P-51's earlier and many more of them

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    #1 gjs238, Jun 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013
    From Wikipedia:

    NAA President "Dutch" Kindelberger approached Self to sell a new medium bomber, the B-25 Mitchell. Instead, Self asked if NAA could manufacture the P-40 under license from Curtiss. Kindelberger said NAA could have a better aircraft with the same engine in the air sooner than establishing a production line for the P-40.


    In March 1940, 320 aircraft were ordered by Sir Wilfred Freeman who had become the executive head of Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP), and the contract was promulgated on 24 April.[12]

    Now what if we change a few words:

    ... The U.S. Army asked if NAA could manufacture the P-40 under license from Curtiss. Kindelberger said NAA could have a better aircraft with the same engine in the air sooner than establishing a production line for the P-40.

    In March 1940, ??? aircraft were ordered by the U.S. Army

    If U.S. Army interest was expressed so early, one wonders how quickly P51 production could have been ramped up. Possible we could have seen P-40 production ended earlier.
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    If USAAF ordered Mustang in April 1940 as the Brits did, assuming a full contract including tooling and factory set asides, then production of the P-51A would have probably started in sequence to the Mustang Mk I...and be in full production early 1942.

    It wouldn't have affected the P-40 production length (still delivering to Allies) but would have replaced US P-40's earlier. There would probably not be an A-36.

    With R&D funding permitting Merlin study in 1940, the P-51B could have been introduced with 1650-1 in early to mid 1942 with loaners made available by Rolls Royce for the installation, re-design of radiator and cowl while Packard was re-tooling for US production.. conceivable that P-51B with less high altitude performance would have been in Europe in early 1943 about the same time as P-47s ~ April, 1943.

    A lot of 'if's"
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    If long range P-51As are available by fall 1942 they might replace some P-38s in North Africa and England. Not sure that would make much difference in the air war.
     
  4. Conslaw

    Conslaw Member

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    There's no question that if the P-51 had been available earlier and in greater quantities, it would have been successful. The record really doesn't reflect much delay in pushing the P-51 through the system. While it's true that the USAAF could have commissioned a new fighter from North American before the British, perhaps if that happened, the results wouldn't have been what we know know as the P-51 Mustang. The Mustang's design was an implementation of the state of the art in aerodynamics and thermal management. The more you go back in time, the more likely it is that the Mustang's key features would not have been there. It was not long after the Allison-engined Mustang flew that people started wondering if the plane would be even better with a two-stage Merlin. The first Allison engine Mustang left the production line in April 1941. The first Merlin-powered Mustang flew October 1942. The first production P-51B was delivered in April 1943, almost exactly two years after the first Allison-powered 'stang. During that two year period, North American built another assembly factory, and Packard ramped up to build thousands of Merlin engines.
     
  5. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    If the P-51 had been a US Army Arsenal System plane, it would have been heavily speced, i.e. probably an “interceptor” which would have nixed the laminar flow wing. Fortunately, the Brits were too under the gun to micromanage so NA pretty much got to design their own plane. But then the P-51 had a high coefficient of serendipity as well as excellent design in its success.
     
  6. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Anyone wants to take a stab how well the P-51 with V-1650-1 would've performed, esp. at altitude (20-30000 ft)?
     
  7. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Is that the Kittyhawk engine?
     
  8. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Used in P-40F and -L, I'm not that well versed what hawk was the correct hawk :)
     
  9. Conslaw

    Conslaw Member

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    Based on the similar performance between the Merlin-I powered P-40F and the Allison powered P-40K, I don't think there would have been a big improvement if the early P-51 had single-stage Merlin engines. They would have climbed a little better, and had better performance in the 15,000-to 20,000 range, perhaps.
     
  10. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Reading the chart from US 100000 book, the P-40F was 40 mph faster than P-40E at 20000 ft. The -E having the same amount of HP above 5000 ft (no ram; with ram above ~8000 ft) as the -K.
     
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