The F9F Cougar is the swept wing version of its forerunner, the F9F Panther -- Grumman's first jet fighter plane. As MiG-15s tangled with the slower, less agile Panthers and McDonnell Banshees over Korea, the Navy requested a swept wing F9F design from Grumman. The first Cougars were delivered in November of 1951, a year after the debut of the MiG-15 and never saw combat in Korea. But the Cougar, built as a stop-gap, became a successful design with 1,988 built. The last Cougar, an advanced trainer version, was phased out in 1974.
The Museum's Cougar was built at Grumman's Bethpage, New York factory and delivered to the Navy on January 25, 1955. The plane served with Navy and Marine units in North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas. In 1964, it was loaned to the King County Parks and Recreation Department and put on display at Marymoor Park. The Parks Department transferred the Cougar to The Museum of Flight in 1969. Today, it wears the colors of Navy Fighter Squadron VF-81.
This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola, Florida.