The United States Navy showed clear interest in expanding the capabilities of the Crusader series of aircraft as quickly as possible to expand its role in maritime operations and offer primitive close-air support capabilities. This led to the development of the F8U-2NE (later renamed the F-8E), which featured a larger nose cone, new AN/APQ-94 fire control radar, detachable pylons, a more reliable J57-P-20 engine, and guidance equipment for the AGM-12 Bullpup missiles. The first prototype, a modified F8U-1 (No. 143710), was flown on June 30, 1961, and the aircraft was quickly approved for use by the Navy. During the Vietnam War, the Marine Corps made extensive use of the F-8E, with squadrons like VMFA-235 considered to be among the best at using the aircraft in combat.
The F-8E Crusader was introduced in Update "Direct Hit" as the second Crusader variant in the American tech tree. Compared to the preceding F8U-2, it has largely the same flight performance but improved ordnance options. The infrared-guided AIM-9D Sidewinder returns as a good option for dogfights and sneak attacks, but it can now utilize the radar-guided AIM-9C, which may be useful during head-on engagements. The ground attack options are vastly superior because of the addition of wing pylons. While the F8U-2 was limited to cheek-mounted Zuni rockets and its internal FFAR rocket tray, the F-8E can carry a decent bombload and AGM-12 Bullpup air-to-ground missiles, making it more capable as a multirole fighter. The F-8E can really be considered "The Last Gunfighter" in War Thunder because the succeeding F-4J Phantom is a very different aircraft to cap off the US naval jet line: a heavy twin-engine fighter lacking an internal gun and relying on powerful long-range missiles.
The F-8E, as a development of the previous F8U-2, will feel very similar to the pilot in command. The Crusader is a highly agile aircraft, capable of dogfighting most enemy aircraft at its rank, blending initial pull with surprising energy retention. This allows the F-8E to pull inside enemy aircraft without bleeding massive amounts of speed like the delta wing aircraft at this rank are prone to doing. The wings have been strengthened to allow for this, so pilots should feel free to perform harsher manoeuvres than while flying the previous F8U-2, albeit the F-8E will still rip in some extreme turns. The engine has been upgraded as well, the extra 560 kgf making up for the slight additional weight of the wings and increasing the climb rate and speed of the aircraft. The F-8E is particularly strong at lower speeds, where the extra engine thrust allows it to sustain turns and accelerate quicker, and it also inherits the unique landing flaps of the Crusader: the wing detaching from the fuselage and angling upwards. This gives large amounts of extra lift, giving the F-8E a sharp advantage at very low speeds, although the plane will "wallow" in the air from the extra lift, and has a difficult time dropping the nose in this flap configuration.
That manoeuvrability and energy retention comes at a cost though, and that is speed. The F-8E is slow for its rank, and struggles to break past mach 1 at sea level. With missiles loaded, it will top out at exactly mach 1, and with any other ordnance loaded it is unable at sea level. At higher altitudes the F-8E is able of exceeding the speed of sound, though not by much and once past mach 1 the acceleration drops dramatically. The plane also compresses around mach .98, so pilots should be wary when diving on targets, as the aircraft may compress and be unable to pull as hard as the pilot may be accustomed to. The rudder on this aircraft is also something to be aware of. The rudder on this aircraft does not work like those on other aircraft, meaning that during a roll or pulling with mouse aim can cause the nose to swing wildly. This is especially a problem at sea level at high speeds, where the rudder will shake the nose around to a great extent. Also, the rudder during rolls throws the nose around unlike other aircraft, meaning it can be hard to get close shots with the gun but can be used for high speed snapshots.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 10,668 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear||Drogue chute|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 1,000||< 590||< 500||N/A|
|Engine name||Number||Wing loading (full fuel)|
|Pratt & Whitney J57-P-20||1||8,953 kg||376 kg/m2|
|Engine characteristics||Mass with fuel (no weapons load)|| Max Takeoff|
|Weight (each)||Type||15m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||45m fuel||52m fuel|
|1,592 kg||Afterburning axial-flow turbojet||10,200 kg||10,550 kg||11,348 kg||12,545 kg||13,109 kg||15,468 kg|
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (WEP)|
|Condition||100%||WEP||15m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||45m fuel||52m fuel||MTOW|
|Stationary||4,562 kgf||8,520 kgf||0.84||0.81||0.75||0.68||0.65||0.55|
|Optimal|| 4,804 kgf
| 9,543 kgf
Survivability and armour
Like the earlier F8U-2 (F-8C), the only armour on the F-8E is 25 mm of bulletproof glass on the front windscreen. Most of the central fuselage and wing is filled with large fuel tanks which makes gunfire from above or behind likely to cause fuel leaks and fires. Near enough the entire rear fuselage is taken up by the engine, making engine damage likely from rear attacks. Despite these drawbacks, the F-8E is still more durable than some jets and can often make it back to base with light to moderate damage.
