The F7U Cutlass was a carrier-based fighter and ground-attack aircraft developed and produced by Chance Vought for the US Navy. The F7U performed its first flight on September 29, 1948; it was piloted by Vought’s Chief Test Pilot, J. Robert Baker. The aircraft entered service with the US Navy in July 1951. The F7U never saw action and was retired in March 1959, being replaced by the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.
The Cutlass design featured swept wings with two wing-mounted tail fins and broad chord. The cockpit was located well forward to provide good visibility for the pilot during aircraft carrier approaches. The design was given the company type number of V-346 and then the designation F7U. The first production version was the F7U-1, which was powered by two J34-WE-32 engines. The F7U-3 was reequipped with two Westinghouse J46-WE-8B turbojets. However, the aircraft still lacked engine thrust and had many technical problems, causing accidents. As a result, its carrier landing and takeoff performance was poor. So, the pilots nicknamed it the "gutless cutlass." Vought built a total of 320 units.
Specifications for the F7U Cutlass
Engine: two Westinghouse J46-WE-8B turbojets.
Maximum speed: 680 mph (1,095 km/h).
Range: 660 mi (1,060 km).
Length: 44 ft 3 in (13.49 m).
Wingspan: 38 ft 8 in (11.79 m).
Weapons: four 20mm (0.787 in) M3 cannons above inlet ducts; AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles; 5,500 lb (2,500 kg) of bombs.