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VTOL | Rank 5 USA
AV-8A Harrier Pack
F8F-1B Bearcat
General characteristics
1 personCrew
5.94 tTake-off weight
7.1 kg/sBurst mass
Flight characteristics
10900 mCeiling
Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34WEngine
airCooling system
Speed of destruction
827 km/hStructural
340 km/hGear
Offensive armament
4 x 20 mm M3 cannonWeapon 1
826 roundsAmmunition
750 shots/minFire rate
Suspended armament
4 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine gun (secondary)Setup 1
2 x Tiny Tim rocketsSetup 2
4 x HVAR rocketsSetup 3
4 x HVAR rockets
1 x 1000 lb AN-M65A1 bomb
Setup 4
1 x 1000 lb AN-M65A1 bombSetup 5
2 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bomb
1 x 1000 lb AN-M65A1 bomb
Setup 6
3 x 1000 lb AN-M65A1 bombSetup 7
63000 Rp icon.pngResearch
240000 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png13620 / 18237/10120 / 13550/3970 / 5315Repair
68000 Sl icon.pngCrew training
240000 Sl icon.pngExperts
1100 Ge icon.pngAces
172 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
340 % Sl icon.png240 % Sl icon.png120 % Sl icon.png
This page is about the American naval fighter F8F-1B. For other versions, see F8F-1 and F8F-1B (France).


GarageImage F8F-1B.jpg

The F8F-1B Bearcat is a rank IV American naval fighter with a battle rating of 6.3 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.33.

The F8F-1B is truly a worthy aircraft to end the single engine fighter line of the USN branch. Nimble, fast, and with great acceleration, it is sight of fear for the foe's eye! Most of its enemies will be jets and they will shiver as the Bearcat faces them with a 2 km altitude and (sometimes with) speed advantage! With WEP running (War Emergency Power, includes ADI(Water-Methanol Injection) for the big and hungry 2,300 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp) and modules maximized, the climb rate is well over 35 m/s. However, its main weakness is the Bearcat's very power source- the hot-running R-2800 Double Wasp.

General info

Flight Performance

Max Speed
(km/h at 4,268 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
671 652 10,900 20.4 20.9 15.4 18.6 220
Max Speed
(km/h at 4,268 m)
Max altitude (meters) Turn time (seconds) Rate of climb
Take-off run (meters)
750 708 10,900 18.4 19.0 38.9 24.8 220


Combat flap Take-off flap Landing flap Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wing-break speed
Gear limit
Combat flap
Max Static G
+ -
830 300 910 ~12 ~6
Optimal velocities
< 540 < 540 < 500 > 250
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
995 m 2,120 hp 2,826 hp
Setting 2
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
5,090 m 1,700 hp 2,244 hp

Survivability and armour

  • 8.5 mm Steel - Under cowling engine armor plate
  • 8.5 mm Steel - Fore cockpit protection plate
  • 9.5 mm Steel - Pilots seat and headrest
  • 60 mm Bulletproof glass - Windshield


Offensive armament

Main article: AN/M3 (20 mm)

The F8F-1B is armed with:

  • 4 x 20 mm AN/M3 cannon, wing-mounted (188 rpg outer + 225 rpg inner each wing = 826 total)

Suspended armament

Main article: Browning M2 (12.7 mm)

The F8F-1B can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • Without load
  • 2 x 297 mm Tiny Tim rockets
  • 4 x 127 mm HVAR rockets
  • 4 x 127 mm HVAR rockets + 1 x 1,000 lb AN-M65A1 bombs (1,000 lb total)
  • 1 x 1,000 lb AN-M65A1 bomb (1,000 lb total)
  • 2 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombs + 1 x 1,000 lb AN-M65A1 bomb (2,000 lb total)
  • 3 x 1,000 lb AN-M65A1 bombs (3,000 lb total)
  • 4 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine guns, suspended (340 rpg = 1,360 total)

Usage in battles

In Arcade battles the F8F-1B can perform at its prime, which is, accordingly, remarkably. Due to the lack of damage due to overheating and such, the F8F-1B can easily outstrip any piston-engine fighter in a climb once upgraded.

Prior to the engine-injection upgrade, the 1B performs very well, but not as sublimely as it does with the latter modification. Thus, climbing and Boom & Zoom match perfectly with the F8F-1B in AB due to its astounding climb rate, speed, acceleration, and weaponry.

