The F4F-7 was a proposed long range reconnaissance version of the Wildcat. Discussions had begun before Pearl Harbor but work did not begin in earnest until 1941.
The resulting aircraft was based on the F4F-4 fuselage. It had non-folding wings with all the guns removed. They were replaced by fuel tanks capable of carrying 555 gallons (2101 litres) of fuel, which combined with the internal tank to give the F4F-7 a total capacity of 672 gallons of fuel. This gave it a theatrical range of 3,700 miles, and a flight endurance of 24 hours! The F4F-7 carried a single Fairchild F-56 camera, mounted in the fuselage, aft of the fuel tank.
100 F4F-7s were ordered. However, the order was not completed. A total of 21 F4F-7s were built, before in 1943 it was altered to an order for 100 F4F-3S float planes, before the aircraft were completed as standard F4F-3s.
Most of the twenty one F4F-7s were used by Marine Observation (VMO) 251, in the Solomon Islands during 1942-3. Each carrier off Gualalcanal normally carried one of these long range aircraft.