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Grumman Cougar - $3.95

Based on the earlier Grumman F9F Panther, the Cougar replaced the Panther's straight wing with a more modern swept wing. 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 upwards.

F9F-6 Panther Jet

Grumman F9F-8 Cougar The Grumman Cougar:

The maiden flight of the XF9F-6 was made on September 20, 1951.

Although the same designation series was used for both straight and swept wing versions, Grumman continued their cat nomenclature and called their new machine the Cougar.

What people say...

A word from Rob...

There are four versions, plus the B&W redraw. Cougars were some of the most colorful planes in the Navy's inventory in the fifties and sixties, and I've chosen several colorful versions.

Grumman F9F-8 Cougar

Cougar assembly details

In 1951 the US Navy accepted Grumman's proposal for a swept-wing version of the F9F Panther, and this first flew in September 1951 as the XF6F-6 with a 3289-kg 17,250-Ib) J48P-8 and a new 35degree swept wing carrying larger flaps, fences, leading-edge slats and spoilers in place of ailerons. Service deliveries of 706 F9F-6s began in November 1952, and this total included 60 F9F-6P reconnaissance aircraft.

Grumman CougarThe 168 F9F-7s were identical to the F9F-6s apart from their Allison J33-A-t6A turbojets. Then came 712 F8F-8s with the wing redesigned for an effective 15 per cent increase in chord, a re contoured cockpit canopy and a 20.3-cm 18-in) increase in fuselage length to provide additions fuel volume; the F9F-8 total included F8F-9B attack version with missile armament, and 110 F9F-8P reconnaissance aircraft. There were also 399 F9F-8T tandem-seat trainers.

The Navy's first operational carrier fighter to utilize the new high-speed sweptback wing configuration was Grumman's F9F-6 Cougar. Obviously a derivation of the Panther series, the Cougar was ordered on March 2,1951, to provide the Navy with a weapon to combat the swept-winged MiG15's being encountered in Korea. During the original planning of the Panther, Grumman had studied the effects of the raked wing and it was determined that they could be easily incorporated into the basic design. As a result, the prototype Cougar was completed in six months, first flying on September 20, 1951. Even less time was required for the initial production plane, this making its debut only five months later.

Grumman CougarAccompanying the Cougar's wing change was an increase of 1,000 lbs. of thrust from a Pratt & Whitney J48-P-8 rated at 7,250 lbs. These factors gave the 706 F9P-6 Cougars an 85 mph increase over the Panther series. The second Cougar order gave the fighter a 6,350 lb. thrust Allison J33.A-16A, but water injection increased the rate to 7,000 lbs. One hundred sixty eight of these F9F-7's were delivered.

The Cougar lived up to its expectations and its advancement over the Panther was obvious. But it was felt chat the swept-wing design was still at the low end of its development cycle. One area needing improvement was the low speed handling characteristics, This directed attention to the wings which were given wider outer panels and a cambered leading edge eliminating the slats. An increase to the trailing edge gave a thinner wing section raising the critical Mach number. Reworking the wing had the added benefit of increasing the fuel capacity. Lengthening the fuselage improved the fineness ratio and also allowed for another fuel tank, adding a total of 140 more gallons to the Cougar's capacity. As the F9F~8, the first of the revised fighters flew on December 18, 1953, and displayed a high speed of 714 mph - a difference of 24 mph over the F9F-7. This merited an order for 711 more F9F-8 Cougars making the type the most prevalent jet fighter in the Navy at the time, winged trainer. Grumman built 399 of this model which had a maximum speed of 705 mph.three views of the Grumman Cougar

Other versions of the F9F-8 were the camera-equipped F9F.8P's and the F9F-SB missile platform capable of launching four air-to-air missiles. Many cougars were fitted with refueling probes to extend their range to the requirements of their specific missions. On their retirement from front line duty, the Cougars continued serving as radio-controlled drones and drone controllers. These were usually redesignated QE-9's in keeping with the new classification.

The definitive F9F-8 Cougar had a wingspan of 34 feet 6 inches, length of 40 feet 10 inches and a height of 15 feet. Maximum launch weight was 20,000 pounds, service ceiling was 50,000 feet. Fixed armament was four 20 mm M3 cannons, and up to 3,000 pounds of bombs could be hauled on the under wing racks.