By Tommy H. Thomason

Friday, October 31, 2008

General Purpose F8U

Most of the Navy's jet fighters through the 1950s to a greater or lesser degree were general purpose, in that they could also drop bombs and fire rockets. The F8U was an exception for a few years. It was originally equipped with an integral rocket pack, but this may have been primarily intended as an air-to-air weapon. In any event, it was deleted after the F8U-2 (F-8C).

The F8U-2NE (F-8E) was to have a full air-to-ground mission capability including the ability to fire Bullpup A and B, as shown in this iconic display, as well as Shrike and Walleye. These and conventional bombs up to 2,000 lbs were to be carried on a stores pylon added on each wing. A hump was added over the wing to house the Bullpup avionics.

In September 1963, OpNav deleted the requirement for Bullpup, Shrike, and Walleye qualification from the F-8E "because of cost and mission reassignment," but retained the Zuni and 2,000-lb bomb delivery capability. It does not appear that the Bullpup qualification was ever reinstated. The hump was eventually used for defensive ECM avionics.

For more on F8U Crusader armament changes, see

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