In 1938, Grumman presented a proposal to the Navy for a twin engine carrier based fighter. Designated the G-34 proposal, the design was unlike any aircraft that had ever been considered before by the USN. Grumman's concept called for a light weight (under 10,000 lbs maximum take off weight) aircraft powered by two 1,200 hp Wright R-1820 engines. Being a low wing monoplane, the fuselage began aft of the wings leading edge. At the rear of the markedly short fuselage, the tail assembly was not unlike that of a B-25 Mitchell, however, with an pronounced dihedral to the horizontal stabilizer. The propellers were geared to rotate in opposite directions to cancel the effects of engine torque. The tail wheel was fully retractable. The proposed armament was two 23mm Madsen cannons. The Navy placed an order for one prototype, designated the XF5F-1, on June 30, 1938. The prototype took to the air for the first time on April Fools day, 1940. The XF5F-1 demonstrated good flight performance, attaining a maximum speed of 383 mph at 20,000 feet. Its rate of climb easily exceeded that of its sibling, the F4F Wildcat. Despite continued modifications, Grumman failed to gain any production orders from the Navy. A different version with a longer nose and tricycle landing gear was built for the Army Air Corps under the designation XP-50, though only one prototype was built. However, the investment of time and money devoted to the XF5F-1 and the XP-50 was not wasted. These aircraft provided a base of data which was applied to Grumman's new G-51 proposal, which was to eventually became the F7F Tigercat. Meanwhile, the XF5F-1 continued in R&D service until the end of 1944.
(Photo courtesy of "The Hook" magazine, Fall 1996. Text info courtesy of "The Planes and Pilots of World War II" website)
Additional information on the
can be found at Wikipedia
Additional information on the XP-50 can be found at Wikipedia here.
(updated February 2009)
Grumman F5F Skyrocket
Type: Fighter Crew: 1, Pilot Armament: 2 23mm Madsen cannons (proposed) Specifications: Length: 28' 8.5" Height: 11' 4" Wingspan: 42' 0" Wing area: 303.5 sq. ft Empty Weight: 8,107 lb Maximum Weight: 10,138 lb Propulsion: No. of Engines: 2 Powerplant: Wright XR-1820-40/42 Cyclone radials Horsepower: 1200 hp each Performance: Range: 1,200 miles Cruise Speed: 210 mph Max Speed: 383 mph Ceiling: 33,000 ft
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