F3F, U.S. Carrier Fighter

Photograph of F3F carrier fighter

Naval Historical Center #NH 44277


Dimensions       23'2" by 32' by 9'4"
7.06m by 9.75m by 2.84m
Weight 3285-4795 lbs
1490-2175 kg
Engine One 950 hp (708 kW) Wright R-1820-22 9-cylinder radial engine driving a three-blade propeller
Speed 264 mph
425 km/h
Ceiling 33,200 feet
10,100 meters
Range 980 miles
1580 km
Wing area 260 square feet
24 square meters
Armament 2 0.303 machine guns in engine cowling

The F3F was the last biplane carrier fighter of the U.S. Navy, and it would have been only a historical footnote but for the fact that it was the direct ancestor of the F4F Wildcat. The lineage is apparent from the stubby fuselage and the landing gear retracting into the forward fuselage.

The prototype first flew in May 1935 and production deliveries began in 1936. It remained with front-line squadrons into 1941, and a few were still in service at North Island, in training or patrol capacities, at the outbreak of war.


Gunston (1988)

Naval Historical Center (accessed 2009-11-11)

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