North American P-51 Mustang
One of the truly great fighters of the war, the North American P-51 Mustang was originally designed in 1940 to a British requirement. The prototype NA-73 was first flown in October that year with a 820-kW (1,100-hp) Allison V-1710-F3F but, although two early aircraft were evaluated by the USAAF as XP-51 aircraft, the type was not adopted by that air force. Most of the early aircraft were supplied to the RAF (620 aircraft as Mustang Mk IA and Mustang Mk II). Their outstanding lowlevel speed and range resulted in their assignment to the ground support (army co-operation) role. After the USA's entry into the war the USAAF adopted the aircraft, ordering 148 P51s which had four 20-mm cannon (instead of four 0.5-in and four 0.3-in) wing bomb shackles in the attack category as the A-36A. The British in the meantime had re-engmed four Mustangs with Rolls-Royce Merlins, and this expedient transformed the aircraft. In America the armament was reduced to four 12.7-mm (0.5-in) guns, all in the wings, and an 895-kW (1,200-hp) Allison V-1710-81 was used in the P-51 A, 310 being ordered in 1942. So spectacular were the benefits of the Merlin that a Packard-built Merlin (as the V1650) was used in the P-51B, of which 1,988 were produced at Inglewood; 1,750 of the similar P-51C were built at Dallas, Texas.
Later aircraft had the armament restored to six guns, while increased fuel capacity extended the range to a maximum of 3347 km (2,080 miles), enabling Mustangs to escort American bombers to Berlin. The P5ID featured a cut-down rear fuselage and 'tear-drop' canopy. The Merlin P51 joined the RAF as the Mustang Mk HI (P-5 IB and P-51C) and Mustang Mk IV (P-5ID). Fastest of all versions was the lightened P-5 IH with a top speed of 784 km/h (487 mph), 555 being built during the war. Total production of the P-51 was 15,586, including 7,956 P5IDs and 1,337 generally similar P-51K fighters with an Aeroproducts propeller.
Specification North American P-5 ID (Mustang MkW)
Type: single-seat long-range fighter
Powerplant: one 1112-kW ( 1,490-hp) Packard Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1650-7 V-12 piston engine
Performance: maximum speed 704 km/h (437 mph) at 7620 m (25,000 ft); climb to 9145 m (30,000 ft) in 13.0 minutes; service ceiling 12770 m (41,900 ft); maximum range 3347 km (2,080 miles)
Weights: empty 3232 kg (7,125 lb); maximum take-off 5262 kg (11,600 lb)
Dimensions: span 11,28 m (37 ft 0% in); length 9.85 m (32 ft 3% in); height 3.71 m (12 ft 2in); wingarea 21,65m2 (233.2 sq ft)
Armament: six 12.7-mm (0.5-in) machine-guns in the wings, plus provision for up to two 454-kg (1,000 Ib) bombs or six 127-mm (5-in) rocket projectiles