The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang is an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War IIand the Korean War, among other conflicts. The Mustang was designed in April 1940 by a design team headed by James Kindelberger of 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.
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 Royal Air Force (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), allowing it to compete with the Luftwaffe's fighters. 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) AN/M2 Browning machine guns.
As well as the modified fuselage and new canopy the production P-51Ds had modified wings compared with the P-51B/C series and became the most widely produced variant of the Mustang, with 6,502 being built at Inglewood and 1,600 at Dallas - a combined total of 8,102. 280 were used by the RAF and designated Mustang Mk IV.
- Successors 9 airplane(s) +203 bonus
- Created On Android
- Wingspan 40.2ft (12.2m)
- Length 34.8ft (10.6m)
- Height 13.9ft (4.2m)
- Empty Weight 9,266lbs (4,203kg)
- Loaded Weight 12,146lbs (5,509kg)
- Horse Power/Weight Ratio 0.119
- Wing Loading 35.0lbs/ft2 (170.9kg/m2)
- Wing Area 346.9ft2 (32.2m2)
- Drag Points 2514
- Number of Parts 138
- Control Surfaces 8