The Vought F-8 Crusader appeared in 1953 as a US Navy fighter. A special Crusader design feature was the variable incidence wing for low speeds.
The wing could be tilted a couple of degrees as required. The first F8U-1 (later redesignated F-8A) planes were rather clean with a pointy nose and had a retractable rocket container launch system next to the four 20mm Colt canons and 2 Sidewinders. They had first a Vought ejection seat, but these were soon replaced with the Martin baker F5 seat. The F8U-1E (redesignated F-8B in 1962) was an improved F-8A with a better radar.
A special unarmed variant of the F-8 Crusader was used for reconnaissance. It had a new forward fuselage with flat sides with panels for the camera's and also a hump at the area forward of the wing for better aerodynamics through area ruling. The F8U-P1 (later RF-8A) was the first reconn version appearing in service around 1959. Some sources indidate that also the horizontal stabilizer was a bit smaller for lower drag. Also, the nose bullit is a bit smaller and comparable to the F-8C with a camera installed as well. The RF-8G appeared in 1965 and was a modernized RF-8A .
With the availability around 1957 of the stronger P&W engine J57-P-16, more power was available for a next Crusader version. The extra power required additional rear fuselage strakes for stability, extra cooling scoop at the exhaust pipe and also system updates were made. The wing span was also slightly reduced. This F8U-2 (later redesignated F-8C) entered service around 1960. It could also carry 4 Sidewinder missiles on Y-shaped pylons on each fuselage side.
The F8U-2N (redsignated F-8D) as a "night fighter" variant obtained a more powerfull radar in a large nose cone and a infrared scanner on the windshield. It had the J57-P-20 engine.
Later on, the F8U-2NE (later re-designated F-8E) variant was developed and appeared in 1962, with again system updates and with the larger radar nose of the F-8D. It had the J57-P-20A engine and could carry more stores under the wing as well with two underwing pylons. The wing hump was also now seen with system equipment below it for firing Bullpup missiles. The F-8E saw extensive combat over Vietnam.
The French Navy also needed carrier fighters so the F-8E was checked out in 1962. As the French carrier decks of Foch and Clemenceau was small, the Crusader got blown flaps, larger slats and larger stabilizer. They could also carry French missiles like the Matra and Magic. This F-8E(FN) version was delivered 1964 with 42 planes. In 1991 some modernization was done on 17 remaining planes and this version was known as the F-8P. The French Crusaders were replaced in 2000 by the Rafale M.
The US NAVY also wanted to benefit from the good characteristics of the French F-8E(FN) variant, so 136 American F-8E planes were modified to get also blown flaps, the larger stabilizer and the larger slats. This F-8E version was renamed as the F-8J and started entering service in 1968-1969.
In 1977, the Philippines also acquired 35 ex US NAVY F-8H Crusaders. The F-8H had a strengthened airframe and was based on F-8D. The Philippine AF got 25 planes including spares entering service around 1979.
They operated until about 1990.
Twee uitvoeringen mogelijk;
VF-24 "CHECKERTAILS" Commander Aircraft, U.S.Navy, February 1974.
VF-211 USS Hancock, 1973.
aantal onderdelen; 125.
- Lengte 348 mm
- Spanwiijdte 226 mm