Grumman F9F-5P Panther

Last revised July 17, 2020

The F9F-5P was a specially built unarmed photographic reconnaissance version of the F9F-5. Unlike the F9F-2Ps, which were modified from existing F9F-2 airframes, the F9F-5Ps were built from scratch as unarmed photo-reconnaissance aircraft. 36 were built. The modified nose had the armament replaced by a housing for vertical and oblique cameras. The overall length was 40 feet as compared to 38 feet 10 1/2 inches for the standard F9F-5.

The F9F-5P was deployed with a detachment of VC-61 aboard the USS Princeton during late 1952, supplanting the earlier F9F-2P.

Some F9F-5Ps were modified as F9F-5KD drone directors. In the F9F-5KD, the camera gear was removed and was replaced by radio control equipment. In 1962, the Defense Department introduced the new Tri-Service designation scheme under which the separate USAF/Navy designations were replaced by a new unified designation system. This required that all existing Navy aircraft be redesignated. By this time, the only Panthers remaining in Navy service were the F9F-5KD drone directors, which were redesignated DF-9E. The last DF-9Es were struck off charge in the mid-1960s.

F9F-5P BuNo 126275 is on display at the USN Pensacola Air Museum.

Grumman F9F-5P Panther serials:

125314/125321 	Grumman F9F-5P Panther 
126265/126290 	Grumman F9F-5P Panther 
127471/127472 	Grumman F9F-5P Panther 


  1. United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

  3. Grumman Aircraft Since 1929, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

  4. American Combat Planes, 3rd Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  5. E-mail from Howard Rundberg on F9F-5KD conversions.