Twenty-one years ago Chance
Vought Aircraft Company - now Vought Systems Division of LTV
Aerospace Corporation - won the competition to design and build
an air superiority, supersonic fighter airplane for the U.S.
Navy. The result was the F-8 Crusader, an aircraft that lived up
to and exceeded design expectations.
This special report highlights a few of the outstanding
accomplishments and program milestones of the Crusader from May
1953 to October 1974.
The program began in September 1952 when the Navy issued
requirements for a new airplane, a fighter with Mach-1-plus
speed and embodying the usual requirements for Naval aircraft -
rugged structure, folding wings, resistance to open-sea weather
conditions, and with simplicity of maintenance and handling
Eight aircraft manufacturers vied for the contract. It took
Chance Vought, then a division of United Aircraft Corporation,
only five months to design precisely what the Navy wanted and,
in May 1953, the F-8 Crusader contract was awarded.
The company received an assignment to build two prototypes,
designated XF8U-l, in June 1953 and, in less than two years, had
the F-8 ready for its maiden flight on March 25, 1955 at Edwards
Air Force Base, Calif. The F-8 exceeded Mach-1 on its first
flight and went on to establish a number of service records,
many of which still stand.
The Crusader won for the Navy and Chance Vought the Collier
Trophy "for concept, design and development of the first
carrier-based fighter capable of speeds exceeding 1,000 mph." It
won the Thompson Trophy for setting a national and world speed
record in excess of 1,000 mph, it was the first airplane to span
the nation faster than the speed of sound, and it won the first
Certificate of Merit ever awarded by the then Bureau of