Would a Merlin 60 powered p40 beat a p-51?

What would win?

  • P51D

    Votes: 20 80.0%
  • P40F (merlin 61)

    Votes: 5 20.0%

  • Total voters

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Well, if you changed the wing airfoil, and the plane form and the landing gear retracts. Then changed the fuselage, radiators and tail. Just a few more modifications to the canopy and cockpit you could get the "P-40" to beat the Mustang. But aside from the nameplate and a few screws/rivets it wouldn't be a P-40 :)
It would be a P-39.
Would a Merlin-powered P-40 beat a Merlin-engined P-51?

No. The P-51 was a newer design (as mentioned above, the P-40 was basically an upgraded P-36), with a much lower zero-lift drag, even disregarding the benefits (frequently severely overstated) of laminar-flow airfoils.
The P-40F and L had the Merlin and there was no significant improvement in performance at any altitude over the Allison. Donovan Berlin, the chief designer for Curtiss always said the problem with the P-40 was the air scoop in front. He did not like the modification made to the P-40k late (production), L, M and N the lengthened the rear of the fuselage to improve control at lower speeds. He wanted to move the chin scoop back to improve both the lateral control problems caused by turbulence from the chin scoop. There is a good chance that this turbulence also caused parasitic drag on the wing, but I have never seen data on this. If so, the higher in altitude the less ambient pressure, the more the turbulence would have spread over the wing, the less lift the more wing loading, and so on. Just a theory.
Curtiss did not want to move the chin scoop forward due to the chance of damage to the radiator from FOD.
And if we're going to go as far as comparing the XP-40Q to the P-51B/D, we may as well compare that to the P-51H and the XP-51F/G. That's more of an apples to apples comparison, and both represent significant redesigns of their respective airframes.

A P-51D on half fuel and WEP as rated at the time was able to do 450 mph and a 4200 FPM climb rate, which the really good numbers for the XP-40Q were done on WEP. A P-51H at 9550 lbs combat weight on it's WEP (90 inches Hg) was able to do 5200 fpm, and on 80" did 4600 fpm. The lighter XP-51F and G were even better in that regard (though on 80"/90" they weren't much faster than the H).

The H clean in interceptor trim was able to get to 487 mph once the boost control issues were sorted post-war, and per SAC was able to reach 5800 fpm. With bomb/drop tank and rocket racks that was dropped to about 475 mph. The XP-51F clean on 90" got up to 493mph and the G on the same power essentially was 498. The G got up to a 6500 fpm climb rate.

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