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F4F-3 Wildcat

Deck Fighter


F4F-3 Wildcat

The F4F "Wildcat" (7815 of these aircraft were built by the end of World War II, most of them by the eastern branch of General Motors Corporation) was the main fighter of the US Navy and Marine Corps.

The prototype G-36, which took off in March 1939 under the designation XF4F-3, had a more powerful Twin Wasp XR-1830-76 engine with a two-stage supercharger, an increased wing area, a modified tail unit, which allowed the XF4F- 3 have good rudder control and good maneuverability.

Its maximum speed at an altitude of 6490 m was equal to 539 km/h. On August 8, 1939, the US Navy ordered 78 production F4F-3 aircraft.

The Grumman company proposed a new project of the G-36A aircraft for export and received contracts for 81 and 30 aircraft from the governments of France and Greece, but by this time France had already been defeated. The UK decided to purchase this batch, increasing the order to 90 vehicles.

The first of these aircraft was delivered in July 1940. (the first five aircraft were sent to Canada) and received the designation Martlet Mk I (swift).

The firm was working on improving the aircraft and the second hundred "Wildcats" already had bulletproof glass and a collimator sight. However, due to the replacement of the R-1830-76 motor with a two-stage supercharger (redirected to B-17) to R-1830-90 with a single-stage supercharger, the speed decreased to 498 km/h and the altitude deteriorated sharply.

Grumman has entered into a deal with General Motors to continue serial production of the F4F-3 Wildcat, designated FM-1, at General Motors Eastern Aircraft Division.

The first FM-1 aircraft took off on August 31, 1942. Serial production was 1,151 aircraft, 312 of which were shipped to Great Britain under the designation Martlet Mk V (later Wildcat Mk V). At the same time, General Motors was working on an improved version, designated FM-2, which was the production version of two Grumman XF4F-8 prototype aircraft. Its main differences were the installation of a radial piston engine Wright R-1820-56 Cyclone 9 with a capacity of 1350 hp, which entailed an increase in the keel area to maintain good directional stability with a more powerful engine, as well as reducing the weight of the airframe to a minimum. 4,777 FM-2 aircraft were built by General Motors, 370 of which were shipped to the UK. There they were in service with the naval aviation and were designated Wildcat Mk VI.

F4F-3 1941

F4F Specification
F4F-3 F4F-4 F6F-5
Wing span, m 11.59 11.58 13.06
Length, m 8.53 8.74 10.24
Motor power, h.p. 1050 1200 1200
Gross weight, kg 3620 7000
Maximum speed, km/h 466 510 616
Service ceiling, m - 10,600 11,350
Service range, km - 1750 2150
Armament 2х12.7 6х12.7 6х12.7
Photo Description
Drawing F4F Modifications Drawing F4F Modifications
Drawing F4F-3 Drawing F4F-3 Wildcat
F4F-3 at Anacostia airbase F4F-3 at Anacostia airbase
F4F-3 from VF-3 of 'Enterprise' F4F-3 from VF-3 Squadron in the hangar of the aircraft carrier Enterprise. The fighter's wings are undocked.
F4F-3 from VF-3 on the aircraft carrier 'Saratoga', spring 1941 F4F-3 from VF-3 Squadron in the elevator of the aircraft carrier "Saratoga", spring 1941
F4F-3A fighters in flight F4F-3A fighters in flight
F4F-3A from VF-8 Squadron F4F-3A from VF-8 Squadron on maneuvers off the coast of South Carolina, August 1941

F4F Wildcat Modifications

  • XF4F-1: G-16 biplane project (not built)
  • XF4F-2: prototype G-1B monoplane, maiden flight 09/02/1937, 1 copy built
  • XF4F-3: prototype G-36 monoplane, powered by XR-1830-76, maiden flight 02/02/1939
  • XF4F-3: first production version with XR-1830-76 engine, maiden flight 02.1940, 285 aircraft built
  • F4F-3A: production version with XR-1830-90 engine, 95 aircraft built
  • F4F-3Р: conversion into a photo reconnaissance aircraft, several aircraft built
  • F4F-4: prototype improved model with XR-1830-86 engine and folding wing, maiden flight 04/14/1941
  • F4F-4: main production variant with folding wing, 1169 built
  • F4F-4A: designation of the supplied Lend-Lease Marlet Mk III with non-folding wing
  • F4F-4B: designation of the supplied Lend-Lease Marlet Mk IV non-folding wing
  • F4F-4P: several instances converted into a reconnaissance aircraft
  • XF4F-5: designation of two G-36A prototypes, powered by Wright R-1820-40, maiden flight June 1940
  • XF4F-6: one prototype of the production F4F-3A
  • F4F-7: reconnaissance aircraft with cameras and increased fuel reserves, brand designation G-52, maiden flight 12/30/1941, 21 vehicles built
  • F4F-8: two experimental prototypes with new flaps and hoods, maiden flight 8/11/1942
  • FM-1 (F4F-4): manufactured by General Motors, maiden flight 08/31/1942, 1151 aircraft
  • FM-2 (F4F-8): production version manufactured by General Motors, 4,777 aircraft
  • Marlet Mk I: British designation G-36 ordered by France, maiden flight 11/05/1940, 181 aircraft
  • Marlet Mk II: British designation G-36B, folding wing, maiden flight October 1940, 100 aircraft
  • Marlet Mk III: British designation F4F-4A, non-folding wing, 30 aircraft
  • Marlet Mk IV: British designation F4F-4B, ​​220 aircraft
  • Marlet Mk V: British Lend-Lease FM-1, 312 aircraft
  • Marlet Mk VI: British designation supplied by FM-2, 370 aircraft


  • Encyclopedia of Military Equipment / Aerospace Publising /
  • Carrier-based fighters of the Second World War / Ivan Kudishin /
  • American military aircraft of the Second World War / ed. David Donald /
  • CD Encyclopedia Military Aviation / Media 2000 /
  • Carrier-based fighter Grumman F4F "Wildcat" / V.R. Kotelnikov /