The F9F-8P was an unarmed photographic reconnaissance version of the F9F-8 Cougar fighter. Whereas the shape of the nose of the reconnaissance F9F-6P was almost identical to that of the F9F-6 fighter, the F9F-8P had a completely different nose from the F9F-8. The nose of the F9F-8P was substantially larger and longer than that of the F9F-8 and had a distinct downward droop. It had flat sides for the camera ports, and housed forward, vertical, and oblique cameras. The nose also incorporated provisions for the fitting of a fixed inflight refuelling probe. No armament was carried.
The first F9F-8P flew on February 18, 1955. Including the prototype, a total of 110 F9F-8Ps were delivered between August 1955 and July 1957. The F9F-8P was rapidly made obsolete by such supersonic reconnaissance aircraft as the Vought F8U-1P Crusader, and was destined to have a short service life with carrier-based reconnaissance squadrons. The last F9F-8Ps were phased out of active fleet squadron service in February 1960, but some were destined to remain with reserve units until the mid-1960s.
In 1962, the F9F-8P was redesignated RF-9J under the new Defense Department Tri-Service designation scheme.
141668/141727 Grumman F9F-8P Cougar 144377/144426 Grumman F9F-8P Cougar
Engine: One Pratt & Whitney J48-P-8A turbojet rated at 7250 lb.s.t. dry and 8500 lb.s.t. with water injection. Performance: Maximum speed 637 mph at 5000 feet. Cruising speed 508 mph. Initial climb rate 4700 feet per minute. Service ceiling 41,500 feet. 960 miles normal range. 1045 miles maximum range. Internal fuel was 1063 US gallons. With two 150-gallon drop tanks, total fuel load was 1363 US gallons. Dimensions: wingspan 34 feet 6 inches, length 44 feet 9 inches, height 12 feet 3 inches, wing area 337 square feet. Weights: 12,246 pounds empty, 18,421 pounds loaded, 22,697 pounds maximum takeoff. Armament: none