F4F-3 and F4F-3A Wildcat

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Airman 1st Class
May 2, 2005
Hi guys,
were there some differences between the F4F-3 and 3A Wildcats? Apart for the different engine and supercharger, were there some differences in performances or from the pilot point of view?
Was in some way more powerful the two stage vs the single stage supercharger?

I did further web research:


In November of 1940 the seventh serial model (index XF4F-6), powered by a simplified Pratt-Whitney R-1830-90 engine with a one-stage supercharger, became the prototype for a small batch of F4F-3A aircrafts completed in the spring of 1941. In January 1941 the carriers Wasp and Ranger, both operating in the Atlantic, received 11 of F4F-3s apiece, and by next summer the F4F-3 was being outfitted with the reworked high altitude Pratt-Whitney R-1830-86 engine, which delivered the same 1200 hp at take-off. By December of 1941 the US Navy had procured 187 F4F-3s and 58 F4F-3As under the new official name "Wildcats." The F4F-3A ultimately proved to be a failure – poor altitude capacity unfavorably affected its speed and other flight characteristics so that by the end of 1942 the aircraft was taken out of service.

Anyway I'm not sure if there is a confusion between the first batch of F4F-3 with R-1830-76 engine, and the F4F-3A, vs the standard F4F-3 with R-1830-86 engine.
Any comments?

I got this answer from another board FYI:

John Lundstrom in THE FIRST TEAM says, "In general, performance was a little less sharp than that of the standard F4F-3, and the pilots preferred the -3s when they could get them." But the -3A had a bit longer range (920 miles at 139 knots)(the -3's range was 816 miles at 130 knots).


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