North American P-82B Twin Mustang
|The Ghost Squadron's P-82B.
Image source: The Confederate Air Force Ghost Squadron CD-ROM produced by Corel. Photos by Bill Crump.
By the later half of the Second World War, it became obvious to the USAAF that a new, longer range escort fighter would be needed to protect the B-29s and other bombers operating in the vast reaches of the Pacific, especially if and when an invasion of Japan was attempted. Requirements called for twin engines, a large amount of fuel and two pilots for the very long distance operations envisioned.
North American Aviation proposed the P-82 design as the joining of two P-51 fuselages with a new wing center section. The Air Force ordered 500 as P-82Bs, but only 20 were completed before the decision was made to also make a night fighter version. The resulting models mounted a large radar pod underneath the center wing section, with the starboard cockpit modified for the radar operator.
In 1946, 100 P-82E long-range fighters and 150 P-82F and G night fighters were ordered, serving primarily with the Air Defense Command. The radar-equipped Twin Mustangs equipped some of the first "all-weather" fighter squadrons in the Air Force. After 1947, the old P for Pursuit designation was replaced by F for Fighter, so the aircraft became known as the F-82.
At the beginning of the Korean War, three squadrons of F-82Gs were based in Japan, and on 27 June, 1950, one of the Twin Mustangs was credited with the first USAF victory of the conflict, a Russian-built Yak-9. The last F-82s were retired in mid-1953.
The CAF P-82 was acquired from the U.S. Air Force in 1966, and has been the only flying Twin Mustang in the world for many years. The aircraft is currently being restored after a landing accident, and will hopefully rejoin the Ghost Squadrons flying fleet in the near future.
Two Packard Merlin V-1650-19/21 Engines
Six .50 caliber Machine Guns
Max. Speed 482 mph @ 25,100 feet
Climb to 20,000 ft in 7 minutes
Length 39' 1"
Max. Weight 22,000 lbs
Normal Fuel 576 gallons
Normal Range 1,390 miles
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