Aviation of World War II
The P-51D Mustang was the most beautiful and greatest single seat fighter of World War II. The increase of speed above the base model was about 615 km/h at prototype, up to 783 km/h on last model P-51H, without any sweeping changes in a silhouette or a design.
The first P-51B went into service at second half 1944.
The P-51D had standard 12-cylinder liquid-cooled Merlin V-1650-3 engine (constructions "Packard") or the V-1650-7 developing 1400 hp on take-off. The first Mustangs had low-altitude Allison engines but when its capabilities as high-altitude fighter have been realized, have decided to establish Merlin engine. The weakness of Merlin engine was that it could stopped of a one bullet or a splinter that basically is inherent in all engines of liquid cooling.
The cost of P-51D Mustang with Packard Merlin engine was 50985 $, that it is not enough for such effective plane.
A total of 15,386 Mustangs were built in different modifications.
A few Mustangs are still flown today.
P-51D Mustang in the USSR
Aircraft of later modifications B, C, D with high-altitude British Merlin engines, produced in the USA under license from Packard, were not officially delivered to the USSR. However, we did have individual copies of the P-51D.
"Mustangs" of the US Army Air Force were widely used during "shuttle" operations, escorting bombers to bases in Ukraine and back. They first appeared with us on June 2, 1944, when 64 P-51Ds from the 325th fighter group landed in Piryatin, and the last time they landed on September 18, there were 62 of them. A total of 395 Air Force Mustangs took part in the shuttle operations US Army. At the same time, vehicles damaged along the way sometimes made forced landings on our territory.
At the end of the war, such aircraft were found in the countries of Eastern Europe - Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania. By May 1945, 14 P-51s of various modifications were identified there.
Subsequently, several P-51Ds were restored and transferred to the LII airfield in Kratovo. Full flight tests were not carried out, but they got a general impression of the car. They noted the ease of piloting. At low and medium altitudes, the P-51D was still inferior to domestic fighters in terms of dynamics - significantly greater weight affected. He lost in the rate of climb and characteristics of the horizontal maneuver, although it quickly accelerated and behaved steadily on a dive. But at altitudes above 5000 m, our fighters could no longer compare with him, he was superior to the German Bf 109K.
In general, during the transition to jet fighters, the P-51D was no longer of great interest, although individual elements of its design and equipment were carefully studied by our specialists.