square tip 38 ft. wing span and square tip tail.

     Engine: P&W-1830-76: 2-stage, 2-speed supercharger: 1,200 hp./T.O. & S.L.

     1,100 hp./3,500 ft.,   1,000 hp./19,000 ft.

     Armament: 2 x 0.5 in. cowl + 2 x 0.5 in. wing machine guns.


8 August 1939: The USN orders 54 F4F-3s.

     Internal fuel: 160 gallons unprotected tanks.

    4 x 0.5 in. wing machine guns.

     Fixed tail wheel.


October 1939: France orders 100 export F4Fs with Wright R-1820-205A cyclones.

     These later become the Martlet I.

     Engine: 1,200 hp./4,200 ft. & 1,000 hp./ 14,000 ft.

     Combat Weight: 6,811 lbs.

     Maximum speed: 313 mph./14,500 ft.

     Climb: 15,000 ft./ 6.7 minutes.

     Service Ceiling: 31,500 ft.

     Armament: 4 x 0.5 in. machine guns/ 300 rpg.

     Range: 870 mls./167-175 mph./15,000 ft.

     Data Card 124 : 22/8/41.



February 1940: First flight of the first production F4F-3 No.1844 with a Pratt &

     Whitney R-1830-76. 285 F4F-3s are produced.


11 May 1940: First flight test of the French F4F (Martlet I).


27 July 1940: With the fall of France, Britain takes over the French order &

     accepts delivery of the first F4Fs (Martlet I).


October 1940: The first flight of the British Martlet II.

     Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4-G single-stage, 2 speed supercharger.

     1,200 hp. up to 4,900 ft. and 1,050 hp./13,100 ft.

     Combat Weight: 7,255 lbs.

     Maximum Speed: 317 mph./14,000 ft.

     Climb: 15,000 ft./7.5 minutes.

     Service Ceiling: 30,500 ft.

     Armament: 4 x 0.5 in./ 300 rpg.

     Range: 850 mls./170 mph./15,000 ft.

     Data Card 126: 22.8.41



4 December 1940: The first production F4F-3 goes to Navy squadron VF-41 in

     Norfolk, VA. 147 self-sealing protected fuel tanks are installed.

     Engine: Wright-Cyclone R-1830-86: 1,200 hp./2,700 rpm./S.L-1,800 ft.

     1,100 hp./2,550 rpm./1,800 - 2,500 ft.,   1,000 hp./2,550 rpm./19,000 ft.

     Maximum Speed: 290 mph./S.L.,   329 mph./6,431.3 m. (21,100 ft.)

     Combat Weight: 7,576 lbs.

     Service Ceiling: 36,400 ft.

     Wing Loading: 29.14 lbs./sq. ft.

     Power Loading: 6.313 lbs./ hp.

     Armament: 4 x 0.5 in./450 rpg.

     Range-Internal fuel: 940 mls./150 mph./150 mph./144 gallons (F4F-4)/ 2,500 ft.

     Range-Maximum external: 1,420 ml./151 mph./260 gallons./2,500 ft.


25 December 1940: 1st F4F Kill comes when a British Martlet near Scapa Flow off

     of Scotland shoots down a Ju-88.


March 1941: 1st British Martlet II (XF4F-6) is delivered . This aircraft became an

     engine test bed. Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90 (S3C4-G) with a single stage

     two speed supercharger: 1,200 hp./S.L - 4,900 ft.,   1,000 hp. 14,500 ft.


14 April 1941: 1st flight of the hydraulic powered folding wing, six-gun XF4F-4.


May 1941: USN Squadron VF-6 receives the first F4F-3As (Martlet III).

     Engine: P&W R-1830-90 (S3C4G): 1,200 hp./4,900 ft./45"Hg boost.,   1,050 hp./

     13,100 ft./41"Hg boost.

     Maximum Speed: 297 mph./6,000 ft.,   307 mph./14,000 ft.

     Climb: 15,000 ft./6.8 minutes. 2,700 fpm./S.L.

     Service ceiling: 32,000 ft.

     Range: 890 ml./133 gallons of fuel./208 mph.

     Armament: 4 x 0.5 in./240 rpg.

     Combat Weight: 6,700 lb.

     Wing Area: 260 sq. ft.    


7 December 1941: The Japanese damage or destroy 9 out of 11 F4F-3s at Ewain

     Oahu, Hawaii. No F4Fs get into the fight.


30 December 1941: First flight of the long range F4F-7 photo recon version.

     Engine: P&W R-1830-86: 1,200 hp./T.O.-1,800 ft.,   1,040 hp./18,400 ft.


31 December 1941: The 1st five F4F-4s are delivered to the US Navy Squadrons.

     Engine: P&W R-1830-86. Internal fuel is reduced to 144 gallons. More protection

     is added to the fuel tanks. The folding wings are now done manually. The tail

     wheel is now pneumatically retracted.


15 July 1942: The RNAAF No.892 Squadron received the first of 220 UK Martlet IVs.


11 August 1942; Sixteen F4F-3P photo reconnaissance arcraft of  VMO-251 arrived

     in Espirito Sento awaiting their long wing tanks that arrive on 20 August.