Modifications and economy
As with most high tier jets, the first modification you want to pick up will be the flares/chaff in order to let you effectively counter enemy missiles. From there you want to progress though the missile upgrades as fast as possible, taking your pick of flight performance upgrades in order to unlock each tier (you could also use the ordnance upgrades to unlock each modification tier, but as the F-8E is primarily a fighter flight performance is usually the best pick). Once you have all missiles unlocked your focus will probably be on the remaining flight performance upgrades, although the cannons upgrades are certainly useful if you enjoy gun fighting.
The F-8E is armed with:
- A choice between two presets:
- 4 x 20 mm Browning-Colt Mk12 Mod 3 cannons, nose-mounted (144 rpg = 576 total)
- 4 x 20 mm Browning-Colt Mk12 Mod 3 cannons + 60 x countermeasures
The offensive armament of the F-8E consists of 4 x 20 mm Browning-Colt Mk12 Mod 3 autocannons, grouped into 2 selectable groups. The guns replaced the 20 mm M3 commonly used from the end of WW2 until the Korean war, and has a quick fire rate of 1,000 rpm, outputting 7.30 kg of shells per second towards the enemy. With 144 rounds per gun, this gives pilots of the F-8E 8.64 seconds of trigger time. If ammo capacity is a concern, pilots can select one group of 20 mm to fire at a time, doubling their trigger time. The guns do reliable damage and have a good velocity of 1,012 m/s, only slightly less than the 20 mm M61 found on later jets. This makes getting reliable gun kills easy for pilots.
The F-8E can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
|250 lb LDGP Mk 81 bombs||3, 6||3, 6|
|250 lb Mk 81 Snakeye bombs||3, 6||3, 6|
|500 lb LDGP Mk 82 bombs||3, 4||3, 4|
|500 lb Mk 82 Snakeye bombs||3, 4||3, 4|
|1,000 lb LDGP Mk 83 bombs||1, 2||1, 2|
|2,000 lb LDGP Mk 84 bombs||1||1|
|2,000 lb LDGP Mk 84 Air bombs||1||1|
|Mk 77 mod 4 incendiary bombs||1||1|
|FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets||7, 19, 38||7, 19, 38|
|Zuni Mk32 Mod 0 ATAP rockets||4, 8||2*, 4||2*, 4||4, 8|
|AGM-12B Bullpup missiles||1||1|
|AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles||1*, 2||1*, 2|
|AIM-9C Sidewinder missiles||1*, 2||1*, 2|
|AIM-9D Sidewinder missiles||1*, 2||1*, 2|
|* Single missiles can be carried concurrently with dual Zuni rockets on the same hardpoint|
|Default weapon presets|
The F-8E has a much more extensive selection of multirole weaponry when compared to the preceding F8U-2, although it is still intended for use mainly as an air supremacy aircraft.
Beginning with the unguided rockets, it gets access to both FFAR Mighty Mouse and Zuni Mk32 rockets. The Mighty Mouse is a small rocket, weighing only 8 kg and with only 290 mm penetration, but it makes up for this in quantity. The F-8E can carry 4 x pods of 19 rockets each, 2 mounted under each wing pylon, for a total of 76 rockets. As for the Zuni rockets, these are much larger at 56 kg and have 457 mm penetration, much more suited for taking out heavier targets. The placement is rather unique however. 4 can be mounted stock, 2 on each side of the fuselage behind the cockpit; however this is not recommended as it takes up the missile rails and greatly limits the anti-air capability of the plane. Once the modification is researched, it gains access to 16 more, mounted in 2 pods of 4 each under the wing pylons.
