Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat

The Grumman Hellcat only appeared in two main versions. The F6F-5 was the most numerous type, representing 7,870 of the total of 12,275 produced. It replaced the F6F-3 on the production lines in the spring of 1944, The changes from the F6F-3 were fairly minor.  The engine cowling was improved, to make it more streamlined, although the difference is hard to spot in photographs. Top speed was increased by four mph. The R-2800-10W engine, as used in late production dash-threes, was retained. Standard armament remained at six wing mounted .50 calibre machine guns, although there was an alternative wing that replaced the innermost machine gun on each wing with a 20mm cannon.

The most important change was that the F6F-5 equipped with six under-wing racks for 5 inch rockets, and a central pylon capable of carrying two 1,000 lb bombs, giving it a ground attack capability.

Of the 7,870 produced, 930 went to Britain, where they were designated as Hellcat IIs.

F6F-5E

This was a night fighter version of the Hellcat, equipped with AN/APS-4 radar. This was carried in a pod below the right wing. Grumman produced a total of 1,434 night fighters (of both types). Most where of the dash-N version.

F6F-5N

The second night fighter variant of the dash-five, equipped with the AN/APS-6 radar. The radar antennae were carried an a radome on the right wing. This version was often equipped with the mixed gun wings.

F6F-5P

This was a standard F5F-5 with a camera added in the lower left fuselage. Unlike many photo reconnaissance versions of aircraft, this was still a combat ready fighter, and capable of defending itself, or taking part in a mission while also providing the reconnaissance capability.

F6F-5K

This was a radio controlled drone, producing by converting standard F6F-5s. The -5K was officially recognised on 1948. During the Korean War some of these aircraft were used as flying bombs

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 March 2007), Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_F6F-5.html

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