MCARA Aircraft > Grumman F4F-7P Wildcat

In 1941 Grumman began development of a long range photo reconnaissance variant of the F4F-3 Wildcat. This aircraft retained the same engine as the -3 but carried 685 gallons of gas which gave a maximum range of 3700 miles and nearly 11 hours of endurance. All armament was stripped and there were no wing-fold mechanisms. Twenty one of these variants were produced by Grumman and entered service in 1942. The first two were ferried out to the South Pacific for operation with VMO-251 in October 1942. The first of these aircraft was lost at sea on its last leg into Espiritu Santo but the pilot was recovered. The 2nd aircraft was ferried up to Guadalcanal and placed in service there with a VMO-251 detachment. The film processing and photo interpretation was performed by the Navy photo lab aboard the USS Curtiss at anchor at Guadalcanal.

(Write up provided by Col H. Wayne Whitten USMC (ret) from various public sources)