A Grumman F2F-1 fighter of U.S. Navy fighter squadron VF-2, assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2), in flight in the 1930s. (Source: U.S. Navy)
The Grumman F2F was a single-engine, biplane fighter aircraft with retractable undercarriage, serving as the standard fighter for the United States Navy between 1936 and 1940. It was designed for both carrier- and land-based operations.
Grumman's success with the two-seat FF-1, which was significantly faster than even the single-seat fighters of its time, resulted in a contract for the single-seat XF2F-1. Armed with two .30 caliber (7.62 mm) machine guns above the cowl, the new design also incorporated watertight compartments to reduce weight and improve survivability in the event of a water landing. The prototype first flew on 18 October 1933, equipped with the experimental 625 hp (466 kW) XR-1534-44 Twin Wasp Junior radial engine, and reached a top speed of 229 mph (369 km/h) at 8,400 ft (2,560 m) - 22 mph (35 km/h) faster than the FF-1 at the same altitude. Maneuverability also proved superior to the earlier two-seat aircraft.
The Navy ordered 54 F2F-1 fighters on 17 May 1934, with the first aircraft delivered on 1935-01-19. An additional aircraft was ordered to replace one which crashed on 16 March 1935, bringing the total to 55, and the final F2F-1 was delivered on 2 August 1935.
The F2F-1 had a relatively long service life for the time, serving in front-line squadrons from 1935 to late 1939, when squadrons began to receive the F3F-3 as a replacement. By September 1940, the F2F had been completely replaced in fighter squadrons and was relegated to training and utility duties.