VT-23, Kingsville Naval Air Station, Texas, 1969



Serial Number:



Even before the Panther entered service the Navy and Grumman were examining the possibility of creating a swept-wing version of the aircraft. The appearance of the Soviet MiG-15 over Korea spurred on the process and the prototype made its first flight in September 1951. While the Cougar retained the F9F designation of the earlier Panther it was in reality an almost entirely new design bearing only a superficial resemblance to the Panther. Initially seen as an interim design the Cougar turned out to be very adaptable and several versions and modifications were made over its lifetime. Eventually nearly 2,000 were built and they remained in service until 1974.
The F9F-8 version featured an enlarged wing and more fuel capacity resulting in longer range and better low-speed handling. When tactical nuclear weapons were introduced in the mid-1950s the Navy selected several F9F-8s for conversion to carry the new weapons. These aircraft were equipped with the Low Altitude Bombing System (LABS) and equipment for arming the weapon and were redesignated as F9F-8B. In 1962, when the system of aircraft designations changed this was changed again to AF-9J. Eventually, some of these aircraft found their way into training units and the designation was changed once again to TAF-9J.


  • Wingspan: 34 ft 6 in
  • Length: 42 ft 2 in
  • Height: 12 ft 3 in
  • Weight: 24,763 lbs (loaded)
  • Max. Speed: 647 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 42,000 ft
  • Range: 1,312 miles
  • Engines: 1 Pratt & Whitney J48-P-8A turbojet with 7,250 pounds of thrust
  • Crew: 1