For our readers today we bring an interesting fighter aircraft from the 1950s. The aircraft is known by the name Grumman F-9 Cougar which was a carrier-based aircraft used for fighter missions by the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps back in 1952.
The design of the Grumman F-9 Cougar is based on Grumman’s earlier fighter aircraft project known as the F9F Panther. The major improvement carried out in the design of the Grumman F-9 Cougar was the addition of the swept wings with a more modern touch.
In addition to making changes in the wing design, the Grumman F-9 Cougar also saw improvements in its thrust. These modifications led to the United States Navy calling the Grumman F-9 Cougar to be a superior and better version of the F9F Panther. This is the reason, despite having the original designation of F-9 Cougar; the aircraft went on to be known as F9F-6.
For our readers, we present to you some of the key and amazing features about the Grumman F-9 Cougar.
Cause of its development
Even before the MiG-15 made its appearance back in 1949 at an Airshow; there were rumors all over the world about the Soviets building an aircraft with swept-wing designs for acting as their key fighter. As for the United States Navy, despite having many experiments being done on the swept-wing design, no clear focus was seen on this type of fighter design. At that moment the US Navy was interested in creating fighter aircraft that had high speed at high altitudes and carry out the bomber roles as well while being an interceptor too.
All in all-they wanted and all-weather and all air-to-air combating aircraft at that time. Still, Navy was not negligent towards the need of a swept winged aircraft with carrier basing capabilities. This was the reason that led to the Navy warding Grumman the contract for the designing and development of the very first swept-wing fighter aircraft back in 1951.
In order to create the new swept winged aircraft, Grumman made use of the already existing designs and prototypes of the F9F Panthers and created the first prototype of Cougar by name of XF9F-6. The aircraft made its first flight back on September 20th, 1951 and it was a subsonic one. The aircraft was able to generate a top speed of Mach 0.86 on the sea level while at altitude o 35000 feet, this speed was about Mach 0.895. This much speed was a clear sign of improvement in the design of Panther.
A variant of the Grumman F-9 Cougar was known by the name of F9F-8P which was used for Aerial reconnaissance missions by the US Navy and most importantly for photo-reconnaissance. The aircraft performed the mission role with the help of the cameras installed in its nose sections. A total of 110 of these Grumman F-9 Cougars were created but were removed back in 1961.
For creating the Grumman F-9 Cougar for photo reconnaissance missions, Grumman made the following modifications.
- Elimination of the guns and the other helping equipment with the photographing equipment and the automatic pilot controls.
- The left and right consoles were rearranged to allow for extra space for the control panel for additional equipment.
- Changes in the fuselage section allowed for duct control for the hot air rising from the engine’s compressor. This ducting heat was then used to defrost the widows of the camera and also to heat the compartment of the camera.
- In addition to these, all armaments such as the Armament Control System as well as the AN/APG-30 radar system were removed from the Grumman F-9 Cougar. In place of these, Grumman installed the armor plate bulkhead.
Deployment for US Army:-
The Grumman F-9 Cougar was renowned to be one of the best fighters of its era as per the sources of pilots who flew them back in the 50s and till the time they retired. They were easily expected by the Navy pilots due to the ease of their flight and their maneuverability at high speeds. The most amazing fact of the Grumman F-9 Cougar was that it was able to make a nose dive speed of about Mach 1.2 while maneuvering at the limit of 7.5Gs.
The very first fleet of the Grumman F-9 Cougar was deployed to the Fleet squadron designation VF-32 back in 1952 but it had arrived a little too late to participate in the Korean War’s aerial theater.
Speed record on a transcontinental level
The Grumman F-9 Cougar was also used by the U navy to break the previous transcontinental speed record as it set the new one back on 1st April 1954. In order to set the record, 3 pilots of the fighter squadron Vf-21 were selected who completed the flight distance of 2438 miles in a time mark of 4 hours. The quickest time out of these 3 pilots was posted by pilot LCDR F.X. Brady at the mark of 3 hours, 45 minutes and 30 seconds. This was the first time in the aerial history that such distance had been covered by a man-made aircraft in under the limit of 4 hours.
In order to perform the midflight refueling an experimental refueling probe, mounted on the nose of Grumman F-9 Cougar, was used over Kansas. The refueling aircraft was the North American AJ Savage.
Time with Blue Angels
The Grumman F-9 Cougar also spent its time with US nay’s iconic flight demonstration team known by the name Blue Angels. Blue Angels used 6 of the Grumman F-9 Cougar in place of the F9F-5 Panthers. They used these Grumman F-9 cougars until 1957 when they were ultimately replaced by the new and improved Grumman F11F Tiger.
Another country to have the Cougar:-
In addition to the United States, the only other country in the world to have the Grumman F-9 Cougar was Argentina which used it for its Argentine Naval Aviation. Actually, two of the trainer variants of the Grumman F-9 Cougar were acquired by Argentina and they served for the country until 1971. It was the first jet in Argentine to have broken the sound speed barrier.
With the United States, the service of the Grumman F-9 Cougar came to an abrupt end back in 1959 when the Grumann introduced the superior model named F11F Tiger and the F8U Crusader. Still, the Naval Reserves made use of the retired Grumman F-9 Cougars until the middle of the 1960s but were never used in the Vietnam War.