- Education and Science
The P-47 Thunderbolt Fighter
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
The P-47 Thunderbolt was a fighter aircraft employed by The USAF in World War II. The P-47 Thunderbolt was built by Republic Aviation and introduced in 1942. Republic Aviation was founded by Russian expatriate Alexander de Seversky.
A total of 15,686, P-47's were built at a price of 85,000 dollars each, which when compared to the F6F Hellcat at 35,000 dollars, made it one of the most expensive fighters made at that time.
The P-47 was a heavy aircraft. Empty it weighed 10,000 lbs and loaded it weighed 17,500 lbs making it one of the heaviest fighter aircraft produced at that time.
At first, the P-47 was equipped with a "razorback" canopy with a high ridge on the fuselage, making seeing behind the aircraft, in flight, very difficult. The British had similar problems with some of their fighters and developed a "bubble top" canopy. The British used a "malcolm hood" canopy on their Supermarine Spitfires and refitted P-51 Mustangs with them. Later a better, bubble top canopy was developed and used on the P-47's.
The P-47 Thunderbolt used a Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Radial engine with up to 2500 hp, giving it a top speed of 433 mph. In a dive The P-47 Thunderbolt could attain speeds of 550 mph, making it a much fastest fighter in a dive, than enemy aircraft like the Messerschmitt BF 109. The P-47 had a service ceiling of 43,000 feet and a climb rate of 3,120 feet per minute. The P-47's combat range was 800 miles.
Nicknamed "Jug", the P-47 Thunderbolt had 8 .50 M2 Browning machine guns, with four mounted in each wing making it very effective at ground attacks. The P-47 was also equipped with ten, 130 mm rockets and could carry up to 2,500 lbs of bombs. The P-47 saw action in most World War II theaters and was used on D-day.