By Tommy H. Thomason

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The General Purpose Fighter

One of the mission specifications during the early years of carrier-based jets was general purpose fighter. This was essentially a fighter being used as an attack aircraft. The McDonnell F3H Demon, originally intended to be a dedicated interceptor as an alternate to the Douglas F4D Skyray, was redirected to be also be an alternate to the Grumman F10F Jaguar with a general purpose fighter capability. This F3H-2N, BuNo 137029, is loaded for display purposes as a general purpose fighter with six small, box-tail, general-purpose bombs on the wings and two 1,000-lb low drag bombs on the belly. The picture was taken in May 1957 at Lambert Field in St. Louis by Aviation Week's Pete Bulban. (The aircraft in the background is McDonnell's XV-1 compound helicopter.)

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