Online Library of Selected Images:
U.S. NAVY AIRCRAFT - 1922-1962 DESIGNATION SYSTEM

Grumman XF4F-3 prototype

The XF4F-3, prototype for what became the first F4F production version, was the XF4F-2 rebuilt to eliminate the many troubles that had cost it the 1937-38 competition to become the Navy's first monoplane fighter. Since the basic Grumman design seemed promising, in October 1938 the Navy gave the company a contract to build a modified version. Using the XF4F-2's Bureau of Aeronautics serial number (Bureau # 0383) and much of its structure, the "new" plane had squared-off wings and tail and a different model of the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engine.

Completed in February 1939, the XF4F-3 demonstrated improved performance and significantly better reliability. Impressed, the Navy ordered 54 F4F-3 production variants in August 1939. As is almost always the case with prototype trials, XF4F-3 flight tests generated a number of design changes that were applied to the service F4F-3 airplanes, the most visible of which was a larger vertical tail and higher location for the tailplane.

This page features all our views of the Grumman XF4F-3 prototype.

For more pictorial coverage of F4F type fighters, see:



Photo #: NH 97481

Grumman XF4F-3 prototype
(Bureau # 0383)

Photographed during flight testing, circa April 1939.

The original print is from Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison files.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 65KB; 740 x 610 pixels

 
Photo #: 80-G-2889

Grumman XF4F-3 fighter prototype
(Bureau # 0383)

In flight during early testing, 3 April 1939.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 71KB; 740 x 575 pixels

Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives.

 
Photo #: NH 97482

Grumman XF4F-3 prototype
(Bureau # 0383)

Photographed during flight testing, 21 July 1939.

The original print is from Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison files.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 65KB; 740 x 565 pixels

 

For more pictorial coverage of F4F fighters:


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.



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