Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks

Aviation / Aerospace

Grumman F11F / F-11 Tiger

Carrier-Borne, High-Performance Fighter Aircraft [ 1956 ]

Engine unreliability eventually limited the operational service life of the US Navy high-performance carrier-based F11F Tiger fighter.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/14/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The United States Navy maintained its reliance on aircraft designed, developed and produced by the Grumman concern from pre-World War 2 into the modern age. Grumman provided the F4F Wildcat single-seat, piston-engined fighter during the early going of World War 2 and then added the excellent F6F Hellcat to the USN stable before the end. The twin-engined F7F Tigercat and high-speed F8F Bearcat then followed in the post-war years to which the upcoming jet age brought about Grumman's first of the type in the F9F Panther, this evolved into the equally useful F9F Cougar. It was only fitting that further development begat the F11F Tiger which was initially born of the Panther/Cougar line and became a dimensionally smaller and lighter carrier-based day fighter (the Grumman fighter line of course culminated with the Cold War-era swing-wing, two-seat, twin-engined fighter in the F-14 Tomcat).

Consistent across all of the Grumman carrier-borne offerings were folding wings, tail arrestor hooks and reinforced undercarriages - as well as the "cat" name. The F11F Tiger began as a private venture endeavor on the part of Grumman in 1952, building upon the F9F Cougar which was, itself, a swept-wing form of the original F9F Panther fighter. The Panther managed combat service in the Korean War (1950-1953) as a ground attack jet platform so it provided the proven pedigree. The primary goal was to produce the smallest possible airframe around a rather powerful turbojet installation with the intend being a high-speed aerial combat mount principally to counter emerging Soviet fighter threats of the period.

Grumman undertook its new supersonic initiative as the "Model G-98". This mated a tubular, aerodynamically refined fuselage with mid-mounted swept main wing assemblies and swept tail planes (all-moving). A portion of the main wings were also hinged to fold downwards for storage on the space-strapped American carriers. Folding was accomplished manually so no expensive and complicated powered hinged systems were required. There proved a single vertical rudder and two side-mounted intakes aspirating the single turbojet engine within. The powerplant of choice was the Wright J65 turbojet engine (the license-produced British Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire) buried in the center-aft portion of the fuselage. The undercarriage was a tricycle arrangement with two single-wheeled main legs under the fuselage and a twin-wheeled nose leg at front. The cockpit was fitted well-forward in the design with a two-piece canopy and light framing. Despite its origination in the Cougar, the G-98 became an all-new aircraft design after the substantial changes were implemented.

Grumman then presented its new design to the United States Navy which elected to order a pair of prototypes under the "XF9F-8" designation (note the F9F Panther/Cougar connection in the designation). When the upcoming F9F "Cougar" was formally fleshed out, that particular design was handed the XF9F-8 designation and the new Grumman concept became the "XF9F-9". Construction of G-98-based prototypes then proceeded with the first prototype recording its initial flight on July 30th, 1954. As the J65 afterburning engine was not yet ready for prime time, the XF9F-9 went airborne with a more modest, non-afterburning powerplant yet still managed a solid presentation, proving the airframe sound. The new aircraft was then bestowed the formal USN designation of F11F "Tiger" in April of 1955 with initial production models to arrive as "F11F-1". The first USN carrier to receive an F11F was the USS Forrestal though this during the requisite carrier trials. Development of the F11F was, for the most part, fraught with delays and tribulations - a lower-powered turbojet was eventually adopted for production quality aircraft simply to bring the Tiger into operational service rather than extend its expensive development cycle.©MilitaryFactory.com
The F11F airframe showcased a running length of 47 feet with a wingspan of 31 feet, 7.5 inches and overall height of 13 feet, 3 inches. Empty weight was approximately 13,800lbs with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 23,500lbs. The type was powered by the Wright J65-W-18 turbojet engine developing 7,400lbs of thrust (dry) and 10,500lbs of thrust when utilizing afterburner (essentially raw fuel pumped into the exhaust for short bursts of speed). Maximum speed was Mach 1.1, roughly 727 miles per hour with a typical cruising speed of 577 miles per hour. The aircraft could reach a service ceiling of 49,000 feet through a 16,300 feet per minute rate of climb. Operational range was limited to 1,275 miles. Standard armament for the aircraft included 4 x 20mm Mk 12 cannons with 125 projectiles afforded each gun. The airframe was also given four underwing hardpoints for the carrying of high-explosive rockets, fuel drop tanks or the AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missile. As the Tiger was primarily conceived of as a fighter, it lacked any conventional bomb provisions.

