Grumman F7F Tigercat

Operational Units

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Marine squadrons began combat training in mid-1944 with F7F-1s. An F7F-2N equipped Marine squadron was transported to Guam in summer 1945, flying on as Marine Night Fighter Squadron [VMF(N)] 531 to reach Okinawa just as the war ended.

Similarly, a Marine photo squadron started training in March 1945, also reaching Okinawa by V-J Day. During the rest of 1945, production continued at a lower rate toward a planned total of 400 F7Fs, and Marine Tigercatsquadrons were cut back. Two squadrons operated in China -- Marine Photographic Squadron 254 on coast photo mapping with -3Ps, and VMF(N)-533 with -3Ns replacing -2Ns.

By the end of the year, production of the last 110 was scheduled at Grumman as F7F-3Ns. In February 1946, VMF(N)-534 took its -3Ns aboard Shangri-Lafor carrier qualifications. After repeated landings, an inner wing panel of one plane failed on touchdown, bringing an end to carquals.

In April -3N production was cut back, after which 12 -4Ns with extensive changes for carrier operating strength would be built. Also included was a new APS-19 radar in a stream-lined nose, tested on a -3N as the XF7F-4N. Production -4Ns went to Night Composite Squadrons 1 and 2 for carrier operational evaluation, flying from Essex-class carriers after testing on board Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB 42).

A new use for Tigercats surfaced. The -2Ns had been used for drone control, and all remaining -2Ns were redesignated -2Ds, modified with an F8F-type canopy over the rear cockpit for the drone control pilot. Marine land-based squadrons continued to operate Tigercatsin diminishing numbers, with VMF(N)s 513 and 542 flying night interdiction and fighter missions in the early months of the Korean conflict. As they were withdrawn from the war, Tigercats were gradually phased out, with the -2Ds serving into the mid-1950s.




Marine Photographic Squadron 1
Marine Photographic Squadron 254
Marine Night Fighter Squadron VMF(N)-534
Night Composite Squadron 1
Night Composite Squadron 2