Regarding weaponry, fire in very short bursts with the M3 20 mm because they will jam rather quickly. The most ideal belt is Air Targets, as the belt has - together with the stealth belt, but the Air Targets belt has instead of a practice shell an API-T shell - the most HEF-I shells.

A Bearcat dives towards a formation of Kikka fighter-bombers.

In RB, the F8F-1B is a monster. It possesses a fantastic climb rate, roll rate, high-capacity armament, and flight performance. Top speed and level speed are top notch, as is the dive-speed tolerance (~800 kph). Unfortunately, this power comes at a great price. Called the "Ovencat" by some players, the F8F-1B's engine could overheat in less than a minute while utilising WEP.

It is not recommended for any pilot to use WEP until the "Radiator" modification is unlocked. Therefore, always side-climb at the beginning of a match as the 1B needs all the energy it can get, especially when facing opponents such as the Fw 190D which can out-climb a F8F-1B in continuous climb due to the lower thermal restraints of its Junkers engine.

The F8F-1B suffers at altitudes over 6,500 m. Below that utilise Boom & Zoom as the main tactic. Acceleration is magnificent as is dive speed. It will be difficult to rip the wings in a dive. Careful not to push the Bearcat too far, though, as rolling maneuvers and fast-paced moves can easily rip its wings.

The AN/M3 20 mm cannons have an extremely fast fire rate and thus may drain the ammunition storage rather quickly. However, the massive 826 round storage should be plenty for quite a lot of battling in the skies!

The F8F-1B can also be used as an effective fighter-bomber. It can carry a large payload of Tiny Tim's, bombs, and assorted rockets, making it an effective attacker.

Turning is not recommended in RB due to the 1B's mediocre turn rate.

Do not expect to out-climb every fighter in War Thunder. Expect to engage Fw 190D as the F8F-1B climbs. 109G-10, 109G-14, 109K-4, Tempest Mk.II, Spitfire Mk.XIVe, and J2M3 are able to reach the height of the 1B at the same time the 1B is able to.

The F8F-1B will often get matched with jets, however, and this is not a bad thing at all. Most jet pilots tend to overlook the piston-engine Bearcat and remain stuck in with jet-powered teammates - this is a window of opportunity. Gain some altitude and get ready to turn. Deploy flaps at will, since they don't blow off at any speed, and the F8F-1B can easily send a less aware enemy plummeting into the ground with the 20 mm cannons. If with a squad-mate in a jet - preferably something like the F-80 or the F-84, as the matchmaking is not so different - pretty amazing setups can be created, netting a good amounts of victories. One thing to worry about are Ho 229 V3, as their impressive turning capabilities may catch the player off guard.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Not controllable Not controllable Not controllable Separate Not controllable Not controllable


The stock ammo belt for the AN/M3 is great. So don't waste research here. Biggest problem early on is the sluggish behavior and gun jamming. The latter can be resolved with spending crew points in , which by now in Rank 4 should be already at a decent level. If trigger happy, there is bad news: New 20 mm cannons are a tier 4 upgrade. Instead focus on the engine upgrades. Especially Engine Injection gives the plane a great boost of performance and turns it into a true bear. The New 20 mm cannons turn the weapons from a shotgun-like spread to significantly more accurate grouping. It is worthwhile to skip the 20 mm belt upgrade and focus on engine improvements until unlocking the New 20 mm cannons upgrade, as the default belts are nearly as devastating as stealth ammo, but with a tracer round added into the mix.

Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage Repair Radiator DPG-1 Offensive 12 mm
II Compressor Airframe FRC mk.2 New 12 mm MGs
III Wings Repair Engine LFRC mk.12 Offensive 20 mm
IV G-Suit Engine Injection Cover FLBC mk.1 New 20 mm Cannons

Pros and cons


  • Excellent dive speed
  • Excellent maneuverability in moderate to high speeds
  • Fast acceleration
  • High rate of fire
  • High ammo count
  • Can support high G's in sharp turns and has a G-suit upgrade available
  • Combat Flaps can't break, the wings will break faster
  • Double the burst mass of the first F8F-1 Bearcat and in general powerful armament
  • Great roll rate compared to planes such as the BF-109
  • Respectable climb rate up to 5 km
  • Excellent bomb capacity
  • Extremely unbelievably low repair cost compared to the ki84 ko Hayate


