Vought F7U Cutlass

The Vought F7U Cutlass was a United States Navy carrier-based jet fighter and fighter-bomber of the early Cold War era.

It was a tailless aircraft for which aerodynamic data from projects of the German Arado and Messerschmitt companies, obtained at the end of World War II through German scientists who worked on the projects, contributed, though Vought designers denied any link to the German research at the time.

The F7U was the last aircraft designed by Rex Beisel, who was responsible for the first fighter ever designed specifically for the U.S. Navy, the Curtiss TS-1 of 1922.



Three prototypes ordered on 25 June 1946.

First flight, 29 September 1948, all three aircraft were destroyed in crashes.


The initial production version, 14 built.

Powered by two J34-WE-32 engines.


Proposed version, planned to be powered by two Westinghouse J34-WE-42 engines with afterburner, but the order for 88 aircraft was cancelled.


Designation given to one aircraft built as the prototype for the F7U-3, BuNo 128451.

First flight: 20 December 1951.


The definitive production version, 180 built. Powered by two Westinghouse J46-WE-8B turbojets.

The first sixteen aircraft, including the prototype, were powered by interim J35-A-29 non-afterburning engines.


Photo-reconnaissance version, 12 built.

With a 25 in longer nose and equipped with photo flash cartridges none of these aircraft saw operational service, being used only for research and evaluation purposes.


This missile capable version was armed with four AAM-N-2 Sparrow I air-to-air beam-riding missiles.

98 built of which 48 F7U-3 airframes under construction were upgraded to F7U-3M standard.

An order for 202 additional aircraft was cancelled.


Designation given to a cancelled order of 250 aircraft to be used in the ground attack role.





41 ft 3.5 in (12.586 m)


39 ft 8 in (12.1 m)

Span wings folded

22.3 ft (6.80 m)


14 ft 0 in (4.27 m)

Wing area

496 sq ft (46.1 m2)

Empty weight

18,210 lb (8,260 kg)

Gross weight

26,840 lb (12,174 kg)

Max take-off weight

31,643 lb (14,353 kg)


2 × Westinghouse J46-WE-8B after-burning turbojet engines, 4,600 lbf (20 kN) thrust each dry, 6,000 lbf (27 kN) with afterburner


Maximum speed

606 kn (697 mph, 1,122 km/h) at sea level with Military power + afterburner

Cruise speed

490 kn (560 mph, 910 km/h) at 38,700 ft (11,796 m) to 42,700 ft (13,015 m)

Stall speed

112 kn (129 mph, 207 km/h) power off at take-off

93.2 kn (173 km/h) with approach power for landing

Combat range

800 nmi (920 mi, 1,500 km)

Service ceiling

40,600 ft (12,375 m)

Rate of climb

14,420 ft/min (73.3 m/s) with Military power + afterburner

Time to altitude

20,000 ft (6,096 m) in 5.6 minutes

30,000 ft (9,144 m) in 10.2 minutes

Wing loading

50.2 lb/sq ft (245 kg/m2)



Take-off run

In calm conditions 1,595 ft (486 m) with Military power + afterburner



4 20mm M3 cannon above inlet ducts, 180 rpg


4 with a capacity of 5,500 lb (2,500 kg),with provisions to carry combinations of:


4 AAM-N-2 Sparrow I air-to-air missiles.



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