The Vought F-8 Crusader feels like one of those aircraft. First flying in March 1955, the F-8 Crusader was one of the finest carried-based fighter jets to ever emerge from the United States. It earned the nickname “The Last of the Gunfighters” as it was the final American fighter built with guns as its primary weapon.
The Crusader was powered by a Pratt and Whitney J57 turbojet, with an afterburner, and it became the first jet fighter in United States service to reach 1,000 mph, which was an achievement in itself. Its top speed was an impressive 1,227 mph, or Mach 1.8.
It’s amazing in itself that the F-8 was the last fighter built to have a gun as its primary armament. But it shows just how far weapons had evolved since the Second World War. The F-8, though, was one of the most recognizable aircraft of its era, and was effectively a poster boy for the US Navy aircraft fleet for the best part of 20 years. It proved its worth in combat on multiple occasions, and would go down in history as one of the most successful fighters ever built in America.
01:40 Development Of The F-8 Crusader
03:35 The F-8 Crusader In Service
04:51 Retirement From US Navy Service
05:40 The Last Of The Gunfighters
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