The Grumman F4F Wildcat was developed and manufactured by Grumman Aerospace as a carrier-based fighter aircraft that first flew in September 1937. In 1940, the aircraft entered service with the United States Navy, as well as the Royal Navy, where it was first designated as the Martlet.
The F4F Wildcat was developed from the F2F and F3F biplane fighter aircraft of Grumman. The new F4F fighter incorporated the general fuselage structures of its predecessors. In 1940, the F4F entered service with the United States Navy. It also served the British Royal Navy where it was known as the Martlet. It was initially operated in the North Atlantic by the Royal Navy and was the sole efficient fighter aircraft available to the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps in the first part of World War II.
The F4F Wildcat is a single-seat carrier-based fighter with an external length of 8.76 meters, an external height of 3.2 meters, and a fuselage diameter of 1.4 meters. It has a wingspan of 11.58 meters and a wing area of 24 square meters. The tail height is 3.61 meters and the wheelbase is 5.45 meters. It has an empty weight of 2,226 kg, a gross weight of 3,367 kg, a maximum payload of 500 kg, and a fuel tank capacity of 260 US gal. The maximum takeoff weight is 3,975 kg.
The aircraft is powered by a single Pratt and Whitney R-1830-76 engine. It is a fourteen-cylinder two-row supercharged air-cooled radial engine during the 1930s to 1940s. It has two overhead valves per cylinder, a single-speed General Electric centrifugal-type supercharger, a two-barrel Stromberg carburetor fuel system, an air-cooling system, and an epicyclic reduction gear.
The engine produces a maximum thrust of 1,200 hp and drives a three-bladed constant-speed propeller. The Wildcat has a maximum speed of 288 knots and a travel range of 734 nautical miles. It can fly up to 39,500 feet and can climb at a rate of 2,303 feet per minute. The takeoff distance is 195 meters.
The F4f Wildcat could be armed with four 12.7 mm AN/M2 Browning heavy machine guns with 450 rounds per gun and two 45.4 kg of bombs or two 58 US gal of drop tanks.