Even before the 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. One of the more important of these is the photo reconnaissance version, the F9F-8P. This version incorporated a much larger nose housing several cameras and a fixed position refueling probe. Eventually nearly 2,000 Cougars of all types were built and some remained is service as late as 1974.
Marine Composite Reconnaissance Squadron 2 (VMCJ-2), Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, 1958
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