Before the prototype even flew for the first time, Grumman was contracted to build 500 of them for the US Marine Corps, to be used as close-support aircraft for the massive landing operations then underway in the Pacific. Delivery began in April 1944. The first 34 F7F-1s were similar to the prototypes, then 30 two-seat night-fighter variants (called F7F-2Ns) were produced. Next, 189 single-seat models called F7F-3s were built which featured slightly more powerful R-2800 engines, slightly larger vertical stabilizers, and a 7% increase in fuel capacity.
Much of the original order for Tigercats was cancelled after VJ-Day, and they never saw operational service in WWII. Less than 100 Tigercats were built after the war as night-fighters (F7F-3N and F7F-4N), electronic reconnaissance (F7F-3E) and photo-reconnaissance (F7F-3P) platforms, but higher-performance jet-powered airplanes soon replaced the Tigercat in the US Marine Corps. During the 1960s and 1970s, a few were gradually sold as surplus and converted to fire bombers or aerial photography ships.
Engines: Two 2,100hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W Double Wasp 18-cylinder radial piston engines
Weight: Empty 16,270 lbs., Max Takeoff 25,720 lbs.
Wing Span: 51ft. 6in.
Length: 45ft. 4.5in.
Height: 16ft. 7in.
Maximum Speed at 22,200 ft: 435 mph
Cruising Speed at 5,000 ft: 222 mph
Initial Climb Rate: 4,500 feet per minute
Ceiling: 40,700 ft.
Range: 1,200 miles
Four 20mm (0.79-inch) cannon in wing roots
Four 12.7mm (0.5-inch) machine guns in nose
One torpedo under fuselage
2,000 lbs. of bombs (1,000 lbs. under each wing)