Grumman Design 118 (not the XF12F!)

overscan (PaulMM)

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27 December 2005
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Designed as a missile armed all weather interceptor to complement the F8U-1. Two prototypes were ordered in 1955 but cancelled in favour of the McDonnell XF4H-1.

Used 2 x 18,000lb J79-GE-207 turbojets, APQ-50 radar. Armament was 3 Sparrow or two Sparrows and 3 Sidewinders flush mounted under the fuselage.

Span: 13.39m
Length: 17.83m
Height: 4.52m
Empty: 11,909kg
Loaded: 16,919kg
Speed: Mach 2.0+

Rene J. Francillon, Grumman Aircraft Since 1929, Naval Institute Press


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Another 3-view modified from Scale-Master fax-file Sheet no.147

Prototype to have a pair of General Electric J79-GE-3 afterburning turbojets with 15 600 lbs thrust each, plus one 5000 lb rocket (!). Production machines two J79-GE-207. Assigned with BuNo´s 143401 and 143402. Folding fins were designed to help stabilize at high Mach nubmers. Seats lowered from cockpit for access and the entire nose was to break away in emergency.


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I've seen drawings of the same airframe with four Eagle missiles under the wings as the high-speed Grumman answer to the RFP that resulted in the Missileer.
elmayerle said:
I've seen drawings of the same airframe with four Eagle missiles under the wings as the high-speed Grumman answer to the RFP that resulted in the Missileer.

This could have been the tomcats of the early 60's... and remind me the "Tomcat ancestor" we talked about the other day in the whatif modeler forum (salvo the VG wing of course)

PS Thorvic made a lovely model of the F-12F (starting from a Su-15!)
------------------------ newly updated with new patents and recognition pages


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Yes, this was a real design, although I don't believe the designation was F-12F. The original F-11F Tiger was a good day fighter, but was not able to achieve supersonic speed in level flight and was at the end of its development potential. "Sageburner" was supposed to fix these problems by mating the F-11 fuselage with the J-79 engine. Since the F-4 Phantom and the F-8 Crusader were already in production and could do everything the upgraded Tiger could and more, the Navy decided not to pursue the project.

Likewise, since no F-11s were exported, ther was no incentive to get production underway. That said, I wonder what might have been if some early F-11s had gone into service and were then upgraded with the J-79 (in a process similar to waht the Israelis did with the Mirage III) and other enhancements.

Perhaps someone wants to hypothesize?



American Secret Projects gives this as the Grumman Design 118 (Pages 125-6). Two prototypes were ordered in 1956, but cancelled before any construction had begun.

ASP also states that the designation XF12F-1 had been assigned at different times to both the Super Tiger and the Model 118, the Super Tiger designation being semi-official.

Some bibliografic references:

Naval Fighters No 44: F11F-1F Supertiger - Grumman's Mach-2 International

American Secret Projects: Fighters & Interceptors 1945-1978. Tony Buttler

pometablava said:
Some bibliografic references:

Naval Fighters No 44: F11F-1F Supertiger - Grumman's Mach-2 International

American Secret Projects: Fighters & Interceptors 1945-1978. Tony Buttler


The F11F-1F (F11 with J79) was built, and even proposed to Japan. USN had no real interest since by then the F-4 was on the way, a much more capable and versatile aircraft.
I wasn't sure where to post this since there are other threads on or that mention the F12F so I started a new one, particularly since it is a significantly different take on the subject.

The F12F designation has been tied to the Grumman Design 118, a large Sparrow-armed fighter powered by two General Electric J79 engines. It was to have a throttleable rocket engine for additional thrust augmentation. Retractable ventral fins were provided for directional stability at high speed. For low drag, two of the Sparrows were semi-submerged in the lower fuselage and a third, or three Sidewinders, housed in a retractable box. The original proposal called for the two-man crew to enter from below. Because an ejection at Mach 2 was likely to cause severe injuries, if survivable at all, the nose section was to separate first, with the crew using ejection seats following deceleration of the nose to an acceptable speed accomplished with a drag chute.

Grumman proposed this airplane to BuAer in December 1955. According to Hal Andrews, however, the Navy wouldn’t entertain a twin-J79 powered Grumman proposal since they already a similar design, the F4H, under contract. BuAer therefore suggested to Grumman that they compete, along with the rest of industry, for a competitor to the F4H powered by a single engine, the Pratt & Whitney’s big J75. Grumman hastily prepared an updated proposal, adding their Model 118A incorporating the J75, which they provided to the Navy in early May. BuAer’s response to the updated proposal was, in part:

The recent receipt of more up-to-date engine data does not alter their relative standings of your design with others already programmed in the fighter field. The Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics has therefore determined that the introduction of another design using the same engines and conforming to the same general operation requirements cannot be justified or undertaken.

This version of events would suggest that the Design 118 was never seriously considered for funding by the Navy and would not have received an official designation.

