Grumman F9F-8B (TAF-9J) Cougar

A picture of the Grumman F9F-8B Cougar

Even before the F9F Panther entered service the Navy and Grumman were examining the possibility of creating a swept-wing version of the aircraft.  The appearance of the Soviet MiG-15 over Korea spurred on the process and the prototype made its first flight in September 1951.  While the Cougar retained the F9F designation of the earlier Panther it was an almost entirely new design bearing only a superficial resemblance to the Panther.  Initially seen as an interim design the Cougar turned out to be very adaptable and several versions and modifications were made over its lifetime.  Eventually nearly 2,000 were built and they remained in service until 1974.

The F9F-8 version featured an enlarged wing and more fuel capacity resulting in longer range and better low-speed handling.  When tactical nuclear weapons were introduced in the mid-1950s the Navy selected several F9F-8s for conversion to carry the new weapons.  These aircraft were equipped with the Low Altitude Bombing System (LABS) and equipment for arming the weapon and were redesignated as F9F-8B.  In 1962, when the system of aircraft designations changed this was changed again to AF-9J.  Eventually, some of these aircraft found their way into training units and the designation was changed once again to TAF-9J.


34 ft 6 in.


41 ft 9 in.


12 ft 3 in.


24,763 lbs (loaded)

Maximum Speed

647 MPH

Service Ceiling

42,000 ft


1,200 miles


Pratt & Whitney J48-P-8A turbojet with 7,250 pounds of thrust




Training Squadron 23 (VT-23), Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, 1969


Serial Number

Service History:

Built by Grumman Aircraft, Bethpage, New York as an F9F-8 and delivered to the U.S. Navy on September 21, 1955.

October 1955              To Fighter Squadron 111 (VF-111), Naval Air Station Alameda, California.

February 1956             To Fighter Squadron 153 (VF-153), Naval Air Station Moffett Field, California.

January 1957               Aircraft redesignated as a F9F-8B.  Unit redesignated as Attack Squadron 153 (VA-153.)

May 1957                    To Attack Squadron 156 (VA-156), Naval Air Station Moffett Field, California.

July 1957                    To Naval Advanced Aviation Training Center, Naval Air Station Chase Field, Texas.

April 1958                   To Corpus Christi, Texas for overhaul.

November 1958          To Naval Advanced Aviation Training Center, Naval Auxiliary Air Station Kingsville, Texas.

February 1962             To Naval Air Reserve, Naval Air Station Los Alamitos, California.

July 1962                    To Litchfield Park, Arizona for storage.

November 1962          Designation changed to AF-9J.

June 1966                    To Training Squadron 23 (VT-23), Naval Auxiliary Air Station Kingsville, Texas.

May 1970                    To Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona for storage.

August 1972                         Loaned to Pima Air & Space Museum by National Museum of Naval Aviation.

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