Zionstrat From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 226 posts, RR: 1 Posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5129 times:
I think this is a bit of trivia that I've lost in the aging process, but can someone remind me how the Navy ended up with two entirely different fighters with the same number during WWII? A review of the entire process would not be bad, but I haven't recently found a book or web site that goes into detail. Thanks in advance.
Dash80 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 187 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5070 times:
Prior to 1962 the Navy had a different numbering system than the Army/Air Force. The actual number for the Wildcat was the F4F, and yes, the Corsair was the F4U. The first letter indicated the category of aircraft (fighter, attack, etc.) The last letter was the manufacturer code (F was Grumman's, U was Vought's). The number indicated how many of each category the manufacturer had produced. So the Wildcat was the 4th fighter that Grumman had developed for the Navy and the Corsair was the 4th fighter that Vought had developed
In 1962, the DOD created the unified designation system, requiring all the services to use the same designation for a aircraft systems across the services. For example, the McDonnell Phantom II, designated F4H by the Navy and F-110 by the Air Force, became the F-4.
Joe Baugher's web site has a great explanation, I've provided a link.
Broke From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1322 posts, RR: 3 Reply 4, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5027 times:
Another thing to note about the old naval aircraft designation system. It designated the manufacturer, not the company that designed the airplane.
For example; the Wildcat was designed and built by Grumman, but it was also built by General Motors, the result, F4F by Grumman, FM by General Motors.
The Corsair, F4U - Chance Vought (designer), FG - Goodyear, F3A - Brewster
The Avenger, TBF - Grumman (designer), TBM - General Motors
Catalina, PBY - Consolidated Vultee, PBN - Naval Aircraft Factory, ooops, I forgot the designation given to Cat's built by CCM in Canada, also known as Canso's.
The reason GM built Grumman airplanes was that the Navy wanted Grumman to concentrate on F6F Hellcat production. No one else built the Hellcat.