The F11F Tiger was formally introduced into USN service in 1956 and formed the standard fighter mount of US Navy groups across seven carriers (including the USS Forrestal). 200 of the type would be built in all and a dedicated camera-armed reconnaissance model - the "F11F-1P" - was ordered in an anticipated 88 examples. The F11F also became the mount of choice for the "Blue Angels" aero-acrobatic performing team, this from 1957 into 1968. Early production F11Fs were noted for their shorter nose assemblies when compared to latter batches. In all, it was expected that the USN would procure approximately 430 F11F Tigers.

Ultimately, seven squadrons were formed on the seven Navy carriers and operations spanned the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Pilots generally enjoyed their Tiger mounts and noted their fair handling qualities while mechanics thought the airframe relatively easy to maintain. However, the Tiger was to live a short operational service life, primarily due to performance issues through their generally unreliable powerplants. Additionally, their afterburning aspect led to unacceptable limited ranges, particularly when carrier groups were expected to operate over vast swathes of open sea. The USN's unhappiness with their new fighters ultimately led to the cancellation of the reconnaissance variant, limiting total production of the fighter types to the several hundred fighter airframes. Despite its rather recent introduction in 1956, the aircraft was quickly retired from frontline service as early as 1961. By this time, the branch has begun utilizing the Vought F-8 Crusader in number and would eventually take on stocks of the excellent McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter. The F11F continued for a short time longer in training roles before being given up for good by 1969.

In 1962, all US aircraft were redesignated under a new naming conventional and this therefore meant that all previous F11F aircraft now became the simpler "F-11" and the original F11F-1 fighter mounts were therefore known as "F-11A".

Grumman intended to shore up the limitations in its F11F series through further development of the airframe around the General Electric J79-GE-3A turbojet engine as the company Model G-98J. However, US Navy interest was minimal and only two of the type - known as the F11F-1F "Super Tiger" - were ever completed.

The F11F/F-11 was never exported.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States

Not in Service.


National flag of the United States United States (retired)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.

46.9 ft
(14.31 m)
31.6 ft
(9.64 m)
13.2 ft
(4.03 m)
Empty Wgt
13,428 lb
(6,091 kg)
22,161 lb
(10,052 kg)
Wgt Diff
+8,733 lb
(+3,961 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Grumman F11F-1 / F-11F Tiger production variant)
Installed: 1 x Wright J65-W-18 afterburning turbojet engine developing 10,500lb of thrust.
Max Speed
750 mph
(1,207 kph | 652 kts)
41,896 ft
(12,770 m | 8 mi)
1,270 mi
(2,044 km | 3,785 nm)
5,130 ft/min
(1,564 m/min)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Grumman F11F-1 / F-11F Tiger production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
4 x 20mm Colt Mk 12 internal automatic cannons.

4 x AIM-9 "Sidewinder" short-range, air-to-air missiles underwing OR jettisonable fuel tanks OR high-explosive aerial rockets.

Supported Types

Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft external fuel tank

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 4

G-98 - Grumman company model designation.
XF9F-8 - Original prototype designation.
XF9F-9 - Revised prototype designation.
YF9F-9 - Developmental Designation.
F11F - Base Series Designation.
F11F-1 - Initial production models for US Navy; Wright J65 turbojet engine.
F11F-1P - Proposed reconnaissance variant with camera equipment; sans armament; cancelled.
F-11A - Redesignated F11F-1 models after 1962 realignment.
F11F-1F "Super Tiger" - Proposed improved Tiger fighter form; two prototype examples completed.

General Assessment
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (750mph).

Graph average of 563 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Grumman F11F-1 / F-11F Tiger operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected above are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (201)
Compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian).

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.

Images Gallery

1 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
3 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
4 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
5 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
6 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
7 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
8 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
9 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
10 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
11 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
12 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
13 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
14 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
15 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing all American military medals and ribbons.

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-