Grumman/Eastern FM-2 “Wildcat”

Grumman/Eastern FM-2 “Wildcat” at the New England Air Museum


Type:   Fighter
Crew:   1
First Flight:   
Length:   28' 9”
Height:   11' 5”
Wingspan:   38'
Rotor Diameter:   
Empty Weight:   5,500 lbs.
Gross Weight:   7,950 lbs.
Cruise Speed:   165 mph
Maximum Speed:   320 mph
Range:   770 mi.; 1,350 mi. w/ drop tanks
Service Ceiling:   34,700'
Powerplant:   Wright R-1820-56
Armament:   4 X 0.50” macine guns
Year:   1944
Serial No.:   74120
Location:   B-29 Hangar

Gift of the Citizens of Windsor Locks, Connecticut

The Grumman “Wildcat” was an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that began service with both the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy (as the “Martlet”) in 1940. First used in combat by the British in Europe, the Wildcat was the only effective fighter available to the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during the early part of World War II in 1941 and 1942. The FM-2, built under contract by General Motors, was an improvement over the F4F-4 (FM-1). It was quicker, faster climbing, longer ranged and more maneuverable than its predecessor. To control the increased power it also had a taller vertical tail. Lessons learned from the Wildcat were applied to the faster F6F “Hellcat” which could outperform the Zero on its own terms.

In the Atlantic Wildcats worked with Avenger torpedo bombers for anti-submarine work, and in the Pacific they also did ASW duty as well as, air cover and ground support for island invasion forces. This example saw service aboard the escort aircraft carrier USS Mission Bay (CVE-59) in the Atlantic.

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