Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (lightning) – single-seat fighter and fighter-assault. Manufactured in the number of 15 683 units, was the most populous of the U.S. fighter aircraft. It was used on many fronts of the Second World War in Europe, Africa, the Far East and the Pacific. Thunderbolts took half a million sorties, dropped 132 tons of bombs 482, fired 59 rockets and 567 rounds of rifle 125 million, destroying in the air and on the ground more than 12,000 enemy aircraft, the loss of their 5222 machines, of which only 824 in the battle (the ratio of wins and losses in aerial combat of 4.6 to 1 in favor of the P-47).
History P-47 dating back to 1,939 years and the previous project, carried out even in label Seversky, later renamed Republic Aviation. August 1 of this year, chief designer Alexander kartveli in response to official requirements, introduced the draft lightweight fighter codenamed altitude AP-10. This aircraft, in contrast to previous designs the label, was driven clevis engine liquid-cooled Allison V-1710-39 with a capacity of 1150hp, not air-cooled engine stellar. Weapons were supposed to be two 12.7 mm machine guns above the engine. The machine had to have a mass of 2200kg and your home about 2800kg, the bearing surface of 16 m2 and reach a speed of 667km/h (415 miles/h) at an altitude of 4500 m, reaching it in 3.5 minutes. U.S. Air Force became interested in the project, but requested to strengthen the arms, even at the expense of performance. Added so in the wings 4km 7.62 mm, and the weight increased to 2980kg. In November 1939 the prototype was ordered under the designation XP-47. In January 1940, ordered free of weapons, radios and other equipment another copy under the designation XP-47A, as soon as possible to test the capabilities of the machine.
The ongoing war in Europe clearly indicated that the fighters must have a strong armor, high firepower and self-sealing fuel tanks. XP-47 was not able to meet these requirements due to insufficient engine power; to aviation did not reject the project, the company produced a brand new machine – the later P-47. The project had little to do with the XP-47 and XP-47A. The first drawings of the plane formed in September 1940, in railway wagon, which designers were returning from a meeting devoted to new fighter requirements. Kartveli said that "It will be a dinosaur, but with the right proportions." Aviation laid stress especially to obtain maximum speed on the highest height of at least 640km/h at 10 thousand. m the U.S. Air Force was in fact dominate at altitudes above 8,000 meters, and then only gradually reduce the titer of the ceiling and destroy actions the enemy getting closer to the ground.
When designing a new plane used solutions of the previous design, the P-43 and XP-44, and even finished fuselage sections P-43. Used stellar, 18-cylinder, air-cooled engine Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Twin Wasp, with a capacity of 1900hp, equipped with a turbocharger, which was placed behind the fuselage (the concept already tested in P-43) up to 7 meters from the propeller; Type the exhaust pipes were fed the sides at the bottom of the hull, and the exhaust outlet of turbocharger was just before the tail wheel. The incoming air from the compressor to the engine also conducted along the fuselage, but the wings. To make full use of engine power used czteroÅ‚opatowe propeller with a diameter of 3.66 m up, which forced the use of high-main landing gear; Special telescopic structure during the assembly of the wings shortened by 22.8 centimeters. Amazingly, this complex mechanism is not made problems in practice. The wings of the profile proved Republic S-3 had an elliptical contour and the bearing surface 28 m2. Each was to be equipped with four machine guns of 12.7 mm (total 8). Circle Tail, retractable in flight fuselage was controllable. Self-sealing fuel tanks were placed in the hull. Armored cockpit copied from the XP-44; in the prototype it was characteristic of the type of car doors; Serial P-47 had opening canopy. The aircraft was to have its own weight 5216kg, reaching speeds of 644km/h at 7620 m and a height of 4572 m reach in 5 minutes.
June 12, 1940, the project was presented to aviation, which on Sept. 6 ordered a prototype under the designation XP-47B. The prototype airframe was ready already May 4, 1941, the Machine has not been given a new designation, but stopped work on the XP-47 and XP-47A. Just a week later, on September 13 aircraft placed an order for 773 machines, 171 as P-47B and 602 as P-47C. The name of the Thunderbolt or Lightning, accepted by the USAAF, invented one of the company directors Republic, C. Hart Miller.
