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Posted on Mar 29, 2005 in War College

Profile: P-47D Thunderbolt

By Austin Vance

DESCRIPITION

Manufacturer:  Republic Aircraft Company   
Basic Model:  Long Range Heavy Fighter/Bomber 
Designation:  P-47D
Aliases:  Thunderbolt
Entry into Service:  Early 1944 
Total built:  15,660  
Total production (Variants):  12,602
Cost:  $85,000 

SPECIFICATION

Length:  36 feet 1 inch 
Height:  14 feet 2 inches
Wingspan:  40 feet 9 inches 
Empty Weight:  14,600 pounds
Gross Weight:  19,400 pounds

PERFORMANCE

Powerplant:  One Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59 of 2,430 hp
Maximum Range:  1,900 MI / 1,725 NMI 
Maximim Speed:  428 MPH / 372 KT
Cruising Speed:  350 mph
Service Ceiling:  42,000 ft. 

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ARMAMENT

Guns:  6 or 8 x 0.50 Cal Machine Guns  
Ordnance:  Either Ten rockets or 2,500 Ib. of Bombs  

STORY

Affectionately nicknamed "Jug", the P-47 was one of the most famous AAF fighter planes of World War II. Although originally conceived as a lightweight interceptor, the P-47 developed as a heavyweight fighter and made its first flight on May 6, 1941. The first production model was delivered to the AAF in March 1942, and in April 1943 the Thunderbolt flew its first combat mission–a sweep over Western Europe. Used as both a high-altitude escort fighter and a low-level fighter-bomber, the P-47 quickly gained a reputation for ruggedness. Its sturdy construction and air-cooled radial engine enabled the Thunderbolt to absorb severe battle damage and keep flying. During WW II, the P-47 served in almost every active war theater and in the forces of several Allied nations. By the end of WW II, more than 15,600 Thunderbolts had been built.

Production P-47B, C, early D and G series aircraft were built with metal-framed "greenhouse" type cockpit canopies. Late D series (dash 25 and later) aircraft–such as the P-47D-40-RA on display–and all -M and -N series production aircraft were given clear "bubble" canopies, which gave the pilot improved rearward vision.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/

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