Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat


The first production F6F-3 flew in October 1942, and deliveries began in January 1943, only eight months after the XF6F-3 prototype first flew! There were a few minor changes to the aircraft – the landing gear was streamlined, the engine cowling improved and the propeller changed, but otherwise the Hellfire design remained remarkably consistent throughout its production run.

Grumman Hellcat I 'going around'
Grumman Hellcat I
'going around'

Early production Hellfires used the Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 engine. This was changed to the -10W later in the run – the same engine but with water injection, giving higher power for a short period. Armament remained at six .50 calibre machine guns, with 400 rounds per gun. The F6F-3 could carry a 150 gallon drop tank under the fuselage. 4,402 F6F-3s were produced, with 252 going to Britain as Hellcat Is (originally known as the Gannet I, but changed to Hellcat in January 1944 when all names were standardised to avoid confusion).


This was a night fighter version, equipped with the AN/APS-4 radar. The radar equipment was housed in a pod below the right wing, rather than the more common radome. Only 18 of this version were built.


This was the most common night fighter version. It used the AN/APS-6 radar, housed in a radome below the right wing. Around 200 of these fighters were produced.


The K designation was used for radio controlled drones. They were producing by modifying existing F6F-3s. This type was used during the atom bomb tests on Bikini Island, where it was flown through the mushroom cloud.

Link to plan of Grummna F4F-3 wildcat from front
Front plan

Link to plan of Grummna F4F-3 wildcat from side
Side plan

Link to plan of Grummna F4F-3 wildcat from top
Top plan

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 March 2007), Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat,

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