Grumman AOV-7 Night Tiger – US Marine Corps, Vietnam

Started by CammNut, June 07, 2020, 01:54:41 PM

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The U.S. Marine Corps wanted a min-gunship able to provide overhead fire support for patrols in Vietnam, day or night. Grumman proposed a development of the venerable F7F Tigercat, modernized with turboprop engines and equipped a turreted 20mm cannon slaved to a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) targeting sensor. This became the AOV-7 Night Tiger night observation gunship.

The Night Tiger program involved a major remanufacturing of stored F7F-2N Tigercat airframes. The two-seat cockpit was completely reworked around the new weapon system and a new canopy installed. The turboprop engines were mounted in new, larger nacelles to accommodate the twin-wheel, high-flotation landing gear, which enabled operations from unprepared or damaged airfields.

The turboprop engines drove large-diameter, slow-turning five-blade propellers to reduce noise and improve efficiency. Fuel capacity was increased to extend loiter time in support of ground patrols. An M187 three-barrel 20mm cannon was mounted in a turret under the fuselage, slaved to a FLIR turret mounted under the nose and controlled by the weapon system officer in the rear seat.

Deployed to Vietnam in 1969, the Night Tiger had a brief but effective operational life, raining down havoc from above.

[NOTE: The V-7 designation was actually given to four de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalos that started life as US Army AC-2s, became CV-7As and ended up being transferred to the US Air Force as C-8As. But this is whifland...]

This started life as an Octopus (Pavla) F7F-2N mixed-media kit. I cut out the cockpit area and used a Falcon vacform canopy for an F9F-8T.

The nacelles and spinners came from a Wolf Model S-T Turbo Tracker conversion set. The cannon and FLIR turrets came from an Airfix OV-10.

The main gear legs and prop blades are from a Hasegawa Tracker. The drop tanks are from an unknown F/A-18. The extra wheels are from a Monogram Tigercat.

The markings are from AOA Decals' excellent Black Ponies and Other Broncos in Vietnam sheet. They represent an aircraft operated by Marine Observation Squadron VMO-6.

Leading Observer


Observation is the most enduring of lifes pleasures


Very nice indeed, both the model and the idea itself.  :thumbsup:
Kit's Rule 1 ) Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage
Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)



That is really cool and would not  look out of place in my alternative  Honduras airforce  :wub:
The dogs philosophy on life.
If you cant eat it hump it or fight it,
Pee on it and walk away!!


"Sticks and stones may break some bones but a 3.57's gonna blow your damn head off!!"


So I got that going for me...which is nice....


Oh yes!
I've thought about different canopies for the Tigercat - and now you've done it  :thumbsup:

Is the nose shape and length stock? Perhaps it is the other changes that give ME the impression that it is different.


Very nice, the paint scheme suits the Tigercat well, too.  :thumbsup:


Excellent work on both the model and the back story  :thumbsup:

Got me musing on a P-38 upgrade with similar engines ?
Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.



- Can't be bothered to do the proper research and get it right.

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

zenrat industries:  We're everywhere...for your convenience..



Reality is an illusion caused by an alcohol deficiency


Very nice work and concept! A person could apply this to any number of different aircraft. Sky raider pops to mind.
" Somewhere, between half true, and completely crazy, is a rainbow of nice colours "
Tophe the Wise


Thanks folks! I have always loved the Tigercat, so it was fun giving it a new lease of whif-life.