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บข.     BKh-15      Grumman F8F- Bearcat
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History

The RTAF (Royal Thai Air Force) purchased 129 F8F Bearcats in 1951. A second batch of 75 planes (including 38 bought third-hand from France) was purchased later, for a total of 204 Bearcats. Thailand designated the plane “Type 15 Fighter”.

The first batch of 40 planes was delivered as deck cargo aboard the WWII-veteran carrier USS Cape Esperance (CVE-88) and became operational late in 1951. It was instantly popular with Thai pilots. The Bearcat was roled both as an air defense interceptor and as a ground attack plane. Thai units flying the Bearcat were initially assisted by a US Air Force Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG). Besides replacing Japanese-made WWII-era fighters, the Bearcat squadrons were realigned along USAF lines.

Officially, the Bearcat was withdrawn from frontline Thai service between 1960-1962. Some were still flying as squadron “hacks” as late as 1964. According to USAF personnel stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War, there was still one Bearcat flying “off the books” as late as 1972, most likely in some sort of specops support role. Thailand has never confirmed this and it may be confusion with other propeller types the RTAF operated during that era.

Geschichte

 

                  ..
 
  1 Sqn 1. Wing 2 Sqn 1. Wing 3 Sqn 1. Wing
 
  12 Sqn 1. Wing 12 Sqn 1. Wing 13 Sqn 1. Wing
 
  13 Sqn 1. Wing 22 Sqn 2. Wing 22 Sqn 2. Wing
 
  23 Sqn 2. Wing 23 Sqn 2. Wing 23 Sqn 2. Wing
 
  23 Sqn 2. Wing 23 Sqn 2. Wing 23 Sqn 2. Wing
 
  43 Sqn 4. Wing 43 Sqn 4. Wing 43 Sqn 4. Wing
   
  43 Sqn 4. Wing 53 Sqn 5.Wing  
                  ..

Pictures

Bilder

A flight of four Bearcat's of the 2nd Squadron 1st Wing.  (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) An armed Bearcat of the 3rd Squadron 1st Wing. (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)  Pilots of the 23nd Sqnuadron 2nd Wing  (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)  43 Sqn 4th Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) This silver Bearcat belongs to the 43 Sqn. 4th Wing.  (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)
A Pilot in front of the Tail of his Bearcat. (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) An Bearcat of the 13 Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 12 Sqn 1st Wing  (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 13 Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 13rd Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)
2nd Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 2nd Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)  A proud Pilot of the 2nd Squadron 1st Wing.  (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 3rd Sqn 1st Wing in an Klong (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)
12 Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 12 Sqn 1st Wing  (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 23 Sqn 2nd Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 23 Sqn 2nd Wing  (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 22 Sqn 2nd Wing  (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)
Camouflaged 13 Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) Camouflaged 13 Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 23 Sqn 2nd Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 13 Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 13 Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)
(Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 53 Sqn 5th Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 23 Sqn 2nd Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) 12 Sqn 1st Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)
23 Sqn 2nd Wing (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) Unidentified Bearcat possible at Thakli (Photo from the collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak) An former US Bearcat is 2004 imported th Thailand and served with the Thano Club.(Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)
 

This Thai looking Bearcat ist in fact an US Bearcat an is flying in California.  (Photo collection of Phakphum Tangkijjarak)

   
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Serial, Grumman Bearcat
Typ Thai Serial s/n Buzz Sqn / Wing Base Delivered Withdrawn Remarks
- - - ? ... ... ? ? ...
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Specifications F8F-2

Wingspan

Spannweite

10.92 m

Length

Länge

8.61 m

Height

Höhe

4.21 m
Wing area Flügelfläche 22,67 m²

Engine

Motor

1× Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W "Double Wasp"  2,100 hp

Maximum speed

Höchstgeschwindigkeit

678 km/h

Empty weight

Leergewicht

3,207 kg

Loaded weight

Startgewicht

5,873 kg

Climb Rate

Steigrate

23.2 m/s

Service ceiling

Gipfelhöhe

11,796 m

Range

Reichweite

1,778 km

Armament

Bewaffnung

4 × 12.7 mm machine guns 

454 kg of bombs

                  .

- Last update 22. January 2013

Written 20. May 2006

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