MCARA Aircraft > F9F-6P,8P Cougar
Initial production (646 airframes) was the F9F-6, delivered from mid 1952 through July 1954. Armament was four 20 mm M2 cannons in the nose and provision for two 1000 lb (454 kg) bombs or 150 US gallon (570 L) drop tanks under the wings. Most were fitted with a UHF homing antenna under the nose, and some were fitted with probes for inflight refuelling. Later redesignated F-9F in 1962. Sixty were built as F9F-6P reconnaissance aircraft with cameras instead of the nose cannon.
The F9F-8P was an unarmed photographic reconnaissance version of the F9F-8 Cougar fighter. Whereas the shape of the nose of the reconnaissance F9F-6P was almost identical to that of the F9F-6 fighter, the F9F-8P had a completely different nose from the F9F-8. The nose of the F9F-8P was substantially larger and longer than that of the F9F-8 and had a distinct downward droop. It had flat sides for the camera ports, and housed forward, vertical, and oblique cameras. The nose also incorporated provisions for the fitting of a fixed inflight refuelling probe. No armament was carried.
The first F9F-8P flew on February 18, 1955. Including the prototype, a total of 110 F9F-8Ps were delivered between August 1955 and July 1957. The F9F-8P was rapidly made obsolete by such supersonic reconnaissance aircraft as the Vought F8U-1P Crusader, and was destined to have a short service life with carrier-based reconnaissance squadrons. The last F9F-8Ps were phased out of active fleet squadron service in February 1960, but some were destined to remain with reserve units until the mid-1960s.
In 1962, the F9F-8P was redesignated RF-9J under the new Defense Department Tri-Service designation scheme.
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