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The Hellcat was a terrific airplane and very effective fighter. It was positively a piece of cake to fly; just a dream.... The difference between the F4F [Wildcat] and the F6F was night and day. We had more range, more speed, more power... more everything. (US Navy Ensign George Orner, a F6F Hellcat fighter pilot aboard USS Franklin, recalled his liking for his fighter).

  1. The Grumman F6F Hellcat was a carrier-based fighter aircraft designed to replace the earlier F4F Wildcat and competed with the faster Vought F4U Corsair for use as a carrier based fighter.

F6F-3 Hellcat fighter being prepared for launch aboard USS Yorktown during the carrier's shakedown cruise, May 1943 [Via ww2db]

  1. The U.S. Navy much preferred the more docile flight qualities of the F6F compared with the Vought F4U Corsair, despite the superior speed of the Corsair.

An early F6F-3 in Blue-Gray over Light Gull-Gray. A U.S. Navy Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat of fighter squadron VF-1 over California (USA), in early 1943. VF-1 was redesignated VF-5 in July 1943 [Via Wikipedia]

  1. The Grumman F6F Hellcat used the same powerplant the Vought F4U Corsair and the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, a 2,000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800.

[Via Plastic Fever Blog]

  1. The Grumman F6F Hellcat was faster at all altitudes than Japanese Zero Type 52 Figther.

Tri-color camouflaged Hellcat fighters in flight, 21 Jun 1943 [Via ww2db]

  1. The Grumman F6F Hellcat was easy to maintain and had an airframe tough enough to withstand the rigors of routine carrier operations. The F6F series were designed to take damage and get the pilot safely back to base.
  1. Standard armament on the F6F-3 consisted of six .50 in (12.7 mm) M2/AN Browning air-cooled machine guns with 400 rounds per gun. While later aircraft had single bomb racks installed under each wing. Late model F6F-3s could carry a total bomb-load in excess of 2,000 lb (900 kg). Six 5 in (127 mm) HVARs (High Velocity Aircraft Rocket) could be carried; three under each wing on "zero-length" launchers.

US Navy pilot Lieutenant Commander James H. Flatley's F6F-3 Hellcat fighter warming up on the deck of USS Yorktown, preparing to attack Marcus Island, 31 Aug 1943 [Via ww2db

  1. The Grumman F6F Hellcat helped secure air superiority over the Pacific Theater.
  1. The Grumman F6F Hellcat first saw action against the Japanese on 1 September 1943 when fighters off the USS Independence shot down a Kawanishi H8K "Emily" flying boat.
  1. Hellcats were the major U.S. Navy fighter type involved in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, where so many Japanese aircraft were shot down that Navy aircrews nicknamed the battle "the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot".

Grumman F6F Hellcat aterrant en el USS Yorktown (CV-10) [Via Wikipedia]

  1. The Grumman F6F Hellcat accounted for 75% of all aerial victories recorded by the U.S. Navy in the Pacific.
  1. The Grumman F6F Hellcat were credited with destroying 5,223 aircraft while in service with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.
  1. U.S. Navy and Marine Grumman F6F Hellcat pilots flew 66,530 combat sorties and claimed 5,163 kills (56% of all U.S. Navy/Marine air victories of the war) at a recorded cost of 270 Hellcats in aerial combat (an overall kill-to-loss ratio of 19:1 based on claimed but not confirmed kills).

F6F-3 Hellcat flown by Commander Joseph C. Clifton of VF-12, Saratoga, 1944 [Via Navy Pilot Overseas]

  1. The Grumman F6F Hellcat became the prime ace-maker aircraft in the American inventory, with 305 Hellcat aces.
  1. The Grumman F6F Hellcat claimed 13:1 kill ratio against the A6M Zero, 9.5:1 against the Nakajima Ki-84, and 3.7:1 against the Mitsubishi J2M during the last year of the war.
  1. During the course of World War II, 2,462 F6F Hellcats were lost to all causes; 270 in aerial combat, 553 lost to anti-aircraft ground and shipboard fire, and 341 were lost to operational causes. Of the total figure 1,298 were destroyed in training and ferry operations, normally outside of the combat zones.

[Via Plastic Fever Blog]

  1. The British Fleet Air Arm (FAA) received 1,263 Grumman F6Fs Hellcat under the Lend-Lease Act.
  1. In Europe, the FAA Hellcats saw action off Norway, in the Mediterranean and in the Far East. A number were fitted with photographic reconnaissance equipment similar to the F6F-5P, receiving the designation Hellcat FR Mk.II.
  1. In the Pacific Theater, FAA Hellcats claimed a total of 52 enemy aircraft kills during 18 aerial combats from May 1944 to July 1945. 1844 Naval Air Squadron, on board HMS Indomitable of the British Pacific Fleet was the highest scoring unit, with 32.5 kills.

British Royal Navy Hellcat fighter, circa 1943 [Via ww2db]

Royal Air Forces Hellcats [Via Plastic Fever Blog]

Royal Air Forces Hellcats [Via Plastic Fever Blog]

  1. The Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat subtype gained fame as the first aircraft used by the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels official flight demonstration team at its formation in 1946.

The Blue Angels taking delivery of their new aircraft in Bethpage, 1946 [Via Blue Angels]

  1. Radar-equipped Hellcat night fighter squadrons appeared in early 1944. The Grumman F6F Hellcat were used as a night fighter after war.
  1. The XF6F-6s were the fastest version of the Hellcat series with a top speed of 417 mph (671 km/h), but the war ended before this variant could be mass-produced.
  1. Grumman built a total of 12,275 F6F Hellcat, of which 11,000 were built in just two years.

F6F Hellcat fighters going through launch procedures aboard the carrier Saratoga, off Gilbert Islands, early 1943 [Via ww2db]

F6F-5 Hellcat Specifications:


  • Length: 33 ft. 7 in.
  • Wingspan: 42 ft. 10 in.
  • Height: 13 ft. 1 in.
  • Wing Area: 334 sq. ft.
  • Empty Weight: 9,238 lbs.
  • Loaded Weight: 12,598 lbs.
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight: 15,514 lbs.
  • Crew: 1


  • Maximum Speed: 380 mph
  • Combat Radius: 945 miles
  • Rate of Climb: 3,500 ft./min.
  • Service Ceiling: 37,300 ft.
  • Power Plant: 1× Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W "Double Wasp" engine with a two-speed two-stage supercharger, 2,000 hp


  • 6× 0.50 cal. M2 Browning machine guns
  • 6 × 5 in (127 mm) HVARs or 2 × 11¾ in Tiny Tim unguided rockets
  • up to 2,000 lbs. of bombs

F6F-3 Hellcat [Via National Naval Aviation Museum]

F6F-5 Hellcat [Via National Naval Aviation Museum]


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