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Principal types of aircraft operated by R.A.F. during WW2 and crashed in Belgium

North American Aviation P-51 Mustang

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Last update: 25/06/23

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The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang is an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II and the Korean War, among other conflicts. The Mustang was designed in 1940 by North American Aviation (NAA) in response to a requirement of the British Purchasing Commission. The Purchasing Commission approached North American Aviation to build Curtiss P-40 fighters under license for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Rather than build an old design from another company, North American Aviation proposed the design and production of a more modern fighter. The prototype NA-73X airframe was rolled out on 9 September 1940, 102 days after the contract was signed, and first flew on 26 October.[6][7]


The Mustang was designed to use the Allison V-1710 engine (which had limited high-altitude performance in its earlier variants). The aircraft was first flown operationally by the RAF as a tactical-reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bomber (Mustang Mk I). Replacing the Allison with a Rolls-Royce Merlin resulted in the P-51B/C (Mustang Mk III) model and transformed the aircraft's performance at altitudes above 15,000 ft (4,600 m) (without sacrificing range),[8] allowing it to compete with the Luftwaffe's fighters.[9] The definitive version, the P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650-7, a license-built version of the two-speed two-stage-supercharged Merlin 66, and was armed with six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2/AN Browning machine guns.[10]


From late 1943, P-51Bs and Cs (supplemented by P-51Ds from mid-1944) were used by the USAAF's Eighth Air Force to escort bombers in raids over Germany, while the RAF's Second Tactical Air Force and the USAAF's Ninth Air Force used the Merlin-powered Mustangs as fighter-bombers, roles in which the Mustang helped ensure Allied air superiority in 1944.[11] The P-51 was also used by Allied air forces in the North African, Mediterranean, Italian and Pacific theaters. During World War II, Mustang pilots claimed to have destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft.[nb 1]


At the start of the Korean War, the Mustang, by then redesignated F-51, was the main fighter of the United Nations until jet fighters, including North American's F-86, took over this role; the Mustang then became a specialized fighter-bomber. Despite the advent of jet fighters, the Mustang remained in service with some air forces until the early 1980s. After the Korean War, Mustangs became popular civilian warbirds and air racing aircraft.

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General characteristics

Crew: 1
Length: 32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)
Wingspan: 37 ft (11 m)
Height: 13 ft 4.5 in (4.077 m) tail wheel on ground, vertical propeller blade
Wing area: 235 sq ft (21.8 m2)
Airfoil: NAA/NACA 45-100 / NAA/NACA 45-100
Empty weight: 7,635 lb (3,463 kg)
Gross weight: 9,200 lb (4,173 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 12,100 lb (5,488 kg) 5,490
Fuel capacity: 419 US gal (349 imp gal; 1,590 l)
Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0163
Drag area: 3.80 sqft (0.35 m²)
Aspect ratio: 5.83
Propellers: 4-bladed constant-speed, variable-pitch Hamilton Standard, 11 ft 2 in (3.40 m) diameter


Maximum speed: 440 mph (708 km/h; 382 kn)
Cruise speed: 362 mph (583 km/h; 315 kn)
Stall speed: 100 mph (161 km/h; 87 kn)
Range: 1,650 mi (1,434 nmi; 2,655 km) with external tanks
Service ceiling: 41,900 ft (12,800 m)
Rate of climb: 3,200 ft/min (16 m/s)
Wing loading: 39 lb/sq ft (190 kg/m2)
Power/mass: 0.18 hp/lb (300 W/kg)
Lift-to-drag ratio: 14.6
Recommended Mach limit 0.8


Guns: 6 × 0.50 caliber (12.7mm) AN/M2 Browning machine guns with 1,840 total rounds (380 rounds for each on the inboard pair and 270 rounds for each of the outer two pair)
Bombs: 1,000 pounds (450 kg) total on two wing hardpoints Each hardpoint: 1 × 100 pounds (45 kg) bomb, 1 × 250 pounds (110 kg) bomb or 1 × 500 pounds (230 kg) bomb)[120]

Rockets: 6 or 10 × 5.0 in (127 mm) T64 H.V.A.R rockets (P-51D-25, P-51K-10 on)[nb 8]


Source: Wikipedia

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