  • Engine overheats quickly
  • With the unbreakable combat flaps deployed, wings can rip in a high speed turn
  • AN/M3 cannons jam in barely three seconds unless it's modified
  • Not the fastest plane, so a lots of planes can catch up
  • Ground loops if landing with full brakes
  • Sluggish controls at speeds less than 300 km/h
  • Dumps velocity in high-G turns
  • Rudder compresses to the point of uselessness over 600 km/h


The first idea for the creation of the Grumman F8F Bearcat was pitched after the Battle of Midway. Many pilots who took part in it remarked that one of the most important parts of naval air warfare was an aircraft’s rate of climb. This of course meant that an increase in power was necessary. In 1943 the design work on the new aircraft began. The outline called for a fighter-interceptor, capable of operating even from small escort carriers. While the engine – the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial – was the same model used on the earlier F6F Hellcat, the new fighter would be lighter which also meant an increase in speed and climb rate. The concession was limiting the range of the new aircraft. The F8F would also feature a bubble canopy for better all around visibility. The first prototype, the XF8F-1, first took to the skies on the 21st August 1944. Further tests proved the aircraft's reliability and ruggedness, and the F8F was accepted into mass production. The first serial models rolled off the assembly line in February 1945 and were delivered to VF-19 fighter squadron, which began operating flights with the Bearcats in May 1945.

The new fighter, was, however, too late for any combat in World War II. After the war the situation of this propeller aircraft got even more complicated thanks to the introduction of naval jet aircraft. Even though the F8F was one of the fastest propeller-driven aircraft of its time, it was clear that the jet age was dawning. The F8F was replaced in US Navy and USMC service by the F9F Panther and the F2H Banshee jet aircraft. Some Bearcats saw combat service with the French in French Indochina in 1951, when they were used in the CAS role against the Viet Minh troops. Thailand also received a shipment of Bearcats which were then operated by the Thai Air Force. The F8F found a new life – thanks to its speed and acceleration - it was and still is widely used as a racing aircraft. One of the most famous racing Bearcats is the Rare Bear – a specially modified F8F, which holds many propeller aircraft speed and climb records.


War Thunder Live


Pictures & paintings

See also

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.

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • encyclopedia page on the aircraft;
  • other literature.

Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
Fighters  F3F-2 · Galer's F3F-2 · F4F-3 · F4F-4 · F6F-5 · F6F-5N · F7F-1 · F7F-3 · F8F-1 · F8F-1B · XF5F · XP-50
Jet Fighters  F9F-2 · F9F-5 · F9F-8 · F11F-1
Bombers  TBF-1C
Export  Martlet Mk IV · ▄F6F-5 · ▄F6F-5N · ▄F8F-1B · ▄Avenger Mk II · ▄Hellcat Mk II

USA fighters
P-26 Peashooter  P-26A-33 · P-26A-34 · P-26A-34 M2 · P-26B-35
P-36 Hawk  P-36A · Rasmussen's P-36A · P-36C · P-36G
P-39 Airacobra  P-400 · P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5
P-40  P-40C · P-40E-1 · P-40F-10
P-43 Lancer  P-43A-1
P-47 Thunderbolt  P-47D-22 RE · P-47D-25 · P-47D-28 · P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-47N-15
P-51 Mustang  P-51 · P-51A (Thunder League) · P-51C-10 · P-51D-5 · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · P-51D-30 · P-51H-5-NA
P-63 Kingcobra  P-63A-5 · P-63A-10 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra
Prototypes  XP-55
F2A Buffalo  F2A-1 · Thach's F2A-1 · F2A-3
F3F  F3F-2 · Galer's F3F-2
F4F Wildcat  F4F-3 · F4F-4
F4U Corsair  F4U-1A · F4U-1A (USMC) · F4U-1D · F4U-1C · F4U-4 · F4U-4B · F4U-4B VMF-214
F6F Hellcat  F6F-5 · F6F-5N
F8F Bearcat  F8F-1 · F8F-1B
Other countries  ▃Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ▃A6M2 · ▃Bf 109 F-4 · ▃Fw 190 A-8 · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc