Century Wings CW601482 USMC Vought F-8E Crusader Fighter - DN7, VMF(AW)-333 "Fighting Shamrocks", Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), 1967 [In-Flight Version] (1:72 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
In September 1952, the United States Navy announced a requirement for a new fighter. It was to have a top speed of Mach 1.2 at 30,000 ft (9,150 m) with a climb rate of 25,000 ft/min (127 m/s), and a landing speed of no more than 100 mph (160 km/h). Korean War experience had demonstrated that 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns were no longer sufficient and as the result the new fighter was to carry a 20 mm (0.8 in) cannon. In response, the Vought team led by John Russell Clark created the V-383. Unusual for a fighter, the aircraft had a high-mounted wing which allowed for short and light landing gear.
The most innovative aspect of the design was the variable-incidence wing which pivoted by 7 out of the fuselage on takeoff and landing. This afforded increased lift due to a greater angle of attack without compromising forward visibility because the fuselage stayed level. Simultaneously, the lift was augmented by leading-edge slats drooping by 25 and inboard flaps extending to 30. The rest of the aircraft took advantage of contemporary aerodynamic innovations with area ruled fuselage, all-moving stabilators, dog-tooth notching at the wing folds for improved yaw stability, and liberal use of titanium in the airframe. Power came from the Pratt & Whitney J57 afterburning turbojet and the armament, as specified by the Navy, consisted of four 20 mm cannon, a retractable tray with 32 unguided Mighty Mouse FFARs, and cheek pylons for two AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. Vought also presented a tactical reconnaissance version of the aircraft called the V-382. The F-8 Crusader would be the last U.S. fighter designed with guns as its primary weapon.
Major competition came from Grumman with their General Electric J79-powered F-11 Tiger, McDonnell with upgraded twin-engine F3H Demon (which would eventually become the F-4 Phantom II), and North American with their F-100 Super Sabre adopted for carrier use and dubbed the Super Fury.
In May 1953, the Vought design was declared a winner and in June Vought received an order for three XF8U-1 prototypes (after adoption of the unified designation system in September 1962, the F8U became the F-8). The first prototype flew on March 25th, 1955, with John Konrad at the controls. The aircraft exceeded the speed of sound during its maiden flight. The development was so trouble-free that the second prototype, along with the first production F8U-1, flew on the same day, September 30th, 1955. On April 4th, 1956, the F8U-1 performed its first catapult launch from USS Forrestal.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a F-8E flown by VF-211 "Checkmates" then embarked upon the Bon Homme Richard during the Vietnam War. Aircraft modeled depicts a plane in the takeoff position with its flaps down. Only 3,000 pieces produced.
Wingspan: 5.75 inches
Length: 9.25 inches
Release Date: August 2008
Historical Account: "Ivy League" - Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 333 (VMFA-333) was a United States Marine Corps fighter squadron consisting of F/A-18 Hornets . Known as the "Fighting Shamrocks" and 'Trip Trey', the squadron participated in action during World War II, the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm The squadron's aircraft were easily recognizable by the row of three shamrocks painted on the vertical stabilizers of their aircraft. They were decommissioned on March 31, 1992.
On February 1st, 1966, the squadron was redesignated as Marine All Weather Fighter Squadron 333 (VMF(AW)-333) when they received new all-weather versions of the F-8 Crusader. The squadrons last name change came on June 20th, 1966, when they became Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 333 (VMFA-333) as they transitioned to the F-4 Phantom II.
In June of 1972, VMFA-333 deployed on board the USS America (CVA-66) and conducted mission over Vietnam. It was during this deployment that the sqaudron got its only air to air kill when Major L.T. Lasseter shot down a MiG-21 over North Vietnam. For the rest of the 1970s, the squadron remained affiliated with Carrier Air Wing 8 and made several deployments aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68).