The F-8E also gains access to unguided bombs: 250 lb, 500 lb, 1,000 lb, 2,000 lb and of course the Mk 77 incendiary bomb. These are all mounted on the wing pylons, and pilots are recommended to use 500 lb or greater bombs if attacking enemy armour. The incendiary bombs work well against open topped vehicles, so these should be used if attacking large groups of open topped vehicles. They can also be used to shield allies from sight or deny a crucial area from open-topped vehicles while the napalm continues to burn.
The last anti-surface weapon is the AGM-12B Bullpup. This is the only guided air-to-ground munition the F-8E can carry, albeit it is manually guided, unlike later weapons like the later Maverick missiles. These will take some practice for pilots to get accustomed to aiming, but with 8 km range these are the recommended option for use in ground battles against the long range AA common at this rank. Pilots are recommended to turn off "Relative Control' in the controls for the weapon, as with this setting on the missile will continue pulling in the same direction as the last input until another correction is given.
Now for anti-aircraft missiles, the original purpose of the F-8E. It gains access to three types: the AIM-9B, AIM-9C, and AIM-9D missiles.
The AIM-9B is the most basic missile that planes of this rank get. It is an IR missile with a caged seekerhead, limited range, and only 10Gs of pull. This is one of the two missiles pilots will get with an un-upgraded aircraft. It does not pull very well and is recommended for use against slow or unaware targets, although it can also be used to force enemy pilots to go evasive to allow the F-8E time to close to gun range.
The AIM-9C is a basic AIM-7 Sparrow, any amount of chaff from the enemy will immediately decoy it. It is recommended to use this missile against planes without countermeasures or enemy pilots which choose to not equip chaff, as it is more difficult to kinematically dodge the missile without the use of chaff.missile, and the other stock option for the F-8E: it has very similar flight performance to the AIM-9D IR missile also found on this aircraft, with good range, 18Gs of pull, however it does have an uncaged seekerhead and since it is a radar missile, is all-aspect. This missile works well, only limited by the radar set which is rather prone to ground clutter. Pilots are recommended to only use the missile at high altitude, or while below the enemy aircraft. Also, pilots should be aware that this missile uses "pulse" guidance; this means that unlike more advanced radar missiles like the
The final missile the F-8E gains access to is the AIM-9D. As an IR version of the AIM-9C, this missile features a caged seekerhead like the previously available AIM-9B, so pilots may find it slightly difficult to fire the missile at a manoeuvring target, but once off the rails the missile performs admirably and is one of the better IR missiles at its rank. It is recommended to run 2 of the AIM-9D along with 2 of the AIM-9C if the pilot wishes to engage both with radar and IR missiles, or just the AIM-9D if the pilot prefers no warning to enemy pilots.
Usage in battles
The way you start a battle in the F-8E will depend on what you think the likely composition of the enemy team is. A good place to start would be to climb to a high altitude (roughly 5,000 m) if you believe that the enemy team will only have jets equipped with pulse-signal missiles based on the battle rating of the match and the nations you are up against. Once at altitude, you can use your AIM-9C missiles to engage any other high altitude enemies you find head-on. As the AIM-9C is a rare weapon (only used on the F-8E), most people are not aware of its capabilities and are not expecting to receive a front-aspect missile. This allows you to pick up a couple of easy kills from safely outside the range of enemy cannon fire. If there are no more enemy aircraft to engage at high altitude, you can use your speed and altitude to dive down upon lower altitude enemy aircraft for gun/missile attacks. After completing your attack, you can either use your energy to go back to high altitude and prepare for another attack or use the F-8E's great manoeuvrability to stay at lower altitudes to engage in dogfights with enemy aircraft.
If you judge the enemy team to likely have jets equipped with CW signal missiles, then going to high altitude is very risky; in this case it is better to fly at a lower altitude, probably no more than 2,000 m. This gives you a little bit of altitude to play with and puts you in a position where you can potentially use your AIM-9C missiles against targets above you, while being somewhat protected against enemy CW missiles (aircraft with pulse-Doppler radars will still be able to hit you though, so stay vigilant and be prepared to dive or notch). At low altitude you can use the F-8Es great manoeuvrability and powerful armament to win out against many enemies in a dogfight, though you must always keep an eye out for enemy missiles.