The prototype first flew on May 6, 1941 he achieved during subsequent flights, the speed of 663km/h at 7800 m, and therefore higher than planned, and at the height of 4572 m rose up in 5 minutes. During the trial there were problems involving the vibration of the tail and the oil system failure and turbocharger at high altitudes. The prototype was destroyed in an accident on August 8, 1942
The first serial copy of the P-47B, No. 41-5895, in fact, the second prototype, armed and fully equipped, supplied the army Dec. 21, 1941. Further 4 machines, like the first for research, delivered in March 1942, during the tests one aircraft has disaster because of breakup of the tail. Tests have shown that at altitudes above 9144 m froze flap, you could not open the canopy, and the forces on the controls were too big. At high speeds peeling paint covering the rudder aerodynamic pressure levels and resulted in inflation of the balloon as the rudder trim; were still shake a tail; because this problem is not yet resolved, limited scope of use of the plane – caused a delay in the adoption of the P-47 to service the May 1942 cover flaps and rudder was changed to a metal (first series machines were still covering the canvas, and later rebuilt them and lifted restrictions on the flights); also changed the shape of the flaps and added flaps balancing on the helm. Canopy was changed to opening by postponing the fairing to the rear (car-type doors were just a prototype and the first 3 copies), so the antenna mast was moved to the back, bending it sharply forward. These changes were introduced from machine No. 41-5896. Starting from 41-5951 P-47 had a de-icer in the wings, from 41-5974 – New tires, from 41-6016 – modified trigger machine guns. Drive version of the P-47B engine was the R-2800-21 power 2000 HP, which propelled the Curtiss propeller with a diameter of 3.71 m Due to the increase in mass of the airplane dropped climb: 4572 m on P-47B stood at 6.7 minutes, in level flight progressed, however, until 690km/h at an altitude of 8230 m total of 171 units were built version B, and delivery was completed in September 1942
One copy of the P-47B number 41-6065 in September 1942, was rebuilt by installing a pressurized cabin on it, marked it as XP-47E; on the other, with the number 41-5938 installed the new wing of laminar flow. None of these projects are not developed further.
As the demand for P-47 was so big, built a new factory in Evensvill in Indiana. Aircraft produced there determined by adding the letters RA, and produced in an old factory in Farmingdale – RE. P-47 also built, licensed, Curtiss factory, which was withdrawn order for P-60, in Buffalo. Aircraft from Buffalo assayed P-47G, although there were a license P-47C and D.
Externally similar to version B, but reinforced with a metal coating ballasts rudder plane which extended about an inch (2.54 cm). The machine had a new oxygen system with 4 cylinders, new compressor controller (C-17), a new radio and changed vertical mast antenna. Despite reinforcements rudder still had problems in diving at high speeds, especially over 800km/h After producing 56 units started building a variety P-47C-1 (P-47G-1-CU). She had a new fireproof wall and moved to the front of the new engine mount, so it was necessary to insert additional hull section with a length of 20.32 cm (8 inches), which improved the position of the center of gravity of the aircraft, its maneuverability and ease of use. The first copy of the P-47C was used to test the modifications to the fuselage, landing gear, tail and turbocharger. Also changed the rudder levels to solve problems in diving. November 13, 1942, two P-47C reached in dive airspeed until 1160km/h greater than the speed of sound. Exceeding the sound barrier was of course impossible – the maximum safe speed for the P-47 was 965km/h, and the actual speed achieved by these machines does not exceed 800km/h
The first really capable of combat duty variant was the P-47C-2. They were given a hook for hanging under the fuselage auxiliary fuel tank with a capacity of 760 liters, or bombs; variant of the P-47C-5 was revised radio installation and instruments in the cockpit, and added a cockpit heating. Version C was produced from September 1942 to February 1943, the total built 602 copies.
