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Photo series #9

Today, i bring you a World War II legend, the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang.

The Mustang is a long range fighter that was widely used in the escort role of heavy bombers such as the B-17 and B-29, it also went to action during the Korean War alongside the jet fighters of the time.

It was first flown by Royal Air Force (RAF) in the tactical recon and fighter-bomber roles, the P-51, in it’s earlier variants, was first fitted with the Allison V-1710 engine and that limited the performace of the fighter at high altitudes. With the development of the B and C variants, the Rolls-Royce Merlin was the chosen engine and it gave a much better performance for the Mustang above 15,000ft allowing it to face Luftwaffe fighters such as the BF-109 and FW-190.

The version that really made the P-51 shine was the D variant, it was powered by the Packard V-1650-7, a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 and was armed with six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2/AN Browning machine guns.

During 1944, it helped the USAAF ensure air superiority over Germany and also support bombings through it’s fighter-bomber roles but Europe wasn’t it’s only action zone, the Mustang also fought in the North African, Mediterranean, Italian and Pacific theaters.

When the Korean War broke out, the P-51s were the main fighters of the United Nations until jet fighters took their place but this was not their end as it continued to operate on the ground attack role, fitted with bombs and rockets. It started to lose ground to the newer USAF F-84 fighter-bombers, United States Navy (USN) Grumman F9F Panthers and jets from other nations such as Gloster Meteor F8s. Today, the P-51 is widely used by civillians and air races.

That’s it for this photo series! As always, if you have any suggestions or contributions, don’t hesitate to send them to me.

Have a good day, folks!