The flight performance of the F-8E is similar enough to the preceding F8U-2 that similar tactics should apply in a dogfight. The F-8E's instantaneous turn isn't the best, but it has great energy retention and sustained turn rate. Avoid scissors or any turn radius fight as the F-8E's energy retention ability in this case will put the plane at a disadvantage because in a scissors, you will bleed less speed than the enemy and will end up in front of their guns. The plane's low-speed maneouvrability also isn't a strong point, so avoid using the air brakes to bleed speed. Rate fighting makes the most of the F-8E's ability as in these extended, longer-lasting dogfights, the F-8E's superior energy retention will see that it has kept more speed than an enemy aircraft. In this case, even if the enemy has a better initial turn rate, they will lose significantly more speed until they won't be able to keep up in a sustained turn. The F-8E will start gaining on them, and they will either be forced to pitch down to gain speed and try to gain on you, or they will run away. In these cases, you can simply pitch down too and stay on their tail. Eventually, the dogfight will move to a very low altitude, where there is no longer anywhere for the enemy to pitch down, and you will outrate them and get guns on them. If you haven't noticed yet, a rate dogfight like this will last a while depending on your position, so it is recommended not to engage in one when there are other enemies in the area.
Pros and cons
- Can carry four useful air-to-air missiles
- AIM-9C air-to-air missiles are radar guided and can be launched in head-ons to surprise opponents
- AIM-9D air-to-air missiles have above average range (around 3 km)
- Equipped with a RWR (AN/APR-27)
- Provides E, G, I band identification
- Has a maximum range of 50 km
- Landing flaps activate its variable-incidence wings, which provides a lot of lift
- Very good sustained turn rate
- Good acceleration and climb rate
- Has an Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensor which assists in locating targets by finding their heat signatures
- Has a variety of suspended air-to-ground ordnance
- Fragile wings which can easily rip at high speeds and in high-G turns
- Very likely to set on fire because of the fuel tank placement
- Below average low level top speed compared to other supersonic competitors; can barely break Mach 1 at low altitude
- Lacks a ballistic computer, which greatly limits its ground attack potential
Describe the history of the creation and combat usage of the aircraft in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too long, take it to a separate article, taking a link to the article about the vehicle and adding a block "/History" (example: https://wiki.warthunder.com/(Vehicle-name)/History) and add a link to it here using the
main template. Be sure to reference text and sources by using
<ref></ref>, as well as adding them at the end of the article with
<references />. This section may also include the vehicle's dev blog entry (if applicable) and the in-game encyclopedia description (under
=== In-game description ===, also if applicable).
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the aircraft;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|Chance Vought Aircraft|
|Corsair||F4U-1A · F4U-1A (USMC) · F4U-1C · F4U-1D · F4U-4 · F4U-4B · F4U-4B VMF-214|
|Float planes||OS2U-1 · OS2U-3|
|Bombers||SB2U-2 · SB2U-3|
|Corsair II||A-7D · A-7E · A-7K|
|Crusader||F8U-2 · F-8E|
|Export||V-156-B1 · V-156-F · ▄Corsair F Mk II · F4U-7 · ▄F-8E(FN)|
|USA jet aircraft|
|F-4||F-4C Phantom II · F-4E Phantom II · F-4J Phantom II · F-4S Phantom II|
|F-5||F-5A · F-5C · F-5E|
|F-8||F8U-2 · F-8E|
|F-80||F-80A-5 · F-80C-10|
|F-84||F-84B-26 · F-84F · F-84G-21-RE|
|F-86||F-86A-5 · F-86F-25 · F-86F-2 · F-86F-35|
|F-89||F-89B · F-89D|
|F-104||F-104A · F-104C|
|F-14||F-14A Early · F-14B|
|F-16||F-16A · F-16A ADF · F-16C|
|F9F||F9F-2 · F9F-5 · F9F-8|
|FJ-4||FJ-4B · FJ-4B VMF-232|
|Other||P-59A · F2H-2 · F3D-1 · F3H-2 · F4D-1 · F11F-1 · F-100D|
|A-4||A-4B · A-4E Early|
|A-7||A-7D · A-7E · A-7K|
|AV-8||AV-8A · AV-8C|
|A-10||A-10A · A-10A Late|
|B-57||B-57A · B-57B|