Wednesday, 02 May 2012 17:58

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

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Toward the end of WW II, better than 40 percent of all AAF fighter groups serving overseas were equipped with the rugged P-47s.  Single-engined, single-seat escort fighter and fighter-bomber. Conceived, tested, produced, and put into action wholly within the period of World War II. P-47 Thunderbolts (F-47Ds and F-47Ns) equipped SAC, TAC, and ADC squadrons for a number of postwar years. They subsequently reached the Air National Guard and did not pass out of service until 1955. The F-47 was the Air Force's last radial-engine fighter.

All P-47s had an inherent ground handling challenge exacerbated by torque of the large propeller and the large nose that was difficult to see over during taxiing. Ground crewmen sometimes sat on the wing and used hand signals to provide directions to the pilot. The heavy weight resulted in a long takeoff run and, once in the air, the P-47 was not particularly maneuverable, though it became more agile, in comparison to most other fighters, at high altitudes. It did possess a good roll rate and climb/dive performance. Its success in combat depended on utilizing energy-conserving "dive-and-zoom" tactics. One Thunderbolt pilot compared it to flying a bathtub around the sky. On the positive side, the P-47 was rugged and well-armed. It could sustain a large amount of damage and still be able to get its pilot back to base

P-47's flew more than 546,000 combat sorties between March 1943 and August 1945, destroying 11,874 enemy aircraft, some 9,000 locomotives, and about 6,000 armored vehicles and tanks. Only 0.7 per cent of the fighters of this type dispatched against the enemy were lost in combat.

General characteristics
Crew: One
Length: 36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)
Wingspan: 40 ft 9 in (12.44 m)
Height: 14 ft 7 in (4.45 m)
Wing area: 300 ft² (27.87 m²)
Empty weight: 10,000 lb (4,535 kg)
Loaded weight: lb (kg)
Max takeoff weight: 17,500 lb (7,935 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59 twin-row radial engine, 2,535 hp (1,890 kW)

Maximum speed: 426 mph at 30,000 ft (685 km/h at 9,145 m)
Range: 800 miles combat, 1,800 mi ferry (1,290 km / 2,900 km)
Service ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,100 m)
Rate of climb: 3,120 ft/min (15.9 m/s)

8 x 0.5 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns
Up to 2,000 lb (907 kg) of bombs
10 x 5 in (127 mm) unguided rockets

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