Design, Development & Operational HistoryEdit
The F4F-4 increased the number of 12.7 mm machine guns to six and was built with manually folding wings. Wingspan was decreased from 11.5 to 4.36 meters when the wings were folded, allowing 50% more aircraft to be held on an aircraft carrier. The plane’s ruggedness was also much improved. To protect the pilot, bulletproof glass was installed and the area under the pilot’s seat was armored. Other armored areas were improved, fuel tank protection was increased, and the oil radiators under the wings were better protected, as well. The engine was replaced. The F4F-3 model had a two-stage supercharger, but those engines were in high demand for the production of B-17 bombers, so engines with single-stage superchargers were used instead for the F4F-4.
The F4F-4 entered service in 1942, but the pilots were disappointed with the new model. It had greater survivability when compared with the F4F-3 but had significantly lower performance characteristics. Also, its gun ammunition was reduced and could be depleted in less than 20 seconds, which also evoked a negative response from pilots.
All in all, 1169 F4F-4's were constructed.
The F4F-4 is quite a potent fighter, with decent turn time and climb rate. It does however lack a decent frontal armament, with only 6 12.7 machine guns.