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U.S. Aircraft:

Source: U.S. Airforce

North American P-82 "Twin Mustang"

The North American P-82 (F-82) Twin Mustang was the last piston-powered fighter ordered into production by the U.S. Air Force.

Initially intended as a long-range escort fighter, the F-82 was designed to escort B-29 bombers on long missions over Japan during a planned U.S. invasion of the Japanese home islands that never occurred.

It consisted of a two fuselages design. Although based on the P-51H Mustang, it was actually an entirely new design incorporating two lengthened P-51H Mustang fuselages mounted to a newly-designed center wing, tail, and propellers, as well as having a unique four wheel landing gear.

Like the P-51 Mustang, the first two prototype YP-82's, as well as the next 20 P-82B models were powered by British designed Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.
The end of WWII brought an end to the need for a long-range bomber escort.

The P-82 would continue though, as a replacement for the aging P-61 Black Widow night fighter. Designated the F-82G, numerous modifications had to be made to make this possible. The right side cockpit was replaced with a radar operator's position lacking flight controls.

Though missing its opportunity to fight in WWII, the F-82G would go on to distinguish itself during the Korean War, beginning with one of the least known, and most important air combat events of the 20th century.



Type: Heavy Fighter
Mfr: North American Aviation
Maiden Flight: 7-6-1945
Introduced: 1946
Retired: 1954
Primary User: USAF
Number Built: 270
Unit Cost: $215,154
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General Characteristics

Crew: Two
Length: 42 ft 9 in
Wingspan: 51 ft 3 in
Height: 13 ft 10 in
Wing area: 408 ft²
Empty weight: 6,800 lbv
Loaded weight: 8,800 lb
Max takeoff weight: 25,591 lb
Powerplant: 2 x Allison
V-1710-143/145 liquid-cooled
V-12, 1,600 hp
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Max. speed: 461 mph; 21,000 ft
Range: 2,250 mi
Service ceiling: 38,900 ft