Difference between revisions of "P-51D Mustang GA"
Revision as of 08:57, 25 May 2012
The P-51D-25 is a variant of the Mustang equipped with rockets for the ground attack role.
With the Normandy invasion, US Army Air Force fighters diversified their mission taskings to include ground attack missions against German airfields, ground forces, and logistical infrastructure. As most US fighter units in Europe had transitioned to the P-51 Mustang, the D-25 variant featured strengthened under-wing hard points allowing it to carry up to 1000 pounds of bombs or up to ten 5-inch rockets. The P-51 was less suited to ground attack duties than the P-38 Lightnings it replaced or the P-47 Thunderbolts that fought alongside it; unlike the twin-engined Lightning or radial-engined Thunderbolt its single liquid-cooled engine was vulnerable to being disabled by ground fire. Nevertheless, the P-51 gave good service as a ground attack aircraft, and would see use again in that role in the jet-dominated skies over Korea in 1950.
Although less rugged than the Typhoon or Il-2, the Mustang compensates for this by being faster, more agile, and quite capable of defending itself against enemy fighters. Although its rocket payload reduces its endurance from the air-superiority Mustangs, it can still loiter over the battlefield longer than any other ground-attack aircraft.