The F8U-2N was a limited all-weather interceptor version of the Crusader, the "N" standing for "night". The first example flew on February 16, 1960.
The F8U-2N had an even more powerful J57-P-20 engine, delivering 10,700 lb.s.t. dry and 18,000 lb.s.t. with afterburning. The F8U-2N was originally intended to be a night fighter with improved radar and avionics. Perhaps the most important addition was an approach power compensator (APC), designed to make carrier deck landings safer and easier for new and inexperienced pilots to handle. The APC was basically a means by which the approach speed could be kept constant even in spite of wind gusts. It involved a computer, an accelerometer, a servo amplifier and actuator, and pilot's control panel, all of which interfaced with the existing angle of attack detector. This system was engaged when the wing was in the "up" position, and automatically detected deviations in normal accelerations which would result in a less-than-optimum approach airspeed. During a normal approach, the APC could maintain airspeed within a 4-knot window. Also included in the F8U-2N instrumentation suite was a "push-button" autopilot that relieved the pilot of some automatic functions during defensive sorties. The four-cannon armament was retained, as well as the four-Sidewinder capability. The F8U-2N finally did away with the speedbrake-mounted rocket pack in order to provide space for increased fuel capacity, raising the total internal fuel to 1348 gallons.
The first F8U-2N flew on February 16, 1960. A total of 152 were built between June 1960 to January 1962. VF-111 was the first squadron to fly this variant, receiving their first F8U-2Ns in 1961. VF-154 received F8U-2Ns in 1962. The F8U-2N also served with VF-32 and VF-31, and with the Marine Corps squadrons VMF(AW)-334 and -451. Although it equipped several fleet squadrons and saw heavy action in Vietnam with VF-111 and VF-154, it was quickly superseded by the F-8E model.
In September of 1962, the F8U-2N was redesignated F-8D in accordance with the Tri-Service designation scheme.
147035/147077 Vought F8U-2N Crusader - redesignated F-8D in 1962. 147896/147925 Vought F8U-2N Crusader - redesignated F-8D in 1962. 148627/148710 Vought F8U-2N Crusader - redesignated F-8D in 1962.
Engine: One Pratt & Whitney J57-P-20 turbojet, 10,700 lb.s.t. dry, 18,000 lb.s.t with afterburning. Performance: Maximum speed: 1228 mph (Mach 1.86) at 35,000 feet, 764 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 570 mph. Stalling speed 162 mph. Service ceiling 42,900 feet. Combat celling 53,400 feet. Combat radius 453 miles with four Sidewinders, combat range 1737 miles (guns only). Internal fuel capacity 1348 US gallons. Dimensions: wingspan 35 feet 8 inches, length 54 feet 3 inches, height 15 feet 9 inches, wing area 375 square feet. Weights: 17,541 pounds empty, 25,098 pounds combat, 28,765 pounds gross, 29,000 pounds maximum takeoff. Armed with four 20-mm cannon in the fuselage. Four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles could be carried on rails attached to the side of the fuselage.