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XF5F Skyrocket
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Grumman
First flight 1940-04-01
Status Cancelled
Variants Grumman XP-50

The Grumman XF5F Skyrocket was a prototype of a twin-engine shipboard fighter interceptor to which Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation applied the model number G-34. The U.S. Navy ordered one prototype airplane on 30 June 1938 with the designation XF5F-1. The aircraft possessed a unique appearance in that the forward part of the fuselage did not extend forward of the wing. Provisions were included in the prototype for two 23 mm (.91 in) Madsen cannons.



The aircraft flew for the first time on 1 April 1940. Engine cooling problems arose in the initial flights, resulting in modification to the oil cooling ducts. Further modifications were made to the prototype including reduction in the height of the cockpit canopy, revising the armament installation to four 0.5 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in place of the cannon, redesign of the engine nacelles, adding spinners to the propellers, and extending the fuselage forward of the wing. These changes were completed on 15 July 1941. Additional changes were needed after further flight tests that were not completed until 15 January 1942. In the meantime, Grumman began work on a more advanced twin-engine shipboard fighter, the XF7F-1, and further testing with the XF5F-1 supported the development of the newer design. The prototype continued to be used in various tests, although plagued by various landing gear problems, until it was struck from the list of active aircraft after it made a belly landing on 11 December 1944.

Specifications (XF5F Skyrocket)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 28 ft 9 in (8.76 m)
  • Wingspan: 42 ft (12.80 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 4 in (3.45 m)
  • Wing area: 303.5 ft² (28.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 8,107 lb (3,677 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 10,138 lb (4,600 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 10,892 lb ()
  • Powerplant:Wright XR-1820-40/42 Cyclone nine cylinder radial air-cooled engine, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each



  • 4 × 0.5 in (12.7 mm) machine guns
  • 2 × 165 lb (75 kg) bombs

Skyrocket in fiction

The XF5F Skyrocket is best known for its appearances in the Blackhawk comic books. The Skyrocket was introduced in the first issue of Military Comics, published in 1941. Skyrockets continued to be flown by the Blackhawk Squadron through the entirety of World War II and afterward. It was finally replaced with a jet fighter in 1949. However, in nearly all Blackhawk stories set during and immediately after World War II, even those published as late as 1990, the Skyrocket is the primary aircraft used by the Blackhawks. Over that nearly fifty year time span, the Blackhawks' Skyrockets sported several different color schemes and many different versions of the Blackhawk insignia. It was even modified with different engines and tail configurations by certain artists.

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft





  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War, Volume Four: Fighters. London: Macdonald & Co.(Publishers), 1961. ISBN 0-356-01448-7.
  • Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. WW2 Aircraft Fact Files: US Navy and Marine Corps Fighters. London, UK: Macdonald and Jane's, 1976. ISBN 0-356-08222-9.
  • Lucabaugh, David and Martin, Bob. Grumman XF5F-1 & XP-50 Skyrocket, Naval fighters number thirty-one. Simi Valley, CA: Ginter Books, 1995. ISBN 0-942612-31-0.
  • Morgan, Eric B. "Grumman F7F Tigercat F.7/30". Twentyfirst Profile, Volume 1, No. 11. New Milton, Hants, UK: 21st Profile Ltd. ISBN 0-961-82100-4.
  • Morgan, Eric B. "The Grumman Twins". Twentyfirst Profile, Volume 2, No. 15. New Milton, Hants, UK: 21st Profile Ltd. ISBN 0-961-82101-1.

External links


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