Sunday, April 3, 2011

F7U Cutlass

Vought's F7U Cutlass was the company's first jet fighter to be put into service, and when it first appeared, was among the most radical designs in the air, having swept wings and a semi-tailless planform. Planning had actually started before V-J Day, and the prototype Cutlass had flown by 1948, proving capable of speeds well in excess of 600 mph. But the "Gutless Cutlass" was hampered by its anemic engines (not uncommon in that era) and suffered from nose gear failures. Despite having flown well before Korea, the Cutlass would not be ready in time for that conflict, and few deployments were made before the type was withdrawn from service in the late 1950s.

Vought F7U Cutlass model
F7U Model

Vought F7U Cutlass 3-view plans
F7U 3-view, from US patent

Vought V-346B F7U Cutlass alternative design
Vought Model 346B, one of the more conventional designs looked at as an alternative to the more radical configuration eventually chosen for the F7U.

An informative look at F7U-3 cockpits 

F7U-3M kit from Fujimi at Amazon

 Chance Vought F7U-1 Cutlass (Naval Fighters) by Tommy H. Thomason

Cutlass Bibliography:

Photo: Rear quarter view of XF7U-1 prototype.  All Hands  January 1949  p.28

3-view profile: F7U-3  Flight, 2 January 1953  p.7

"Project Cutlass"  Article dealing with the delivery of the first F7U-3s to FASRON-12 at NAS Miramar  Naval Aviation News  June 1954

"Hancock in the Far East - Deploys with First F7U Squadron"  Naval Aviation News  October 1955.  VF-124 conducted the first Cutlass deployment to the Far East in 1955, aboard the USS Hancock.

"New Look for Carriers: Steam Catapults, Mirror Landing Device"  Photo report of F7U-3 tests aboard Hancock and Bennington. Aviation Week October 24, 1955 p.11

"High Flying Sparrows Got to Sea"  Photo article on the deployment of VA-83 F7U-3Ms aboard USS Intrepid, this being one of the first squadrons to be equipped with the Sparrow I air to air missile. All Hands  September 1956.

Artist's depiction of the A2U-1, the projected attack version of the Cutlass. 250 examples were contracted for, but the program was canceled in 1954 before the first aircraft was completed.

F7U-3M walk around photos at Pensacola

Build article on the big Fisher 1/32 scale Cutlass 

Build article on the Fujimi Cutlass kit 

F7U pictures at the NMNA archives, including a close-up shot of a Sparrow I carried underwing
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