USA: Experimental Aircraft: Grumman XF5F Skyrocket

Grumman XF5F Skyrocket

(USN Photo)

The Grumman XF5F Skyrocket was a prototype twin-engined shipboard fighter interceptor. The United States Navy ordered one prototype, model number G-34, from Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation on 30 June 1938; its designation was XF5F-1. The aircraft had a unique appearance: The forward "nose" of the fuselage did not extend forward of the wing. Provisions were included for two 20 mm (0.787 in) Madsen cannon as armament. (Wikipedia)

(USN Photos)

The Skyrocket was the first Grumman aircraft with folding wings. The tail assembly had twin fins and the landing gear wheels retracted into the engine nacelles. The wings folded outboard of the engines for easy stowage on the carrier flight deck. It was powered by two 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright XR-1820-40 and -42 engines driving three-bladed counter-rotating propellers. However, the landing gear was structurally weak and the problem of pilot visibility had not yet been resolved. Grumman’s proposed armament was four 23 mm Madsen cannons and two 0.30 caliber machine guns, but the cannons never became available. Four 0.50 caliber machine guns would substitute for the cannons, but in the end the armament was never installed. It was finally stricken in December 1944 after two landing gear failures. The aircraft had made 211 flights and flying time totaled 155.7 hours.

(USN Photos)

Grumman XF5F Skyrocket.

(US Army Photo)

An offshoot of the XF5F-1 was the land-based XP-50 interceptor. The XF5F-1was ordered by the US Army Air Corp on March 11, 1939 under Circular Proposal 39-775. It was the first Grumman fighter developed for the army.

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