The P-51 Mustang As an Escort Fighter: Development Beyond Drop Tanks to an Independent Air Force.
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The P-5l Mustang was an outstanding fighter in World War II. Popular history gives the majority of the credit to the addition of drop tanks to this aircraft which extended its range and allowed it to be used as an escort fighter for bomber operations in World War II. This paper highlights the unique design characteristics of the P-51 Mustang with its Packard Merlin engine. The incorporation of innovative, laminar flow wings and aerodynamic smoothing, along with a delivery oriented production system made the aircraft an outstanding escort fighter-the addition of the drop tanks just made it better. Because of this addition to the Allied fighting force, the doctrine of daylight, strategic, high altitude, precision bombing by United States bombers was successful in World War II and the United States Air Force was born.
- Attack and Fighter Aircraft