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P-61 "Black Widow"

Night Fighter


P-61 Black Widow

The P-61 Black Widow was effective and powerful heavy-night-interceptor with a radar.

Modifications: The developing vehicles YP-61. At the end of 1943 began to flew the first P-61A of series, followed in July 1944 by the P-61B with sub-alar attachs for bombs and fuel tanks. The P-61С had more high-power engine R-2800-73, 2800 hp. Was also realized a long range recon version , named F-15A Reporter (after WWII, first flight at June 3, 1945).

Armament: Four fixed forward-firing .5in guns. Four 20mm cannon in remote-controlled dorsal turret (P-61B-15 and later).

Max bomb load: bombs underwing : 2900 kg

Total production (Variants): 741

-P-61A -215; P-61B - 450; P-61C - 41; F-15 - 36.

P-61 Black Widow

P-61 Black Widow Specification
Crew 3
Wing span, m 20.14
Length, m 15.11
Height, m 4.47
2 × PE Pratt & Whitney R-2800-65, hp 1850
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 10637
Maximum takeoff weight 16420
Maximum speed, km/h 590
Time to 6000m, min 19
Service ceiling, m 10090
Maximum range, km 4830
Four fixed forward-firing .5 in guns.
Four 20mm cannon in remote-controlled dorsal turret, bombs underwing, kg
Photo Description
Drawing P-61B

Drawing P-61B

YP-61 in flight

The YP-61 in flight

P-61 B-15

The P-61 B-15 in test flight at 1945

Photo Description
Northrop P-61 Black Widow, cockpit

The cockpit of the Northrop P-61 Black Widow, night fighter of the Second World War.

P-61, Black Widow, Northrop, back view

Northrop P-61A Black Widow, back view. Two of the three crew pose for the camera which can be dated to no earlier than June 1944.

Northrop P-61A-1-NO Black Widow, 42-5526 'Nightie Mission'

Northrop P-61A-1-NO Black Widow, 42-5526 'Nightie Mission' of the 6th NFS taking on 646 US-gallons (2,445 l) AN-F-48 100/130 octane fuel on Guadalcanal in August 1944.

Northrop P-61A-1-NO Black Widow

P-61A-1-NO Black Widow, 42-5507 of the 419th NFS which was deployed to the South Pacific in February 1943 and was operational by April at Buka Airfield, Bougainville, Solomon Islands. 42-5507 was lost 'somewhere' in the South Pacific on April 10, 1945.


  • Encyclopedia of military engineering /Aerospace Publising/
  • American Warplanes of World War II /under cor. David Donald/
Northrop P-61