Version of the P-47D-1-RE (P-47D-1-RA and P-47G-5-CU) from the start of production (winter 1943) was not much different from the version of the P-47C-5. Changed in the exhaust system of the compressor, add additional tabs to provide better cooling of the engine and reinforced armor pilot; on the underside of the fuselage mounted metal bath strengthening the structure and protects it by damage and allows to install hooks for bombs or fuel tanks. The P-47D-2-RA-RE and modified compressor housing, by removing her veil and added the possibility of suspension under the hull matched to the shape, additional dismiss the fuel tank cap. 765 l P-47D-3-RA, the possibility of rejection in flight podkadÅ‚ubowego additional fuel tank. Early varieties D version were driven by a motor R-2800-21 power 2000hp, without the installation of water injection into the engine. From the variety P-47D-4-RA and D-5-RE added The possibility of injecting water, which allowed for the temporary increase in power up to 2300hp (installation but was not factory fitted with the engine). There were also turbocharged C-21.
In the version of the P-47D-20-RE and, the so-RA. Universal wings on which it could carry different sets of bombs and fuel tanks. Aircraft received a new engine, the R-2800-59, the same power, but with the revised ignition system. Increased leg length tail wheel was introduced in place of electric heating warm air machine guns. Discontinued or painting aircraft camouflage and left them in a natural-colored metal. Version D-22-RE has a new model of the controller turbocharger and a new propeller with a diameter of 4.01 AeroProp meter and the version of the D-23-RA – Curtiss propeller with a diameter of 3.96 m, which improved the rate of climb. They also increased the fuel supply. These versions were called "Razorback" ("razor-back"), of triangular cross-section of the back of the fuselage behind the cab. From March 1942 to April 1944 was built 7440 units.
The existing canopy did not provide visibility in all directions. In July 1943, one P-47D-5-RE, installed a drip guard cabin of the aircraft Hawker Typhoon and reduced fuselage behind the cockpit and determined this machine as XP-47K. Reconstruction proved to be successful and immediately implemented it into series production version P-47D-25-RE and D-26-RA. They were similar to the D-22RE, but they increased internal fuel capacity, tested on experimental D-20, designated XP-47L. It had a canopy drip with the revised flat windshield and main fuel tank increased to 1020 liters These modifications improved the rate of climb, but decreased speed. Version D-26-RA used the Curtiss propeller with a diameter of 3.96 m To eliminate problems with stability in flight, due to the use of drip shields and lowering the hull for it, from a variety of D-27-RE is added on the back before the ballast small fin. Also been modified slightly by increasing the power of the engines, a new starter motor and electric control dump fuel tanks. On D-28RE and-RA features a Curtiss propeller, radio compass and changed the layout of devices on the board.
From a variety of D-30-RA and RE wing modified by adding an additional electrically controlled valves in the middle of the chord, to facilitate control of the airplane in flight at high speeds, especially in diving; changed the position of fotokarabinu, reflector and landing mirror in the cabin. On D35-RA was added under the wing handles for ten rockets. The last variant version of D was D-40-RA; It was back motor R-2800-59, received station radiolocation… protect the tail, new sights K-14. These modifications were introduced also back on the variety of D-27.
A copy of the P-47B, where in September of 1942, installed a pressurized cabin and engine R-2800-59 with Hamilton Standard propeller. As combat operations in Europe started to shift to a lower altitude, the project has not been developed.
Plane P-47B version on which is mounted on a new side of the laminar flow, a rectangular contour and increased span of 372 mm, but less than the bearing surface; flown on 17 September 1942 was not developed on the project due to the very encouraging results of the tests.
Aircraft D version produced under license in plants Curtiss in Buffalo from December 1942 to March 1944. Since version D can be distinguished only serial numbers.
In 1943, two machines P-47D-15 installed a new engine V-Chrysler XIV-2220-1, liquid-cooled, 16-cylinder in an inverted V configuration with a turbocharger, the power take-off 2,500hp and 2,150hp constant. For this purpose, the nose rebuilt machine or under the fuselage bodybuilder large radiator. The length of the aircraft rose to 11.94 meters. The project was developed from 1943, but the first machine flew through the air on 26 July 1945 As specially designed for this engine turbocharger was not ready, applied turbocharger CH-5. Instead of the expected speed of 788km/h, most sources state that the aircraft reached only 666km/h at an altitude of 9144 m, and one source states that the speed of 788km/h, however, was reached. Since the motor XIV-2220-1 was not developed and does not enter series production ceased further work on this version.
