World War 2 Aircraft Logo
Home » USA » North American P-51D Mustang

North American P-51D Mustang

Aircraft Lists

As the bombers of the Eighth Air Force fought their way deep into Hitler's German heartland, it was the Mustang that cleared the skies of Luftwaffe fighters. No other combat airplane of the war could fly as high, go as far and fight as hard as the mighty Mustang. In the skilled hands of young USAAF pilots, it took on all corners and accounted for more kills than any other Allied aircraft.

Faced with imminent invasion in 1939 and desperately short of fighters, the Royal Air Force asked North American Aviation to produce urgently the existing but obsolete P-40 Warhawk. But instead the company designed, built and flew a new airplane in just 117 days - the Mustang.

Using an existing Allison engine and the latest laminar-flow wing, the new fighter immediately went into service with the RAF. In December 1941 America joined the war and it too needed good fighters fast. So the USAAF took the basic RAF Mustang, re-armed it with four machine-guns and added an uprated engine. It was a good performer, but couldn't operate well alongside the high-flying long-range bomber.

By 1944, the aircraft used the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine had a new bubble cockpit and increased firepower to six 12.7 mm (0.50 cal) machine-guns. It was now the best fighter in the war and fought superbly in all theatres as fighter, fighter-bomber and reconnaissance platform. It was loved by its aircrews and no fewer than 281 Mustang pilots became aces by scoring five kills apiece.


North American P-51D Mustang

High flyer of the North American P-51D Mustang Top gun to the bomber force of the North American P-51D Mustang taking off North American P-51D Mustang
Mustangs were flown by more aces than any other Allied fighter. Their prey even included the Me 262 jet. The Mustang's hard-hitting and accurate guns made it an excellent ground-attack aircraft, which could also deliver air to ground rockets or bombs. One of the great Musang heroes, Major Don Gentile, with his favourite machine 'Shang-La' during 1943. He made 15 kills in Mustangs.

North American P-51D Mustang (Technical Specification)
Role Single-seat long-range escort fighter, fighter-bomber
Manufacturer North American
Maximum Speed 716 kmh (445 mph)
Combat radius 525 km (326 miles)
Ceiling 12,770 meters (41,900 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

3,232 kg (7,125 lbs)
5,265 kg (11,607 lbs)
Wing Area

11.29 meters (37 ft)
9.83 meters (32 ft 3 in)
3.71 meters (12 ft 2 in)
21.83 square meters (235 sq ft)
Engines One Packard V-1650-7 (US-built Rolls-Royce Merlin 61) inverted-vee 12-cylinder inline water-cooled piston engine which provides 1186-kW (1,590 hp)
Armament Six 12.7 mm (0.50 cal) Browning machine-guns in wings
Two 227 kgs (500 lbs) bombs
Eight 75 mm rockets in place of long-range drop-tanks

Photo Gallery

Click here to submit your photo

Have A Passion For Aircraft?
Subscribe to our 14 series FREE newsletter
delivered weekly on World War 2 Aircraft factfile...
NB:- We hate spam as much as you do, so your email address will NEVER be shared with or sold to anyone else. That's a Guarantee.

Best 10 Aircraft   Top 10 Favorites   United States   Germany   Great Britain   Japan   Russia  
Italy   Model Gallery   Resources   Contact Us   Guestbook  
Copyright © All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.