North American F-82 Twin Mustang

1st Flight 1945

The North American F-82 Twin Mustang is the last American piston-engine fighter ordered into production by the United States Air Force.

Based on the North American P-51 Mustang, the F-82 was originally designed as a long-range escort fighter for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress in World War II.

The war ended well before the first production units were operational.

Variants

NA-123

Basic Development design.

The NA-123 design was presented by North American Aircraft to the USAAF in February 1944.

The design for the new aircraft was for a long-range fighter to penetrate deep into enemy territory.

Its immediate role would be to escort the B-29 Superfortress bombers used in the Pacific Theatre of Operations against Japan.

The USAAF endorsed it at once.

A letter contract to construct and test four experimental XP-82 aircraft (P-82 designation) gave way in the same month to an order for 500 production models.

XP-82 / XP-82A

Prototype. The USAAF accepted the first XP-82 in August 1945 and a second one in September.

Both were equipped with Packard Merlin V-1650-23 and −25 engines.

The third experimental aircraft, designated XP-82A, had two Allison V-1710-119 engines.

It was accepted in October 1945.

There is no evidence that the XP-82A was ever actually flown, due to problems with the Allison engines.

The fourth XP-82A prototype (44-83889) was cancelled.

P-82B

Planned production version.

With the end of World War II, production plans were cut back significantly.

Against the 500 P-82Bs initially planned, overall procurement was finalized on 7 December 1945 at 270 P-82s.

Included were 20 P-82Bs already on firm order and later allocated to testing as P-82Z.

The USAAF accepted all P-82Zs in fiscal year 1947.

Two aircraft were accepted in January 1946, four in February 1947, and 13 in March 1947.

By December 1949, no P-82Bs (by then redesignated F-82Bs) remained in the Air Force inventory.

These P-82Bs were basically similar to the XP-82, but differed in having provisions for under wing racks.

P-82C

Night fighter version.

A P-82B, (44-65169) modified in late 1946, for testing as a night interceptor.

The P-82C featured a new nacelle (under the centre wing section) housing an SCR-720 radar.

The SCR-720 was the same radar installation which was carried aboard the Northrop P-61 Black Widow, a considerably larger aircraft.

The right-hand cockpit became the radar operator’s position. The production version was designated P-82G.

P-82D

Night fighter version.

Another P-82B (44-65170) modified with a different radar, the APS-4.

The APS-4 was a much smaller set than the SCR-720, and operated in the 1.18 in (30 mm) waveband.

As like the P-82C, the right-hand cockpit became the radar operator’s position.

The production version was designated P-82F.

F-82E

Escort fighter version.

The F-82E followed the F-82B, which it so closely resembled.

They were equipped with two counter-rotating Allison liquid-cooled engines, V-1710-143 and V-1710-145.

The first four F-82Es were redesignated as F-82As and were allocated for engine testing.

After production delays by engine problems and additional testing, F-82Es entered operational service in May 1948.

The Air Force accepted 72 F-82Es in fiscal year 1948 (between January and June 1948), and 24 in fiscal year 1949 (22 in July 1948, one in October, and one in December).

North American F-82F Twin Mustang night fighter

F-82F/G/H

Night fighter versions.

A nacelle beneath the centre-wing that housed radar equipment (F-82F’s AN/APG28 and F-82G’s SCR-720C18); automatic pilot; and a radar operator replacing the second pilot.

When winterization was added to the F or G, it became an F-82H.

Entered operational service in September 1948.

One F-82G was accepted in fiscal year 1948 (February 1948), all other F-82s (F, G, and H models) in fiscal year 1949.

The last F-82G and six winterized F-82Hs were received in March 1949.

Specifications

Crew: Two

Length: 42 ft 5 in (12.93 m)

Wingspan: 51 ft 3 in (15.62 m)

Height: 13 ft 10 in (4.22 m)

Wing area: 408 sq ft (37.9 m2)

Empty weight: 15,997 lb (7,256 kg)

Max take-off weight: 25,591 lb (11,608 kg)

Powerplant: 1 × V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine Allison V-1710-143, 2,250 hp (1,680 kW) in War emergency rating, RH rotation fitted to port

Powerplant: 1 × V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine Allison V-1710-145, 2,250 hp (1,680 kW) in War emergency rating, LH rotation fitted to starboard

Propellers: 4-bladed Aeroproducts A-542F-D1 constant-speed fully-feathering propeller (LHS)

Aeroproducts AL-542F-D1 constant-speed fully-feathering propeller (RHS), 10 ft 11 in (3.33 m) diameter

Performance

Maximum speed: 461 mph (742 km/h, 401 kn) at 21,000 ft (6,400 m)

Cruise speed: 286 mph (460 km/h, 249 kn)

Range: 2,240 mi (3,600 km, 1,950 nmi)

Service ceiling: 38,900 ft (11,900 m)

Armament

Guns: 6 .5 in (12.7 mm) M3 Browning machine guns

Rockets: 25 5 in (130 mm) rockets

Bombs: 4 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs.

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