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P-61 Black Widow

Discussion in 'Allied Fighter Planes' started by WW2History, May 23, 2021.

  1. WW2History

    WW2History New Member

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    [​IMG]

    The first operational U.S. warplane specifically designed as a night fighter was the Northrop P-61 Black Widow, named for the North American spider. It was also the first aircraft designed to use radar. The P-61 was an all-metal, twin-engine fighter with a twin-boom configuration that was similar in profile to the German Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft and, of course, the.American Lockheed P-38

    The P-61 made its first test flight in May 1942 and it began to enter service in late 1943 where it was operated effectively as a night-fighter by the U.S. Army Air Forces and was used in the European Theater, Pacific Theater, China Burma India Theater, and Mediterranean Theater during the war.

    What type of radar system was fitted to this aircraft..?
     
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  2. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The initial Xp-61/YP-61 and P-61A mounted the AI-10/SCR-320 air intercept radar. The P-61B mounted an improved SCR-720C A/I radar, as did all later iterations, the P-61C and XP-61D, while the XP-61E had the radar nacelle removed.
     
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  3. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..seems like a well engineered aircraft ..a lot heavier than the P-38 but about the same combat range?
     
  4. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Another pilot killer early on...
     
  5. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Not that I can find? The early P-61A was described as "quite docile despite its size" an was capable of conducting a slow roll into a dead engine "a maneuver which would ordinarily have been suicidal". The extensive greenhouse did cause problems in dives because the pressure buildup caused the glass to implode, so required a redesign and reinforcement, but I can't find that any aircraft was lost because of that.
     
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  6. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Yeah sorry, I must have been thinking of the B-26 Marauder...
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I think you have a typo. Wasn't it the SCR-520 that was installed on the early Widows.

    The local air museum is restoring their Black Widow to airworthy condition, an long ongoing process that has taken over 20 years.
    MID-ATLANTIC AIR MUSEUM - THE WIDOWS WEB - P-61 - THE RESTORATION
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Oops. Yep.

    Thirty years?
     
  9. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    TD-Tommy776 and WW2History like this.

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