Crusader Fighter Report

First Flight
Muroc Test
Record-Setting Flights
Project Bullet
Mideast Crisis
18 Years in the Fleet
Cuban Crisis
French Crusader
Top Guns
Flight to Atsugi

Southeast Asia Action
Crusader Mig Masters
Supercritical Wing
Today's Muster




The F-8 Crusader began life as the XF8U-1, selected from among eight designs for a Navy supersonic, air-superiority fighter in 1953. The F-8's shark-like appearance suited its performance as the first U.S. airplane to exceed 1,000 mph (in August 1956). The following March, the initial service model, the F8U-1 (F-8A), entered VF-32 and made its first deployment on the USS Saratoga later that year. The F-8 features a two-position variable-incidence wing which ensures good pilot visibility by allowing the fuselage to remain level though the wing assumes a high angle of attack for landing and takeoff. The Crusader was originally armed with four 20mm guns and 32 folding-fin 2.75 rockets, carried internally, plus two externally mounted Sidewinders.

The F-8A was soon followed by the F-8B which featured an improved fire control radar. Another version appeared in 1956, the RF-8A (F8U-1P) with six aerial cameras in its modified fuselage and a photo recon mission

In 1959, the F-8C (F8U-2) entered active service, distinguished from previous models by ventral tail fins and an improved engine which gave it higher performance characteristics. The F-8C added two more Sidewinders to its armament. The next variation, the F-8D (F8U-2N), in addition to better radar, an infrared sensor and increased fuel capacity, featured a new engine giving it near Mach-2 speed with afterburner. The belly-rocket pack was deleted in the F-8D flown by the Marines and the Navy.

Next came the F-8E with two underwing pylons adaptable to a variety of bombs and missiles plus a more powerful radar requiring a new, larger nose. In 1964 the French Navy purchased 42 Crusaders (F-8E(FN), equipped with J-57-P20A engines, to replace their F4U-7 Corsairs.

Production of F-8s ended in early 1965. From 1966 to 1970, earlier versions were modernized with improved radar, fire control systems and beefed-up landing gear, and redesignated as F-8H, F-8J, F-8K, F-8L and RF-8G. A total of 1,261 F-8s were built and 446 were remanufactured giving the Crusader more than two decades of service life to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.


1. F-8H (F8U-2N, F-8D) on USS J.F. Kennedy
2. TF-8A (F8U-1T) Two-seater
3. F-8C (F8U-2, F-8K)
4. F-8E (F8U-2NE, F-8J)
5. F8U-1 (F-8A) on USS Saratoga
6. F-8B (F8U-1E, F-8L)
7. RF-8G (F8U-1P, RF-8A)

All information on this page is from special F-8 CRUSADER FIGHTER REPORT compiled by the Public Relations Department of LTV Aerospace Corporation in 1974.

Other History Pages

THK3 Glider

Gloster Meteor

Tupolev 154B

Last Crusader

Vought A-7D

Lockheed Aircraft

Aeritalia G-91Y

B-1 Strategic Bomb.

Northrop YF-17

F-86 Sabre