The fastest version of the P-47; Rapid concept version was founded in 1942, but eventually flew it a year later. The design was specially slimmed, designed for test flights of very high speeds. Was equipped with a lighter chassis with smaller wheels, CH-5 turbo and engine variant of the R-2800-57 with a capacity of 2800hp, housed in a special enclosure with cooling fan; czteroÅ‚opatowe propeller blades bent about the shape of the sword. Wings of lean structure were armed with 6km and could not carry bombs. The fuel supply is reduced to 1090 liters. The contract for construction was signed on June 18, 1943, flew it on November 26. August 4, 1944 in level flight until the aircraft reached a speed of 812km/h at an altitude of 10,500 m, the first piston aircraft. Time climb to 4500 m was 4.5 minutes and the range of 1720km. Although proposals for development of the series, it was abandoned due to a more promising project XP-72; others, also abandoned the idea was to provide a counter-propeller machine.
P-47D-5 where in July 1943, experimentally reduced back rear fuselage and canopy mounted drip from the plane Hawker Typhoon; Photo modification of aircraft used in the version of the P-47D-RE-25 and D-26-RA. This aircraft was then used to test the new wing version of N.
The P-47D 42-76614 number of experimentally applied the canopy drip (like XP-47K) and modifications characteristic of the D-22-RE: increased internal fuel load (from 1386 to 1682 liters), a longer tail wheel, universal hooks under wings and fuselage.
Specially designed for combating flying bombs German V-1 and rocket jets and, therefore, the emphasis was placed on it to reach high speeds. The four P-47D-27-RA, designated YP-47M, installed engine version R-2800-57, and a new turbocharger CH-5. Even at the height of 9900 meters it reached power 2,800hp (with water injection), which allowed to reach the speed of 761km/h at an altitude of 9800M, and the height of 4500 m in 5 minutes. In September 1944 the factory was built such engines 130 P-47D-30-RE (marked P-47M-1-RE); They have a dorsal fin in front of the vertical stabilizer. In December 1944, went to Europe, but it turned out that the drive unit is not working properly, the engine could not even go out during the flight. Flights battle began only at the very end of the war, after replacing the engines with new ones. P-47M was using only 56 Pursuit Group, the pilots refused to fly on a P-51 Mustang, preferujÄ…c Thunderbolty.
Established in parallel with the P-47M long-range version for use in the war in the Pacific. In mid-1944, a third prototype YP-47M, designated XP-47N, received a new wing of increased span and area; They inserted an additional section of the hull width of 45.72 cm (by cutting the ends of the span increased by only about 18 cm), additional internal accommodating tanks with a capacity of 422 liters each. With additional external tanks on capacity of 1,170 l coverage increased machine up to 3782km. New or improved towards the volatile property P-47, including maneuverability. Reconstruction of the wings and the increase in mass forced to increase the spacing and strengthening the main landing gear; used and new tires enable the handling of airports grasslands. Even before the first flight on July 22, 1944, June 20, 1900 ordered the pieces of this version. From September 1944 produced 24 pieces variety P-47N-1-RE. Compared to M-1 have been These larger dorsal fin.
From the variety P-47N-5RE added under the wing brackets for 10 caliber 127 mm rockets, a new radio, radar protection of the tail, modified throttle and ignition. The P-47N-15-RE engine used R-2800-73, a new dating K-14 and the new system dump bombs in the form of pylons S-1 and modified the pilot’s seat. The P47-N-20-RE and RA-made changes in the fuel system and radio system, reinforced flap and aileron trim around the mounting rockets. From the variety P-47N-25-RE used new engine R-2800-77 or -81, rebuilt the cabin floor and changed the tail wheel control.
