Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Grumman F10F Jaguar was a prototype swing-wing fighter aircraft offered to the US Navy in the early 1950s. Although it never entered service, it pointed the way towards the later, abortive General Dynamics/Grumman F-111B and F-14 Tomcat.
The Navy's interest in the variable geometry wing was based on concerns that the ever-increasing weight of its jet fighters was making aircraft carrier operations troublesome. Many of its existing aircraft already had marginal carrier performance, and the trend in weight growth was obviously upward. At the same time, the demands for high-speed performance demanded swept wing layouts that did not lend themselves to good take-off characteristics. The prospect of combining the two in a single aircraft was enticing.
The resulting Jaguar was a stubby, somewhat plump-looking aircraft whose fuselage was similar to that of the earlier F9F Panther. It had a T-tail, with the horizontal stabilator mounted atop the vertical fin. The single turbojet engine was fed by cheek intakes. The high, shoulder-wounted wing could be moved to two positions: a 13.5° sweep for take-off and landing and a 42.5° sweep for high-speed flight.
The XF10F-1 was not armed, but production aircraft would likely have had four 20mm cannon and pylons for bombs and rockets, like other contemporary USN fighters.
Although the Jaguar's potential was interesting, its configuration presented many of the same handling problems as the earlier Bell X-5 experimental aircraft, with some vicious spin characteristics.
The Jaguar's development was further hampered by its use of the disastrous Westinghouse J40 turbojet, which, as on other aircraft of this period, made the Jaguar dangerously underpowered and prone to various engine-related problems. The J40 developed only 6,800 lb (30.24 kN) thrust rather than the anticipated 11,000 lb (48.91 kN), and its troubles ultimately proved to be insuperable.
Test pilot Corwin "Corky" Meyer, who was the only pilot to fly the Jaguar, described it as entertaining to fly "because there was so much wrong with it." The Navy was not encouraged by the results, and the development of larger carriers with angled flight decks and steam-driven catapults made the swing-wing configuration less necessary.
The prototype XF10F-1 first flew on 19 May 1953. It was used for some 32 test flights throughout the year, but in April 1953 the Navy cancelled the program, and with it the 112 production aircraft that had been ordered. The sole flying aircraft and the uncompleted second prototype were shipped to Naval Air Material Center in Philadelphia for barricade testing, and the static test aircraft was later used as a gunnery target.
- Crew: one pilot
- Length: 55 ft 9.6 in (17.01 m)
- Wingspan: 50 ft 8 in (15.42 m) spread, 36 ft 8 in (11.17 m) swept
- Height: 16 ft 3 in (4.95 m)
- Wing area: 466.94 ft² (43.38 m²) spread, 450 ft² (41.81 m²) swept
- Empty: 20,425 lb (9,267 kg)
- Loaded: lb ( kg)
- Maximum takeoff: 35,450 lb (16,084 kg)
- Powerplant: 1x Westinghouse XJ40-W-8 , 6,800 lb (30.24 kN) thrust
- Maximum speed: 710 mph (1,136 km/h)
- Range: 1,670 miles (2,672 km)
- Service ceiling: ft ( m)
- Rate of climb: ft/min ( m/min)
- Wing loading: lb/ft² ( kg/m²)
Comparable aircraft: Sukhoi Su-17
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