by Tommy H. Thomason

Friday, July 22, 2016

Grumman F8F Gunsight

According to the F8F Pilots Handbook for all Bearcat types, "Early model day fighters were equipped with a Mk 8 Mod 6 (gunsight), while later models are equipped with a computing sight unit Mk 8 Mod 0".

The Mod 6 was a simple fixed reticle sight that projected deflection rings and cross hairs on the windscreen.  The Mod 0 was a gyroscopically controlled range-finding sight that provided lead; it projected cross hairs and ranging images on a reflector glass mounted on the gunsight itself.

I don't know that the change in the gunsight had anything to do with the change in the windscreen angle of the -2 (see but it's possible that it was necessary to provide clearance between the Mod 0 sight and the center panel of the windscreen.

Dave Collier adds the following background:  Most of the F4U-4s that I worked on had Mk 8 Mod 6 Sight Heads. Unfortunately we had two aircraft which were equipped with the Gun Sight Mk 18 Mod 6 System which used a Sight Unit Mk 8 Mod 0 that was part of the Aircraft Fire Control system (AFCS) Mk 6 Mod 0. Because this system was still classified “Top Secret” in 1954-55 we had to post an armed guard on the planes whenever the flight line was not in operation. I did not enjoy the winter nights carrying a shotgun to protect the planes. In 1956 we received AD-5Ns which had Mk 20 Mod 4 sights. He also referred me to this interesting website:

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    The Mk. 20 Mod. 0 should be added to the list as it was fitted to the -1N and -2N variants. This sight was a development of the Mk VIII reflector sight fitted with 3 different reticles so that it could be used both for day and night operations.