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North American P-51D Mustang In Usaaf-Usaf Service (Aircam Aviation 1)
By Richard Ward
Publisher: Osprey 1971 56 Pages
PDF 7 MB
If a list of the dozen most outstanding military aircraft of the century is compiled in the year 2,000, there is little doubt that the North American P-51 Mustang will be included. The finest American fighter of the Second World War, and one of the classic fighters of all time, the Mustang was the fruit more of a happy series of chances than a deliberately evolved policy.
It was born in response to a request from the British Purchasing Commission in the United States for a P-40 replacement. The early model P-51's and P-51A's, first delivered to the R.A.F. in mid-1942, were useful ground attack aircraft by virtue of their armament of four 0.5 in. and four 0.3 in. machine guns; but the low altitude rating of their Allison engines rendered them unsuitable for normal fighter operations. It was not until a British suggestion led to the mating of the excellent Mustang airframe with the classic Rolls-Royce Merlin engine that the full potential of the type became apparent.