North American P-51A

The P-51A was the final Allison powered version of the Mustang. It was powered by the Allison V-1710-81, which provided 1,330 hp, and had a better supercharger, with the result that top speed increased to 409 mph at 10,000 feet. Performance at altitude was still limited, and the type had a service ceiling of 34,000 feet.

North American P-51A over Burma
North American P-51A
over Burma

The P-51A used wings similar to those developed for the A-36 dive bomber, carrying four .50 inch machine guns. It could carry two 500lb bombs, or two 150 gallon drop tanks, giving the P-51A the range to act as an escort fighter, but not the high altitude performance required for the role, at least over Germany.

310 P-51As were built. Of that number, 50 went to the RAF, where they were known as Mustang IIs, and 35 were fitted with cameras as F-6Bs. The remaining P-51As were used by the 311th FBG, based at Dinjan, India, from mid 1943. It was also used by the 23rd FG, based in China, where it did act as an escort fighter.  

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 June 2007), North American P-51A,

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