For more information on Jared Zichek's excellent FJ-5 monograph and to order it, go here.
By Tommy H. Thomason
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Just When I Thought I'd Seen Everything
In 1955, Grumman and North American were at a disadvantage relative to Vought in the competition to furnish the Navy's next day fighter. The F8U Crusader was powered by the new P&W J57. Their candidates, the F11F and the FJ-4, had the less powerful Wright J65. The FJ-4 didn't even have an afterburner. Both proposed a J79 alternative, Grumman the Super Tiger and North American, the "FJ-5" which was similar to its F-107A but smaller. The Navy was interested enough in the Super Tiger to give it a new designation, F12F, and at least begin the production contract process but ultimately only bought two conversions of production Tigers as F11F-1Fs to provide early J79 in-flight experience before the XF4H first flight. North American's consolation prize was development and production of the FJ-4B.