Patch P-51 Mustang Army Force USA fighter - USAAF
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang is an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War IIand the Korean War, among other conflicts.
The Mustang was designed in 1940 by North American Aviation (NAA) in response to a requirement of the British Purchasing Commission.
The Purchasing Commission approached North American Aviation to build Curtiss P-40 fighters under license for the Royal Air Force (RAF).
Rather than build an old design from another company, North American Aviation proposed the design and production of a more modern fighter.
The prototype NA-73X airframe was rolled out on 9 September 1940,102 days after the contract was signed, and first flew on 26 October.
The Mustang was originally designed to use the Allison V-1710 engine (1940), which, in its earlier variants, had limited high-altitude performance.
It was first flown operationally by the RAF as a tactical-reconnaissanceaircraft and fighter-bomber (Mustang Mk I). The replacement of the Allison witha Rolls-Royce Merlin resulted in the P-51B/C (Mustang Mk III) model andtransformed the Mustang’s performance at altitudes above 15,000 ft,allowing the aircraft to compete with the Luftwaffe’s fighters.
The definitive version, the P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650-7, a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 two-stage two-speedsupercharged engine and was armed with six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2/AN Browning machine guns.