Designed and built by Grumman Corporation in in Bethpage, New York. This stubby but rugged little plane
was the main fighter for the U.S. Navy during the hard-fought
first year of the war, and served from the beginning to end of
the Pacific war. During air combat at Coral
and the Solomons,
it fought with distinction, despite claims that it was no
match for the A6M2 Zero,
it held its own. The Wildcat's ability
to absorb damage,
armor plating for pilot protection brought its pilots home.
Also an excellent land based fighter, which
became the main fighter of the USMC, its bent wings are its
feature. It was faster, had better acceleration and could out
climb and dive and of the mid-war Japanese planes. While
it was replaced by the F6F Hellcat in most Navy fighter squadrons
during 1943, the Wildcat continued to be used from jeep carriers
until the war's end.
Built by General Motors (Eastern Aircraft
Division), and this version was known as the FM-1 and FM-2 Wildcat.
A total of 7,860 Wildcats were built.