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North American P-82 Twin Mustang

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With the end of World War 2 the need for a long range escort fighter seemed to be over, and the P-82 appeared to be doomed to the scrapheap. However the following year saw an order for 250 North American P-82 Twin Mustang aircraft and the type would see active service in the Korean War.

Quick Facts
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First flight
15th June 1945
Entered service
May 1948
Total built

Front view
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Side view
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Rear view
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With the Pacific theatre of war requiring long flights over water the United States Army Air Force issued a requirement for a escort fighter with a extremely long range. As a result during 1944 North American thought of merging two of its P-51 Mustangs together, this was not a new idea as Heinkel had tried the same with their He 111Z. The benefit of having a twin plane was that two pilots could take it in turns to fly the plane although only one side of the aircraft would have full flight instruments with both cockpits having full control systems and adjustable seats. The aim was to reduce fatigue for the pilots on long missions.

Three prototypes of the XP-82 would fly during 1945, two of the prototypes would have counter-rotating propellers with power supplied by a pair of Packard Merlin V-1650 engines. The third prototype featured common rotation and was powered by the Allison V-1710 engine and it was a variant of the Allison engined which was selected for the production P-82. In the end only 20 of the original 500 P-82Bs that had been ordered by the USAAF had been produced before the Second World War ended with the rest being cancelled. Despite this two production aircraft would be converted into night fighters, fitted with SCR-720 radar was the P-82C and with APS-4 radar the P-82D with the starboard cockpit modified to accommodate a radar operator, whilst the radar itself was installed under the middle of the aircraft.

It was during 1946 that the P-82 came back to life as the USAAF placed an order for 250 of the type which was broken down as:

100 P-82E escort fighters.
100 P-82F night fighters equipped with APS-4 radar.
50 P-82G night fighters equipped with SCR-720 radar.

The designations of some aircraft were to change two years later when the P-82 Mks B-G were re-designated as F-82s and by the time the year was out the Northrop P-61 Black Widow had been replaced by the F-82.

It was during the Korean War (1950 - 1953) that the Twin Mustang was to see service and on the 27th June 1950 a pilot of the 68th Fighter Squadron flying an F-82G shot down the first North Korean aircraft of the war.

It was the F-82H that was to be the last version of the type to see service and these were F-82F & Gs that had been converted for use in Alaska, and by the time production ended 270 had been built.


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Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
XP-82 Two prototypes powered by the 1,380-hp Packard Merlin V-1650-28 and 25.
XP-82A Prototype of a long range escort fighter powered by the 1,600-hp Allison V-1710-119 engine.
P-82B 482 mph 1,280 miles 41,600 ft six 0.50-in machine-guns
twenty five 5-in rockets
4,000lb bombs
P-82C Modified P-82B, fitted with SCR-720 radar.
P-82D Modified P-82B, fitted with APS-4 radar.
P-82E 482 mph 2,700 miles 40,000 ft six 0.50-in machine-guns
twenty five 5-in rockets
4,000lb bombs
F-82F 482 mph 2,700 miles 38,700 ft six 0.50-in machine-guns
twenty five rockets
F-82G 482 mph 2,700 miles 38,700 ft six 0.50-in machine-guns
twenty five 5-in rockets
2,000lb bombs
F-82H Converted F-82F & Gs for cold weather use.


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On Display

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

Variant Location
No known examples currently on public display in the UK.

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