POWER PLANT:One Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W Double Wasp radial engine, rated at 2,000 hp
PERFORMANCE: 360 mph at 23,400 ft
COMMENT: Grumman F6F-3N Hellcat night-fighters entered operation during February 1944, with VF(N)-76 aboard the USS CV-8 Hornet. The Hellcat was adapted to carry the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AN/APS-6 radar with the scanning aerial in a radome pod on the starboard wing. During 1944 deliveries began of a new Hellcat version, the F6F-5 Hellcat, with a number of detail refinements and improvements. Logically, a night-fighter version was F6F-5N was developed, retaining the AN/APS-6 radar in a starboard wing pod. Of the 1,434 F6F-5N Hellcat completed during the war many remained in service for a number of years after the war’s end (Ref.: 1).
POWER PLANT: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W Double Wasp engines, rated at 2,100 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 435 mph at 22,000 ft
COMMENT: After 34 single-seat Grumman F7F-1 Tigercats had been delivered, production switched temporarily to a two-seat night-fighting version F7F-2N. A prototype XF7F-2N had been produced by modifying the third production F7F-1 to have a second seat behind the pilot, for the radar operator, and AN/APS-6 search radar, installed in the nose in place of the four machineguns. Grumman produced 65 F7F-2Ns between October 1944 and August 1945. Night landings were made aboard the USS Antietam as well as USS Shangri-La. The first unit to convert to the night-fighting Tigercat was VMF(N)-533, which after working-up in Texas arrived on Okinawa on 14 August 1945, the day before the Japanese surrender.
The Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat shown here was a post-war variant with R-2800-34Ws engines, SCR-720 radar in the nose and a larger fin. In total 60 F7F-3Ns were produced. (Ref. 10)