zionstrat
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2001 3:26 am

F4 Wildcat Vs F4u Corsair

Fri May 31, 2002 10:19 pm

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
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2000 6:00 am

RE: F4 Wildcat Vs F4u Corsair

Fri May 31, 2002 10:41 pm

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.

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/Fnavydesig.html
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: F4 Wildcat Vs F4u Corsair

Fri May 31, 2002 10:44 pm

The way the Navy number system in WWII work was as follows.

The first number was the mission the aircraft would fly.
The second number was which number of design it was from that manufacture.
The third number stood for the manufacturer.

In the case of the Wildcat it was actualy designated the F4F

F for fighter
4 mean it was the fourth Grumman design accepted by the navy
F was the code for Grumman

For comparison: In the case of the Grumman F6F it was also a fighter, it was the sixth grumman design accepted by the Navy. And again it was a Grumman

For the Corsair

F is for fighter
4 It was the fouth design by Vought to be accepted by the Navy
U Is the Navy code for Vought.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: F4 Wildcat Vs F4u Corsair

Fri May 31, 2002 10:45 pm

It looks like Dash 80 beat me to the punch.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
broke
Posts: 1299
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2002 8:04 pm

RE: F4 Wildcat Vs F4u Corsair

Sat Jun 01, 2002 2:50 am

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.
 
zionstrat
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2001 3:26 am

RE: F4 Wildcat Vs F4u Corsair

Sat Jun 01, 2002 3:50 am

Superb! Thanks for the fast answers! Broke, I guess I realized that the F4U and FG were the corsair, but I would never have been able to explain why in a million years- This is great-
 
dash80
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2000 6:00 am

RE: F4 Wildcat Vs F4u Corsair

Sat Jun 01, 2002 3:56 am

Broke,

You're right, I forgot about that.
 
Spacepope
Posts: 3356
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

RE: F4 Wildcat Vs F4u Corsair

Sat Jun 01, 2002 7:22 am

Canadian Car Foundry had the designator "w"

http://rwebs.net/avhistory/acdesig/usnavy.htm tells you everything you ever needed to know about the numbering system. Heck, the title even says "why the AT-6 is really an SNJ". Very useful.

T.J.
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