P-82 Twin Mustang Fighter

P-82 Twin Mustang Fighter

Historical Snapshot

P-82 Twin Mustang Fighter

Once the standard long-range, high-altitude escort fighter for the U.S. Air Force, the North American Aviation P-82 Twin Mustang was the climax of the famous World War II P-51 Mustang series.

North American produced 250 of the double-fuselage airplanes for the Air Force, embracing three versions of the Twin Mustang then in service, the P-82E, P-82F and P-82G. They were ordered too late for World War II, however.

The versatile P-82 made it potentially adaptable to a wide variety of roles—fighter, long-range escort, long-range reconnaissance aircraft, night fighter, attack bomber, rocket fighter and interceptor.

With a speed of more than 475 mph (764 kph), the Twin Mustang had a combat range of more than 1,600 miles (2,574 kilometers) with full armament. Range could be extended by use of external drop tanks on the wings.

A radical departure from the conventional single-fuselage airplane, the Twin Mustang was formed by two fuselages joined by the wing and the horizontal stabilizer. With a pilot in each fuselage, it reduced the problem of pilot fatigue on ultra-long-range missions. The P-82F and G models carried a radar operator in the right cockpit instead of a co-pilot.

Both engine throttles and both propellers were controllable from either cockpit by manually operated levers. The pilot's cockpit on the left contained the normal flight and engine instruments, while the co-pilot on the right had sufficient instruments for relief and emergency operation. A simplified cockpit arrangement improved pilot comfort, including a tilting, adjustable seat to reduce fatigue during long flights.

    Technical Specifications

    First flight June 15, 1945
    Span 51 feet 3 inches
    Length 39 feet
    Power plant Two Allison 12-cylinder V-1710-G6 engines
    Speed 475 miles per hour
    Range 1,600 miles
    Service ceiling 42,200 feet
    • Six .50-caliber machine guns standard
    • Eight additional .50-caliber machine guns in special center section nacelle
    • Five rocket-launching racks, carrying five rockets each
    • Other alternate payload: 7,200 pounds of bombs, photographic nacelle or 2,000-pound torpedo
    Number built 272