F6F Hellcat - "Big Cat"

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The Grumman F6F Hellcat was the US Navy's answer to the superb Japanese A6M Zero during WWII.  Powered by a Pratt & Whitney, 2000 HP radial engine and armed with 6 .50 cal machine guns, the Hellcat was all muscle. The airplane could also take some punishment in battle having a bullet-resistant windshield and a total of 212 lb of cockpit armor as well as armor around the oil tank and oil cooler. The Hellcat was designed to take damage and get the pilot safely back to base and there are legendary tales of Hellcats with heavy damage making it back to their carriers.


The F6F quickly proved dominant in the Pacific over its Japanese opponents. Racking up an impressive 19:1 kill ratio, the Hellcat became known as "The Ace Maker". A total of 5,223 enemy aircraft destroyed were credited to Hellcats This was the most of any Allied naval aircraft. Hellcats continued in service after the war as the radar-equipped F6F-5N night fighter until 1954.


This print depicts the Navy's all time leading ace, David McCampbell. "Minsi III" was an F6F-5 Hellcat David McCampbell flew in which he scored the last 23-1/2 of his 34 victories.