Grumman XF5F Skyrocket











The Grumman XF5F Skyrocket was a prototype of a twin-engine shipboard fighter interceptor to which Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation applied the model number G-34. It was a radical advance in shipboard fighters at the time when single engine fighters were just changing to monoplane designs from bi-planes. The U.S. Navy ordered one prototype airplane on June 30, 1938 with the designation XF5F-1. The aircraft possessed a unique appearance in that the forward part of the fuselage didn’t extend forward of the wing. Provisions were included in the prototype for two 23 mm Madsen cannon. The aircraft flew for the first time on April 1, 1940. Engine cooling problems arose in the initial flights, resulting in modification to the oil cooling ducts. Further modifications were made to the prototype including reduction in the height of the cockpit canopy, revising the armament installation to four 0.5 inch machine guns in place of the cannon, redesign of the engine nacelles, adding spinners to the propellers, and extending the fuselage forward of the wing. These changes were completed on July 15, 1941. Additional changes were needed after further flight tests that were not completed until January 15, 1942. In the meantime Grumman began work on a more advanced twin-engine shipboard fighter, the XF7F-1, and further testing with the XF5F-1 supported the development of the newer design. The prototype continued to be used in various tests, although plagued by various landing gear problems, until it was struck from the list of active aircraft after it made a belly landing on December 11, 1944.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 28 ft 9 in (8.76 m)
  • Wingspan: 42 ft (12.80 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 4 in (3.45 m)
  • Wing area: 303.5 ft² (28.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 8,107 lb (3,677 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 10,138 lb (4,600 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Wright XR-1820-40/42 nine cylinder radial air-cooled engines, 1,200 hp (kW) each


Performance

  • Maximum speed: 383 mi/h at sea level (616 km/h)
  • Range: 1,200 statute miles (1,930 km)
  • Service ceiling: 33,000 ft (10,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 4,000 ft/min (1,220 m)


Armament

  • 4 x 0.5 (12.7 mm) in machine guns
  • 2 x 165 lb (75 kg) bombs