A more likely candidate for the F12F designation is identified in two handwritten notes, both by the same person (initials IMP?), found by Joe Gordon of the Navy’s Aviation History Branch “in some old NAVAIR records, which were inherited from the Bureau of Aeronautics.”

1. F12F
Grumman Design 98J2
Very similar to F11F-1F & with same engine J79
Longer nose; ventral tail fins; slightly different intake duct design
Shoulder mounting of Sparrow missiles & pylon Sidewinders

Orig intention Bu??.Inst h2000.23 of 19 July 1955 provided for 23; 2 were ordered on NOO(g) 56-250 (PR EN11-282-56) cutos 4 August 55)
Contract cancelled 4 Jan 56
BuNos 143401 & 143402

Per Wm H Plant

2. F12F
In a more recent telecon, Bill Plant told me he didn’t know whether a contract for the F12F had been issued. He had PO No., Contract No, and assigned serials, but was unable to obtain a contract file.

From this I presume that the contract was never let and that the program was cancelled in the 3-9 months period between initiation of PO and issuance of contract. Note – assignment of Contract No. occurs very early in this process.

IMP 3/30/36

Note that the date following the contract number in the first note is the same month the RFP was issued that Vought responded to for the F8U-3. It’s also the same month that the Navy reportedly accepted Grumman’s proposal to re-engine the last two production F11Fs with the J79. The cancellation occurred shortly after the F8U-3 mockup review at Vought in December 1955.

A SAC was issued with the designation F12F. See below. However, SAC designations might not be official. For example, Grumman proposed a derivative of the F11F as the "A2F", which was of course, officially assigned to a subsequent proposal.

The assigned BuNos are much lower than those for the F8U-3s and there is an interesting juxtaposition with other aircraft:

143232/143366 Grumman F11F-1 Tiger Contract cancelled
143367/143387 Grumman F11F-1P Tiger Contract cancelled.
143388/143392 McDonnell YF4H-1 Phantom (No 1 was 142259)
143393/143400 Douglas F5D-1 Skylancer Contract cancelled
143401/143402 Grumman XF12F-1 Contract cancelled

It’s possible that everybody’s right. Grumman certainly did do a design study of a twin-J79, Sparrow armed fighter and it might have been informally referred to as the F12F by Grumman and/or the Navy for a time after the Super Tiger was canceled. However, somebody was trying to fund the next phase of the Super Tiger program and these aircraft were designated F12F (F11F-2 might have made more sense but the Navy was not hidebound on their designation practice). The first two were assigned BuNos 143401/2 long before the Design 118 was in play.


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In "US Naval Air Superiority: Development of Shipborne Jet Fighters 1943-1962", Author Tommy H. Thomason also rejects the notion that the F12F designation was ever associated with the Grumman Model 118. Instead, he also names the Model 98J Super Tiger as the design for which the F12F designation was used. He also mentions the SAC summary ;).
From Ryan Crierie's SACs, cleaned up by me.


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Ever since I saw this in Mr Francillon's book, I always thought it was a pretty design.

But, what would they have chosen for a name?


what is this foto, Grumman Unknown airplane
any information, detail or drawing,


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In "US Naval Air Superiority: Development of Shipborne Jet Fighters 1943-1962", Author Tommy H. Thomason also rejects the notion that the F12F designation was ever associated with the Grumman Model 118. Instead, he also names the Model 98J Super Tiger as the design for which the F12F designation was used. He also mentions the SAC summary ;).
This message was mildly hilarous. Clearly Andreas did not realise who "TailspinTurtle" is :)
I posted interesting site, but owner deleted it. It's very difficult to post.
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You posted a link to google books of Tommy’s book which didn’t actually work - it gave me an error message in Japanese about the page not being available for preview - and a link to a fake model made in the Phillipines. Not useful.
Ummm.........No problem in Japan.
Please delete if this is not proper.

[edit - no need to delete but added source below - Admin]

From Tommy Thomason's book U.S. Naval Air Superiority: Development of Shipborne Jet Fighters - 1943-1962


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Ummm.........No problem in Japan.
Google Books Preview shows different pages to different people and limits the total pages displayed. The fact that your link showed the right page to you is no guarantee I will be able to see that page from the link you post. Post a link to the book, not the page. Also when adding links you don't need use the links button, just paste the link in the page text. It will be unfurled as above if possible.
Ejection seats work best in the low speed, low altitude emergencies that occur when landing or taking-off. These emergencies kill the most pilots.
OTOH supersonic ejections are usually limited to combat. Supersonic ejections require much more complicated, multi-stage parachutes to stabilize and slow the pilot to airspeeds slow enough for him to survive opening shock. Hence all the projected ejectable cockpits. Ejectable cockpits also protect pilots against flail injuries (e.g. broken arms) the same way the canopy does on Mig-23.
And that is also why many modern (since the 1950s) ejection seats deploy stabilizing drogues (small parachutes) before main chutes.
Model 118 Left side view, top view and data from the general arrangement drawing.


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This model is probably a crappy Philippines knock off.
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