Grumman F6F Timeline
30 June 1941: The US Navy asked Grumman to design an improved F4F and
awards them a contract for two XF6F-1s powered by the wright R-2600
engine with 1,700 hp. at take-off.
27 April 1942: A turbo-supercharged Wright R-2600 is chosen for the F6F-2.
23 May 1942: The development of the F6F-3 with the Pratt & Whitney R-2800
Double Wasp is approved.
26 June 1942: First flight of the XF6F-1 prototype piloted by Bob Hall, Assistant
Chief Engineer-Experimental division of Grumman.
30 June 1942: First flight of the XF6F-3.
Note: The Grumman Hellcat had the largest wing area of any single engine,
single seat fighter of WW2 at 334 sq. ft.(102 sq. m.).
2 October 1942: First flight of the XF6F-4 (XF6F-1 with the P&W R-2800-27).
3 October 1942: First flight of a production F6F-3 piloted by Selden Convers,
Grumman test pilot.
31 December 1942: The US Navy accepts its first 10 F6F-3 aircraft.
16 January 1943: USN Squadron VF-9 began receiving F6F-3s aboard the
13 March 1943: The first Hellcat Mk.Is are delivered to the Fleet Air Arm.
These were originally designated Gannet Mk.I but by this time the FAA
was realizing that changing the names of US aircraft in their service caused
more confusion than it was worth. Martlet became Wildcat also.
1 July 1943: The first Hellcat I enters service with 800 Squadron of the Royal
28 August 1943: The F6F-3 enters first combat over Guadalcanal with VF-33
1 September 1943: The first Hellcat victory is by Lt Loesch of VF-6 over a
Japanese Emily flying boat.
24 November 1943: First F6F-3N night fighters sorties are flown.
December 1943: The first combat of British Royal Navy Hellcat Is came during
anti-shipping strikes off the Norwegian coast from the escort-carrier HMS Emperor.
January 1944: About 60% of F6F3s have been equipped with P&W
R-2800-10w engines with water injection.
31 March 1944: The first use of G-suits by the USN is made by F6F-3 pilots
of VF-8 on USS Bunker Hill.
April 1944: All F6F-3s in the US Navy are now powered by P&W R-2800-10w
21 April 1944: Production reaches 4402 as the last F6F-3 comes off the
assembly line. F6F-5 production begins.
May 1944: The first and second batches of 188 Hellcat IIs (F6F-5) started
being delivered to the Royal Navy.
19-20 June 1944: In the First Battle of the Philippine Sea F6Fs shoot down
approximately 300 Japanese aircraft. Sixteen Hellcats are lost in combat
and six are lost to operational accidents.
3 July 1944: The F6F-5 enters combat for the first time over Iwo Jima.
6 July 1944: First flight of the XF6F-6 with 'C Series' R-2800 and 4-blade
29 August 1944: The F6F-5N becomes operational aboard the USS
August 1944: Hellcat II (JV226) was delivered to the A & AEE for performance
testing. (I hope to organize the information from this these tests and post
the performance numbers on Grumman F6F-5 Performance soon).
12 September 1944: The First F6F-5N night fighter victory is over a Ki.46
Dinah near Samar Island.
January 1945: The USS Enterprise fighter squadron consists of two F6F-5s,
eleven F6F-5Ns, Eleven F6F-5Es and two F6F5Ps.
11 May 1945: The last of 293 Hellcat IIs, aircraft KE265 is delivered to the
Fleet Air Arm.
June 1945: The F6F-5N with a new armament of 2 x 20 mm cannon and
4 x 0.5 in. machine guns became operational.
25 July 1945: Hellcat IIs of the Royal Navy destroy three Japanese torpedo
bombers at night without radar.
2 September 1945: The USN cancels an order for 1677 F6F-5s.
August 1946: The last operational Hellcats of the FAA were retired when
No.888 Squadron was disbanded.
1950: Forty-eight Hellcats go to a French Navy squadron in Indo-China.
April 1952: F6F-5K drone Hellcats attack bridges in Korea.
1953: Hellcat KE209 continued to fly at RNAS Lossiemouth until 1953.
This aircraft is now located at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton.
August 1953: The last USN unit to use Hellcats, F6F-5Ns, give them up.
1959: Hellcat aircraft are serving with the Argentine and Uruguayan navies.
America's Hundred Thousand by Frances H. Dean
http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org Mr. Neil Stirling and Mr. Mike Williams
Flying to the Limit by Peter Caygill
Edited by CORSNING, 13 November 2017 - 03:35 PM.