Aviation of Word War II

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P-38 "Lightning"

Multipurpose Fighter


P-38 Lightning

Heavy fighter P-38А had very exotic three fuselage design. In lateral fuselages landing gears and two turbocompressors were placed. The cabin of the pilot placed in a central nacelle, in the same place there was a nose shooting battery and the rack of a forward wheel. It is necessary to notice, that it was a first-ever fighter with a nose wheel. Prototype ХР-38 has made the first flight on January, 27, 1939.

After numerous adaptations in August, 1941 modification "Lightning" P-38D has gone to a small series (36 aircrafts).

The power plant. Two engines Allison, for the solution of problems of reaction of a propeller, engines rotated in the different sides, from here a designation of modifications - left / starboard engine. Modification P-38H with engines V-1710-89/91 already had the automatic gills of an oil cooler allowing automatically to regulate temperature of oil.

Armament In a nose of an airplane was placed all shooting armament is allowed to exclude from a design synchronizers for shooting through a screw.

All during manufacture 10037 airplanes of this type, since "Model 22" have been made. These machines successfully battled on all fronts where the American armies acted.

Crew 1
Wing span, m 15.85
Length, m 11.53
Height, m 2.98
2 × PE V-1710-111/113 Allison, hp 1450
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 6200
Loaded weight 7800
Maximum speed, km/h 666
Time to 6000m, min 7
Service ceiling, m 13200
20-mm cannon and 4 × 12,7-mm machine guns in nose, underwing bombs, kg 1450

Photo Description
Drawing Drawing P-38 Lightning

Drawing P-38 Lightning

P-38L-1, 1947

P-38L-1 during testing at the Air Forces Scientific Research Institute at 1947


P-38 in flight


  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "American warplanes of World War II" /under cor. David Donald/