Grumman's short and stubby-winged F4F Wildcat is one of its best-known and successful fighters. The F4F-3 Wildcat had a rather short, rounded fuselage with mid-wings of rectangular shape. The wings did not fold for carrier storage. All the main parts of the airplane were located in the front part of the tubby fuselage, the fuel tank and retractable landing gear were right under the pilot.
This concentration of weight made for a quick handling, maneuverable fighter. Its Pratt & Whitney 1200hp, 14-cylinder, air-cooled, twin row radial engine (R-1830-76 or 86) gave it a top speed of 330 mph. The F4F-3 had a range of 845 miles. The standard armament was four .50 caliber wing mounted machine guns. Service ceiling was 37,500 ft. The F4F-3 offered good durability, pilot armor, and a high dive speed. It also had good maneuverability, although it was soon discovered that it could not compete with the Japanese Zero in this area. A common complaint from pilots was the manual hand-cranked retracting landing gear, which required 30 cranks. One slip could result in a serious wrist injury. Powerplant: P&W 1,200hp R-1830-36 14-cylinder radial engine. Maximum Speed: 318 mph at 19,400 feet. Service ceiling: 39,400 ft. Range: 770 miles. Weight empty: 5,758 lbs. Maximum take-off weight: 8，152 lbs. Span: 38 ft. Length: 28 ft. 9 in. Height: 9 ft. 2.5 in. Armament: Four 0.5 inch Browning machine guns; two 100 lb. bombs.