GRUMMAN F9F-8B COUGAR DETAIL
The Grumman F9F-8B (F-9) Cougar was the final single-seat version of the F9F-6 line of carrier fighters that flew as the straight wing Panther in 1947. F9F-8 was first flown (as a modified F9F-6) on December 18, 1953. The F9F-8B was used extensively during the Korean Conflict. It was the first Navy jet to shoot down an opposing jet aircraft. The first MIG-15 was shot down by an F9F-8B flown by LCDR W.T. Amen, the Commanding Officer of VF-111.
The 711 built F9F-8s included 110 camera-equipped F9F-8Ps. The F9F-8B was an attack modification of the F9F-8 with the Low Altitude Bombing System and ASM armament provision. The Cougar was the first swept-wing aircraft used by the “Blue Angels” demo team (1955-1958). After a re-designation as AF-9Js in 1962, many became TAF-9Js for training. Finally, a two-seat trainer based on the F9F-8; designated F9F-8T (G-105), yielded 399 more production aircraft. The Cougar continued in the reserve, training and target drone roles into the early 1970s.
The F9F-8B Cougar at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum (PRNAM) was graciously donated and transported by the city of Richmond, Virginia. It had been displayed at the Richmond Visitor’s Center for many years and had fallen into disrepair. Thanks to a team from the United States Test Pilot School, the aircraft has been refurbished and placed at the PRNAM for all to see. Although this particular F9F-8B Cougar was never assigned to an activity at Patuxent River, it is representative of the many Panthers and Cougars that were flown and tested at the Patuxent River, Naval Air test Center in the early days of the Navy’s transition to jet aircraft operating from aircraft carriers.