Grumman Aircraft Engineering Company had been assigned the builder's designation of F in the USN naval aircraft designation convention. In 1933 Grumman, whose designs came to symbolize the USN in World War Two, was awarded its first USN contract for a fighter designated as FF-1 (Fighter Grumman 1). It was a success and another contract followed for a more modern fighter, the F2F (Fighter 2 Grumman) and 54 of that type were ordered. In March 1935 an improved model was constructed and given the designation of F3F and resulted in the largest single order from Grumman up to that time. Three prototypes were built. Two crashed but the surviving third had outstanding performance for the time. The F3F was produced in three series. The F3F-1was based on the original prototype and 54 were ordered by the USN. The next variant came with a more powerful engine and was designated as the F3F-2. It was the finest fighter in the USN at the time and 81 of that variant were ordered. The final variant, the F3F-3 was the rarest with only 27 of the type ordered. The F3F operated with the carriers of the USN all the way up to the start of World War Two. The National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola NAS has an example of the F3F-2. This particular aircraft had been assigned to a USMC squadron and was practicing operations off of the USS Saratoga CV-3 when engine problems forced her to ditch at sea. As can be seen from the photograph of the exhibit poster the aircraft was recovered in extremely fine condition off of San Diego, California and was completely restored by the museum.

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