1 September 1942: The 1st of 839 FM-1s (F4F-4 w/4 x 0.5 in. machine guns) is test

      flown at the Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors. Wildcat V 

     Engine: P&W R-1830-86: 1,200 hp./2,250 ft.,   1,050 hp./20,000 ft./47"Hg boost.

     Maximum Speed: 292 mph./3,250 ft.,  313 mph./13,000 ft.,  332 mph./21,000 ft.

     Climb: 15,000 ft./7.7 minutes,  2,420 fpm./S.L.

     Service Ceiling: 33,400 ft.

     Combat Weight: 7,355 lbs..    


November 1942: The 1st F4F-4B (Martlet IV) is delivered to the British Navy at Speke,

     England. Engine: Wright Cyclone R-1820-87 (G205A): 1,240 hp./2,750 ft.,  1,010 hp./

     14,000 ft.

     Maximum Speed: 286 mph./4,000, 298 mph./15,000 ft.

     Climb 15,000 ft./9.4 minutes.

     Service Ceiling: 30,000 ft.

     Armament: 6 x 0.5 in./240 rds.

     Range: 695 ml./120 gallons internal,   1,147 ml./98 gallons external.

     Combat Weight: 7,270 lb.


November 1942: The first two of 21 F4F-7s arrive on Guadalcanal. No guns, no self

     sealing fuel tanks and 685 gallons of fuel. They prove unsuccessful and are

     converted to F4F-4s.


8 November 1942: The 1st flight of the XF4F-8 (FM-2 prototype.

     Engine: Curtiss R-1820-56


28 February 1943: 1st flight of the F4F-3S with twin Edo floats piloted by Hank Kurt.


1 September 1943: The first of 4,437 FM-2s is delivered with a new Curtiss propeller

     designed for excellent take-off characteristics. The internal fuel capacity drops to

     117 gallons. Water injection is now available for the engine.


January 1944: The name Wildcat is now standardized by the UK.


July 1944: The FM-2 was operational on the USN escort carriers and the Wildcat VI

     was operational with No.881 Squadron aboard CVE HMS Pursuer. Late production

     FM-2 internal fuel is increased to 126 gallons.


6 February 1944: Early FAA Wildcat VI (FM-2). Data Card

     Engine: Wright Cyclone R-1820-56: 1,300 hp./4,000 ft.,  1,000 hp./17,500 ft. 

     Maximum Speed: 293 mph./5,000 ft.,   307 mph./18,500 ft.

     Climb: 15,000 ft./6.5 minutes,   3,120 fpm./S.L.

     Service Ceiling: 33,300 ft.

     Range: 595 ml./98 gallons,   1,080 ml./182 gallons with drop tanks.

     Combat Weight: 6,600 lb.

     Armament: 4 x 0.5 in./240 rpg.


13 March 1945: Late Wildcat VI A with no water injection. Data Card

     Engine: Wright Cyclone R-1820-56A (No.1): 1,300 hp.1,500 ft./46.5"Hg, 1,000 hp./

     14,800 ft./43.5"Hg boost.

     Maximum Speed: 307 mph./3,500 ft., 319 mph./16,750 ft.

     Climb: 15,000 ft./6.6 minutes., 3,040 fpm.

     Service Ceiling: 33,000 ft.

     Combat Weight: 6,940 lbs.

     Armament: 4 x 0.5 in./400 rpg.


13 March 1945: Late Wildcat VI B with water injection. Data Card 185

     Engine: Wright Cyclone R-1820-56B: 1,300 hp./1,500 ft./46.5"Hg., 1,200 hp./

     10,800 ft./52"Hg. boost.

     Maximum Speed: 307 mph./3,500 ft., 328 mph./12,800 ft.

     Climb: 15,000 ft./6.7 minutes, 3,010 fpm.

     Service Ceiling: 32,800 ft.

     Combat Weight: 6,990 lb.

     Armament: 4 x 0.5 in./400 rpg.

Edited by CORSNING, 08 November 2017 - 02:06 PM.

#2 flying kiwi

flying kiwi

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 09:07 AM

I've always liked the Martlet. They played a bit part in the Battle of Britain and were beautiful in FAA camouflage.

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 03:17 PM

F4F-3 Pilot Notes:


     The main problem on early airplanes was gun jamming under maneuvering conditions.

It was found that belting was shifting in the ammunition containers and hanging up on

rough spots in the feed chutes. These problems were later corrected.

     The F4F3's terminal velocity was about 410 mph. IAS (483 mph. true at 10,000 ft.)

mach 0.66. All Wildcats were quite steady at these speeds.

     The earlier and lighter Wildcats were quite maneuverable, but the pilot had to work

at it, and the aircraft was less responsive than the early F2A models.

     It was truly a wildcat; if you didn't fly it, it flew you! It was not too forgiving when you

made mistakes.

Roll: Peak roll rate was just under 70 degrees/second/250 mph. IAS. At 350 mph IAS

     roll fell off to about 50 degrees.second.

Edited by CORSNING, 03 October 2017 - 07:10 PM.



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Posted 03 October 2017 - 07:12 PM

     The F4F in general was a more stable gun platform than the Brewster F2A.

All Wildcats had gentle stall characteristics.

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