P-47D was a single and single-engine fighter plane, wolnonoÅ›nym low wing with retractable landing gear in flight. The flap of the contour póÅ‚eliptycznym, equipped with flaps and ailerons; construction of two steel girders and two main and auxiliary ribs 20 in each half; metal cover. Used your own profile developed in record kartveli S-3. The fuselage was a monocoque structure with duralumin. They were in the engine sequentially (in the casing NACA), wall of fire retardant, fuel tank, armored cockpit with sliding back cover, turbocharger, and her tail with the tail. Classic tail with a single vertical stabilizer, metal, covered with sheet metal. Main landing gear, jednogoleniowe, retractable wings toward the fuselage. When folded, it was shortened by a special mechanism. The tail wheel was coupled with the rudder.
The drive motor was a Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp. It was a 18-cylinder, four-stroke air-cooled radial engine, with a displacement of 45 945 cm3, recharged by a turbocharger and supercharger. Propeller czteroÅ‚opatowe, metal, samoprzestawialne. Fuel system consisted of two armored, self-sealing fuel tanks in the fuselage and additional overhead tanks under the wings and fuselage. Armament consisted of 8km Browning M2 12.7 mm in the wings, 4 in each of the supply of the 425 missiles on each. Depending on the variant armed with a bomb and unguided missiles.
The aircraft was well armored, armed and equipped and extremely resistant to damage. In November 1942, a series of simulated dogfights which were attended by the P-47C, P-38F, P-39D, P-40F and P-51A. P-47C had the largest horizontal speed at an altitude of 3000 m, the acceleration in the level and dive, and the angular velocity of the barrel. However, all other planes were tighter turning radius and loop, which resulted from a large load surface of the airfoil P-47.
The climb was worse only on the P-39D and P-38F. Later versions were modified propeller ("rowing"), which improved erection during combat. With comparable machines fared the worst on the fly to the ground, and preferably at a height of 8,000 to 12,000 meters, which resulted from the use of efficient (especially on large wyskokoÅ›ciach) turbocharger. Thanks to her was one of the best single-altitude fighter in the Second World War.
The recommended strategy in the attack was an attack from the top and escape the level, and in defense of not fighting circular and transition to dive fast póÅ‚beczkami. Comparing the P-47 with the subsequent version of the P-51D, P-47 surpassed his performance at altitudes above 7500 m, moreover, was more resistant to damage, and strongly armed. Comparing the P-47 German planes, P-47 surpassed all versions of the Me-109G and FW-190A. He equaled only versions of the Me-109G and K from engine DB-605D and Focke-Wulf Ta-152. Version of the P-47M could even make almost equivalent against a jet fighter Me-262.
The cockpit was spacious, well ventilated and heated, which provided great comfort to pilots, not only because of the heat, but also the splendid removing ice from the cab glazing. The disadvantage of the first version was a large number of small windows, which limited visibility. Strong arming allowed to eliminate an opponent after giving a short series of customs. A large role in the effectiveness of combat aircraft played a rejected application on the fly additional tanks on fuel – resulting in significantly increased the radius of the effective operation of the machine. For his characteristics lotno-pilot and resistance to damage combat machine was liked and appreciated by pilots.
Britain was the most abundant member of the P-47 in the USA, a total of 830 were delivered to the machines. Equipped with not only the squadrons fighting in Southeast Asia. Flights fighting began in September 1944. P-labeled 47 Thunderbolt Mk. I, and the newer versions with low back fuselage and the canopy drip Thunderbolt Mk. II.
P-47 also used in other countries lotnictwach 18. The most numerous in French – 446 machines, and the Soviet Union – 196 machines.
The autumn of 1943 the possibility of a parts inventory units of the Polish Air Force in the West in the machine P-47, but ultimately they have received aircraft P-51 Mustang.
Several Polish pilots fought for the P-47 in different units. In the winter of 1943 in the 44 part of the pilots of the Polish Air Force barred from flights found in the composition of the 61 Squadron 56 Pursuit Group, U.S. Air Force. It was commanded by a Pole by birth, Francis Gabreski. Poles under his command flew P-47C, D and M, and shot down many German planes. Captain Boleslaw GÅ‚adych had 11 victories, which gave him the 8th place among American aces flying on P-47.