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Republic P-47 Thunderbolt


Originally conceived as a lightweight fighter, the P-47 ended up as the heaviest single-engine fighter flown by the Army Air Forces. The P-47 was used as both a high-altitude escort fighter and a low-level fighter-bomber. More P-47s were produced than any other US fighter before or since. More P-47Ds were produced—12,603—than the total production run of P-38s and nearly as many as the entire run of P-40s. Production began in 1942, and on September 20, 1944, the 10,000th P-47 rolled off the line to much fanfare, including aviatrix Jackie Cochran, the head of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, dubbing the aircraft "10 Grand." Just 10 months later, the 15,000th P-47 came off the line.
The P-47 entered service with the 56th and 78th Fighter Groups in late 1942 and saw its first combat on April 8, 1943, escorting B-17s and B-24s over Europe. The P-47 picked up the nickname "Jug," because it was something of a juggernaut—heavy, extremely sturdy, and well armed. The early models (and the first blocks of P-47Ds) featured a humpback fuselage that blended into the tail via a "razorback" spine. Later blocks of P-47Ds and all subsequent models (including the 354 Curtiss-built aircraft) had a "bubble" canopy that offered the pilot near 360• visibility. The only theater of operations where the P-47 was not used in quantity was the Aleutians. By the end of 1944, 31 AAF fighter groups flew P-47s. The third- and fourth-ranked AAF aces of World War II, Lt. Col. Francis S. "Gabby" Gabreski (28 victories) and Capt. Robert S. Johnson (27), both flew P-47s in Europe.
P-47s were also flown by Britain (830 aircraft), the Soviet Union, Brazil and Mexico during the war, and a number of countries flew the P-47 after the war. The P-47D and N models served until the formation of the US Air Force, and the F-47 (as it was later redesignated) served with the Air National Guard until 1955.
General characteristics P-47C
Primary function Fighter
Contractors Republic Aviation Corp., Curtiss-Wright Corp.
Power plant One Pratt&Whitney R-2800-21 engine
Thrust 2,300 HP 1,715 kW
Wingspan 40.75 ft 12.42 m
Length 36 ft 10.99 m
Height 14.2 ft 4.32 m
Wingarea 300 sq ft 27.9 sq m
Weight empty 10,710 lb 4,858 kg
max. 16,215 lb 7,355 kg
Speed 433 mph 697 km/h
Initial climb rate 2,805 ft/min 855 m/min
Range 1,725 miles 2,776 km
Armament 8x 12.7mm machine guns, 1x 227 kg bomb
Crew One
First flight May 6, 1941 (XP-47B)
Date deployed 1943
General characteristics P-47N-5
Primary function Fighter
Power plant One Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59 Double Wasp 18-cylinder, two-row radial engine
Thrust 2,800 HP 2,088 kW
Wingspan 42,5 ft 12.97 m
Length 35.4 ft 10.79 m
Wingarea 322 sq ft 29.91 sq m
Weight empty 11,650 lb 5,285 kg
max. 20,680 lb 9,380 kg
Speed 460 mph 740 km/h
Initial climb rate 2,805 ft/min 855 m/min
Range 2,350 miles 3,781 km
Armament 8x 12.7mm machine guns, up to 1,135 kg bombs
Crew One
Date deployed 1945
Cost Approx $54,600
Number built 15,683 (all types)


Jirka Wagner

 

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